Toast Two Times

If you take breakfast as seriously as I do, and skipping the glorious morning meal is out of the question, then this post is for you. I’m sure you’ve all seen a million different variations of spreads and garnishes atop of friendly, crisped slice of gluten, but here are my two favorites. Super easy recipes for those mornings when time is money.

Melted Mozzarella Kale Tomato Toast

Ingredients:

1 slice sprouted grain bread
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Baby kale greens
Beefsteak Tomato
Cracked pepper
Himalayan Pink Salt

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First, you want to toast your bread and then add an abundance of ooey, gooey, fresh mozz to your toast, then let it melt in the toaster oven until it’s soft and oozing. Then, add your greens, tomato slices, and salt and pepper for flavor and voila! You’ve got yourself a relatively healthy, filling, and delightful kickstart to your day.

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End result should look something like this little sinful delight above. If you have the patience to stop eating for 2 seconds, I suggest snapping a photo and sending to friends for the jealously factor.

Also, I was too ravenously hungry to add my favorite topping, hot sauce, to this beauty (Cholula obviously).

and… NEXT!

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Avocado Dippy Egg Toast

Ingredients:

1 slice sprouted grain toast
1/3 sliced avocado
1 large organic egg
Cilantro
Himalayan Pink Salt
Cracked pepper
Turmeric
Cholula hot sauce

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Once you’ve tasted your bread of choice, add sliced avocado to toast and layer it as evenly as possible. Then you want to slather on the hot sauce as you please. Fry your egg while leaving as much dribbly yolk intact as possible. Garnish with your choice of toppings. For mine, I picked fresh cilantro, salt and pepper.

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ENJOY and share only if you’re too full to fathom another bite of these savory AM treats!

The Healing Powers of Meditation

What exactly IS meditation? The practice of meditating is simply transforming your mind and shifting its gears to change for the better. Personal fears, anxieties, hatred, and agony are all feelings created by the mind — something that alters our thoughts, emotions, and ultimately our actions. The good news is you can unlearn any mental or subconscious habit you have created in the past, and develop a deeply rooted emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and strong will.

Meditation can be practiced in innumerable different techniques and practices. The most well-known and popular form of meditation being the practice of yoga. I personally love yoga because it allows me to push myself both mentally and physically throughout my body. You do not need to join a lavish club, or have certain gear to participate in yoga — you just need your body, an awareness of your breath, and patience. Aside from yoga, meditation has many other places in your daily life to be practiced. Simply laying down comfortably, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breathing is the easiest way to start your journey to a clearer mind, body and soul.

Benefits of Meditation:

Mindfulness
Our mind creates and processes around 60,000 thoughts a day; about half of those are making decisions. With such a cluttered and chaotic mind you can choose to feed into the stress and weight of your thoughts, or choose to filter them before they affect your actions and behavior. Being aware of how these thoughts, and seeing them in a different light is so powerful.

Anxiety Control
When we meditate, the neural connections in our brain weaken; which results in making more rational and relaxed decisions. Anxiety is the result of over-thinking and feelings out of control. The more we meditate, the more accustomed we are to take a step back, focus on our breathing, and then continue to make healthy, level-headed choices.

Forgiving the Past
Failing to make peace with the past causes emotional uprisings that are a mix of stress, anxiety, and anguished insecurities. Meditating helps our minds to let go of anger and unlearn the discomfort associated with it.

Concentration and Creativity Improve
With a negatively crowded mind taking up all the useless and logical head space, concentration starts to lack entirely. When a traumatic or upsetting event happens to you, your brain’s motivation to focus on school and work decline and collapse. Tuning into deep thoughts and self-examination help your brain to flourish with creativity and consolidation.

Quality of Sleep
Over 30% of our population suffers from insomnia; women being twice as likely to be affected. Depression, anxiety, stress, and mental health issues are some of the main reasons why this chronic restlessness occurs. The good news is you can combat it through focusing on breathing and relaxing your mind. This natural practice helps to wean off and detach from sleeping aids that are more than often habit-forming and potentially at risk for further health issues. Personally, when I am having trouble sleeping and it feels as if I am going to be stuck wide awake until the early morning hours, I try my best to be in tune with my breathing and lay comfortably and still. I then refocus my mind’s attention to one section of my body to the next; making my mind and body connect and be aware of each other. Nearly every time this technique works to slowly tire me out and relax me enough to fall into a deep sleep aligned with my brain waves.

Increase in Energy
Relying on coffee and energy drinks for an energy boost is an expensive and temporary fix that will almost always leave you crashing and feeling worse than before. Start naturally energizing your body by choosing healthy habits in your food and drink choices, and along side that, keep your meditation moving with you no matter where you may be. You’ll be surprised how easily your body can reboot just by staying focused and balanced.

Overall, keep in mind that meditation is a personal practice from within. There is no right or wrong way to accomplish this habit; it is between your body, mind, and soul. Your journey to spirituality and enlightenment start with self-knowledge and acceptance.

Namaste

My Ideal Day of Eating in Athens

I have compiled a list of a few of my favorite places to eat, snack, and drink here in Athens, Ohio. (subject to change due to large quantities of food consumed daily)

  1. BREAKFAST

I cannot simply wrap my head around people who skip out on the greatest meal of the day, but to each their own, right? For me, breakfast is essential, the reason I get out of bed, and what fuels me through my day. There are so many variations of breakfast options depending on what mood you’re in. You’ve got your bagel sammies, boundless egg creations, endless toast toppings and spreads, plethora of cereals and (nut) milks to choose from, or maybe you’re the savage type who prefers an XL cup of coffee with ten sugar packets. Nonetheless, I have a few suggestions to feed the inner food voyager inside you.

Village Bakery & Cafe

First, I’d be fooling myself if I said choosing my favorite breakfast nook in Athens was easy; it’s immensely challenging and I’m growing hungrier by the millisecond. Why Village Bakery you say? Well, the menu never ceases to satisfy my eyes and my tastebuds, but most importantly, they only use sustainable, locally-grown ingredients. They support local small businesses like themselves, and are persistent about using only solar and geothermal energy to keep the business up and running. How neat is that?

Here I present to you my palate’s most favorable breakfast option on the menu; The Egg & Cheese Sandwich on a freshly baked, warm and flaky biscuit equipped with fresh tomato slices, onion, and a side of fresh citrus fruits and greens.  

Oh, and of course, the obligatory golden cup of freshly brewed coffee; refills highly supported.

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(Photo taken by me)

2. MID-MORNING SNACK

Don’t judge me, yet. I eat a lot and I need an abundance of food to fuel me through my long days of class, eating, going to the library, eating, studying, eating, sleeping, repeat.

Since breakfast time usually occurs around 8:00 am-10:00 am at the latest, I can’t simply make it until lunch hours without a little energy push. This is when I make my way over to the little health foods store down the road for a sweet or savory treat to delve into.

The Farmacy The Natural and Organic Grocery of Athens, OH, since 1971

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The crunchy, granola, health-food obsessed monster is drawn out of me when I enter the doors of The Farmacy, well worth the walking commute to get to. I would describe this health food store to be something comparable to a deeply condensed, downsized version of your local farmers market and Whole Foods, all jumbled together to create this baby general store.

Usually I find myself browsing the shelves for a few grocery items and snacks — like plantain chips, dried fruits, chocolate — but also sensational at the same time, and of course, kombucha (fermented tea drink; good for your gut).

Anyways, I make my way over to my favorite area of operation, the prepared foods and deli section. Today I am going to get my favorite, The Carob Delight Smoothie; made with carob milk, almond butter, organic soy protein powder, and frozen bananas. All the nutrients and delectable flavors needed to send me on my way; to the cash register because that smoothie cost $6 (seriously worth it). If I wasn’t on the go, I would usually order the Sweet Potato Falafel sandwich on Nan bread; need I say more?

3. LUNCH

The school day is over and I’ve worked up quite the appetite, again. It’s 1:04 pm and the urgency to devour something both refreshing and savory for lunch is on the agenda. With so many options to choose from, I head towards W. Washington Street to meet my friend Sarah for lunch at Restaurant Salaam.

Restaurant Salaam Fine Global Cuisine

Being Greek, I am constantly craving and on the search for Mediterranean food, and early this year, I discovered one of my favorite places to eat in Athens. The vibrant, serene, and cultural way of decorating the entire restaurant with beautiful tapestries, tablecloths, art work, unique sculptures, and radiant green plants overflowing the window spaces, makes me want to sit down and stay for a while; like maybe a week.

The menu is seasonal, which I enjoy greatly, but it is so hard to choose what to order due to the alluringly varieties that they have to offer. I opt for one of my favorites, The Salad Sampler Platter; which consists of a sampling of there own Salaam salad, Fattoush salad, curried couscous, with a giant scoop of freshly made hummus and warm pita bread to dip into. Simply divine.

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(Photo taken by me)

4. DINNER

After a long day of studying and anticipating my next meal, I had already decided what I was in the mood for: Thai food. The idea of diving into a big bowl of Pho filled with rice noodles, broth, spicy herbs, bean sprouts and assorted veggies had my mind foggy all afternoon. My go-to on the menu is usually a Thai tea, which is a a strong brewed black tea blended with cardamon, anise, and other spices, that is poured over sweetened condensed milk for a decadent treat to sip with my meal. Then, I order either egg drop soup or vegetable spring rolls for an appetizer. If I weren’t already so set on a massive bowl of Pho, I would order my second favorite, which is Pad Thai with tofu or shrimp. It would be hard to order something even slightly mediocre on this menu, so I encourage all to exercise your palates and tastebuds, and venture to this tasty little Thai eatery just down Union Street.

Thai Paradise

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ATHENS AFTER HOURS: My favorite late night food spots: ranked in order of greatness

(Big Mamma’s Burritos will never be on this list, sorry)

O’Betty’s Red Hot

My order every time, without hesitation:

  • The Tempest hot dog  (Habanero Salsa, Chopped Jalapenos, Shredded aged sharp Cheddar Cheese, and Sour Cream). 
  • Very Cheesy Fries (Shredded aged sharp cheddar cheese AND mildly spiced cheese sauce).

Union Street Diner

Because breakfast food is meant to be enjoyed at all hours:

  • Option 1: Two dippy-eggs (over-easy), with hash browns completely doused in hot sauce and ketchup, sausage links, and bagel with cream cheese. Next, try your best to construct a bagel sammie with all the components intact. You’re welcome.
  • Option 2Become a complete animal and order the Cheeseburger with fries, (side of ranch for dipping) and chocolate milkshake to wash it all down.

Avalanche Pizza

Don’t have to argue this one; best pizza in Athens that just so happens to be open for the late night feasters.

  • Veggie Rainbow Pizza: I recently had a professor that allowed us to order Avalanche Pizza every class; insane, I know. I fell in love with this veggie pizza because it’s far more diverse than any other veggie pizza I have ever consumed.

Consists of: Broccoli, melted provolone and mozzarella, marinara sauce, sliced zucchini, sweet corn, Roma tomatoes, spinach, topped with their own homemade basil pesto.

ENJOY!

Why Right Now is the Perfect Time for Self-Love and Care

There is a lot of heartache and emotional distress going on in the world today. Anything from personal loss, to this year’s election results.

What’s important to realize is that nothing is permanent, we can only move up from here; tragedies and despair cannot define us.

It is time to awaken ourselves, let go of what is behind us, accept the facts, and ultimately create the best version of ourselves through it all.

Start Fresh

Write all of your thoughts out. Every single nitty-gritty thought that comes to your mind, let it out and let it go. Physically writing things down helps release the pain and anguish you associate that thought with. Keep a journal, write in your notes on your phone, vent to a friend. Reach out to friends and family. You are not in this alone. Whatever it is, let it out.

Meditate

Meditation does not mean attending daily yoga classes, nor does it mean you need to be a flexible acrobat. It means you are simply getting in tune with your mind, body, and soul. Breathe, let it out.

Rest your mind, be at peace with your thoughts and accept the continual flow of consciousness streaming. Pay attention to your heartbeat.

You do not need to be on a yoga mat on a tropical island. All you need is you, your attention and stillness. I personally like to meditate by simply closing my eyes, taking deep breaths, and focusing on each part of my active, thriving, breathing body.

Your body is a temple; you only get one body, so respect it, always.

Work Your Body Out

Your body is craving physical activity. Start small; go on a short walk around your neighborhood. Listen to your favorite album while you walk and let the time fly. Getting active is good for the brain. It clears your head and empties up mental space that you need to be healthy. Mental health is so incredibly important. Do your part to recognize these facts, and do what you can for yourself and for others to stay motivated.

Have High Standards

Never, ever settle for less than you deserve. No matter what the situation, know your worth and go with it. The second you settle for less, you degrade your well being. Strive for greatness in all that you do. Set a goal and carry it out. Start with smaller goals; maybe cut out ice cream this week, eat more greens, repeat. Keep building your goals until it becomes natural to you.

Release the Negativity

Toxic people exist; recognize that. These people come and go. They come in all different shapes and sizes, they may even be a family member. It doesn’t matter. Think to yourself, how is this person benefitting my life for the better? Are they practicing reciprocation in the relationship? Can I trust this person fully? Most importantly, do they respect and support every view you have and everything you stand for?

If you answer no to any one of those, it’s time to cut ties. It is easier said than done, but in the end you will be beaming in a new light, one that allows you to grow fully with no limitations or setbacks.

Accept Others

“Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

Above all, as humankind we have the ability to shower each other with positivity, acceptance, empathy, and unconditional love. Even if you don’t see eye-to-eye with someone, it doesn’t mean they are an innately bad person. It simply means you have different life paths, different moral codes and motivations.

Certainly, we do not live in a world where everyone is pure, kind, and has good intentions. We filter out the bad, but choose to see the good in all.

No one person is better than the other; that much is true.

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”

-J.K. Rowling

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Christina Kirchner

Feed the Soul: Instagram Accounts Every Foodie Needs to Follow

  1. @shutthekaleup

This food account speaks to my soul. If you are as passionate about eating sensational, flavorful, but also health-conscious and nutrient rich foods, then food blogger Jeannette Ogden is your girl. This badass, yoga-teaching mama will give you the best recipe inspiration that you can find. (Photos Provided by Shut The Kale Up)

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2. @Infatuation

Trying to decide what you’re in the mood to eat tonight? Look no further, Infatuation will help you decipher which restaurant to go to and what food to eat, truly making your mouth drool of food envy. Cheesy, ooey-gooey, deep-fried carbs never looked so good. (Photos Provided by Infatuation)

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3. @earthyandy

This foodie account is for all my vegan or vegan-wannabe friends. Andy is a Hawaii-based food blogger that aims to create all plant-based, sustainable, and local food-incorporated recipes for her and her family’s diet. You may not be fortunate enough to live on a tropical island, but you can easily recreate these recipes! You would be surprised at how delicious and colorful the plant-sourced lifestyle can be. (Photos Provided by Earthy Andy)

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4. @BrunchBoys

Are you breakfast obsessed and constantly salivating over your next mid-morning meal? Well these boys have created by far the most appetizing and luscious array of brunch food pictures I have ever seen. From breakfast sandwiches stacked high to cinnamon roll burgers, these guys take the cake. (Photos Provided by Brunch Boys)

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5. @symmetrybreakfast

Breakfast for two? We’ve got you covered. This beautifully arranged breakfast food account is the work of Michael Zee and his passion for cooking, in which he creates symmetrical meals right next to each other. The aesthetic appeal never fails to brighten my morning while I’m eagerly scrolling through Instagram, swooning over these deliciously plated foods. Go check it out for yourself! (Photos Provided by Symmetry Breakfast)

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Six Things to Detox from Your Life

  1. The Past

Don’t pity the past, leave behind all of the unnecessary emotional baggage that is in the way of your personal well-being and future opportunities. Let Go, whether it’s a failed friendship, romantic partner, or failing that exam you were too lazy to study for. Learn from your mistakes, accept the consequences and move on.

  1. Your Cluttered Mess of a Room

It is truly unbelievable how clear your mind becomes when you physically detach from all your unnecessary trinkets, purge your old clothes, and ditch your former room arrangement. When trying to renew yourself and feel in control of your life, creating the best possible environment is crucial to your well-being. You would be surprised at how alleviated and de-stressed you feel after putting things in their place, changing your bedding, and giving neglected clothes away to someone who needs them the most. Besides, you were never going to wear that beloved, tacky prom dress again, anyways.

On a side note, bring some greenery into your room. Having real, growing plants thriving upon your windowsill beaming in the sunlight, will help you radiate positivity and mindfulness. Believe me, I have well over a few plant friends in my living space.

3. Profusely Checking Social Media

There is absolutely no need to be constantly refreshing your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, etc. All this leads to is a comparison of your day vs. the person’s you are viewing. Everything online is a facade; we are constantly trying to reveal only our best selves. Yeah, it’s great to socialize and connect with friends and family we can’t always reach face-to-face, but learn how to control it in moderation. Take a day off from checking your phone and go explore a new part of your town to clear your mind and find inner peace.

4.  Having Unhealthy Habits

Say goodbye to processed, preservative and pesticide-ridden junk food and say hello to food that makes you feel good from the inside, out. Start with the basics. Make an effort to find out where your food comes from. You would be surprised to see what big companies put in the food you eat. Buy local. I cannot stress that enough. Ultimately, find balance. Everything is okay in moderation; just remember to be mindful of what you put in your body because it effects your mind, body and soul.

5. Worrying about Staying in Sometimes

Being in a college atmosphere makes it exceptionally hard to avoid staying out until the early morning hours. Sure, it can be very enjoyable to socialize and hang out with your best friends, but often times those nights aren’t what you imagined them to be. Sometimes you feel left out or rejected, and that never feels good or worth it. Alone time is necessary to clear your mind. Being your own biggest supporter will help you get through the tough times and strengthen your overall morale and assurance.

6. Negative Vibes 

Staying positive and spreading good vibes to yourself and the people around you is so important. Creating unconditional love and forgiveness starts with healthy habits. Outline the important things in your life. Learn how to prioritize wisely and step away from negative situations. Let go of comparison and jealousy. When you spread love, you create a happy, loving home for yourself. You attract the best people in the best ways. Be aware of who you let into your life and surround yourself with. More often than not, that is a major factor in finding true happiness and enlightenment.

Become your best self, always.

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