What you’ll find in my Grocery Cart.

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Hello everyone!

Today I want to talk about what I shop for that helps me have success! As most of you know, I have an extremely busy lifestyle right now with a lot of driving, and teaching 5 days a week (most of these days I don’t have a break for a meal, and I go till 9 pm or so).

Due to the craziness, I am currently follow an eating plan of two meal replacement shakes a day, one “regular” meal, and a couple small snacks (I generally stick to boiled eggs). I love my meal replacement shakes. They are made from undenatured whey protein from New Zealand cows not treated with antibiotics. They are free of soy, GMOs, and gluten, and are full of lots of good fiber, vitamins and minerals, digestive enzymes, probiotics, etc. They are great for my  teaching days, because I can shake one up and have it while I’m teaching. In the mornings, I like to add a couple scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides or Marine Collagen for healthy skin and bones!

On the weekends, I love getting creative with my third meal, but I try to keep it simple during the week so that I can prep it quickly, and be on with my day! I’ll be sharing some more of my fun recipes as I go, but for now, I’m going to share with you some of my staples! As you’ll see, I get a lot of my veggies pre-prepped. It is my dream to someday have time to take a weekly Farmer’s Market trip and prep each ingredient myself, but in this busy season of life, I just don’t have a lot of extra time to be cutting up vegetables!

Eggs (my family raises chickens, so I only buy eggs if they run out!)

Organic Chicken Breast

Shredded Cabbage – Trader Joe’s has two varieties, and I get both! I sautée the Green Cabbage with a little butter, garlic, and apple cider vinegar (a trick I learned from my great aunt!), or I’ll make the shredded Green and Red Cabbage with shredded Carrots into an Egg Roll in a Bowl!

Riced Cauliflower

Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Vegetable Mix

Organic Spinach

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower

Organic Sweet Potatoes – I have these on the weekend or for a special occasion. As my complex carb side, or as a dessert (with a little butter and cinnamon). Just stab them with a fork, skins on, and pop them in a 400 degree oven to bake until soft!

Organic Lean Ground Beef

Asparagus, Butternut Squash, Peppers, Spaghetti Squash, or Zucchini – depending on what’s in season, and what I’m in the mood for!

Steak, for special occasions

Organic Half and Half

Cashews, Pecans, or Almonds – my favorites!

Unsweetened, but salted Nut Butter or Coconut Butter (I’ll have a little on a day when I am ravenous, but I have to be careful, because I could easily eat my weight in spoonfuls of nut butter!)

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Garlic

Some sort of Black Tea (right now I’m using up the Nambarrie Tea I picked up in Northern Ireland)

Yogi Bedtime Tea (I go through this SO quickly!)

Cheese and meats (like prosciutto or smoked salmon) as a special weekend charcuterie snack

Plain Yogurt

Fresh or frozen Raspberries

Kerrygold Butter

Valrhona 85% Dark Chocolate – I have been experimenting with having one square each night, and I love it! ❤

I don’t ever purchase treats like cookies or chips, etc., except for a very special occasion, and even then I’d prefer to bake something! Although one of my best friends and I recently discovered Halo Top ice cream, and that could get dangerous D=

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A Sailboat in the Moonlight

Boy oh boy! It’s been a long time since I’ve shared a post on here! Many times I have started writing a post, only to stop. Also, the title has no meaning except that it’s a Billie Holiday song, and it sounds pretty. This past season has been one full of adventure, but also full of more frustration than I have ever experienced. I’m not going to complain, because I’m extremely blessed, but it seemed like everything hit at once – the sudden loss of two beloved childhood pets (within a week of each other), my beautiful studio which became financially impractical, and worries about my dad’s health that have caused us to drastically change our lifestyle as a family (he’s alright, but was working himself to the bone). But despite all of that, I’m incredibly grateful for where I’m at in life, and the work God is doing in my life and the lives of my loved ones. I found myself teetering on the brink of becoming one of two different women. One who I would be proud to be, and the other I would not. I am daily choosing the path that leads towards becoming the woman I dream of becoming. This does not (by any means) mean that I think I’m perfect, and who knows; maybe one day I’ll crack, but today is definitely not that day, because I choose to be a conqueror.

Alright, now for a taste of my Summer…..I spent most of my Summer in Europe. Two weeks in Austria performing in the Classical Music Festival with new friends and old, and two weeks exploring Northern Ireland (and a day in Dublin) with relatives. I absolutely loved my time of exploring palace gardens and hills in Austria, visiting the graves of the great composers, trying Austrian pastry and wines, playing music in the Esterhazy palace, the beautiful, old churches in Eisenstadt, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. I am so thankful to have been able to take a day trip to Budapest where I explored the Great Market Hall to try different traditional Hungarian foods and soak up the rich local color, and took a leisurely walk in the heat of Hungary across the Blue Danube. I loved the wild storms of Austria, strolling up and down the quiet cobblestone streets by starlight, games of darts at the local bar, and how the nights seemed to be absolutely full of music. And I must say I miss waking up early each morning to the sound of birds and church bells outside my window and a beautiful breakfast spread of Austrian meats and cheese, vegetables, coffee, and boiled eggs (I eat boiled eggs on the daily now!). Sure, I love waking up to the sound of roosters outside my bedroom back home, but all of that was pure magic! In Ireland, I fell in love with the cold and craggy coast, the way the rolling green hills seemed to be alive, and the people – their hospitality, their friendship, and the sing-songy way they talk. The castles and cappuccinos, and the beautiful buzz of Dublin. I am thankful to have learned the importance of a day of rest (and to have gained the strength to make room for one in my life), and the freedom to enjoy living. My time in Ireland was instrumental in getting me back in touch with my roots, and in revealing to me the woman I hope to become. AND I got to tick jamming in a pub with locals off my bucket list! Join me for a cup of coffee or tea one of these days, and I’ll tell you all about it. I loved the fresh, vibrancy of Ireland’s food, the slowness of Sunday after church, and I’ll never forget that white chocolate raspberry cake from The Goose! 😉

But now I have been home awhile, and life continues to teach me beautiful lessons.  Between teaching nearly 40 students (my dream of becoming a full time private music instructor is finally coming true, and it’s surreal!), working a couple mornings a week at my parents’ restaurant, and my weekend gig schedule, I am learning the importance of balance in my life. This is not an easy task, but I am slowly learning to have grace and patience with myself in knowing that it’s not always about the destination – most of the time, it’s about the journey along the way. Although I enjoyed my time of indulging in Europe (and although the number on the scale stayed the same – what?!), I came home feeling a little more “fluffy” than usual, and that opened my eyes to the fact that a certain amount of structure is important to me. Since I’ve been home, I have been sticking to a personalized set of macros (some days I adhere to my macros roughly, some days I’m spot on), and I’ve included a weekly supported fast day into my lifestyle which I believe is not only important for my physical health, but also for my spiritual and emotional health, as it takes the focus off of what to prepare and eat, and puts the focus on my thought life, and my relationship with God. In addition to that, I try to go for an hour long walk 3-4 times a week, and make it to my Saturday morning Zumba class as often as I can! I’ll throw in some squats when I think about it, but it all depends on what my week is like. For October, I have joined a “Fall Into a Healthier You” challenge which I’m excited to be a part of, and I’m hoping it will up my fitness level!

I love this beautiful lifestyle I’m creating and the freedom and structure within it, but what I am most thankful for is how it has affected my emotional and spiritual life. During my time in Europe, my eyes were opened to qualities about myself that I knew I had, but the weight of which were only just beginning to have an impact on me – I was anxiety-ridden, depressed, and expecting the worst in life for no good reason. I realized that this was not a way to live, and that negative thinking has an impact on all aspects of life, and it was time to take control of that.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5

In addition to making devotions a part of my daily routine, I am currently almost halfway through a Healthy Mind and Body program which is designed to build a healthy mindset and vision in life. It’s been a journey, breaking negative thinking habits and setting up a clear vision, but because it’s such an important topic for me right now, I’d like to share some things that I’m grateful for and that have brought me joy!

Family and Friends (duh, right? but I never really realized how lucky I got in this department!)

The Simple Sophisticate Podcast (and The Simply Luxurious Life blog). I love Shannon Ables’ ideas on creating a beautiful, sophisticated life. I don’t like how she pronounces “prosciutto”, though! haha

My new perfume – One with notes that are perfectly reflect my personal style. I smelled it in a catalog a couple months ago, searched for it in Ireland only to find it hadn’t been released in the UK yet, so I got it almost as soon as I got off the plane back home!

Journaling – I journal prayers, letters, thoughts, and lists.

My list of dreams and desires.

An afternoon Nambarrie Tea from Northern Ireland with a little spot of cream or half & half.

Time set aside to explore a new city, attend a fun event, get a pedicure, or fold the laundry with a good movie.

Putting all my songs on shuffle for my commute

Cooking a healthy meal and dancing around the kitchen to a playlist of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Dean Martin, or Frank Sinatra.

A good long hike somewhere secluded on a sunny, but cool day.

An evening bubble bath by candlelight.

A square of Dark Chocolate to end a good, full day.

That’s all I can think of right now.

And with that, I wish you a happy October! X.O.