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Valentine Breakfast In Bed

Valentine's Day is around the corner, and regardless of your relationship status, it's a fun reason to celebrate all things beautiful. I don't often have breakfast in bed, but what better way to celebrate the holiday than with a batch of fluffy, heart-shaped, coconut waffles?? I'm a fan of coconut anything, and these waffles are perfectly sweet and simple! To create the heart shape, I use a special waffle iron (find a similar one here and another version on sale here). I think you'll enjoy this fun and delicious way to celebrate whether you're cooking for someone else or treating yourself!
Toasted Coconut Waffles
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
Dash salt
3 eggs
1 can (13.66 ounces) coconut milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
3/4 cup flaked coconut

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, coconut milk, butter and extract. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in coconut.
Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions until golden brown. Serve desired amount of waffles with whipped cream and chocolate topping.
To freeze waffles, arrange waffles in a single layer on baking sheets. Freeze overnight or until firm. Transfer to a resealable plastic freezer bag. Waffles may be frozen for up to 2 months.

(Editor's Note: I used a mix from Trader Joe's, but if you want to whip up a fluffy batch from scratch, this is a great recipe!)

Make sure to include your favorite toppings such as maple syrup, fresh fruit, shredded coconut or powdered sugar, etc. Serve on a small tray with a fresh bloom! 


5 Ways to Create A Relaxing Space

When I come home from a busy day, the first thing I want to do is relax and unwind. Your space can be a sanctuary or simply functional. Over the last few years, I've put more thought into creating a space that is beautiful, livable, and allows creativity. Regardless of whether your space is big or small, here's five tips for turning it into a place to allow the cares of the day to slip away.
1. Choose your decor carefully.
One of my favorite pieces in my room is a large aerial photo of a beach with the sunlight sparkling on the turquoise water, brightly colored umbrellas lined up in the sand, and beachgoers tanning or playing along the shoreline. Every time I look at this, I'm instantly transported to vacation mode. After a busy or stressful day, we could all use a little vacation, am I right? Pieces that inspire, relax, or make you smile are a great way to add some personality to a space, or send you on a little mental vacation.
Shop a few of my favorite vacay-inspired pieces, and find a budget-friendly option here.

2. Light a candle.
I love the ambiance that a flickering candle creates. Aside from the fact that they make your home smell fabulous, candles can really help you to unwind and relax. Choose your favorite scent or pick up a few unscented versions for dinner parties and lighting additions. It's fun to rotate out your candles depending on the time of year. I'm often drawn to a clean, fresh, and light floral scent in spring, a tropical-inspired pick through summer, something cinnamon or woodsy in the fall, and peppermint or balsam for the holidays.

3. Pick your playlist.
Music plays a large part in the atmosphere of a place, doesn't it? There's certain songs that are perfect for a morning run, but not so great after a long day. Others are just right for a relaxing evening and too slow for the start of the day. Choose songs or even a style of music that will help recharge, inspire, and help you to decompress. Some of my personal favorites for relaxing are smooth jazz, anything Sinatra, classical guitar, jazz piano, and even a bit of Hawaiian music.

4. Add some fresh flowers.
It's amazing to see the effect that fresh flowers can have in a space. There's something about those blooming beauties that adds just a little extra to a dining area, bedroom, guest room, or kitchen. Pick up a bunch at your local grocery and arrange them in various vases or jars. It is always lovely to walk in to a room and instantly be greeted with a colorful arrangement.

5. Keep things clean.
After a busy day, the last thing I feel like doing is cleaning up a messy desk or room. One great way to ensure that your space is relaxing, breathable, and a happy place to be in is to keep it clean. This may sound obvious, but there's always the temptation to let things slip a little, and sooner or later, you're faced with a mess. Make it a habit to put things away, dust off the counters or dresser, keep things organized, and make the bed as soon as you get up in the morning! You'll find that this little tip makes a world of difference for the atmosphere of your space.

Kitchen Confidential: My Go-To Smoothie

Today's post is all about food! I don't know about you, but I love smoothies. It's fun to get creative combining all kinds of ingredients to create delicious new flavors. Many mornings I'll want something that is simple, quick, and nutritious, and keeps me full until lunch time. I was all about the fruit smoothies until this fantastic recipe for a Chocolate Banana version entered the scene as a recommendation from a friend. Now this is definitely the go-to favorite that I enjoy for breakfast, lunch (at times), or even a snack after a workout. I may be just a little bit obsessed...maybe ;) It's sweet and creamy thanks to the frozen bananas and packs a protein punch that keeps you fueled and full until your next meal! Trust me, one sip and I think you'll have a new favorite too!  Enjoy!

6 Qualities of Successful Leaders

Not all leaders are successful at leading. Sometimes people are placed in a position of leadership, yet never truly accomplish their full potential or develop a successful method of working with and leading teams. John Maxwell has said that leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less. If that is the case, most of us have been placed in a role of influence whether or not we may realize it. In order to grow and develop in our leadership abilities, it is essential to look for certain qualities that successful leaders cultivate and exercise. Take a look at your own life, and see how many of these are part of your leadership and character.

1. Honesty

2. Respect for others and their opinions

3. Superb communication skills

4. Decisiveness

5. Courage

6. Confidence

How many of these are a part of your leadership style? If you're like me, there's always areas where you can grow and continue to cultivate these kinds of character traits into your influence. Leaders are always held to a higher standard, and these kinds of qualities will continue to propel you, and the teams you lead, toward success. I encourage you to add to this list, and think of some qualities in other significant, successful leaders that you admire, and begin to implement some of those characteristics into your own life. As Jim Rohn says,

"Each of us should be in constant search of people we admire and respect, people after whom we can pattern part of our own behavior. Regardless of our age or circumstances, we are never beyond the reach of influence."

Know that as a leader, you can continually grow and make a significant difference through your influence. Continue to cultivate these qualities and others that will lead you toward success.

What Are You Waiting For?

I ask myself this question a lot, especially when it comes to facing a new challenge, fear, or setting a brand new goal. It's easy to be distracted by things that may be good/fun/interesting but if it pulls you away from what you are trying to accomplish, is it worth it? If you don't make a choice that takes you in the direction of your dreams then your priorities are aligned elsewhere. If not now...then when? If not you...then who? Here's the deal: no one can change your life except for you! Challenge yourself to take that leap of faith, to do the thing that you've been putting off, stretch yourself to a new limit, and decide that nothing is going to stop you from accomplishing that which you have set out to do. Now is the best time. What are you waiting for? If you've been looking for a sign...this is it. Just do it. Things are always easier once you get past that first step. 

We often set up mental roadblocks to our progress, and make things seem far more difficult than they actually are. Think about when you end up taking some time off from your exercise routine. Is it easy to just pick up and go again when your alarm goes off in the morning after taking a few weeks off? Probably not. You think of how cozy your bed is, how working out is always so challenging, and you think about how great it would be to sleep in a few extra minutes...etc and sooner or later you're off for another two weeks. Once you decide that feeling healthy and strong is more important that hitting snooze again, you're still faced with the same situation, but the end result is different. When the alarm goes off in the morning, do you want to get up? No. Do you do it anyway? Yes, because you know that once you're up and out, you'll be glad you took the time to strengthen and care for your body. The same is true for your goals. The longer you put things off, the easier it is to prolong a lack of progress. If not now, when? This is your time. Go do those things you've been wanting to accomplish. There's never been a better time than today to begin! What are you waiting for?

3 Thoughts On Success

Happy 2016! It's the beginning of a new year once again, and we're all thinking about the many things we'd like to accomplish or improve upon. There's something about the promise of a clean slate, a fresh start, and a new beginning that's exhilarating, refreshing, and maybe even somewhat challenging. No matter where you're starting, or what exciting goals lie ahead of you, here's three great reminders from one of my favorite authors on the subject of leadership and life success, Jim Rohn. You'll be inspired and encouraged to get out there and do something amazing!

1. Convert dreams into plans, and plans into goals, and goals into those small daily activities that will lead us, one sure step at a time, toward a better future.

2. Attitude is the major determining factor in how our lives turn out. Each of us will be somewhere in the next 12 months; the question we must ask ourselves is where?

3. We must design the future not just dream about it. The smallest of disciplines, practiced everyday, start an incredible process that can change our lives forever. It is the small disciplines that lead to great achievements.

Here's to a fantastic and successful year ahead! 

How to: Set New Year's Goals

The start of a brand new year is always so exciting to me! It's the opportunity to set new goals, come up with plans to try new things, and start afresh! There's often lots of talk about creating resolutions, unfortunately, most of those tend to fail after a few weeks. Instead of making resolutions, I like to set some goals that will help me to stay on track as I work toward accomplishing new things in life! Here's a few tips that have helped me on the path to success, and I know will be of benefit to you in your goal setting process.

1. Set short-range goals in addition to long-term goals. (Think in terms of day, week, month, and six-months. You'll need these in addition to a year long or even 5 year goal. Be specific!)
2. Set goals for a variety of levels. (Some should be easy to accomplish, while others may require more effort, time, and team members.)
3. Set incremental goals. (Little by little gets you to the big picture. Set benchmarks for progress assessment and accomplishment along the way!)
4. Get group reinforcement (Regular encouragement, accountability, and wisdom from mentors and those who are on the same journey with you can be of great benefit to accomplishment.)
5. Celebrate the achievement! (It's time to celebrate when you achieve your goal! Give yourself a reward, go out to a nice dinner, take a trip, get a new's ok to celebrate your success! You did it!!!)

Here's to a fabulous, successful, and fun 2016 ahead! 
Happy New Year!

P.S. Have a minute? Here's three extra tips for making this year your best one yet!

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