Saturday, June 27

Hold Back The River



James Bay. What can be said about James Bay? He is a killer songwriter and performer, and we couldn't wait to cover one of the best songs off of his debut album "The Chaos and The Calm". When we released our "Better" EP, our record debuted at #4, right in between James Bay & Ed Sheeran on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter charts. What an honor!

Such an amazing location!


After we recorded the song, we knew exactly what we wanted the video to look like, and were able to use our friend Tyson Henderson and his wife Hayley to film it out in the middle of nowhere!


When we got to the location, someone had already created a HUGE "G" out of rocks. We were amazed! In some of the aerial shots you can see it on the ground in front of us. Coincidence? We think NOT!



This video was made possible by our AMAZING patrons! Their donations allow us to continue to create content that we are proud of that they want to see. We've recently expanded our goals on Patreon to include making it possible to take our live show on the road this fall! If you'd like to support us and bring us to your city, you can become a Patron and donate as little as $1 per video we release. https://www.patreon.com/gardinersisters

Hailey was so excited to play her new red guitar...channeling James Bay.



Thank you for continually supporting us and allowing us to try new things and create, create, create for YOU! Have a beautiful weekend!
Love,
Hailey, Allie, & Mandi

Friday, June 5

How to Survive School and Love It!



Oh what a blessed day it was when I walked across the podium, shook the hands of the Universities' most prestigious academic patrons, and received that lovely red diploma signifying the end of my formal college studies. Hallelujah!


Although I'll never forget the accomplishment I felt on my graduation day, that event certainly wasn't the end of my education! Graduating is simply the beginning of the next stages of learning and growing that should be continuous throughout our entire lives. 


Gordon B. Hinckley's message "Seek Learning" on education helped motivate me to gain the very best education that I could, and inspired my pursuit of a higher degree. Though my sisters and I had big dreams and plans of becoming full-time musicians, I knew that in order to live up to my potential as a business woman, future mother and wife, leader, and peacemaker in the world, I needed to be educated. I needed to dedicate some time to pursuing my interests outside of music so that I could be capable of giving my very best self to others.


I learned through all of my years of attending school that the environment of public or formal schooling itself (sitting in a classroom, taking tests, attending lectures, etc.) is not the only way to learn. Education is gained in all of life's challenging and eye-opening experiences. I personally didn't thrive in the public education system, and often felt the structure of a classroom stifled my creativity and ability to communicate. 


At the same time, there were incredible, valuable lessons I was taught while sitting in the presence of some of the world's most brilliant minds. I gained the most value from my education in the ideas and personal stories that were shared, the perspectives offered, the readings, papers, and assignments that I connected with personally, and most importantly, the people that helped shape me into the person that I wanted to be.


If I were to go back to my younger self and offer some advice in those awkward high school teenage years and overwhelming college days, I would break it down into three points:

1. Don't let the amount of work to be done get in the way of who you ultimately want to become.
Balance is key in the pursuit of educational goals. I feel that I often compromised my hard-working nature when it came to school as I made excuses not to attend class or do my assignments. Now that I can look back and see clearly, I know that it's not about the papers, homework, tests, and lectures. It's about the principles of timeliness, waking up early, diligence, and balance. There really is time for everything! You don't have to scrap your dreams of becoming an artist just because you have a ton of math homework to do. Do it all! Do everything. It all connects in some way in the end. Ultimately, you are proving mostly to yourself what you are capable of. 


 2. Find and follow your passion.
In one of my college communications classes I watched a lecture by Sir Ken Robinson called "How Schools Kill Creativity". I then read (and re-read, and re-read) his book "The Element". His ideas about finding and pursuing your passion completely changed my life and the goals I pursued as a student and a musician. When you are doing what you love and surrounding yourself with people of your "tribe" who inspire you, you perform at a higher level and are self-motivated and successful. I truly believe that you will be SO much happier if you connect what excites and inspires you to your educational pursuits. Though I didn't major in anything musical, my degree in International Culture Studies was the result of my passion for culture, traveling, and my goals to participate in humanitarian service.


3. Being a leader doesn't necessarily = popularity.
I've never been in any kind of "popular" circle in any of my school years. Although I wanted to serve on student government and leadership positions in my school, I felt like I couldn't because I wasn't super pretty, on the cheer team or even acknowledged by anyone other than my teachers sometimes. I wish that I would have set those fears aside, realized that none of it was true, and just focused on serving others! It wasn't until college that I started getting involved by being in the presidencies of clubs, running for Vice President of the student body, volunteering to help at student social functions and performing at local events. What a difference it made to feel like I was contributing to making other people happy! You can lead in small ways by simply being kind to others, sitting by someone who is alone, being friends with those who are lonely, helping those who may need help, and being the kind of person people can trust and rely on.

 Mandi's high school graduation day.

Allie's High School Graduation!


I know what it's like to feel overwhelmed, depressed, discouraged, and disappointed. I can honestly say that some of the hardest and most trying times in my life were connected to my experiences in trying to gain my education. That being said, there were also the most wonderful moments of happiness, accomplishment, excitement, and growth that occurred in those years. I'm so grateful for the chance that I had to pursue my educational goals and achieve something I had dreamed of my whole life! Getting my bachelor's degree helped make me a better person, and has and will continue to open the door to opportunities to serve. So do your best in school, dream big, keep going even when it seems impossible, and find what you love and do it!
-Hailey-



Friday, May 15

How to Feel Good and Happy Everyday!


Life can be difficult, demanding, and challenging.
Life will test our patience and stretch us to the limits. I have some good news for any of you who might feel this way, or have felt that way in the past and want the remedy for 24/7 happiness!
The answer is simple, and it’s all about balance.
 Can you really be happy all the time even when everything around you seems to be so demanding on you? The answer is YES! Here are some ways that I stay happy no matter life’s circumstances or my schedule.
There are three basic steps: start your day right, get in tune with you, and keep a schedule.

Start Your Day Right
Now my sisters can tell you that I have always struggled with balancing school, work, boys, family, exercise, sleep… just everything. This past week I took this wellness thing very seriously, and I cannot believe how amazing I have felt! So I want to share with you the things I’ve done in the past that always keep my happy, along with what I discovered this week!


Wake up early and read!
Getting up with the sun instead of sleeping in until 10 has given me so much energy and more hours in my day to get everything done. I feel that reading is so good for a person intellectually and emotionally. It is relaxing, it wakes up that brain, and paired with a fuzzy blanket and hot chocolate, you just can’t beat it. I love to read the bible and other scriptures in the mornings. I’ve found when I start my mornings with prayer and the Lord, that He helps keep me sane throughout the day, and remember what is most important so I better prioritize my ‘to do’ list. This morning routine relaxes me and puts me in a good mood without fail!
Who doesn’t want that?


Get In Tune With You
Now that you’re feeling awake and ready to conquer your day, fuel yourself physically. I am a firm believer of breakfast. Not skipping breakfast will help you have the energy that you need and will help you to stay awake in class, at your desk at work, and for all those other after school and work activities.


Listening to your body and your soul is key to finding balance and having that constant peaceful, happy feeling. Not only should you try to eat well for the sake of having energy, but you also need to pay attention to the things that you enjoy. Incorporate those activities into your daily life; they will put a smile on your face.


Get outside.
Get in touch with the beauty of nature and the great local places around you. Fresh air is good for your body and soul. Be adventurous and explore some hiking trails or sit on a bench at the park and soak in some sun. After a long day at school I would sit on a blanket outside and do my homework. It was heaven!


Do something with a friend.
There is no better way to relieve stress than to laugh it off with a friend or sibling. We all need those social outlets sometimes where we can just sit and talk with someone and enjoy being around others. I still have found memories of almost everyday after track practice in high school, my best friends and I would go to Chick-Fil-A and sit for a couple hours just laughing and talking about anything and everything.  

Do something you enjoy alone.
You need time to think and you need time to recharge those batteries. That won’t happen if you’re in a room full of people. I’ll give myself an hour everyday to read, write a song, get on Pinterest, exercise, bake something crazy, meditate, and just about anything to have some quality Mandi time!
 It. Feels. So. Great.  


Do something for someone else.
Once you’re feeling balanced from taking some time for you, use that energy you get from it to help someone else. Drop off a couple of those cookies you just made, or call someone who might need a friend, or even volunteer somewhere. The greatest happiness you will find in your day will come from the times when you are doing things for others!

Keep A Schedule
Once you figure out what works for you and what you enjoy, write it down and repeat! You will keep that daily happiness going, and you will feel ready to face the world and the challenges you are going through. Life is so great, and we can get so much more out of it if we try to stay balanced and do those little things that make us smile everyday.

We love all of you so much!
Have fun living everyday to its fullest and enjoying the journey!

<3 Mandi

Wednesday, May 13

Recipe: Pesto Quinoa Bowls + Roasted Vegetables


Let's be honest, friends. I'm a newb in the kitchen. I've been known to double salt, substitute baking soda for baking powder (waffles have never been the same for me), and generally under or overcook things. I made a New Year's resolution this year to become more savvy in the kitchen and more like my sisters, who seem to have this natural gift of whipping up glorious meals out of nothing and presenting them in such a lovely way at the table.


 I had a roommate in college, my dear friend Chelsea, who was vegetarian and would pull together these amazingly nutritious and delicious colorful dishes from ingredients we'd get at our school's farmer's market every week. She inspired me to try lots of different veggies and would make quinoa and fresh guacamole almost every day! Chelsea's way of eating was simple and so tasty, so I've adapted a lot of her ways into my own diet.
This recipe came out of experimenting with roasting and steaming different vegetables and then throwing in all of my favorite things into a bowl. Somehow meals just taste better in a bowl, don't you think? I eat some variation of this probably two or three times a week, quinoa keeps really well in the fridge. 

Roasted broccoli and brussels sprouts are two of the most delicious things in the entire world, and so easy to make. I absolutely love sweet potatoes, too, and they seem to pair really well together. Really you can use any vegetables you want when it comes to a quinoa bowl!

Pesto Quinoa Bowls + Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:
extra virgin olive oil
fresh broccoli
cubed sweet potatoes (You can buy pre-cut bags at Target)
avocado
corn (canned)
pesto (I buy mine at Costco)
1 cup quinoa (makes about 3 servings)
thyme
sea salt & ground pepper
1/4 cup water

Directions:
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. I cook mine in a rice cooker, with 2 cups of water to 1 cup quinoa. It takes about 25-30 minutes so I always start that early before everything else.
- Preheat oven to 425° for roasted veggies
- Coat broccoli in olive oil, salt & pepper and spread out on a baking sheet
- Bake broccoli for about 10-12 minutes, or until slightly browned
- While broccoli is baking, heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on low heat. Add sweet potatoes.
- Sprinkle sweet potatoes with thyme, salt & pepper to taste. Saute for few minutes, until they start to carmelize.
- Add 1/4 cup to pan and cover. Steam sweet potatoes until they are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add as much pesto as you want (I like a lot, 2 or 3 spoonfuls) to your desired serving of quinoa when it is done cooking and still warm.
- Spoon quinoa mixture into bowl and top with roasted veggies, avocado, salt & pepper.

Other veggie suggestions: roasted asparagus, bell peppers, or brussels sprouts, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, butternut squash, eggplant, red onion, black beans



If you try this recipe, post a picture and tag me! I'd love to know what you all like in your favorite bowls. 
Happy Eating!
-Hailey-


Tuesday, May 12

Linda Is Sweet!


Meet Linda Hart Jensen!
We are so excited to introduce you to our sweet friend Linda, who is truly one of the kindest, most lovely, and funniest women we have ever met!
Linda was recently diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and has taken on her diagnosis with great courage and grace, continuing to serve in her church and community and making everyone around her feel like they are valued and important.


We got to attend an AMAZING fundraiser for Linda, where people gathered to celebrate her life and help raise funds to cover the medical costs of Linda's treatments.


We got to meet princesses!


 Kiss Cancer Goodbye, Linda! 


You can help support Linda's treatments by purchasing one of these adorable "Linda Is Sweet" t-shirts here!


In the recent moments that we have had the chance to spend time with Linda, she has made us feel so loved, beautiful, and always brings us closer to our Heavenly Father. She is like family to us! We admire Linda's incredible faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and perspective as she faces this incredible trial. We know how much Linda relies on God for peace, comfort, and direction in her life, and so we decided to record a studio version of "Oceans" by Hillsong United for her! All of the proceeds from the downloads of this cover will go to support Linda as she continues to fight cancer and support her family.

Here's our live version of "Oceans":

You can download "Oceans" on iTunes: http://apple.co/1KFK8Is
Loudr: http://bit.ly/1RAmNxg
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1L05xgc
Spotify: http://spoti.fi/1JFttof

We ask you to please include Linda and her dear family in your thoughts and prayers! You can also give her further support through downloading "Oceans" and by visiting http://lindaissweet.com/.

"Our faith will remind us that He, Jesus Christ, can calm the troubled waters of our lives."
- Howard W. Hunter-
We love you, Linda!
-Hailey, Allie, & Mandi-

Monday, May 11

Fitness & Health + Albion Fit


Trust us when we say we are not the poster children for keeping a rigorous workout schedule, and most days we'd rather eat a dozen cookies than go for a jog. That being said, staying active and healthy is something we try to prioritize in our lives so that we can be more balanced, happy, and capable of keeping up with the demands of school, work, and music!

We've teamed up with Albion Fit to share with you how we best fit in a good workout in our lives, what we each like to do, as well as why it's important to stay active! What better motivation to work out than some adorable workout gear?! Use the code gardinersisters15 for 15% off on their website until May 31st. You can also enter our giveaway on Instagram for you and a friend to each win a $50 gift card to Albion Fit! To be entered, you must follow @albionfit here and tag a friend in a comment on this photo we posted!


Mandi's Active Advice: 
Give yourself 15-30 mins a day to do an activity you love! 
I really enjoy being in the great outdoors, so I try to go for a jog around the neighborhood, walk around the lake, or get out on a hike. Doing what you love while exercising is the BEST combo, and will have you feeling great and balanced physically and emotionally. 

My Workout Routine:
Ok, so let's be honest, people like me just need to take it one day at a time.
 The weather and my schedule have everything to do with how I choose to workout that day, so I don't exactly have a set workout. Thanks to YouTube, we have so many options for our busy schedules! I like to head to the XHit Channel for some core and strength exercises. Each is about 10-15 minutes long, so depending on how much time I have, I'll do two or three of those, and I do that 2-3 days a week. I love how they have a video for everything! 
For my cardio I try to hit the gym twice a week and I'll run 2-3 miles each time I go (depending on how confident I feel that day... most of the time it's like barely a mile) Ha! 
I also clean. Does cleaning count as working out? Or eating? I'm good at eating. 

Healthy Habits:
Speaking of food... Feeling good and having energy is all about eating and sleeping well. 
It is hard to do my friends, trust me, I totally get it! The times that I do figure it out though, I feel SO great, and I'm definitely trying to be better at that eat-well, sleep-well balance thing! 
Basically I eat all day long, so I try to start with a big healthy breakfast of acai bowls, steel cut oats and berries, omeletes, etc. Just check out my instagram, you'll see what I mean. For energy throughout the day and an even better workout, breakfast is essential! I love snacking on fruits and veggies, and yes, cookies! It's so fun to experiment with different foods and come up with a great salad or banana muffin recipe. Just remember to have fun with it, and experiment with different activities to help you feel great and happy! Try running one day, yoga the next, surfing, hiking, or heck, why not P90X? Ok, I'll probably never do P90X, but y'all get what I'm saying.
Have fun finding the activities and foods you will love that will help you take care of your mind and body, and figure out what brings you that ultimate happy balance!  
Stay active and have fun!
<3 Mandi
 P.S Albion Fit workout clothing is absolute heaven. 



    



 Mandi's Outfit: Pink Top, Striped Leggings


Allie's Active Advice:
1. Do what you LOVE
2. Set realistic goals
4. Eat right
5.Get enough sleep
3. Wear cute workout clothes (AKA Albion Fit) ;)


My Workout Routine:
I used to never be the best at being motivated to work out. A couple years ago I decided to try out a barre/pilates class and absolutely loved it. It was there that I learned what it meant to really work out. And how long and how intense you have to do it in order for it to be effective. Taking classes is my favorite way to work out because I can just tune out my thoughts and be told what to do. 
The only problem with classes is that it can get a little pricey. So, I decided to figure out an alternative method. YouTube has some incredible workout channels. I found X-Hit's channel about a year ago and love their videos. A couple months ago however I switched over to another channel called "Fitness Blender". It. is. AMAZING. They have so many hour long work out videos that include the warm up and cool down/stretch (SO NICE). I also love how there is no music in the background so I can play my own workout playlist to get me pumped! 
To start out, I would recommend the free 5 Day Challenge that they offer on their channel. After I did that, I was hooked. On their website they also have programs that you can purchase where they put together videos for you depending on what you want to target/achieve. Right now I'm in the middle of an 8 week program and it's killer! 
I used to think that strength training would make me bulky- But then I realized how essential it is! It doesn't make you bulky, and I actually prefer having some muscle tone ;) 

Healthy Habits:
Not sure if I can even say I practice what I preach- keeping up with healthy habits is not always the easiest! It really is just all about remembering the little things- getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising, meditating, being social, you know... All that good stuff.
Diet plays a huge role in your overall wellness. I find that I feel best if I cook fresh meals at home. It's cheaper than eating out and so much better for you in so many ways. 
It's so important to take care of your body! Treat yourself well in order to stay healthy and to be able to function at your best!
Again- set realistic goals. And if you get off track for a couple days don't fret! Just get back into it as soon as possible ;) 









Hailey's Active Advice: 
I absolutely LOVE to work out! Now, does that mean I do it as much as I should or that I am super amazing at lifting weights and running long distances? Absolutely not! I go through phases where I'm really active and focused and then I forget how much I love that wonderful high you get after pushing your body to the limit and find myself slowly getting out of the habit. The key for me is consistency
I set a goal for myself a couple months ago to work out more consistently, and I'm super happy to say that I have set and met many personal fitness goals since. Our bodies truly are amazing and capable of so much! It feels so good to be fit, strong and healthy and helps me to feel confident and content with my body.

My Workout Routine:
I have found that working out first thing in the early morning when I wake up works best for me, before my brain has time to make excuses and catch up with my body! I work out 5 days a week for 30 minutes each day, and "working out" for me may mean something entirely different than what it means to you. Our bodies are all made differently, so you should tailor your workout to your personal skills, abilities and needs! I am not the kind of person who likes going to the gym, so I'd rather hike to get in my cardio instead of run on the treadmill. On a daily basis, I choose to do 3 workout videos a day at home from one of my favorite channels on YouTube called Xhit, as Mandi mentioned. You can check out my playlist I use every day here! I like variety and so I mix up working upper body, lower body, cardio, and abs each day. I also have a love/hate relationship with Jillian Michaels, and try to do her Six Week Six Pack level one workout at least once a week. It's killer, but feels so good when you're done!

Healthy Habits:
Being the sugar-loving, candy-craving, chocolate obsessed person that I am, my biggest battle is choosing to eat well and balance out my sweet tooth with healthier food options. I have hypoglycemia, so when my blood sugar is low I get SUPER hangry and have learned to eat literally all day long. I've learned how to eat to maximize my energy with lots of protein, nuts, granola bars (I LOVE Kind Bars), fish, quinoa, cheese and fresh fruit if I'm really wanting sugar and don't have any on hand =). It's totally fine to eat chocolate chip cookies and peanut m&m's as a treat, as long as you make sure you are fueling your body with food that will give you the energy you need to feel good throughout your day.
I also recently invested in a bunch of super cute, bright and colorful workout gear that totally motivates me to get up and active first thing in the morning! I have have recently found and am obsessed with Albion Fit and am so excited to get to share their adorable gear (and swimwear!) with you! 
Being active and fit makes you HAPPY! Show yourself some love and set aside time every single day to strengthen and push your body - it's an amazing, beautiful, completely unique gift from God to you!
-Hailey-



Pure Athleticism. HA!






What do you do to stay healthy, fit & happy?
- Gardiner Sisters-