September 19, 2014

Eating in ATL {King of Pops}


Before summer comes to an end, I had to post about one of the best sweet treats in Atlanta, King of Pops. The photo above was taken after one of my classes this week when I spotted the King of Pops stand on campus and knew I had to have one.I had my first pop from King of Pops a few years ago when they were on my campus and I instantly became a fan. I've tried five flavors, but the Chocolate Sea Salt (shown above) & Cereal Milk are my favorites.


Besides the unique and delicious flavors, I appreciate them using all-natural ingredients and offering these treats at an affordable price, $2.50! They also have some gluten free options.


 And, I love how King of Pops travels around the city and even to metro Atlanta to set up carts and sell pops. You can see when they will be in an area near you here.



P.S. King of Pops will be at Music Midtown this weekend so look for the rainbow cart and sign, you have to try these!



September 18, 2014

Leadership Lesson {Seeking affirmation from others}


This school year, I'm participating in a leadership development program on campus and it has already shed light on so many areas of my life. I thought it would be great to share some of the leadership lessons, in my own words, on my blog because I think they apply to people of all ages in any chapter of life. Consider this a new blog series for the year.


THE PROBLEM WITH SEEKING AFFIRMATION FROM OTHERS

Affirmation from others does not confirm your worth. There will always be someone who doesn't like you, doesn't like your work, or doesn't think you're good enough. And sometimes those people are more vocal than the ones who do like you, do like your work, and do believe in you.

This is why you cannot live for the affirmation of other people, especially people who do not truly know you.

In school, work, and blogging I absolutely appreciate feedback and interaction. However, I have learned to never let that feedback be the determining factor for my validity. Because often times, when people try and diminish you or your work, it's often because of insecurity within themselves. When confronted with these people, it's best to either quickly and politely respond then move on or not respond at all. Not everything or everyone requires a response.

And if we all did things the same way, how boring would the world be! If Picasso had listened when people told him to stop painting,,, if Oprah had listened when people told her she wouldn't succeed in being on television and was aiming too high, and if Steve Jobs had listened to people when they said the Macintosh was a terrible idea and he should just quit…we wouldn't have the art, inspiration, and technology that plays a pivotal role in our society today. 

The same thing goes for you and for me. When we seek affirmation from others and let others determine your quality, in a sense you are giving them power over your life and your potential.

So you may be asking, "how is this a leadership lesson?" By understanding your own worth, without leaning on the empty comments of outsiders, you are displaying leadership. Great leaders don't seek affirmation from strangers. They simply taking positive and negative feedback with a grain of salt and continue working on self-development that works for them.

I'm encouraging you, and reminding myself to determine my own self-value, worth, potential, and success. At the end of the day, all of the outside affirmation in the world is meaningless if you haven't first affirmed yourself. 

Because life is too short to live by the standards of others when you're happy creating and meeting your own.

September 17, 2014

Weekend in Harlem New York

Photo I took in my taxi coming from the airport!

I've been to New York maybe 10 times now, but visiting that city never gets old. And this time I visited Harlem, an area that I haven't spent much time in during previous trips. I went up for my friend Paul's birthday weekend and to visit one of my best friends, Nick. It was such a great weekend because I got to see other friends from college, another best friend, and try new things in the city.


As soon as I got to Nick's place, we headed to get dinner and ended up at an adorable restaurant in Harlem called Lido. I loved this place! The menu had several pescatarian-friendly options and it all sounded so great. Nick ordered the chicken parmesan and really enjoyed it.


I ordered the spicy shrimp pasta, so good!!


Later that night, Nick and I went out for Paul's birthday and met up with friends.


We got hungry after hanging out and found this little spot called Wolfnights Gourmet that specializes in making incredible wraps and creative sides. I had a cauliflower and veggie wrap and it was out of this world. They also have lots of tangy sauces to add onto your wrap. It's a perfect spot for late night dining because they are open until 5am on the weekends…seriously!


Saturday morning, we had brunch at 5 and Diamond Restaurant in Harlem. This goes down as one of the most unique and delicious meals of my life. They have a brunch special for all you can eat pancakes with vanilla bourbon syrup for just $10. And fyi, they bring out the pancakes 3 at a time, topped with fruit. I couldn't even finish one plate, but I wanted to so bad. And, this place is known for their macaroni and cheese. Me being a macaroni and cheese addict, I had to try it. Y'all. It was worth every calorie and honestly changed the way I feel about macaroni. I'm determined to recreate it since I can't easily revisit this restaurant. It's a must try!


It rained all day Saturday so we spent most of the daytime lounging around and watching GIRLS. So appropriate for visiting NYC. And Saturday night, we made the trip to West Village for dinner at Joanne Trattoria. This restaurant is owned by Lady Gaga's father, who we saw while dining! That was awesome. But honestly, the food made me even more excited.


Nick ordered the chicken parmesan (sensing a pattern?) haha. And I did not eat that bread even though it looked so yummy!


I took a leap of faith by ordering eggplant meatballs with linguine, which I'd never tried before. I knew it could either be a really good or really bad decision. Omg, it was a great decision. These meatballs and this pasta dish was everything. It inspired me to make my own eggplant meatballs (post coming soon!) once I got back to ATL. If you don't eat meat or if you do eat meat and you haven't tried these yet…do it, now!


Sunday came way too quickly, but I'm so grateful for another fun, adventurous weekend in NYC!

See my other trips to NYC here and here with recommendations


September 15, 2014

Obsessed with these {weekender bags}

I just got home from a crazy fun weekend in New York City. I can't wait to share the highlights of my trip very soon! One low of my travel experience was my favorite weekend travel bag pretty much biting the dust. As much as I love that bag, I don't think it will survive another plane ride and that means I'm on the hunt for a new one. Here are three weekender bags that I'm considering. They're all under $100 and seem durable, yet fashionable.














Which one is your favorite?



September 11, 2014

Eating in ATL {BurgerFi} Midtown


I first told you about my appreciation for BurgerFi when I recapped my trip to Ft. Lauderdale. This place makes the best veggie burger I've ever had while eating out. And I've asked other friends about their meat burgers and every single one of them agreed they are delicious!

So a new BurgerFi location opened in the Midtown Atlanta area and I've already been three times. It is one of my favorite spots for cheat meals. I also love the option for ordering online to pick-up the order. View the full BurgerFi menu here.


I'm sure you're wondering what makes them so special because there are burger joints all over the place, right? Here are some facts & photos from their website:



At BurgerFi® our burgers are never frozen, never cooked in a microwave oven and are guaranteed fresh, juicy and delicious! 

BurgerFi® is changing the way we think of the burger. 

BurgerFi® picks up where the other "better burger" franchises leave off. First, BurgerFi® focuses on all-natural, free-range beef. We do this because it tastes better, and it's better for you- with no chemicals, and no additives. Also, where others limit their menu to just the basic, no-frills options, BurgerFi® has built a menu with specialty items like Kobe beef hot dogs, gourmet toppings, delectable desserts, craft beer & wine, and an overall focus on a healthier menu selection. 

More than just great food, dining at BurgerFi® is a unique experience- one you can feel good about. Each BurgerFi® store is built according to environmentally sustainable best practices, and includes earth-friendly elements, like chairs that are made from recycled Coke bottles, tables made out of compressed recycled wood, and large fans that use 66% less electricity. BurgerFi® maintains a low carbon footprint, and maintains strict recycling programs for oil, cardboard, bottles and cans. 


They also serve hot dogs with delicious topping options.


These fries are my favorite. You can request them to be cooked stiff or limp and add parmesan and herbs, yum!


Don't forget to try dessert. They make these delicious custard treats in lots of flavors. And, be sure to try the items on their secret menu, truly indulge!





September 08, 2014

Back on the healthy track {part 5}


Happy Monday! I'm sharing some recent, delicious and healthy meals. I also wanted to share a few things I do to motivate myself to eat healthy and be physically active. I've been getting some emails asking for suggestions for motivation to have a healthy lifestyle:

Tips for getting back on the healthy track

Find a health/fitness role model 
( I really like MankoFit - her personality, tips, and workout clips are great!)

Try different healthy foods & find a favorite 
(I try a different fruit/veggie every month based on what's in season or on sale.)

Get a workout buddy and healthy eating buddy 
(Instead of just eating out to meet up with friends, I like to workout with friends who I know enjoy fitness. And, I have several friends who I go to when I need a healthy eating accountability partner.)

Work your way back to a healthy lifestyle - doing it cold turkey is hard!
(I started off by eating one clean meal a day, then 2, and now it has become a lifestyle.)

Reward yourself for following through on healthy eating

Read and remind yourself of the benefits of healthy living
(The CDC has some great facts that always make me feel good about living a healthy lifestyle. Read them here.)

Start a healthy eating/fitness Pinterest board
(I am inspired by my healthy pins and they are proof that healthy food can be delicious! Follow my healthy eating board here.)

Keep healthy snacks around, toss the sugary ones
(Fruits, veggies, nuts, and dried veggie "chips" are all great snacks to replace the unhealthy ones that make us gain so much weight.)

Recent meals 


Salmon, black beans & sliced potatoes


Same as meal above + broccoli and squash


Cabbage cooked in olive oil with black pepper & sweet onions (one of my favorite side dishes & it's so easy!)


Arugula with sliced cheese, tomatoes and olives w/ a lemon vinaigrette dressing


Romaine lettuce with onions, orange and red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers & poppyseed dressing


I made this meal for my friend and I (very first photo) after a really hard workout.  I cooked veggie crumbles in olive oil with onions and purple cabbage. I also made us an arugula salad with pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and poppyseed dressing.


FYI, this is the size of the salads I have for lunch (about 2 handfuls). I like to pair these with a veggie burger patty, (grilled chicken would be great too), or a side of vegetables.


September 06, 2014

Wedding rehearsal photos {VKV Communications}


A couple of weekends ago, I had the honor of taking photos at bride-to-be, Megan's, wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Megan is a friend of my friend and it's always exciting to branch out my clientele to new people & growing my company's portfolio. I'm sharing a few of my favorites from that evening and I'm so happy Megan loved all of the photos. I have another session this weekend! 







September 04, 2014

1 dress, 4 ways


Hello! I really needed the long Labor Day weekend because things have been non-stop since school started. And, I added another thing to my plate by accepting an internship in an office I have wanted to work in for years - super exciting! So, I will be reorganizing my schedule and prioritizing some things over the next few days. Please forgive me if I only post every other day, I realize blogging every day isn't realistic with my fall schedule. And I know that's ok since blogging is just a hobby for me, not my full-time job or career.

Anyway, my Labor Day weekend was a great time with family and friends. I got to spend time with my teenage niece who took the photos in the post! I wanted to show how I've been styling dresses and other staple pieces in different ways to be appropriate for work, class, date nights, or other occasions. One dress, four ways! I got this dress at Target for around $20. It's really simple, but that makes dressing it up more fun. 


LOOK 1: dress + gold necklace + nude heels | this look is great for work, church, date night, an event…really anything!


LOOK 2: dress + animal print heels + bright necklace | I typically save animal prints for work or a night out


LOOK 3: dress + denim button up + statement necklace + metallic heels | this is a great way to look casual, but still classy.




LOOK 4: dress + metallic sweater + gold metallic heels + colorful statement necklace | sweaters, cardigans, and blazers are my staple pieces for late summer/fall. They are especially perfect for work or events to add a touch of professionalism to any dress.



Which look is your favorite?


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! :)


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