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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

CAULIPOWER pizza review

As a pizza lover, finding health(ier) and easy alternatives is a must for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some real gluten-loaded, melty cheese, hefty duty pizza…but I do enjoy having a lighter option from time to time, especially during the week. 

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of cauliflower crust pizza—pretty self explanatory, but pizza with crust made out of cauliflower. You can find recipes for it all over the internet and Pinterest and make it at home as an alternative to regular pizza dough.

OR you can do what I did and find an already made option. 
Introducing CAULIPOWER (yes, power not flower) frozen pizza! 

A little history about the company and brand: 

“A Note From Gail—CAULIPOWER was born on a Pinterest fail. Really. As the mom of two boys with Celiac - an autoimmune disease leaving their bodies unable to process gluten - I tried desperately to find nutritious, gluten-free options that weren’t filled with fat, sugar, salt and calories. Frustrated, I turned to a like-minded community of healthy hackers and stumbled upon recipes (lots of them) for cauliflower crust pizza. My creation tasted just fine, but it looked awful, my kitchen was a disaster and I had spent 90 minutes I didn’t have making a pizza crust! I figured I probably wasn’t alone and, so, left my job to create CAULIPOWER.”

So, here’s the lowdown on CAULIPOWER crust ingredients: cauliflower, brown rice flour, corn starch, water, tapioca, sunflower oil, extra virgin olive oil, sugar, egg, xanthan gum, yeast, salt, vinegar, and baking powder. 

Not only are the CAULIPOWER pizza’s gluten-free, but they all have a decent amount of protein in them (10g in Veggie, 12g in Margherita, 16g in Three Cheese…per serving). Serving size of the pizzas are around 310-380 calories for half of the pie—not bad! They’re not the lowest carb option in the game, so if that matters to you, be mindful…otherwise, I love these bad boys. Every single time, they cook to crispy perfection and I never feel weighed down after eating them. Plus, you cannot tell the crust is made from cauliflower. 

Over the past few months, I have tried their Three Cheese Pizza, Margherita Pizza, Veggie Pizza…and as of last week, I made my own pizza using their Plain Crust Pizza.



Here’s how I jazz up my CAULIPOWER Plain Crust Pizza:

Poblano Farm Pizza Sauce 
Sliced Tomatoes 
Red onion 
Kalamata Olives 
Chopped Artichokes 
Capers
Fresh Basil
Argula 

I went for a sans-cheese, vegetable pizza and it was SO good. 

I am a huge fan of CAULIPOWER pizzas and I totally recommend checking them out. You can find them in the frozen aisle at your grocery store. 

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura 

Monday, October 29, 2018

getting back on track

Monday morning rolls around and you’re quickly feeling like you got off track with your goals over the weekend, last week or maybe even this month. Maybe you got off track with your diet, your fitness regime, spent more money than you had intended to, didn’t sleep well, or maybe didn’t get much accomplished…

I’m here to remind you that that is okay. 

That’s the beautiful thing about Monday’s—they always offer a fresh start. 

So how do you get yourself out of that funky feeling of getting off track? Here’s what usually works for me:

Forgive Yourself
This is probably the most important part in getting you headed back in the right direction—getting back in the right mindset. Don’t beat yourself up over what went wrong, what you did or didn’t do, how much you feel like you “messed up.” We are all human—it happens!! What happened yesterday no longer matters. Forgive yourself and move on from it. 

Set Your Intentions 
When it comes to getting back on track, I think it’s important to clarify why you want to get back on track. What is your why? What is it that you want from the week ahead? How do you want to feel by the time Friday rolls around? What worked for you last week that didn’t work for you this week? What goals do you want to accomplish? Set your intentions for the week ahead and it will help to get your wheels spinning again. 

Start Now 
Whatever it is you want, don’t wait until tomorrow to start. Start right now despite your mood, despite your feelings, despite where you’re at—just start. If you fell off the wagon, just jump back on again! 

You Are Who You Choose To Be 
You choose the life you want for yourself. You choose how you want to feel. You choose your decisions. Be the CEO of your life and make the tough decisions and do what needs to be done to get back on track—deep down, we always know what to do. 

Happy Monday and Happy Fresh Start! Go get ‘em tiger. You can do it! 

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura 


Friday, October 26, 2018

my favorite denim brands

It is no secret that I love jeans. Jean pants, jean shorts, jean jackets…the whole sha-bang. The collection of jeans I have in my closet is kind of embarrassing but when you wear them almost everyday, it’s nice to have options. 

I use to have the hardest time finding jeans when I was younger—but I feel as though I have finally found my ride-or-die’s, my go-to’s, my absolute favorite denim brands.

FRAME 
Although on the pricier side, I absolutely love Frame jeans. They are SO incredibly comfortable. I can literally lounge around the house with these bad boys on and be completely content. They have just the right amount of stretch but not too much. They are so flattering and true to size. They also wash well. Not to mention, they have the best variety of denim colors. Definitely worth the splurge, in my opinion. 



AGOLDE 
This brand has become one of my all time favs and also the first brand that I have ever found the PERFECT fitting pair of white jeans (if you’re a real white denim lover, you’ll know that they don’t all fit the same). AGOLDE is almost true to size—I wear my normal size, but sometimes feel as though I could size down depending on the style. They are so comfortable. AGOLDE is definitely a little pricer but in my opinion, worth it. 



Madewell
I loveeee Madewell jeans. Every pair I own fit me like a glove. These are usually my go-to’s for during the day. They run true to size and the material is comfortable and so flattering. Madewell jeans are a great staple to have in your closet. 



Express
Express has been a ride-or-die for me since high school. I’ve left and come back to these jeans so many times. Reasonable price range for jeans and always a ton of unique styles. Express is usually where I will purchase ripped denim (yes…I still pay money to have holes in my jeans). However I will say, I have found that all styles do not fit me the same way (some are more flattering than others) so you want to make sure you try on before you buy.



Other brands that I’ve had good luck with:

Happy jean shopping!

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

what the fall can teach us about life

The other day I decided to take my workout outside and went down to a local park in our area and did a long 4 mile walk. Aside from ending up in the middle of a high school cross country race (whoops), it was so relaxing to be outside in the middle of nature on a perfect fall afternoon. 

As I walked through the wooded trails, crunching the dead leaves below my feet, I gazed up at the beautiful red, yellow and orange leaves on the trees above me and couldn’t help but think how every year when fall rolls around, nature just knows what to do. 

Life is a lot like fall and it got me thinking about what this beautiful season can teach us:

Embrace Change
Just like the leaves routinely change color every fall, we are ever changing as well. However, so often you hear people say, “I hate change,” which is understandable to a degree because usually change equals some kind of discomfort. However, how boring would life be if nothing ever changed? There would be no growth, no progress, no new beginnings, no new opportunities, no new relationships. In fact, the more we resist change, the longer we delay our new season and potential for new growth. When you stop and put it in perspective, every good thing that has ever happened in our lives has happened because something changed. Change is inevitable and like the leaves of fall, it’s going to happen whether we want it to or not…so we might as well learn to embrace it. 

Let The Dead Things Go 
Isn’t it something how we find trees in the fall most beautiful when they are in the midst of letting go. Unlike nature, the act of letting go can be much easier said than done. However, what good does it do to hold onto the dead things in our lives? Whether it be a relationship, friendship, job, memory, bad habit, or even the dead ends on our hair…it doesn’t make sense to hold on to things that no longer serve us, make us better, or bring us joy. Just like the trees don’t cling to their dead leaves, we must learn not to hang on to the things in our life that have no more room for growth. When we let go of the old, we make room for the new. 

Beauty in Impermanence 
Fall reminds us that impermanence is the very essence of life. Nothing lasts forever and nothing ever stays exactly the same. We know the fall season does not last forever, so we cherish it that much more—the color of the trees, the smell, the sounds. We enjoy our traditions, the decorations and our pumpkin spice lattes. When we observe the impermanence of everything, we start to really appreciate what we have, while we have it. We savor things more when we know they're temporary, and we don’t take them for granted. Fall is a great reminder of this—to love and appreciate what and who we have in our lives and to cherish and embrace every moment as we will never see the same one again. 

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura 

Monday, October 15, 2018

work for it

“If you aren’t willing to work for it, don’t complain about not having it.” 

This quote was on my mind this October Monday morning. Monday’s tend to be the day where I think about my goals more so than the others. They’re never not on my mind, but there’s something about the beginning of a new week that always lights my fire. 

Today I was thinking about all the people out there in the world that have something—a dream, a goal, a deadline, etc.—that they want to accomplish. We all have at least one thing don’t we? How many of us actually make those dreams a reality? How many of us actually crush those goals? I know in the past I’ve been guilty of filling my head with excuses and thoughts of doubt—“I’ll never get there,” “That’ll never happen for me,” “That’s unattainable.” 

You get the picture. I’m sure you’ve had moments like that yourself. Today, I’m here to remind you that you are more wildly capable of achieving your dreams than you could ever imagine. 

You want to buy your dream car? It’s possible.
You want to buy a house for your family? It’s possible.
You want to start your own business? It’s possible.
You want to be able to take a vacation? It’s possible.
You want to be confident in a bikini? It’s possible. 
You want to write a best seller? It’s possible.
You want to break that addiction? It’s possible. 
You want to change your life? Well, guess what? That’s possible too. 

Whatever goal, dream, or desire you have in your heart IS possible to achieve…but the only way to make that vision come to life is to put in the work—the hard f*cking work. 

There’s no easy way around it and there is no substitute. You have to drop the fear of failure, drop your excuses, drop the doubt. 

Stop wishing, stop talking, stop procrastinating and just f*cking start.

Find the motivation to start working towards your dream. 
Can’t find the motivation? Find the discipline. 

Decide how bad you want it. How hard are you willing to work for it? 

Believe in yourself, believe it’s possible, believe you can make it happen.
And remember, nothing worth having in life comes easy. 

It's a new week, it's a new day...let's commit to our goals and make shit happen!

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

my morning rituals

I am without a doubt a total morning person. I have always been this way. Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly hang all night but you better believe I’ll still be up early the next day. However, there was once a time in my life where waking up in the morning felt like complete drudgery. I had no zip, no energy, no nothing. I felt tired even after sleeping all night. Well, come to find out…I wasn’t tired, I was uninspired

I have always admired Tony Robbins and I remember watching a YouTube video of him during this time speaking about his morning rituals. Long story short, that’s what got the ball rolling for me and here I am about 5 years later, still practicing my morning rituals to this day. Here are my morning rituals & how they've changed my life... 

5 O'Clock Alarm 
Monday through Friday my alarm happily goes off at 5 am. I set my alarm to an upbeat, energetic song. It sets my mood as soon as I hear it. I wake up at 5 am because it gives me one guaranteed quiet, uninterrupted hour to myself to get my mind and body focused, energized and ready to take on the day. There is little to no distractions this early in the morning, therefore, no excuses not to follow through with my rituals. 

Make Your Bed
I honestly can’t remember the last time I didn’t make my bed. I even make my bed when I stay in hotels. This was a rule growing up in our house that I carried on with me throughout life, but I also read the book “Make Your Bed” by former Navy Seal Admiral William H. McRaven. He states that by making your bed first thing in the morning, you are starting your day with a task completed, which gets the ball rolling for the rest of the day. And if your day goes to shit, well at least you’re going home to a made bed. 

1 Liter of Water 
I drink about 1 liter of water every single morning. I do this before drinking or eating anything else. Some of my ex-boyfriends can testify to this as I’m pretty sure they thought I was a weirdo, but I honestly believe the power of drinking water first thing in the morning is soooooo incredible. I’m certainly not a doctor, so I won’t go into all the health benefits but a good chug of H2O in the morning does the body well.

Gratitude & God 
If you read my “Turning 25” blog, you know how important gratitude is to me. I thank God every morning for waking me up and giving me the gift of life. It’s a simple and quick thank you, but it automatically shifts my mindset into a state of gratefulness. Following that, I come out into my kitchen and read today’s morning devotion from either “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young or “Starting Your Day Right” by Joyce Meyer. 

YouTube & Journaling 
I started this ritual about 4 years ago, but wasn’t consistent with it until the past two. This might be the habit that changed my life the most—also the morning ritual that I enjoy the most. While emptying my dishwasher and getting coffee going, I turn on a YouTube video. Sometimes it’s Tony Robbins, sometimes it’s Joel Osteen, sometimes it’s a motivational/empowering mix of entrepreneurs, sometimes it’s about having a good attitude, etc…the list goes on. Every day is different. Once I have my coffee ready to go, I sit down and take notes. I then pick a few other videos to watch/listen to and continue writing. I have years worth of journals with little notes, quotes & helpful tips. You name it, I’ve probably watched a video about it. I love everything from business and success, to religion and spirituality, to health and fitness, dating and relationships…the list goes on. This might be a BOLD statement, but I honestly feel that I have learned more from YouTube than I ever did in a classroom. 

Review My Goals
I have a very specific list of short and long term goals in a “note” on my phone. I pull them up and look at them every morning. I have my goal and next to it the reason why I want to accomplish it. Rereading this everyday keeps me focused and gives me purpose. 

Exercise 
Last, but certainly not least…exercise. I rarely start my day without a workout. Of course I exercise for the aesthetics…but I truly workout for my mental health. I am such a happier, more positive person when I get my body and endorphins moving first thing in the morning. It truly keeps my thoughts upbeat, light and optimistic all day long. 

This might seem like a lot to do first thing in the morning, but I get this all done in 1 hour. It’s my “selfish” hour. Growing up, my dad always said to my sister and I,“Be selfish—take care of thyself.” I always thought that was a rather, well…selfish…statement. Now that I’m older, I get it. If I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of anyone else. You can’t pour from an empty cup. That’s why I whole heartedly mean it when I say that my morning rituals changed my life. 

Following my last blog post, I’ve had a few people reach out to me asking how I got to the point I’m at now. It has been a multitude of different things (that’s for sure) and years of work, but my morning rituals is definitely at the top of the list. Starting your day right is a complete game changer. I believe rituals are one of the most effective and self-empowering ways to change your morning, change your day, and change your life. 

Try creating some of your own rituals & see how it changes your day. 

Keep on keepin’ on—

XX, Laura 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

turning 25

Well damn, out with 24 and in with 25. This year completely flew by—and what a year it was. A year of growth, adventure, learning and fun. Here’s what I took away from my 24th year: 

Gratitude Gratitude Gratitude 
This is easily one of the most important things in my life—having & expressing gratitude. Every morning before I get out of bed and every night before I fall asleep, I thank God for all of the many blessings in my life—for the day, my life, my family, my friends, the health & happiness of everyone I love. I truly believe that the key to happiness is gratefulness. I always remind myself, “The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for.”

Own Who You Are 
“The greatest act of courage is to be & own all that you are. Without apology. Without excuses. & Without any masks to cover the truth of who you really are.” Really owning who you are is THE most freeing thing you will ever do—your personality, your life, your background, your story, how you were raised, your thoughts, your beliefs, your body, how you dress, what you like, what you want…own it, rock it, and make NO excuses for it. 

Develop a “No F*cks to Give Attitude” 
This is more of a recent thing for me. I’m not really sure how it came about, to be honest…but it’s working for me. It’s not that I don’t give a f*ck about anything…it’s just I’m much more selective on what I do give a f*ck about. Things just don’t bother me like they use to. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I care less. I know what’s most important to me, who's important to me and where to invest my time & energy. Learn to let the little shit goooooooo. 

Doing Things Alone Will Empower You 
A good chunk of my 24th year was spent alone, as I decided to spend 6 months in another state where I knew no one. It was challenging, no doubt…but so worth it. I gained a lot of confidence from this and really learned to love my own company. Learning how to depend and take care of yourself is so important and pretty badass. 

Embrace The Confusion
I had this conversation with my Nana last week about the confusion that happens while navigating through your twenties. It’s confusing AF…but learning how to embrace it and enjoy it for what it is, makes life a hella lot easier. Besides, where’s the fun in having everything figured out? 

Support Your Friends & Celebrate Their Success
I read somewhere once that when you support a small business, you’re supporting someone’s dream. I think that relates to all aspects of life—school, jobs, businesses. Rooting for your friends & family makes a huge impact because to me it says, “I believe in you.” There’s nothing in the world I want more than for my family and friends to be happy and wildly “successful” with whatever they do, as I hope they would want the same for me. We’re all just trying to “make it,” and it’s comforting to know that you have a team behind you. 

Everything Happens For a Reason
I know, this sounds so cliche but I am SUCH a firm believer that everything happens for a reason—every single thing. The good, the bad..it all leads you to where you’re meant to be. Dark times teach you a lot & make the great times that much sweeter. The flowers always remind us that the rain was necessary. *Insert God’s Plan by Drake*

If They Don’t Know You Personally, Don’t Take it Personal
Usually the people who know the least about you have the most to say. Unfortunate, but true. Whenever I hear something about myself or my family that’s not very kind, I think to myself, “They must not know me.” 

Destined To Be An Old Woman With No Regrets  
This is my #1 goal in life—to get to the end of my life with no regrets. I have a bit of a “Go big or go home,” mentality about this. When you really think about the fact that we’re all going to be old and eventually gone someday, why wouldn’t we live it up, be spontaneous, be wild, be crazy (within reason..lol), make mistakes, and go after the things we want to do and be whoever the heck we want to be? It makes no sense, not to! 

Love Yourself Fiercely 
This might be the most important thing I’m taking away from my 24th year—self love. As someone who struggled deeply with disordered eating in the past, I wish I could tell every girl out there to love and accept themselves so fiercely because they are perfect just the way they are. When I think back to those times in my life, it’s hard to believe that the girl I was then and the girl I am today are the same person. Turning 25, I know who I am, I like who I am, and I’m proud of who I am. I don’t say that in a conceited way, but because I know that you can have everything in the world and if you don’t love and accept yourself… it all means nothing.

Happiness Is A Choice 
Shit happens to all of us, but everyday we make the decision on how we’re going to show up and what kind of attitude we’re going to have. Waiting for circumstances to change or improve before we feel that we can be happy is a lose lose game. Positivity and an optimistic attitude win every single time. It’s much easier to go through life when you have a smile on your face. 

Constantly Challenge Yourself 
Following the point above, Tony Robbins says the key to happiness = progress. Setting small goals has been an incredible key to my happiness this year. I think we’re all wildly capable of more than we think we are and when you set and reach goals that you weren’t sure you could do, boom—happiness. 

Let People Live 
I hate being judged, therefore I’ve made the conscious effort this year to not judge others as well. I had this conversation with someone the other night. They said, “You didn’t judge me.” And I said, “Yeah, because you didn’t judge me.” I heard someone say once that we all live in glass houses, and no one has clean windows. Ain’t that the truth! Now my attitude is more—oh you smoke? Good for you. You wear a lot of makeup? Sweet. You do drugs? Cool. You don’t have life figured out? Me either. It’s none of my business what others do with their lives, nor should it matter to them how I live mine. 

You’re Never Going To Find Yourself
Oh boy was I caught up in this web for the longest time! My early twenties were dedicated to “finding myself.” Wtf does that even mean??? Like one day, the real me was just going to pop out of thin air and say, “Here I am!” No, no, no…YOU decide who you are. You decide by what you do, what you think about, what you like, who you love, books you read, music you listen to, how you dress, who you hang out with—it’s all up to you.

You Can’t Make New Old Friends 
My friends & I were talking about this at our last girls night. We’ve all gone off and grown in different directions but the thing we all have in common is our history together. We know everything about each other—our families, our stories, our relationships, our wins, our losses…there’s no mask, no filters…we are who we are with each other. Friends like that are one in a million and although we don’t see each other as much as we use to, we all know that we’re always “there.” 

You Will Never Regret Being Kind 
This is pretty self-explanatory, but something that I believe is worth the mention. Life is hard and we never know what other people are going through, or have gone through. It’s much easier to react harshly at times, but in the end, that doesn’t ever make either side feel better. You might be the person that changes a day (or a life) around for one hurting person just by being kind. 

I’m now officially a quarter of a century old and I couldn't be more excited about it. I know some people have a hard time with 25, but I think it’s a really cool age. I’m content with where I’m at, excited to see where I’m going, and truly believe, “The best is yet to be.” I’ve got a roof over my head, food on the table, and a family and group of friends that love me. Life is good, baby. 

“And then it happens…One day you wake up and you’re in this place. You’re in this place where everything feels right. Your heart is calm. Your soul is lit. Your thoughts are positive. Your vision is clear. Your faith is stronger than ever. And you’re at peace. At peace with where you’ve been. At peace with what you’ve been through. And at peace with where you’re headed…”

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura 

Friday, May 18, 2018

you're dead a long time

Officially back “home” from Park City, UT after spending the past 6 months there. It’s been a whirl wind of a ride to say the least…but one of the best whirl winds of my life. It’s hard to put into words how I feel about the time I spent out west, but to sum it up—it completely changed my life. 

Leaving my comfortable life in New York and moving to small ski town in Utah (completely alone) was THE most challenging thing I’ve ever done—but it was also the most rewarding. 

There were many lonely nights, tears cried, sad times, and “WTF am I doing here?” moments…but there was by far more growth, new experiences, fun, accomplishments and bucket list items checked off. Since I’ve been home, not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about my time out west. Never in my life have I felt so free and independent as I did while I was there. 

I told my parents recently that sometimes you don’t realize the best moments of your life until they’ve passed by. If I could go back and do my journey out west all over again…I would do it in a heartbeat. The same path, the same mistakes, the same job, the same people, the same bars, the same music, the same road trips…everything.

Park City, UT — Jackson Hole, WY — Steamboat Springs, CO … three little towns that have forever left a tremendous imprint on my heart. I can still remember exactly how I felt in every moment that I spent in these tiny little towns. I still remember the rush of skiing down Ninety Nine 90 at the top of Park City Ski Resort for my first time—fear and excitement all wrapped up in one. The feeling of walking up and down Main Street and looking in the store fronts. I remember the feeling of (literally) “skiing in the clouds” at Jackson Hole and taking a shot of whiskey at The Million Dollar Cowboy bar sitting on a horse saddle having conversations with random old men. I remember walking around the town of Steamboat Springs with the frigid air on my face, accidentally eating elk and going back to the Slopeside Bar to have a “Butcher Knife Amputator IPA” with a guy I had just met who I felt as though I had known forever. 

Every slope I skied, every road trip I took, every person I met, every beer and wine I drank… I remember it like it was yesterday. The person I was before I left and the person I am now…are two completely different people. In fact, coming home hasn’t been as smooth as a transition as I thought it would be. 

I just feel different. 

“It's a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what's changed, is you.” 

Some of you must be wondering if I’ll be headed back next ski season…and the truth is, I will not. It was a wildly incredible experience…but once was enough for ski town living (for me). As for what’s next…I guess you’ll have to wait and see. 

For anyone who is reading this that is thinking about taking a chance in their life, making a big change, totally switching things up…I encourage you to just do it! It’s scary, sure…but soooooo worth the memories and reward. The truth is, your comfort zone will always be there…you can always go back to it…so you might as well take the jump. Go after something you’ve wanted to do your whole life, start the business, ask that person out, uproot your life… just do it. 

You’re dead a long time.

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura