Motivational Monday #2

#MOTIVATIONALMONDAY is here. Get excited!!!! This week’s quote really got to me because as classes are about to start up, things can get a bit overwhelming. It can be a tough act balancing school, meal planning, workouts, socializing, etc. (I’m really feeling it right now) and this can be discouraging. For you, whether its classes starting up, a new job, or perhaps same job, but a new responsibility this year, trying to manage and succeed at all of it is stressful. Today’s motivation is meant to remind you about focus and hard work!

With all of life’s things calling our name for our attention, it may seem impossible to figure it all out. The only way you will succeed is if you want to, and then you must put your focus and attention into achieving it! Now, of course, you cannot put all your attention into everything at one time, there will have to be some sacrifices that you choose. And you cannot control everything. But, it’s motivating to remember that you have control over your actions and where you choose to put your attention. Choose what is really important to you and work hard for it–the results will come!

So if life seems to be too hectic or you find yourself getting distracted, take a step back and refocus your attention and energy on what you want to achieve. Your focus will lead to results, results that will take time and dedication, but results that will be so worth every ounce of attention you gave!

Now go out and there and kill it this week!!

Fall/Winter Bucket List Update #1

As break comes to an end, I figured I would blog about some of the items that I have completed from my Fall/Winter Bucket List! Sadly, I haven’t done as much from the list as I would’ve liked, but there is still plenty of time for me to do so in the coming months…and you too! This list has helped me create plans for fun things to do on weekends, and I have really enjoyed these activities.

  1. The first thing from my list was going to watch the sunrise at White Rock Lake on October 22. My friend and I got up at 6 and left our apartment at 6:30 a.m. Now, is this early? By all means yes. Was it completely worth it? Yes times a million! White Rock Lake made it very easy to find and get down to the lake to park and be where we wanted. We arrived and sat ourselves down at a picnic table just as the sun was peeking into the sky–there was faint light, but still no actual sun on the horizon yet. I had made myself apple pie oatmeal before we left, and put it into a tupperware to eat while watching the sunrise. It was just the perfect thing because it was bit nippy and chilly out near the lake at 7:15 am!

Finally, the sun started appearing on the horizon and it was beautiful! I tried to spend as little time capturing it on my phone because I wanted to be there, experiencing it in the moment instead of plastered behind my screen. But, I still managed to get some magnificent pictures. (*These are emailed from my iPhone, so perhaps not the best quality, but still pretty good!)

 

 

 

 

I loved watching the sun move across the sky and feel the increasing warmth. It really made me feel small and remember to be grateful and enjoy the little things in life. Definitely an experience worth having!

2. The second thing I did was going to a goat cheese farm in Flower Mound, TX (I substituted this for the Japanese Gardens on my list). It’s called Latte Da Dairy and it has open house only twice a year, once in the Fall and once in the Spring. Now, I know Flower Mound may not be super close to you, but if you get the chance to swing by here on one of their days (check their website: http://www.lattedadairy.com/) I would highly suggest it! It was an open farm that you could walk around and look at the goats and the aspects of the farm. There are free tours of the building where the goat cheese is made with an explanation of how exactly it is made. I never knew any of this, so to me it was really interesting!

There are also little booths where people will sell their homemade items such as jams/jellies, produce, tamales, cookies, etc. The best part is that the dairy farm sells their cheese and has FREE SAMPLES! All of the cheeses I tasted (too many to count) were amazing and we ended up buying some gouda and cabra. If you love cheese, or just want something fun and new to do, then consider driving out to Flower  Mound for this farm. The goats were also pretty cool and silly:

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Last, but not least, I went to the Dallas Farmer’s Market–probably the most exciting one. Like I mentioned before, there is just something about Farmer’s Markets that make me happy and that I absolutely love! It just feels very natural and healthy and cool to see all these things people produce and sell. The Dallas Farmers Market has two areas, The Shed (usually open earlier) and The Market. The Shed is where the sellers’ tables/tents are lined up under a pavilion and you are free to roam around. We went on New Years Eve so a) it was winter and obviously not a lot of produce and b) there were fewer vendors than normal. But it was still great! We bought some homemade linguine–basil pesto and roasted garlic flavors (but there was even a dark chocolate flavor!)–and granola.


 

 

 

 

The Market is where the inside stores and cafes/restaurants are. The building itself was open, but there was only a coffee shop open inside when we were there. We still got to walk around inside of it, and it really did look neat. I’m planning to go back sometime this Spring and check it out, and buy some produce.

Food Review: Delicious Restaurants

As you saw the title of this blog, I’m assuming you chose to read it for a certain reason. So I’m going to get straight to it: I love to eat (c’mon, who doesn’t?). I especially love going out to eat. The atmosphere, the exciting foods…that moment when you see your food coming and you break into that internal (sometimes external) happy dance. Over break, I have been out to some really good places and eaten some really great food. So I thought to share the love, I would do my first food review on the 3 restaurants I went to. All 3 have locations throughout the metroplex, so you’re sure to find one near you. And even if you can’t, they’re worth traveling for. Bon appetit!

Luna Grill

Luna Grill is a fresh Greek/Mediterranean restaurant. And it’s totally delicious! The first time I went was this past summer and I got one of their seasonal items (March 21-May 21), the Spring Market Wrap. Juicy chicken with quinoa, feta cheese, arugula, tomatoes wrapped up in a multigrain flatbread. I loved this because it had the light freshness of a salad, but altogether in a delicious wrap. My mom got the seasonal Spring Arugula Salad which is very similar to my wrap just in salad form. My mom said it was very delicious. I also got a side of sweet potato fries, and they were fabulous! However, I warn you: if you order them, try to split the order with 1-2 people. They are addictive–and not the healthiest–so the best option would be to split them so you can still enjoy the right amount.

The second time I went I ordered the Classic Wrap: greens, onions, tomato and your choice of protein–I chose chicken–in a pita bread. My first bite, I literally thought I died and went to heaven, it was THAT good. The pita wrap was doughy and soft and the vegetbales were so crisp! The flavors burst from the chicken, the wrap, and the sauce. I would highly recommend you order this first because it is one of my favorite dishes I’ve ever had.

One of the things I love most about Luna Grill is the fresh, healthy feeling of the restaurant and its food. Of course, there are less healthy options on the menu, which there will be at all places. But there are so many viable, delicious options to choose between and still have your treat (such as my white pita bread).

Old West Cafe

My dad took me here for lunch a few weeks ago because of the many reviews he had read about it. Boy was he right! It has great breakfast and lunch and even when we arrived at 11:45 there were many breakfast goers; however, we ordered lunch. My dad ordered the meatloaf (full) and I ordered the Spinach-Salad (half) with a side of fries. My salad included grilled chicken on a bed of green leaf and spinach lettuce blend with fresh strawberries, sliced almonds, red onions, crumbled blue cheese and served with Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing. I love salads with these flavor combinations and this one did NOT disappoint. The produce was all very fresh and the chicken was succulent with intense, delicious flavors. The dressing blends really well with the salas, but it is quite sweet and sugary. I only added a little bit at a time, and probably only used 1/4 of the cup they gave me, and it was just the right amount. P.S: I was debating between the full and half, but my waiter suggested the half for me when I asked. Right choice. The half was already huge–I was able to enjoy and finish my salad, but not be too full.

The fries on the other hand were unfortunately not great for me. The salt/seasoning on them was amazing, I could’ve licked it up. But my fries were somewhere in between crisp and soggy…like not a good texture when biting into them. Granted, that could’ve been that day they were off, I’m not sure.

All the breakfast options I saw looked amazing and I am definitely planning on going back for breakfast soon. Each plate I saw someone order made my mouth water. But fair warning: the portions looked huge. The great thing about Old West Cafe was their interior and all of their options on both the breakfast and lunch menus! It can be overwhelming at all the choices, but you’re bound to pick a winner when you eat there!

Empress of China

Chinese food is my all time favorite food and Empress of China is one of the best places I’ve found for it! When my family and I go we usually order mushu pork (I love those little pancakes they serve it with!) and Sesame Chicken with broccoli. The entrees are all authentic, and they do not go light on the flavoring! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!! We also order their steamed dumplings which are doughy and perfect!

This last time I went, my family ordered those options, but I decided I wanted to choose a healthier alternative. (This was Christmas Eve and I knew all the junk I would be eating Christmas day so I wanted something light). I ordered one of their appetizers, Empress’s Lettuce Wraps. Despite it being an appetizer, it was plenty of food for my meal and enough to take leftovers home as well. I also ordered egg drop soup–best egg drop soup I’ve ever had!–and a side of brown rice to add some complex carbs into the meal. The lettuce wraps came with crisp, juicy iceberg lettuce cups along with a mixture of chicken, vegetable medley (peas, carrots and zucchini pieces) and crisp rice noodles. The sauce was a mix of sweet and savory and helped bring the whole dish together. As much as I love the classic Chinese foods we usually get, this meal was so insanely delicious that it will probably be all I am ever ordering from there. I would highly suggest it for your meal. Or at least as an appetizer to share with your table before your meal!

As far as rating these 3, I would give 11 out of 10 stars at Luna Grill, Old West Cafe, and Empress of China. All of these places are real winners and have plenty of healthy as well as indulgent options to fit everyone! If you are looking for new places or food to try, definitely check these out. You won’t regret it!

 

Motivational Monday #1

Happy Monday y’all! With the start of the new year, I have decided to start something new of on the blog…MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY!! Woohoo *cue cheering*. Every Monday, I’m going to post a blog with an inspirational quote, story, phrase, basically anything that is motivating for everyone to keep reaching and working towards their goals! They’ll usually be something short, so that a quick read is all you need to get fired up.

The reason I wanted to start this is because it can be tough to keep pushing all the time, especially when working with our new, or old, resolutions. Life gets in the way, we aren’t seeing the results we want when we want them, we’re just plain tired–all of these can cause us to halt our efforts we had towards reaching our goals. What I want to do, is give you motivation every week for that extra push, to relight that passionate fire that drives you.

So to start off with, my first Motivational Monday (*woohoo*) is going to be the quote that I currently use as the lock screen saver on my phone.

I have it on there so that every time I look at my phone (and lets be real here is way too often) I am reminded that I cannot and will not be stopped. When you have goals, you will run into people who will try and stop you from those goals. They’ll tell you that you can’t do it or you’re not good enough. Maybe they’ll talk about how your goal is silly and unrealistic. Or perhaps its not people, but instead trials and temptations. Whatever junk is thrown at you, I want you to remember this: YOU WILL NOT BE STOPPED! If your goals make you happy and you are passionate about them and have a burning desire to reach them, then whatever people say does not matter. That includes yourself. We can be our own biggest critics and simply give up after a failure or hardship–but do not let you stop you, do not let anyone stop you…ever.

I know this can be easier said than done; however, as you start your journey this year keep this quote in mind. Whatever bumps in the road you encounter, whether that be people, temptations, hardships, etc., know that you are stronger than them. Tell yourself that you are capable of achieving everything and anything if you have the desire, determination and drive to do it. Remember “I Will Not Be Stopped!” and let it motivate you to go out there and show everyone that you are serious, that you won’t be stopped. Because at the end of the day, someone who can’t be stopped is the most powerful person you can be!