September 02, 2014

10 minute workouts {September fitness}


I cannot believe it's September already! For this month's fitness challenge, I am going to try at least one "quick workout" every day. I love doing 10-minute cardio workouts in the morning before class/work or before bed. Knowing a workout will be quick and effective makes me more likely to attempt it (just being honest). There are TONS of quick workout videos out there so I'm excited to try at least 30 new workouts this month. But I do already have a few favorites.

Here are 5 of what I consider to be the best quick workouts!


Give these a try and when you find a style that you like, subscribe to the YouTube channel and keep up the workouts! :)









August 30, 2014

Doing work on the weekends


Now that school is back in session and I'm back to taking classes + working, I've had to start doing some work on the weekends again. Of course I wish I could spend the entire weekend lounging around, hanging with friends, and catching up on sleep. But realistically, I have to schedule in time to do school work and work for my company. I'm getting some work done this weekend so I thought I would share how I schedule in work time while still enjoying my weekends.

A few tips for getting work done on the weekends:

Plan it ahead of time | If I have work to do on a weekend, I typically spend a few minutes on that Friday morning planning out when I will get the work + my weekend activities done. I've included a sample weekend work schedule below.

Pace yourself | Getting work done is a lot easier and more enjoyable when you spread it out over the weekend and get a little bit done at a time. I definitely pace myself and breakdown my homework assignments to get them done one by one.

Share meals with friends/combine eating with hanging out | On the weekends, I try and spend time with friends over meals so that I have more time to devote to working. This also helps save money. Plus, eating with others is always more enjoyable!

Change your environment | If you have to work on the weekends, you might as well have a great view, am I right? I like finding cool places in the city to work and study on the weekends to make my work more enjoyable. See examples in my schedule below.

Here's an example weekend schedule for me:

Friday

1pm - 2pm | class
2pm - 4pm | run errands
4pm - 6pm | relax, take a nap
6pm - 7pm | dinner with a friend
7pm - 9pm | homework (I like to work on homework while the material is fresh on my mind)
9pm - 11pm | relaxing, watching TV/Netflix

Saturday

9am - 10am | fitness & breakfast
10am - 12noon | work for my company and/or any work for my job
12noon - 2pm | lunch and/or hangout with a friend
2pm - 4pm | run errands
4pm - 6pm | study, homework (I like going to a fun place in the city to work on Saturdays. It's nice to visit other Atlanta neighborhoods and local coffee shops or work outside)
6pm - 8pm | relax, nap
8pm - until | evening event/activity

Sunday

11am - 1pm | church
1pm - 2pm | brunch with a friend
2pm - 3pm | relax, nap
3pm - 4pm | fitness
4pm - 6pm | remaining homework
6pm - 7pm | household chores, clean my room and organize for the week
7pm - 8pm | organize materials and answer company & blog emails 
8pm - 10pm | read, watch TV, relax


How do you get homework or other work accomplished on the weekend?

August 27, 2014

Mango Bang Bang Shrimp


One of my favorite appetizers is the Bang Bang Shrimp that Bonefish Grille serves. The shrimp is spicy, tangy, and covered in a creamy sauce - all sitting on top of a bed of lettuce. It is so good. But I cannot imaging how many calories and other unhealthy ingredients work to make that shrimp possible. I was craving some the other day so I set out to make an alternative, healthy version of this shrimp. See photos and a recipe for my Mango Bang Bang Shrimp below!


Ingredients
8-12 large shrimp (fresh or frozen)
mango salsa
purple cabbage
cole slaw
onions
minced garlic
lemon juice
black pepper
red pepper flakes
parsley
basil
paprika
buffalo/wing sauce
balsamic vinegar 
olive oil


Instructions

1. Sautee the chopped onions, cole slaw, and purple cabbage in a large skillet with olive oil

2. Soak the shrimp in 1 cup of lemon juice and black pepper for 5-10 minutes

3. Add the shrimp to the skillet and then season with the spices

4. Allow the shrimp to cook and mix with the other ingredients in the skillet

5. Add in 1 tablespoon of buffalo sauce and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of mango salsa

6. Stir and mix until shrimp is cooked well


I sprinkled on some parsley and black pepper at the end!


Such an easy and tasty meal! 
Serve on a bed of lettuce (or something more indulgent) and enjoy! :)


August 26, 2014

Glitter Boots #dreamboots










I saw these boots on Pinterest and it was love at first sparkle. How insanely amazing are these? I usually tone down my glitter in the colder seasons but I am now thinking that I need to add some glitter boots to my wardrobe. It won't be these because they are more than $1000! But, I'm thinking this will be an awesome DIY project one upcoming weekend.

Stay tuned!

August 25, 2014

My Fall semester action plan


I started school last week and my first week was a non-stop type of week. I think I'm finally getting settled in my schedule and know how I will make time for all of the areas of my life. I wanted to share what's going on in my life and my goals/plans for different areas in my life. And since I'm back in classes and getting used to taking notes everyday, this post is written in "note format" - hope you can follow it!


 //  SCHOOL // 
aiming for a 4.0 semester so that I will give my very best to all five of my courses, getting back into having a class schedule because summertime spoiled me

my planner will be my best friend and key to keeping me organized, especially during really busy weeks

getting a head start on all of my classes by writing down my upcoming assignments and doing some reading about the class topics before we jump into the material during class

crazy to think that this time next year I'll either be starting work on my PhD or looking for my first job! Glad I don't have to worry about that…yet :)

// MY BLOG // 
some great giveaways coming up & happening now

rebranding, shifting the direction of my blog soon

once I reach my goal of one million views, the rebranding will take place, can't wait! I recently added the page tracker at the bottom of the page so my readers can keep track with me

more organization posts, style posts, food and healthy eating posts, Atlanta-related posts, and posts about my life (like this one).

// MY SMALL BUSINESS & PROJECTS //
my mind spins and I have 100 things I want to do then I have to bring it back…I can't do it all…especially not right now

so I'm focusing on my company, VKV Communications LLC

summer was busy with several blog and website design projects, ten logo design projects, and some really fun photo sessions

very excited about an upcoming wedding rehearsal and bridal photo session - weddings are the best
branching out from working with people I know to doing work for people referred by people I know and even some random people who stumble upon my work on the internet

reaching out to other local non-profits over the summer has also been awesome

so grateful and excited my book for college students is selling so well and helping college students around America - that's why I wrote it!

I have another book project stirring in my head but I haven't had enough time or energy to focus on sitting down and typing it all out, but I'm planning to dedicate a few hours each week to this


// HEALTH & FITNESS //
changing my eating habits and incorporating healthy foods and fitness into my everyday lifestyle was one of the best things I did last year

posting recipes and tips helps me be accountable for what I eat + it's helping others

forcing myself to sign up for a unique fitness class for the month of September…maybe Yogalates?

my Pinterest "Healthy Eating" board is so yummy looking


// PERSONAL LIFE //

more exploring, taking advantage of being a student, spending time with family & friends, travel

several family members passed away this summer and it's always a reminder of how short and valuable life truly is

try to keep my personal life off of my blog for the most part because I believe in keeping some things to your close friends and to yourself

grateful for happiness and peace and I hope that continues


How are you dealing with the upcoming season change and all of the chaos that comes along with it?

August 22, 2014

ASOS back-to-school {giveaway}

Let's keep this short and sweet...I'm giving away an ASOS gift card!!

 I've been doing some back-to-school shopping and I thought my readers deserved to do some as well. If you've never shopped online at ASOS, why not? They have TONS of clothing styles to choose from that range in prices and brands. It's all around awesome. And, this giveaway is great for my male readers as well because ASOS has great clothing and accessories for guys too.

And if you didn't know, ASOS provides a student discount

Check out some of my favorite looks below









Enter below:




Good luck and happy Friday! :)

August 21, 2014

Gold glitter French manicure


I am finally relaxing after a busy first week of classes, and I have one more class tomorrow along with a  leadership training course! I wanted to share the manicure I've been rocking this week. After being forced to get a French manicure for my friend's wedding, I kind of fell in love with it. But this time, I tried it with some gold glitter on top (#glitteraddict) and it's been a fun style. This gold glitter French manicure is such a fun twist on the typical white tipped French mani.


Have a great weekend! And stay tuned for some awesome giveaways coming up! :)


August 20, 2014

Meatless and breadless tacos


The one thing I've missed since giving up eating meat (besides Chick-fil-A) is eating tacos with meat in them. Ordering vegetable and fish tacos has been okay, but I used to make ground beef/turkey tacos all of the time for quick meals and I miss the flexibility that comes with ground crumbles. So last night, I had some tacos with ground crumbles.


Veggie crumbles, of course! While grocery shopping yesterday, I stumbled upon this Boaca veggie/vegan crumble item in the healthy frozen food section. I've been skeptical about trying foods that look like meat, other than veggie burgers, but I decided to give this a try.


And it cooked and operated just like ground meat would! I was so pleasantly surprised and excited to finally get some tacos like I used to make. I added the following ingredients to the veggie crumbles in a skillet with olive oil:
1 can of pinto beans
1 cup of cole slaw
1/2 cup of mango salsa
2 tablespoons of green salsa
Black pepper (sprinkled)
Curry (sprinkled)
Parsley (sprinkled)
Paprika (sprinkled)


So yum! And I let it cook for about 10 minutes (or until all of the food items are cooked through).


I've really been making an effort to cut down on my bread  intake because I think that's the only way I will lose these final few pounds I'm trying to shed. I love bread!!! So this is difficult, but I allow myself some form of bread once a week and cut it all other times. So, I put my taco mix on romaine lettuce pieces. Very similar to the lettuce wraps P.F. Chang's makes.


Yum! I topped my tacos with some avocado sauce/dressing and more mango salsa. And I'm so happy that these were so delicious! I'm going to use the taco mix for salads and more tacos throughout the week.



August 19, 2014

Millennium Gate Museum {Atlantic Station}


If you've been to the Atlantic Station area in Midtown Atlanta, I'm sure you've seen the giant arch. About a year ago, I found out there was a museum and office space inside this arch! I've been trying to make a visit for the longest, and a few weeks ago my boyfriend and I finally visited the Millennium Gate Museum. When you visit, go through the doors behind me (in the photo above).


The museum focuses on Georgia and Atlanta history, which was perfect for an Atlanta-lover like me. But they also have different exhibitions and really cool, interactive displays. The Millennium Gate Museum's website says,

The Millennium Gate Museum’s mission is to preserve and interpret Georgia history, art, culture and philanthropic heritage as well as highlight Georgia’s historical and aesthetic relevance to the United States and to the world.


I loved this exhibit where they showed places around Atlanta from many years ago compared to now. And visitors can use their body motion to change the differing images.


The museum is set up in different time period rooms, which made reading the information easy and fun!


I also loved the quotations along the walls around the building.



After touring the museum, we got a tour to the top of the arch and got to see some incredible views of my favorite city. Even though it was overcast, it was still such a treat to see Atlanta from a new perspective. There's an office in the very top of the arch, so jealous of the people who get to work up there!




Thank you Jeremy, for showing us a great time at the museum! 




August 18, 2014

First day of classes + a blog launch!

This summer FLEW by! I cannot believe classes start back today and I am beginning my second semester of graduate school. Seems like I just started my program…

I'm taking classes full-time and also working at my assistantship again this year so I'm prepared for another busy, but exciting school year!






All summer, I've been working on a few website and blog projects for my company and one of them launches today! Artistically Engineered was the idea of one of my classmates at Georgia Tech who chose me to help her create and design a blog for her vision. I am so honored to have this opportunity because I really believe in what Janelle has created. Check out the blog and let me know what you think!



August 16, 2014

Back on the healthy track {part 4}

Grilled Mahi Mahi (Black & Red Pepper with Lemon Juice), Mashed Cauliflower with chopped onions
and parsley, steamed veggie medley with lemon juice, pepper, and parsley.
I so appreciate and love getting emails/comments from readers who follow my "clean eating" posts! Eating healthy and developing a lifestyle that focuses on health (with occasional cheat meals) is such a great alternative and really does improve your physical and mental health. I truly feel like I'm back on track and I'm toning up the way I want to, so the clean eating twice a day will continue through the school year.


People have asked what my fitness routine is:
I do whatever my monthly fitness challenge is (planking, for August) and I do a 30 minute cardio or yoga workout at least 5 times a week. Since I am such a fan of "to-do" lists, I add "Fitness" to my planner and don't mark it off until I've done my workout for the day. And, I have the myfitnesspal app which tracks my daily calories and daily steps. If I haven't reached 10,000 steps before dinner time, I do some walking around my complex. This is what works for me, but you'll have to figure out what motivates you to be active daily!


And, be sure to drink lots of water! I drink 8+ cups a day and add in lemon juice or protein sometimes! I've also noticed my increase in water-drinking this summer has helped clear up my skin and grow my nails & hair. Read more here.

So this week, I incorporated cole slaw into just about every one of my clean meals. It's so great raw with some lemon juice and spices or sautéed with other vegetables. Check out some meals I made and ate this past week!


It doesn't look super pretty, but this is my new go-to. Spring mix, cole slaw, and veggie burger cooked together in a "stir-fry" fashion. Topped with lemon juice and honey, so delicious!


Veggie burgers with sautéed cole slaw and some fat free cheese. 


Here's what the cole slaw and spring mix look like before they're cooked, fyi!


Yum! These veggie burgers topped with sautéed cole slaw on top of spring mix was the perfect salad.


And another shot.

Have a great weekend!




August 15, 2014

My best friend's wedding


Last weekend I was a bridesmaid in a wedding for the very first time! And, it was for one of my best friends, Jasmine's, wedding in Columbus, GA. Jasmine and I have known each other since we were three months old and went to daycare together for years. Our moms said that in daycare we were inseparable and insisted on doing everything the same. And to this day, we (not purposely) order the same food items at restaurants and wear similar outfits when we meet up to hangout. The bond is still strong! It was an honor to stand up there with her on her special day and to have such a pleasant first experience as a bridesmaid. She is the sweetest person and she made last weekend such a spectacular experience for everyone! 


A few nights before the wedding, the wedding party had a meet and greet dinner and all of the bridesmaids wore black when we hadn't even planned it!


Jasmine wore black too, but at least she had her special sash to look different :)


Jasmine loves French manicures, so we all got our nails done this way. I hadn't gotten a French manicure in years, but I think I like it!



The day of the wedding, the bridesmaids got their makeup done and then we took some selfies while waiting to take the official photos. I love our bridesmaid dresses, see details here!


I got to see a few of Jasmine and her new husband, Kwame's, pre-ceremony photos including the one above. There was a wall in between them so they couldn't see each other. But this is where they exchanged gifts and held hands before officially getting married. It was too sweet and I thought this photo really captured the moment!


Jasmine looked absolutely beautiful and she did not stop smiling on her wedding day.


Kwame's cake was super creative and shaped like a bible with a scripture written on it.


They also had a candy bar set up with purple candy to match her wedding colors, so fun!



This cake and the display were beautiful, and the cake tasted amazing. Have I mentioned I am obsessed with wedding cake?!


Here's a picstitch I made of me and Jasmine with a photo of us in elementary school and one of us on her wedding day. She is so special to me and I will never forget her wedding weekend!


Have a great weekend! I can't believe I'm starting my second semester of grad school on Monday!

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