fitness · healthy recipes

Healthy “On the go” Breakfast Muffins – Eggless!

There are two kinds of people in the morning

A. People that wake up after their 1st alarm. Their only alarm.

B. People…that after 7 failed attempts to be woken up by “Twinkle” (via iPhone) have finally shot out of bed, because they now realize that the sun looks a little too up in the sky for them to make it to work on time. F bombs included.

As a teacher with a 5am wake up call… I am definitely a B type. 

I love preparing healthy breakfasts and snacks ahead of time. Not only does it save me time throughout my busy day, but it also keeps me making good food choices! Let’s be real, without a good meal prep I’d probably be eating Mexican food takeout daily. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.)

After trying a few clean eating muffin recipes, I couldn’t quite find one that actually had the texture of a muffin without being too dry.

So I improvised and came up with this recipe.

These muffins are SERIOUSLY my go-to breakfast, snack and pre-workout nom nom. Even my fiancé loves them! (…and he’s a picky eater!)

Recipe below.

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Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of Old Fashioned Quick Oats    
  • 2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Unsweetened Apple Sauce – or 2 ripe bananas (You will taste the bananas)
  • 3/4 cup of Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of Almond Butter or All Natural Peanut Butter

Muffin Add-ins (your choice!):

  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Honey glazed on top for added sweetness
  • Chopped Pecans
  • Blueberries
  • Any chopped fruit or nuts

Simple Instructions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350º
  2. Mix Dry ingredients & Wet ingredients separately.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix. (if batter looks too thick, add a splash of almond milk)
  4. Add any additional add-ins (fruits, nuts, chocolate chips…)
  5. Fill each muffin tin cup with 1/4 cup of batter. (Use muffin liners or spray/grease cups)
  6. Bake Muffins for 22-25 minutes in oven
  7. Let them cool and enjoy! I store mine in a plastic container in the refrigerator for freshness.

(Each muffin starts at 80 calories, 3g fat, 13g carbs, 2g sugar & 3g of protein. Nutrition will be altered once you add in your toppings.)

Enjoy!!

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Starting a Blog

How to take blog pictures with an iPhone

Before starting my blog, I was held back by the thought that I needed to invest a ton of money into my blog before even thinking about pressing that publish button. With all of the professional photos, fancy cameras and beauty guru makeup palettes all over Instagram, do you blame me?

As a band teacher at an inner-city school, I deal with low-income doubts daily. My students are creative, talented and full of dreams. They don’t need that brand new, $2k violin to make music. They are just as (if not more) powerful with the school-loaned, scuffed violin that has witnessed the 80’s.

Blogging does not have to cost a ton of money. Or any money at all. You do not need an expensive camera to do your photos just. Now, a smartphone camera will not replace a high end camera, but it will do the trick.

Look no further than your own iPhone.

1. Indoor lighting is everything

Unless you have a set of professional camera lighting equipment (which I assume is not the case) you are going to have to rely on some good old fashioned natural lighting.

Natural lighting is tricky. Too much window lighting will make your image look washed out, but not enough lighting won’t do you any good either.

I tend to have the best luck with my north facing window. As specific as that sounds, the sunlight is just on-point with that window! #northfacingwindows

No natural lighting
Curtains Closed. BRIGHT dining room lights on.
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Curtains Open (same spot, same dining room lights on)

 

2. Outdoor lighting is everything

Do not stand in the sunniest spot you can find! You will glow in all the wrong ways. That, and I don’t think the shadowy, squinty eye look is what you were going for. 

The easiest outdoor lighting is standing in the shade facing the sun. The sun will distribute it’s glorious rays evenly on you and you will own that photo.

Cloudy days killing your bright Instagram aesthetic? Don’t let them! Cloudy days are actually the perfect lighting situation! Think of the clouds as a giant soft box that perfects the sun’s lighting for your photo shoot. 

3. HDR on, LIVE off

Your HDR camera setting is your new BFF. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Whatever that means, I wan’t all of it! Basically, your iPhone camera blends the best lighting and shadows into one photo.

Turn LIVE off. Side note, do iPhone live photos remind anyone else of Harry Potter?  Was that Apple’s point? Anyways, I find that live photos tend to distort the lighting a bit and kill my battery. 

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No HDR
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With HDR

4. Find Solid Background for objects

Unless you are taking an #ootd mirror selfie or feeling the #bosslady vibes in a candid street shot (Starbucks in hand), you are going to want to use a solid background to really optimize your photos!

I literally borrowed one of my fiancé’s math strategy posters (he is also a teacher). Luckily the back was solid white and the corners had hanging holes. Basically, I tied the poster to a dining room chair near my north facing window. (His students will miss out on those specific math strategies, but at least my pics look phenomenal!)

I’m sure there are easier ways of doing this, aka a foam board. I just love to improvise!

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Background looks a bit distracting.
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Crisp white!

5. Mirror Outfit Selfies or No Mirror Outfit Selfies

Go for it! When planning a blog,  take the approach of “What would I click on?”

I am constantly pinning cute outfits on Pinterest. More than half of them happen to be mirror selfies! Not all of them have outstanding lighting, but they still look good. They are mirror selfies!

6. Be EXTRA, with PROPS!

If you go on Pinterest (which will be a huge factor in bringing in traffic) you will notice most of the pictures contain props.

“Blueberry Muffin Recipe”. You will see the muffin, the muffin crums, the blueberries that never made it into the muffin and a random few lemon slices just chilling there, because lemons are cool. However, the picture just looks so pin-worthy! 

Stage those photos!

I could have done a better job focussing in on the cup, but with all things considered… it’s not that bad. If all fails, add lemon slices.

7. Edit like a Pro

Don’t feel discouraged if your iPhone pictures aren’t up to par. The final magic happens when you edit. I honestly just use what the iPhone Gods have given me.

Using the camera’s own editing app, I generally just adjust the brilliance, saturation and contrast. Depending on the photo I may even use the Chrome filter. (Chrome cheers any photo up). If the lighting feels to orange and brassy, I adjust the color’s cast until things look more normal. 

Really, that’s it! 

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Before iPhone Edit
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After iPhone Edit

 

I hope this helped you feel more confident with your blog photos! I will continue to post anything that I found helpful in my blogging experience. Keep checking back for more!  

If you feel that this post was even the slightest bit helpful, please give it a like or even share it to hopefully assist another blogger!

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blog trek · Starting a Blog

How I Made my Blog for free

So I started a blog. After years of wanting and saying that I would, I finally just did it. Sound familiar?

I am by no means an expert, but I want to share with you the steps that I took to finally get my blog going. The beginning process, for me, was way longer than it should have been, so hopefully this saves you some time and MONEY along the way!

1. Literally, Just Do it.

I’m not going to lie, it felt awkward. I felt that I couldn’t hold a candle to all of the incredible bloggers out there with their Chanel purses and Canon cameras… and it’s true. However, it’s okay to be a beginner and enjoy the learning process! You literally have to ignore all the doubts and just do it.  

2. Come up with a Name, but don’t over think it.

I wasted so much time researching the perfect blog name when in fact, there isn’t one. Guitar & Lace was as simple as two nouns that described me in a nutshell. I am a songwriter and I love feeling stylish. Voila, Guitar & Lace. 

So, if you are having difficulty finding name, try two nouns that describe you.  __& __. Rhyming and alliterating words also create a memorable name. i.e “Doug the Pug”, “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives”. 

3. WordPress? Blogger? 

I tried both. I ended up with WordPress.com Here’s why:

I have nothing against Blogger. I just didn’t find it to be as user-friendly as WordPress. I initially tried WordPress.org without knowing there was a wordpress.com. There’s a difference! I literally felt like I was about to accidentally hack into some private FBI server.

WordPress.com can start your blog off for FREE and you can eventually upgrade when you’re ready. 

4. Do I have to spend a ton of money right away?

No. As a teacher on summer break, I haven’t seen a paycheck since May. There is no way I could afford a domain name, millenial camera 3.0 and a vase of peonies for photo opps right now.

Instead of throwing money down ASAP, I am taking the let it grow approach. I will eventually upgrade to a nicer camera just as any blogger before us has. It’s ok to start with humble beginnings! I believe your creativity is what will make the blog.

5. Paint the walls, or don’t.

You know when you move into a new place and everyone suggests that you paint the walls before moving in all the furniture to avoid yet another hassle? Yea, I never listen to them either. However, in this case I got all of the decor out of the way ASAP.

I tried every free theme on and chose one (button). I created my own graphics, added widgets, menu bars and all of that fun stuff. That way the blog feels nice and tidy before you start adding content.

6. Verify your Site!

If you are using WordPress go to your settings —> Traffic —-> Site Verification Services

They will give you links to obtain your personal html codes for each of those sites. You simply copy and paste them into the provided box. Now the world has a better chance of stumbling onto your blog!

If you are not using WordPress, you may find these two sites helpful:

Activate Pinterest

Activate Google

7. Start Posting!

This step is a little more obvious than the others, but it could also be the most daunting. What if my content isn’t good enough? What if no one finds it interesting? What if I don’t have a fancy camera?

Right now, I have an iPhone 7 camera, a laptop and bunch of random ideas. I am choosing to celebrate the little things. I received 23 views and 2 Instagram followers 20 hours after my first post. It’s all progress! Your first post is progress.

If you treat it as challenging and exciting learning process, you may just go far!

8. Network with other blogs and/or hide in the bushes.

See what other bloggers in your niche are doing! Find other bloggers who are starting fresh and follow their progress. You can either connect with them or hide in the bushes and watch from afar. Whatever your style may be.

I was a bit disappointed when I couldn’t find bloggers with original blueprints while they began their blog. My goal is to continue to layout my own blueprints as I go and hopefully encourage and inspire some of you out there!

If you found this even a little helpful leave a comment and/or follow.

Best wishes!

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Style

White Shirt Outfit Inspiration

Let’s step back for just a moment… With all of summer’s gingham, pom-pom sandals and off the shoulder everything it’s hard not to look in your closet and think “I have absolutely NOTHING to wear”.

Not only that, but you can’t check your feed without the feeling that Nordstrom will be there hiding in the Instagram bushes waiting to pop up at you in umm, EVERY photo and story! Ohhh, the Anniverary Sale. Believe me, I wanted that canary yellow, bell-sleeved Top Shop sweater too…

So, Instead of breaking the bank (bride on a budget!) I decided to go back to basics.

My own basics.

I challenged myself to style a daily white t-shirt outfit with items that I already owned. Honestly, it wasn’t much of a challenge at all! In the end, I saved money and it actually felt like I refreshed my wardrobe.

Here are a few of the outfits I came up with:

Boho Vibes
I will take any opportunity to feel those boho vibes…
Office White Shirt
White t-shirt at work? Yes, please!
Flirty White T-shirt
A flirty, young twist to a strappy sundress.
White on White
White on White. Let your accessories do the talking!
Jeans and a tshirt
Jeans and a t-shirt. Need I say more?

Clothing Credits:

White T-shirt: Loft 

Photo 1:  White T-shirt, Olive Linen Pants, Heels – Loft (My love for Loft is everlasting) Black London Fog Purse – TJ Maxx

Photo 2:  Blue Floral Dress – Red Dress Boutique, Coral Purse – Ross 

Photo 3:  White Pencil Skirt – Banana Republic Outlet, Booties – Calvin Klein, Jade Purse – Michael Kors, Sleeping Beagle – Humane Society♥                

Photo 4:  White Fringe Cardigan – JC Penney’s Arizona Brand, Wedges & Purse – Ross, Faux Leather Skirt – The Limited (heard they are coming back!)

Photo 5:  Jeans – Loft, Sam Edelman Gigi Sandals – Nordstrom Rack 

Starting a Blog

Guitar & Lace

Hi, I’m Lori! I am a teacher and songwriter with a love for all things beauty, fashion, and of course, music. I currently live in Arizona with my amazing fiancé and our precious beagle, Bailey.

Guitar & Lace is a lifestyle blog that focuses on budget savvy style, DIY wedding projects and well-being. I started this blog in July 2017 as a way to keep myself creative and hopefully inspire others to do so as well.

Being engaged and on a teacher’s salary has REALLY made me think creatively and thrifty!

As a brand new blogger, I will be sharing with you everything that is working and not working for my blog. Keep checking back to see tips and tricks that I discover along the way!

The teacher in me always wants to help and inspire♥

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