Sunday, May 29, 2016

Meal Plan Monday {3 Simple Steps}

Last week I shared my meal plan printable and had a lot of questions about meals and other things pertaining to the way I meal plan. So this week, I decided to continue the #MealPlanMonday madness and share some other meal planning tips with you guys.
Meal planning isn't really that hard. Like I said last week, it takes some time, but it is so incredibly beneficial. I've created a guide to meal planning in three easy steps. Hopefully they help you!
1. Decide on the meals you want.  This is the most time consuming step, especially if you have other people you are trying to feed as well. While I'm all for the "you eat what you are given" method, I'd never cook or plan to cook a meal I knew Thomas wouldn't touch, it's just silly and a waste.
Find meals on Pinterest using key words. Search things like "easy Asian dinner ideas," or "low calorie lunches," or simple dinner ideas." Narrowing down your search from things like "dinner meals" will really make a difference, and you will see something other than the same meals over and over again.
Use other methods of searching. Pinterest is fabulous, but it can become a little repetitive after a while. Hit up good old Google or grab a seasonal food magazine from the store. Some of my favorite recipes are from he strangest places.

Above is my meal plan for this week! You can click on any of the meals and it will take you to the recipe link, give it a try.
2. Lay out your meals using my meal plan printableBeing able to see every single meal you want laid out, will help you decide not only exactly what you need from the store that week, but what meals can be turned in to leftovers.
Laying out your meals on the meal plan printable is the tale tell sign if you eat too much of one thing. For me, that thing is usually Mexican food, but whatever. I'm always careful to make sure I'm not eating a certain meat too many days in a row, or having the same veggies three times a week.
3. Go through each meal & write down the ingredients needed from the store. Meal planning is great and all, but if you don't actually go to the store, all of your hard work was pointless. I start with the first meal of each week, usually Monday morning's breakfast, and write down the ingredients needed, then to Monday lunch, then dinner and so on and so forth. Going meal by meal allows me to see what I need from the store versus what I already have in my pantry, and it also tells me if I need to buy more of one item or another.

In addition to this weeks meal plan, you can check out my Dinner board on Pinterest for more inspiration for your weekly meals!
What are you cooking up this week? Any questions for me? Be sure to leave them below!



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Summer Bucket List

I don't care how old you are, where you work, or how busy you are... There is something about summer that just gets everyone a little excited. Whether it's the thought of sun tanned skin, or the way a glass of iced tea tastes on a hot day, there is no denying summer is a happy time. This year, I'm creating a bucket list and I am so determined to make the best of it. My favorite part of the summer bucket list is, many of the activities are free! So grab a friend and lets get this summer started.
Click on the image to download the printable!

Summer 2016 Bucket List
This sheet is now on our fridge, and I can't wait to complete the lists! Do you have anything that is on your bucket list for this summer?
Check back next Thursday for a very special Dallas bucket list and an awesome Instagram contest!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Meal Plan Motivation

Meal Planning
I can't lie. I'm not that organized, I'm not that ahead of the game. But there are things I am constantly doing to try and be more organized and ahead of the game. One of the most important things I do every single week would be meal plan. If I don't have a meal plan laid out for the week, my entire week is shot. Thomas and I love eating out, and we could easily do it three times a day, seven days a week. But that would 1- cost way too much and 2- be so unhealthy. While it is a little tedious and time consuming, meal planning is a sure fire way to get your week started on the right foot, and to ensure you have no meal left unplanned. This is the meal plan I created to help keep all of my weekly meals organized. While my meal planning printable makes it easier to track your meals for the week, you still have to be able to come up with the meals. Today, I'm sharing how I make meal planning a little easier!
Search Pinterest
Pinterest is the google fore everything delicious and crafty. A week doesn't go by when I don't head to Pinterest to get some inspiration for my meals. I have a board titled "dinner ideas," and two secret boards that I pin other random food ideas too. I love adding meals from Pinterest to my meal plan- Pinterest for the win!
Have a go-to meal list
This is a big one for us. There are some weeks I just know are going to be harder than others. With a go-to meal list filled with meals you know you and your family are going to enjoy, you won't have to worry about the thought of skipping out on that meal. I have a list of about 10 various meals that I know Thomas and I both love and will always eat, it makes for easy meals (since I've made it so many times before) and happy stomachs!
Consider leftovers
We all know some foods just don't make good leftovers, and that's okay, but if you are anything like me, you enjoy having leftovers. Considering making foods for dinner that can be tweaked just a little and made in to something different for lunch the next day. Example: Salsa chicken for dinner- salsa chicken tacos for lunch the next day.
Add in options for going out
Meal planning is so great, and eating in is almost always a more healthy option, but if you really love going out to eat, add that in as well! I usually add in at least one day for Thomas and I to eat out for lunch and once for dinner. If not, I know there's room for failure in the meal plan.
Write down your snacks
I would really recommend this one, not only does it make grabbing your daily snack easier, but it reminds you what needs to be bought at the store.

Meal Plan Printable
Click the graphic to download the meal plan printable
Do you meal plan? What helps you stay on track with your meals each week?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

AirBnB Do's and Don'ts

If you're anything like me, traveling is an essential part of your life. For the longest time, I was under the impression that you could only travel to fabulous places if you had tons of money (wrong) and lots and lots of free time (double wrong). Traveling has become something that can be done by anyone, on any budget. Shortly after Thomas and I started dating, we were introduced to AirBnB, a website with thousands of places to stay when traveling. While some places are shared with the owner, some are entire homes for rent, and theres even some treehouse and other crazy places that you couldn't even dream up. I am so glad we were introduced to AirBnB a few years ago, because it has allowed us to travel way more than we ever expected. After using AirBnB for the last four years, we have certainly learned some of the most important AirBnB do's and don'ts.
Know what you want, and what you don't want.
There are so many different things AirBnB has to offer. House, high rise, hut, and the list going on forever. While there are so many different kinds of homes you can rent, there are also different styles, entire home, private room and shared room. It's all about what you are comfortable with. I usually go with "entire home" because I like my privacy, but if you're down for kicking it with the owners of your place, try out the private room!
Understand how booking works.
It's not confusing, really. There are two different styles of booking. You have Instant Book and Request to Book. Request to book is the only way AirBnB used to operate. You had to send a request to each host individually and sort of ask permission to stay at their place. This is still an option, and it works just as great as the other option, it just takes a little more time. Instant book is exactly what it sounds like. You see all the fees immediately, and you instantly book it, no requesting, no waiting. It's all there for you!
Prioritize the amenities you desire.
We all know there are just some amenities you just can't live without when traveling. For me, those things change every time I travel. In some places, I just have to have Wi-Fi, some place I just must have a washer and dryer (longer trips, duh). It all just depends on the trip. But when traveling to different places, you need different things. You can customize your "filters' for every single trip you take, so prioritize accordingly.
Read the fine print.
Some AirBnB hosts have certain rules, some you may not like. Some like you to check out by 10am, and some could care less. But you won't know until you read. All the information you could possibly need to know is listed on the listing page.
Don't try to book too far in advance. 
I've said it before, I'm a planner, and I usually try to have travel plans done months in advance. But with AirBnB this isn't always beneficial. If you have your eye on a property for something such as Mardi Gras or The Super Bowl, but you think you can book more than 6-9 months out, think again. As expected they want to hike the prices for these events, so they can make more, but often times, hosts haven't updated their calendars this far out. I would recommend booking no more than 6 months out with each AirBnB host.
Read reviews, but don't let them be your deciding factor.
I am a firm believer in reading personal reviews. But some people are just awful, and will find a way to complain about anything. While 99% of reviews about places are fantastic, there is always someone who has to be a grouch. Don't let the one bad review overpower the 87 good reviews.

Traveling soon? Be sure to check out AirBnB and use my AirBnB Discount to get $20 off of your first stay! I'd love to hear all about your travel experiences with AirBnB!

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