I’ve Moved!

I know, I know… It’s been a while. I promise I have a good excuse – I’ve been working on something exciting! Well, a few exciting things.

First, I’ve been spending a lot of time applying to graduate programs for occupational therapy! It’s something I’ve been anticipating since my freshman year of college and now it’s FINALLY happening!

Second, I’ve been working on a website! Yep – naturallyari.com is now a thing! It’s a newer, fresher version of this blog and I’m so excited! I have so many things planned for this website and I can’t wait for you all to be a part of it!

If you’re already following this blog, you should definitely go ahead and follow / subscribe to naturallyari.com. That’s where I’ll be blogging from here on out. If you’re not already following / subscribed to this blog, you should go follow / subscribe to naturallyari.com anyway ; )

I can’t wait to see you there!

Naturally,

Ari.

A Letter to a Random Girl on Instagram

Dear Stranger,

I saw what you said.

“u know when all ur friends have there bellys out and your the chunky one in the middle, literally me :(“

If you don’t remember when or where you said this, I’ll help remind you. A few days ago, you posted a comment on a photo that a well-known company shared. The company shared a picture of 15 girls wearing their latest workout clothing line. These girls were ending a weekend of a lifetime, making sure to thank this company for believing in their community and for sponsoring this incredible weekend. These 15 girls were my friends and myself. The chunky one in the middle was literally ME.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that reading your comment didn’t hurt. I’m not going to act like I didn’t read it over and over again, crying harder each time. I’m not going to lie to you and say that I easily brushed it off. What I will do, though, is use your unnecessarily upsetting comment to shed light on a situation much larger than mine.

I’m hoping that by sharing the comment mentioned earlier, you were trying show that you can relate to the “chunky girl in the middle”, rather than sharing it because you were trying to hurt her (A.K.A. me). Regardless of your intentions, your comment DID hurt me. But fortunately, I’m not the same girl I was years ago. I’m a healthy and strong human and I have an endless supply of love and support coming from the empowering community of women that I’m surrounded by. I was able to walk away from your comment (although it did take some time) feeling stronger and more empowered than ever before. I wish I could say the same thing about every other girl who has been affected by comments like yours.

The crazy thing about the internet is that EVERYONE has access to EVERYTHING. People who you have never met before can see pictures of you and vice versa. What these people choose to do when they see pictures of you is up to them, which is pretty scary when you think about it.

Because everything and everyone is on the internet these days, you don’t know 99% of the people in the pictures you see on a daily basis. You don’t know their names, you don’t know their story, you don’t know their struggles. Whether this person is “insta famous” or a random girl who was standing next to a distant high school friend in a picture, it’s safe to assume that you’ve only seen a tiny glimpse of their lives – and that glimpse is only what they want you to see. You don’t genuinely know these people.

You had no idea who I was, yet you chose to post a comment about my body anyway. What if I was someone who struggled with depression? Or someone who suffered from an eating disorder? Or maybe someone who struggled to appreciate the person I’ve become? A comment from a random girl on the internet could have broken my already broken spirits even more. Thankfully, I’m none of these people. But I can’t say the same about other girls out there who may be struggling to love themselves. There are girls out there who DO suffer from depression, eating disorders and a lack of self-appreciation. You may not realize it when you post things like that, but what you say can and does affect these girls, regardless of whether or not you know who they are.

So next time you think you need to share a comment that may not be kind or empowering, do us all a favor. Keep it to yourself.

Naturally,

Ari.

 

Toxic Friends: It’s Okay to Let Go

Recently, I’ve reconnected with my childhood best friend and we’ve been spending more quality time together than we have in quite some time. We both lead such busy lives that it’s hard to keep up with each other so during our time together, we spend a lot of time catching up and reflecting. Yesterday, we got on the subject of toxic friends. It all started with a simple question – “How are you and X?”. There was a moment of awkward silence before I gathered my thoughts and said “I haven’t talked to X in months… she’s not really a part of my life anymore”. Understandably, my friend was surprised and confused by my response, and so we got to talking about toxic friends.

We all have a toxic friend or two at some point in our lives, whether we know it or not. The worst part about having toxic friends is that it can be so difficult to pinpoint if someone is or isn’t a toxic friend, especially when you’re blinded by the really, really good moments. There are so many different kinds of toxic friends: friends who expect you to drop everything you’re doing to help them, but are never around when you need it; friends who are constantly complaining about themselves, other people and even you; friends that you always have to reach out to for plans; friends that always have to have higher highs or lower lows than you; friends who can’t let you be in the spotlight for even a moment; and friends who can only hang out with you when you’re both inebriated are just a few examples.

I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I’m constantly asking myself “Does this make me happy?”. As cliche as it sounds, life is far too short to do things that don’t bring you happiness. Hate your job? Leave it. Hate your major? Switch it. Don’t like going to the bar? Stop going. The same should apply to the people you spend your time with. If your friend brings negativity into your life more often than she brings you joy, that’s a sign that they’re toxic and it’s probably time to cut ties.

Once, someone told me that you become the people you spend your time with. I have no idea who told me this, but I could not thank them enough. I don’t want to become someone who makes my friends feel ashamed of who they are, who always has to be better than someone else, who has to be drunk to have a good time, or someone who brings negativity and takes happiness from someone else. I don’t want to become a toxic friend just because I’m too afraid to get rid of my own.

I know. It’s so hard to leave a friend behind when you’ve spent so many days, weeks, months and years together. It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who you’ve shared birthdays with, grieved over broken hearts with and celebrated successes with. But take this as your sign. It may be hard, but it’s okay.

You don’t have to cause some huge ordeal or confrontation to get rid of your toxic friends. It can be as simple as spending more time with people who you’re proud to be friends with, and less time with your toxic friend. More often than not, if they’re a toxic friend, they probably won’t even notice that you’ve stopped putting in the effort anyway. That’s how it worked in my situation.

Once the friendship fizzled out, I noticed that I was still feeling negative every time X would post something on social media. So I took it upon myself to unfollow her on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. I stopped responding to the insincere, obligatory “I miss you” texts. I didn’t cause a dramatic scene. I just silently let things naturally fall apart. It was tough to hit the unfollow button and to delete texts but I’m so much happier without someone dragging me down with them.

By cutting ties with a toxic friend, you’re not losing the good memories. You’ll always have those. By cutting ties, you’re losing the hurt feelings and negative energy. You’ll become more proud of the person you’re becoming and the people you surround yourself with.

It’s not going to be easy. But it will be okay.

Naturally,

Ari.

Essential Oils 101 [ft. Simply Earth]

It’s about time.

I’ve been using essential oils for a few months now and I’m hooked. Essential oils can provide so many natural benefits for our bodies, our moods and our homes. The possibilities are endless – I’m learning new ways to use my oils every single day!

Before I bought my first oils, I contemplated whether or not to start using them for months. They seemed like something I really wanted to try but I had two main hesitations: knowledge and cost. First, I had NO clue how to safely use oils. I wasn’t going to dive into something without having a basic understanding of how to incorporate them into my life in a safe, yet effective way. Second, the big essential oil companies are not super friendly to a college girl’s budget. I would stare at the websites for hours, planning what oils I wanted to get but I could never get past spending nearly $90 on a bottle of Frankincense oil. But I didn’t want to sacrifice quality for a cheaper oil. You can see how I felt stuck.

In writing today’s post, I hope that I can give you the push you need to stop contemplating whether or not essential oils are right for you and finally start using them!

*Before I get started with some of the many uses, I wanted to note that I am not a licensed or registered aromatherapist. All information has been gathered from various resources over time. *

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WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are what makes plants have an aroma. When you breathe in the scent of a flower, you’re actually smelling the “essence”! The essence can be found in glands of a lot of plants and serve different purposes for each plant – some plants may use the essence to draw in bees for pollination and others may use it to deter predators.

The bottles of essential oils that we buy are highly concentrated versions of the plant essence. The plant goes through the process of distillation to extract the essence. It takes thousands of plants to make a single bottle of oil and drop of oil goes a very long way.

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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils can provide so many benefits to our health. Some common things oils are used for include:

  • Air purification
  • Balancing hormones
  • Improving immune systems
  • Healing skin issues such as eczema or acne
  • Sanitizing
  • Lightening mood
  • Helping with anxiety and depression
  • Focus and concentration
  • Energy and revitalization
  • Relaxation

There are so many benefits that come with each oil. I’ve personally used oils to help my family and myself with sunburn, bug bites, snoring, arthritis, headaches, sleep and mood improvement.

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HOW CAN I USE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils can be used for virtually anything – the possibilities are endless. They can be added to various products such as massage oils, shampoos, lotions or used to create homemade products like body butters, perfumes, cleaning supplies and soaps.

Essential oils can be used for purely aromatic purposes, to relieve discomfort, to sanitize and so much more. The safest, and most common way to use oils is topically. There are some oils that you can get away with applying them neat (directly) to the skin such as lavender but it’s best to dilute most oils before applying them to the skin because the oils are so potent.

Some oils can be used internally, such as adding lemon to your water, oregano to your cooking or some oils to veggie capsules but I only advise this if you’ve spoken to a licensed aromatherapist first. Essential oils are extremely potent and having excess of these potent oils in your body can cause damage to your liver and kidneys as they have to work harder to dilute the oils in your body.

For more information, reference the Aromahead Institute’s safety guidelines.

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WHAT BRAND DO I USE?

When choosing your essential oils, make sure they’re 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade and that the only ingredient is the plant. You don’t want any oils that have any fillers or chemicals in them. I did months worth of research before deciding which company was for me.

I use Simply Earth essential oils. Simply Earth is a small start up business that has blown me away. Here are some of the many reasons why I love Simply Earth:

  1. It’s a small company – I love supporting smaller businesses – they usually have a “by the people, for the people” attitude and this could not be more true about Simply Earth. The founders of this company are genuinely interested in helping other people create a more natural lifestyle.
  2. They provide quality oils – Simply Earth‘s oils are 100% Pure, Therapeutic Grade. Basically, this means that the only thing in the bottle is the essential oil. No chemicals, no fillers, nothing but the oil!
  3. They’re inexpensive – for how incredible the quality is, these oils are surprisingly affordable. They’re only a fraction of the cost of some other companies in the industry.
  4. It’s geared toward a good cause – Simply Earth donates 13% of their profit to helping victims of human trafficking. I don’t know about you but it makes me feel better when I buy a product that gives back.
  5. Their customer service is phenomenal – Every single time I’ve ever had a question, they’ve answered it within a few hours. They really care about their customers.
  6. They make it easy on you – Simply Earth just started offering a monthly subscription service. It’s the first of it’s kind in the essential oil industry. They send recipes, oils, containers and extra ingredients to your door each month. For those who are beginners, who have run out of ideas, and even those who just really enjoy essential oils, this box is perfect.

I’ve yet to have a poor experience or read of someone else having a bad experience with this company. They are truly incredible and I would recommend this feel-good company to every single person.

I hope you now feel a little more prepared to start a more natural lifestyle with essential oils. It’s definitely a change I’m glad that I made.

Naturally,

Ari

 

*Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this post and it is not directly sponsored by Simply Earth or any other company but the link provided is an affiliate link. All thoughts on the company are genuinely my own.*

 

Resources:
Aromahead Institute
Simply Earth
Wellness Mama
Huffington Post

 

Avo Dressing [& Green Veggie Bowl]

Confession time. While on vacation, the closest things to a vegetable that I ate were pickles, coleslaw and the teeny tiny chunks of tomato and lettuce on my tacos. Talk about nutritious… I firmly believe that life is all about balance, but I struggled with balance as every restaurant in North Carolina had hush puppies and an assortment of pies. After a week of inhaling seafood and every carb, I needed a fresh start. In the moment, that meant green EVERYTHING. I went crazy in the produce section at my grocery store and for someone who has a love/hate relationship with veggies, I was pleasantly surprised with the result – avocado dressing for my green veggie bowl (insert heart eyeballs emoji here). Since I made this dressing a few weeks ago, I haven’t been able to stop craving it!

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This game changing recipe took me less than five minutes and is probably my favorite dressing so far.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 1/2 limes
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

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Dice your avocados and juice your limes. Throw your avocado, lime juice, water, cilantro and spices into your blender and blend until smooth and creamy. For a more liquid consistency, add more water.

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See, I told you it was easy. You can add this dressing to any of your favorite salads. I added mine to a giant veggie bowl that had spiralized zucchini, fresh green beans, broccoli, edamame and peas. It was SO yummy!

I highly encourage you to try this recipe out. You won’t regret it!

Naturally,

Ari

Do It Yourself: Almond Milk

Almond milk isn’t anything new – nearly everyone knows what it is. It’s a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan, or even for those who just hate cow’s milk. But haven’t you ever wondered how almond milk is made? You can’t really “milk” an almond like you can milk a cow… so how the heck do you get milk from an almond?? I’ll tell ya! It’s much simpler than you think!

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Ingredients:

  • ½ c. raw almonds, soaked
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. liquid sweetener (honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.)

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First things first. Soak your almonds. Place your almonds in a bowl of water. Let your almonds sit in the water over night (or for 8 hours).

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After 8 hours, drain the water from your almonds and rinse.

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Place your 1/2 cup of soaked almonds into a blender with 2 cups of fresh, filtered water. Blend until the almonds are finely ground and the liquid is a milky color. If you choose, add the vanilla and sweetener. Blend again.

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Grab a jar (or other container) and begin to strain the almond”pulp” from the liquid using a nut milk bag (you can find these cheap on Amazon!) or a cheese cloth. I don’t recommend using a coffee filter because they tend to rip once soaked, letting the “pulp” back into the strained liquid… nobody wants gritty almond milk.

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Once you’ve strained the liquid and almonds and have only the liquid in the jar, gently squeeze the remaining almond in the cheese cloth or nut milk bag, making sure not to let the pulp get into the liquid.

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That’s it! Once you’re done, store in the fridge. This recipe makes a very small batch, about 2 cups. For a larger batch, multiply the recipe. The important thing to keep in mind is to maintain a 1:4 ratio of almonds to water.

Let me know how this works for you!

Naturally,

Ari.

Essential Oil Scent Sachets

Before vacation, some part of me decided I needed to wash all of my clothes. Every. Single. Thing. Don’t ask – even I have no explanation for my radical behavior. Load after load, I began to realize the reason for the heap of clothes on my floor… I had no more room in my dresser or closet for clothes. I don’t ever remember having so much… As ashamed as I am to admit, I’ve always been one of those people who had a closet, dresser and floor full of clothes, yet had “nothing” to wear. I hadn’t worn half of my clothes in over a year (thank you, freshman fifteen) and decided that I needed to purge some things. While going through my closet and dresser, I found a few scent sachets. I thought I hit the jackpot (I mean, who doesn’t want their clothes to smell delightful all of the time?), only to find out that they don’t have a scent anymore.

Now stick with me here. I promise this mind-numbing story has a positive outcome.

Here I am, with two “problems” and a ton of creative juice flowing. Problem #1: I have piles of clothes to get rid of, some that aren’t in good enough condition to give away because of stains or holes. Problem #2: my clothes are boring and scentless thanks to unreliable scent sachets (this one may be less of a problem and more of an excuse to get crafty).

Here comes the thing we’ve all been waiting for… the solution. A cheap, easy way to make an endless supply of your own customizable scent sachets. Almost everything you need can be found in your home!

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Materials:

  • Fabric (any scrap fabric, old t-shirts, etc.)
  • Rice
  • Your favorite essential oil
  • Thread & needle (or sewing machine if ya have one)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

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Lay your fabric flat. Grab your ruler and scissors and cut a rectangle that’s 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. The edges do NOT have to be perfectly straight.

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Fold your rectangle in half, making sure that the patterned side (or the side you want to see when you’re all done) is on the inside.

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Sew two of the three open sides. Gently flip the square right side out, so that the patterned side (or the side you want to see in the end) is now on the outside.

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Measure out a ¼ cup of rice into a small bowl and add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. I used Simply Earth’s lavender essential oil. Mix the rice/essential oil mixture.

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Gently spoon the scented rice into the sachet. Sew the remaining side closed.

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And there you have it! With little time and effort, you managed to reduce waste and make something that will leave your clothes smelling fresh!

Let me know what scents you decide to use!

Naturally,

Ari.

21 Things

Happy Monday AND happy first day of August!

One thing that always makes Monday better is the motivational Monday e-mail I get each week from Elisabeth Tavierne, an influential friend in my life and the founder of my favorite organization, CHAARG. This weeks topic was focused on a reflection of the last year of her life – August is her birth month and last year she came up with a list of 25 things to do at 25. This year, she reflected on these 25 things.

This really resonated with me as I have a “milestone” birthday coming up this month. In two weeks, I’ll be 21. The age that everyone looks forward to – the age where you can finally do anything, where you’ve hit the ultimate freedom. It’s exciting but nerve wracking at the same time. I feel like at 21, you’re expected to have adulthood figured out. When I was younger, I always thought everyone who was in their 20s had their life figured out and had accomplished so much. Now that I’m actually (barely) in my 20s, I know that that’s a HUGE misconception. While I have a “plan”, I definitely don’t have life figured out (and I don’t know if I ever will). I’m still learning new things about myself and the world around me each day.

In the last year, I’ve done so much more than I could have ever imagined – I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone in so many incredible ways! I’ve had two amazing internships, I’ve created a blog, I’m signed up for my FIRST 10k [it’s happening THIS Saturday!], I’m applying for graduate programs and so much more. 20 has been so great to me.

Being inspired by Elisabeth’s email, I’m going to commit to making 21 even better.

21 Things I’m Going To Do At 21:

  1. Conquer one of my fears – whether that’s leaving home, swimming with sharks, or jumping out of a plane, I WILL conquer one of my fears (my heart dropped at the thought of each and every one of those things…)
  2. Focus on what’s REALLY important to me – I’ve noticed that I get so caught up in what other people my age are doing, that I start to question whether or not I’m doing enough or what I should be doing, rather than what I WANT to be doing. After all, this is MY life & I have nothing to prove to other people. It’s time to start doing life at my own pace.
  3. Make more time for God – I’ll admit… I’ve been slacking. I haven’t been the best about going to Church, reading the Bible or praying regularly but I do have intentions to change and devote my life to God. The first step has already been taken – joining a Bible study group!
  4. Be more invested in the lives of those I love – I know I don’t spend enough time with my family, friends or boyfriend. But it goes much further than that. I’m not always fully invested even when I’m around. I’ve allowed myself to be distracted by social media, emails, TV… This year, I plan to be more invested in the time I spend with those I love.
  5. Help more – whether it’s staying late and helping clean up after events or parties, volunteering at a homeless shelter, carrying in groceries for my parents, I want to dedicate more time to helping others.
  6. Taking care of my health – sure, I make an effort to workout and eat better, but I could do so much better. I could try even harder to create a healthier lifestyle. And unfortunately… one thing I need to do is make an annual doctor’s appointment… *sigh*.
  7. Read more – I don’t think I’ve completed a single book at 20. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t dedicated time to get lost in some really good books. My goal is to completely read 21 books (not including textbooks HA).
  8. Visit another country – I’ve never stepped foot outside of the United States (unless you count standing in the Atlantic ocean) and I’ve been dreaming of traveling to another country for as long as I can remember.
  9. Live in another city – This one might be cheating a little bit… I’m almost certain that with deciding on a graduate program will come a big move. Whether that’s to Columbus or New Orleans, we’ll just have to see!
  10. Double my savings – This one is simple. I suck at saving money. I want to make it a priority this year, and every year after,
  11. Become more mindful – There are tons of things to be more mindful about, like what I fuel my body with, how I speak to others, how I breathe, and then there are tons of things to do to become more mindful like journaling, meditating, practicing yoga or reflecting.
  12. Go more natural – As you’re learning, I’ve gotten very into essential oils. Eventually, I would love to do things like transfer all of my body, skin and hair care to a more natural routine, eat more natural foods, and share more of my raw, natural feelings.
  13. Reduce my carbon footprint – It’s no secret that we’re hurting our Earth more than we’re helping. I’d love to do my part in making the Earth a little more “green”.
  14.  “Disconnect” for at least an hour before bed – I’ve heard incredible things about staying away from electronics for at least an hour before you go to bed. It can help with sleep, mood, vision and so much more. I’m ready to wind down the right way.
  15. Adventure more – I don’t just mean traveling or doing crazy things, although those definitely count, but I mean trying new things or taking a mini road trip to a hiking trail instead of binge watching Netflix. After all, adventure is food for the soul, right?
  16. Challenge myself – Whether this is mentally, physically or emotionally, I want to challenge myself to new extents. Who knows… my 10k may turn into a 15k or even a half marathon ; )
  17. Become a morning person – this might as well count for #16 because I’m the farthest thing from being a “morning person”. I’m that girl who says “I’m waking up at 6 to do X, Y & Z.” and then I set 13 alarms and snooze every single one until it’s 10:05 and I need to be out the door by 10:30. I need to cut this habit immediately.
  18. Learn a new skill or talent – I’ve told myself tons of times that I wanted to learn how to do X. I’ve wanted to learn how play the piano, to play the ukulele, to knit, to hand letter,  and everything else you can think of. But I’ve never actually made an effort to do any of them (except for learning the chorus of Yankee Doodle on the piano…).
  19. Master my own signature dish – Learning how to cook is so important. What 40 year old wants to eat Ramen and leftover pizza every night because they never learned how to cook? Not only is learning how to cook important, but I think it’s beneficial to master a recipe that can please crowds.
  20. Update my wardrobe – Don’t get me wrong, I love my gym clothes so much that I could live in them (okay… I DO live in them). But they aren’t appropriate for all situations. For working out, for running errands, for lounging around, sure! Sometimes they’re even cute for a quick coffee date with friends. But they aren’t the best for work, for dinner dates, or for girls night out. I need to update my wardrobe to fit all occasions.
  21. Get rid of excess – This could be clutter, toxic relationships and even belongings that I don’t use. It’s never too late for a clean slate.

I can’t wait to see where I am in a year from now and look forward to reflecting on 21 next year! I know this year will be one to beat.

I hope you feel inspired to set goals for yourself and to reflect on your life – don’t wait until New Years to set goals, now is as good as ever!

Naturally

Ari.

Easy & Delicious Blackberry Chip Ice Cream

Yesterday, Josh and I went to our local fruit farm and picked donut peaches and blackberries. I kid you not, they were the sweetest, juiciest peaches and berries I’ve ever tried. It took every ounce of self control to not devour them as soon as I got home. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

I knew exactly what I was going to do with the berries. I don’t know about you but I love ice cream. It’s my one true (food) love. I could eat an entire meal and ALWAYS have room for ice cream. I could eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner, during spring, summer, fall and winter. You think I’m kidding but I’m being completely serious. I just really like ice cream. And my love for ice cream is what’s bringing this sweet, fruity, creamy goodness to you.

This recipe is great because it’s both delicious AND easy – it doesn’t require an ice cream maker! I was inspired by a family favorite, Black Raspberry Chip ice cream.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 qt. fresh blackberries
  • chocolate chunks

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Start by freezing your fresh blackberries. The best way to do this is to lay them on a lined baking sheet in one layer. This will help keep the berries from lumping together. Leave in the freezer overnight. I really struggled with this step – I kept eating all of my berries before they hit the sheet. They were SO juicy!

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Once your berries are frozen, throw them in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you need something to help the berries blend better, add a little heavy whipping cream or water. (I personally like having the seeds in the pureed berries because it makes it seem like a more natural berry ice cream, rather than just artificial flavoring.) Set blended berries aside.

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Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, beat the heavy whipping cream until it forms a whipped cream like texture (or soft peaks). Once your cream is the right texture, add in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.

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Slowly mix in spoonfuls of the berry puree until you get the desired berry flavor. I added all of my berry puree because I wanted a richer berry flavor. This is my favorite part because the mixture starts to turn a pretty purple color!

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Once you’ve added in all of your berry puree, fold in your chocolate chunks using a spatula.

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Once you’re done making your ice cream mixture, pour into baking pans or a container and let sit in the freezer. I froze mine for about 5 hours.

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Viola! This ice cream was so good and it took hardly any time at all! I can’t wait to try out new flavors. 🙂

Naturally,

Ari.

 

 

This recipe is an altered version of Martha Stewart’s No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream.

A Peak into Hatteras, NC

Last week, my blog was a bit inactive because my family took our biennial trip to Greensboro and the Outer Banks in North Carolina. This year, we stayed on the very edge Hatteras Island – we needed a ferry to go any further out. It was beautiful and relaxing (aside from the flesh-eating greenhead flies), most likely due to the less-populated nature of this island. I didn’t do the best job of staying on top of taking pictures but I managed to snag a few! Today, I’m sharing the highlights of our trip, in case you find yourself taking a trip to the Outer Banks!

THURSDAY – SATURDAY

Thursday through Saturday, our family stayed in Greensboro. My parents practice a form of martial arts called Tang Soo Do (they’re black belts) and every other year, there’s a world championship/convention held in Greensboro and people from around the world come to watch creative routines and to compete. This year my parents were judges. We left Saturday afternoon to head to the Outer Banks.

SUNDAY

Sunday was our first full day in the Outer Banks.

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We started off the day with a nice service at Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Parish. It’s a small parish with a beautiful view of the ocean from inside.

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After Mass, we drove around and stopped for lunch at Frisco Sandwich Co. I couldn’t decide between two things that were both very “safe” – a Hawaiian wrap with ham and pineapple or a crab cake sandwich. Some switch flipped and I decided that for the rest of vacation, I wasn’t going to play it safe like I always do – I was going to branch out and try new foods. I’m not much of a seafood gal, but I tried a ton of new things and loved them all! At Frisco, I ended up going with the Mahi Wow wrap with blackened Mahi, rice, black beans, pineapple and strawberry-kiwi sauce. It was SO good! I definitely recommend it!

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After lunch, we went back to our villa and relaxed in the pool for a bit. After, we explored the shops around our area, hoping to find some ice cream for National Ice Cream Day ; )

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That evening, we went down to the beach. The beach was pretty desolate, which was nice. We played around in the ocean for a while as the sun set.

MONDAY

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On Monday, we spent the day in Ocracoke. Ocracoke is an island not too far from Hatteras, but you need to take a ferry to get there. You drive your car up onto the ferry and you’ll end up in Ocracoke 45 minutes later.

We spent the day on the beach, jumping around in the waves. Ocracoke is beautiful – the sand is fine and white, and the water is a pretty blue-green. There are full, gorgeous shells all over the beach.

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After the beach, we drove down the island and stopped for dinner at Howard’s Pub. Trying to stick to my plan of branching out, I ordered the Build Your Own Seafood Platter with fried oysters, scallops, crab cake, hush puppies and red potatoes. Probably not the healthiest thing I could have ordered but life’s all about balance, right? I was actually terrified to try the oysters and scallops since they were completely new to me but they were both great and I may have even developed a new love for scallops!

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After dinner, we hopped back on the ferry to head home. Coasting down the sound during sunset was a beautiful sight for sure!

TUESDAY

On Tuesday, we visited the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. It was pretty interesting to learn about how many shipwrecks there have been and how “life at sea” has evolved.

After the museum, we went back and explored more shops in our area. I ended up buying a super cute mug, only to drop it and break it a few days later </3

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That night we went to the beach again to see what high tide looked like (I had the song “The Tide is High” stuck in my head the entire time). It was super relaxing walking along the beach as the sun was setting.

WEDNESDAY

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On Wednesday, we spent the day in the sound. We rented some kayaks and a paddle board and just relaxed by the sound. We saw quite a bit more hermit crabs and fish in the sound than in the ocean and we even had a few sting rays swim by us.

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For dinner, we went to Pop’s Fish House. I got the Grilled Tuna Tacos with Tortilla Chips and Salsa. I LOVE tacos but wasn’t quite sure how tuna would taste on a taco… I was pleasantly surprised! After, Josh and I split a slice of Key Lime pie. Yum!

THURSDAY

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On Thursday, we did a little bit of traveling. We stopped in Rodanthe at a little coffee place called Beads and Beans. I got the “Nutty Monkey”. We explored Rodanthe a bit, looking at some of the local shops.

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After our visit in Rodanthe, we continued on our way to Manteo. We stopped for late lunch/early dinner at the Lost Colony Brewery. I ordered the Roanoke Shrimp Melt. Normally, I despise shrimp. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always hated it. I have no idea what on earth possessed me to order something with shrimp on it but whatever it was, I’m glad it did. I LOVED this shrimp melt! It was so yummy! I still probably won’t eat shrimp by itself, but on a sandwich, it’s bomb.

After dinner, we walked around Manteo for a bit and visited some cute little shops.

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Our whole reason for visiting Manteo was for The Lost Colony play. I expected the play to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was! If you’re ever in North Carolina, I ten out of ten recommend The Lost Colony!

FRIDAY

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Friday was our last full day. We went to a nice little Native American museum in Frisco, and then explored more after. Apparently no restaurant likes to stay open between 3PM and 5PM (what weirdos eat lunch at 3?) We finally found Quarterdeck Restaurant and stopped by for lunch. I ordered the crab bisque and hush puppies (again, not the healthiest but when it’s your last day, you order hush puppies!). After, Josh and I split the world’s greatest slice of Key Lime pie. I’m drooling right now just thinking about it.

That evening we just relaxed and swam some more.

SATURDAY

Finally, Saturday was our long haul back to Ohio. We ended up just driving the entire 12 hours back home.

All in all, it was a nice, relaxing vacation! It definitely made me feel refreshed after working so much this summer. Although I’ve just barely adjusted to being back in the “real world”, I’m ready to dust off my blog and get creative with you all!

Naturally,

Ari.