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10 Inspirational Quotes for Growth

April 23, 2020

Is it possible to go through the most difficult time of your life, while simultaneously experiencing a period of immense spiritual and personal growth? Not only are those two things not mutually exclusive, but they are also intrinsically linked. That’s why I’ve put together these inspirational quotes for growth to help you through these trying times.

Shilagh Mirgain, Health Psychologist at the University of Madison, Wisconsin says in relation to trauma and hardship:

“We can shut down emotionally and let ourselves become hardened by it, or we can grow from the experience.” 

It can draw our attention to the ways in which we take certain aspects of our lives for granted. It challenges our very identity and beliefs we’ve formed leaving us to ask questions we never thought we would have to.

When we are willing to ask and explore those questions —who am I? What really matters to me? What do I want my life to be about?— we can begin to rebuild and construct a new foundation, often from the ground up, that is more authentic and based on who we really are and what’s important, rather than on the values others have placed on us.”

Dr. Shilagh Mirgain, The Surprising Benefit of Going Through Difficult Times, 03/21/2017

Have you ever experienced a period of personal growth during or after a tough time? If you feel comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear your story.

10 Inspirational Quotes for Growth

“Wherever life
plants you,
bloom with grace.”
—Unknown

“It is an act of
bravery
to feel your feelings.”
—Gayle Forman

“Ask for what
you want and
be prepared
to get it.”
—Maya Angelou

“There’s a future
version of me
who’s proud I was
strong enough.”
—Khanos

“And here you are
living
despite it all.”
Rupi Kaur

“I know this
transformation
is painful, but you’re not
falling apart;
you’re just falling into
something different,
with a new capacity to
be beautiful.”
—William C. Hannan

“Stop shrinking
yourself to fit places
you’ve outgrown.”
—Unknown

“Keep taking
time for yourself
until you’re
you again.”
—Lalah Delia

“Vulnerability is not
a weakness; it is our
greatest measure
of courage.”
—Brene Brown

“And too often
we forfet we are worthy
of our love too.”
—Dhiman

If you’d like to read a larger selection of quotes, make sure to check out my Pinterest boards for Coping and Growth quotes. I’m always updating it with words I find inspirational, thought-provoking & healing.

For more of my illustrated quotes, see my posts 10 Positive Quotes for Tough Times and 10 MORE Positive Quotes for Tough Times.

Food & Drink Life Whimsical Life & Home

French Lavender Whipped Coffee

April 7, 2020

A Little Background on Whipped (Dalgona) Coffee

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have seen the whipped coffee (Dalgona coffee) trend circulating around the internet and social media. And for good reason! Who doesn’t love coffee, and on top of that, it’s so aesthetically pleasing it’s hard to not jump on board.

Even though this whipped iced coffee drink originated in India, its most recent bout of fame was prompted by a video shared by a South Korean actor. He tried the drink at a cafe and said it reminded him of the Korean “Dalgona” candy, a honeycomb toffee. When the video started circulating, people worked on their own homemade versions. Enter a global pandemic where people are stuck and home and the #dalgonacoffeechallenge was born!

As a coffee lover, I was eager to try the trend and I was not disappointed. The coffee drink is EASY & fun to make and…it actually tastes really good!

Another one of my weaknesses is lavender. I LOVE the scent of lavender and when it’s done right, incorporating it into food. A local cafe I love does a lavender flavored latte, and the flavor combo of coffee, cream and a hint of floral is perfect.

So I thought…why not incorporate a hint of lavender into this nouveau famous beverage?

How to Make Lavender Whipped Coffee

There are two parts to this process: the homemade lavender simple syrup and the Dalgona coffee itself. One key to making an amazing whipped coffee drink is the ingredients. For the instant coffee component, I used Ferrara Instant Espresso Coffee, which I liked. (My friend made the recipe with a lower cost/quality brand and said the flavor was reminiscent of soy sauce! So I tried to avoid that.)

I used dried lavender for my recipe and ordered culinary grade organic French Lavender.

The ratio for the whipped coffee is always 1:1:1. Most sources say for 1 serving you use 2 tablespoons of each ingredient. You can multiply and divide as needed for more or less servings. For the lavender simple syrup, it’s 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar and then 1 tablespoon of lavender.

You can make the syrup first to let it cool while you work on the coffee. I use an electric mixer to whip my coffee, sugar and hot water, which I would definitely recommend. The process takes a while even without doing it by hand, and I like mine to be really light and fluffy! The finished consistency and color of the whipped coffee remind me of the “Frosty” drink from the American fast-food chain Wendy’s.

For the milk component, I like to use unsweetened almond milk but you can use any dairy (or non-dairy) of choice. Keep in mind that both the lavender syrup and the coffee have quite a bit of sugar, so if you are using non-dairy milk I would opt for the unsweetened version.

You can whisk the milk and lavender syrup together in a separate bowl, before adding it to a glass with ice. Spoon your whipped coffee on top and Voila! You have yourself a trendy & delicious whipped coffee with flavors inspired by the South of France.

French Lavender Whipped Coffee

 

Allie Marie Travels is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

I hope you enjoyed your lavender whipped coffee! For more inspiration about bringing the flavors of Provence home with you, check out my post: How to Bring the Southern French Lifestyle Home with You.

If you loved this recipe, don’t forget to PIN for future reference!

Life Quote Art

10 MORE Positive Quotes for Tough Times

April 6, 2020

Right now the world is looking a little bit scary. Maybe you can’t stop watching the news or scrolling through social media threads, wondering how and when you will start to feel normal again. Or if anyone feels the same way that you’re feeling. Enter: more positive quotes for tough times!

Quotes have a way of really putting things in perspective. If you are struggling right now or feeling alone, reading words that encompass exactly what you are going through can really make you feel like someone out there gets it. This can be extremely therapeutic and I’ve relied on positive quotes for help during times where I’ve felt super low.

Another way I cope with anxiety, stress and sorrow is throwing myself into a creative project. That brought me to these illustrations of some of my favorite words. I hope the words and the art bring you comfort and strength during the hardship you are going through!

10 MORE Positive Quotes for Tough Times

“I hope this season of change
takes you to the place where
you need to be, where your
heart will be allowed to grow
and free to feel.”
—Dhiman

“You have been assigned
this mountain so that
you can show others
it can be moved.”
—Mel Robbins

“Kindness
begins with the
understanding that
we all struggle.”
—Charles Glassman

“Even the darkest
of night will end
and the sun will rise.”
—Les Miserables

“I am not what
happened to me,
I am what I choose
to become.”
C.G. Jung

“There is nothing in nature
that blooms all year long,
so don’t expect yourself
to do so either.”
—Anonymous

“May the petals
teach me
the art of
letting go.”
—Xan Oku

“Because no matter how
tough the world becomes,
you must never
run out of sweetness.”
—Bernado Kath

“Just because someone
carries it well doesn’t
mean it isn’t heavy.”
—Anonymous

“Sometimes all that
matters is that you’re
still trying.”
—Wilder

I hope these additional curated positive quotes for tough times bring you some sense of calm and relief during your time of uncertainty, grief or trauma. Trust me when I say you are not alone in how you are feeling. Just know that each day you will adjust a little more, and find those little things to be grateful for. It’s okay to not have it all figured out yet. You are strong and capable and you will get through this!

If you’d like to read a larger selection of quotes, make sure to check out my Pinterest boards for Coping and Growth quotes. I’m always updating it with words I find inspirational, thought-provoking & healing.

Life Provence Whimsical Life & Home

How to Bring the Southern French Lifestyle Home With You

March 30, 2020

So, you’ve visited the South of France and now you can’t imagine living anywhere else? I can relate! From the first time I went to Provence I was enamored with the charming towns, gorgeous nature and that laid back southern French lifestyle. Freshly baked baguettes every day? Oui. 2+ hour lunches? Oui. Rosé? OUI!

I’ve since gone back many times and every time I fall a little bit more in love. But, if you’re like me, you can’t simply pick up and move to the South of France permanently (a girl can dream though, right?). I do however have some ideas to bring that southern French lifestyle home with you so you can feel like you are in Provence no matter where in the world you are.

the baguette, an essential part of french lifestyle

How to Bring the Southern French Lifestyle Home With You

Visit Your Local Farmers Markets

The local daily marches, or markets, are an essential part of the French lifestyle. Instead of heading to the mega grocery store chain and stocking up a week’s worth of food, many French choose to walk to their local outdoor market every day to get fresh and seasonal produce, meat, fish and fresh flowers.

While at home, you can visit your local farmer’s market to have a similar experience. It’s more pleasant than going to a regular supermarket, and you are also supporting local farmers, bakers, and artisans.

fruits at the market, an essential part of french lifestyle

Adapt Your Home Decor to the Southern French Lifestyle

One word that springs to mind when I think about Provence is “color.” The Provençal color palette is sunny and vibrant, with earth tones and accents from the surrounding nature. Bright yellow is the star of the show, along with baby blue, ochre, peach, mint green, lavender, and soft pink.

the color palette of provence, an essential part of french lifestyle
A perfect example of the Provence Pallette

If you’re not ready to totally re-do your house in a “French country theme” there are little accents you can add to bring in these pops of bright. The South of France inspired painters like Monet, Cezanne, and Van Gogh, and adding any of their works to your wall will help bring in this palette. Fresh flowers and indoor plants are also a great way to Frenchify your interior, especially if purchased at a local market!

The Provence interior often has rustic elements like stone walls and exposed beams, which are accented with modern touches. Antique and rustic farmhouse style furniture also adds a Provençal touch, or giving your existing furniture a distressed “shabby chic” makeover. Porcelain and ceramic accents (typically painted in the Provençal palette) are great ways to add color pops. Traditional textiles from the region, including bright table linens are are also a great way to bring in that color. You can pick some up at the market on your next trip to Provence, or buy online. Here are some beautiful options I found below:

french lifestyle table cloth from williams sonoma
french lifestyle table cloth from amazon

Get Really Good at Entertaining

The French love to entertain and gather in the home! When you visit a French person’s house, you will literally want for nothing. A huge element of the French lifestyle is entertaining guests, and they have really mastered it.

One secret to this is preparing things in advance. Do as much prep as you can before your guests arrive so you can really enjoy conversing with them and spend less time in the kitchen while they are over. Set the scene with fresh flowers and simple yet elegant table decor. Light candles. Leave nothing in packaging and serve everything in decorative bowls or platters. Serve French wine and French cheese.

As I will go over below, the typical French meal is a lengthy affair, and you want to make your guests feel welcome to linger over their food and/or drinks. Make sure they always have something to drink if they want by subtly refilling their glass or offering them options. Don’t rush to clear everything immediately and let people pause and relax between courses.

glasses of rose wine, an essential part of french lifestyle

Linger Over Your Meal

Perhaps my favorite thing about dining in the South of France is the way that they really sit, savor and enjoy mealtime. In America, it’s often rushed, with an emphasis on “to go” because we are always so busy. The French lifestyle really about taking it slow and enjoying all aspects of life, and a big part of that for them is cuisine!

The French meal starts with an aperitif, which I suggest adding to your routine immediately. An aperitif is a “before dinner (or lunch) drink.” If you are in the South of France it’s typically Pastis (a licorice-flavored liquor from Marseille), a Kir or Kir Royale (white wine or Champagne mixed with Creme de Cassis Liquor), or fortified sweet wine or vermouth. The aperitif is served with a few small snacks like olives, nuts or chips.

an essential part of french lifestyle

Moving on to the meal, each course is served separately. The meal starts with appetizers, followed by the main course which is typically meat or fish with vegetables. The French, in contrast with how we do it in the US, typically serve the salad course AFTER the main course.

Then comes the cheese course, dessert, coffee, and sometimes an after-dinner drink. Make sure to have plenty of fresh bread, in baguette form. Wine is obviously served throughout.

cheese and baguette, an essential part of french lifestyle

A Few Typical Provençal Appetizers:

  • Tapenade or anchoïade on Toasts
  • Radishes served with salt + butter
  • Ratatouille
  • Charcuterie

A Few Typical Provençal Mains:

  • Bouillabaisse
  • Sea Bass with Vegetables
  • Lamb or Beef Stew

Find more inspiration here!

tapenade, an essential part of french lifestyle
Bouillabaisse, a typical southern french lifestyle meal

Change Your Tunes

Nothing sets the mood like a little bit of French music! Whether you’re throwing a little dinner party, having friends over for aperitif or just hanging out in your Maison, a great French playlist will have you daydreaming of sun-drenched lavender fields and drinking wine alfresco at a cute cafe.

Classics I like to listen to are Edith Piaf, Charles Trenet, Yves Montand, Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens, and Françoise Hardy. For a newer, chill vibe, Carla Bruni is also a great choice.

Here are some of my favorite Spotify playlists that will transport you back to France without leaving your living room:

Pamper Yourself with French Products

The South of France is known for its perfumes and soaps, so one great way to bring the French lifestyle home is to pamper yourselves with French-made products and scents!

An easy and affordable way to make your home life a little more French is to stock up on French soaps. “Savon de Marseille” is known worldwide and can be purchased for as little as 1 euro at the markets in Provence, so I usually stock up and bring a bunch back with me. I love putting them in my bathroom – it adds a nice little touch for guests. You can also buy them online here.

L’Occitane en Provence, while popular in the USA is also very authentically Provençal, with its headquarters in Manosque, France. Their products and scents will bring you right back to the lavender and sunflower fields of the South of France. Durance de Provence is another fragrance company from the South of France that you can incorporate into your decor and lifestyle.

If all else fails, a lavender-scented candle is an easy way to transport yourself to the fields of Provence!

savon de marseille soap, a french lifestyle product you can use at home

Ready to stop dreaming and plan your trip to Provence? Check out my guides for Visiting Provence in Autumn and My Favorite Spots in Provence

Allie Marie Travels is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Don’t forget to PIN this post so you can live your best French life at home!

Life Quote Art

10 Positive Quotes for Tough Times That Really Helped Me

March 27, 2020

Could you use a pick-me-up right about now? How about some positive quotes for tough times? Me too! There’s something magical about reading someone else’s words that seem to get inside your mind and what you need to hear.

Look, life looks really weird right now. The recent worldwide pandemic has caused a lot of turmoil, pain, and uncertainty for everyone, especially those who have been impacted directly by the illness or by losing their job/way of life due to it’s spread. There have been feelings of denial, shock, sadness, and despair and overall just a sense of unease as we adjust to our “new normal.”

And justifiably so. This is what we call trauma. Personally, the past 20 months leading up to this time have been incredibly challenging as I’ve navigated the terminal illness and passing of a parent at a young age (the latter part while I was in the first trimester of my first pregnancy). Before this, my life had been “relatively” normal.

Going through this particular trauma did give me a crash course in “Life Doesn’t Always Go as Planned and Often Isn’t Fair 101”. While it was never a class I’d sign up for voluntarily, I’ve noticed the skills I’ve used and lessons I’ve learned during my grieving process helped prepare me for future traumatic situations, like a global pandemic.

While it may seem like something small, I hope reading through these quotes and taking them in has a positive effect on your psyche and outlook and that you come through this stronger than ever.

10 Positive Quotes That Helped Me Through Tough Times

“Staying positive doesn’t mean you
have to be happy all the time.
It means that even on hard days
you know that there
are better ones coming.”
—Anonymous

“Do not lose hope,
please believe
that there are a thousand
beautiful things waiting for you.
Sunshine comes to all
who feel rain.”
—R.M. Drake

“I’ve learned as time passes,
all the things that you’re afraid of
will come and they will go
and you’ll be alright.”
—Stevie Nicks

“I survived because
the fire inside me
burned brighter than
the fire around me.”
—Joshua Graham

“At the end of the day,
we can endure much more
then we think we can.”
—Frida Kahlo

“Owning our story and
loving ourselves
through that process is
the bravest thing
that we’ll ever do.”
—Brene Brown

“Flowers grow back
even after the
harshest of winters.
You will too.”
—Jennae Cecelia

“The silence after the rain…
how quickly the sky
pulls herself together.”
—April Green

“Perhaps the butterfly is
proof that you can go
through a great deal
of darkness yet still become something
beautiful”
—Beau Taplin

“The universe buries
strange jewels deep within
us all, and then stands back
to see if we can find them.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert

I hope these curated positive quotes for tough times bring you some sense of calm and relief during your time of uncertainty, grief or trauma. Trust me when I say you are not alone in how you are feeling. Just know that each day you will adjust a little more, and find those little things to be grateful for. It’s okay to not have it all figured out yet. You are strong and capable and you will get through this!

If you’d like to read a larger selection of quotes, make sure to check out my Pinterest boards for Coping and Growth quotes. I’m always updating it with words I find inspirational, thought-provoking & healing.

Do quotes help you through tough times? I’d love to hear some of your favorites in the comments! Stay healthy and stay safe friends.

Life Pregnancy Travel

Flying During Pregnancy: 10 Essentials You Need

February 17, 2020

So you got those two pink lines? Congrats! When I found out I was pregnant, I was literally booked on a flight that same day. While I wasn’t feeling the effects quite yet, flying during pregnancy was something I wondered about as I looked ahead to the next 8 months of my life.

Pregnancy If you’re a traveler like me (and I’m guessing you are because you are reading this article), you will probably be wondering about how your traveling style and needs will change, especially relating to flying during pregnancy. I planned to take both short-haul and long-haul flights and didn’t know how my pregnancy would factor into these plans.

Have no fear though! I have put together a list of the 10 essentials you will need for flying while pregnant so you can be the most prepared and most comfortable on your flight with your newly added carry on.

Flying During Pregnancy: 10 Essentials You Need

Comfortable Clothing

This may seem like a no brainer, but even early pregnancy brings on fun symptoms like bloating and extra gas. The last thing you want is tight jeans or uncomfortable pants digging into your waistline! To be honest, I think this is a good protocol even non-pregnant, as I always like being comfortable on the plane.

My standard go-to is a uniform of comfy leggings, flat breathable shoes, and a stretchy or loose-fitting shirt. Also, I would advise dressing in layers. Not only can the temperatures on an airplane fluctuate frequently during the flight, but pregnancy raises your basal body temperature about 0.4 degrees above the normal. Prepare for hot flashes by wearing a tank or short sleeve shirt under a long-sleeved layer in case it does get chilly.

Priority Boarding (And an Aisle Seat!)

Did you know that when you are flying during pregnancy that most airlines will give you priority boarding? Definitely take advantage of this to give yourself extra time to get settled. This really comes in handy when you are flying Southwest Airlines, which has a first-come-first-serve seating policy based on your boarding number.

Which brings me to the second part of this: make sure you get an aisle seat! As your pregnancy progresses, you will start having to pee much more frequently and also get increasingly uncomfortable. Having an aisle seat gives you easy access for when you need to get up and use the restroom or stretch your legs. Getting up and walking frequently is important especially on a long-haul flight because pregnant women are more susceptible to blood clots.

Compression Socks

When you are pregnant, your body is producing all kinds of extra hormones including in increased supply of progesterone. This overload makes your veins swell more than normal, which can be exacerbated by sitting for long periods of time on a flight. This can lead to painful swelling, varicose veins and, even scarier, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots).

Wearing compression socks can help alleviate this risk by putting pressure on your veins so the blood doesn’t pool in your lower legs and feet. Luckily nowadays there are a lot of cute and stylish options for compression socks, so they won’t be a drag to wear. Doing this, combined with taking baby aspirin (see below) before and after the flight can help reduce your risk of a blood clot. Always ask your doctor or midwife before taking any medication.

Travel Pillow

Another symptom of pregnancy (especially in the first trimester)? You are tired…all. the. freaking. time. It takes a lot of metabolic energy to grow a human, so even if you don’t feel like you are doing a lot, your body is working in overtime, It was amazing to me how I could sleep a full 8 hours and still be ready for a mid-day nap. What better time to get in some extra sleep than when you are stuck sitting on a plane?

Of course, a great travel pillow will make this a lot easier for you. You can buy self-inflating pillows which are a lot easier to carry on. This memory foam pillow adjusts so you can use it as a body pillow, back pillow or for neck support.

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated while traveling is always important, but when flying during pregnancy, it’s even more essential. Because your body is working extra hard to grow a baby, your water output is often greater than your water intake. This can lead to dehydration, which is no good for a mom-to-be. Add this to the dry air on the plane and trust me, water will be your best friend during the flight. (Again, make sure you have an aisle seat for frequent potty breaks!)

The best and most eco way to tackle the water situation on your flight (and throughout your travels) is to carry on a stainless steel water bottle that you can fill at the airport. This saves you from buying an overpriced plastic bottle and is more durable (and eco/health-friendly) for reuse. I love my Swell bottle and would definitely recommend investing in one or something like it for your trip.

Snacks & Hard Candies

Pregnancy nausea is a beast. I’ve read some women don’t get morning sickness, and I don’t know any of those women but all I have to say is that they are very lucky! My nausea reared it’s ugly head around 7 weeks and lasted pretty full force to the end of my first trimester.

Even within the second trimester, nausea tends to come back if I let myself get too hungry. Hence, the importance of SNACKS when you’re flying during pregnancy! Depending on what you can tolerate, I’ve found saltine crackers to be a pretty standard no fail to help curb nausea. During the first trimester, I would never leave home without a sleeve of those babies in my purse. Granola bars are also a good go-to and easy to pack, try to get some with protein as the carb/protein combo is helpful in combatting nausea as well and will help you feel more full.

Another thing that helped a lot was hard candies, specifically sour ones. I went through a few bags of Jolly Ranchers (sorry dentist!) as they usually did the trick to at least temporarily make the queasiness subside. I also invested in some Preggo Pop drops, which are a more natural option that also contain essential oils and vitamins.

Sea Bands

Sea Bands are another nausea remedy, working to keep constant pressure on your P6 acupressure point that relieves nausea and vomiting. I will say that these take some getting used to, as at first the bands can feel tight and the plastic knob pressure can be a bit uncomfortable.

However, I did find them to be helpful, at least for a few weeks. I have a theory that I started to develop a tolerance for them so they stopped being as effective, but who knows? Regardless, I would recommend that you give them a try because a lot of people have had success with them, especially when combined with keeping a full stomach and sour or ginger candies.

Eye Drops

Dry eyes are another symptom of pregnancy, brought on by, you guessed it, HORMONES! Your body doesn’t produce as many tears, making your eyes feel scratchy and uncomfortable. My eyes always get dry on an airplane anyway, so having this added change did not help.

You can help alleviate this by bringing along eye drops in your carry-on, whether you wear contact lenses or not. If you do wear contacts, you can always remove them during the flight as well, especially if you plan to sleep on the flight.

Baby Aspirin

My doctor recommended I take baby (low dose) aspirin for 3 days leading up to and 3 days after my long-haul flight to help prevent blood clots. You can find this over the counter in your pharmacy in 81 mg tablets. This helps keep the blood thinner and reduce the risk of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.

My doctor said that this is safe, but please consult your own doctor or midwife before taking any medications, as recommendations can vary.

Unisom (Doxylamine) + B6

During the first trimester, this was my go-to combo for nausea relief, especially at night. Unisom is an over the counter sleep aid that has shown to provide nausea relief when combined with Vitamin B6. It’s very important that you use the Unisom sleep TABLETS and not the gel caps, as the ingredient that is helpful is doxylamine which is not the ingredient for the gel caps.

Generally, the recommended dosage is 25mg by mouth 3 times a day of Vitamin B6, accompanied by 12.5mg of Unisom (half a pill) at night. I found this to be helpful. If you just have trouble sleeping on the plane, aside from any nausea, my doctor did say it was okay to take the Unisom alone.

Again, please consult your own doctor or midwife before taking any medications, as recommendations can vary.

So there you have it, my 10 essentials for flying while pregnant! I hope this helps you prepare for an experience a more comfortable flight, leaving you rested and refreshed to enjoy your destination. Safe travels!

Want to access all my essentials in one place? Check out my Pregnancy Travel Essentials list on Amazon!

Allie Marie Travels is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Also, don’t forget to PIN this post for future reference.