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Don’t Make New Year Resolutions!

It’s a new year and like every year, people are out there making new resolutions in order to start the year off on a good foot.

This year, however, I’m not making new year resolutions.  I can never get them right. Most of the time, I don’t remember what they were halfway through the year after life settles back in and the holiday glow (and all my good intentions) fade. Before I know it, my resolutions have flown out the window.

I’m guessing I’m not alone here.

It’s not that I don’t want to  lose weight, become more intentional, or be a happier, kinder, better version of myself.  But how in the world do you achieve those things anyway?? If I lose 1 pound, there. I lost weight.  Now I can get back to the business of gaining it all (and probably then-some) back again. But that wasn’t the point of the resolution, was it?

No.  This year I’m setting concrete goals, not resolutions. Measurable, achievable goals. I’ve found the secret to being successful at goal setting–even if they are annual goals–is to keep them few and keep them specific, then chop them down into bite-size mini goals.

For example: I have a goal in the following 5 major categories:

  1. Spiritual
  2. Family
  3. Financial
  4. Career
  5. Personal

I then broke each goal down into measurable, bite-size steps for each month. For example, a personal goal of mine is to lose the 30 lbs of pregnancy weight that I gained (Yes, I’ve been gone for a while dealing with life and in that time I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl that is now a vivacious 13 month old). That sounds like a lot.  But when you break it down into mini-goals per month, it doesn’t seem that bad.  However, I took it one step further and made it concrete. Understanding that I might have more resolve in earlier months than later months and knowing that any weight loss journey is full of ups and downs and yo-yo-ing weigh-ins, my goal specifically for January is to get to a certain number.  Not an unrealistic number, but to lose 2 lbs.  And just like that, the pressure is off because I can lose 2 lbs. I haven’t met a soul who couldn’t or didn’t think that was achievable.

As another example, a career goal of mine is to develop my creative side by becoming a brand ambassador. How do I break that down into mini goals? Simple. First, I picked a brand that was looking for an ambassador and that I naturally liked and used (or would use). Since I’m into fashion and Rent the Runway has kept me in style through the various stages of my changing body (who wants to buy whole new wardrobes through pregnancy and post-partum anyway??), they were an easy match.  Now, the challenge was figuring out how I fit that into my already mom-living, big-law practicing, ever-busy life. I took a realistic look at the thing I would enjoy doing with the little free time I have and realized, I can do at least 1 IG post a month.  If later down the line, I’ve seamlessly figured out a way to easily take the time I need to put out one quality content post a month that people find helpful or engaging and I find I have time for more, then I’ll ramp that up to 2 posts a month.

My IG post is going up today.  If you check it out, you can get up to $200 off an Unlimited membership at renttherunway.com with a special promo code!!

I’ve found the secret to achieving goals for the new year is to be concrete, account for flexibility and changing circumstances, but have your ultimate goals always at hand and in your face as a reminder.  I put my goals into an excel spreadsheet that I can look at daily and adjust down the road if need be.  Though, I wouldn’t recommend more than 2 specific goals per overarching category. See a sample below:

Click to enlarge.

Let me know how you’re approaching your new year goals (not resolutions!) this year.

With wishes for a #LifeLivedWell,

PA

Sesame Chicken and Jasmine Rice

It’s been a while, folks.  After viewing this picture on my Instagram, a lot of you have been requesting the recipe.  I promised it would be up “shortly”, but, unfortunately, I can’t control that #LawyerLife. However, after all the take out, missed groceries, and forlorn glances out of the floor-to-ceiling windows to my gilded cage–err, office–it’s high time for a home cooked meal. And thank goodness, too, because this one is pretty easy to make and comes in at around 680 calories per plate.

sesame chicken 1

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty shall we? Because let’s face it–I still have contracts I need to draft. :-/

What You’ll Need

  • 10 ounces chopped chicken breast

  • ½ cup jasmine rice
  • 2  tsp minced garlic
  • 2 scallions
  • ½ pound bok choy
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons soy glaze
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black and white sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a small pot, bring to boil the rice, a pinch of salt and 1 cup of water. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender.

While the rice cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the root end of the bok choy, then roughly chop the leaves and stems. Cut off and discard the root ends of the scallions and thinly slice, separating the white bottoms and green tops.

For those of you who don't know what bok choy looks like :-)

For those of you who don’t know what bok choy looks like 🙂

chopped bok choy and scallions

All chopped up.

While the rice continues to cook, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the bok choy and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bok choy is bright green and slightly wilted. Transfer to a plate and season with salt and pepper to taste. Wipe out the pan.

Depending on how fast you are at produce prep, the rice may be done cooking by now. Remove  the rice from heat and fluff the cooked rice with a fork. Stir in ¼ of the vinegar.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Add the cornstarch; toss to thoroughly coat. In the same pan, heat a thin layer of oil on high until hot. Once the oil is hot enough that a pinch of cornstarch sizzles immediately when added to the pan, add the coated chicken (shaking off any excess cornstarch) in a single, even layer. Cook 3 to 5 minutes on the first side, or until golden brown. Turn and cook, without stirring, 2 to 3 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

sauteed chicken

Reduce the heat to medium-high. To the pan, add the cooked bok choy, white bottoms of the scallions, soy glaze, remaining vinegar, sesame oil, half the sesame seeds, ¼ cup of water and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until well combined and the chicken and bok choy are thoroughly coated.

sesame glazed chicken

Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Split the rice and sauce between 2 dishes, then garnish with the green tops of the scallions and remaining sesame seeds for the final touch. Enjoy!

sesame chicken 2

 

Embarking on a Health & Fitness Journey

Hey everyone, Priscilla here.  If you’re new to Girl Meets Soul, welcome! You’ll notice that this is a lifestyle blog featuring mostly hair, fashion and beauty, travel and healthy living.  I’ve been focusing on the healthy living prong of life lately as I’ve recently decided to take back the reigns of my life and embark on a journey to a better, healthier, happier me.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me tell you a little about my journey. Fitness has always been a big part of my life and I grew up playing practically every school sport available to girls, as well as dance (my passion), which continued all the way through college.  After I got married I gained a whopping 30 lbs in 3 months due to birth control. After a lot of trial and error, my doctors found the right balance to my medication so that my weight wasn’t being affected anymore.  However, by this time my overall weight gain reached almost 40 lbs!!!  Ever since then, my weight has been up and down, but never really dipping below that 30 lbs-gained threshold. 😩.  I got discouraged and I lost focus due to all of life’s obligations, particularly work.  My work schedule is unpredictable and I can easily have to work anywhere from 12 – 20 hours a day, so I kept throwing fitness to the back burner.

I finally decided that enough was enough and life is way too short to feel miserable and unhealthy.  I took life into my own hands, no longer let circumstances get in the way of my goals, and I’m excited to announce that I’m beginning a new adventure as a health and fitness coach at Girl Meets Soul Fit Life where I’m dedicated to health, fitness,  self-love, and helping women achieve the lifestyle of their dreams!  😊 I’m hoping to increase my own accountability, change my life, and hopefully inspire others to do the same! 😄

I mean, let’s face it. We all feel imperfect and would like to change something about ourselves–a firmer butt, get killer abs, build stronger muscles or just lose overall weight, but most of us lack the motivation to fully commit to our journey.  However, nothing will ever change if we don’t commit.  Ask yourself, when are you less likely to skip a workout?

A. You have no one to work out with and no one will know (or care) if you don’t do it.
B. You have no one to work out with, but 5 others, who will be completing the same workout, are expecting you to do it.

I would assume most of you would say B because accountability works! You wouldn’t want to be the only one missing the workout.

Consider this: I’m looking for FIVE motivated ladies to join me on this journey as clients.  I have a 30-day challenge called BIKINI BODY BOOT CAMP starting on June 27, 2016 with a small group of people who will all be working out, eating right, and, if you join, expecting you to do the same. Contact me if you’re interested and let’s get on this fit journey together!!

I hope you all enjoy witnessing my fitness journey unfold and hopefully I can help a few of you learn to love yourselves and find your fit along the way♡♡♡. If you have fitness goals, and you’d love the help of a virtual fit friend email me or send me a message so we can chat goals!

In the mean time, follow Girl Meets Soul Fit Life on Facebook and Instagram @GirlMeetsSoulFitLife! 😊

With Love and Soul,

Priscilla

Marjaram-Garlic Chicken

It’s finally spring and that means lighter, sweeter fares.  Why? Because I said so, that’s why! No, but really, how else are we supposed to shave off all those winter pounds we packed on to keep us warm?  Here’s a delicious no-brainer recipe that will help get us on our way down our beach body journey.  It’s infused with marjoram–otherwise known as oregano’s lighter, mintier cousin. And coming in at approximately 705 calories per serving (less if you cut out the bread), it’s a tasty way to becoming a lighter you.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium beefsteak tomatoes, medium diced
  • 1 bunch marjoram
  • 1 large bunch basil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 bread boule
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

marjoram chicken ingredients

Be sure to wash and dry the fresh produce and wash and pat dry the chicken.

What to Do:

Time for some prep work. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Pick off and finely chop the marjoram leaves. Pick off the basil leaves, then pick and thinly slice the shallot. Using a knife, cut the crust off the bread boule, then cut the bread into bite-sized cubes or chunks.

Using your fingers or a paring knife, gently separate the skin from the chicken thighs, leaving one side attached.  Place the minced garlic and chopped marjoram under the skin, then close it back up. Season the outsides of the chicken with salt and pepper (or poultry seasoning).

marjoram chicken 1

In a large pan, heat a little olive oil on medium until hot.  Add the marjoram-garlic chicken, skin side down, and cook 9 to 11 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. To speed up the cooking and prevent splattering, loosely cover the chicken with foil.

marjoram chicken 2

While the chicken cooks, place the bread cubes on a baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil over the bread and season with salt and pepper. Toast the bread in the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring halfway through.

marjoram chicken-bread crumbs

While the chicken cooks and the bread toasts, roughly chop most of the basil leaves, leaving a few whole for garnish. In a large bowl, combine the garlic paste, tomatoes, chopped basil, red wine vinegar, shallot, and sea salt.  Drizzle in a little olive oil and season with pepper.

marjoram chicken panzenella

Just before serving, add the toasted bread to the bowl with the tomato mixture and toss to combine. Divide the mixture between 2 plates and place the chicken on top. Garnish with the whole basil leaves.

marjoram chicken IG

Bon appetit!

With Love and Soul.

I’ve Been Featured on Island Kinks!

I’ve been featured by the lovely  Isle of Azure of Island Kinks!

Isle of Azure documents her own natural hair journey, showcases other naturalistas, and shows how different plants, oils and commercial products found in the tropics help keep our tresses healthy and strong.  It’s a dynamic blog you’ll be sure to enjoy!  Check out the feature here.

screenshot

With Love and Soul.

 

D’aller Naturel is Changing Its Name!

Hi Loves!

It’s been over a year and a half since D’aller Naturel officially launched, and I’m grateful for all the support the site has received since then.  It initially began as a way to document my transition to natural hair (hence the name, translated as “to go natural” or “going natural”), but has since grown and expanded into my life interests, which many of you share.

That being said, it’s time to re-brand.  The new site’s name reflects the true essence of the blog today, and I believe will allow it to expand into something truly spectacular.

Allow me to introduce: Girl Meets Soul: The GMS Lifestyle.  It’s me, sharing my life and my interests with you.

For the next couple of months, the domain name www.dallernaturel.com will direct you to this site, but you will eventually have to update your bookmarks to www.GirlMeetsSoul.com.

You may see several additional changes over the next couple of months, but don’t worry–the majority of the content will remain the same.  I am still in love with all things, hair, food, beauty, fashion and travel–basically life!  And that’s what you’ll get.

As always, I appreciate your patience through this time of transition, and if you see anything that could improve the site, or have content you’d like to see me cover, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

*Feature image courtesy of Pixaby.

The Second Annual Love Your Tresses Valentine’s Giveaway!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER, KOURTNEY C. FROM NEW JERSEY!!!


 

In honor of Valentine’s Day, D’aller Naturel is hosting its second annual Love Your Tresses Valentine’s Giveaway!

Enter the Love Your Tresses Valentine’s Giveaway to win SheaMoisture Products!!!

 

SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Bundle

One lucky participant will be randomly selected to win a SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Bundle (a $50 value):

  • SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo
  • SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner
  • SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Extra-Moisture Transitioning Milk
  • SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

Rules & Restrictions:

Must be at least 13 years old to enter.

Shipping available only to U.S. addresses.  No shipping to P.O. Boxes.

An entry will be randomly selected on February 14, 2016.  The winner will be contacted after selection, for shipment information.  Should the selected winner not meet the requirements above or not respond to the shipment inquiry within 5 business days, another entry will be randomly selected.

It’s easy! Enter here!
(Opportunities for additional entries available)

May the odds be ever in your favor!

*This giveaway is NOT sponsored by SheaMoisture.  All products made available by D'aller Naturel.

 

Flirty Paisley Valentine’s Day Look

It’s February and you know what that means! Valentine’s Day is around the  corner.

Now, I hate clichés and tend to rebel against commercialized holidays–including Valentine’s Day.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t rebel by not spending time with my significant other, oh no. I just rebel against anything that looks Valentine-y. Like wearing red or pink. Or toting around a box of chocolates.

Last year, my Valentine’s look was blue and gold.  This year, I’m taking it dark, yet flirty in this black paisley fit and flare dress with mock neck collar from New York & Company.

valentine's paisley 1

It’s seriously edgy . . .

valentine's paisley 2

valentine's paisley 3

Yet flirty enough to knock the socks of your boo!

valentine's paisley 4

Better still–it’s versatile enough for a day or night look.  So no matter what your honey has planned, you’ll be ready and fabulous!

valentine's paisley 6

Let me know what you think of this outfit.  What do you plan on wearing this Valentine’s Day?

valentine's paisley 7

Motivated to Love by MLK

It’s Martin Luther King day.  It’s also the first time I’ve ever been able to take this holiday, which makes me excited!

But, instead of celebrating all the advances we’ve made in race relations I can’t help but feel that America today is divided and full of hate.  It’s almost like we took two steps forward and 50 steps backward.  With the slew of fatal shootings of young, mostly unarmed black men and women by police to the blatant disrespect President Obama has received for the past seven years mostly on the basis of his race, it’s hard to think this is the world Dr. King envisioned with his “I Have A Dream” speech.

Dr. King himself was a great man, but (like the rest of us) was a flawed human being.  Nevertheless, he had a talent of making us see the best in ourselves and our potential to access the most noble parts of our humanity.  Don’t believe me? Just read the following quotes by Dr. King himself:

  • Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
  • Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
  • I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
  • In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
  • Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
  • We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

The one thing we can learn from Dr. King’s words? Love.  For our own good and for the good of society at  large, we really must learn once and for all to approach the future with love and respect for one another.  Then maybe, just maybe, one day we really can say we’ve achieved Dr. King’s dream.

Pan-seared Steak with Creamed Spinach & Chive-Lemon Butter Potatoes

Aaah, it’s January.  A new year, a new start, but some of the same ol’ cool weather.  In some parts of the country, we’re entering the deep freeze, while others (ahem, Texas!) remain at a comfortable chill. Either way, it’s the season where heavier dinner fares are both craved and called for!

Of course, the dish to fit the bill would be steak and potatoes. But not just any steak and potatoes—hanger steaks, served with a side of chive lemon butter baby potatoes and creamed spinach.  If you want to bring a little more color to this winter fare use colorful potatoes, such as purple potatoes (try saying that fast ten times). It’s rich, it’s delicious, and less than 800 calories a plate.  Just what the cuddling months ordered.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 Hanger Steaks (or really, any quality steak you have available)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Bunch Chives
  • 1 Lemon
  • ½ Pound Baby Potatoes (any color of your choosing)
  • 8 Ounces Baby Spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ¼ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Before we begin, here are a few tips that will aid in the successful execution of this recipe:

  • Always wash and dry fresh produce when ready to use.
  • The steaks should be kept in the refrigerator overnight to thaw (if from frozen) or purchased right before cooking. Either way, we want the steaks at around room temperature before they go into the pot.
  • Each time the recipe calls for seasoning with salt and pepper, start with a pinch and increase as necessary for taste. Cooking is an art, and not an exact science.

 Let’s get started!

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. If thawing, remove the steaks from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature.

Prepare the veggies: Peel and mince the garlic. Finely chop the chives. Cut the lemon into quarters and remove the seeds. Finally, cut the potatoes into large chunks.

Once the water is boiling, add the potatoes. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork; drain and set aside.

In a separate large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper.

hangar steak_spinach1

Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until completely wilted. While the spinach cools, pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Remove the wilted spinach from the pan and drain thoroughly; set aside. Wipe out the pan. When cool enough to handle, finely chop the drained spinach.  In the same pan used to cook the spinach, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned steaks to the pan.

hanger steak_seasoned

Cook the steaks, loosely covering the pan with aluminum foil, 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium-rare to medium (depending on whether you’re using a gas or electric stove and its evenness of cooking), or until they reach your desired degree of doneness.

hanger steak_done

Clearly, I was going for well-done :-/

Transfer the cooked steaks to a plate and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Wipe out the pan.

While the steaks rest, in the same pan used to cook the steaks, melt half the butter on medium-high. Add the drained potatoes and cook, tossing to coat, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly coated and lightly browned.

hanger steak_potatoes

Remove from heat and stir in the chives and the juice of 2 lemon wedges. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer the finished potatoes to a plate.

In the same pan, melt the remaining butter on medium. Add the garlic, as much of the crushed red pepper flakes as you’d like and the chopped spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

hanger steak_creamed spinach cooking

Turn off the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of water and the Parmesan cheese.  Stir until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add any steak juices from the cutting board to the spinach and stir to combine.

hanger steak_creamed spinach done

Slice the steak against the grain and divide the steak, potatoes and creamed spinach between 2 plates.

hanger steak with creamed spinach and potatoes 1

If you want to get fancy (I didn’t–typical, I know), you can garnish each plate with the remaining lemon wedges and enjoy!

hanger steak with creamed spinach and potatoes 2

Eat up.  Dinner is served.