Thursday, June 28, 2018

Q&A With Avon Nutritionist Ashley Koff

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to join Avon and award-winning nutritionist, Ashley Koff, for a morning of power yoga and wellness tips in Charlotte! Y'all already know that living a healthy lifestyle is something I strive to do daily, and although I've learned a lot over time, there are still many things I don't know the answers too. So, given that I had the opportunity to meet with Ashley and Avon, I figured it would be fun to share my Q & A with her here! 

Q. What does an ideal day of eating look like to you?
A. The goal for any day is to give your body what it needs to run better. I may be able to get in oatmeal with walnuts or hemp seeds, a glass of water and an espresso in the morning, some greens with canned wild salmon and beans for lunch, something chocolate with some nuts mid-afternoon and a delicious dinner of sauteed zucchini noodles and plant protein meatballs (or turkey meatballs). And I’ll even have a glass of wine. However, I may even still miss out on key nutrients that help my body run better, so I would add Espira Daily Essentials in the morning and likely enjoy an Espira PM Restore in my water before bed. I also work out a few mornings a week, so I’ll drink an Espira Plant Power Protein shake after exercising to give my body what it needs to repair and recover after my workout.  

Q. Why is dairy bad for you?

A. Everyone seems to be shifting towards consuming almond milk, almond butter… almond everything! But it seems that people generally don’t understand why you should substitute almonds for dairy – they only know it’s the healthier option. Not all dairy is bad, but, alternatively, eating a lot of dairy isn’t great either. 
Dairy is processed to remove fat, which changes how it impacts your body – especially your hormones. As we age, many adults lose the ability to produce some or all of the enzymes needed to break down dairy (Lactase), so they become lactose intolerant. There are some dairy options for them, but many people prefer non-dairy options – and more importantly, dairy isn’t a food group. While we do need carbs, proteins, healthy fats, calcium and vitamin D, there are lots of ways to get those nutrients in without dairy products. 

If you do choose dairy, think of it as an accessory – like jewelry. Enjoy a small amount of better quality dairy. And don’t assume that all dairy-free products are better! Many have loads of sugar, remove key nutrients too (pass on fat-free soy milk, because the fats in soy are Omega-3’s – which are awesome for us) and can contain artificial ingredients or be made from GMO seeds. 

Q. What are the biggest/most common eating mistakes you see your clients make when they first come to you?

A. The biggest mistake is calorie counting instead of learning to nutrient-balance their “pit stops” (meals and snacks). Your body needs a balance of nutrients to run better, not a set number of calories. For example, you could eat 2 apples for 100 calories (and all carbs) but your body will do better with one apple and a serving of nuts (protein and healthy fats) which is closer to 150-200 calories total.  
I recommend nutrient-balancing your “pit stops,” which includes aiming to get in a rainbow of non-starchy vegetables as the colors all do different things in the body and getting them in helps you feel satisfied with less of the other foods.

Q. What is your take on how many meals per day an individual should eat?

A. So many people recommend 6 small meals a day, but I’m noticing nutritionists now are shifting towards 3 meals a day, with four hours in between meals. This follows perfectly from your last question – when you nutrient balance and get in better amounts of those nutrients, you give your body about 3 hours-worth of energy. I recommend pit-stopping for better nutrition about every 3 hours from waking until 3 hours before bed.

Q. What are your thoughts on intermittent fasting?

A. Here's my take:

Q. In terms of fruit, how much fruit should one eat per day? And is there a time they should stop eating by each day?

A. Fruit is nature’s sweets – it is a great choice – if better quality and better quantity are observed. Your better choice is to consume 1 serving of carbohydrate at most pit stops. Depending on your energy and health goals you may do fine with 2 servings at one or two of your pit stops early in the day. That means that fruit could be your carb choice, but that also means that you’ll want to skip other carbs at the same time (milk in your coffee, toast, grains, etc.). Also aim for a variety of colors – so use fruits to help you get in your daily rainbow.

Q. What are some tips for the girl on the go? Eating healthy while traveling or constantly on the run is such a big struggle for so many women, I’d love to know how you advise clients when eating out or on vacation! 

A. Bring along your supplements to help you prevent any nutrition gaps, because you don’t know what you will have available. Check out menus for local destinations so you do have a better idea and BYOB – bring your own better (snacks) so that you have some options you can count on. I like having Espira Plant Power Protein packets with me so I can easily shake up a better snack. This is a HUGE topic, so I also have a webinar on it, available here: 

Q. What is your favorite Espira product if you had to pick just one?

A. That’s like picking a favorite child!!! If I had to pick two, I would say the Glow System (AM protect and PM restore) as well as the Espira Plant Power Protein

Q. What are you top-5 favorite healthy snacks for someone on the go? 

A. A mint case filled with nuts; a nutrient balanced bar (I like Perfect Foods bars); a packet of Espira Plant Power Protein; a water bottle filled with water; wild salmon jerky; 1 oz of dark chocolate.

Q. What's the one food you tell your clients to stop eating? 

A. Anything made with artificial colors and sweeteners – and to be clear when I say “stop” I mean that I want them to not have it regularly. Having anything every once in a while doesn’t matter. 


*In partnership with Avon. All opinions are my own.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Asymmetric Ruffled Swimsuit

Happy Friday! Yesterday marked the first official day of summer and I couldn't be more excited! Summer for me means lots of time spent on the lake, at the pool, grilling out, going to concerts, happy hour on the roof, baseball games and so much more. Despite the heat, it's my favorite season and represents the beginning of many new fun filled memories. So what better time than to share this $57 swimsuit I've been living in!? We initially shot these pictures for a campaign I am working on, so I wasn't planning on doing a full blog post. But honestly, it's just too cute not to share! 

I love a good swimmie that stands out, and this one is just that. The ruffle detailing is hard to miss! It's feminine, it's flirty, but it's also classy. I don't know why swimsuit brands are moving towards the extremely cheeky or "less is more" mentality, but it ain't workin' for me haha. I don't like sitting at the pool feeling self conscious about what I have on, or embarrassed that the 14 year old next to me is staring at my cheeks. Just keeping it real, here! This one has moderate coverage, fits true to size (I'm wearing a size 6), has adjustable straps, and the material the suit is made out of is heaven! It's actually a great quality swimsuit at a really affordable price. And if you're a "so nice, I bought it twice" type of gal, it comes in black and white too! 

That's all for today, friends! We don't have plans this weekend but I have a ton of stuff around the house I need to do. I'm sure we'll be spending some time at the pool as well! Stay cool.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Pink Ruffle Dress

I've never met a shade of pink I didn't love! Funny story, I love all things bright and colorful. If you've been following me for awhile now, that probably comes as no surprise. But my mom on the other hand, loves all things black and white! I'm not kidding when I say her entire closet is black and white. Interesting how that works out, huh? Anyway, I wore this dress to a rehearsal dinner for a girlfriend of mine in Charleston recently! If I had not have been in the wedding, I would have opted to wear it as a "guest of the wedding" dress because it's perfect for that! I love it's simplicity, classiness, and the subtle ruffle detailing that makes it feminine yet flirty. Plus, this neckline is always flattering no matter who you are! I've never seen it look bad on anyone. 

Phew, I just got back home from Palm Beach and this girl is exhausted, ya'll! We've been on the road traveling pretty much nonstop since our honeymoon in January and while I absolutely love exploring new places, (and am beyond grateful for the countless opportunities this job has given me in terms of travel this year) I'm ready to be home for a little while! That said, I'm only home for 15 days before the next trip, haha! The hubs is joining me on this next one, which makes it extra special extra sweet, because he's my favorite human to travel with. There's just something about making those new memories with him that will never dim my fire!


Monday, June 11, 2018

Charleston Travel Guide: 13 Things To Do and See

Happy Monday, babes! We have spent so much time in Charleston over the last few years. From vacations, to friends weddings, and then our own wedding this past year, it seems like we are in Charleston at last once a quarter and I'm not complaining about that one bit. It is hands down, my favorite place to visit and vacation. It's a super easy drive from Charlotte, and you can almost always bet on a hot sunny day there. Plus, it's impossible to eat a bad meal in Charleston - and we all know Shane and I love a good date night out. With all our travel to the holy city, I realized I've never actually done a post on our favorite things to do there. So today, I'm giving you all the deets on our favorite places to stay, eat, and play. Let's get started!


Renaissance Charleston Historic District // This is where we stay 9 times out of 10 (unless it's sold out, or the rates are crazy). Nestled in the middle of downtown, the location couldn't be more perfect for exploring on foot! It's walking distance from some of the best bars and restaurants Charleston has to offer and is located just a half block off of Kings Street (where all the shopping is located). It's an older hotel, however they recently redid the entire inside of it and have given it a more modern flare! We like this hotel so much so that we booked our wedding block here. 

Belmond Charleston Place // If you're looking for that old southern charm and you're okay with splurging a little, this is one of the nicest hotels Charleston has to offer. Like the previously mentioned hotel, this one is also located downtown in the historic district and within walking distance of all the main attractions. This hotel embodies old world charm while feeling super luxurious, and it's dog friendly! PS: Get the room service for breakfast, it's worth it!


Rise Coffee Bar // I'm a big time coffee gal. I have a cup of Joe in the room, and then my first stop after getting ready is always at Rise for an iced Caramel Latte! It's within walking distance of Renaissance, located right downtown inside of the Restoration Hotel (they have their own storefront from the road). It's cute, quaint, and the service is always good. 

Hominy Grill // This is a Charleston favorite and a huge attraction amongst visitors for it's popularity on several TV shows. I've only had breakfast/brunch here, but it's delicious! It's always busy, but the vibe is very relaxed and casual. Like lots of restaurants in Charleston, it's located in an old home and serves up all the low country classics. This is definitely a "cheat day" spot!

Millers All Day // We tried this out for brunch on our most recent visit and loved it! They started the restaurant based around the notion that you can have brunch at any hour - which is right up our alley because we aren't early risers on the weekends! The decor is super cute, definitely Instagramable and the food measured up as well! We tried a slew of things on the menu, but the waffle took the cake. The coffee here is also really good! 

The Macintosh // This is actually where we held our rehearsal dinner, and I don't know if I've ever had a better meal in my life! We've had both brunch and dinner here, but I recommend it most for dinner. They change their menu seasonally, but if you're around when the Deckle is on the menu - get it! It's life changing. I also really like that they use their southern roots as inspiration for their menu daily!

Hanks Seafood // I can't remember a trip to Charleston without a visit to Hanks. It's ranked as the best seafood restaurant in Charleston, and I couldn't agree more. We don't cook seafood a lot at home, so anytime we are in Charleston I splurge on the Roast Grouper with spinach and goat cheese risotto here. I've never had a better Grouper dish anywhere else, and it's consistently delicious. 

Elis Table // Charleston is known for their shrimp and grits, and Eli's is the place to go if you want the real deal. They recently won best shrimp and grits of Charleston, and again - totally agree with that accolade! They also used to have an amazing Maitre D' named Raymond, however during our most recent visit we were told he now works at Stars Rooftop (if you're there, ask for him - he hooks it up!). I do want to note that our last go around of service at Eli's was sub par, the food was still fantastic (also highly recommend the shrimp and sweet potato pancakes appetizer), but for whatever reason the service was extremely slow. 


Shopping // There are tons of options for shopping on Kings Street! You'll find popular big box stores like Sephora, Apple and H&M mixed in between local boutiques and art shops that have hand made jewelry, art work, candles etc. The Market is also a great place to pick up handmade Charleston goods! It's fun to walk around at and sight see nonetheless.

Folly Beach // This is our favorite activity in Charleston. Folly is a small little beach town about a 20-30 min (depending on traffic) ride from the downtown area. We love grabbing a few towels and heading there for a solid beach day. The town itself also has great little beach bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops as well. Our favorite beach bar to hang at is on the backside of the Tides hotel called BLU. If you're in the mood for low key Mexican, give Taco Boy a try! The Mexican street corn is what dreams are made of. 

Boat Rental or Sunset Sail // We've done this a couple times over holiday weekends and it's a blast! There are tons of marinas and harbors around the city that you can rent a boat from, or that offer sunset sails if you're not in the mood to be the captain! There are tons of dolphins that swim in the channels so you're likely to see them if you decide to go this route! We've seen them every time we've been out. 

Plantation Tour // There is so much history around Charleston, especially in the plantation space. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens & Middleton Plantation both offer tours of the grounds and gardens. Magnolia was recently named America's most beautiful garden by Travel + Leisure magazine! It's also really interesting to hear about the history behind it's location through the American Revolution and Civil War. If you're a history buff, this ones for you! We've attended a wedding there, as well as toured the property and it truly is stunning! Just make sure to bring bug spray. Both properties are super close to each other, so you could easily see both in one day - however, it is about a 25 minute drive from downtown Charleston.

Carriage Ride // Experience downtown Charleston by horse drawn carriage! We recommended doing this to everyone at our wedding who had not been to Charleston before. It gives you the opportunity to see incredible historic homes (and mansions), gardens, architecture, and history through a 1 hour guided tour. Tickets start at $16 with the option to select a private tour for $150. 

Rooftops // Check out any of Charlestons rooftops for happy hour and a view! We love doing this before dinner to watch the sunset and kick start a fun evening out. 

Phewww, that was a lot and it's only a tiny glimpse into all the city has to offer! We still have so many restaurants, coffee shops and bars on our Charleston bucket list to try - so I will update this post as we give those a go. I'd love to hear what your favorites are in the comments below!


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

High-Waisted Utility Shorts

 If you asked me for my top five favorite buys this summer so far, this outfit would be in it. I've worn it to several different things, and I'm sure I'll be wearing it again before the warm weather is all said and done! It's affordable, it looks great on just about everyone, and it's perfect for every occasion. These photos were taken during out Charleston trip, where I ended up wearing it to dinner on the patio at Eli's table! Side note, wear bug spray if you're sitting on the patio there - it's beautiful and I love being outside, but holy mosquito's! Anyway, these shorts are currently on sale for under $40, and come in a striped option as well. I am wearing a small! They are made out of a stretchy cotton material, so they almost feel like you're wearing a better quality version of your "around the house" jogger shorts. I have no idea if that's the right term to use, but you know what I mean! The kind you typically wouldn't leave the house in, haha. At our house, we call those our "comfy" clothes.

We just got home from Turks & Caicos and I was so sad to leave there! The water was so beautiful and we had amazing weather. I'll be doing a full round up of our stay in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I'll be dreaming about our next destination! Yes, there's a next destination, haha. Tour de beaches is in full force this summer!



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