Life Update: Dog Days of Summer

I can’t believe it’s already July 30! The summers really do fly by, and I feel like this has been a particularly good one. I’ve been able to work part-time and make just a teeny bit of money to help keep me afloat at school, and I’ve also had some time to have fun, enjoy my family and pets, and work on some little projects of my own. It’s been a good mix.

Here are some photos from my life lately, hope your summers are going well!

radishes

Radishes my brother brought home, fresh-picked, from his summer job.

cat and dog

My cat and dog are besties, and I love that about them

bruschetta spread

I made this bruschetta spread for my family for a fun appetizer-style dinner (sorry for the photo quality)

elouise

Elouise decided she could give me a couple of snuggles early morning before anyone was up to let her out. Cats, am I right?

mountains

My mom and I went hiking last weekend near Boulder, and the views were just gorgeous. Colorado, you will always have my heart!

xo.

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Chocolate-Dipped Bananas

Have you guys tried chocolate-dipped bananas yet? I’ve seen them lots of times at Costco but never bought them…my grandma told me a few weeks ago that she makes hers at home using chocolate bars, and I decided I’d try making some.

Oh, my gosh, you guys. So good!

It’s super easy, too, and it feels like you’re eating ice cream or some yummy frozen treat. It’s a great way to eat dessert and still feel satisfied while you’re dieting or trying to eat healthier.

chocolate bananas

All you do is slice your bananas and freeze them in a single layer on a cookie/baking sheet for a couple of hours (or until they’re frozen enough). Then, I chopped up my chocolate bar (I used a 72% dark chocolate bar) and melted it in the microwave using this video. And then, you dip the bottoms of the bananas in the melted chocolate and pop them back in the freezer for a few minutes before putting them in a zip-lock bag to store. See, really easy? And even my mom, who isn’t the world’s biggest banana fan, loves them!

I’ve already made a second batch, since we ate them so quickly. It’s a fun and easy summer treat that you won’t feel too guilty about eating! I hope you’ll try making these, you won’t regret it.

(mmm, chocolate)

chocolate

Easy Italian Stir-Fry

One of my favorite dinners to cook are stir-fry’s — they’re both versatile and quick. I love that you can make an Asian-inspired stir-fry just as easily as an Italian stir-fry. Plus, you can pack in tons of veggies, and if you serve with a meat and either pasta or rice, you’ve got yourself a meal! My mom taught me how to make a great stir-fry, and I continue to make it at least once a week when I’m at school because it’s so quick and a pretty healthy meal.

Today, I’m going to share the secret to how I make a flavorful, veggie-packed, Italian stir-fry.
Stir-Fry
Cooking up the veggies. 

The secret ingredient is Italian dressing!!! I like to use the make-your-own-mix kind that they sell in a box at the grocery store, it just seems to have a good flavor.

To make the stir-fry, you just need to pick whatever veggies you like and chop them. I like to use broccoli, kale or spinach, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, etc. Basically you can throw in any vegetables you have on hand. I would definitely recommend using spinach or kale as a kind of “filler” vegetable — you won’t really notice it’s there, and you can pack in a lot more vitamins and minerals that way.

I usually cook my meat (chicken) first, all I do is put a little Italian dressing in a hot skillet and cook the chicken until it’s no longer pink. I take the chicken out of the skillet and set it out of the way.

Then, I add more Italian dressing to the pan and cook the vegetables, stirring to coat them with the dressing lightly. I cook them until they’re soft, and then I add the chicken back to the pan and mix it all together.

I like to serve it with pasta, so I put my pasta on the plate and then top it with the stir-fry and a little Parmesan cheese. And that’s it! Easy and delicious. I think that even people who aren’t crazy about vegetables would probably like this, because it’s so flavorful and fresh!

I hope you try this easy stir-fry, I’d love to hear about it if you do! Enjoy (:

xo

Big Summer Haircut

haircut

After a long 5 months without a haircut, my hair was starting to look pretty grungy and stringy. Gross. So when I got back home for the summer, one of the first things I did was head to Master Cuts (they actually do an amazing job, and a cut + style is only $25!). I’ve pretty much always had short hair, except back in 2012 when I sported this (disgustingly dry, chlorine-damaged) hairdo:

Lifeguard Group (2)

Yuck. Anyway, short hair is kind of my thing. I’ve had lots of different types of bobs and lobs, and this summer I wanted something really different. I have been hemming and hawing about getting bangs for a couple of years, and it just always seemed like a bad idea. But this summer, I finally did it!

haircut

I asked my stylist to cut long, choppy bangs that could be worn to the front, or pushed across to the side. I was basically adding a safety net in case I hated how I looked with straight-across bangs. And I’m so happy with these bangs!

haircut

I always bring in photos when I get my hair cut, because I have a hard time verbalizing what I want, and I always thing it helps to have a visual to refer to. I had my stylist cut a rounded edge so that my hair kind of curls under, giving me a little volume. It’s really a pretty low-maintenance cut–I just have to blow dry it and go (I use a round brush).

There’s just something about short hair and summer that seem to go together. I think I’ll try to get the same cut in August before I go back to school, so I can keep this cut a little longer!

haircut

And a black-and-white, just because. 😉

xo

Birthday Week

happy birthday!

I said goodbye to 22 and hello to 23 on my birthday last Wednesday (you guys, where does the time go?), and thanks to my family and friends, I had a great day celebrating! I’m a big supporter of the idea of “birthday week” now that I’m getting further into my 20’s, because somehow after you turn 21 birthdays don’t feel like that much of a big deal anymore. “Birthday week” lasts the whole week that your birthday falls into, and basically you just treat yourself to little things all week long (and continually remind your family that *hint, hint* it is your special week, ha!).

Here are some of my photos from “birthday week.” I’m absolutely kicking myself for not taking any pictures of my cake, which was from Costco and had these pretty musical notes on it, because it was really the only thing I wanted for my birthday. Which tells you where my priorities are in life (;

birthday donuts

It wouldn’t be birthday week without some birthday doughnuts! (It totally still would, but I really really love doughnuts.) I got them on sale after the 4th of July weekend was over — leftover doughnuts for the win!

happy birthday

I hung this adorable banner in our dining room the whole week. A couple of my friends gave it to me a couple of years ago as a surprise when we coached swim team together, and I’ve held on to it to bring out for birthday celebrations! It sounds kind of silly, but it made me feel special all week.

starbucks

If you ever get a Starbucks giftcard, register it through their app, and then keep a little money on the card until your birthday so you can get a free birthday drink! I love that Starbucks does that, it’s really a huge treat for me since I almost never go out for coffee. I tried their cold brew coffee (with a touch of soy milk and no sweetener) and it was really good, I’d recommend it!

Elouise

I think my cat has finally accepted me as her own again (it only took her 3 weeks *eye roll*). She hung out with me a lot during birthday week, and I snapped this picture of her in a new box she got this week.

spa day at home

On my birthday, I pulled out my old foot bath/home spa set and gave myself a “stay-at-home spa day.” It was so relaxing and felt like a really special treat to myself. I’m going to have to use that thing a few more times this summer!

Anyway, I had a great “birthday week.” Now that the celebrations are over, I’m starting to embrace being 23 and getting excited for what this year will bring. There are so many things to look forwards to, and I think it’s going to be a great year.

xo

Currently I’m…July

I can’t believe we’re already knee-deep in July…the summer always seems to go by so fast! I’ve been really settling in to life back home in Colorado, enjoying spending time with my family and pets, and relaxing a lot. I am working on setting some goals and some form of a schedule for the blog, so I hope I’ll be focused enough to get some things done! It’s funny, I always think I’m going to get so many things done over the summer, and then in reality I prefer to spend my time in the sun. Here’s what I’ve been up to this month so far:

July