Why I Love Living in the Country

Off the Beaten Path: Living in the Country

I have lived in the country or mountains all my life. One of the smallest sizes of land we have had is our current 20 acres. I have no idea what it is like to have neighbors. I have no idea what it’s like to hear city noise. However, I do know what it’s like to connect with nature, plants, animals, and fresh air. To enjoy beautiful views, hear the crickets and toads serenade me to sleep, drive long roads over rolling hills, and to shoo a run-away cow back into its pasture.

Living in the Country is Therapy for my Soul

Currently I live on 20 acres about 12 miles from town. The dozen or so miles that separate me from civilization are long winding roads lined with mended fences, old oak trees, dilapidated barns, grazing land, and an occasional vineyard. It’s peaceful. Somehow the long day is just stripped away as I pass pastureland dotted with cows, sheep, horses, goats, and white boxy beehives. The bumper to bumper traffic, long lines, and impatient people fade away the farther I drive. I’m still taken aback when I catch a glimpse of wildlife; a turkey, a deer, or racoon. Or the beauty of nature; a roaring creek after a rainstorm, a fallen tree, or blooming wildflowers creating a blanket of color.
There’s always a curiosity about what’s around the next corner, a group of cyclists, a slow-moving tractor, or a fox darting across the road. The unpredictability is what makes the drive extraordinary. But the predictability is just as special. I know the exact stretch of road where the two pigs love to hang out. I know the precise moment when I will see the llamas with their toothy grins and adorable looks waiting to crane their necks to watch me drive by. I love to cross over the one-lane bridge that straddles the creek that looks as if it was mined a hundred years ago. I eagerly watch the massive blackberry patch coating a half mile stretch, anticipating the moment when I can pull over and snack on a few. Some might think the drive is a waste of time, for me it’s a familiar rhythm that is welcomed.
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Dress Up a Concert T-Shirt with a Blazer

Every time I go to a concert, I always get a shirt. For me it’s my favorite souvenir, it reminds me of being there, in the moment. It’s something that I can pull out and wear that is attached to the memory of that experience. The exclusive piece of memorabilia creates a timeline as most concert shirts are a particular year and a specific concert. Many list cities that were toured and some have unique graphics and bold artwork.
Everyone knows there’s nothing cooler than a vintage concert t-shirt. It shows you had insider status and allows you to show that you are a fan of that artist and their music. I envision myself wearing it when I’m older, it’s worn, broken in and well loved. Countless washes have faded and softened it to the point that it’s the ultimate causal shirt.
This concert tee is from Charlie Puth’s Voicenotes Tour. I saw him in South Lake Tahoe at the Harvey’s Outdoor Amphitheater with my friend Chloe, August 19, 2018. It was a blast! Charlie is an epic performer, I can’t wait to see him again when he does his next tour.
Pair your concert t-shirt with a blazer and wear it with your favorite pair of jeans and the look automatically makes a statement. It’s the perfect balance between causal and dressed-up.
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Shamelessly Shopping the Men’s Department

I am notorious for shamelessly shopping in the men’s section. Some of my best finds I’ve gotten in the men’s department, Levi jeans, the perfect graphic tee, but I espically love men’s button-down shirts. I don’t know why it is, but they have the best prints and designs. I like that the sleeves are always long enough and sometimes have a fun coordinating print in the inside of the cuff when you flip it up. They are better quality and construction and usually more affordable, this shirt I bought from Ross for only $9. There’s just something about that look of a slouchy men’s dress shirt paired with jeans that love.
Just like boyfriend jeans, boyfriend shirts have that casual vibe that is so easy to wear. We’ve all been guilty of wearing our boyfriends’ clothes before—espically hoodies and flannels. They are big and cozy and smell so good and are perfect for that relaxed boyfriend style.
Women’s and Men’s shirts button on the opposite side. So how do you know when you’re truly wearing a men’s shirt? Women’s buttons are on the left side, while men’s are on the right.
Levi’s 721 High Rise Skinny Jeans with Patches
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Graduation, Excited and Nostalgic

Graduation is right around the corner, May 18th and as it quickly approaches, I find myself getting a little excited and a little nostalgic. I am barely 19, (just had my birthday a few days ago) so I am graduating when most people start college. Graduating early is very exciting but also bittersweet.
I attend California State University, Sacramento. I will earn my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration: Entrepreneurship. I’ve been very fortunate to have several exceptional professors, one of whom, has been mentoring me. What excites me is that I will be able to get out in the world and apply all that I have learned. I am lucky to have several job opportunities waiting for me when I graduate so I don’t have a fear of not being able to get a job. I don’t have resume anxiety—I’m a business major we polish that thing every semester! I know what I need to do to pursue my goals.
What makes me sentimental is that college has been my main focus since I was 13. I’m good at it and I enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, not being a slave to a syllabus and homework will be amazing, but I love to learn, and I like structure. I also enjoy the majority of my professors. Their personal stories over the years have been very entertaining. Years ago, I actually started writing some of them down because they were so hilarious, and I didn’t want to forget them.
Scantron, calculator, and pencil vending machine at Sacramento State!
Eating Lunch in Class

Campus is my home away from home.

I’m comfortable there. I know where everything is, I’ve mastered parking, and know all the great places to grab a bite to eat. I enjoy mingling with fellow students and preparing for presentations and projects with those in my classes. I love how campus looks as the seasons change. I get excited with all the wildlife that scurries around, squirrels and a fox once! When the therapy animals are on campus, it’s heaven! You walk out of a class and you are greeted with dogs to love on. I won’t be sad that it’s over, I’ll smile because all of it happened.
I’ve written a post, Top 5 Ways to Get Through College Without Student Loans. It was how I got through college debt free.
Sacramento State in the Fall
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Soothing Earth Tones for Spring Neutrals

I love head-to-toe neutrals for spring. They are simple and sophisticated and never go out of style. It’s super easy to pull clothes from your winter wardrobe and incorporate them into the new season.
Though they might seem basic, I love earth tones. They are warm, comforting and so versatile. Cream, cinnamon, and moss tones provide a fresh take on spring. Neutral accessories finish off the look for a classic take.
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3 Masks You Need Because Skin Care is Self-Care

I struggle with acne and I have naturally oily skin, I have found that masks really help me to get control over my skin. These are 3 masks which have different purposes and I have found using all of them has helped to clear my skin and boost my confidence. Masks are the perfect way to start getting in the habit of self-love and self-care. I’ve written a post here about how Self-Care needs to be Self-Initiated.

1. Andalou Naturals - Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask

This is a brightening mask with glycolic acid exfoliates dead skin cells to work magic on your skin. This mask helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, clean pores, and will soften skin. Initially the mask tingles but the tingling sensation means it’s working. Some reviews say the tingling feels like burning on very sensitive skin types but most people don’t have any problems with it. It’s recommended to leave it on for 10-20 minutes, it doesn’t tingle too much for me so I leave it on for the full 20 minutes. I use this mask once a week. For those of you who like the smell of pumpkin, honey, and warm spices, you will enjoy the scent. Personally, I like how it smells, it reminds me of pumpkin pie.

2. Freeman - Polishing Charcoal + Black Sugar Gel Mask + Scrub

This mask I have found really great for my blackheads and the little bumps that I often get on my forehead. It detoxes your pores and then the scrub softens your skin and lifts dead skin cells. It also absorbs oils which is great if you have oily skin like I do. After this mask my face will get a little red from the scrub but I make sure to get my acne prone areas really good. It’s recommended to leave it on for 5-7 minutes, I usually leave it on for 10 minutes. I try to use this mask at least twice a week. I also really enjoy the smell of this mask!

3. Pacifica - Kale Brighten Enzymatic Overhaul Mask

This mask is really great for blackheads, it detoxes your pores. This mask goes on smooth and then tightens. After it makes my face feel soft and clean. This mask can be used daily, I don’t use it daily but I try to use it as often as possible. It’s recommended to leave it on for 5-15 minutes and I usually do the full 15 minutes. This is by far the oddest smelling mask but it does wonders for my skin so the smell is easily overlooked!
Have you used any of these masks? I would love to know what your opinions on them are and if they work for you! Let me know in the comments.
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2 Easy Overnight Oats Recipes

I make overnight oats at least once a week. They are thick, creamy and so delicious. They are super convenient for those mornings when I’m running out the door. I grab a jar and eat it in the car on my commute to school.
My recipes are all over the place. I typically use whatever fruit and nuts I have in the house. However, the base of the recipe never changes.

Base

Oats: I use old-fashion Quaker Oats. I’ve used steel cuts oats too and they’ve turned out great.
Chia Seeds: Chia seeds thicken up the oatmeal and are a great pop of texture. They are super healthful (here’s a post explaining the difference between healthful and healthy), full of nutrients, including fiber, protein, manganese and calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Flaxseed: Ground flaxseed also thickens the oatmeal and are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein and phytochemicals called lignans.
Almond Milk: Any type of non-dairy milk can be used. You can play with flavors by changing up the milk.

The Two Flavors I Make the Most

Banana: one whole banana, cinnamon, pecans, and a dollop of nut butter. The banana makes it sweet but if you want it a little sweeter add some honey or maple syrup.
Berry: Strawberries, blueberries, and a dollop of jam. My mom makes the best homemade plum jam I and it sweetens it perfectly.
I layer the ingredients and then fill the jar with almond milk just until the oats are covered. Pop them in the fridge and you’re done.
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The Perfect Jacket for Transitioning to Spring

As we move into spring, a cozy cropped jacket is a must for the transitional weather. The weather has been crazy here in Northern California and despite it being April it doesn’t feel like spring is here yet. But it’s definitely time to put away the heavy winter coats and bring out something a little lighter. A cropped jacket is the perfect piece for the warmer weather because it doesn’t have the bulk. I love this jacket because it’s perfect for layering. The tie-waist is a great detail and you can dress it up or down.

Is There A Difference Between a Jacket and a Coat?

Yes, there is. A coat is longer than a jacket. A coat usually falls anywhere from mid-thigh to below the knee. Coats are typically warmer. Jackets are shorter and hit just below the waist. They are lighter weight, great for layering, and apt for transitional weather.
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Fall Asleep, Relax, Heal, and Meditate with an App

Setting aside time to relax is important and a great way to establish a healthy routine for good self-care. I talked about how Self-Care Needs to be Self-Initiated in a previous post. Meditation is one of the activities I do for self-care. I can’t say that I meditate, at least not in the traditional sense. What I practice is mindfulness meditation. A very simplistic way to explain the difference between the two are, meditation is the practice to reach a heightened level of consciousness while mindfulness meditation is relaxing and focusing on the present.
Insight Timer is the app I use for relaxing, mediating, and even to fall asleep. What I love about this app is that it is free and that it has so much to offer. It has over 15,000 free meditations. There’s bound to be something for everyone. I really enjoy the guided meditations. I find when someone is guiding me, I stay more focused and by the end I feel more relaxed and centered. You can choose the amount of time you want to meditate and there’s an array of topics. Below is a screen shot of some of the topics.
Insight Timer Topics
I’ve recently discovered the bedtime stories. Listening to a story is a great way to wind down and get ready for sleep. If you aren’t ready for sleep after a bedtime story, simply move on over to a sleep meditation and you will drift off before you know it. My quality of sleep has really improved since I’ve been using the guided sleep meditations. Harvard Medical School recently published how meditation helps fight insomnia and improved sleep. You can read about the study here.
Insight Timer Bedtime Stories
Beginning a routine can be difficult however, if you start out small, even a few minutes a day, you will see the results.
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Easy Plant-Based Fajitas

These plant-based fajitas are an array of beautiful color, big on flavor and super *healthful. This meal is easy to prepare and fast to cook which makes it the perfect meal for a busy weeknight.
*Healthful describes something that will create good health, like eating lots of veggies or excising. Healthy describes someone fit or athletic. Here is a good link to explain the difference between Healthful and Healthy.
Homemade fajita seasoning.
Packing a meal as full of veggies as you can is important. The base of this dish is fresh bell peppers—the more colors you can get the better, onions—red or yellow will work, and roma tomatoes. The secret ingredient to my fajitas is the homemade seasoning. This seasoning is incredibly simple to make, and you should have most of the spices in your pantry. It’s gluten free and doesn’t contain MSG like most store-bought packets.

Fajita Seasoning Recipe


•2 tablespoons chili powder

•1 tablespoon ground cumin

• 1 teaspoon paprika

• 2 teaspoons salt

• 2 teaspoons sugar

• 2 teaspoons garlic powder

• 1 teaspoon onion powder

• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I use Slap Ya Mama Hot Cajun Seasoning—it’s the best!)

• 2 tablespoons of corn starch
Mix all the ingredients except for the corn starch. Dip your finger in and take a taste, adjust flavors if needed. Then add corn starch. The corn starch is a thickener and helps make that wonderful juicy fajita sauce that runs down your arm. This makes enough for several dinners so keep it in an air tight container and store it with your other spices.
Over medium heat lightly sauté veggies in a little olive oil. Don’t overcook, you want them to have a little bite to them. Turn down heat and stir in tomatoes. Sprinkle in the seasoning—use as much as you like—it’s all about the flavor! Depending on how juicy the veggies are it should begin to thicken, if needed add a splash of water. Serve in grilled corn tortillas and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!
Plant-based fajitas.
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