Tuesday, January 30, 2018

10 Benefits of Drinking Water

Honest moment: I don't drink water. You know how some people find it super thirst quenching and love it? I don't. I actually find it quite boring. That being said, I know I need to be drinking water for health reasons. I've set a goal for myself to drink 60 ounces a day. To motivate myself to continue to meet this goal, I decided to look into what the actual benefits of drinking water are. The goal is not only inspire myself to reach my goal, but to allow you to also learn why staying hydrated is important.

Below are my top 10 benefits of drinking water.

1. It helps keep you alert.

Your brain is made up of mostly water, so when you're dehydrated, your attention span, memory, and motor skills are impaired. However, if you drink water you think, focus, and concentrate better.

2. It boosts your metabolism.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking water increases your metabolic rate by 30%.

3. It improves your skin's complexion.

Water helps moisturize your skin, keeping it fresh, soft, glowing, and smooth. It also flushes out impurities, improves circulation and blood flow, which can make you look younger.

4. It helps to energize muscles.

If cells don't maintain their balance of fluids, your muscles begin to feel fatigued. Drinking water helps keep your muscles elastic, which in turn, energizes them.

5. It helps with digestion.

Water helps dissolve waste particles, allowing them to pass smoothly through your digestive tract.

6. It helps improve your mood.

Drinking water makes you feel refreshed, which can actually improve your state of mind.

7. It helps your heart.

Keeping your body hydrated helps your heart pump blood more easily through your vessels to your muscles. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, those who drink more than five glasses of water per day are 41% less likely to die of a heart attack.

8. It helps regulate your body temperature.

The thermal properties of water and its ability to release heat when sweat evaporates greatly helps to maintain an even body temperature.

9. It helps beat bad breath.

When you drink water, your mouth remains moist, as well as washes away food particles and bacteria. This helps dilute the smelly compounds that oral bacteria create.

10. It increases hair growth.

Water supports vitamin consumption, which assists in efficient and healthy hair growth.

With both my thyroid disorder and gastroparesis, I suffer from many things that water can help combat.
I'm hoping that through drinking water, I'll see in a difference in how I'm feeling. 

Now, time to drink my 60 ounces!


Saturday, January 27, 2018

My Aynsley China Collection

Before I was born, my parents struggled to find a name they both loved. Then one day, while driving, my mom saw a billboard for Aynsley China. She fell in love with the name, but sadly, no one in my parents' families liked it. Despite looking like a little china doll when I was born, I remained nameless for a week. My parents were still in love with the name and thought it fit me perfectly, so after seven days, I became Ainsley. (Don't worry; my extended family loves my name now. And personally, I think it's pretty great, too.)

Seeing as I was named after a china, I began collecting it at a young age. My collection is one of my most cherished things. I love that I have pieces from different places, with different stories. Today, I thought I'd share some of those with you. (To see more of my collection, click here.)

Two Novembers ago, I was in Portland visiting one of my best friends. While we were exploring downtown, we stumbled upon an antique shop. Whenever I see one, I always go in just to check if they have any Aynsley china. This place had a cabinet of teacups, and as chance would have it, I found two!

My senior year of high school, my dad and two of my friends demoed our kitchen floor. When they started, they found out the jackhammer was a lot stronger than they thought. It started shaking the teacups in my bedroom, one of which fell off and broke. For Christmas that year, my dad gave me a special gift - a replacement teacup that is now the most unique one in my collection.

During the summer of 2004, my family visited England. Outside of Windsor Castle, there was a store selling different types of china. We decided to take a look and that's where we found this set. I absolutely fell in love with it!

This is one of my favorite pieces! My mom found this, brand new, in a surprising place - Marshalls! It was years ago and something I'd never be able to find there now.

Once I had the teapot set, I started branching out in my collection, moving away from just teacups and saucers. I decided to try my hand at eBay, just in case there was some pieces being sold. As it so happened, I found this vase and sugar bowl, in matching patterns, from two different sellers!

There's an antique store in downtown Naperville that I cannot wait to go to. I'm hoping to find some new pieces to add to my collection.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Light and Bright Bedroom Reveal

Back in July, I began redesigning my bedroom at my parents' house. While living here, I wanted to make sure I had a space that was my own. I wanted something light, bright, and fresh. My inspiration came from a watercolor print by Union Shore. From it, I drew on the colors blush and light blue, with accents of gold. Last month, I finally finished my bedroom and I am so happy with it.

If you want a refresher on my inspiration, click here.


My Aynsley China collection. I've been collecting items from this designer since I was little (it's where my name came from), so finally having a place to display it is amazing. Later this week, I'll be sharing some of my favorite pieces and the stories behind them on the blog.

My pillows. It took me so long to find pillows that fit my vision, but now that I have them, I'm glad I took my time. The best part? I was able to buy two pillows with the print from my initial inspiration. The rest of my pillows all came from HomeGoods.

My gallery wall. I love having so many unique frames filled with those I love.

My jewelry cabinet. This was my Mom's old jewelry case, which I painted with chalk paint in Serene. I then replaced the knobs with crystal to add some glamour.


Unique frames in white, gold, and blue. The floral world print is from Etsy site Moss + Twig Prints - perfect for a fellow traveler.

Lamps from HomeGoods with unique bases. I love the shape of my pink ones and the striped effect of my gold one.

Lettered Philippians 4:8 print from Etsy shop Printable Wisdom over my jewelry case. I love being greeted with this beautiful reminder every time I pick out my jewelry.

My gold mirror is my favorite! It's exactly what I pictured when I went looking for a mirror - and it was only $35 at Ross!

The gold and crystal knobs on my nightstand tables are from Hobby Lobby. I chose these to match the ones on my jewelry cabinet (both from Amazon). 

I absolutely love how everything turned out. It truly is my own little oasis.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Recipe: Choco Mint Popcorn Balls

Happy National Popcorn Day everyone! Today I'm sharing a new recipe with you - ChocoMint Popcorn Balls. Think rice krispie squares meet popcorn and mint chocolate. Sounds tasty, right? The best part is that they're super easy to make. Below is the recipe to enjoy your own popcorn balls tonight.

½ cup butter
2.5 cups mini marshmallows
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
12 cups popped popcorn
⅓ cup Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips

1. Pop your popcorn (I popped one bag, which was enough).
2. In large mixing bowl, add popcorn and mint chocolate chips.
3. Melt butter in saucepan.
4. Slowly add in marshmallows, continually mixing. Stir until completely smooth.
5. Mix in vanilla and salt.
6. Pour mixture over popcorn.
7. Mix until popcorn is covered in chocolate and the marshmallow mixture.
8. Let cool slightly (so you don't burn your hands).
9. With greased hands, form balls with the mixture.
10. Cool until set.

Hope you enjoy this quick and tasty treat!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Weekend Recap: California Girls

This past weekend, three of my best friends from university visited! I hadn't seen them in eight months, but as soon as we were together, it was as if we'd been together minutes before. There is something so comforting to be surrounded by the ones you love most. I experienced so much happiness this weekend with them, constantly laughing and telling stories.

One bummer, however, was the weather. My poor California-living friends. It was ten degrees without wind chill most of the time they were here. The amount of times I heard "How do you live like this?" and "Why do you live here?" was hilarious. Thankfully, on Sunday, it warmed up to 30 degrees. Still not warm, but better.

Enjoy my recap of our weekend below.

The girls got into Chicago at 6AM, so when we got back to my house, we all went to bed for a couple hours. Once we were awake, it was time for brunch - fresh baked muffins and cinnamon swirl cake. Overall, Friday was a very relaxing day. We stayed in our comfy clothes to watch some Friends and play Yahtzee. We did, however, brave the cold for dinner. We went with my parents and two of their best friends to Board & Barrel in downtown Naperville and then to Le Chocolat for hot chocolate and dessert. We were so unbelievable full!


After we had eaten breakfast, the four of us headed to my work to have a tour of the plant. My friends and I were able to walk through the different lines, seeing how the alcohol was made, bottled, and packaged. (There are definitely some perks to working with your dad, who happens to run the site!) When we returned home, we got ready for our traditional "fancy-dinner night" so that we could take photos before my parents headed out. Once our photos were taken, we changed into comfies and played Phase 10. Rather than getting back into our skirts and dresses, we threw on jeans and sweaters. Safe to say that fancy-night lasted about 20 minutes. ;) For dinner, we went to The Ivy in downtown Wheaton. It's an old church that's been converted into a restaurant and man, was it tasty! We were all raving about our food! Our plan was to head back home after, but my friends texted me that they were at the bars - and ran into two of my other friends. Talk about my worlds colliding! I had work friends, Bible study friends, and college friends all in one place. I was so glad the girls were able to meet some of my Naperville friends.

Sunday morning was our crepes day! Every time my friends come to visit, we always have crepes at some point throughout the weekend - a tradition I love. After breakfast, we finally played in the snow! Although it was still in the 20s, it wasn't too painful to be outside. From there, we decided to play a second round of Phase 10, and let me tell you, it was intense! If you've never played before, make sure you have strong friendships - it can get ruthless! Once we finished the game, it was time for the girls to head to the airport.

This weekend was amazing. And for once, when we said goodbye, we knew it wouldn't be too long until we saw each other next. At the end of February, I'm headed to them!