6.24.2015

My summer meal obsession

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, its no secret that I'm obsessed with cooking clean healthy food (and the occasional sweet treat). Summer is my favorite time of the year and gets me so inspired to try tons of new recipes and go back to some of my old favorites. Now that we have our own house, I am so grateful for summer evenings on the patio (which still needs a complete makeover) and relaxing with a chilled class of Sauvignon Blanc. I love to catch up with friends, chat with my hubby or pin new recipes. We have yet to have friends over yet but when we do, I will serve up this Orzo, Shrimp and Feta salad that I first had at my mother-in-law's house. We are both die-hard Ina Garten fans and this recipe delivers every time.

Ina Garten's Roasted Shrimp & Orzo (serves 6)




Kosher salt
Good olive oil
¾ pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
½ cup small-diced red onion
¾ pound good feta cheese, large-diced


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don’t overcook!

Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

Try it and let me know what you think! Post your pictures to IG and tag me with #summereats #luckyandlovelycooks. I want to see your favorite summer recipes.

6.19.2015

My pretty skin secret: Pro-Plenish Marine Collagen Review

What’s a girl to do when there are only so many hours in the day to primp, maintain hair/skin/nails, work out and maintain a healthy, nourished body? As a 40-something working mama, I can use the extra help in any form I can get it in. Regular water is no longer cutting it. Now I have “pretty water.” What is my pretty skin secret? Let me tell you about my new beauty weapon. I recently had the opportunity to try Proplenish edible marine collagen supplement. Proplenish is oderless, colorless, dissolvable supplement that you add to your food or beverages. As we age, we produce less and less collagen, this supplement restores the natural collagen that our bodies produce.

Why is replacing collagen so fabulous? By increasing our bodies collagen levels, skin becomes more hydrated and plump, fine lines are smoothed, hair is strengthened from the root and weak, brittle nails are rejuvenated. Additionally, collagen can assist with lean muscle gain and tone, training and exercise recovery. Proplenish marine collagen is 100% natural and free of fat, carbs, sugar, dairy, lactose, soy, wheat and gluten. It comes in loose powder form and convenient sachets making it easy to mix into tea, coffee, yogurt or your favorite smoothie each day.

Here is the scoop: I can’t recommend Proplenish enough. First of all, I can barely taste it and it goes down easy. I am someone who likes everything to taste good so this is a major plus for me. I add it in to my daily smoothie mix, drink and go. Since I have been using pro-plenish, My sleep is so much better. The fabulous benefit is that my skin is supple and vibrant. The dark circles around my eyes have diminished and my occasional adult acne has completely cleared up. My skin is a more even toned and softer than its ever been. My kiddos and husband have noticed and compliment me all the time (Major points for that!). My hair (which is already thick, curly and unruly) has grown in thicker and I have noticed less breakage and shedding (even my hairstylist remarked!) I feel more energy and vibrancy since I have been using pro-plenish (worth its weight in gold for that alone!)





Here is what I put in my “Pretty smoothie” that makes me look and feel so so beautiful.

Funky Monkey: Peanut butter Banana Chocolate Pro-plenish Smoothie
6 oz coconut milk
scoop of pro-plenish marine collagen
scoop of protein powder
spoonful of peanut butter
1 frozen banana
handful of ice
Blend and enjoy!





Are you curious about Pro-plenish? If you would like to try it (and I can’t recommend this product enough) head over to http://www.proplenish.com.au. I would love to see your results. Tag me and Pro-plenish on IG #proplenish #beautyfromwithin and let us see your beauty.

*This post is kindly sponsored by Proplenish and is powered by Brandbacker. All opinions are completely own. Although, I received the product for free, I carefully considered this product before reviewing it. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog! 

6.18.2015

Prayers for Charleston

My heart hurts at the the thought of this senseless tragedy. I can't wrap my head around the pain the families must be feeling right now. Where can we be safe? Where can our children be safe? How do I explain this my little ones? Praying for peace and clarity at this time. #prayerforcharleston #emmanualame

5.22.2015

Style File: What to Wear to the Playground

My friend Sharee emailed me and asked, "What stores are you loving lately? I need to do some shopping and my goal is "how to look cute at the playground." Aha moment! Yes, of course, because JUST because you are at the playground does not automatically qualify you to look a hot mess.

My "playground look" starts with my mama uniform of tee, jeans or shorts and funky accessories. It's almost summer and its time to show some skin and legs (yes, ladies that means break out the razor or book that wax appointment.) It's time to ditch the yoga pants and the saggy running shorts. I know we have to work out but that does not mean your workout gear is your all day gear. I get it, you want to be comfortable, but I promise, we have options. Now mamas, lets dive in.



1. The essential T-shirt is your foundation. I personally am obsessed with navy and white striped tees and I buy about 3 per season, long sleeve for fall and winter, short sleeve and tank for summer. I just love a stripe t-shirt. I pair them with jean jackets, white jeans and shorts, skirts and joggers. Graphic, striped or just plain white, start here for your playground chic and remix it with bold accessories. 

Scoop up a few of these:
Women's Short Sleeve V-Neck Tee - Target  • $8.50

Women's Striped Cap-Sleeved Tees • Old Navy • $14
FOREVER 21 Stripe V-Neck Tee • Forever 21 • $7.80
Three-quarter sleeve football tee in stripe • J.Crew • $39.99
LOVE 21 Chouchou Graphic Tee • LOVE21 • $14.90
Hello tee • J.Crew • $29.99 - Use code "WEEKEND" for 30% off, including sale styles





2. Patterned Shorts. Don't be afraid to mix it up and go a little bold and colorful this summer. You don't have to be a skinny minny to try this trend and you will feel so cute. Playful patterned shorts can take you from the play ground to brunch with the girls while making you look super cute and put together. 

I have my eye on:
Factory 5" Tie-Dye linen-Cotton Short • J.Crew Factory • $29.50
Petite Abstract Riviera Shorts with 3 1/2 Inch Inseam • LOFT • $49.50  - 40% off Everything, no code needed.
LOVE 21 Abstract Print Pleated Shorts • LOVE21 • $11.13
LOVE 21 Abstract Mosaic Drawstring Shorts • LOVE21 • $10.43
Printed summer shorts • Gap • $31.99  - Use code "SUMMER" for 40% off




3. Shift Dress. One essential that you must add to your summer wardrobe this year is a versatile shift dress. Dresses are essential for summer because you can pair them with flat sneaks for busy playground days, cute ballet flats for coffee meetings and errands and dress them up with wedge heels or mid-heels for date night. 


I'm obsessed with these:
OLIVE AND OAK Swish Your Direction Dress • $69.99
Jack by BB Dakota Are We There Yacht? Dress • BB Dakota • $59.99
Women's Sleeveless Chambray Shift Dresses • Old Navy • $34
Women's Striped Linen-Blend Shift Dresses • Old Navy • $30 
- Up to 50% Memorial Day Sale
FOREVER 21 Life In Progress Wrap Belt Chambray Dress • Forever 21 • $24.90  - Memorial Day sale, take 30% select items.




4. Jean Shorts:  I like the ease and comfort of a worn in pair of jean shorts with a little distressing and I also love a crisp, dark pair with a hint of whiskering to pair with a tee and a blazer on those days when I want to mix it up a bit and have to take meetings (in between playdates). 


 Some of my favs are: Denim Shorts in Galaxy Blue with 3 1/2 Inch Inseam • LOFT • $49.50
Plus Size Refuge ""Boyfriend"" Denim Shorts • Charlotte Russe • $27.99
Slouchy Destroyed Denim Boyfriend Shorts • Express • $35.94
Soho Jeans Boyfriend Short - Theatrical Blue Wash • New York & Co. • $39.95
Low Rise Midi Jean Short Frayed Hem - Mossimo • Mossimo • $19.99






5. Accessories: Here is where the magic happens. Using the staples we discussed above, add some new accessories to your wardrobe this summer and everything will feel shiny and new again. I am a sucker for anything with a pattern and hint of whimsy. These are some of my favs and for an added bonus, most give back to communites that are struggling to get out of poverty. Look good by doing good. 
Shop here: 
3. Bracelet : The Shine Project Alex Bracelet • $14
4. Scarf: The Siren Scarf • India Hicks • $58
5. Sandals: Tom's Bella Espadrille • $64

What is your go to summer outfit? Tag your summer style on IG and twitter with #luckyandlovely #mysummerstyle

* This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog!



5.04.2015

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Mother's day is less than a week away and I have rounded up my top picks for gifts for you. What I love most about these gifts is that any mom anything you get. We don't want much, a simple breakfast in bed or brunch out with the family and a love token of your appreciation. New mamas would love a hot shower alone, a cup of tea and a few hours to read a book in peace. A sweet hug and a homemade card will also suffice for showing mom how much you care. Whatever you chose, give it with lots of love and mom will appreciate it.





Happy day to all the mamas out there. May your Sunday the filled with love, hugs and snuggles from your favorite people.

* This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog!


4.30.2015

Lovely Mama: 5 survival tips for working mamas

Happy Thursday lovely mamas! Women ask me all the time, "how do you find the time to "_________________" insert random task here (do a side-hustle, get your hair done, read a book, cook a hot meal, have date night) with all the other things you have to do for your family? I decided to share some of my tips, tricks and favorites to help all you hardworking mamas out there. Now I am not saying I am some perfect mama who looks glowing and beautiful at carpool, works out everyday and while cooking a perfectly balanced pinterest-worthy meal in a spotless home. Pul-lease. Let's get real. I am a real mama with the same amount of chaos and crazy as many of you, but I enjoy life and I have learned a few tips along this journey that have actually given me back some of my sanity.

1. Early Riser
Wake up before your family gets up. I know this may be an unpopular tip but trust me, it works. Getting up 30-45 minutes earlier than your family will give you time in the morning to meditate, exercise, get clarity on your intentions for the day and crank out a few tasks before the day starts. Here are tips on how to wake up earlier and what to do:
• move your alarm across the room

• do 20 minutes of stretching, walking or aerobic exercise
• do not look at facebook or email, read a motivational book or blog post
• plan your day or do a task that needs to be done 


2. Plan out your week
Grab a cheap planner from Target and sit down (or hide in the bathroom) on Sunday night and look at your schedule for the week. Is everything absolutely necessary? If its not a "hell yea!" so no. It's ok, you don't have to volunteer for every single thing at your kid's school.

3. Time block
Time blocking is great for doing tasks for your side hustle. Your blocks can be as small as 15 minutes. You can do anything in 15 minutes like
• make 2 phone calls
• write 2 thank you notes
• check on 2 clients
• brainstorm 2 blog posts
• plan meals for the next 2 days
• pack 2 lunches
• spot clean a room

Notice my theme of doing things in 2? You can do at least 2 tasks in 15 minutes.
Break down your task, set an alert on your phone and give yourself a break if you skip a day (or 20).

4. Plan your meals
Take an extra 20-30 minutes to plan meals for the week or even for the month and boom! Now you have a plan for meals. Personally, the what-to-cook-for dinner-dilemma is the most menacing and stressful tasks I have. Even if you don't stick to it, I like having an idea of meals for the week. I try to cook seasonally and let what is fresh and available dictate most of my meals. Frankly, sometimes my meal planning means rotating the same five meals each week but there are no complaints from my family so it works for me. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to be planned so you don't have to think about it.

Bonus! Grab my meal plan for the month of May when you sign up for my insider email.


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5. Buy back your time. Yet another, meaningful tip I learned from the lovely ladies I work with. While I adore being in a mentorship role to my team, sometimes I feel like I am drowning in tasks and to-dos. Until I learned to buy back my time. Yes! Duuuuuuh!!! Why didn't I think of that? Your time is valuable and you can pay others to do tasks that free you up to do what you love like, spending time with your kids or hubby, working on your sidehustle, or taking time for yourself and self care.

Here are a few ways to buy back your time:
• Set a timer for 15 minutes in the morning and evening and have "family pick up time" to save time on huge housecleaning tasks. A little bit each day helps. 

• Prep and cook most of your meals on Sunday evenings. Using a crockpot has been an enormous time saver for me. I make ahead freezer meals (pop over to my pinterest board for LOADS of recipes here , here and here) and pop one in the crockpot on hectic days. YUM!

• Hire a teenager or friend to watch your kids for a few hours (you can also swap with other mama friends), do administrative tasks in your office, prepare packages for shipping.

• Try not to go to the store. For anything. Shop online and buy in bulk to save money and time.
  • Try Instacart to bring me fresh groceries from Whole Foods & Costco. If they are in your area, you have to try this, order online and have your groceries to your house in an hour. Hello time saver....and sanity saver.
  • While you are in the mood of having things delivered, let me share, I am completely obsessed with Club W to have affordable, sustainable, personally selected wines delivered to my door.
  • I have become obsessed with the cleaning supplies and body care products from Honest Company, I order the Honest Bundles and keep my house fresh and sparkly clean. I have to feel good about what I am using and this makes it easier.
  • Spend a quick 15 minutes doing your own nails and save time going to the nail salon. I love being a Julep Maven and getting a new shipment of fun nail colors each month to try. I save time and have a gorgeous manicure every week. It's relaxing and refreshing to do at my desk once a week before I start my day. Try your first box FREE with code SCORE (just pay $2.99 shipping).

Cheers to you hardworking mamas out there, I hope these tips help you keep your sanity and sense of peace. Your hardwork is much appreciated by your family. Take some time to be in the moment, hug and snuggle your little ones (or big ones if they will let you).  

Tweet this: Mamas, dedicate 1 hour a day or even 1 hour a week to self-care. Lovely mamas deserve self-care and your family will love having a happy mama.
 

What are your favorite tips for balancing work and motherhood? I would love to know.

* This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are completely own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support this blog!

4.29.2015

Warby Parker | Luminary Collection

I love when things are incredibly well designed. Products that are well crafted and thought out with details are a joy to look at and use. Like I have always said, when you look good, you feel good. Recently I was introduced to the new Luminary Collection by Warby Parker and I am absolutely smitten with this collection for several reasons.

• The collection is inspired by visionaries, artists and people who dared to be different. I LOVE this!
• The materials for the styles are made from lightweight Japanese titanium.
• The five styles have a very vintage inspired look with a modern feel. 
• Each style looks amazing in clear glasses and in darker lenses for shades.
• With each purchase a pair gives someone in need a pair. Giving back is so important to me.

The best part? You can try 5 for free at home or visit your local store if there is one in your area ( I am lucky! We have one here that I must visit, STAT!). Cheers! It is almost the weekend. What are you most looking forward to this weekend?

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