Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Mission Trip Story: La Republica Dominicana

Hello everyone! I hope you have had a wonderful month of July so far! For today’s post, I’m going to jump back in time to last month to share a story about a trip that changed my life.

I went to the Dominican Republic with other team members from my church on a mission trip and it was WONDERFUL.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Apple Pie treat

So the other day at snack time (yes, I'm a grown woman who still has a 3pm "snack time") I was craving some ice cream. That's kind of a joke because, I mean, I'm always craving ice cream.

Anyway, I was planning on making my usual favorite ice cream creation- a little chocolate syrup, a little peanut butter, yummmm- when I spotted an apple in my fruit bowl just begging to be turned into something spectacular.

I decided to just cook it simply with a little brown sugar and cinnamon, but then I thought "If this was at a restaurant, there would be some kind of delicious crumbly topping." So, in the spirit of making my snack taste like something I'd get at a restaurant, I crumbled up a graham cracker and put it on top.

For how simple this is, it BLEW MY MIND. It was so unbelievably delicious. That combo of warm apples and cold ice cream tastes luxurious and just SOOO good.

I was so excited snapping pictures that the ice cream started to melt a little, as you can see here, so I quickly dug in:

I decided that you guys would not complain for my lack of great pictures when you taste it for yourself. Seriously. Make this, taste it, and THEN complain about my lack of pictures. It's not gonna happen because you'll be way too far into appley heaven to even care about pictures.


Apple Pie Ice Cream Treat for One

1 small apple
1 teaspoon water
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 graham cracker
Vanilla ice cream

1. Get out the ice cream so it won't be hard when it's time to scoop. With the water in a small saucepan, heat it over low/medium heat. Slice the apple* into very small, very thin slices into the pan. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft.

2. Meanwhile, put the graham cracker in a ziplock bag and crush it up to a fine crumbly texture.

3. Scoop a few scoops of ice cream into a bowl. Add the warm apples and any juices in the bottom of the saucepan. Top with the crushed graham cracker pieces.

4. Enjoy right away!

*You can peel the apple if you want. I left the skin on and it was delicious, easy, and added a bit of fiber


My all-time favorite ice cream topping is a peanut butter/ chocolate combo, but this apple topping made me second guess myself. Yum! What's your favorite ice cream topping? Share in the comments section below!

"If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable." -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Simple Ways to Get Healthy Hair

I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. I really can't complain much. When I style it, it's so pretty. The color is nice (although I like to color it), it's really thick (sometimes I wish it was not quite so thick), and it just looks generally healthy. Hairdressers have even commented that I don't have any split ends! I don't do anything crazy to my hair, but I have learned some simple tips over the years that I believe are the keys to having really healthy hair. So, of course, I will share them with you!

1. Rethink the way you shampoo your hair. 
The part of your hair you want to be clean is the roots. The part you want to be hydrated is the ends. I only lather up and massage shampoo into my scalp and the roots of my hair, not down to the ends. When you rinse the shampoo out, gravity will do the job of cleansing down the rest of the hair. No need to directly apply shampoo to the ends and strip the hair of healthy, natural oil. 

2. Rethink the way you condition your hair.
Don't apply conditioner the same way you apply shampoo. I like to make a ponytail with my hands and apply conditioner just to the tail part of my hair. What's left on my hands, I massage onto my scalp. This helps to detangle the roots of my hair without getting them all greasy from too much product. Also, I like to leave conditioner on my hair while I wash the rest of my body. This lets the product work nicely and the steam from the shower can help a conditioner behave almost like a hair mask. After just doing this alone, I can tell that my hair is softer and shinier.

2. Rethink the way you brush your hair.
Over-brushing your hair is a very bad habit to get into. It can strip the hair of some shine-enhancing natural oils, and it also encourages hair breakage. Only brush enough to get out the tangles, then put the brush down! Never brush hair just-out-of-the-shower. Wet hair is more easily snagged in a brush and is therefore more prone to breakage. Use a pick or wide-toothed comb on damp hair, then blow dry your hair to about 80% dry before you attack it with a brush.

3. Rethink the way you style your hair.
Even if you don't use heat to style your hair, putting your hair in a ponytail in the exact same spot every day can be even worse! Hairs near any kind of elastic or hair accessory will get broken, especially if they're being put that way every day. Switch up your hair routine: from a high pony to a low pony, straightened to wavy, braided to twisted. Not only will it help keep your hair healthy, it will help you get out of your everyday hairstyle rut!

4. Rethink how often you wash your hair.
One thing that has greatly improved the health of my hair is actually washing it less frequently. Everyone's hair is different, but once your hair gets used to being washed less often, it will actually produce less oil and you won't even notice that it isn't being shampooed daily. I wash my hair every other day. On second-day hair, I often use a dry shampoo. Bonus: 2nd day hair has great texture for styling and holds curl better!

I'm not a big believer that specific products are total hair game-changers, but I do find that I like some better than others, so here some that I've been loving lately:

Lakme Straightener Gel 

Lakme Style Control Gel

Enjoy Luxury Conditioner

I hope you enjoyed my hair tips. Let me know in the comments section what you do to keep your hair healthy. Also, I'm on the hunt for the best dry shampoo. Any suggestions?

"A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier." -Tom Stoppard

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to Write a Great Thank-You Note

It seems like I've done my fair share of thank-you card writing in my life. I'm not complaining- all this thanking means that I have quite a bit to be thankful for! If you try to write a thank-you card without a plan, it can be a daunting task. I mean, what else is there to say besides thank you?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast burritos at home sounds like a difficult and time-consuming feat. I would have never attempted it if it weren't for my mother-in-law explaining how she does it.

I love that it's simple and you can make a big batch of the filling and heat it up throughout the week. It makes breakfast go SO quickly. These also pack quite a punch of protein.

Take that, toaster strudels.

Look how easy it is:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Grandma's Potato Salad

July fourth is coming up and with it comes



Frisbee playing in the backyard,

And, most importantly,

potato salad!