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Vegan 3 Bean Chili

Vegan 3 Bean Chili

I just freaking love an easy recipe. Bonus points if it’s a One-Pot recipe. Triple points if I can make a big enough batch that it’ll last my family a week! This Vegan 3 Bean Chili hits all of those marks. I’m gonna have to talk more about this Vegan 3 Bean Chili to please the SEO gods, so feel free to skip down to the recipe. It’s a really easy one!

This Vegan 3 Bean Chili was my first time using these Lightlife products. I’d had their Smart Dogs in the past and was just really craving the Turkey Chili I used to make in my meat eating days. I knew my Vegan 3 Bean Chili would require some kind of fake ground beef, so I just searched Instacart for Impossible Burger and found this under related items.

For my Vegan 3 Bean Chili I actually did one package of this.

And three packages of this. Not a huge difference and I think it would actually be more practical to use 4 of this since you’re aiming for the crumbled texture vs. creating patties.

Vegan 3 Bean Chili

Print Recipe
Serves: 16 Cooking Time: 20 minutes


  • (3-4) 12oz packages of LightLife Smart Ground Plant-Based crumbles OR Smart Ground Plant-Based ground meat
  • (2) 15oz cans Black beans
  • (2) 15oz cans White Beans
  • (2) 15oz cans Red Kidney Beans
  • (4) 15oz cans Diced Tomatoes with chilies
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 White Onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Ground Mustard
  • 2 tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Cumin



Chop the onions and begin to sauté on med-high heat with the "meat". Cook 4 minutes


Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until all incorporated. Let simmer 10 minutes or until piping hot. Top with cilantro.


Made With Harts: Ikatee Pattern—Helsinki

I’ll tell you what, as my daughter grows the need for versitile play clothes becomes ever the more important.

We juggle activities throughout the day, often coming from the playground or park and headed straight to a family dinner or activity. Sometimes it’s a huge benefit to have a garment that’s easy to play in AND presentable for grandmas to see.

I love the Helsinki pattern by Ikatee for those reasons. I chose the Nohara knit by Japanese designer Hitomi Osumi for Cotton + Steel paired with an Eggshell stretch denim from Harts selection. I just loved the whimsy of the knit print, soooo soft and cute 🥰

The pairing is great for allowing comfort and stretch while also guaranteeing a bit of durability with the denim on bottom.

The difference in fabric weight gives almost a hoop skirt affect which is just adorable on a baby (toddler 😭) Goldie’s age.

The pattern was relatively easy to work with and well explained. They had clear step by step instructions as well as the instructions for the optional alterations (like sleeveless or pocketless).

I found the sizing to run on the large side, but honestly that’s kind of to Ikatee’s benefit since kids grow like weeds!

I can’t wait to try more of their patterns!

This post is my honest opinion using fabric and a pattern I received free of charge from Harts Fabric as part of their Harts Fabric Street Team.

DIY Sewing

Made With Harts: Ikatee Pattern—Stockholm

I was so excited to be able to create this precious Ikatee Stockholm dress with Embrace Solid Double Gauze Cobalt. Read on to hear more about my experience working with this fabric and the PDF Ikatee patterns for the first time.

Lately I’ve been diving back into sewing garments for myself and I’ve found a ton of joy and purpose in being able to create quality, custom items for myself and my daughter. I’ve sewn for most of my life, but lately I’ve been trying to make conscious and deliberate choices with the items I create. I’m making meaningful swaps in my household in an attempt to waste less and keep more. A large part of that is reducing my families clothing waste. From avoiding fast fashion, to cutting up my husband’s old button up shirts for quilting, to thrifting, and to creatively cutting fabrics to get more use out the each textile, I’m doing it.

Ikatee pattern

I’d been eyeing the Ikatee patterns for a while but was still going through a lot of free patterns I had stockpiled on Pinterest and my iBooks for years. Finally, the opportunity arrived to try the patterns through Harts and I jumped at it.

Ikatee pattern

My experience with sewing was mostly alterations (I’m 5’11”), pegging clothes and sewing patches cuz punk’s not dead, and creating weird one of a kind items to wear to various parties and functions in my teens and twenties. I’d never had an organic style personally and so I’d never ever worked with a fabric as light and delicate as this double gauze. I love the deeply saturated cobalt color and chose it for my daughter because I thought it would just really compliment her coloring as well as the Ikatee pattern.

Ikatee pattern

As expected, I struggled at first. The fabric stretched and frayed in ways I didn’t expect; found myself having to work more slowly than my regular pace. The Ikatee patterns are originally en Français so there were parts of the instructions that I had to go over a few times to make sure I understood. I wouldn’t say things got lost in translation so much as I probably should have read the instructions completely before I started to save myself some time.

Ikatee pattern

In the end the project turned out sooooo cute I could just die. I tried some embroidery for the first time as well and I think the end result is just precious. The running stitch and monogram really add the handmade touch that compliments the whimsy of classic children’s garments such as the Stockholm Ikatee pattern!

Ikatee pattern

This post is my honest opinion using fabric and a pattern I received free of charge from Harts Fabric.


Chicken or Veggie Tikka Masala

Chicken or Veggie Tikka Masala

As we approach the first official day of Fall, I’m beginning to roll up my sleeves to dive into some of my favorite fall dishes. Hearty stews and roasted vegetables rule the season. This Chicken or Veggie Tikka Masala is an excellent stand-alone staple for your recipe book. When I first began making this dish I used this recipe from Bon Appétit. Over the years I’ve modified the recipe to what I’ll share today.

My Veggie Tikka Masala tends to be on the spicier side. As such, feel free to decrease the red chili flakes as needed to suit your tastes. As a general rule, Chicken Tikka Masala should have some kick to it though. If you don’t care about the carbs and choose not to do a cauliflower rice a Basmati rice would be a great traditional option to serve with this dish. You could even put a European twist on it by serving it over mashed potatoes. However, you choose to enjoy this dish, make sure to make enough to share!

Enjoy this Veggie Tikka Masala!

Chicken or Veggie Tikka Masala

Print Recipe
Serves: 6-8 Cooking Time: 1-1.5 hours


  • 3 tbsp. minced garlic, finely grated
  • 3 tsp. finely grated ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1½ cups regular yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. salt
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast pieces and/or two heads of cauliflower (one head you'll use for a low-carb rice which will serve about two people. I recommend making new cauliflower rice as opposed to reheating it).
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 28-oz. can of garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder
  • 40 oz. diced canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish



Mix all of your spices together, omitting the curry powder and leaving 2 tbsp. salt to the side for later. Add your ginger and garlic and mix well.


Dump half of your spice mixture into a medium bowl, add the 2 1/2 cups of regular yogurt and mix well.


Add your chicken and/ or cauliflower to the marinade, coating both sides. Chill in the fridge for 5 hours. Chill the other half of the spice mixture as well.


Heat your butter over medium-high heat, adding the onion slices, carrots, and tomato paste. Stir regularly for 5 minutes.


Add the canned tomatoes, the spice mixture from the fridge, your curry powder, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Boil and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.


Add the garbanzo beans along with the heavy cream, greek yogurt, 2 tbsp. salt, and cilantro. Simmer for 30 minutes.


Broil your chicken or cauliflower for 10 minutes. Check regularly or leave the oven light on to make sure you aren't burning the cauliflower.


Once done broiling your chicken, cube it and add it to the pot to finish cooking, about 10 more minutes. If you've substituted cauliflower here you can add the florets directly into the pot.


Garnish with cilantro and serve over cauliflower rice.


*This recipe can be made vegetarian by substituting small Cauliflower florets for the chicken.

Lifestyle Motherhood

35 Things My Kids Should Know About Me

35 things my kids should know about me

As my pregnancy advances and I begin to consider my future as a mother I find myself wondering how things will change. How I will change. What are some things my kids should know about me? Will I pull from the invisible well of strength that all mothers seem to have? Perhaps I’ll be guided by some sort of inner knowledge that will unravel and unlock as I need it most. But who will I be?

While considering very important things like if I’ll ever enjoy a cigarette and a glass of wine again I realized that it might be important to document some things my kids should know about me. Maybe when my kid reads it for the first time they’ll feel enlightened. Or maybe, much like a child, they’ll brush it off as lame. I don’t know and I don’t really care—that’s a thing about me.

  1. I’m terrified of spiders.
  2. I had to steal my high school diploma because of a mistaken late fee on a textbook I had returned.
  3. I change my mind a lot.
  4. Sometimes what I think and how I feel aren’t the same.
  5. I love the smell of black & mild cigars, they remind me of being a kid.
  6. I used to think people would find me more interesting if I liked what they liked. It turns out the opposite is true. Be the voice, not the echo.
  7. I’m still afraid of the dark.
  8. I wish I was closer to my mom.
  9. I’ve never felt stronger than when I was pushing my body in the gym and I’ve never felt more in tune with myself than when I was pregnant.
  10. Sometimes I don’t like who I am, I wish I was more tolerant and forgiving.
  11. I’ve never met a better person than your father. That’s why I married him and why I chose him to be your dad.
  12. I’m passionate about people, when someone needs help I will drop almost anything to figure it out.
  13. Once my underwear was showing while I was sitting in the cafeteria in 7th grade. I was sooo embarrassed. Now, I couldn’t even estimate the number of people I’ve mooned, your ideas will change.
  14. Nothing is better to me than a cup of coffee, a good book, and the rain.
  15. I hate it when people smack their mouth when they chew.
  16. For me, the hardest part of growing up was learning to handle being wrong and admitting it with dignity and grace. I’m still working on it and growing all the time.
  17. I wish I didn’t have stage fright. I would love to perform.
  18. Halloween is my favorite holiday, Christmas is a close second.
  19. I’ve thought I looked fat in every photo ever taken of me.
  20. I’m certain the earth is round.
  21. My favorite part of my body is my back, it’s strong and gives me the ability to do everything that I do.
  22. I wish I was better at outdoor stuff, I fantasize a bit about being a survivalist.
  23. I also fantasize about secretly being really good at martial arts.
  24. As a toddler, I used to tell people I lived at Target.
  25. This might not come as a surprise, but I’m very contrary and confrontational. Hopefully, you’ve learned a measured temper from your dad.
  26. I can barely snap my fingers. It’s one of my biggest shames.
  27. As a child, my favorite ice cream flavor was “green.” My parents would test the theory by giving me both pistachio and mint chip. I couldn’t tell the difference and loved them both.
  28. The first time something “blew my mind” was when I was six and I was informed I didn’t have to take off my dress to pee, I could just pull up the skirt.
  29. Han shot first
  30. Kid horror stories really fucked me up. I’m still afraid of something licking my hands or feet if I let them hang off the bed.
  31. I’ve marched against war and for human/ civil/ women’s/ gay rights whenever I could.
  32. I never could be told what to think or who to be. I hope you inherited that, though I’m sure I’ll regret saying that.
  33. At the time of your birth, I was able to express complex thoughts and emotions exclusively through the use of emojis and KIMOJIs. It’s vintage, look it up.
  34. I’m really good at doing anything with my hands and I enjoy handicrafts.
  35. I’m an animal lover through and through.

I’m sure one day there will be a follow-up post including a great deal more things my kids should know about me. What are some things your kids should know about you?

Lifestyle Recipe

Quick and Easy Vegan Split Pea Soup

vegan split pea soup

These days, meal prep is king. While everyone tries the latest and greatest life hacks for efficiency, few can argue that prepping your week’s meals in advance can save a lot of time and headache. Whether you’re living the single life with three jobs or a stay at home mom, everyone can benefit from prepping some grab-and-go meals to use throughout their week. I’ve done a quite a few one pot recipes in the past to save time on meal prep, but I’d never done a vegan split pea soup until now.

My mom used to cook split pea soup from scratch. I have vivid memories of the aroma of ham and peas wafting through the house to greet me after school. For this recipe, I decided to do a kind of smokey vegan take on mom’s traditional split pea soup. I’ve been craving spicy food like crazy so I implemented some paprika and hot sauce to add some heat to the recipe. I love this vegan split pea soup because it’s really nutritious and high in fiber so it’s filling as a stand-alone entree and can be taken as leftovers for lunch super easily.

Actually, I have this amazing tiny crock pot that I take to work. It holds probably 16 oz. or so and I love it. I just plug it right in when I get to work and by lunch time the contents are hot! I haven’t tried cooking in it but it’s amazing for heating leftovers.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for Vegan Split Pea Soup!

Vegan Split Pea Soup

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 Cooking Time: 1 hour


  • 8 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion chopped (yellow or white)
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced (or 2 tbsp, jarred minced)
  • 2 lbs. of split peas (this is usually two bags, don't forget to rinse!)
  • 2 tbsp. paprika (or more to taste)
  • 3 tbsp. of a hot sauce like Tapatio (or more to taste)
  • 7 pints of water (or 14 cups)
  • 8 vegan bouillon cubes
  • *You can substitute a vegetable stock for the water and bouillon cubes if desired
  • Garnish: Paprika, sesame seeds, caramelized onions



In a large pot sauté your carrots, celery, garlic, and onions until the onions are soft and translucent


Add your water and bouillon or vegetable stock, split peas, and any additional starches you intend to use. Bring to a full boil


Add your paprika and hot sauce if desired. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally


Garnish with paprika and sesame seeds or caramelized onions if desired and serve!


If you have extra starches laying around you can add potatoes (cubed or diced) and rice or other grains like barley at the same time you add the split peas. This will add more bulk and calories but can extend the use of the recipe if you have a large family or are trying to budget extra for meals.

DIY Lifestyle

Tips for Planning A Wedding On a Budget

wedding on a budget, planning a wedding,

When it comes to planning a wedding, details are king. This fact is even more pronounced when you’re planning a wedding on a budget. Each couple is as unique as the message they want to convey on their wedding day. Regardless of your budget, there are a few things you can do to help take the pressure off the process and streamline your finances. After throwing a wedding for my best friend and beginning to plan my own wedding a short six months later, I learned a lot about what it takes to execute such an important event. I’ll use my friend’s wedding as an example since it was planned in less than a week after her venue had to cancel last minute! Through this process, I learned some of the key tips for planning a wedding on a budget (and a time crunch!)

The first thing you should do when planning a wedding on a budget is sit down with your partner and really think, “what kind of wedding do we want to have?”

This is huuuuge. What kind of people are you? You might like the aesthetic of a NY Museum wedding but if you’re backyard barbecue people then there’s a conflict of interests there. On the contrary, maybe you are a Museum person but most of your guests have small children they’re bringing and the family is on the older side—then lots of stairs or breakable things are out of the question. Will you want the ceremony and reception at the same location? Really narrow down what kind of venue will be appropriate for the size, duration, and vibe of your wedding day.

Next, you should consider your priorities for the wedding.

Here, we really mean for the decor and the party. The ceremony requires very little overall other than the officiant. Maybe for you, a priority is that there’s an open bar and your partner really wants to save money of flowers. To start you should each choose three things that you couldn’t see getting married without i.e. photobooth, arch at the altar, style of chairs, style of centerpieces, passed hors d’oeuvres, etc… Having these “asks” down on paper can really help you prioritize and organize your time, money, and overall efforts towards the things that will have a big impact.

Finally, before you get down to actual planning and selection of vendors, etc, Decide On A Budget.

How much will you each be able to put towards the wedding between now and the big day? How much of that is available now/ upfront  (keep in mind most vendors will have to secure down payments for their services prior to confirming your dates). Set a realistic goal. Add 10% to that for contingencies, or if you’re capped, take 10% off and plan for that so the contingency fund is already handled. Also look at some sample budgets and wedding calculators online that are up to date for the year you’re planning. Even better if it’s regionally inclusive.

Now it’s time to go back to those lists of priorities.

Rank big ticket items from most to least important and then itemize those sections. For example, if the decor is #1 for you then you might choose to rent more expensive items in lieu of entertainment like music or an open bar. When you’re planning a wedding on a budget, some sacrifices will be made, but you wont feel that it’s lacking.

In each section list the things that are most non-negotiable (NN).

So for decor, it might look like this:

  • Arch (NN)
  • Tables with white linens (NN)
  • Aisle (runner or Shepard hooks or…)
  • Chairs (impartial if linens and centerpieces are solid)
  • Stage area (not important to me)

For food it might look like this:

  • Amazing Dessert table (NN)
  • Passed hors d’oeuvres (NN)
  • Buffet style? (Yes)
  • Pizza, tacos, or BBQ? Potluck maybe?

The NN (non-negotiable) items are what you’ll be spending your hard earned dollars on. As a general rule, cast a favor net far and wide months before your big day. Maybe everyone you know owns a 6 ft banquet table! That could save you a TON of money—and you never know until you ask. Perhaps a guest has an antique piece of furniture or a dessert stand you’ve admired? You’d be surprised the lengths your loved ones will go to make your big day successful, even if that means disrupting some of their personal home decor for a weekend.

Planning a wedding on a budget for my friend meant calling in favors left and right! Luckily one of our friends is an Art Director and was able to loot her set dressing and props department for some gorgeous greenery and arches:

© Callie Biggerstaff

Food On A Budget

This would be the time to call in favors from your restaurant and bar friends. Can they get you a catering deal? I was managing a restaurant at the time of my friends’ wedding so it was a great way to supplement the catered things with some dishes that I made myself.

If you are going with an actual venue that’s “inclusive” you might experience some pushback when it comes to using your own caterer. If they give you shit about only being able to use theirs, pull the religion or culture card! I.e. “Oh, actually in our faith/ culture we have to serve certain food…is that going to be a problem?” They’ll be quick to not want to insult you and usually make an exception.

We convinced a local ice cream truck to come by our house around 8pm after we knew the speeches would be done. It was a super unique, cute, and affordable way to serve dessert! We just handled the tab when everyone was done. The bride and groom even got to board the truck for a photo-op inside!

If you do decide to do a brunch the next day, do a picnic! Grab a bunch of pastries from Costco or your local bakery, ingredients from mimosas, and a few flats of eggs. You can use the grill at a park to cook eggs and have a super fun and low-key brunch. This could also be a potluck where part of your bridal party or family is asked to contribute by picking up muffins, croissants, etc… teamwork truly makes the dream work!

Booze On A Budget

For alcohol, you have a big choice to make. Are your guests paying or are you? If they’re paying you might still have to supply everything and essentially “front” the liquor. This is where parents might be able to help by fronting the big bucks for the night. You can always return bottles you don’t use.

Remember that even though everyone loves an open bar, no one will hold it against you if you forgo it. People are soooo accommodating during weddings—you’re basically a celebrity—so milk the good vibes and set it to BYOB or wine only, etc. You call the shots here, no one else! For my friend’s backyard wedding at our house, we set up a super cute DIY drinks table. There were chalkboards with instructions on how to make a “brides drinks” or a “grooms drink” along with plenty of non-alcoholic mixers and some wine.

wedding on a budget

Another idea to save money on booze/ open bar is to cut your wedding short.

It’s trendy and fun to do wedding weekends, but if you have a wedding on a budget it’s a stupid choice. Much better to have an elegant ceremony and 2-3 hour reception than a super long and drawn out thing, especially when some vendor charge by the hour! This way the people that stay for the duration of the weekend are only close friends and family.

Photography On A Budget

EVERYONE knows a professional photographer, right? When planning a wedding on a budget it’s super pragmatic to request that friend to shoot the ceremony! Offer them what you can in terms of money (you could even negotiate to pay them a week or two after the wedding so you have time to financially recoup). More than likely though, they’ll extend their services as a wedding gift, especially if it’s just the ceremony you want to be handled professionally.

In addition, for the reception request that;

1.) Everyone bring one disposable if it’s not in the budget to supply a bunch yourselves or hire an official photographer.


2.) Use a wedding hashtag and group Dropbox for party pics! Using your RSVP software you can schedule an email to everyone the day after the wedding with a Dropbox link for all wedding pics, done and done! Plus candid shots are better anyway.

Officiant On A Budget

It’s getting more and more popular to have a friend officiate, especially for a wedding on a budget. If customs, religion, or culture doesn’t require anything specific of you, it’s a great way to go! Otherwise—if you don’t go the “ordained friend” route—you can spend anywhere from $150-$1000+ on an officiant so it really depends on your expectation. I’ve seen beautiful and simple ceremonies that took no more than ten minutes from the bridal march to the smooch.

Centerpieces On A Budget

Dollarstore anyone? This is the time to get creative! Scour Pinterest for the aesthetic you’re drawn to and make a list isolating the key elements. For my friends’ wedding, I liked old books, candles, and moss (I literally didn’t give her a say because it was such short notice so I surprised her. A HUGE leap of faith on her part!).

Once I’d decided on the look, I knew with those three things I could do a simple and elegant centerpiece. I looted all my local Goodwill stores for old looking books, bought some bagged moss on Amazon, and used some dollar store candle holders. They turned out beautiful!

Again, the key is to really figure out:

1.) what’s most important to you as a couple

2.) what will have the biggest impact for a low cost; A great example of a this would be to use cheap paper lanterns to help light a path. This gives an illusion of a lot of landscaping and thought even though it’s simple.

Another great example would be the uniformity of tables/ etc. I used a white base for all the linens and chairs in both mine and my friends’ wedding to add some elegance. Here’s a photo of my friends:

© Callie Biggerstaff


A coordinator/ MC On A Budget

Okay, so your average 30-50 guest backyard wedding might not require a coordinator, but it never hurts! Put that bossy (I mean assertive) family member in charge of the schedule. This can be an MC like a MOH or BM, or an aunt or uncle that means business. You’ll be happy later not having to worry about letting people know the cake is being served or that it’s time for a send-off.


Even if you just go to the bar down the street for a breather, and loop back after. It’s nice to have a moment alone! Plus it’ll help expedite getting everyone the fuck out of your parent’s house/ the venue.

Weddings can be stressful as it is. Your relationship will be tested in the months leading up to your wedding. But it won’t break you and it shouldn’t break the bank either. My final word of advice is this (actually a friend of ours suggested this to us while we were in the trenches of planning): Around 2-3 months out, you’re going to be panicking. Your invitations haven’t gone out yet and you feel like a general shit-show. Grab your partner and go out for a beer. Bring a notepad and a couple of pens. Over the next hour, drink and ask each other, “Okay, if the wedding was tomorrow/ this week, what would we do?” Fill in the blanks for food, booze, officiant, music, dessert, traditions—and you’re good! Don’t stress, cuz at the end of the day, you got this!


Let me know what I missed or any tips your have for planning a wedding on a budget!

Lifestyle Travel

10 Tips for Traveling Abroad

Tips for traveling abroad

I just returned from a much-needed vacation to Europe. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to move there go back. Now that I’ve returned to the states, I have some tips for traveling abroad that I’d like to share.

Our trip began with my husband and I flying to Paris, where we would spend a few days alone exploring the city and the sights before linking up with his family in Basel, Switzerland. From Basel, we took a river cruise down the Rhine with around 200 other passengers on a small ship. The cruise was packed full of excursions and we were in a new city (or two) each day. I had never been to any of the countries we visited so I tried to soak it all in while sometimes rushing a quick lunch or bite to eat between tours.

Life on the ship was nice, we didn’t have to worry about much. Each stateroom had a US 2 pin power outlet, so, for the most part, we were able to use our various electronics and chargers without hassle.

The trip did have its fair share of trials and learning experiences; Mostly due to the colder weather that I’m no longer used to as an Angeleno. So I began making a list of tips for traveling abroad that I wish I’d known ahead of time!


  1. Think about the fashion of the region before you go: More than likely, you’re going to reach your destination and realize your accessories aren’t going to cut it. It’s vacation, there will be pictures. Do a cursory search on Instagram using places or hashtags for the area and decide on what to bring to achieve the look you want.
  2. Note the weather forecast and plan for colder: I knew it was going to be cold in Europe, but I underestimated it. Bring extra layers and one winter jacket if you’re heading to a colder region.
  3. Pack light: Even if you don’t plan to shop, you will. There’s something magical about purchasing things abroad knowing that pretty much no one you know will have it. In the days of H&M and Forever21, it’s nice to buy some unique pieces for your collection. Pack only half a suitcase so you don’t have to purchase (and check) extra luggage on your way home. You can even pack or bring a large empty duffel as your carry-on.
  4. Inquire within your hotel about amenities: Many hotels (and hostels) supply blow dryers and other items within the room. Note what is already provided so you save space in your luggage for other things.
  5. Have a plan: For each city, my husband and I starred different sights, bars, and restaurants we wanted to see on Google maps. That way, when we were walking around aimlessly, we could kind of scout which direction we should head and which things we could scratch off our list on the way. This made it super easy to leisurely explore while not missing out on anything big!
  6. Check a local guide for seasonal events and openings: We lucked out in Amsterdam by arriving on King’s Day (a national holiday). It was a giant party in the streets and so fun, but it could have waylaid us if we hadn’t known ahead of time. Additionally, we were able to go to the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse for my MIL’s birthday. It’s only open for 2 months a year so the timing was paramount!
  7. Buy a portable phone charger and always take a business card from the hotel you’re staying: These can be solar powered or otherwise but you’ll need it! Whether you need an uber or to pull up the Metro map to find your train, a dead phone can mean losing a whole day’s opportunity to explore. Come prepared. When your phone inevitably dies and you can’t exactly remember how to pronounce the name of your hotel—or what neighborhood it’s in for that matter—having the number and address of the place is a life (and time) saver.
  8. Learn some basic phrases: Even if you botch it, people appreciate the effort of at least trying to initiate the conversation in their national language. Even if it’s only to say “Do you speak English?” it will usually ensure the kindness of the locals.
  9. Make sure you have more than six months on your passport: You’ll thank me later. The US will let you enter until your passport expires, but some countries won’t let you travel (leave) if you have less than six months left. Also, it’s a good practice to always make copies of your passport in case it’s lost or stolen.
  10. Exchange rates are usually cheapest through your credit card: If you’re from the states, you’ll have an option to charge either USD or local currency. Choose local currency and save a little. Check with your credit provider first as rates vary.

I hope you enjoyed my tips for traveling abroad! Let me know anything I missed and what trips you have planned in the comments!


DIY Recipe

How To Make Your Own Granola

Make Your Own Granola

For breakfast, I’ve always loved granola. As a kid, I had an Uncle who kept granola in his pantry at all times. My home was usually stocked with Grape Nuts and skim milk, so granola with yogurt was a huge treat! Since then, I’ve almost always kept granola stocked in my kitchen as well. However, I can’t believe I’ve been paying for it all this time when it’s soooo simple to make your own granola! For the most part, granola only requires ingredients that you’ll already find in your kitchen cupboards. So, I decided to learn (and teach you) how to make your own! Get ready to level up your smoothie bowl and breakfast recipes!

Recipes for granola all are very versatile because the main component is rolled oats! I read that you won’t want to use quick oats because they don’t hold up as well after baking. This recipe is a great activity to do with family or friends and—perhaps even more so—it’s a quick and easy option to impress some early (or entirely unexpected) guests! Let’s not forget it as a budget option either since granola works as a meal or as a simple grab and go snack.

To make your own granola requires as little or as many ingredients as you’d like and only takes about an hour to make from start to finish.

For my granola, I wanted something that was tropical and kind of sweet. I knew I’d be putting it over plain Greek yogurt and wanted to include what I already had too much of in my pantry.

In this recipe, I added an egg white for added protein. However, granola only needs a ratio of around 1:6 wet to dry. You can make a simple syrup or use honey/agave, egg whites, and oil for your wet ingredients like I did. If you’re adding dried fruits like raisins, goji, apricots, etc., you’ll want to wait to add those until the mix is baked through and transferred to a bowl.

Make Your Own GranolaMake Your Own Granola

Make Your Own Granola

Print Recipe
Serves: 10 Cooking Time: 1 hour


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup of extra-finely shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of pepitas
  • 1/2 cup of crushed almonds
  • 3 tbsp. bee pollen
  • 1/3 cup honey/ agave
  • 1/3 cup warmed coconut oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • dash of cardamom
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup green raisins
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1 packet of Mango Açaí fruit snacks



Pre-heat your oven to 300°F


Mix the oats, seeds, nuts, and other dry ingredients in a bowl


Add your spices and salt to the dry mix and combine thoroughly


Stir in your wet mixture until all the ingredients and coated


Spread your mix on a parchment lined baking sheet


Bake for 40-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes


Transfer your mix to a bowl and add your berries and dried fruits



I hope you enjoyed learning how to make your own granola! Check back often for more recipes and kitchen tips Xo.


Coconut Lime Cardamom Lip and Body Scrub DIY

Lip and Body Scrub DIY

I’ve wanted to do a tutorial on a lip scrub for a while. It wasn’t until around five years ago that I realized lip scrubs existed. I suffer from bizarrely chapped lips, even products that are meant to moisturize can turn my lips peeling and puckered. For that reason, I don’t use lipstick too much because it just ends up looking like shit within an hour or two. Because of my bad luck in beauty, I’ve been diligent over the past couple of years about finding beauty products and solutions that work for my skin, budget, and lifestyle. This lip and body scrub DIY will demonstrate to you the basics of creating a delicious, fragrant, and natural beauty product for your friends and family.

Lip and Body Scrub DIY

Lip and Body Scrub DIY

Lip and Body Scrub DIY

Exfoliating Lip Scrub

I’m absolutely in love with the sweet citrus and cardamom notes that come from both of these scrubs.  When I used the lip scrub for the first time, I was immediately transported back to Bali in my mind. There’s something about the combination of fragrances and flavors that are truly tropical and luxurious. I’m obsessed with this lip and body scrub DIY—I might even develop a lip balm for my upcoming online shop.


  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or sugar in the raw)
  • 1+ tbsp. coconut oil or honey/ agave
  • 5 drops lime essential oil
  • 1-2 drops vanilla oil or extract
  • A pinch of cardamom spice
  1. Combine your sugar with your oil or honey/ agave. Combine well until the mixture is a paste
  2. Add the essential oils and spices to the mix. Mix well
  3. Bottle your delicious lip scrub in a glass or plastic container. If you’re trying the recipe as a gift option, you can get cute bottles in bulk on Amazon.

This lip scrub is so delicious and edible! To use: apply a small amount to lips, rubbing around to exfoliate, and lick away excess.

Lip and Body Scrub DIYFace and Body Scrub

One of my favorite parts about this face and body scrub is that it reuses used coffee grounds. This is an excellent way to repurpose household items to make sure you’re less wasteful, and you’ll get a luxury product out of it that smells divine! Used coffee grounds already have so many practical uses in and around the home, but bath and beauty products are great! The coffee helps to wake you up as it invigorates your senses while the lime oil energizes as it’s astringent qualities cleanse.

**I don’t recommend using your used coffee grounds if you have low-quality coffee in the house (the worst part of waking up is a bad cup of coffee and the breakout it caused your face after using it in a scrub recipe).


  • 1/2 cup used coffee grounds, pressed to get rid of excess moisture
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 10 drops lime essential oil
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  1. Combine your used coffee grounds with your coconut oil. Work together until a paste begins to form
  2. Add your essential oils and spices while stirring together
  3. Bottle your scrub and gift/ use accordingly


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial for Lip and Body Scrub DIY!