I’ve missed blogging so much over the past few months! I had not realized how much joy, reflection, and connection it brought my until I stopped writing. These past few months have flown by. I… More
I decided to drive down to Southern California with my boyfriend this Fourth of July! We live in San Francisco so it’s about seven hours to get to the Los Angeles area. My aunt lives in Redlands, CA so we decided to spend some quality time with her over the holiday. We drove down around 8am on July 4th and made just a few pit stops on the way. I had been dying to try the Taco Bell-exclusive Mt. Dew flavor since I heard about it so (shamefully) we stopped on the way.
I kept hearing how good it was on social media and I must say it lived up to its (artificial) expectations! I don’t drink soda too often, but it is fun to indulge during a summer road trip.
After an early dinner at my Aunt’s house, we went to a local ice cream shop before heading off to the Fourth of July festivities. This was not an ordinary ice cream shop…check out the flavors: Chocolate Lavender, Olive Oil Vanilla Bean, Beet & Goat Cheese, Avocado!
We were so torn on what to order, but ended up splitting the chocolate lavender flavor. It had honey and cacao nibs on top and the ice cream was delicious!
If you’re in Redlands, you must visit A La Minute! Next up, we headed to the fireworks show!
We did not know what to expect, but I think we were both surprised by how amazing the show was. It started out with skydivers and a live band, and the finale (the fireworks) was incredible and lasted for about thirty minutes!
We got home and promptly fell asleep. I worked for part of the next day, but was excited to spend time with my aunt. She is an EXPERT thrift store shopper and knows all the best spots. By the end of the day, I had accumulated some amazing items! A new swimsuit, 4+ shirts for my boyfriend, silver plated spoons for crafting, and this:
After our afternoon of thrifting we threw together a delicious, colorful dinner.
We finished up around 8pm and my aunt and I went for a nice walk. Upon our return, my uncle told us there had been a 7.1 magnitude earthquake just minutes after we had left for our walk. We had felt nothing! I was a bit bummed I missed the experience, but glad it meant I was completely unscathed.
We had a very lazy Saturday morning; my aunt and I indulged in season 2 of the show “Big Little Lies” and we enjoyed every minute of the first four episodes. I met up with one of my amazing college friends that afternoon and we made the drive into LA. We went shopping in so many cute stores on York Street and found so many cool things. We ended our shopping spree with a stop at Donut Friend:
So beautiful, delicious, and vegan! After our donut stop, we began the 6 hour trek home.
All in all, we had a pretty amazing (and eventful) Southern California holiday!
Working in tech, I feel there is so much I don’t know about basic technology. I was talking with my coworker about a major internet gateway in New York and I suddenly realized that I did not realize that there were gateways like this. I immediately wanted to learn more to understand how these gateways work; of course, there’s a ted talk for that! I hope you enjoy and learn something new.
Did you know about this hidden network? Did you learn something new with this talk?
Gut health is front and center all over social media and in the news. Everyone talks about the “best” things you can do for gut health, but I’m here to tell you something different…they are almost all wrong, because nutrition and gut health is unique and personalized. There is no one solution for everyone; sure, there are best practices and suggestions, but it all comes down to your own lived experience.
My first tip is simple: listen to your body. Take note of how different foods make you feel.
- Do you get a stomachache after your morning bowl of cereal and skim milk? Try a plant-based milk instead.
- Do you feel queazy after a cup of tea on an empty stomach? Hold up on caffeine before eating.
- Do you have trouble falling asleep? Try having your last snacks either earlier in the evening or closer to bedtime.
It sounds trite, but so many of us listen to the typical routine of three square meals a day or not eating after a certain time or getting stuck with our preferred habits.
Second tip: experiment! It is not normal to always have stomaches or bloating. If you are experiencing those things, try something different. That might mean working with a nutritionist on an elimination diet, adding new supplements into your routine, or simply keeping a food journal to track how certain foods make your body feel.
I used to suffer from bloating, stomachaches, cramps–you name it, I had it. These symptoms impacted my life quite a bit. I would hesitate to go out with friends at night, was nervous about trying new foods, and would often just want to sleep through my pain. Over time I learned more and more about what triggered my stomach pain and bloating, and I’ve had way fewer problems since! I still experience symptoms occasionally, but nowhere near as severe or frequent.
I’ve been trying natural supplements for prevention and to help ease my occasional discomfort. For the past month or so, I’ve been using Quality of Life Supplements Probiotics and Peptisol supplements. I have been taking probiotic supplements for years, and it can be really difficult to discern what’s working and what’s not working. I’ve been taking ProbioPure for the past month and have been really happy with the results. The ingredients are simple and they have the research to back up the effects. There are a ton of probiotics out there that have little clinical evidence so choose your probiotics wisely!
The Peptisol supplement is one that both my boyfriend and I take if we feel indigestion or any kind of upset stomach (usually this happens around dinnertime for me). It’s made with ginger root, artichoke leaf extract, and GutGuard DGL. Ginger has long been used as a stomach soother across traditions and GutGuard has significant research showcasing its benefits.
These might not be the right supplements for you, but again…it’s all about experimenting and listening to your body! If you do want to give these a try, use code HANNAH10 for 10% off your order at Quality of Life Supplements.
I am a big David Brooks fan and hearing his vulnerable ted talk made me an even bigger fan. He is down to earth, honest, and shares his darkest times during this talk. His description of loneliness and disconnection is something that resonated with me very deeply. Listen closely to the part of the talk focused on how freedom is a double-edged sword. His beautifully described conception of what connects us and what matters gave me a bit more hope and gave me a larger perspective on how we exist in the world.
Are you a David Brooks fan? Do you agree with his assessment of freedom?
I have struggled with poor sleep for a long time. Growing up, it was normal for nearly everyone in our household to have trouble falling asleep, wake up frequently during the night, or feel unrested in the morning. I have always been a morning lark–waking up at 6AM or earlier from a young age (what fun for my parents ;). After starting college, I started to wake up more and more often during the night. While I might have slept for 8+ hours, that sleep was interrupted at least 2-3 times.
After my own issues staying asleep, I began looking into techniques and tools to improve my sleep quality. There are a few common practices suggested by the CDC, National Sleep Foundation, and a number of other reputable sources out there:
1. Consistency is key: Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. It’s tempting to stay up late on weekends and sleep in, it can throw off your body’s rhythm. This is a tough one when you’re in your 20s, but I try to limit to late nights of partying to 1-2 times a month so my body isn’t thrown out of whack as often.
2. Ambiance: Very little light, a colder temperature, and white noise. These little tweaks go a long way! I always scoffed at white noise machines until I tried one myself six years ago and have been using it ever since. Whether you live in a loud dorm or a bustling city, noise machines (or a white noise song on repeat) can be a real life saver.
3. Screen Shutdown: This one is tough. I was much better about this during college, but set a time that you shut off your screens every night. I used to turn my phone on “Do Not Disturb” at 10pm and wouldn’t check it again until I woke up the next morning. My life is much less structured now and I definitely don’t follow this rule anymore, although I do try to stay aware. I highly recommend the computer app called f.lux — it’s a free tool that customizes your screen’s blue light to the time of day and when you go to bed. It decreases the blue light as you approach bedtime so you can use your screen a little later with less negative effects.
4. Caffeine: Stop drinking caffeine early in the afternoon. My cut off time is 3pm; I’ve played around and learned that this is the time that works for me. Drinking caffeinated beverages any later has a noticeable effect, but it’s likely different for everyone! I’ve read that holding off on caffeine starting anytime between 1pm and 5pm is best.
5. Melatonin: Melatonin is the hormone your body naturally produces when it’s time to go to sleep; it is responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycles. My dad has been using melatonin for over a decade! I started using it in college when my sleep issues started and I’ve only found a few brands/types that actually work for me. I’ve recently been trying out Quality of Life Supplements Melatonin-SR. The melatonin has micronized, sustained-release, which means that it is made to release over time to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Research suggests that you should take melatonin about two hours before you want to fall asleep. I find that if I take it much later than that, I have trouble getting up in the morning. I’ve been taking QOL Melatonin-SR for the past 2-3 weeks and can really feel it helping–it makes it easier for me to fall asleep and stay asleep longer. I will definitely continue taking it!
Use code HANNAH10 for 10% off your order at Quality of Life Supplements! Stay tuned for my review of their digestive health products.
I have been feeling in a rut with my meal prep, but I felt inspired while shopping at Sprouts! I picked up some beautiful red cabbage and felt like making English-inspired meals for the week. It’s a pretty simple recipe and many of the ingredients are anti-inflammatory like the red cabbage, olive oil, cauliflower, and turmeric. I don’t frequently meal prep with meat, but I was excited to try a new brand of turkey sausage; you can easily replace this with a vegan sausage or other meat alternative. This recipe makes 2-3 servings.
-1 8oz bag chopped red cabbage
-1 tbsp olive oil
-6 cloves garlic (or 1 tbsp minced garlic)
-2 cups riced cauliflower
-1 bag Miracle Noodle rice🍚
-1/2 tsp turmeric
-1 tsp rosemary
-2 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos
-1 box Jones All Natural Turkey Sausage (can easily swap for a vegan friendly alternative)
1) Put olive oil and garlic in a large skillet on medium high heat and after 2-3 minutes, add entire bag of red cabbage. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
2) Prepare @miraclenoodle rice according to instructions on the bag and place the rice in a separate skillet with the cauliflower rice, liquid aminos, turmeric, and rosemary. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes.
3) Prepare turkey sausage according to instructions on the package (I was lazy and cooked them in the microwave) and add them to skillet with cabbage. Continue simmering for 15-20 minutes.
4) Serve cabbage mixture with sausage over rice mixture and enjoy!
Use code HANNAH for a discount when you order from Miracle Noodle!
This is the second post in my two post series on my trip to the Grand Canyon this April! It was a short trip, but we did quite a bit in a few short days. Read on to hear about our adventures in Sedona and Phoenix!
Day 3: Sunday
Since we woke up early and had a busy day on Saturday, we treated ourselves to a lazy morning. We did not sleep in since our Airbnb was filled with natural light when the sun came up, but we did relax in bed reading (and watching YouTube videos) while enjoying cups of tea. After our leisurely morning, we packed up our stuff, said goodbye to our beautiful Airbnb, and hit the road to explore Sedona.
We did not have a solid game plan for what we wanted to do, but I stumbled on a great guide book in our Airbnb that gave us a few good ideas. We wanted to check out Red Rock State Park; there are a few popular, tourist-filled spots that we initially planned to check out. Luckily our guide book provided a few other, and arguably more interesting, ideas.
We decided to explore Soldier Pass Trail. Parking at the trailhead was a pain, but that was the only negative aspect of this trail! The area was quite quiet and we ran into a few different groups, but it was not crowded at all. I loved that there were so many interesting stop-offs on the trail. Within just a few minutes of hiking you stumble on to Devil’s Sinkhole:
The sinkhole initially formed in the 1880s due to a cave collapsing. The hole grew even larger in 1989 after an earthquake.
After we checked out the sinkhole, we kept on walking and we quickly arrived at the Seven Sacred Pools:
The Seven Sacred Pools are a series of natural pools within the rock. Supposedly, there is always water in the pools, even during drought.
We had a great time exploring and climbing around in this area. We even spent some time rock balancing, which is how I learned that I am even less patient than I thought.
We had gorgeous weather all day–hot, dry, and sunny. After our adventures, we made our way back to the car and grabbed lunch at a local Sedona restaurant Pisa Lisa. We both ordered large salads, which was a perfect choice when you’re feeling hot and sweaty after a hike.
After eating a late lunch, we swung through a Farmer’s Market then started our drive back to Phoenix. Luckily my boyfriend and I travel well together so even after hours in the car together we were still laughing and singing “On the Road Again” in harmony with Willie Nelson (I’ve left the video out to save your ears from my singing).
We arrived in Phoenix at our Airbnb, and we were exhausted! We got cleaned up, lazed around for a bit, then made our way to TopGolf! We ate dinner there and one of my boyfriend’s friends joined us there for a few games. The food was surprisingly good! I was on a goat cheese kick so I ordered the cinnamon goat cheese and candied pecan salad with grilled chicken and it was delicious (despite the poor photo quality). Also, check out the hilarious margarita glasses–you even get to keep the cups!
Unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures while we played TopGolf, but I can assure you that it is a ton of fun! Even with the advantage of being sober while playing, I was still pretty bad at it, but it was a blast nonetheless!
Day 4: Monday
We stayed out pretty late at TopGolf, but we both had to work on Monday. Luckily we rallied and were working from our Airbnb for most of the day. Our Airbnb host was gracious enough to let us stay late since no one else was checking in that evening (thanks, Ginger!). We took a quick break over lunch and went to Taco Guild since we had to get some good Mexican food while in Phoenix. The restaurant caught my eye because it was actually a converted Catholic church! The atmosphere was really neat and the food was great, even if the service was a bit slow. I loved the fun selection of different salsas that came at the start of the meal.
My boyfriend ordered a smothered chicken burrito:
I ordered three Mahi-Mahi tacos in lettuce cups and when you order three tacos you get a free side so I ordered a salad (getting in fresh foods while traveling can be tough).
These tacos were so good! Marinated Mahi-Mahi with a mango lime slaw–perfection. After lunch, we worked for a few more hours, packed up, and headed to the airport to return back to reality (aka San Francisco).
We had such a great trip! In an ideal world, it would’ve been a few days longer, but we made the most of our time and enjoyed every minute.
For a full recap of the trip, check out this amazing video my boyfriend made:
I feel so lucky that we both love to document our trips, which means we have both videos and blog posts to remember all the fun we’ve had!
Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Have you been to Phoenix?
Michele Wucker’s talk is a great way to start thinking about how we all ignore seemingly obvious problems in our own life. It is easier to understand this talk as Wucker talks about larger issues like economic downturns and climate change, but this same principle also applies to our personal lives.
As Wucker describes, “We pay attention to what we want to see…” and we typically avoid issues when they feel mysterious or too difficult to handle. She leaves us with the advice on how to make changes for both society and for ourselves, and acknowledges the role of vulnerability when taking on major problems.
Do you agree with Wucker? Can you think of problems you’ve ignored in your own life?
A few months ago I was talking to my boyfriend late at night when I had the idea of going to the Grand Canyon. I suggested it, flights were booked, Airbnbs found, and a few months later, the trip was coming up fast! It was completely uncharacteristic of me, but I did not plan too much for our trip. During the two weeks before we left, I scrambled a bit to try and book tickets for a few different sites. Unsurprisingly, most tours were completely booked; the tours of Antelope Canyon were full and we had little chance of going. In case you don’t know what Antelope Canyon is…you’ve likely seen it as a screensaver at some point:
While I was disappointed we couldn’t score tickets, I would not change a thing. Antelope Canyon is about two hours North of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon so if you are short on time, this is one place to cross off your list. I like to think that everything happens for a reason–so I’m pretending we simply were not meant to go to Antelope Canyon. We were meant to have a great time with the little time we had so without further ado, I’ll share a play by play of our trip!
Day 1: Friday
We woke up in the middle of a night to a notification that our flight was delayed by 13 hours–perfect. Luckily, we both stayed upbeat, called our airline and rebooked for an afternoon flight so we would leave only 7 hours later than our original departure time. We spent the day lazing around, enjoying brunch, and, most importantly, not working.
Our flight landed in Phoenix around 5pm and we were on the road in our rental car by 6:30pm. It was a full flight and I was amused by the two (adorable) tiny companions by boyfriend ended up seated next to!
We enjoyed a quick dinner in the outskirts of Phoenix, stopped for snacks, then continued our drive to Flagstaff to our Airbnb.
Day 2: Saturday
We both crashed as soon as we walked in the door, but the next morning we woke up to this beauty.
The Airbnb had a skylight so we woke up to lots of natural light as well. We were a short 1.5 hour drive from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and we were easily out the door by 8AM. We chose to stay in Flagstaff so we could enjoy more of our day at the Grand Canyon and it was definitely the right choice for us! We beat the crowds (more or less), snagged a great parking spot, and hopped on the bus to go to our stop for our hike on the South Kaibib Trail. After getting off the bus, we took tons of photos before even beginning our hike…
Then we began our trek. I was shocked by how chilly and how windy it was during our hike. We made it to the Ooh-Aah point which is only about 1 mile into the canyon, but the insane winds, small rain showers, and sand in our faces made us to decide to turn around and ascend back to the rim.
We decided to go straight to the top during our ascent, no stopping, and we made it to the top fairly quickly (even if we were huffing and puffing). After our short trail hike, we decided to walk around the rim (~2.5 miles) to get a better look at the Canyon. We strolled leisurely around the rim and I was struck by how empty it felt; we came at a great time and it was unreal to see such a beautiful site in complete silence. We made it back to the visitor center, where I was suckered into a National Parks membership, and then we decided to explore other areas of the park by car.
We started out driving towards the Desert Watchtower and we stopped at a number of different places along the way. We pulled over at Grandview Point and caught some amazing views, plus we saw two elk!
After Grandview, we continued on to Tusayan Museum and Ruins. There were only a few other people there, but it was a wonderful (free) museum to learn more about the communities that lived by the Grand Canyon in the past. The ruins were definitely worth checking out too!
Afterwards we headed to our original destination: Desert Watchtower. The Desert Watchtower was designed by a female architect, Mary Colter, and was erected in 1932. It is in the Ancestral Puebloan Style and it is absolutely stunning on the inside and it offers some beautiful views of the Canyon and the Colorado River.
By this point it was around 4:30pm and we were both exhausted. We made the drive back to our Airbnb, got cleaned up, and headed out for dinner. We ended up eating BBQ in the basement of a shopping complex–it was definitely a novel experience!
After dinner, we drove back to the Airbnb and took a few minutes to admire the night sky. Arizona is known for its dark sky, and Flagstaff is actually the first certified “Dark Sky Place.” It was breathtaking; I had never seen so many stars in my life!
Read more about our Grand Canyon trip next week…
I love choosing vegan options when I can; it has numerous health benefits, plus benefits for the environment. Here are just a few of the health benefits:
- Your diet will likely include more nutrient-dense foods like fruit, veggies, and whole grains.
- Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
- Vegan diets are correlated with decreased risk of heart disease.
The environmental impact is just as profound; the fewer plant-based products we eat, the less we contribute to the generation of methane and carbon dioxide–two greenhouse gases that impact climate change. There is a misconception that we need to make big changes to make a difference, but that is simply not the case. Making the effort to eat a plant-based even once or twice a week can be powerful. A study from the University of Minnesota found that swapping out one beef-based meal a week for beans or another plant protein, you can decrease your contribution of carbon dioxide by 730 pounds every year.
Health benefits, positive environmental impact, and cost savings–what’s not to love? I try to whip up a plant-based meal at least once a week and I actively avoid eating beef. Plant-based recipes can be easy and simple. I made this meal in less than 20 minutes!
- 1 bag Spinach Angel Hair Miracle Noodles
- 1c cauliflower florets
- 1/2c chopped bell peppers
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 vegan burger (I like Boca Burgers)
1) Prepare Miracle Noodle according to instructions on the bag.
2) Combine all ingredients except burger in a skillet and simmer on medium-high heat for at least ten minutes.
3) While your noodle mix is simmering, prepare your burger (I microwave it because I’m lazy as all get out). Once cooked, chop the burger into small chunks.
4) Add chopped burger into noodle mix and stir well.
Don’t forget to use code HANNAH for a discount when you order from Miracle Noodle!