Friday, December 23, 2016

Some of the BEST winter dates!

Well, as we all know, "cuffing season" is well upon us. For those of you out there who's date night ideas have run dry, I have compiled a few that might be able to spice up your life :)

1. Take a spur of the moment weekend vacation

Weekend trips do not have to be expensive. Set aside some money, plan a destination, and DRIVE! With awesome resources like AirBnB, you can find *clean* rooms, cheaper than a motel! Seriously folks, if you haven't tried AirBnB you are missing out. 


via Airbnb.com

2. Rent a car


via Turo

via Turo

There is this awesome new-ish company called Turo, that allows normal people (like you) to rent out their cars. To locate a car, you simply enter your pickup destination on the app or website, and you are given a generous selection of cars ranging from practical to extreme luxury in the area. The best part? They deliver the vehicle to you! I checked out a few options, and the prices per day are not bad at all! They are also far cheaper than most car rental companies I have checked over the years. Besides all of this, it is a very environmentally conscious company; people who choose not to own cars can rent them as needed! So, how does this factor into my date night scenario?? Well, go rent a nice car (affordably), and use the money saved for travel fun! 

3. Ice Skating 

via Depot Minneapolis Website
The town I grew up in has several parks which make ice rinks during the winter months which are completely free, and nice for cheap fun dates! If you are wanting something a little bit more upscale, there are many cities with indoor or outdoor rinks that you can skate on through the winter. Grab a cup of cider or cocoa and hit the rink! (I will say, that if you have never skated on ice before, it can take a bit to get used to and might not be too romantic ending up with bruises all over your rear end the next day!)


via Gallivan Events Center website


4. Art night

Head over to a ceramic painting shop, Art studio for some studio time, or swing by an Art museum! There is nothing like Art to get my heart pumping! If you are heading to a large Art museum, make it a two day date night. You can't possibly take it all in, in one day! Check on Groupon for discounts at Art studios and coupons for painting shops. Art museum tickets can get pricey, so take advantage of midweek discount days. Also head over to the theatre for a good play or musical! Sometimes you can get a last minute deal on tickets. Hamilton is coming to Phoenix next year and I am over the freaking MOON.
Image result for art museum photos phoenix
Phoenix Art Museum. I volunteer here! It is pretty neat.
Via Scottsdale Real Estate Group



5. Foodie night

Go to a food truck roundup (very popular in Utah!), or just hit some new restaurants in town! Although it is getting colder in the northern states, food trucks are still out and about down here in Phoenix, if you know where to look! If going out isn't your thing, you can have a cooking night; each of you choose a few items, create a menu, and cook it together! Set up a table in a place you normally wouldn't eat, or make it romantic with candles and twinkle lights!

Image result for food truck roundup
Via Google
6. Humane Society trip

Image result for humane society of minnesota
This one is not for the faint of heart. I repeat, if you have an obsession with pets do NOT go! :) Just kidding, they need love, head on over. You and your boo can cuddle some cute kitties or snuggle some rabbits at the Humane society or a pet shelter. Especially around Christmas time, when people are given pets they really can't keep, it is nice to head over there and bring some relief. You can even volunteer together if that sounds fun! It is free, and they need the help and attention, being cooped up all day. Go early in the evening, as they tend to close around 8 PM. 


Image result for humane society of minnesota
both pictures c/o AHS.com

Well that's my short but sweet list of fun things to do this winter with your loved one! If you have any other ideas, feel free to comment below :)

xoxo,

Nat

Friday, November 18, 2016

Natural Deodorant: Does it REALLY work?!?



This post is a little weird! For those of you that know me, I don't have a problem speaking my mind, even if it might be on an uncomfortable subject. But for those of you who are genuinely squeamish talking about deodorant and body odor, we probably won't be good friends HAH!

Over the last few years, I have been experimenting with different natural deodorants. A couple of years ago, I tried out Toms of Maine, and didn't like it at all. It didn't work to stop perspiration, and the scent was not strong enough to block odor. Before I go any further, I should explain how deodorant/antiperspirant works (for those who don't know). There are two types of odor/sweat blocking agents sold in stores today and those are deodorants and antiperspirants. Some of them don't contain both properties, but most do. Certain brands, like Dove, Secret, Mitchum, and Degree all contain the active ingredient, Aluminum Zirconium. This is the ingredient that sets deodorant and antiperspirants apart (There have been numerous studies linking this active ingredient to breast cancer and reproductive issues, but I won't go into that today, you can Google that on your own time). It also is responsible for darkening of the arm pit skin (which many women of color tend to get). It acts as a "plug" for the sweat pores in your armpits; first shrinking them up and then plugging them and leaving a protective "barrier". The problem with this though, is that because your pores are being unnaturally plugged, your body fights even harder to push the sweat out. This is why in recent years we have seen more and more of the "clinical strength" deodorants hit the market.

Deodorant on the other hand, is simply a scent stick that aids with odor control. It doesn't control sweat production in any way, but certain deodorants can place a protective mineral salt barrier on your skin. What I have found is that my body does not like antiperspirants. They don't work, and the artificial scents that come standard with most "traditional" deodorants on the market when mixed with my sweat smelled worse than my natural odor. So after trying Tom's of Maine and finding that it didn't work, I went back to the traditional option. After making the decision to go back to all natural deodorant, I decided to try various options to find the best one. There are people that make their deodorant at home, but I don't think that it would be anywhere as effective as what is sold in stores today, so I won't review any homemade products.

 In addition to my own personal reviews below, I highly recommend that you check out this "natural deodorant" review from Reviews.com  They evaluate EVERYTHING from toothbrushes, to chef knives, and the guide is really quite helpful. The team on this study hand tested 23 different natural deodorants and found the best and worst ones! Take a look, it's definitely worth it.

Here is what I found!




Crystal Body Deodorant Stick

Pros: Stops excessive sweat (naturally with rock salt). It doesn't completely keep me dry, but it truly works better than anything on the market. NO WHITE MARKS/RESIDUE ON CLOTHING!
Cons: Unscented. What little sweat remains does cause odor as the day goes on. Doesn't completely get rid of the sweat. You have to let it dry for it to be effective, and you have to put it on while your arms are wet.

Crystal Essense Spray




Pros: Stops excessive sweat (naturally with rock salt). What's different is that this salt deodorant comes in spray form (the salt is in water), and is also scented naturally with essential oils. My favorite scents are fresh and natural, so I LOVE their Lavender scented spray. NO WHITE MARKS/RESIDUE ON CLOTHING! Sprays on easily.
Cons: You have to let it dry for it to be effective.

Arm and Hammer Essentials


Pros: The scent is GREAT! Easy roll on, like regular deodorant. 100% natural. Baking Soda as an odor blocker! Thanks Melanie for introducing me to this one!
Cons: No antiperspirant ingredients, not even natural ones. Limited scent options.

Native Deodorant



Pros: Great scent options, I chose Eucalyptus Mint. Not tested on animals! Rolls on easily like stick deodorant. I found this deodorant on Pinterest of all places! It is only available to purchase online, but you should totally check them out.
Cons: Expensive! It was $12. It leaves a grainy residue because of the arrowroot powder. After a while, the smell wears off and it mixes with my natural scent and does NOT smell good. My other deodorants do not have that problem.

I like to mix and match my deodorants, and they seem to work for me. It's important to note that when switching, it will take your body's sweat glands a few weeks to adjust to using natural deodorant, and during the transition process you may think the natural alternatives are not working. Just give it time! I promise it will be worth it.











Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Flirty Women are RUINING Guy/Girl friendships!!!

They really are! Picture this: no drama, eating BOMB food, 1st hand honest guy advice and just hanging out...things that I love to do, but don't always get out of my friendships with other women. Sure I have some good girlfriends and we are friends because we are all low-key chill gals. But sometimes I really appreciate my guy friends, and I think they are just important to have, to the point where when I enter a new job, ward, etc. I tend to navigate towards the guys over the girls. To be honest, it does put a damper on my dating life. For the most part, they pick up on the vibe that I'm not interested in anything besides friendship right away, which is awesome because the alternative is them eventually hinting that we are just friends during a conversation we might have which is always awkward.

Image result for that space between a guy and girl friendzone
via Google

I have never once had one of my guy friends set me up with their friends which is LAME. Mostly because they are lazy. Other times because their friends are complete douche canoe's (which I can attest to). But they seem to always want me to set them up with my friends which is something I have no problem doing, as I love playing match maker :)

But hold up. HOLLLLLDDDD UP. Why, on Earth does it seem like every girl that I talk to these days has this overwhelming desire to falsely obtain that kind of relationship with every guy that they meet? Why do I have "falsely" bolded? Let me paint you a picture..

A girl who is well known by many as a flirt, decides that she just wants to just be friends with a guy. She sees the value of a platonic relationship but because of her flirtatious personality it never seems to work out. Why is this?? I think I have figured it out, and I will outline it below.

1. A friendship is built on mutual trust, openness, and respect. Most girls, by friend zoning a guy right away, have the best chances of maintaining that friendship. Those who don't quickly ruin it.

 "But, Natalie, what if I end up liking the guy later???"

First of all, where is there a rule that the friend zone has a one way door? It has been proven that the best relationships and marriages happen between two good friends. You can come out of the friend zone, whenever you want to. But to start in the zone is your best bet for healthy, lasting relationships. Some girls (who I am able to verrrrrrry easily identify) see being friends with a group of guys as a power play.

2. Imagine you are the only girl, friends with a group of guys. They fawn over you, buy you food, take you places  in your car because you don't have one and will do pretty much whatever you say. It might be nice, but only for you. It's sounds great, right?? Well what you don't realize is that you are literally taking advantage of people and that is wrong. That is no way to treat someone.

3. Another bad idea (especially with Mormons), is dating any guy that asks you out. For anyone who is confused, let me spell it out to you..

You don't need to go out with someone just because they ask you out. You don't owe them anything, and it is your time that you are spending. We all have the choice, and if you decide to go out with them, you might ruin a friendship or even friendships. I have been asked out by several guys who I have turned down. We were able to keep our friendship platonic, just the way I like it!

Now, it's Storytime. I am keeping the name of the person out of this to protect their privacy, and this story will hopefully help some people out there understand why they are in their current situation.

 I have a friend (well many) who is struggling with keeping guy/girl friendships. She is friendly. She is nice. She is pretty, and she is flirty. What happens is that she meets a guy, but leaves no indication that they are just friends. The guy then asks her out, which she accepts. Later when she explains that they are just friends, he is let down, but still feels obligated to maintain the friendship because she still sees them as friends. Then, the cycle continues with every guy in the group, give or take a few of them. Do you see the pattern here? Eventually, they all start hanging out, but then she actually falls for one of the guys. He turns her down because he doesn't want the same thing that has happened with them, to happen to him. All of it could have been avoided if friends had stayed friends! I hate to see my friends go down this road, but I am all too familiar with this scenario after witnessing it so many times.

The moral of the story is this: too often, girls want the friendship, but aren't able to keep their hormones and emotions in check. When that happens you can miss out on some pretty great friendships! Don't be afraid to let loose and just enjoy a solid friendship WITHOUT THE FLIRTING! There must have been something that made you gravitate towards that person, right? :)


Happy friending, y'all.



Xoxo,


Nat








Thursday, October 27, 2016

Finns in MN!

Whew it has been a minute. I have not had any recently crazy fun adventures, which is probably why I haven't posted!

I had a chance to meet up with an old friend from Arizona this summer and it was great! He had a super long layover in MN and we decided to make the best of it! He served his LDS Church mission in Finland, and since we were in MN where there is an abundance of Scandinavian culture, he wanted to try to find a Finnish restaurant. I took him around all the local sights (downtown and near the Mississippi River) and we also stopped for dinner at this amazing Finnish restaurant we found on Como ave in St. Paul. It was to die for!












I had never tried Finnish food before, and it was amazing and very flavorful just as Gemma and Aksel had told me (Gemma is my old roommate and close friend, and Aksel is her husband who is from Finland).

Now, I am getting ready to move yet again, this time, more permanently. Still out west. I will be there for a while, or at least until I am done with school which is still going well!

Until next time,

XOXO

Nat




Tuesday, May 3, 2016

{Recipe}: Paleo Shepherd's Pie




Folks, the struggle is so real. If you're like me and you love food, it is a constant battle. With all of the Tastemade videos on Snapchat, the amazing food feeds on Instagram, the food selfies etc. I mean it's a GREAT time to be a foodie. But for those of us who don't have any self control when it comes to good yummy food, it's BAD especially if you have food allergies or sensitivities! Yesterday for the first time in a long time (since my Whole30's last year), I had NO stomach issues, no allergic reactions, and was able to sleep like a baby. It was pretty amazing! The difference was that I didn't go out with a friend to eat, and made an amazing mid-day meal.

Today I can honestly say that my pantry is allergen free; I don't typically buy any groceries with dairy, or gluten. It is very rare, because they do make me sick. What gets me is when I go out with friends, which I have been doing A LOT lately. I order something that looks good, but isn't good for me, and pretty soon after I am feeling the effects and am suffering for the rest of the day. But, like I said, yesterday was heavenly. And so since I was feeling pretty darn good and the meal I made for lunch was BOMB.com, I must share this recipe with you!!

I found this recipe via Elana's pantry, and it is amazing. Shepherd's pie, for those who don't know, is a meaty dish originating in Britain, typically using a mix of ground lamb (or beef ), carrots, celery and onions topped with mashed potatoes, and then baked in the oven. This version is just as delicious, however uses the newly infamous cauliflower mashed potatoes as a replacement.

I have simply copy/pasted her recipe below!

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 pound turkey or pork bacon, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 pound organic grass fed ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a very large frying pan
  2. Saute onion for 15 minutes until soft
  3. Add bacon pieces to pan and sauté until cooked, about 10 minutes
  4. Add carrots and celery to pan and sauté in bacon fat for 10 minutes until soft
  5. Add ground beef to pan and sauté until brown, just a few minutes
  6. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika
  7. Add chicken broth and cook down broth until 60% evaporated
  8. Place cauliflower in food processor and puree with olive oil until smooth
  9. Pour ground beef mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish
  10. Pour mashed cauliflower over beef mixture
  11. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
  12. Serve



It was so good. I left out the celery because I don't really care for it, but I'm sure it will be amazing with as well!






Happy Eating,

Xoxo,

Nat 



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Green juice and succulents.

I love succulents. They are so cute, low maintenance and somehow an all natural mood enhancer. I don't know, for me at least they always brighten my day.

My first succulent plant was left to me by a prior roommate; I just sort of hung onto it. I killed the second one I had....and replaced it with 3 mini ones from Harmon's. They have super super cheap mini plants there. If you haven't been, I would recommend going to add some desk agriculture to your office space. 

So far I have these three little beauties:




Two succulents and one little fern.


Things that I have learned about succulents since having them: 


-they WILL die if you don't water them. It is a myth that you don't need to water succulents. Cacti are a different story. These little buddies still need water. You will see their petals start withering up and falling off if you don't water them. I water them when the dirt gets crumbly and dry...no more no less.

-pick off any dead petals. Just like regular flowers you don't want to keep them attached to the healthy plant. It keeps the healthy part of the plant from absorbing nutrients.

-pot them in a pretty mini-pot. They will dry out a lot faster in their original plastic planter.

I DIY-d this planter container out of an old candle and some yarn. I just crocheted around the jar.


It's really that easy! 


Craft and plant away, everyone. 


Xoxo,


Nat


UPDATE: the love fern has started to die. Sad day indeed.











Monday, February 8, 2016

Wedding Dresses and Waffles

Last Saturday was spent well. I finally dragged myself out of bed around 11:30AM (mind you, I woke up at 7AM and went back to sleep a little later) to drive down to Provo to go dress shopping with my friend who is getting married in a few months. I am so excited for her, her fiancé is AMAZING!

She is an LDS convert and is super excited about her upcoming temple wedding, as she should be! I agreed to help her with wedding stuff, but quickly realized I was probably NOT going to have a wedding and can finally understand (and 100% agree) with my friend Jamie's idea of eloping. 100%.

Reasons why: 

I'm a minimalist. I hate spending money unnecessarily! It makes me cringe.

We were sitting and she was telling me how much everything was going to cost ($2,000 for pictures, $2,700 for the venue, wedding cake $200 dress, $1,200, food $500, flowers $1,800, honeymoon $1000+)

Not to mention any other expenses!

That's almost $10,000 for one day.
Now. I know that's not the norm, but I almost had a panic attack just going dress shopping with her looking at the prices, although she looked drop dead GORGEOUS. 

I hate shopping.
When I go shopping, whether grocery shopping, or for clothes, I always bring a list with me. I rarely deviate from said list and know exactly what I want when I walk in. 
The dresses. Oh the dresses. I was overwhelmed walking through each store we went through. My anxiety would not allow me to pick a dress in a store. The back and forth of choosing one??! Oh no. I would almost certainly need to order one online.

I don't like cake or finger foods.
Any other desert will do, but cake I just don't like! Plus, finger foods bother me. What are we, squirrels?!!? If I'm going to eat at a wedding please let it be a MEAL. 

It's not about the family. 
Despite what people think, no it is NOT about the family. Sure, family can be apart of your wedding, but at the end of the day the wedding is for the bride and groom! Don't let a nagging mother in law drive you crazy with floral selections.

Long story short, I will not be having a huge crazy wedding. I will probably have an earthy themed wedding in a park somewhere with homemade food, deserts and a friend as the photographer. Also an under $500 dress (or homemade), HOMEMADE bouquets and save money for a honeymoon!!

So anyways enough of that. After dress shopping we went to go grub in downtown Provo. We settled on Bruges Waffles and Frites after snagging some pops from a local restaurant next door.



haven't had this since Minnesota!
Had to get some!


I had a sandwich made from a waffle, to be honest it wasn't that good. I thought it was going to be more cheesy than it was. But the fries. Dear GOODNESS the Fries. They were amaaaaazing. Perfectly crispy! Just enough salt! Why is it always the FREAKING FRIES!?


























We were just eating and having a good ole time. Don't mind the faces. 




I wish this sandwich had
 more cheese though..


Clink Clink Clink!!



I highly recommend this place! It is superb!!

Well that's all I have for today. 


 Laters kids,


Natalie


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Furry friends galore

I never grew up with pets. I was simply not allowed to have them. I begged BEGGED for pets growing up to no avail. I came really close one year when I was younger (and they thought I had diabetes). I came so close that year out of pity I think.. Anyways I clearly made it out of that DISASTER. And no dog. So I begged and begged and then I found out I could get a goldfish for my birthday! Got the tank, supplies, everything! But no fish. Oh yeah same with my hermit crabs. I finally threw the tank away a few years ago.

she loves my back rubs with my foot.
#ultimatelaziness



So anyways like I have said I have never owned a pet. I have always held a strong love for animals and waited for the day I was an adult and I could get a pet of my own. I got Claire this last year and she has been fun! Very interesting but still fun. She's got some issues but I still love her. And then yesterday I was walking through my apartment complex and I found a little kitty who was cold and wet outside and she was crying! She was tugging at my little heart strings so I had her follow me home, she saw my dog in her kennel and got skittish but quickly got over it when she saw food and water.



The sweet cat only wanted snuggles and love, never hissed or scratched at me and was very kind. No physical signs of abuse and only slightly underweight was an indication to me that she might have a family that is looking for her. I ended up calling animal control to see if she had a home. They came and I was hoping she wasn't a stray. She had a clipped ear which I hadn't noticed which according to them is an indication that she is a stray. But then the field officer decided to scan her for a microchip and realized that she DID have one!



I asked what the standard procedure  was and they said that if she hadn't been claimed by Saturday that I could come and get her. I seriously hope they don't come and get her because she was an angel and I would love to have her sweet spirit in my life! Even if it means I'm that much closer to becoming a crazy cat lady, it's ok. :)

Just look at her cute little face!! 


Xoxo, 

Nat


WHOA BABY UPDATE:
This adorable cat is a MALE!
I found him on the SLC Animal Shelter Site; I guess they updated it with his picture!




Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ooh baby BABY! Happy New Year!

Whew!! What a day,


I just spent the last few hours babysitting a wonderfully sweet little boy. Earlier this year I started a little babysitting business and it has really taken off here in Salt Lake City! The amount of referrals I have been getting lately is insane and I am not complaining! The families have been super nice. There's nothing better than loving on babies and hanging out with kids on the weekend. As much as I love it, I don't think I would do it full time again (I used to work in childcare).

So far, the new year is going great, complete with a new years kiss that I PROMISED I would get. No one thought I was going to do it but I totally did. Yep. Kissed a stranger. At a church dance at midnight. Don't worry, it was consensual haha!

As for resolutions, I don't believe in them. But I want to try to blog more (my form of journaling) and to be more adventurous...whatever that means. :)


#NORAGRETS #HERESTO2016

xoxo,

Nat





Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy Holidays!

So it’s the holiday season! Again. I went out to Arizona for a much needed vacay with mi padre. It was nice to be in AZ and have a change in scenery. I simply hate staying in one place too long! Those of you who know me know how very true this is! It is FINALLY snowing in Utah! We got our first bit of good snow a few weeks ago and it was splendid. I am definitely enjoying the cool weather; it’s really not that cold out so I don’t mind at allllll.

Gosh, it’s been a minute since I have posted. yikes.

I have been busy with work and also babysitting and also Netflix. Lot’s of Netflix.

via Google

I moved out of my old apartment and into my own little place! I love it so. Still figuring out what to do with the decor; trying out the whole "minimalist style" right now i.e. I don't have any real decor. Hah! Working on it slowly; I'm one of those people who LOVES to mix and match patters.                                            
In the past years I have celebrated Hanukkah; I didn't even get a chance to REALLY do that either, besides singing some songs and following a ton of trendy Jewish mommy blogs on Instagram. Mainly because there is a SUPREME lack of Jewish roots here (whereas in MN we have quite a community and it is easier to find Hanukkah stuffs). I did promise my boss Hanukkah cookies though haha (he is Jewish!). 

-I spent time this year contemplating the year, the Savior, and all he has done for me. 
-I wished all of my friends a Merry Christmas so I wouldn't be deemed a "Scrooge" since I didn't really celebrate Christmas that much.
-I went and saw the Temple lights (both in SLC and in Mesa)

Mesa Temple Navity.

Mesa Temple 

loving the sun. but it is actually frigid.


My Uncle. He is one of my
ABSOLUTE favorites. Men in my family
NEVER smile! :)


Mesa Temple

Uncle's Dog. My cousin breeds pitbulls!
They are ADORABLE and SO sweet.
Rare photo of my dad
SMILING.


I had the BEST Chinese food out west at Lin's Buffet in Phoenix on Christmas Day. It was SO GOOD (you should try it folks. Chinese on Christmas isn't just for Jews! It's amaaaazing and actually super fun!); The place was huge but packed and lines were out the door.


I have a 2 small plate MAX;
 him not so much.


I had a wonderful time.
Maybe next year, CRUISE on Christmas!!!


Until next time,

Natalie 
Happy Holidays ya filthy animals!