Kindness

Kindness

Kindness is such a humble word with such a noble meaning. 

Kindness is really sweet because it has this sort of ripple effect of contagion. How? Well you see, when you are kind to someone it usually leaves the recipient in a feel-good state, which then subconsciously prompts them to basically pay it forward by displaying a random act of kindness upon another person and so on and so forth. 

Get the picture?! 

In the spirit of our theme this month (giving back) we wanted to share some random acts of kindness you could put into action to finish this year on a high note! Heck, maybe even take some of these things into the New Year with you! 

  1. Send a positive text to 5 people right now! (Well, not right now but right after you are done reading this blog )
  2. Leave a 5-star review for a company that recently gave you excellent service! 
  3. Leave a box of goodies or a thank you note in your mailbox for your mail carrier! 
  4. Compliment the first person you see today and if you aren’t leaving your house then say something nice to YOURSELF! 
  5. Listen, and do not interrupt when someone else is speaking. 
  6. If you are in a group setting and you see someone is being left out, take the time to make sure that person feels included. 
  7. Give someone the benefit of the doubt. 
  8. Let another car merge in front of you in traffic.
  9. Clean the slate with forgiveness and make amends with relationships you want to fight for. 
  10. Call someone you love & tell them you LOVE them! 

We will leave you with this quote. 

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”- Leo Buscaglia

As always, be the change……. 

Until next time friends. 

Xo,

Nina & Lily 

P.S. Sending a big hug to our mom for inspiring this post. You taught us to be loving & kind to others and it’s something we can’t wait to pass along to our children. 

So, this is T H I R T Y

So, this is T H I R T Y

A blog by Nina

The days leading up to this monumental occasion have felt so drawn out and never-ending, filled with anxiousness, apprehension, restlessness & concern about the unknown. My T W E N T I E S was filled with some of the most painful yet most rewarding experiences of my life and this week I was left clinging to the wonderful memories while also trying to leave the bad ones in my past forever. Let’s just say, the struggle was real, and I am sure anyone in my shoes can attest to this battle within themselves when they reached their T H I R T I E S.

My twenties were a time for all the major life lessons. A chance to pick up the pieces and make what I wanted from those pieces. A chance to LIVE this incredible journey filled with adventure, sadness, love, anger, perspective, conflict, newfound wisdom & most of all, growth.

Things I plan to leave behind in my twenties are: 

  1. Caring about what people think about me.
  2. Thinking that being plus size is such a bad thing because my curves ARE all that.
  3. Making mountains out of molehills.
  4. Comparing myself to my friends- WE ARE ALL FABULOUS IN OUR OWN WAY & should be celebrated as individuals! CELEBRATE AND EMPOWER YOUR FRIENDS PEOPLE.
  5. Living without balance.
  6. Holding on to toxic relationships.
  7. Not practicing mindfulness.
  8. Holding on to guilt and regret.
  9. Waiting for the right time to go on an adventure because of finances.
  10. Hiding in my comfort zone.
  11. Not being authentic.

These 11 key factors used to eat me alive and stifled my growth, spiritually & mentally throughout the years. I am not saying I am totally rid of every single bullet point, but I have finally realized how important it is that I release the negativity that surrounds all these factors.

So basically, be gone Biatches!

As I woke up to write this morning (4:30 am), I felt this sense of peace and excitement. I have 365 days to write this new story, filling the pages with new & amazing chapters of how I used my twenties as a platform for growth in my thirties. I do not know all that lies ahead, all I know is that I plan to do great things during this next decade, so watch out world.

Until next time BECAUSE RIGHT NOW, I AM FOCUSED ON BEING THIRTY, FLIRTY & THRIVING!

Xo, Nina

Self-love and Confidence

Self-love and Confidence

A blog by: Lily

Edited by: Nina

Ladies, why do we feel the need to attack ourselves daily? “I’m not doing enough” or “If I was thinner maybe I would receive more love”.

Why are we so brainwashed to think that way about ourselves? If there is one thing that I want you to think about throughout life is this. Social media is a highlight real and society paints unrealistic expectations for women.

LOVE YOURSELF.

Now that you read that say it out loud and mean it.

I. Love. Myself.

You are built for greatness in your way. What you are accomplishing daily is nothing short of being successful. Remember YOU are your only competition and should only want to better yourself for YOU. Too many times I see women comparing themselves to others and I catch myself doing the same. Just don’t let it consume you. We as women should not tear others down because we can’t achieve what they have, you are unique, so embrace it. You never know who is watching you or who might be inspired by your actions.

It is really awesome to let others know they are doing great things as well. Women supporting women only makes us more powerful. Sharing the love with others will give them that boost of confidence and then, just maybe, they will spread the “love wealth” as well! We need to be encouraging to ourselves and others. This is so very important for a better world.

Be kind to yourself ladies.
You are built for greatness.
You are unique and talented.
Share “love wealth” with others.

Now put that on repeat….

Until next time,

XO- Lily

When life gives you lemons, do you make lemonade?

When life gives you lemons, do you make lemonade?

A blog by: Nina

We have all heard the expression when life gives you lemons saying a time or two but can we all agree that allowing that saying to sink in while implementing a positive action can be so daunting at times?!

This year has been such a whirlwind of year in general because of Covid, major civil rights movements, rioting, the occasional alien sighting, ending of the world predictions & the presidential election, ALL HAPPENING AT ONCE. Are you like me and feel so worn, so broken, so uncertain about where life is going because of all the unknowns?

Well, since I feel like everyone needs a little encouragement these days, I am going to share 5 of my latest favorite quotes that always seem to lift me up just as soon as I’ve started to feel down.

Starting with:

• Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. – William James

• You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. – C.S. Lewis

• You do not find the happy life. You make it. – Camilla Eyring Kimball

• The most wasted of days is one without laughter.- E.E. Cummings

• We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.- Joseph Cambell

This blog is going to be short & sweet this week so that you can feel uplifted, let go of the negativity & exude positivity. I encourage you to draw inspiration from whatever brings you joy, peace & hope.

I would love to read some of your very favorite quotes too! Drop them in the comments below!

Until next time.

Xo, Nina.

Nina’s Top 3 Hidden Gems of Florida

Nina’s Top 3 Hidden Gems of Florida

Blog by: Nina

Edited by: Nina

Things happen, and we can’t always get to the blog, but we didn’t want to leave you hanging with Part 2 of our MUST SEE hidden gems of Florida.
There has been this sudden urge to go and do all of these things lately so I am most excited to be sharing my faves, in hopes that you will want to enjoy them too!

First up to bat is the lovely……

Kelly Park/Rock Springs
Not only can you spend your days floating down the 68 degrees (all year round) clear blue natural springs, but you can also walk the trails, bike ride & check out the stars in the sky at your very own campground from either your tent or RV. We loved coming here as kids! We can still smell the fresh pancakes being made by our grandpa at 7 am! Unfortunately, the waterways are closed at this time, but you can enjoy a nice walk on the trails & camp with your family! There is almost no wait to get in & no crowds, which means any social media you might do will be sans people!

Lake Eola
Lake Eola is one of those MUST SEE landmarks if you are ever in town. It’s basically like the heartbeat of Orlando, Florida. There is almost always something going on & anyone is welcome! Some activities at Lake Eola include but are not limited to: renting a swan-shaped paddle boat, running or walking the .9 loop until you have reached your step goals, yoga on the grass, catching the parade of the beautiful swans crossing the sidewalks, getting a bite to eat at one of the fabulous local restaurants that surround the space, & checking out all the latest farmer market items on Sundays. Crossing fingers the markets open back up to the public soon because we miss the vendors who sell that refreshing freshly made lemonade! Of course, this place is a breeding ground for some amazing shots you will be able to add to the social! This place isn’t so much hidden but more so, under-appreciated & needs to be shared!

Downtown Mt. Dora
There is so much that could be said about Downtown Mt. Dora. From the quaint shopping boutiques to the very diverse dining options, you are always ensured a very memorable experience when visiting! A dining experience we recommend is the Frog & Monkey Restaurant & Pub. With over 30 different kinds of bottled beers from around the world & another 10 on tap, plus a wide array of wine and cocktails, the Frog and Monkey is the perfect place to stop for a little lunch before heading on to your next adventure in Mt. Dora. This place is so homey & relaxing it will make you feel like you never left the comforts of your own home, except, you don’t have to do the dishes when you are done dining! We recommend giving the Blue Max Burger a try! This delicious burger is topped with sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing- YUM! However, if you aren’t into burgers, beer, or meat, just remember that downtown Mt. Dora hosts a wide variety of excellent restaurants that cater to all different pallets. So pick a night & go hang with your partner or your friends. You won’t be disappointed!

We hope you enjoyed our 6 favorite Florida must-see places (Part 1 is in the previous blog)! Have you been to any or all?! Drop your comments below!

Lily’s Top 3 Must See Hidden Gems of Florida!

Lily’s Top 3 Must See Hidden Gems of Florida!

A Blog by: Lily

Edited by: Nina

Has 2020 left you feeling down & uninspired?

As Florida natives, we feel it is our duty to uplift & inspire our fellow readers by sharing our hidden Florida gems that YOU must visit! These places hold such special memories in our hearts & we hope that once we get this pandemic under control, we can start doing adventures like this once again! This week we are starting with Lily’s top 3 must-see hidden gems of Florida!

Devils Den

Do you know that Florida has its very own prehistoric landmark? With fossil beds dating back to 33 million years ago, what an adventure you’d have swimming around in literal history. Devils Den got its name because in the early cold winter mornings you can see steam thick as smoke rise from the cave’s hole. Will a cool temperature of 72 degrees year-round, you are bound to have a splash at this place! What makes this place so special is that it is underground! Yes, you read that right, to get to the spring you have to take a staircase all the way down to where you can dive & swim. Our family decided to pack up and go one day during the peak of summer, and it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had! There is snorkel/scuba equipment you can rent, year-round. There are also campgrounds and cabins there, just in case you want to get the full experience! S pack up your swimmers because you definitely won’t regret the drive!

The Space Coast 

If you are true Floridian than I can guarantee you have seen a shuttle launch! It is an experience you’ll never forget. To watch an object successfully launch right into the stars is something that’s is still a sight to see. Did you know that the reason Florida is the best destination to launch is mainly because of the equator? With the earth rotating most quickly at the equator the orbital velocity gives it that extra push into space. If you go to https://www.nasa.gov their website has up to date information on any of their next launches! I took my husband to his first launch earlier this year and he was so in awe of the live countdown & actual launch. See when the next one is and take a trip to the Space Coast! 

St. Augustine

“Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, it is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement”- oldcity.com. This area holds a lot of history and has so many activities to do. My favorite is the Colonial Quarter! You can sashay down this 2-acre attraction and catch a glimpse of history learning about the 16th,17th, and 18th centuries! The one historical building I always visit is the “Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse”. Built around 1716, it is still standing tall and welcomes visitors from all around the world. For my social media ladies looking for that cute picture for the gram, there’s an old fashion outhouse just for that picture-perfect setting- HA. Also, if you are up to it, take a ghost tour while you are there! With all that history, there’s bound to be spirits waiting to haunt the living. The tour would be a great fall activity, because, spooky!

I hope you enjoyed my 3 favorites hidden Florida Gems! Have you been to all of them? None of them? Are you planning a trip of your own somewhere soon? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Tune into next week when Nina shares her 3 favorite Florida places!

How I Figured Out Meal Prepping!

How I Figured Out Meal Prepping!

A blog by: Lily

Edited by: Nina 

  If you have ever felt like you are at a loss when it comes to meal prepping & where to begin, I can promise you, you are not alone! There once was a time, I was in your exact shoes! I would look through Pinterest endlessly and pin recipes to my “healthy food” board but wouldn’t make anything. These meals looked too hard to make or there were too many ingredients and I lacked the motivation it took to go to the store looking for items. Shameful, I know. The laziness in me was truly at an all-time high!

So here is how I put the proverbial ‘ball in my court’ & started my journey to prepping meals. 

1. PLANNING

I finally took the time to sit and plan what I wanted to cook for the week. I watched a lot of YouTube videos of people meal prepping and the channel that stood out to me the most was @laceybaier “A Sweet Pea Chef”. She made it easy for me to follow recipes and get comfortable in the kitchen. I started with two meals that I could easily make. I loved picking to meals because I could switch back and forth between the two and I never got bored. If your meals are boring, do you really think you are going to continue eating them? I know I’m not, so choose something you will enjoy! It’s all in the planning. 

*Quick tip – if the meals have a video of how it’s made, that’s even better. That has helped me out a lot because I am a very visual person. YouTube became my BFF! 

   2. PREPPING 

Now that you have all the ingredients you need, separate them into what you will be cooking step by step. I like to have everything chopped and in individual bowls so when the time comes I can easily toss them in the mix. In my containers, I like to produce a layered look, so I start by adding rice, then veggies, then a protein. I make sure the oven is preheated while I start my rice. (If you like rice as much as my household, a rice cooker is a lifesaver) I put the veggies in and then I start on my meats. If you are vegetarian no worries! In one of our upcoming recipes, we will show you the wonders of tofu and how flavorful it can get. However, it’s still the same cooking process, so don’t think I’m leaving anyone out. 

    3. THE FINALE 

Now that everything’s cooking, it’s time for you to bring out the dishes, and by that, I mean your meal prep containers. MEAL PREP CONTAINERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE PEOPLE! Walmart had a wonderful 40 piece set for $9.95 when I went to purchase mine in May. After many purchases of multiple kinds of meal prep containers, I believe the Walmart deal to be quite a bargain if you ask me. What makes having meal prep containers so convenient is that you don’t have to think when looking in your fridge. You can just grab your food and go! Rummaging around in your fridge is what often leads to pulling from the ‘no no’ sections. Let’s stick to consistency everyone! By now, you will have your containers laid out now that your food is finished cooking. I weigh my meat and measure my rice so I know I’m not going over the portion amount and to be honest, you can never have enough veggies. You’d be surprised at what we think we can eyeball, only to learn we are way off. Now stick those meals in your fridge and be prepared to kick this week’s ass! 

I hope you have found this super helpful. Start slow and don’t get overwhelmed by cooking. Coming from a girl who barely used to cook, I now meal prep for 3 and I make 4 different meals a week. You can do it, I know you can !! 

Remember to tag us if you use one of our recipes. We’d love to see it!

Also, don’t forget to click the subscribe button for more content!  

Spicy Rigatoni

Spicy Rigatoni

Spicy Rigatoni 

A blog by: Nina

Inspired by: Lily

It is a spicy Tuesday in our kitchen people!

There is a time and a place for healthy meals and today is not one of them! This meal is going to spice up your week with all the burst of flavor it has to offer. STOP IT with the canned sauces and take the few extra steps to make a quick little masterpiece. The secret: tomato paste! Tomato paste has a nice concentrated flavor while giving the pasta that smooth and rich looking appeal when served. Now, get to cooking!  

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Cook time: 35 minutes 

Serves: 

Ingredients 

3 tbsp. butter

1 yellow onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1 c. tomato paste

1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes- or more… because that’s your business.

1/3 cup. vodka

Kosher salt- to taste, because no one can tell you how much or how little salt you should have.

Black pepper

1 lb. tubed pasta, such as penne or rigatoni, but we PREFER rigatoni

1 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan, for serving- but we got the stuff in the Italian aisle because we were lazy.

Basil, for serving- also, didn’t do this step… we’re winners at this point. BUT DO IT!

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until a little brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the paste has coated onion and garlic and is beginning to darken, 4 to 5 minutes. 
  3. Add vodka (take another shot for yourself if you want- we won’t tell ) to pot and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Then add heavy cream to the mix. If you want to add more than a cup, that is up to you.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. For everyone scratching their heads on this one, just cook until YOU THINK you are ready to throw those bad boys into the sauce without them overcooking. YOU GOT THIS! Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining- DON’T FORGET!
  5. Pour the pasta in the sauce and fold in together until coated evenly.
  6. Serve (with the Basil leaves you are supposed to remember while shopping) and ENJOY!

 Comment below and let us know if you want more recipes from us! 

How I Was Able to Enjoy My Vacation & Still Keep Up With My Fitness Journey!

How I Was Able to Enjoy My Vacation & Still Keep Up With My Fitness Journey!

A blog by: Nina

Vacations are usually the time where you say YOLO and hope for the best right!?

Well, as of 4 weeks ago, my sister and I started meal prepping and I felt like I was just starting to get into a groove! Then, vacation week was slowly approaching. I was dreading the torment I would be in for the entire week, surrounded by 18 pounds of gummy bears and more packages of Oreos than I could count.

I was trying to figure out how I could close my eyes while going straight to my little ‘healthy cabinet’ in the kitchen and then slowly walk away without being sucked back into the “goodie” drawer. My sister started to notice the panicked look on my face so she immediately sat me down and reminded me that life is all about balance. She said,” You can not go from one extreme to the next. You need to just take a deep breath and make smart choices this next week while also allowing yourself a little freedom to relax and enjoy life!”

So I set a plan in motion!

I chose to make my breakfast meals, besides one donut day, because I couldn’t miss out on the plain glazed donuts from Dunkin- am I right? Every other day, I would make my egg, avocado & tomato toast, which gave me an awesome energy boost for the day ahead!

For lunch I wanted to be regimented with this one, so I didn’t get “lost” in the kitchen. My sister so kindly, pre-made some meals for the duration of our vacation for me! Side note: she is the best!

This was so helpful because I didn’t have to think about lunch and wait to make the WRONG decisions. I simply just did the grab and go method!

Snacks were at a minimum and I usually tried sticking with fresh things like fruit. Snacking really will getcha in the end! Research has shown that you are more likely to intake WAY MORE food just sitting there idly eating than you would by intentional eating.

This part sings to the OCD side of my personality. As of 4 years ago, each family has established a night of cooking, so, fortunately, I already knew what dinners we were having and on what nights I could choose splurge vs curb it.

When it came to the splurge (the brownies, ice cream, apple fritters, TWO PIECES OF PIZZA, Columbia night), I didn’t feel bad about it because my “good” choices were at about an 80/20 ratio.

I also made sure to stay active for the duration of the vacation. We had two flights of stairs to climb to get to our room, so I made it a point to do those at least 5-7 times a day. I made sure to walk on the street or beach for up to 2 miles, 4 out of the 6 days we were there.

One of the most important ways of staying in control was the amount of water I was drinking. I made sure that wherever I was, I ALWAYS had water with me. It helped curb the snacking and made me feel
satisfied throughout the day and night.

So by now, you’re thinking, my gosh, this seems like a lot of work and I’m supposed to be on VACATION? Well, it wasn’t! 4 weeks ago, I committed myself to live a more balanced life and I did just that on vacation. I still enjoyed my time with family without completely sabotaging everything I have worked so hard for. THIS IS HUGE FOR ME!

I’m still on track for my 30th birthday (December 19th- btw) goals & I’m happy that I didn’t completely fall off the wagon during vacation! It was all thanks to my sister’s encouragement & proper planning!

Do you like to live large and go willy nilly during vacation or do you like to have balance?

Throw your thoughts in the comments!

Until next time.

Xo- Nina

Chicken & Broccoli on a bed of Jasmine Rice

Chicken & Broccoli on a bed of Jasmine Rice

Chicken & Broccoli on a bed of Jasmine Rice. 

A blog by: Nina

Inspiration by: Lily

Eating healthy can be such a drag sometimes, but what if it didn’t have to be? Nina & Lily would love to start sharing recipes that are helping them see progress during their fitness journeys, starting with one of their more basic BUT delicious weekly prep meals, the ever famous chicken, broccoli & rice! Remember, you can always go off script & make it your own! 

Prep: 15 minutes 

Chicken cook time: 8 hours *that’s the secret- you’re welcome*

Rice cook time: 40 minutes

Broccoli cook time: 18-20 minutes 

Serves: 4-6 people

 *or will yield 6 prepped meals*

Ingredients:

1 pack of bone-in thighs 

1 pack of chicken breasts 

(our fave brands are GreenWise or Perdue from Publix*) 

A drizzle of olive oil

1 sazon packet- Goya product

2 tablespoons of cajun seasoning 

Black pepper to taste – because that’s your business*

3 teaspoons of adobo- Goya product 

1 tablespoon of adobo- Goya product (for broccoli) 

4 bay leaves (going into chicken crockpot mix) 

1 tablespoon of chopped garlic 

2 cups of jasmine rice 

1 bag of frozen broccoli 

Salt (for rice) 

Sriracha (for spice) 

Cooking spray 

Utensils to use: 

Rice cooker

Crockpot

Tongs

Measuring utensils 

Baking sheet (aluminum foil if you don’t want to ruin your pan)

Food scale- if you are counting calories. 

Instructions:

The night before: 

Throw all of the seasonings into a gallon bag with the chicken and let it marinate overnight! * remember to shake the bag well! You want all of the seasoning to cover the chicken*

{A drizzle of olive oil

1 sazon packet- Goya product

2 tablespoons of cajun seasoning 

Black pepper to taste – because that’s your business*

3 teaspoons of adobo- Goya product 

1 tablespoon of chopped garlic }

Leave the bay leaves out, you will use those when you put the chicken in the crockpot the next morning. 

8 hours before you plan to serve your chicken, put it all in a crockpot with the marinade & set it to low. 

*wait for your house to smell delish around hour 4*

45 minutes before you serve: 

Get that rice cooker out- yes, make it easy on yourself and get a RICE COOKER. 

Fill it up to line number 3 then put 3 cups into the cooker and press cook.

(For some extra flavor we like to put a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil into the water before closing the lid.)

*wait patiently* 

25 minutes before you serve: 

Prep: 1 minute

Spray baking sheet with your cooking spray. 

Put all the broccoli onto the baking sheet & drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. 

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of adobo evenly over broccoli. 

Place in the oven for 18-20 minutes.

They should have a little charred effect to the tops once they are ready. Well, that’s how Nina & Lily like them anyway. 

Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. 

Once the chicken is done, get out your serving plates because YOU ARE READY TO EAT! 

First, you want to measure out a 1/2 cup of rice, then weigh out 4 oz. of the chicken. It should just pull right apart. If you don’t have a scale then just make sure the portion size is no larger than the size of your palm. 

Once your broccoli has rested, then you can place them on top of your chicken & rice or around the sides of your rice & chicken. 

The reason we specify is that Nina likes to eat her meals on a plate sitting at the table & Lily prefers a more casual style dining experience on the living room lounge chair, in a bowl, so she can swirl everything around together. 

For some extra flavor, you can add some Sriracha to the top!  

You do what makes you feel good! 

What’s your favorite way of eating dishes such as these- formal dining or sitting on the couch watching your favorite show? 

We hope you enjoy it! 

Estimated Calorie total: 450-500 (give or take a few depending on the amount of seasoning you use) 

 EVERY SPRINKLE COUNTS!