Chocolate Chai Oatmeal

I know this doesn’t look like anything special. But the flavor, oh-my-goodness the FLAVOR
Chai + Chocolate = Genius.
I got the idea from Chocolate Covered Katie (love her site) but fiddled with the recipe a bit.
I also had a Chocolate Chai Latte at Starbucks not too long ago so you can bet I’ll be making a version of that for ya’ll soon!
Chocolate Chai Oatmeal for One
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
3/4-1 cup boiling water (depending on how you like your oatmeal)
1 1/2 tsp. loose chai mix or 1 chai teabag
Pinch salt
2 tsp. sugar (adjust to your liking/needs…obviously I wouldn’t recommend this EVERY day…but you might want to lower the cocoa powder amount if you do this because the cocoa can be bitter)
2 tsps. cocoa powder
Steep the chai in the boiling water for 10-15 minutes to get some good flavor in there. Remove the tea mix or bag and add the brewed chai to the rolled oats and milk in a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and the sugar. Microwave for approximately 3 1/2 minutes. Let stand in microwave for 2 minutes. Stir in the cocoa powder and top with a few chocolate chips if you have them handy. Enjoy! 
xo
Natalie

Revitalize Part 2

{This week I’m giving you my tried & true, tested, specific ideas for getting out of a slump!}
Tuesday:
Overnight Oats//Solid Breakfast

{overnight oats with banana, sunflower nut butter, and chocolate-covered cacoa nibs for the win!}

A solid breakfast in the morning consistently really helps me when I’m feeling out of sorts. It takes a teeny tiny bit of effort, but the results are so worth it. I actually enjoy the routine of making my overnight oats at night and relishing the fact that I will have a refreshing, healthy breakfast to grab while I read my #HelloMornings. I wake up, start my tea water, and check in with HelloMornings. Then I top my oats, make my tea, and settle in to read scripture for awhile. Such a good way to bring light back to your heart. To get in the habit of making my oats, I made a fridge chart and made them every weekday for a week. Then I did it the next week. Now it’s second nature!
Overnight Oats

In a bowl combine: 
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (gluten-free if need be)
1/2 cup yogurt (I like banana or raspberry)
1/2 cup milk (I’ve been doing coconut milk or almond milk)
Glug of maple syrup
1 tsp. flax seeds
Mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight. It’s that easy, and it uses one measuring cup and one spoon. In the morning, top it up! I usually do banana, chocolate-covered cacao nibs, and sunflower nut butter, but I switch it up sometimes. Try adding jam or dried fruit, fresh berries, or anything else you can come up with! I fiddle the first week with several overnight oats recipes with different ratios, and this was my personal favorite. But feel free to add more or less liquid as you please.
Enjoy!

xo

Natalie

Revitalize Part 1

{good ol’ dr. seuss}
Hey guys? I think this is a really important series I’ve got planned for this week. For you and for me. Lately I’ve been giving some extra attention to my health and well-being to revitalize my spirit. It has been a hard year or two for me, but this year (and summer especially) I got my feet back under me and I’ve started feeling my heart come back to life. It’s scary, difficult, exciting, and wonderful at the same time, and utterly necessary. As Dr. Seuss says, “Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” But I’ve got some tips to share what is working for me!
Monday:
SCRIPTURE//HelloMornings


Starting my day with scripture immediately has changed my morning and my days for the better significantly. Reading God’s word FIRST thing in the morning gives me a sense of purpose and direction for the day, something we are often searching for when we’re ‘slumped.’ My pastor mentioned this idea first, and then I met HelloMornings online. HelloMornings are online accountability groups for morning scripture reading (and exercising and day-planning sometimes, too!). The groups check in daily online and read scripture together, share thoughts, and pray. Even though we are spread across many states, we invest in one another’s lives and encourage and uplift each other. It is a great community and it has profoundly impacted me this summer. I am so stoked that the fall session starts TODAY! I’m afraid all of the fall groups are full, but keep an eye on their blog, hashtag (#hellomornings) and my Twitter (I love our conversations on Twitter, ya’ll!) to follow along. You’re sure to glean some wisdom. And join us in the winter session! You can also try YouVersion. It works for a ton of people but I never really got the hang of it, maybe because I don’t have a tablet or smartphone. I find that starting with something online makes me all the more excited to dig into my actual Bible and physical devotional. In any case, I highly suggest a routine that starts with God’s word first and foremost. It might mean getting up a bit earlier, carving out a bit of quiet time before the morning rush, but I promise you, it’s worth it. When He is speaking into our lives, we’re bound to feel our hearts coming back to life. 
xo
Natalie

He is Fighting For Us

I just needed to share this song with you this morning. Because I’m having a tough morning. You know? I miss my family, I miss my old life, I am second-guessing everything, and honestly trying not to cry so I don’t ruin my makeup before work. Oh right—work. Gotta go do that thing all day. 
“Mighty is the One, who is strong to save, He will make a way….
Our God is fighting for us always, our God is fighting for us all…Our God is fighting for us always, we are not alone, we are not alone.
So I guess I just wanted to tell you, that if you’re having a morning, or week, or month like my morning, that you are not alone. You are not the only one there. God surrounds us with His light, and He is fighting for us. 
ALWAYS. 
Even when we don’t see it, feel it, or really even want to believe it.
Rest in that truth today, my dear friends. 

Monday Remedy

I’ve got a bad case of Monday Malaise. Which I just made up, but it’s real. 
In case you’re with me, here is the remedy:
Solange’s new single is just the right vibe for a day like today… 
{thanks refinery29}
Combine with delicious Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (the make-at-home version): 
Add a walk in the crunchy leaves:
And voila! Feeling a bit better.
Now it’s time to settle in with a Monday night movie. 
Here’s to Tuesday!

Weekend

Weekend Gear: Coffee, sunnies, hat, wrinkly sundress, flip flops! 
After Saturday morning tag sales, it rained non-stop. 
So instead of outdoor adventuring, I enjoyed a low-key weekend around the house. 

Manicure/pedicure essentials…

Pretty pink toesies! (and yellow fingernails)
Hanna Andersson clogs
Supplies for a fun paper project I’m working on. 
Baked some ginger-chocolate chunk scones. Mmm! Sent some over to a dear friend packaged like this. 
Now, it’s into the week!
Let’s begin it beautifully, yeah?
xo!

How to Visit a French Bakery

In light of yesterday’s Parisian post, I just had to share this DARLING video I found! It’s just too much adorableness. My favorite part is the little Citron tart section 🙂 Enjoy!
I’m drinking Tazo Early Gray tea out of my Strawberry mug while wearing a shirt rather like this and a skirt made out of sweatpant material. It feels delicious to cozy up on a slightly chill, gray summer morning instead of sweating my way through another 90-degree day. I’m just not such a fan of the heat. 
I’m thinking: some baking? Some writing? Some antiquing?
Have a great Friday, my loves!
xo!

Good Morning!

Gooooood Morning! It’s Friday! 
Sooo…I’m wondering. How did donuts ever manage to get the “breakfast food” distinction, while just-as-sweet treats like cakes, cookies, etc. were snubbed and called “dessert only”? I’m not sure who decided that. Give me a banana, cheese stick, and piece of chocolate cake for breakfast, and I can power through the day. Granted, I do NOT indulge for breakfast very often, and do not think it is necessarily the best way to start my day, but being an adult does have its advantages. Like eating cake for breakfast.
 I just remembered: this was Kate Spade’s adorable advertising/motto earlier this year! 
Amazing and so much fun. How cute are those outfits?!
Have a great day!