For a long time it’s been a dream of mine to go to the Bahamas, rent a gorgeous house on the water, and just relax. Take in the local sites, eat good food, and have a happy, healthy vacay.

Recently, two of my favorite Instagramers, A Bikini A Day‘s founders Devin Brugman and Natasha Oakley, gave me a new destination to dream of. No, I don’t know them, and this isn’t a promoted post, I just wanted to share some cool people and some amazing pics with you.

These two women founded A Bikini A Day, and have built quite an influential space in the swimsuit world. I only write all of this because I’m such a fan of women doing what they love, and working hard for it. And also women who support each other, of course! Seeing their Insta’s is a constant reminder that we can all do what we love someday.

Anyway, according to their captions, they visited Staniel Cay in the Bahamas, and now I absolutely have to go. Here are some of their most breathtaking shots from the trip. I have to be honest, they were one of the few things that kept me going during the draining last week.

Remember, work hard and your dreams can be a reality! Here’s proof.



Mermaid life 💙 @_bahamasgirl_ @tashoakley Photo by @franceduque #bahamas

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This weeks garage ⛵️ @stanielrents

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What are your coordinates? ❤️ #bahamas @coordinatescollection

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Story time :) @stanielrents #abikiniadaylife #sharks

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Moving in, cool with you guys @stanielrents ? :) 💙 #bahamas

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This is my idea of perfect 💙 #bahamas

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Chillin like a villain 🌴 #Bahamas

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Hanging out with the locals 🐽 @stanielrents @abikiniaday #abikiniadaylife

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Spending a day in the life of a SHARK! Thanks for showing me around guys!

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I was actually more scared of this guy than the sharks, hence the stick I’m using to feed him!! #iguanaisland

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Look who I found!! @devinbrugman

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Rainbows everyday 🌈 @stanielrents #stanielcay

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Under the sea 🎶🐠 @elenakalis

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Floating with @_bahamasgirl_ 💕

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Just another day with my baby @martinmedus (📷 by @franceduque)

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Underwater piggy back rides with @tashoakley 💙 @stanielrents

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At Thunderbolt cave in Staniel Cay, Exumas with @stanielrents @franceduque @tashoakley

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If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m all about keeping things as simple as possible. It’s easier to keep life uncluttered, and allow me to spend time on my other projects.

So, when I found out the mimosa had a less fizzy, more potent counterpart, I was SOLD!

The first time I ever had a screwdriver, my Uncle Steve — who is one of the best bartenders ever — requested one for me while we were at the bar in Ouray, Colorado.

It was delicious, and I’ve been drinking them ever since. To make it, you just need orange juice and vodka. Seriously, that’s it! I half and half mine, but feel free to make your own proportions.

So, let’s raise our glasses and toast to Tuesday, because we still have a great week ahead of us!

P.S. I found this picture along with lots of other 2-ingredient drinks HERE.

black beans spanish brown rice

Whenever I’m trying to eat healthy, I have a few staples that help me stay on track. Eggs and apples are obvious ones, but I recently came up with this recipe for black beans and Spanish brown rice.

Now, if you’re looking for the most authentic tasting Spanish rice, this isn’t it. But, I can say that everyone who has tried it has loved it! It can also be a versatile base for other vegetarian things like tacos and burgers (see the Simplicity section below).

Also, I used dried black beans for my recipe, but you can just as easily use a can of black beans, and since that’s what most people use, I’ll write the recipe using a can.

That said, I’m a big fan of buying bags of dried beans and legumes, soaking them while I’m at work, then cooking them when I get home. Also, it’s extremely cost effective since a bag of black beans is about $1 and will make 3-4 cans worth. Also, then I just always have food on-hand since I try not to stock my cupboard too much ahead of time.




black beans spanish brown rice 2

What You Need:

One can black beans

3 roma tomatoes (chopped)/can of diced tomatoes

Small handful copped cilantro (optional)

1 can tomato sauce (not paste, not pasta sauce, just tomato sauce)

1/2 diced yellow onion (optional)

1/2 cup brown rice

1/2 TBSP chili powder

1 TBSP garlic salt (or 1/2 salt and 1/2 garlic powder)

1/2 TBSP oregano

1 tsp black pepper

1 cup vegetable broth (optional – I didn’t use it in the photo above, and it still tasted fine)


What You Do:

Cook your brown rice according to the instructions (I just cooked my beans for 2 hours, then when they were near tender, I added the brown rice and cooked for another 30 minutes, which is why mine have a darker color than usual)

While it’s cooking (before the rice is done), add the tomatoes, onions, tomato paste, chili powder, garlic salt, oregano, black pepper, and vegetable broth. Continue cooking until the rice is tender

Add the beans and cilantro and cook together for a few minutes, until the beans are warm (If you used dried beans, then just add cilantro and serve!)


Messiness – This is not messy at all! The measurements don’t need to be exact, so feel free to measure them over the pot to cut down on even more mess.

Simplicity – What isn’t there to love about a recipe that you can leave on the stove while you do something else and it takes care of itself? That’s exactly how easy this is. And it’s easy to make other things with it. For example, use this as the base for some veggie tacos, or shape the mixture, roll it in bread crumbs, and quickly bake for super easy veggie burger patties.

Budget – This is my favorite part of this recipe! Like I mentioned, I use a bag of dried beans, and have a bag of brown rice, so the only things I needed to buy were tomato paste and tomatoes, both of which totaled under $2 (I found 6 fresh roma tomatoes for $1 at Fresh and Easy). Not only is it cheap to make, but it makes a lot! This recipe is enough to feed 2-4 people, or to have that many premade meals for your week.

Delicious Factor - It’s great! Of course, true Spanish rice is made with white rice, so this definitely tastes healthier, but it doesn’t take away from the final product at all.

I made a great photo by PhotoEditor Pro!(3) I made a great photo by PhotoEditor Pro!

I love Summer! I love so many things about it, but there’s nothing quite like Autumn.

Mostly because it’s cool enough for me to cook some of my favorite foods again! The other day, I went to Trader Joe’s, and saw a beautiful spaghetti squash that was just waiting to be stuffed and roasted… so that’s what I did.

Now, it’s still pretty hot in the city, so I decided to combine one of my favorite refreshing dishes, a southwest salad, and stuff the spaghetti squash with it!

If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash yet, I can’t encourage you enough to give it a go! Not only is it amazing because it takes on whatever flavors you want, but it’s also pretty filling, and you will feel like you’re eating pasta!

Healthy and cheap! We all win!

However, this time there’s a little twist… I made two different recipes. Here’s what happened:

My friend and I do a podcast every Wednesday night. And again, we decided it was too hot to make the squash, so we just made the salad. Today, I only had enough left to stuff one half of the squash, so I improvised on the other half!

(CLICK HERE for the southwest salad recipe)

I made a great photo by PhotoEditor Pro!(2)

What You Need (for southwest stuffed):

1 recipe of southwest salad

1 TBSP olive oil

1/2 TBSP garlic salt

What You Do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (to be honest, I just used my toaster oven. It creates so much less heat! But either will work)

Lightly coat exposed inner sides of the squash with olive oil (you may not need the entire 1 TBSP)

Put the unstuffed squash halves in the oven for 20 minutes

Add the southwest salad, along with some pepperjack, mozarella, or any other cheese you want, and cook for another 20-30 minutes

Using a fork, pull the spaghetti squash flesh out in spaghetti-like strings


I made a great photo by PhotoEditor Pro!(1)


What You Need (spicy cheesy spaghetti squash):

shredded pepperjack cheese

shredded mozarella cheese

1 TBSP chili pepper

1 TBSP dried basil (you can use fresh if you want)

1 TBSP dried oregano

1 tsp crushed dried red peppers

1 TBSP garlic salt (or salt and garlic powder… or just fresh minced garlic if you have it!)

1 TBSP olive oil

What You Do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Lightly coat exposed inner sides of the squash with olive oil (you may not need the entire 1 TBSP)

Sprinkle all of your spices on the exposed inner sides of the squash

Put the squash halves in the oven for 40-50 minutes

Using a fork, pull the spaghetti squash flesh out in spaghetti-like strings

Messiness – If you don’t have a good knife, then dealing with any squash is difficult. That said, I have a knife so dull that it fell right onto my foot, blade-down, and it didn’t even draw blood. And I still make spaghetti squash as often as I can.

Simplicity – SUPER simple. If you choose the southwest stuffed version, then that entire salad requires almost only canned ingredients, and the squash is just cutting, cleaning out, and baking. The other version only requires spices you probably already have. Easy peasy.

Budget – This time of year, you can find a good sized squash for anywhere between $1-3. Which is as much as a box of pasta, only way better for you. Also, the rest is just canned stuff that you may already have in your home.

Delicious Factor - I love this so much! It combines the flavors of summer with my favorite fall/winter vegetable. Also, who doesn’t love a healthier version of spaghetti?!

I often find that at times, out of curiosity comes judgement.

As a journalist, it’s my natural inclination to find out as much as possible about a person in as little time as possible. In doing this though, it’s sometimes hard to reserve judgement when it’s someone who is vastly different than I am.

I’ve found that this isn’t unusual and we all tend to do it here and there.

For example, you’re sitting down for drinks with a Hollywood starlet, who happens to still be a human being whether you like it or not. She’s just gotten out of rehab, but is sitting there drinking a gin and tonic. It’s very easy to assume that she likely has nothing of value to say, or that it will just be her putting on airs, and you know what, that may be the case. But why not reserve judgement, and just be curious about her life. What got her to this point? How does she really feel when she sees stories about herself in the tabloids? What’s her greatest fear (this question can tell you A LOT about a person)?

Now, not everyone is a troubled celeb, but everyone is an individual, with an individual personality and internal conflicts.

If you choose to be curious over judgmental, you’ll learn a lot about someone, but more importantly it will teach you to view everyone and everything the same. We’re all on an even playing field when it comes to being human, so we should treat each other like it.

Challenge yourself to ask lots of questions today, and to not judge any of the answers you find. You can ask other people, but make sure some of your inquiries are directed inward. If it’s hard to wake up in the morning, then why? Why is your after-work routine what it is? Are you a better person than you were yesterday?

My mom always told us, “Girls, when you get married, make sure it’s to a man who can say he’s sorry.”

That’s not to say she wanted us with complete screwups who were constantly apologizing for things, but there was a lot of veiled wisdom hidden in her words. Okay fine, maybe it wasn’t that veiled. The point is that “sorry” is a very powerful word.

When it comes to the business world, and actually almost any area of life, you’ll find that people don’t say ‘sorry’ for a couple reasons.

The first is that it admits fault, which a person who is trying to exert power can never admit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a boss, sister, partner, or child, when someone knows they are wrong, but says ‘sorry’ in every other way except actually saying the word ‘sorry’ (or ‘I apologize’) it’s because they don’t want to admit weakness, which in itself is a weakness.

The second thing that happens when a person won’t apologize is that by omitting weakness, it makes them feel more powerful. An intuitive person can see right through this and realize it for what it is: weakness masquerading as power.

However, I have found that in most instances when an apology is deemed necessary, it actually isn’t. A LOT of the time, friction is caused by a breakdown in communication, in which case no one is at fault, and no one needs to exert power, therefore belittling the other person.

For example, you and your partner are having dinner at home later. You tell he/she to pick up some butter. Well, your recipe for chocolate chip cookies called for unsalted butter and he/she brought salted butter. You’re not sure how this happened because you assumed EVERYONE knew that unsalted butter was what the recipe called for (duh!), and your partner literally just found out that there are two different types of butter.

Should you apologize because you didn’t specify? Or should he/she apologize for not knowing any better, or not asking?

No. No one owes anyone an apology. It’s just a breakdown in communication, and can be used as a moment to learn how to communicate better with each other, not to try and break each other down.

And in the end, your cookies may be a little saltier than you’d planned, but who cares?! You’re eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!

“Sorry” is definitely a powerful word, and because of that, we need to really ask ourselves when it’s a necessary one to use. Do you need an apology, or a better understanding of the situation moving forward?


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