EVERYTHING ELSE

All the other random musings we enjoy including lifestyle, interior design, wellness, thoughts, food, art, music, etc.

18 Rules for 2018

1.  Stay curious and teachable- I’m in my twenties, better known as, what I like to call, my “Smart Ass” years. This is because I think I’m really smart, but I keep discovering, that really, I’m just an ass. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I often find myself thinking I already know everything, but there is ALWAYS more to learn. So stay curious but more importantly, stay teachable. Try to look at the world as if for the first time and wonder in every scenario, “what can I learn from this?”

2. Dress up – I have such an overblown arsenal of clothing you’d think I was stocking up for some fashion related apocalypse. Yet, somehow, I often find myself wearing the same old clothes every day. I tell myself I’m saving most of them “for a special occasion,” but from now on I’d like to look at every day as some kind of special occasion! After all, adventure could always be right around the corner and I want to be prepared for it!

3. Don’t lose your inner child- remember all the dreams you had as a little kid? Those are often an indication of the things you should be doing as an adult. We just tend to let the world make us believe that those things are too silly or impossible. Nothing is too impossible. And is silly really so bad? Keep that childlike spirit despite the world and watch how much magic you invite in.

4.  Spend more time outside – Go for a bike ride. Run around barefoot. Go out and feel the wind playing with your hair, the sun warming your cheeks, and connect to nature! Basically get off your lazy bum for two minutes and go pretend you’re gosh darn Disney princess.

5. Save some money- I’m 24 and not yet a millionaire (emphasis on YET) and whether I’d like to admit that or not, it means that I need to start getting my priorities in order. Somehow I find it acceptable to blow $50 on new shoes, but I’ll ride around on gas fumes for a week because “I can’t afford” to drop $30 to fill the tank. This year I’d like to be a lot more careful with my money so that I can properly save towards my goals. After all, as Sophia Amoruso says, sometimes money looks better on the bank than on your feet.

6. Less possessions more experiences- when I do decide to spend money however, I want to focus more of it on experiences.  An amazing moment will stay with you forever, but material possessions get worn out and dated all too quickly. It’s difficult for a fashion lover like me to hold back from buying all the latest and greatest, but thats okay! It just means I need to get a little more creative with the clothes I do have as opposed to focusing what I don’t. It’s a lesson in appreciation for sure! And honestly, some of my go-to items of clothing cost me all of $2 at a thrift store. Being fashion forward doesn’t have to send you financially backward!

7.  Read more – reading is so healthy for so many things; it makes you a better writer, a better speaker, increases your vocabulary and your creativity! Take a book with you wherever you go and try using idle time like waiting in line to read instead of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook.

8. I’m not a bat- I easily slip into patterns of sleeping like a nocturnal creature of the night and I hate it. This insomnia is largely caused by my use of technology right before bed (a problem I’m sure almost ALL of us have.) So let’s start creating new, healthier habits together! Like putting away the phone and the laptop and reading a little before bed each night. And boom, there’s rule Number 7 out of the way too! Two birds, one stone. If that doesn’t place us in the running for Productive Goddess of the Year, I just don’t know what does.

9. Wake up early for the hustle – Speaking of sleep patterns, the idea uncrusting my eyelids at the crack of dawn has always seemed on par with punching myself in the face. However there’s undeniably something about getting up earlier that increases productivity and improves the overall mood of the day.  So despite the incredible challenge it’s going to be for me, I plan on buying myself a couple hours each morning to start the day off right. (and I will be expecting some sort of trophy by the end for my efforts, thank you.) 

10. Stay adaptable- I’m a huge board game nerd. Like, I get obsessed with them, it’s bad. But what I’ve learned through playing many games with many different strategies, is that there is always one common denominator in being a winner: learning to adapt. You can be sitting there, ready to lay a mind blowing move when someone comes along and blocks you. It’s easy to get pissed and resign yourself to a loss. But winners don’t give up. Winners have a backup plan to their backup plan. Winners are always open to a multitude of possibilities instead of staying tunnel visioned on one option that’s clearly not going to work. In this great game of life, remember there may always be another path you can choose that you just didn’t see before. And even in the face of a loss, there is still knowledge to gained.

11. Keep being an adventurer- It’s no secret that I’m quite the free spirit. I love traveling to foreign lands, meeting new people and doing new exciting things. But everyday, every opportunity can be an adventure with the right mind set! You can venture to the mysterious aisles of the grocery store and sample foods from a land you’ve never been to! Or strike up conversation with a perfect stranger in line and make a new friend! Start to look for the magic in everything, even the mundane.

12. Laugh as much as possible- You know those kind of laughs that send tears streaming down your face, and last so long that you don’t even remember what was funny? Yeah. More of that.

13. Nourish your body- our relationship with food tends to be tricky. But food isn’t an enemy or about counting calories. It’s about nourishing your body. When you view food as the fuel that allows you to dance, run, jump and see the world, it makes you want to choose meals that are both tasty and healthy (because yes, they can be both!) Think of food as a way to thank your body for all that it does (and that means a couple cheat days too!)

14. Be yourself- every day I find myself scrolling through instagram thinking “I should be more like him, I should act more like that, I should dress more like her.” It’s so easy to get caught up in constant comparison and while drawing inspiration from others is wonderful, blatant copying is so unnecessary. You can support and admire what others are doing without wanting to become them.

15. Do things alone- Relationships, when healthy and positive, add so much value to our life. But we often overlook one of the most important relationships there is, the relationship with ourselves. So tune everyone out for a little while and spend some time with yourself! Take a bubble bath, take yourself to dinner, visit a museum alone, form some of your own memories and opinions without anyone else’s influence and learn a bit more about the person you really are.

16. Take technology breaks – whilst traveling in Thailand, I was walking through one of the most ornate and beautiful cities in the world and passed a group of literal phone zombies. They were glued to their screens and slowly herding each other down the street, all the while missing the stunning scenery around them. I never want to become that. Technology can be fantastic but it can be just as addictive and detrimental. Don’t forget every once and a while to look up and enjoy REAL life beauty instead of all the beauty jamming up your feed. After all, the best feeds are created by people who are observant enough to capture lifes most beautiful moments.

17. Be kinder – I wouldn’t classify myself as a mean person but there’s always room for a little more selflessness, a little more thoughtfulness, and a little more kindness!

18. Stay focused on your goals – It’s so easy to get distracted or disheartened when things don’t go to plan as you work towards your goals.  But push through the hard times, stay consistent and you will be so glad you did a year or two, or ten down the road.

Gingerbread Cupcakes!

I’ve always said I’m like a real life Christmas elf because I only have two modes:

1. waiting to get excited for Christmas 
2. or excited that Christmas is here. 
Well it’s just around the corner now! And to get myself in the festive spirit I decided to try my hand at making these gingerbread cupcakes. Baking is one of my favorite hobbies. At one point I even went to Culinary school but swiftly realized that a career in pastry arts is not for me. I’d rather dance around my kitchen in my underpants listening to Holiday music whilst I bake as opposed to being told off for my cookies being all different sizes (they had character dammit!) I told my professor not to get his pretzel in a knot and ease up. He didn’t find that very funny and I was removed from the program. 
Okay. That didn’t really happen but I totally considered it! Really I just didn’t go back after the next semester but I’m gonna go with the pretzel story because it sounds way cooler. Veronica Reitz: Baddass Baking School Dropout. 
Anywho. I’m largely inspired by the blog Half Baked Harvest, so you can find the original recipe I used here. She makes an absolutely fabulous caramel cream cheese buttercream frosting (I know what a mouthful… literally!) so definitely head over there to see her incredible culinary skills! 
first things first, we are going to combine 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon¾ teaspoon nutmeg, ¾ teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. You can set that aside for now. 

next we’ll add 1 tablespoon baking soda into 1 1/2 cups of hot water and set aside. 
In a large bowl, we can cream together 1 cup brown sugar with 2 sticks of butter. 
We’ll then measure out 1 1/3 cups molasses and add that to the mix. 

Next we can alternate between adding little bits of the flour and little bits of the water/baking soda combination, mixing until the batter is nice and smooth.

Grab three eggs and add them one at a time, mixing well before adding another. 

Grab your cutest cupcake holders (I found these at Michael’s) and fill em up slightly more than halfway. 

Now I highly recommend making your own icing since it’s not terribly difficult and it’s absolutely delicious, but in the interest of time (and laziness) I just bought some Betty Crocker. 🙂

To make the icing look more professional, all I did was put the icing in a plastic bag, snipped off the corner by about a half inch, and piped it around in a swirl. I garnished them with a little ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks and voila!!! 
watch my youtube video here!!!!!

Delicious Lemon Raspberry Pancakes!

Operation: Better Myself (An Update)

Hello world!
 If you watch my YouTube videos then you might know that this year I’m experimenting with a plan to better myself (by effectively making 2017 my bitch.) For each of the next 12 months, I have one goal that I intend to focus on in the hopes that by the end of that month, it will become something of a habit! For January my focus was super innovative and something you probably never expected: health and fitness! *dripping in sarcasm* And for February the focus was self care. Some of you were asking if I’d be doing updates on how the goals were going and I thought this was a really great idea! I know writing down my progress will definitely keep me in check and perhaps it can even help some of you to stay motivated if you’re working on any goals yourself! So for anyone curious, here is a breakdown of my progress, by month, so far! 🙂 
January- Health and Fitness


Staying true to this goal throughout January was pretty easy at first, as I was living at a Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica where all of my meals were vegan and vegetarian (*cough* and cooked for me *cough.*) Was it a bit of a cop out to choose to work on this goal when I knew it wouldn’t be difficult there? Perhaps… BUT! Most people often begin to derail after things get too difficult, so I figured easing my way into things wouldn’t be so bad! Every morning I woke up with the sun, started the day with a yoga class and pigged out on all the healthy and delicious meals I wanted! It was a dream! And by the end of the month I basically felt like a unicorn. I noticed my skin breaking out a little, which I attributed to the detoxification my body was most likely going through but for the most part, all that sun, fruit, and exercise was doing me a world of good! 
And then I went home.
 Things got A LOT more difficult once I was back in my natural habitat. As a yoga instructor, I was still able to maintain a pretty healthy balance of exercise (and laziness hehe), but my relationship with food became a struggle. First off, I have a HUGE sweet tooth. Always have and I imagine I always will. But since it was once again my own responsibility to prepare all my meals, it began to feel very tedious very quickly and I found myself just going for whatever was easy as opposed to healthy. But I hated the way I was beginning to feel. I was constantly sleepy, my mind felt a lot less sharp and all around, I didn’t feel quite as bright as I did while in Costa Rica. I also IMMEDIATELY slipped back into terrible habits of staying up WAY too late, spending way too much time on the computer, etc. (Goodbye Veronica the Unicorn.) I really didn’t like how fast I was to throw all that magic away! Because that was not the point of this experiment! I didn’t want to work on something for 30 days and just let it go come the first of the next month! No, these things were supposed to build upon each other! 
So in short, I learned a valuable lesson! This wasn’t going to be as easy as perhaps I’d bargained for. These goals are still going to take time, effort and mindfulness in order to achieve them the way I’d hoped! Which is perfectly okay! I’m not giving up and getting down on myself! After feeling crappy for so many weeks after returning home, I wanted to chase that “sparkly” feeling, if you will, I felt in Costa Rica so I’m still currently making little changes and doing my best to make healthy choices as much as possible! It might not have been a cake walk (…poor choice of words?) to stay consistent, but I’m so glad I did have that month to show me how I’d like to keep feeling for the rest of this year and hopefully the rest of my life! 
February- Self Care
Now this was a month I was very excited for! A whole month that I could dedicate to pampering myself and not feel guilty for it? Yes please! But I suddenly discovered something I never expected; this goal was difficult too! I actually had to put in EFFORT to relax! I had no clue I was so much of a workaholic! See, my plan was to focus on two things: taking a long hot bath once a week, and staying really consistent with my skincare (and eventually I’d obviously transform into the glowing goddess that’s been hiding beneath under eye circles and dry, neglected pores.) All of this sounds magical right?! That’s what I thought! But whenever it was time for me to take my long awaited bath, or use one of my face masks, I noticed that I’d be so wrapped up in my work that I’d keep putting it off for an hour, and then another… and then another until eventually I’d just say “eh, I’ll do it tomorrow.” And sometimes it would be days before I actually sat down and forced myself to do it! It sounds so crazy that I had to convince myself into something as glorious as relaxing with some bath bombs but there I was, too wound up from daily life to even remember how to chill out! 
apparently not Jamie Lee Curtis, apparently not.

Nonetheless, if I’m going to be honest about my shortcomings then oh by gosh, by golly I’m going to be honest about my achievements too and say that I did manage to EVENTUALLY take my bath at least once a week! And it’s a ritual that I enjoyed so much, that I’ve still managed to take baths pretty frequently since then! I did pay very close attention to my skin (not impeccable attention but much better than usual and that’s the goal right?) and after a while, I genuinely began to look forward to grabbing one of those face masks and giving my epidermis a little love! I realized that this was something I used to do all the time in High School and I missed having such great motivation and care for myself, not to mention it shocked me that somewhere along the way I’d lost track of that!
Perhaps the most exciting result of all this consistency (however inconsistent it was…) was that in at least one little way, my plan kind of worked! I now have a pretty great routine each night; after I brush my teeth, I cleanse, tone and moisturize my skin before bed and I genuinely notice a fabulous difference! I’ve been feeling so much more radiant and glowy! And I now love to sit in the bath WITH a face mask on and just zen out. Evidently, for a person like me, forcing myself to really find time for self love is so important because otherwise, it just won’t happen! And it’s crazy how I teach yoga and make that space for others to “zen out” but then I can’t do it myself!
As a creative, passionate and quite naturally energetic person, finding those little moments to sit down and let the world fall away are so necessary for more than my exterior; they’re vital for my mental health! I realize that now and it feels awesome to form that relationship with myself! Once again, the goal for me was never perfection, but rather to learn more about myself and my habits, and hopefully create more balance within my life! These changes might seem small and insignificant but for me, they’re really exciting and I’m so proud to see my growth, no matter how slow it might be! So wish me luck for the next couple of months! March is all about selflessness and self control and I’m not totally sure what April will bring yet! But stay tuned, and good luck to you as on your journey through life! Feel free to let me know whatever progress you might be making as well and just know that even failures are successes in disguise! Until next time everyone!  🙂

Beyond the Risk

There’s nothing quite like this place. 
We have done so much in such a short amount of time! From swimming in waterfalls, to milking cows, to the crazy rainbows we frequently wake up to, it seems like every day is more magical than the last! Perhaps I should better explain how exactly my wonderful boyfriend, Jeff, and I ended up here though. 
  
A while back the two of us had a weekend trip to New York City planned. We excitedly hopped on our train looking forward to all the glorious adventures we’d soon be having in the Big Apple. Little did we know however, that this train was driving us toward much larger adventures in a future we had no clue would be ours. Ironically, I was quite annoyed that morning. See, we’d left much later than I wanted to (as I like to get my NYC excisions started as early as possible.)
But it wasn’t just Jeff’s need to make a a very elaborate, pre-NYC sandwich that put us on the later train…
it was Destiny.

  
We rode along for about an hour, and suddenly, as the train hissed to a halt and let a new crowd of passengers on, I saw a very familiar face. 
“DESIREE?” I asked.
“VERONICA?” she returned, recognizing me.
There was my yoga instructor sitting just a few seats away. 
We got to talking and she began to explain how she wasn’t supposed to be on this train either, and how she’d been trying all day to figure out an issue with her passport so her and her family could officially make their move to Costa Rica. 
This was news to me! And after explaining all the crazy details, she mentioned how she’d love for me and Jeff to come visit the yoga Retreat Center she was going to be running down in CR.

  
Jeff and I were dealing with the confusion and disappointment of some other adventures we’d been planning for that kept falling through. But this suddenly had a flame sparking in each of our hearts and from then on the two of us couldn’t let the idea go. 
I wasn’t sure how or why or when exactly it was going to happen, but, a strong believer in the Law of Attraction, I put it out there like my life depended on it (at the very least my sanity did.) 
Soon enough, the opportunity showed itself.
 Desiree and her wife would be running a Yoga Teacher Training Retreat that seemed perfect for Jeff (who was interested in getting certified) and a New Year’s Retreat all about finding yourself and your life’s purpose that seemed perfect for me!  They overlapped one another so we could go together and it just felt like everything about it was screaming that this was the right thing to do. 
Still, the next few months were up in the air; should we go? How will we manage? Is it worth it? Etc. 

  
Jeff would need to leave his job in order to focus on this new career path and such a huge change was terrifying. But I’m here to tell you that growth, adventure and magic lie only beyond risk. 
Coming here has been such a profound experience. Waking up every morning to do yoga, eating the most delicious, natural food you can imagine, and being surrounded by people who can’t help but exude gratitude and pure joy for their lives… it’s moving, cleansing, humbling and inspiration for our own lives.

  

You can live the life you want to. You can follow what makes your heart sing and you can exist in realms of passion, miracles, beauty and adventure. It’s all waiting there, beyond the Risk.