Friday, October 9, 2015

{Recipe}:Homemade Dog Food!

So, as you have probably realized, I got a lil' dog! She is partly a therapy dog, and partly a "just for fun dog". You can read more about her here! I realized pretty quickly that I wanted to feed her food that I could A) pronounce, and B) eat myself.

I found this awesome chart of foods that are "dog safe" and ran with it:

sorry it's so small!

I normally stick with assorted veggies, and a meat. Sometimes I will sprinkle some Purina dog food in (a few tablespoons) for "crunch". So far I have found that this combo is PERFECT. I mixed in some Scottish oats into the first batch of food I made because most people use oats or rice as a binding. I realized that she doesn't really need it though, home girl eats it ALL.

Her favorite combos:

Sweet
-pears
-scrambled eggs
-shredded poached turkey

Simple
-poached shredded turkey
-veggies (carrots, peas, spinach)

Savory
-ground beef
-veggies (carrots, peas, spinach)




She loves all of them equally! The cost isn't bad either..it's about .25 cents a meal!! SAY WHAT?! Yeah. I'm good.

Just prepare,


Mix,




And serve!




Voila. you're done!

Trust me..your fur babies will LOVE it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

{Uber VS Lyft}: My take on the apps!

Two weeks ago, Lyft sent me an email offering me $5 off my first 10 rides. I've been using Uber and have been super pleased with the service, but this was a deal I couldn't pass up! Since I don't drive, I have to be creative in how I get around, sometimes. I often times don't mind not driving, especially since I live in the city, work close to home, and have grocery stores/malls/movie theaters accessible by foot/trax. I consider it a blessing that I'm independent enough to be able to get around this bustling city alone without a car, or help if needed. That's more than I can say for many people my age and older. 

(Lyft shows Rider's photo, which I do appreciate)


For those who don't know what Lyft/Uber is, it is a car service that is available to anyone who has a smart phone. The user downloads the app and requests a Lyft or Uber ride by dropping their location for the driver. The drivers are normal people, most of which have normal day jobs. I've come across a lot of retired drivers during the day and mid 20's early 30's age drivers during the afternoon and evening. It is really nice for people who don't drive, but who need to get around at different times during the day. It's much more affordable than a cab, and because it's getting increasingly popular in metropolitan areas, most drivers can get to you in under 5 minutes of requesting a ride.



I tried Lyft out for a few days since I usually take Uber home from work. The Uber fare is normally around $4-$5, making it affordable. I ride the bus in the mornings, but after work riding home means I have to walk UP a huge ginormous hill to get to my home in downtown SLC. The nice thing about it is that because I live downtown in the free fare zone, bus fare is free regardless of the time of day. So if we calculated how much I'm saving it would look something like this:

$4-5 per day for Uber transportation from home
× 5 Rides per week
-----------------------------------
= $25 a week on comfortable transportation (including to and from work).
So over all, I'm spending  $25 a WEEK on transportation. About the same amount I would pay in normal bus fare. (Sometimes I splurge and go crazy with Uber on the weekends which can drive the budget up a bit).

Now, when you compare the two experiences I've had with the two services, Uber wins BY FAR. 

Here's why:

Time
Lyft on numerous occasions gave an estimated "driver ETA", which almost 99% of the time turned out to be FAR longer of a wait than what was estimated. 3 minute ETA's easily turned into 15 minute ETA's which is just bad representation on the companies behalf. Uber is 100% accurate with their driver ETA, no joke. Longest wait for me has been 6 mins.




Availability
I went to request rides and on numerous occasions there were no drivers available. With Uber, there are always drivers available and if they are low on drivers the price simply increases in increments.


Cost
Uber is considerably cheaper than Lyft, at least here in Utah.
The reviews don't lie. Uber is just a better ride deal and a better company. Lyft has the potential to get there eventually, with time and changes to their app. I DO like that Lyft gives the option to Tip your driver during the review after the ride. I think that is awesome and Uber should get on board with that.
That's my spin on Uber and Lyft. Happy Riding, y'all!




Xoxo,



Nat

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Spreadable Butter! Stop Buying it and start Making it!!

If you are like me, you love butter. Butter on everything. Although Paula Deen should have kept her mouth shut on several occasions, she was right in the fact that she pushed butter like it was cocaine. Then there was Mama June and her fun family:

via Google images

I love me some good butter. I have made butter in the past, but it is honestly more trouble than it's worth sometimes if you can't get your hands on some GOOD cream. Good cream is what makes it worth it!! Lately though, I have loved spreadable butter. For some people, spreadable "butter" comes in the form of  "Shedd's Country Crock" spread, "I can't Believe It's not Butter" and other non-dairy, oil-based spreads. The thing with these (while they are very inexpensive), is that they really aren't healthy for you at all. Lots of unhealthy fats aren't good for you, so butter SHOULD be consumed in moderation, but artificial anything isn't good at all. There is plenty of research to prove this, so I won't get into the debate here!

SO. As a money saving, Minnesotan Northern Belle, how do I save money on my beloved butter spread? It's easy!! Make my own! I really enjoy the olive oil/butter combination, and I have found that it tastes the best so that is the one I chose to make. I am reusing the original tub that I purchased from the store. 

You will need: 

- a container to put the butter in
-2 Stick of any Butter NOT MARGARINE (1 cup) 
-Olive Oil (I prefer Extra Light)
-Salt to taste (if using unsalted butter)
-Large bowl
- A Whisk.




Directions: 

Soften Butter until it is very mixable. Take 2/3 cups of Olive Oil and combine with the butter in the bowl. Add salt to taste if you would like.



Cream butter until it has reached a "pudding" consistency!



Pour into containers and place in fridge to harden.


Enjoy!!


xoxo,


Nat


Thursday, August 6, 2015

{Places}: Spitz SLC

As always, my review is honest, brutal, and straight up!


I've been to Spitz a few times. It's located in the middle of Main street and State Street right off of 300 South. First time was with a friend who absolutely loves it and claims that it is one of the best eateries in SLC. I got their special, the Street Car Doner. It was pretty good, but pretty messy. Every time I've been back since, I have gotten  either the Street Car or the Spicy Doner (pronounced: Duh-Ner). The last time I went with a co-worker, and I got the Spicy.

This is what it looks like:



I had them leave out the tomatoes and cucumbers, because I'm not a fan of either of them in wraps or sandwiches. As you can see, it's not your typical Kebab. I remember Gemma ate here once and came back claiming that it was NOT an authentic Kebab and when she moved to Finland this summer shared a picture of what a REAL Kebab:

as you can tell, she was not impressed.
I'm not gonna lie, that meat looks REALLY good. The one thing I will say is that while the wraps that they have at Spitz are very unique and colorful, the meat is not very good. It doesn't taste very fresh, and I'm not sure they use a vertical rotisserie to cook their meat which would probably contribute to that. I will say though, their fries were BOMB.COM:



These fries. The Streetcart fries. SO. Freaking. GOOD. From their Menu:

"Our famous fries topped with garlic aioli, feta, onion, green pepper, tomato, olives, pepperoncinis and chili sauce."

I don't think people understand what I mean when I say these fries are the BEST fries I have ever had in my life.





I also ordered a Falafel ball this time, because I can't resist Falafels, and I hadn't tried theirs before. It wasn't the BEST I've had, but was still pretty good. 



Over all, I give this place a 3 out of 5 stars, only because of the fact that it isn't authentic Mediterranean Kebab. The fries made up for it though. Price also brings rating down, those fries were 7 bucks! I will say that if you're looking for an amazing authentic Mediterranean place, head over to O'Falafel Etc. They have some amazing authentic food from Israel and other countries. I've been there twice now, and I'm a huge fan. 


Until next time!




Xoxo,



Nat






Friday, July 24, 2015

Scentsy Essential Oils: READ BEFORE YOU PURCHASE!!


This post is strictly to help customers make the better, smarter choice!


A year ago, this is how I started using my warmer:

via Google

       Yesterday night, I posted a picture of my new Young Living essential oil diffuser on Instagram:

see the little steady stream of humidity :)


 I used a #Scentsy hashtag in the post, exclaiming that I finally had an alternative to their scent warmers which triggered a nosy Scentsy rep who I don't even know to comment on the picture. She let me know that Scentsy was releasing an 100% Essential Oil diffuser line September 1st. I was shocked but immediately skeptical. I have heard from a few different people (on Instagram, Blogs, and Facebook) that they have moved away from using Scentsy as a whole because of the quality of the products that they offer..

via Google.
The woman on Instagram (as well as other Scentsy reps) kept throwing around the fact that they are 100% Natural Essential oils. However, when you start throwing this term around, you need to make sure that you know what it actually means. Now, I have been using essential oils for about 3 years now for various health purposes, and I love them. I have used both Young Living and Doterra, and have found that they both work equally the same. But what is an essential oil? I will explain below!

Essential Oils aren't really your typical "slimy" oils. From Young Living's Website: "Essential oils have also been used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes, as well as for their spiritually and emotionally uplifting properties...Primarily extracted through careful steam distillation but also through cold pressing, the purest essential oils are far more powerful than the botanicals from which they were extracted. Any time you hold a bottle of our powerful essential oils, you are holding nature's pure essence."  

Regardless of this, what a lot of people don't realize is that : there is no official organization or group that certifies essential oils. 

"CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is a registered trademark of dōTERRA Holdings, LLC representing internal standards of quality assessment and material control. The CPTG protocol is not administered by government or industry regulatory agencies and does not imply regulatory approval of dōTERRA products."

Crazy, right?? This is JUST a marketing ploy, people. That's it. Young Living really is no different, because like I said, there is no governing body that certifies essential oils!! This is why I don't prefer one over the other (within reason). Scent wise I do prefer DoTerra's Lavender though! Now, where am I going with this? How does Scentsy tie in? I will explain:

Scentsy is a fairly new company. They are definitely brand new to essential oils. The essential oils that they offer are not "therapeutic grade" (which isn't a real thing btw). By Therapeutic Grade, I mean usable the three ways that 100% essential oils should be able to be used: Internally, Topically, and by inhalation (or distillation). From the few short hours that the news of the Scentsy EO line has been announced, I have had a few encounters with people who have said that the Scentsy line will be an Aromatherapy line only. They won't be able to be ingested, or used topically with a carrier oil. Now, I don't know of the truth to this, but this is enough for me to not trust the quality of the oil that they will be providing. Here are some examples of what they will be offering:
lots of "blends"

via a Scentsy Rep's Facebook.

SO. Long story short, folks: Please make sure you realize that QUALITY IS IMPORTANT!! What you diffuse, is what you are putting into the air! Choose an essential oil line that is trusted, ALL NATURAL, and SAFE.

The more you know, the better off you are!!


Happy Diffusing!!



xoxo,


Nat



Monday, July 20, 2015

25 by 25! An update of my 21 x 21.

If you remember two years ago, I had a list I had made called 21 by 21. It had 21 things that I wanted to have accomplished by the time I'm 21. Well as you can see below, I got through quite a few of those things, but a lot of them didn't happen! Being that I'm a pretty adventurous person (in most aspects) I decided that I would continue the list for 4 more years and see what happens! So! Here is my 25 by 25:

-Go skinny dipping
-Hit 2,000 blog views (on both blogs)
-Travel to Temple Square, Nauvoo and other church history locations
-Go to a Temple Dedication (I think the Gilbert Temple is going to be dedicated soon!)
-Find a good gluten free bread recipe that actually works.
-Get my drivers' license and buy a moped or a...car... :0 SO, I have a scooter, but not the license..Am trying to sell it though!
-Find the perfect vintage dress
-Get my LMT degree! I decided against this! 
-Share my testimony with a stranger*
-Watch a live BYU Vocal Point Preformance
-Become fluent in Spanish and ASL. (and french, and German, and Portuguese and like every other language)
-Reach my goal size without bulking up.
-Go Canyoneering :0 NEVER. Why did I think this was a good idea???
-Hike a Mountain in Arizona and Utah (not in the same day of course) I did both! Mt. Timpanogos (hiked part of it) and a small "hill" in Arizona. I can't call it a mountain since I moved to Utah and see real mountains every day!

-Get a puppy
-See General Conference in the conference center in Salt Lake twice now!
-Run a 5k Ain't no way that is happening. I wouldn't dare try. 
-Become more like Christ. This is definitely an on going one. 
-Strengthen my relationship with my family.
-Get out of the "friend zone" with guys. Not so cool at my age. Seriously, this is stillllll happening. 
-Go backpacking for a week (or longer) and "rough it."
-leave the country and travel
-Make Temple attendance a regular thing. 
-Go out to a fancy restaurant and order a 5 course meal.
-Take a long road trip.
-Attend Institute more regularly.
-Find a new hobby.
-Move into my own place.



 The bolded items are new additions and the crossed out items are things that I have already done/changed my mind on! If you have any other suggestions, add it to the comments below!


Xoxo,

Nat

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Scentsy Solutions!

**DISCLAIMER: this post is not meant to bash Scentsy or Scentsy's products, because for the most part they are great! The thoughts below are simply my personal views on an easy solution that I have had issues with!**

Have you ever bought a candle and after a few uses it's completely useless? As in it is burning, but you can no longer smell it's deliciousness??? Well. That happened to me one too many times. So from Candles, I switched to Scentsy warmers and wax cubes. But I could never really find the scents that I loved. To be honest they were far too expensive for how long they lasted and the scents were cheap smelling and gave me a major headache. I like natural scents from pure 100% essential oils (lavender is my absolute favorite!) and if not natural, the candles that I buy are high quality and smell GOOD. I have had a few people on Instagram ask me for solutions to this, and so I decided to write a post dedicated to the topic!

Now, I absolutely LOVE Scentsy warmers! They work great, are so adorable and clean up easily. So what I have found is this: by placing my candle of choice (or wax pieces) on top of my Scentsy warmer,  I can utilize the warming aspect of the candle (getting longer lasting stronger scent) without having to light it which uses it up so much faster.

Exhibit A:


candle is from Bath and Body Works.


You guys it is so easy!! Also, if the candle is pretty tall/large, you can light the candle and also place the candle on the warmer to melt the wax faster.

Also, I went to the Bath and Bodyworks sale and they were having a MASSIVE 75% blowout sale. It is over now, but when the next one happens, you all need to go check it out, it's INSANE.


Until next time,


Nat

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weddings Galore! My thoughts on going "off registry" for gifts.

Since we are smack dab in the middle of wedding season, I thought this post was appropriate. With all of the weddings that have been happening lately, I have been forced to get creative with my wedding gifts. To be honest, I would much rather give money. Money for the couple to use to get started,  to go on their honeymoon etc. I know some people who have chosen to do this instead, and it worked quite well for them. I also know so many people who registered for gifts (very expensive gifts) that they could have easily gotten at a thriftstore, or on Ebay. Now, this isn't a judgement on them, but wouldn't you rather just be honest and request funds (or gift cards) instead of useless baking/household items that won't get used? Do people REALLY need 10 different mixing bowls?!? I'd say I bake a fair amount, and I have never used more than 5 in one day. I know some people return the gifts that they get and use the money, but I just think that's kind of ridiculous. Then again I'm very blunt and will probably just ask for donations.

Regardless, I have tried my best to get useful gifts for people without breaking the bank. Often times, for me that means going off-registry for a gift (Now, before you look at me cross eyed, no, I did not make them a birdhouse like Phyllis from The Office, so lovingly did for Jim and Pam).
For my wedding gifts this season, I actually went more practical. Nice hand soap and hand towels. Why you ask? Well, after talking about it months ago with one of my best friends who is getting married in 2 weeks, she told me what she was REALLY wanting. No, surprisingly it's not a kitchen-aid mixer (which she is already getting, and is actually quite happy about it). It's cleaning supplies. A lot of people don't realize that once you move into a place you will have to clean it out, and the supplies can be expensive for a young new couple. Things like a broom, swiffer, dish soap, sponges, that's stuff that is overlooked but still needed.

So I went on the practical side and got them something that they will always need (even if they already have it) yet that is still personable. I chose a scent that was neither too feminine or too masculine, Moonlight Path. It didn't hurt that I got both gifts on clearance. Wrap it up nice with a bow and you have yourself a gift!



So far when asking people, I've gotten good feedback on that gift of choice. What are your thoughts on going off-registry for wedding gifts??

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

UPDATES and New Starts!!

First off, here's an OFFICIAL Happy New Year! I have been so busy lately!! I have been working hard (and am just so great full!) and just living life! This year has already been so great for me. January has been awesome! February is going SWIMMINGLY! So if you read my other blog and read my recent post, you will have seen that I mentioned a little something about...WEIGHTLOSS! Really, over all fitness. So, here's the run down.

In December, I bought 3 canisters of herbalife shakes as a Christmas gift to myself, and did herbalife for about a week after it arrived.  I found that I HATE the powdered tea (it's nasty in my opinion and doesn't taste like tea, also it is not herbal as advertised, it's green and black tea) so I won't be drinking that! Also I love food! So I was craving food to eat! When I snacked it was healthy, so it was mostly ok.

Since that time, I haven't had any more of the shakes. I started my Whole30 on January 3rd and have since lost 10 pounds. For those who don't know what Whole30 is, look here (browse the sections, tons of recipes)! And here! And Here for inspiration! ALSO, Instagram has been a HUGE motivator. I love seeing other Whole30'ers come together. I started Jan-Feb, and during that time did not eat any wheat, sugar, processed foods, or dairy. I took a break (am still eating healthily, just not as regimented) and restarted on the 15th, this week.

My excercise routine (right now) is pathetic. Even though I have a Vasa fitness membership,  I haven't been able to go in months because they closed the location nearest to me which really ticked me off. Let's NOT get started on them. The upside though is that between work and if I have errands, I walk about 60 mins a day (just to get to and from trax to work) and I burn about 300 calories for that. It's not much but it's been enough that I'm losing weight with my low calorie, healthy diet.

So why am I doing this? Because this year is all about me making healthy, daring, exciting changes that will make my life even more full in the long run! I feel GREAT! I have more energy than ever since I've started eating right. It wasn't that I was eating horribly, it's that I have more control now over my diet. Also, every girl wants to feel fit and attractive! I love my curves and would NEVER want them to disappear, but there's a difference between curves and rolls. Some girls have pictures of stick thin women with wash board abs as their "fitspiration". Me? This is my "curvespiration":

Joan. Freaking. Holloway. For those who don't know me, I am a huge fan of all things vintage. SO, shows like Mad Men have me absolutely captivated. They had it all right back then. Except for the part where they hated brown people...



She's a fox, right?? I'd choose this over a stick any day. I loveee my curves. It's all about toning up for me! I carry my weight really well, but home girl has got to get toned up! This is the mini start to my journey. I'll keep you updated if anything drastic happens. I hope this will nudge some people into joining in on the fun with me!


XOXO,



Natalie