Elevated Living: Preparing Ahead

Recently, one of my favorite pages on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/foodrenegade posed the question, “What are your time saving cooking secrets?” My main secret: Prepare Ahead!

Not only does it save you time; it saves you money too!

1) Cooking- Season Your Oil:

Olive oil; or any oil for that matter, is best seasoned, because it infuses into the food faster. In our home, we generally use grapeseed oil because it has a higher smoke point, and is relatively flavorless. Regardless, whatever I buy, I season it myself. I like to add crushed red pepper, maybe throw a bay leaf in, thyme- add whatever you like. For the most part, I won’t add salt or black pepper. I like to add freshly ground pepper as I cook, and salt to taste when necessary.

In addition, I’ve used seasoned oil when making popcorn, and I get nothing but compliments on the savory flavors it brings out!!! Tip: Use the same pan to melt your butter. The toasted seasonings post popcorn will help double up on the flavor.

Grapeseed oil before & after:

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2) Drinks- Save with Smoothies:

I love, love, love smoothies! That being said, it’s only recently that juicing, juices, and smoothies are becoming easier to find in Boston. Even then, when you do find them, they can add up quickly. To help with unintentional and frivolous spending- albeit for health purposes, I started making my own smoothies at home. You can use anything that will blend, so don’t think you need some fancy pricey blender to be healthy!

I love that I can buy local, farm fresh, and/or organic, straight from the farmer’s markets etc. and even use produce that is ‘extra ripe’ if you will 🙂 You also get to custom your drinks to your particular tastes, and add-ins (seeds, oils, etc.) won’t cost extra!

I make enough to fill my 32 oz container (see photo below), and then divvy it up into smaller 8oz mason jars and freeze them the night before. This way, they defrost throughout the day, and I don’t have to stress if I they’re unrefrigerated in my purse for a bit. (Keep them wrapped in a towel though!) Also, I’ve calculated that making enough for a 32oz bottle can be as little as $2.19 per 8oz serving depending on what you use!!!

Smoothies before & after with flax seed:

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3) Meals- Manage Yourself:

The overall theme is this: make enough to divide into individual servings throughout the week.

On Sunday, chop enough romaine for 2-3 servings. Keep in an individual container. Make enough tuna salad (or whatever you like obviously!) for 2-3 servings and keep it in a separate container (so it doesn’t wilt the lettuce). Morning of, combine add toppings and go; instead of having to prepare an entire lunch.

I do this with oatmeal too. Make enough servings that each morning is a simple, scoop, microwave, and add toppings!

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Whatever plan of action you take, the point is to plan. Make life EASIER on yourself, by giving yourself time and preparing ahead. Don’t be the person that grabs an overpriced coffee and donut. Those are treats, not a way of life. Save your time, save your money, and invest in yourself. You deserve it. Furthermore, it will give you time to Elevate Your Everyday and enjoy all that is around you.

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

Elevated Living: We’re all going Back-To-School!

The transition from Summer to Fall must be my favorite time of year. I love the long summer days, ending in cool summer nights. I love that the beaches are still empty while everyone works their 9-5’s; but the water is still warm enough for a dip. I love gearing up for the taste of pumpkin beer, coffee and everything associated with that wonderful gourd. Most of all, I love this wonderful opportunity for a semi-annual “Summer-Fall-Clean.”

Most of us are used to the term, “Spring Cleaning,” where you air everything out, mind, body, soul and house from the hardened days of winter. However, as a professional organizational and lifestyle consultant, I find it necessary that we do this more than once a year. The transition from Summer to Fall provides another perfect opportunity.

Fall is often associated with “Back-To-School” for kids. However, even as an adult, this is a wonderful time to update your organizational zones, office areas and overall house necessities.

Home Decor: Although marketed mostly to college students and dorms, do not underestimate the sales and general buzz around department stores for home decor. Everything from bedding, posters, frames, candles, closet organization catering to every room in the house is on sale right now. Stores are trying to make room for new inventory and most of what you see will be considered, “out of season.”

So if what you want isn’t on sale- Make An Offer! Never be afraid to make offers- yes- even in department stores! You never know where discounts are if you don’t ask! Also keep in mind that a lot of coupons don’t expire- even if they say they do! Many stores, like Bed Bath and Beyond, will still honor them. I have coupons from January 2011 that are still valid!!!

 

Office Areas: It’s best to just sign up for the points card: as long as there’s no credit, APR, etc. and it’s strictly a point system, associated with these (and other) stores. I have a specific email that I use when I sign up for things, (whether it’s stores or trying to win something), my very own ‘spam’ email address. This way all promotions and contact information for me operates through this account only.

That being said, Staples, Office Max, etc. will offer a LOT of online sales and promotions via email!  Pair that with what’s being offered for “Back To School Days” and you are able to stock up on basics* with the most bang for your buck. *How everyone loses pens is beyond me, but we all do 🙂 Staples, tape, file folders, paperclips, post-its and sharpies are some other handy dandy organizational staples among others.

 

Donations: As you go through your home, apartment, office area or otherwise stocking up and storing for fall, keep an eye out for what no longer serves a purpose for you. Marking the transitional change in the seasons, maybe you have clothes that you no longer wear. Or perhaps you have extra office/school supplies that can be donated.

Consider it your own personal Fall Harvest, bounty that can be shared with others. What a great way to enter into the upcoming *holiday* season of thanks to realize how fortunate you are and give to others.

 

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate Your Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber

Elevated Living: A Clean Slate

When working with clients in “Clutter Clearing,” and other forms of organizing, I’m often asked, “How Do I Let Go?” So I pose the question; What Would Happen If It Was All Gone?

It’s an opportunity to reflect, to see where our values and priorities are.  To revitalize our value system and place emphasis on loved ones from loved things. A chance to revisit our life goals, our dreams of achievement. To learn how to incorporate items that support our dreams into our ‘Everyday.’

I often start from the ground up, a tabula rasa or ‘clean slate,’ with clients. It increases the positive perspective to  ADD TO  their life not TAKE AWAY FROM.

Clutter Clearing is not about, ‘what does it matter anyways’ and becoming overwhelmed with a sense of loss. Instead, shift your focus to surround yourself with only that (and those) which truly DO matter. The things we give meaning to, are just that, things. You are physicalizing an emotional manifestation, an attachment to something, whereby said item does not actually define the event, memory, or meaning to you.

Taking control and reigning in your Personal Power, in turn empowers YOU. Therefore, understanding that your memories create your relationship and attachment to a particular item is part of the process.

A large factor in clutter clearing is less is more thereby opening up your energy and its flow for endless opportunities and possibility abound. So as you begin your spring cleaning, remain OPEN. Whether, the transition is moving in with a partner, a seasonal, or professional change, know that anything and everything is supposed to be an uplifting addition. Remember how fortunate, lucky and blessed you are. This is how I start with my clients in efforts they can continue to stay, “Elevated Everyday.”

Until then, keep finding ways to “Elevate The Everyday”

XO

*DivAmber

Facebook: Elevated Living   Twitter: @DivAmber   Instagram: @DivAmber