Monday, March 27, 2017

What You Say Matters


The idea for this post struck me while I was babysitting a few weeks back. Kids are like sponges and soak up everything you say- the good and the bad. I found it odd that parents teach kids to say please and thank you, the ABC's, and about the world around them the lesson most often missed is how to love yourself. Kids parrot what they hear from their parents. Ever hear a kid say a bad word and ask them where they got it from? Chances are they heard it from one of their parents.

One of the things I heard most often growing up was how unhappy my mom was about how she looked. She always complained about needing to lose 5 pounds, how she couldn't have whatever food because it would make her fat, body part x is ugly, oh my gosh another wrinkle, a zit appeared and now I'm hideous, never wanted to wear a bathing suit because I jiggle, and the scale was never far away. This is what I heard over and over and over again and let me tell you it stuck. I grew up incredibly insecure about how I looked, my weight, and I never thought I was good enough. It lead to some pretty bad habits.

At a really young age I remember weighing myself and trying to figure out what was a good weight and what was a bad weight. When a zit would appear I would think it was the end of the world and want to put a bag over my head. I would stand in front of the mirror and pick out flaws- my stomach isn't flat enough, I don't have a thigh gap, my hair is too wavy, and so on. I literally had zero self confidence. It was what I saw, so I didn't think there was anything wrong with that behavior, but there is. 

I'm not trying to pick on my mom, but to say her behavior was healthy is far from the truth. I wish I would have had a woman tell me that looks are not the end of the world, everyone gets zits, for the love of pete throw the dang scale out the window, and nothing is more attractive than a woman with self-confidence. Instead I struggled for years with restrictive eating, then binging because I was so hungry, I hated wearing a bathing suit, and honestly I hated myself. 

Self-love is not something that comes easily and it's a process to learn. Surrounding yourself with strong women who emulate a healthy lifestyle and don't obsess over weight, every calorie consumed, etc. will help you immensely on the journey. You're not going to love yourself every day. Some days you might be more bloated and feel nasty, other days you may feel super confident rocking a crop top- everyone has good and bad days, that's life. 

I have days where my stomach is flat and I feel great, but I also have days where it looks like I'm six months pregnant and I feel like a bloated whale. No one, not celebrities, not fit instagram stars, NO ONE stays lean 24/7. Do I love my body every single day? No I don't, but I respect my body and it's limits. 

You have one body for your entire life so be kind to it. Fuel it with fruits, vegetable, and whole grains, go to sleep, exercise regularly- find a workout that you enjoy doing, but also live your life. If you want froyo, get froyo, but don't get an overflowing cup. Don't go for a run after to burn off the calories. Find balance in your life. Find what works for you. Everyone is so different so what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. 

Just remember that what you say and what you do impact those around you, whether it be positively or negatively. You never know who is watching you so be mindful. Most importantly, love yourself. I never want to hear my baby cousins fret over how much they weigh or if they have love handles. Instead, I want them to embrace their uniqueness and be proud of who they are. A scale simply tells you how much you weigh. It cannot tell you anything else. Do not let that number dictate how you feel about yourself.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Smoothies and Vet Trips: Thinking Out Loud #29

Happy Thursday! It's officially spring but I'm still waiting for the any sign of spring to show up. Yesterday the high was a balmy 35F degrees😳 I have been freezing since I got back from Hawaii and I'm crossing my fingers that warmer weather is on the way. Anyways, onward to this weeks thinking out loud!


1. What I miss most about Hawaii, aside from the weather, is running outside every day. I've said it before and I'll probably say it again but NOTHING beats running next to the ocean and watching the sunrise. It was hands down my favorite part of the day. Running on the treadmill feels like such an effort, whereas in Hawaii running was effortless. Running on the treadmill was really terrible on Sunday when all the TV's were out so I got to stare at a blank wall for an hour🙈


2. For the first time in I don't even know how long I sort of meal prepped. I didn't prep stuff for every single meal but I made a big batch of roasted veggies (I added butternut squash and didn't include potatoes) and crockpot turkey veggie meatballs. It's something easy for me to heat up throughout the week and eat for lunch or dinner. Plus I love me some roasted veggies, but I was bummed I forgot to buy mushrooms to include. I think my brain is still in vacation mode and not functioning properly.


3. Speaking of meal prepping I decided to try HelloFresh. I got three meals for two people so my boyfriend and I are going to try them. I will write up a review on how I like it, but all of the meals look really good! If you want to try HelloFresh you can use my code RACHMIN or use this link and you will get $40 off your first box. I think the first meal we are going to try is sweet and spicy apricot chicken😋


4. While I'm on the topic of food I had a smoothie bowl the other day and it was the first smoothie bowl I have had in a LONG time. Even though it's freezing outside and I'm freezing all the time I wanted a smoothie bowl, figure that one out haha. I blended together frozen strawberries, pineapple, blackberries, half a banana, one scoop of Vega protein powder, one packet of vital protein collagen, and some almond milk. I topped my smoothie with banana slices, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, Purely Elizabeth probiotic granola, and a little bit of honey. It was so thick and creamy and it made me crave sunshine and warm weather.


5. Tuesday morning I took Cora to the vet for her yearly checkup and to get some of her shots updated. I always feel terrible bringing her in for shots even though she's such a trooper and doesn't make a peep when she's poked with the needle. Dog mom problems. Cora has a lot of anxiety problems anyway but she was not happy to be at the vet. She ended up crawling up in my lap in the seats in the exam room. At 50lbs she's a little big to be a lap dog. She was back to her spunky self as soon as we got home. 


6. I just want to say a big thank you for the response I got from my last post. It was something I struggled to write because I'm still going through this transitional period not only on my blog, but also in real life. Once I wrote it I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. That may seam strange, but I felt so inauthentic with you guys and I had no desire to continually post food. My life is so much more than that and I want to reflect that on my blog. If you're wondering what I'm talking about you can read the full post here.

I'm going to end things there this week. Have a terrific day and a great weekend🎉
What would you like to see more of on the blog? I'm all ears so please anything- advice, relationships, real life talk, etc. Any and all ideas appreciated!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Identity Crisis: moving on and living in the moment


I've been struggling to write this post for a number of weeks. The ideas were in my head but getting them to come out and form coherent sentences was another story. It's also a scary topic and something that I'm struggling through right now, so opening up and being vulnerable is hard (plus Internet trolls exist). 

When I was on vacation I had plenty of time to unplug and just be present. I didn't realize the hold social media had on my life until I disconnected. For the first time in months I felt free. Freedom from the fear of missing out if I didn't log on and scroll through the various feeds. I knew I was missing out on what my friends were doing and I was ok with it. I five time zones away from home, there was simply no way I was going to stay caught up on what they were all doing. 

A large part of blogging is connecting and sharing on social media, but for a number of months I felt so uninspired. I started this blog as a way to share the recipes my friends and family always ask me for, but it ended up turning into so much more. I've been blessed to build relationships with some really awesome companies, test out some really cool products, and connect with fellow bloggers, some of whom have become really great friends. 

I got caught up in it though. I got caught up in the need to share. If I went out to eat, I had to take a picture before I dug into my food. The lighting needed to be good, I had to get the right angle, etc. But I was tired. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have walked into my kitchen over the last few months and felt so uninspired that I turned around and walked out. My meals have mostly consisted of leftovers I have found in the fridge. I honestly can't remember the last time I meal prepped or planned out my macros for the week. I can't remember the last time I baked something for sheer enjoyment. Even logging onto instagram felt like a monumental task because I was tired of having an entire feed filled with food, no matter how delicious it looked. I was so tired. 

My soul craved more. I took my vacation as a time to recenter. I did things I wanted to do for sheer enjoyment. I ran early in the morning so I could watch the sunrise, I played in the ocean, napped by the pool, ate my body weight in açai, watched the sunset, took longs walks, practiced yoga on the beach, and I didn't have my phone on me 24/7.

For the first time in months I felt alive and invigorated. I was doing things I was passionate about simply because I wanted to.

Of course I'm still passionate about healthy eating and helping other people who suffer from food allergies, intolerances, and autoimmune diseases find recipes that are delicious and don't contain crazy ingredients, but I don't think that's what I'm meant to do. 

To be totally honest I don't know what I'm meant to do. I have lots of things I'm passionate about but finding what you're meant to do is hard. I'm only 22 and I'd like to think I have a lot of time ahead of me to figure it out. 

I do know that I don't want my instagram to be a reflection of everything I have eaten. Will there still be food pictures? Maybe. If I feel inclined to post one I will, but I want my feed to show who I am. 

I'm not a girl obsessed with food. 

I'm a girl who's passionate about running, lifting, relationships, trying new things, traveling, connecting with people, rescuing animals, and living life to the fullest. 

I am so much more than the food that I eat. 

So what's next for the blog? I don't know. I do know that I love the community I have gotten to know in my little corner of the internet. I'm going to continue to share thinking out loud posts and probably an occasional recipe, but largely I don't know. I love opening up and sharing random bits of my life with you. I also want to continue to connect with others and at the end of the day if I've made one person smile or brightened someones day then that's good enough for me. 

Thank you for sticking with me on this crazy journey and through this identity crisis. I don't know where I'll end up, but I'm excited for the ride. Most of all I'm excited to be real with you guys and to not have the pressure to just be a food blogger. 

Cheers to a new chapter, figuring out life, and sharing moments that actually matter🎉 

If you want to connect with me and see bits of my real life feel free to do so on instagram or Facebook.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Vacation Hangover: Thinking Out Loud #28

Happy Thursday! Sadly this weeks thinking out loud is not coming from the Hawaiian Islands🌸 I'm back home and digging out after a glorious welcome home snowfall😒 I left and it was 65F degrees and sunny in February, yet it's March and it's 20F degrees and snowing. Sigh. 


1. The thing I miss most about Hawaii is the ability to run outside every single day. Even if it rained in the morning it was done in a few hours (or less) so I was able to get a run in every day. I've never run in a place so beautiful and it was definitely a challenge because I've never run up mountains before, so some days were so darn hard but it was always worth it.


2. While I was on the south end of Kauai I ran to Spouting Horn every morning and watched the sunrise. I always used to be a person who never stopped once I started running, but running in Hawaii taught me to slow down and enjoy the beauty. Watching the sunrise became my favorite thing about the day and it was the best way to start my morning. Almost every day I had Spouting Horn to myself so I was able to be alone with my thoughts. I can't imagine being lucky enough to run in a place so gorgeous every single day. 


3. Coming from the Midwest seeing signs warning about a tsunami hazard zone was definitely different. I had to question some of their placement of signs though because some of the exiting tsunami hazard signs were right by the water where a tsunami could easily reduce the area to rubble. But what do I know I'm not a scientist🤔 


4. I'm serious when I say I don't think running in Hawaii could ever get old. On one side of me was the ocean and on the other side were mountains! I was literally surrounded by beauty and I was so in awe of everything. I loved the days where the mountains were clear and you could clearly make out their jagged features. I'm already missing these views while running.


5. Another reason I'm missing vacay is because I did not do my hair or wear any makeup at all🙆 my hair is naturally very wavy but I think the salt water made it even wavier but it was beachy so I went with it. I was also surprised by how at ease I felt wearing no makeup. I'm not one to wear a lot of makeup anyway but constantly being surrounded by people perfectly made up to go on camera can make you feel like you have to measure up. Nothing feels better than bear skin👌


6. There are so many awesome foodie place on Kauai so one night I stopped in Papalani Gelato. They had a ton of dairy free and gluten free flavors so I was pretty excited. While it wasn't as good as the vegan ice cream I had in Kapaa it was still good and coconut shavings were a nice touch. 


7. I'm not one to complain about airlines because despite having my luggage lost by Delta or delayed flights Delta has always treated me very well. This time I flew Alaska airlines and I can honestly say I've never had such a terrible time with an airline. I've flown quite a bit in my life (and a number of different airlines), but I will never be flying Alaska Airlines again. I had several problems when I was flying out to Hawaii, but returning was a total nightmare. My amazing dad surprised me by getting me a first class seat (I've never flown first class before) since it was a red eye flight out of Kauai. The day my flight was to depart I never got my flight confirmation, well come to find out Alaska Airlines had cancelled my reservation and resold my seat, so I didn't have a seat. I got stuck in one of the last rows on the plane in which the seats did NOT recline- absolutly horrible for a redeye flight. I was also nervous because I had less than 30 minutes between connecting flights so getting off the plane was going to be problematic, but it turned into an even bigger problem when my flight was delayed by over an hour. It was basically 1am by the time my flight departed, thankfully there was a lot of other people connecting to the same flight I was so the next plane was held for us. There was one last first class available so I was thrown in that because my original first class seat had been resold. I was starving because I didn't have anything to eat on me, but luckily they had steelcut oats which I could have and some fruit. I couldn't have the muffin or nuts, but overall it was pretty good for airplane food. However, my overall experience with Alaska Airlines was incredibly poor- from the flights, to bad customer service over the phone, to wasting my last day in Hawaii stuck on the phone with them, so needless to say I will never be flying with them again. I guess there's something to the say ole reliable. 


8. I think the biggest lesson I learned while I was on vacation was the importance of self-care. I'm going to write a separate post about it, but basically I had been wearing myself ragged trying to do everything, have everything be perfect, and trying to be everywhere at once. Hawaii was the perfect reminder that self-care is absolutly necessary and self-care is not selfish at all

I'm going to end it here for the week. Have a terrific Thursday and even though it's a day early Happy St. Patrick's Day! Please be safe and have fun celebrating if you are🍀

What is your favorite way to treat yourself while you're on vacation? 
Are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day or what are you doing for the weekend?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dog Stalking and Running: Thinking Out Loud #27

Aloha and happy Thursday🌺 I'm writing this while I stare at the gorgeous ocean and am surrounded by palm trees. Needless to say I'm one very happy camper right now. I'm excited to share this weeks thinking out loud from the beautiful island of Kauai.


1. I never want to come home. Hawaii has always been my happy place, but it's seriously a dream being here. There are so many gorgeous paths to run on and nothing beats running next to the ocean. I always took time after my run to watch the sunrise and just soak in the beauty of Hawaii. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be here and I want to savor every second of it. 


2. I stopped in an adorable coffee shop/cafe in Kapaa for an açai bowl but was devastated to find out they were out of açai😭 I got a dragonfruit bowl instead which was still incredibly delicious but not as good as an açai bowl. 


3. I may sort of be a dog stalker, but it's not totally my fault. I was out running and a guys dog ran up to me so of course I had to pet him and he was so well behaved. I ran into another dog later and had to stop and pet him too. One of my friends said my run would get done so much faster if I didn't stop (or be stopped) to pet all the puppies. That's just not going to happen because I am in love with dogs. 


4. Speaking of adorable dogs, this is Roman😍 I had some time to kill before I could get into the next condo so I stopped at the human society in Lihue and took some of the dogs out to play. I spent a few hours there playing with and petting the puppies. Roman was by far my favorite because he was such a ham. He had a fantastic personality and was such a happy dog. He fit as many tennis balls in his mouth as he could and loved playing keep away. I would have brought him home in a heartbeat if there was an easy way to get him home. He was genuinely such a sweet dog and I hope he gets the best home ever. I want to take him home so badly😫


5. On a tastier note, I found the cutest ice cream shop. It's called Tropical Dreams and it's located in Kapaa. They had a fantastic selection of ice cream, dairy free ice cream, vegan ice cream, and gluten free options. The owner and workers were the absolute nicest and I cannot recommend Tropical Dreams enough. Hands down the BEST dairy free ice cream I've ever had. Ben and Jerry's dairy free has nothing on Tropical Dreams.


6. Aside from all the delicious eats, I've been getting in plenty of beach time. There is absolutely zero filter on this picture, the water is seriously that blue. It's even more stunning in person. I'm never leaving✌


7. If you have not heard Ed Sheeran's new album do it now!! I'm not a giant Ed Sheeran fan but holy cow his new album is amazing👏 Perfect is my new favorite song. It's unbelievably sweet and gosh he is just perfection on this song. Go listen to it, you won't regret it.

I'll end things here this week. Here's to sending some warm weather and sunshine your way🌸🌴☀ have a terrific Thursday!!

What is your favorite thing to do on vacation?
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

Monday, March 6, 2017

Introduction + Ten Facts


Hi there👋 I have noticed an increase in traffic recently so I wanted to take the chance to say hello to all the new faces checking out my blog! I'm not sure what brought you here, but I'm glad you're here! My name is Rachael and The Simple Life is where I share recipes I have created, random things I think about (thinking out loud), and posts about life, love and everything in between. I have been tagged a number of times to do the 10 facts about me on instagram but I wanted to do it here to share with all of you😊 

1. I started this blog as a way to share recipes with my family and friends all at once because I grew tired of handwriting out recipes multiple times.

2. My favorite place to be is on the beach, preferably in Maui or SoCal. One day I would love to have a little house on the beach. Nothing beats falling to sleep and waking up to the sound of the ocean.

3. I have a 4.5 year old pup named Cora who I got from an animal shelter. She's a little (or a LOT) nutty, but she provides much needed comic relief and I love her to pieces. 

4. The outdoors are my favorite places to be. I love getting out and enjoying nature whether it's running, biking, walking, hiking, playing on the beach, paddleboarding, pond hockey, etc. Life is too short to waste sitting inside in front of a screen. 

5. Hockey is my favorite sport. I can watch any hockey game and have a good time, but my favorite team is the Pittsburgh Penguins. I root for my hometown Detroit Red Wings too. Growing up in Michigan hockey is a way of life, mostly because winters are so long. My dad had me up on skates at the ripe old age of 3 and I've been skating ever since. My brother and I would spend hours out on the lake passing the puck around in the winter. 

6. I'm pretty competitive. I like to win and I have no problem talking smack. Most of my friends are guys so I take competition seriously. My boyfriend and I talk smack to each other all the time, especially when it comes to Mario Kart on N64 (yes I still have my Nintendo 64). I've beat him countless times, he's just a sore loser. 

7. Minimalism makes me happy. I've had long talks with people about this and don't get me wrong I LOVE having a big closet, but really you only need so much to live. I would rather have fewer possessions and spend my money traveling and experiencing new places. My travel bucket list is pretty long but I have been able to tackle a few on my list including London and Paris.

8. Dogs make me happy. If I'm out running or walking I always notice dogs before I notice anything else. I have also banned myself from going to an animal shelter because I will come home with a dog- that's how Cora came home. Basically I'm just a crazy dog lady who wants to rescue and love all the dogs. 

9. I'm not a big fan of wearing shoes unless I'm working out. For awhile my dad used to call me his hippie child because I walk around barefoot all the time. I'm also not a fan of having to tie shoes so flip flops, slip ons, or boots are normally my go to. In the summer good luck trying to get me to wear shoes at all. 

10. Nothing makes me happier than hearing from my awesome readers! Whether it's a comment, being tagged in a picture on instagram because you tried a recipe, or reading an email from you. I LOVE hearing from you! Even if you just need someone to talk to don't hesitate to contact me😄

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Palm Trees and Paradise: Thinking Out Loud #26

Happy Thursday! I am pretty excited about today's thinking out loud because I am sharing it from the beautiful state of Hawaii🌴🌸 With everything that has happened recently I needed an escape and what better place to escape to than Hawaii? So far there has been tons of beach time but also time for exploring and up next is paddleboarding, which I am SUPER pumped about😁 


1.  I have a love/hate relationship with flying. On one hand I'm so thankful for the ability to jet off and go on vacation on the other hand flying is a pain. There's long security lines, I always have to pack food- which involves figuring out what foods I can get through TSA- and then there's always the planes which haven't been cleaned in, well probably ever😳 I'm that person who brings lysol wipes and wipes down my seat, tray table and basically everything in my vicinity. I'm also that unfortunate person that whenever I get up to go to the bathroom we hit horrible turbulence. On the positive side I love that it makes traveling more efficient and sunsets in the sky are amazing.


2. Nothing beats landing in Hawaii, especially after over six hours in an airplane plus a flight the night before. There's something about stepping off the plane into the warm air, there's palm trees and you just exhale and feel relaxed😎 driving in Hawaii is also something I love. There are gorgeous views everywhere, whether it's the mountains, or the ocean, or flowers, literally everything is gorgeous. 


3. LOCAL KOMBUCHA!! Oh my goodness Kauai Juice Co. I don't know what you do to your kombucha but it's AMAZING🙌 It makes me never want to drink any other brand of kombucha ever again because it's that good.


4. Even though I'm on vacation I am still fitting in my workouts. The local gym is small, but has a free weights, machines, a bosu ball🙌 and a decent amount of cardio equipment. I'm maintaining my lifting and running schedule because I genuinely love those things and it helps me get my day going. If you've never used a bosu ball I highly recommend trying one out. Planks on a bosu ball are much harder, but you can do push ups, squats, mountain climbers and so much more on them. It's a fantastic tool to have.


5. My new favorite post workout ritual is cooling off in the ocean. When I finish my run and cool down I take my shoes off and head into the water. I only go in a little ways but it definitely helps me cool down. I don't think I could ever tire of cooling off in the ocean or running in Hawaii. 


6. Speaking of running in Hawaii, can we all just take a moment to appreciate that view😍 I feel like I'm running in a dream because no matter where I look it's beautiful. There's an amazing running/biking path nearby and I have been using it everyday. I can't imagine getting to run looking at the mountains and the ocean everyday. Also my shorts are from Carrie Underwood's Calia line and they are the most comfortable running shorts I have ever owned. I'm not paid to say that, I genuinely just love them that much. Please excuse my dorkiness and overly happy run face in this photo😁


7. I'll end with this beautiful view from the beach. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be here, but I do miss my puppy. If you want to see more pictures from my adventure follow along on my instagram.

Have a terrific Thursday and a fantastic weekend!

What is your favorite place that you have traveled to and why?
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?