Workout Wants…

A few weeks ago, I joined the gym and now I’m feeling like my workout wardrobe could use a major make-over. So here’s to working out in style and a look my workout wants and wish list!

 

workout wants and style wish list

1. I usually stick to basic tops when I exercise, but I love the pattern and style of this tank top by Forever21. Best of all its only $12.80!

2. Roxy has some really cute workout gear, such as these shorts! Currently on sale for $32.99.

3. Love this cute, but practical sports bra by Victoria’s Secret.

4. Basics, like this top, never go out of style!

5.  This top!! Sold by Free People, love the pattern and detailing on the back! Hope they get more in stock!

6. Cute Roxy sports bra here.

7. Last year I wrote this post, on my favorite workout shoes. These Nike Free Runs are still one of my favs!

8. Another super cute printed sports bra. Available at Nordstroms.com

9. Black leggings are definitely a workout style staple for me. However, I will not by any ol’ pair because see-thru leggings are no bueno!! I want to try out these leggings by Solow!

workout wants

1. Super cute headband from Etsy.com! Not much worse than constantly having to fix your hair when exercising!

2. Hats are key to help keep hair in place and to protect from the sun!

3. Love the colors of this yoga mat by Prana.

4. Can never have enough ankle socks. Mesh socks by Victoria’s Secret.

5. Spring is here and summer is on the way, meaning more time for fun outdoor workouts! Volleyball is a great outdoor workout!

6. These are sooo not budget friendly, but this is a wish list after all, right? Love this jump rope by Alexander Wang.

7. Urban Rebound is a class I’ve been dying to try. My gym doesn’t offer this class, but you can purchase a trampoline and video to do at home!

8. Earphones, because exercising to music is much more fun!

9. Water bottle to help you stay hydrated!

10. These facial wipes by The Body Shop are great to throw in your gym bag for after a workout.

11. So many amazing exercises you can do with a stability ball!

 

Do you have any favorite workout brands or products? I would love to hear about them! Share in the comments!

DIY: How to Propagate Succulents From Leaves

how to propagate succulents from leaves

Confession: I am obsessed with succulents. I just love how they look, how easy they are to take care of, and how easy they are to grow! Plus, here in California, we are experiencing a drought, so low maintenance plants are a huge bonus! Until recently, I didn’t know much about how to grow new succulents. I was familiar with the basics: break the top part of the succulent off, let it callous over, then replant it. But I also learned that you can also grow new succulents from the leaves of a mature succulent!! So for this DIY post, I want to show you how to propagate succulents from leaves! It is fun and it’s a great way to expand your succulent collection! Here’s how…

 

Step 1: Gather Your Leaves

Very carefully, pull the leaf off the stem of a succulent. The idea is to get a clean cutting and not a broken leaf or stem. Sometimes, the leaves are harder to pull off, it can help to gently twist them back and forth until the become loose.

Step 2: Let Them Dry

Similar to propagating succulent cuttings (cutting the top part off and replanting), you want the leaves to dry out a little before you plant them. To do this, simply place the leaves in a tray and wait. DO NOT water them at this point because you want them to dry a little. Keep a close eye on the leaves for this stage. If they get too dry, hot, cold, or wet, they will likely die. This step generally takes 1-3 days, depending on how warm or cold the weather is.

 

how to propagate succulents from leaves

Step 3: Plant the Leaves

Fill a shallow tray with a few inches of succulent soil (<–you can purchase this at a garden store or somewhere like Home Depot). When choosing your soil and tray supplies, be sure to look for well draining soil and tray/pot to prevent rot. I have also tried using regular soil -  it also works, but succulent soil seems to work better. Next place the leaves on top of the soil. (Some people place the leaves in the soil, but in my experience the leaves die quicker and take longer to propagate.) When the leaves are on top of the soil, the roots will grow down into the soil, and you will be able to see this.

Step 4: Water

Lightly water the leaves and succulents. When they are first growing, you will need to water them as soon as the soil dries. To test the moisture in the soil, simply stick your finger in the soil to see if it is damp below the surface. If it is damp, watering is not needed and if it is dry you should water them. In my experience, I water them a few times a week at first. Be careful not to over water them or the leaves can rot (the leaves will turn brown and mushy).

Step 5: Wait for regrowth

You should see the roots start to grow within a few weeks or a month. The succulent sprouts will take a little longer. Discard any pieces that have have rotted (they are brown and mushy). Some shriveling is normal.

succulent propigating before and after

 

A few More Tips for Growing Succulents…

- Succulents love the sun! The climate you live in will determine when it is best too propagate succulents. Too much cold and wetness will likely cause the leaves to rot and too much heat can also cause them to die. I’ve noticed they regrow faster when I place my tray in a well-lite window versus direct hot sun.

- Do not over water! They will rot! Again use your finger to check the dampness of the soil.

- Replant new succulents in a well draining pot.

diy succulent propagation

Anyone else obsessed with succulents? Have you tried this technique yet?

Food On A Stick

Today I am featuring a post by guest blogger, Shaye.  (Check out her blog, Simply Shaye here) Shaye was kind enough to come up with a recipe round-up for National Something On a Stick Day. (Mark your calendars, it’s March 28th!) I can’t wait to try out these fun, food on a stick recipes! Enjoy!!

Celebrating the Simple, Portable Food On A Stick

I’ve been caught off-guard by many a food-related holiday recently. Did you know World Nutella Day is February 5? And International Pancake Day was March 4 this year? Well, I didn’t know about either until photos popped up on my Instagram feed of people celebrating in many delicious ways!

So, I figured I’d be prepared for the next big food holidays to come along. We made apple pie on Pi Day (3/14) last week, and coming up soon is “Something on A Stick” Day!  This is right up my alley, because it seems like I’m making kebabs on the grill for dinner three or four times a week during summers.  My son, William, loves to help in skewering them and I love how easy they are to serve and eat – no silverware necessary! A thing of beauty.

I’m pretty well-known around the neighborhood for bringing food on a stick to our little get-togethers, so I figured I’d expand my repertoire. Here are a few of the great ideas I’ve found, just in the past week or so:

food on a stick recipes Coconut Sweet Potato Kebabs

1.  Grilled Coconut Sweet Potato Kebabs (Pic and recipe by Family Fresh Cooking)

We love sweet potato fries here in our household – my son can go through a whole bag in a week. So we broke out this recipe to try making our own sweet potato sides, minus all the salt and preservatives in the pre-packaged products. The coconut is such a great touch, and we used greek yogurt to serve as a dip along side it time.  I may also try roasting them with a dusting of cinnamon and some raw sugar for a desert treat!

2. Frozen Grapes on a Stick

These almost seem like a no-brainer, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of them before. William goes nuts over them, and they’re so easy! I’d much rather they eat frozen fruits in the summertime than those sugary freeze-pops all his friends love so much. Paired with some frozen bananas, we dipped them in chocolate and skewered them on sticks over the weekend. These are perfect cool-down snacks.

food on a stick donut breakfast kebab

3. Donut Hole Breakfast Skewers To-Go! (Pic and Recipe By ValSoCal)

Before I get lectures about the sugar and carb content of these, I’d like to preface that we made these before my son’s first weekend football practice of the season – he and his friends definitely burned off all those calories and then some. I added some bites of sausage to these skewers for protein, which made them just the ticket. In the past, I’ve made something similar to this with cantaloupe melon pieces instead of blackberries. When I make them again, I’ll probably substitute in whatever fruit we have around the house – banana, pears, or even apples, depending what I have.

food on a stick kebobs

4.  Tandoori-Grilled Vegetables (Pic and Recipe by Veggie Belly)

Can’t forget the veggies! I’m so glad my boy isn’t a picky eaters; he will try just about anything when we try new cuisine in our local restaurants. Willy devoured these tandoori grilled skewers, and we’ll be using the same marinade on some chicken and beef later this week.

5. Cake Pops, The Classic (Recipe by

I had never even attempted to make cake pops, assuming that I needed a special cake pop maker or baking mold to do it right. I didn’t realize they were just cake, mixed with cream cheese frosting and re-shaped! (I bet if you wanted to cut down on some of the sugar content, you could probably use straight cream cheese… hmmm…)  We had a great time making these together (mostly because I put down a layer of newspaper before we busted out all the ingredients, for easy cleanup). We made chocolate cake with white chocolate icing, very similar to the recipe featured at the link above. It made for a great evening activity after school.

Road Trippin’

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring and I am already dreaming of fun adventures ahead  in warmer weather. One thing  I have always wanted to do, is rent a RV or camper and take a road trip somewhere amazing. Check out these amazing bohemian campers and tents to get you inspired for some fun road trippin’ fun…

road trippin

camper decor

camper decor

bohemian camping

road trippin

road trippin

road trippin

rv decor

rv decor road trippin road trippin

 

All pics via Pinterest. Click here to view links to their sources.

So, I joined the gym…

workout motivation

For most of my life, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with gyms. In general, I’ve always preferred exercising outdoors. However, now that my daughter is getting older, working out while caring for her, is getting more and more challenging. Stroller and home workouts were getting shorter and harder to initiate, and truthfully, I was starting to lose some of my motivation for exercising on my own. So before I completely lost my workout motivation, I decided to follow one of my own tips for staying motivated and sticking to a workout…Fitness Tip #7: Try something new! And by “new” I mean add variety to your workout to prevent boredom, stay motivated, and to help you achieve your fitness goals!!

So for me this meant joining a gym. I now have more opportunity to workout when I want. The gym has a great childcare and Alaia likes playing there, so it works out great for both of us! I also have more access to fitness equipment (although I only use minimal machines at the gym anyway, more on that another day) I am looking forward to getting in shape, mixing it up, and getting my motivation back!

 

So you are probably thinking so what, I go to the gym?! The point of my story is that to stay motivated, active, and fit, you got to do what ya got to do. In other words, find out what works best for YOU. It’s important to keep things exciting, fresh, and mix up your workout once in a while! It’s much more fun and will keep you motivated!!

 

P.S: For other newbies at the gym, check out this amazing and motivating post I shared on my Facebook page the other day, Dear New Girl at the Gym, by Erica Millard. Trust me, you will love!

Happy 1st Birthday Inspired Soul Blog!!

happy-bithday

Wow, can’t believe its been 1 year since I started my lifestyle blog, the Inspired Soul Blog! I have many more recipes, lifestyle tips, DIY projects, fitness workouts, style tips, and much more to share! Thank you so much to all my readers, commenters, and supporters. It’s YOU that inspired my soul! Stay tuned for more and be sure to keep current on the latest blog posts by following me on Instagram, Facebook or Bloglovin!

 

Etsy LOVE… Favorite Finds On Etsy

One of the reasons I choose to use Etsy, for the Inspired Soul Shop, is that it’s… AMAZING!! For those who don’t already know, Etsy is a really cool online marketplace that sells just about anything everything, ranging from craft supplies to wedding dresses or home decor. Etsy is also a really great place to find one of a kind items, including handmade art, clothing and jewelry.

So with that in mind, I thought it would be fun to start a new series on the blog that features some my favorite Etsy finds. As part of this series, I will also do some reviews, shop spotlights, AND have Etsy GIVEAWAYS!!! I think it would be a fun way to support other small businesses and help spread the word about the amazing handmade products out there. If you have an etsy shop and would like your shop to be featured, submit your shop for review here.

For this first post, I wanted to share some of my favorite finds on Etsy! Take a look!

Favorite Finds On Etsy

1. Yellena sells beautiful art prints. Yellena also makes prints on iphone cases, like the one above! I love how unique and eye-catching the designs are!

2. This Geometric Terrarium is perfection!! This would look so great in just about any bedroom or room. By JechoryGlassDesigns.

3. Stacking rings are in. I love these gorgeous stacking rings by Forkwhisperer

Favorite Finds On Etsy

4. I am such a sucker for lotus shaped jewelry. This beautiful Silver Lotus Necklace by roundabout is stunning!

5. I love the hand printed t-shirt designs, like the one above by . Check out their shop for super cute “basics with a twist”.

6. These printed leggings are soo cute!! I have a feeling getting dressed in the AM would be much easier if all of Alaia’s clothing were as stylish as the ones makes. Did I mention these leggings are organic?? Now I love them even more!!

 

What is your favorite find on Etsy??

 

For those already on Etsy, follow me here!!

What is the best cooking oil?

best cooking oil, pic by cottonseedoil

A (Simple) Guide To Cooking With Oils and Fats

Coconut oil, olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil… The list of oils types and fats goes on. Keeping track and knowing which one is the best cooking oil can get confusing real quick! I’ve heard bits and pieces here and there about how oils can change when heated to high temperatures, but what does that really mean? I mean, while knowing the chemistry of oils interesting and all, I want the practical facts! I want to know which oils I should USE for cooking, and which I should AVOID. So I did a little more research on the topic and found some awesome (and simple) information on this important health topic!

A general rule of thumb is, you should use natural oils and fats, and avoid processed (man made) oils. Well duh!! I mean, that makes perfect sense right? It does, but it gets confusing is when you factor in HEAT. Some oils can withstand high cooking temperatures, whereas other oils, such as olive oil, are better for low temperature cooking, or  should not be cooked with at all.

So why is this? It’s because different oils have different smoke points (the temperature at which it starts to smoke and break down). When an oil is heated to its smoke point, it starts to lose some of its nutritional value and its flavor changes. To summarize:

  • Use oils with high smoke points for high heat cooking, like frying. ex: Coconut Oil
  • Medium smoke point oils are great for sauteing at lower heats. ex: Olive Oil
  • Oils with low smoke points are best for salad dressings or dips. ex: Avocado Oil

 

I found this awesome chart by Real Food Digest, to help make knowing what is the best cooking oil, a little easier!

 

best cooking oil

 

So I hope this guide is helpful for knowing which type is the best cooking oil! My favorites are coconut oil (More amazing benefits of coconut oil here), olive oil, butter, or ghee.

 

Do you have a favorite cooking oil? Share your tips for cooking with oil in the comments section!

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