Things I’m Loving Lately: Favorite Central Florida Brunch Spots

Happy Sunday Funday! If you’re anything like me, chances are you’ve spent a Sunday or two at brunch. As someone who enjoys scrambled eggs at any time of day, I rarely turn down a chance to enjoy brunch among friends, and here in Central Florida, we have no shortage of great brunch spots at our fingertips.

For my local readers, check out five of my favorite brunch restaurants in the Orlando metropolitan area, and sound off in the comments with your own recommendations!

Five Favorite Brunch Spots in Central Florida

The Glass Knife
This trendy new spot in Winter Park is beautifully designed, with food that tastes as good as it looks. The Glass Knife is known for its delicious baked goods, but brunch is conveniently served from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and includes quiches, breakfast sandwiches, waffles, avocado toasts, and more. My favorite? The smoothie bowl, a healthier option that is packed with fresh fruits and plenty of flavor. (If you’re not concerned with calories, the donuts are pretty fantastic as well.)

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Omelet Bar
Located in The Plaza across from UCF, Omelet Bar is the perfect stop for breakfast or brunch before a football game! From build-your-own omelets to their famous s’mores towers, Omelet Bar offers a multitude of both traditional and nontraditional breakfast options. If you’re not in the mood for breakfast, grab a burger or sandwich.

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Favorite Brunch Spots in Central Florida

Canvas Restaurant & Market
I’m always in favor of a trip to Lake Nona, and Canvas does not disappoint! With gorgeous views overlooking the water and a fun market filled with local goods, Canvas is a great choice at any time of day. Their brunch menu varies, with sweet choices like tiramisu French toast, and spicier options like the chilaquiles. For a healthier option, consider the Canvas Breakfast or the Summer Squash Hash. Don’t forget about their bottomless mimosas!

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Artisan’s Table
I have a soft spot for Artisan’s Table, which was the first place where my MBA class ever went to brunch, and immediately fell in love with their breakfast bowls. The menu changes regularly, as Artisan’s Table incorporates seasonal ingredients throughout the year. Whether you’re looking for a breakfast burrito, sandwich, salad or stuffed French toast, you will love Artisan’s Table’s fresh taste.

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Cozee Café
This scratch kitchen, based in Lake Mary, offers meal choices from a variety of cuisines around the world. Enjoy an order of Cozee Café‘s shakshuka, or lighten things up with their oatmeal berry crunch. In the afternoons, the tikka salad and the chicken kebabs are excellent lunch and dinner choices. Cozee Café also serves craft coffee and Tea Forte, in addition to a variety of juices and smoothies.

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What are your favorite Central Florida brunch spots? Share your recommendations in the comments section below!

Adventures in the Garden City: How to Spend Your Day Trip to Victoria, BC

During last month’s trip to Seattle, I crossed an extra travel destination off my list: British Columbia! As much as I love to travel, this was actually my first visit to Canada, and Victoria, BC, was the perfect place to start. From Seattle, we hopped aboard the Clipper Ferry to embark on our three-hour cruise to Canada.

For those interested in traveling from Seattle to Victoria, I cannot recommend the Clipper Ferry enough. From safe and reliable transportation to friendly service, Clipper Vacations truly outdid themselves. (As an added bonus, we even passed by a few whales on our return trip!) We arrived in the city around 10 a.m. with an evening departure around 7.

Disclaimer: As much as I loved our day trip to Victoria, I wish we had booked a hotel to stay the night and spend a little more time in the city. There are a lot of exciting things to see and do in the Garden City, and because of my injuries on the trip, my mobility was somewhat limited and I wasn’t able to cover as much ground as I would have liked in one day. Therefore, this recap post will not only include the sightseeing we did and the restaurants we visited, but also a short wish list of suggested places I’d like to see when I return.

How to Spend Your Day Trip to Victoria, BC

What We Did

  • Beacon Hill Park
    Just a mile from the port, we began our day wandering around Beacon Hill. This 200-acre park features beautiful gardens, one of the world’s tallest totem poles (the tallest at the time it was built), playgrounds, and a farm (but we’ll get to that later). The views at Beacon Hill were absolutely breathtaking. Our path ultimately led us to the rocky Spiral Beach, where I quickly remembered that we were not in Florida anymore. Spiral Beach is not the most friendly for injured walkers, but it’s certainly worth a quick trip to the waterfront.
  • Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
    British Columbia offers free parliamentary tours at the Legislative Assembly, which are well worth the trip. Our tour featured a cameo from the late Queen Victoria, along with British Columbia’s rich history and some background into Canada’s constitutional monarchy structure. Tours are only an hour, but they provide great insight, especially for first-time visitors like myself.

How To Spend Your Day Trip to Victoria, BC

  • Beacon Hill Children’s Farm
    This part of the trip was a highlight for me as an animal lover! For a small donation, you can visit the many animals at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm from 10-5 p.m. in the summer. I was especially excited to visit the goats! Twice a day, the farm hosts the daily “goat stampede,” which is exactly what it sounds like — about 40 goats running out in a stampede across the farm! It is an absolute must-see, and as expected, the goats are incredibly sweet. 🙂

Where We Ate

  • Sam’s Deli & Bistro
    Conveniently located on Government Street, Sam’s Deli & Bistro was our first stop off the ferry. We were able to grab quick breakfast sandwiches and hot coffee and tea to start our day, all while enjoying the beautiful weather and people-watching from the outdoor seating. They also serve soups and salads, and the food is made-to-order.
  • The Sticky Wicket Pub
    This restaurant is a cricket-themed pub and a part of the Strathcona Hotel. It was the perfect spot for a quiet, late lunch in between activities. I ordered the chicken strips and salad with a delicious plum sauce, and now wish I could pour that plum sauce on everything I eat.

Future Visits

The next time I’m in Victoria, I plan to do the following (and suggest these activities for those of you who have enough time to see it all!):

  • Victoria Afternoon Tea at The Empress
    As a tea enthusiast, I would love to book an afternoon tea service at The Empress, located in the iconic Fairmont Hotel. The Empress offers its own special tea blends, as well as signature scones and pastries, and has been serving tea since 1908.
  • Butchart Gardens
    When I told friends and family that I was visiting Victoria, nearly everyone who had been there suggested visiting Butchart Gardens. The trip would have required some planning in terms of transportation and we ultimately didn’t make it out there, but those who have visited said there is nothing like it. With 900 plant varieties, the Sunken Garden, fountains and other sights to be seen, Butchart Gardens will be the perfect place to explore on a summer day.
  • Craigdarroch Castle
    This castle, a National Historic Site, is a Victorian mansion known as a “bonanza castle.” They offer extended summer hours and provide self-guided tours for visitors. I love visiting historic mansions, and look forward to returning to Victoria to tour this castle!
  • Hop On/Hop Off Tour
    As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I think hop on/hop off tours are a great way to explore a new city for the first time. Next time I visit, I look forward to embarking on one of these tours! Not only will the transportation be helpful if I’m experiencing any injuries next time, but the tours often provide valuable insights and a unique twist depending on the guide.

Have you been to Victoria? What are your upcoming travel plans? Share in the comments section below!

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Things I’m Loving Lately: Halotherapy

Happy Wednesday, readers! Those of you who know me in person (or who have come into contact with me in the last week or so) are fully aware that I’m a long-time allergy sufferer. As much as I love the Sunshine State, it can be rough living in a place where something you’re allergic to is pretty much always in bloom.

Of course, I’m a regular at the allergist’s office, but recently I learned about a more holistic allergy treatment and decided to give it a try.

Things I'm Loving Lately: Halotherapy

Meet halotherapy (also known as salt therapy), an old-world remedy that uses salt to treat various conditions. Most of the health claims surrounding salt therapy focus especially on treating respiratory ailments, such as asthma and allergy symptoms. Although research in this area is still being conducted, some studies have begun to show that halotherapy can have positive therapeutic effects for patients.

A few months ago, I decided to see what all the hype was about. I soon learned that Antidote Apothecary, a spa in downtown Sanford that focuses on holistic beauty, had its very own salt room for visitors to take advantage of. I quickly booked myself an appointment.

Things I'm Loving Lately: Halotherapy

How It Works: You’ll enter a room completely filled with salt, and choose a seat. At Antidote Apothecary & Spa, you book a 45-minute appointment, and the room will seat up to four adults. I was especially lucky to have the room to myself! Dry salt is dispersed through the vents to breathe in and out. Bring a book or a set of headphones, and simply inhale and exhale. The setting is relaxing and can be a great place to meditate. Wear light-colored clothing (I made the mistake of wearing all black on my first visit, and left with salt quite noticeably on my clothes!) and bring a pair of socks.

The Verdict: I absolutely loved it! While I’m still not sure how long-term the effects of halotherapy are, I left my first visit with my sinuses feeling clearer than ever. As an added bonus, my skin felt a lot smoother as well — something that anyone else with eczema will surely appreciate. The visit was relaxing and worth every minute.

Since that first visit, I have returned to Antidote for additional salt therapy treatments, and look forward to more in the future. For those of you who are local to Central Florida, Antidote offers other spa treatments, which can be accompanied with tea service from The Rosie Lee Co. I will definitely be back for more!

Have you tried salt therapy? How was your experience? Sound off in the comments below!

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Girl, Wash Your Face: Three Lies We Need to Stop Telling Ourselves

Girl, Wash Your Face: Three Lies We Need to Stop Telling Ourselves | Wellness & Wanderlust

An avid bookworm, I was especially excited when someone recommended Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis. This book hit especially close to home for me, as it focused on the lies we tell ourselves that hold us back in life. Like most people, I tend to suffer from imposter syndrome and can often be my own worst enemy, letting my inner mean girl speak the loudestGirl, Wash Your Face is a refreshing read that breaks down those negative thoughts with the goal of helping us move past them.

Three chapters in particular stood out to me, so I thought I would share them with my readers. Each chapter addresses a different lie that we tell ourselves, and how to reframe our thoughts. Depending on your own life experiences, other chapters may impact you more deeply, but I wanted to share these insights from which so many of us can benefit.

  • The Lie: I’ll Start Tomorrow
    I’ll be honest — I’m a sucker for kicking off new goals on a Monday or on the first of the month. There’s something I love about having a clear line of demarcation between the old and the new. However, this also gets me into trouble, sometimes causing me to put off my goals with the excuse that I’ll start tomorrowHowever, as Rachel Hollis explains in this chapter, “Your subconscious knows that you, yourself, cannot be trusted after breaking so many plans and giving up on so many goals.” Many of us are great at keeping promises, unless those promises are to ourselves. We’re accountable and reliable for others, but when it comes to ourselves, we can become complacent and give up easily. However, when we tell ourselves we’ll start tomorrow or we push back our goals, we are really telling ourselves that we can’t be relied on. To combat this, Rachel suggests starting with small, more attainable goals, and building over time. We also need to be honest with ourselves about why we choose to put things off, and take the time to be intentional.
  • The Lie: I Should Be Further Along By Now
    This is a lie I constantly struggle with. In certain areas of my life, I feel like I’m not living up to the mental timeline I’ve created for myself, and it stings. However, when I step outside of myself and take a more objective look, I am reminded of how much I’ve accomplished: I graduated with my Master’s degree while working full-time, I’ve reached new milestones at work, I’ve been blessed with some amazing travel experiences, and so much more. Taking inventory of what you have done and setting goals, rather than time limits, will help guide you in the right direction.
  • The Lie: I Am Defined By My Weight
    Since graduation, I have been working hard to reframe the last 27 years of negative thoughts around body image. It is so easy to tell ourselves (especially as women) that we won’t be happy or won’t have the things we want in life until we reach a certain clothing size or a number on the scale. In truth, it isn’t our weight that makes the difference — it’s the way we treat ourselves and our bodies. What we eat and how we exercise matters, and it’s important to fuel our bodies with the foods that make us feel our best. As Rachel says in this chapter, “The lie I used to believe was that my weight would define me, that it would speak volumes about who I was as a person. Today I believe it’s not your weight that defines you, but the care and consideration you put into your body absolutely does.” You are worthy of love and happiness and success at any weight or dress size, but eating the junk foods that you know will make you sick is an abuse to your body.  Your weight does not define you, but the way you treat yourself does. It can be a struggle, but for the last couple of months, I have focused more on listening to my needs, eating intuitively, and incorporating more movement into my day because it makes me feel betterWhether you’re looking to lose weight, gain weight, or simply feel your best, treating your body with respect and listening to what it needs is always going to benefit you in the long run.

Have any of you read Girl, Wash Your Face? Which chapters stood out to you? What lie are you working to overcome?

 

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Adventures in the Emerald City: Things to Do in Seattle

For those of you who follow my social media accounts, you may have noticed an influx of photos from the Pacific Northwest over the last week! Yes, it’s possible I went a little Instagram-crazy during my time in Washington, but for good reason: the trip was a blastAs a fun way to celebrate graduation from my MBA program, I decided to visit one of my best friends who now lives in Seattle. For four days, we covered a lot of ground (topping 30,000 steps more than once during the trip), and I absolutely loved my time in the Emerald City.

While Seattle is known for its rainy days, we experienced perfect weather (70s and 80s during the day) and barely a cloud in the sky. Visiting Seattle in July was the perfect break from our 90-plus degree Florida summers, and I highly recommend this time of year for your next trip out there.

If you’re planning a trip out to Seattle, check out my sightseeing tips and restaurant suggestions. Oh, and bring comfortable shoes. 🙂

Things to Do in Seattle | Wellness & Wanderlust

What We Did: The Highlights

  • Pike Place Market
    Pike Place Market was the perfect place to kick off my trip to Seattle! This market features a variety of local vendors, merchants, and farm tables, and is a great spot to begin exploring. After checking in at the hotel, I wandered around Pike Place (and yes, I did see a fish get tossed through the air!), picked up a grab-and-go fruit cup from Growing Washington, ate lunch overlooking Puget Sound, and bought a bouquet of dry flowers for my room. I also visited the Gum Wall, a wall covered in chewing gum in Post Alley. As gross as the concept is, I still had to contribute my own piece of gum to the wall. I’ll never look at Orbit Sweet Mint the same way again.
  • Space Needle
    No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the Space Needle. Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, this tower provides breathtaking views of the city (as well as Mount Rainier in the distance). The Space Needle is currently undergoing renovations on its observation deck, which will give visitors an even better view of the city. Tickets to the Space Needle can be bundled with other local attractions, so I highly suggest this option if you plan on sticking around.

Things to Do in Seattle | Wellness & Wanderlust

  • Chihuly Garden and Glass
    I wasn’t all that familiar with the work of Dale Chihuly before my trip to Seattle, but after visiting Chihuly Garden and Glass, I’m officially a fan. Located in Seattle Center next to the Space Needle, Chihuly features colorful glassworks, both inside the glass house and integrated outside in the gardens. The art is beautiful and can be enjoyed by all ages. I will definitely plan a visit to Chihuly’s exhibit in St. Petersburg sometime soon!
  • Museum of Flight
    The Museum of Flight is an aviation museum located at Boeing Field, south of Downtown Seattle, and is absolutely worth a visit. With more than 150 aircraft on display and a NASA-focused exhibit, the Museum of Flight also features flight simulators and a children’s area as well.
  • Volunteer Park
    My friend and I visited Volunteer Park early in the trip, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Climbing the water tower allowed us to take in the beautiful city views at sunset. The park is also home to the Black Sun sculpture, which supposedly inspired Soundgarden’s song Black Hole Sun.

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  • Fremont Troll
    The neighborhood of Fremont is home to some spectacular food and beverage spots, but it also houses the famous Fremont Troll under the bridge. Naturally, I had to snap a photo! The spot is worth a visit, and once you’ve finished your photo op, there are a lot of great places to grab dinner or drinks nearby.
  • Gas Works Park
    Gas Works Park, also located in Fremont, is a former gas plant that offers some of the best views of the Seattle skyline. A DJ played nearby while we enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenery. I highly recommend Gas Works Park to take in the views!
  • Snoqualmie Falls
    We ventured out to Snoqualmie Falls, about 30 minutes outside of Downtown Seattle, where we hiked a steep half mile down to see the waterfalls up close. The view was worth every step. You can park for free in the hotel parking lot and catch some great photos from the top as well.
  • Clipper Ferry to Victoria, BC
    Stay tuned for my recap on our Canadian adventure in an upcoming post!

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Where We Ate

  • Starbucks Reserve Roastery
    Seattle is — of course — known for Starbucks, but have you ever been to one of their Roastery locations? With a full bakery and craft coffee drinks, this is no ordinary Starbucks. For an energy boost, I ordered a coffee flight with chocolate truffle pairings. My favorite? The Peru Chontali with red apple, lemon, and cocoa.
  • Veggie Grill
    After the fact, I learned that Veggie Grill is actually a chain of restaurants, mainly on the West Coast. However, this healthy lunch spot was still a welcome discovery for me! They offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options for those who have food sensitivities, and I absolutely loved their Summer Celebration Salad. If you’ve never tried purple potatoes, this is the place for you!
  • Pike Brewing Company
    Located near Pike Place, Pike Brewing Company offers beer flights, chowder, salads, sandwiches and more pub fare. They were especially accommodating with food allergies and provided fantastic service. I loved my sandwich, but the Wooden Hills Brewery Pear Cider was my all-time favorite.
  • Le Panier
    I’m a sucker for French bakeries, so I couldn’t pass this one up! I tried a vanilla macaron at the Le Panier in Pike Place — absolutely worth a visit.
  • Steepologie
    Steepologie offers teas on tap, so of course I had to sample their iced Crimson Fruits tea, with cranberry, safflower, strawberry, and raspberry. Bring your cup back into the store and get 50% off for your refill! Steepologie also sells loose teas online.
  • The Red Door
    The Red Door, a restaurant in Fremont, offers craft beers and rooftop dining. Their Sesame Chicken Salad was delicious, but the restaurant also features seafood, burgers, sandwiches, and delicious tots.
  • Capitol Cider
    This cider bar in Capitol Hill is actually the largest independent bar of its kind in the country! As someone who prefers cider over beer, I loved their Bad Granny Cherry Cider. For all of you cider lovers, this cider bar has a wide selection you’ll have to try!
  • The Matador
    After Snoqualmie Falls, we headed over to Redmond, where several of our friends from college moved to work for Microsoft. We grabbed dinner at The Matador, a Mexican restaurant with other locations in Washington, Portland, and in the North and Southwest. If you’re near a Matador location, check it out for delicious Mexican food!

What are your suggestions for a trip to Seattle? Share in the comments below!

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Things I’m Loving Lately: Healthy Restaurants in Central Florida

Happy 3rd of July! I’m excited to celebrate tomorrow in the best way I know how: poolside with a burger. 🙂 How are you guys celebrating your 4th?

Now that I’m done with grad school, I’ve been working hard to get my health back on track, and I’m proud to say that I’ve made some great strides. From hitting the gym to eating cleaner (less inflammatory) foods, I feel stronger and healthier than I have in a long time. I completed a round of Whole30 shortly after graduation, and am now working toward a higher goal of balance and eating intuitively. Knowing what works well for me (protein, veggies) versus what doesn’t (gluten, sweeteners, legumes) has changed the way I fill my plate or look at a menu, and I’m excited to continue down this path.

Of course, in keeping up with the theme of balance, I have been especially excited to discover healthier restaurants in the Orlando area that cater to different dietary needs and restrictions. In today’s post, I’ll share some of my favorite finds for all of you local foodies (and visitors, too!). 🙂

Things I'm Loving Lately: Healthy Restaurants in Central Florida
Fresh Kitchen
I discovered Fresh Kitchen in Waterford Lakes after a UCF event last year, and was so impressed with their bowls that I kept coming back for more! Fresh Kitchen’s concept is similar to that of Chipotle: You walk up to the counter, choose your bases, pick your vegetables and proteins, and add sauces as needed. The difference? Their entire menu is gluten free, most of their food is free from dairy and processed sugars, and their meats are antibiotic free. (They also sell paleo cookies and zucchini brownies if you’re looking to splurge!) My favorite menu items are the coconut rice, the pesto chicken, and the broccoli, but they have fresh seasonal veggies and other proteins worth a taste as well. They recently opened a location in Downtown Orlando, and are also located in South Florida and in the Tampa/St. Pete area.

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BOCA
Located on Park Avenue across from the Morse Museum (check out my recap here), BOCA is a farm-to-table restaurant that sources its food locally and offers seasonal menus. I loved their Smoked Cachaca Chicken, but they offer a variety of market specials, including many menu items that are gluten-free or vegetarian. I’m excited to go back for brunch!

Things I'm Loving Lately: Healthy Restaurants in Central Florida

Olea Mediterranean Grill
I’m a big fan of Greek food, so I was especially excited when Olea Mediterranean Grill opened up in Sanford. Much like Fresh Kitchen, Olea offers a variety of options — customers can go up to the counter and choose a pita, lettuce, or grains, and add in their favorite spreads, toppings, and proteins. I’ve had to cut back from hummus, but their lemon herb tahini and their tzatziki are absolutely addictive. Each food item is labeled for those who have food restrictions, and if you’re gluten-free or vegan, there are tons of delicious options for you. Olea has locations in Sanford, Maitland, and Orlando.

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Farm & Haus
In the back corner of the East End Market in Orlando is Farm & Haus, which doubles as a café and meal delivery service. Farm & Haus has a menu that changes regularly, but offers healthy meals created from scratch. Farm & Haus delivers meals near its Audubon Park location in the East End Market, so when I took classes downtown, I often ordered dinner from there! Their café, which serves breakfast and lunch, is also home to Orlando’s best avocado toast (I swear–you can Google it).

Things I'm Loving Lately: Healthy Restaurants in Central Florida

Infusion Tea
Although not exclusively vegetarian, Infusion Tea offers some amazing meatless options, and is known as Orlando’s “organic tea café.” I am absolutely in love with their roasted pear salad, and the space is also great for parties and events. The restaurant also has its own Arts Co-Op inside, where you can pick up some fun gifts, and when you visit on a Saturday, you can also enjoy the College Park Farmers Market outside. If you love tea, try the pineapple bliss tea — I promise you will not be sorry!

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Orlando foodies, what are your favorite healthy options in the area? Sound off in the comments below!

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Advocate Fiercely: 4 Ways to Take Inventory and Showcase Yourself

Last week, I hosted a luncheon at the office on the topic of advocating fiercely for oneself. The presentation was inspired by the ATHENA Next Gen program, an eight-month series for emerging women leaders, which I was honored to join last year. Based around the principles in Martha Mayhood Mertz’s book Becoming Athena, the program not only introduced me to a lot of new friends, but it also really drove my personal development in 2017.

A lot of the program’s leadership principles, like building relationships and giving back, come naturally to me. However, when it comes to advocating for myself, I (and many others out there!) really struggle. I knew this was a common problem in the workplace, so I brought in one of the co-founders of our local ATHENA program to present to our staff over lunch.

After the presentation, I began to think more generally about the ways we can advocate for ourselves, and I realized how important it is for us to take inventory of our own achievements. If we don’t actively keep track of our successes, how can we effectively ask for that raise or promotion? It’s easy to forget just how much we’ve accomplished, and without clear examples in mind, it’s no wonder that many of us clam up when it’s time to negotiate.

So how are you taking inventory of what you’re contributing to the workplace? Check out my list below for four easy ways to track your achievements in time for your next review.

Ways To Advocate For Yourself in the Workplace1. Make a list of your accomplishments each year.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how much of a difference one little list can make. A friend suggested this to me at a time when I was truly struggling to balance grad school and full-time work, when I felt I wasn’t really excelling in either area. As I began to list my work accomplishments from the year, I was able to view myself from an outsider’s perspective, and the process actually gave me an attitude adjustment. Seeing everything I had done on paper took away a lot of the self-doubt I’d been experiencing, and whenever that doubt creeps back in (as it inevitably does), I can look back at that list and remind myself how much of a badass I can be. Having this list in mind can help you craft specific examples in a job interview or when advocating for a raise at work. It can also be a valuable tool when revising your resumé!

2. Create a portfolio of your work.
If you’re in a creative field, having a portfolio can be especially impactful on the job hunt and beyond. Because of my love for writing, I always keep copies of any published articles, press releases, and other written work. This was important for me to share when I was interviewing for my job, as I was coming in right out of college with limited entry-level work experience. Once you’ve landed the position, it’s still important to keep a portfolio of projects you’ve done in order to effectively showcase your work.

3. Keep a project spreadsheet.
Am I the only nerd out there who will make a spreadsheet for just about anything? In this case, I like to keep a spreadsheet to track the projects I’m currently working on, along with deadlines and progress. At the bottom, I have my list of completed projects and what went into each. This helps me stay on track at work, but that “completed” list is always an ego boost and an easy way to see what you’ve accomplished most recently.

4. Start a success journal.
This was a suggestion we received in our luncheon last week, and I absolutely loved it! Our speaker suggested we keep a journal that not only highlights our successes, but also reflects on what worked, what didn’t work, and what we did to create positive outcomes. This can be an especially important tool for evaluating one’s own efforts and finding ways to improve in the future. It also allows us to advocate for ourselves by providing detailed examples of our accomplishments, along with insights into how we created that success.

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What do you do to advocate for yourself? Share in the comments section below!

What’s Your Wellness Personality?

What's Your Wellness Personality?Now that I’ve officially graduated, I’ve been investing a lot more time into myself and my overall health and wellness. From cutting processed “emergency” foods out of my diet to actually using my gym membership, I am finally at a point where my health is no longer on the back burner. As much as I loved grad school, those last few semesters wore me down, and I’m so happy to get my life back!

This time has also allowed for some self reflection. As I mentioned a few posts back, I’ve been taking Gretchen Rubin’s online course on The Four Tendencies, a framework for how people deal with inner and outer expectations. (Those of you who are familiar with the tendencies and know me well won’t be surprised to hear that I’m an Obliger who tips to Upholder!) I think these assessments and frameworks are a great way for us to learn more about ourselves, what motivates us, and how we can better serve ourselves.

Another personality quiz that has really stood out to me comes from Robyn Conley Downs, whose podcast The Feel Good Effect is one of my absolute favorites. Robyn is also the blogger behind Real Food Whole Lifewhich focuses on how to “ditch should and dive into good.” As a researcher, Robyn has created a Wellness Personality Quiz, which breaks down our patterns in how we create healthy lives. According to Robyn, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellness, and it’s important to know ourselves when working to shift our lifestyles and mindsets.

The quiz breaks us down into three types: the Dynamo, the Seeker, and the Cultivator. The Dynamo is a Type A perfectionist who is also self-critical and can stand in his or her own way. The Seeker tends to look outside himself or herself and compare to others, while the Cultivator is starting from ground zero and doesn’t know where to begin on the wellness journey. Taking the quiz taught me that I’m a Dynamo, and provided some helpful podcast episodes, blog entries, and recipes tailored to my type. It was also a gentle reminder that no two journeys are the same, and that it’s important for me to keep that in mind when writing future wellness blogs.

Interested? I highly suggest taking the free quiz and taking advantage of the resources offered. Knowing yourself better will help you achieve your goals in the way that works best for you. 🙂

What’s your wellness personality? Have you used similar frameworks? Share in the comments below! 

Let the Good Times Roll: Things to Do in New Orleans

Things To Do in New OrleansIf you’re wondering why New Orleans keeps popping up on your newsfeed, I promise you’re not alone. It turns out NOLA is the number one travel destination of 2018, and has topped all the major lists for where to visit this year. I was unaware of this when I ventured out to New Orleans this January (an unlikely place for a mother/daughter vacation that turned out to be one of the best yet).

We covered a lot of the French Quarter on this trip, sampling some great food and learning about the diverse New Orleans culture along the way. We visited during Carnival Season, so it was an especially exciting time to see the city as it prepared for Mardi Gras.

If you’re among the many planning to visit New Orleans in the near future, check out my suggested itinerary items below! Please note: This was a mother/daughter trip, so even though we stayed in the French Quarter, we did not spend much time on Bourbon Street (especially after watching the streets get cleaned in the mornings!).

Things to Do in New Orleans

What We Did: The Highlights

  • City Sightseeing Hop On/Hop Off Tour
    Longtime readers of my blog are probably aware that these tours are my favorite way to begin exploring a new city! We hopped on and off the trolley at different popular stops throughout New Orleans, and because the weather was unseasonably cold, we ended up extending to a three-day pass. Our tour guides were excellent and each provided their own unique flavor.
  • Mardi Gras World
    You can’t go to New Orleans and not experience Mardi Gras in some way! At Mardi Gras World (which happened to also be a convenient stop on our bus tour), we watched artists and craftsmen as they built and designed Mardi Gras floats for this year’s parades. We learned about the holiday’s history, as well as the work that goes into building the floats. On our way out, we were invited to try on costumes and have a piece of King Cake. Mardi Gras World is a must-visit for anyone traveling to New Orleans for the first time, and only takes about an hour and a half.
  • Ghost Tour
    Any time I visit a city with a lot of history, I like to take a ghost/cemetery tour. The Haunted History Ghost Tour did not disappoint! The tour gave a lot of background into the city’s history (including Katrina-era), and fully reaffirmed my belief in ghosts!
  • Gallier House and Herman-Grima House
    I grouped these two historic homes together because you can purchase a discounted ticket that grants admission to both houses and they are located within a few blocks of each other. Learn about the families who inhabited these homes, the architectural styles they used, and the historic context.
  • Garden District Walking Tour
    No trip to the Big Easy is complete without a trip to the Garden District, a quieter neighborhood of New Orleans lined with oak trees, historic homes, and adorable shops and cafés. Our hop on/hop off tour included a walking tour of the Garden District, but if you don’t have time for that, it is still a beautiful place to wander.

Things to Do in New Orleans

Where We Ate

  • Café du Monde
    Forget your diet — beignets are a must on any New Orleans trip! We visited the iconic Café du Monde around 7 a.m. on a weekend and managed to arrive before the crowds lined up. A few tricks to get in quickly: Be sure to grab a table as soon as one becomes available. Get there early if possible to avoid the wait; otherwise, you can get your food relatively quickly if you grab it to-go from the window. Know what you want as soon as you sit down — the restaurant is so busy that it’s likely your server will collect the bill as soon as your food arrives. Luckily, the menu is straightforward and limited, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble deciding what to order. My suggestion: a plate of three beignets and a cup of hot chocolate! Make sure you bring cash.
  • The District
    This restaurant in the Garden District was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the Food Network. New Orleans is known for its cuisine, but of all the food we ate on this trip, the sliders and waffle fries at The District were my absolute favorite meal. Grab a donut to go on your way out! To stay in theme with Mardi Gras, we ordered the King Cake donut.
  • Remoulade
    Located in the French Quarter, Remoulade is the more casual, budget-friendly sister restaurant of Arnaud’s. I ordered a delicious lemon marinated grilled chicken, but the restaurant also serves po boys, seafood, burgers, franks and more.
  • Deanie’s Seafood
    I’m not much for seafood, but I did break out of my shell at Deanie’s Seafood, trying out the fried catfish and charbroiled oysters. While I struggled with the texture, I actually really liked the lemon butter flavor! The restaurant also serves a variety of gumbos, salads, sandwiches and other seafood.
  • PJ’s Coffee
    I saw more of this coffee shop than Starbucks!

Have you traveled to NOLA recently? Share your favorite spots in the comments section below!

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5 Months Later: Life Updates

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Well, it’s official: I’m a college graduate (again)! Earlier this month, my graduate school career came to an end as I received my MBA. I’ve learned a lot over the last two years, formed some great friendships, and read more case studies than I’ll ever know what to do with. The past two years have been both rewarding and challenging, and there were times I didn’t think I would get through the program. I’m proud to have proven myself wrong!

People keep asking me what’s next in terms of education and career moves, but honestly, I’m just happy to have some free time to lay out by the pool or hang out with friends without worrying about any upcoming assignments or exams. In January, I talked about my happiness project, but this and my blogging itself fell by the wayside as I combined a full-time semester with my full-time job. Expect to see more content here at Wellness and Wanderlust as I readjust to real life.

Since my last blog post, here are a few snippets of what I’ve been up to:

  • I’m taking Gretchen Rubin’s online Four Tendencies Course, learning more about my Obliger tendency and how I respond to outer expectations. I’m a huge fan of Gretchen’s books and podcast, so I’m really enjoying the course!
  • I started a Whole30 to reestablish some healthier habits in my life post-graduation. I’m on Day 7 and definitely still feeling the hangover effects of cutting out sugar and gluten. Can someone please bring me chocolate?
  • My apartment is finally getting organized. It’s amazing how much everything piled up over the past two years. I’m excited to live like a more functional adult again! If you have any good books or resources for organizing tips, please send them my way.
  • I booked the tickets for my post-graduation vacation and have begun working on the itinerary. Now I just need to dust off my passport!

What has everyone been up to this year?