Friday, February 26, 2010

Simple Weekends

As much as I love fun, lively and activity-filled weekends, I also relish the simple ones. A few days of taking things as they come and leisurely breakfasts that include a full pot of coffee are always welcome in my book!

The only real plans we have for the weekend are to attend a Dinner Auction tomorrow night to help raise money for a youth missions trip to Mexico, which should be quite fun! And of course, there are always those early morning workouts. I know it sounds crazy, but weekend mornings have become my favorite sweat sessions. Not only are there no time constraints put on me, but my husband enjoys sleeping in so it works out nicely for both of us. By the time he is waking up, I have already started a yummy breakfast for the two of us. It's quite perfect, really!

Have a delightful weekend and enjoy the last few days of February!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Shabby Apple

I just came across this super cute dress from Shabby Apple that would be perfect for a sunny day of wine tasting! It might also make a wonderful birthday dress for someone who is turning 24 in seven weeks...

Travel Fantasy

I've been inspired by several of my frequent blog reads who have posted about their travel fantasies. Naturally, I am inclined on dreary days like today to do a little daydreaming of my own about a lovely getaway to places far far away...

If money wasn't a factor, I would kidnap my husband from work and hop on a plane to Brazil where we could vacation at the incredible Uxua Casa Hotel!

I can already picture us sipping drinks by the beautiful Quartz pool, or by the beach for that matter, enjoying the local Brazilian fusion cuisine and then melting away every stress with a few body treatments in their spas tranquil outdoor treatment rooms. Oh, and I definitely call dibs on the hammock!

This definitely gets me hoping for a long weekend getaway soon!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ellie's Wisdom

image via

"In my food world there is no fear or guilt, only joy and balance. So no ingredient is ever off limits."
Ellie Krieger

I love and completely share this motto! Too often, we go to extremes in an effort to lose weight or become healthier, but the realization that eating healthy doesn't mean totally depriving yourself creates a healthier realtionship with food!

Take a peek at Ellie's website and try a few of her delicious recipes!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Friendly Distance?

As some of you know, I am currently training for a half marathon this April (and possibly a full in July). While I am thoroughly enjoyed the training process, I've also been chewing on something I read recently. I am following Hal Higdon's training program and on his website he mentions that a half marathon is a "friendly" distance for a runner. At first I laughed, because as much as I love fitness, running has never really been my thing (until now anyway!). But I kept asking myself, at what point does one feel like 13.1 miles is a "friendly" distance? Because let me tell you, very rarely have I looked back on a run and called it friendly...

Until recently, that is. Coming off a pretty tough and busy week (read: shorting myself on a few workouts!) , I thought my long run was going to be awful! But I was pleasantly surprised when I completed it and afterward found myself actually saying the words, "That was a friendly run!". Who knew?!

And just like that I am totally encouraged that when I complete my half marathon in a mere 7 weeks, maybe I too will be calling it a friendly distance. Let's hope!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Completely Refreshed

I feel so refreshed on this beautiful Monday morning! Amazing what an extra day off can do to lift your spirits and prepare you for a brand new week!

The laid back nature of the past few days gave me an opportunity to catch up on things, get in a few good workouts (including a fantastic run last night!), have a lunch date with a lovely friend, lots of magazine reading and some quality sleep. I heart weekends!

Oh yes, and the Chicago style pizza I made Friday night was AMAZING! My husband was so impressed that he requested I make it again. I love when that happens! Check it out on pg. 33 of the March/April issue of Clean Eating!

I hope your weekend was wonderful and got you started on the right foot this morning! Merry Monday!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

All-Time Favorite Candles

I've always been one to love the finishing touches in a home that really make it feel, well, homey! For me, fresh flowers and candles are the perfect way to accomplish that. I am a total and complete sucker for good candles and I have found that you most certainly get what you pay for. That doesn't necessarily mean that all expensive candles are good, but the really good ones are well worth the small investment. Especially since I am always lighting one or two throughout the house! Here are my all-time favorites!

Luminaries Luxury in Poppy Papaya~ the first time I received this candle was as a gift at our engagement party. I wanted to be stingy about lighting it, but every time I did, I got so many compliments about how amazing my house smelled! It still remains on at the top of my list for a great springtime scent!

Voluspa has a brilliant line of candles, but this Gogi and Tarocco Orange is absolutely incredible! It is currently lit in our living room, filling it with a subtle sweet and tangy aroma.

Capri Blue Volcano~ A definite regular in my candle stash, this is both in our entryway and our bathroom. I have given this candle as a gift to several people because it seems to be a fragrance that everyone falls in love with! The great thing about this one is the diversity of packaging. For example, it comes in a red or blue jar, a pretty etched jar (pictured below the red one) and several other shapes and sizes.

Aveda's Himalayan Glow~ this one is very earthy and natural smelling and a definite favorite in our bedroom. Sadly, it's a seasonal product that only comes out around Christmas. I usually find it in my stocking!

Thymes also has a brilliant line of candles, but this unique scent called Tamarind Lychee is my favorite, although the Blue Lotus is also delicious! It gives off a scent unlike any other candle I've tried and burns nice and slow. I am anxious to try the new line they recently released!

And finally, for someone who plugs her nose every time I walk past the Yankee Candle store, I surprised myself with this candle! Just before Chris and I moved into our apartment I purchased this Vanilla Lime candle for our kitchen and never looked back! It is perfect for a fresh, clean and summery scent that makes me want to make margaritas all the time!

Do you have any favorites?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dress Love

How adorable is this handmade dress made with reclaimed fabrics?! Perfect for a summer day picnic or a frolic through the park!

Oh Etsy, you have my heart!

Mental Health Friday

Even though this week was a short one, I most definitely needed a "mental health day" today. Since I am still working my full time job in addition to building my training clientele, I've been a tad bit exhausted the past few weeks and needed a little breather from my 4am alarm. Thank goodness this is only a temporary situation until I have enough regular clients to just train, which doesn't even feel like work to me!

The day is already off to a magnificent start! After I finish my yummy breakfast, I think I'll take Abby for a walk to the park and then maybe to Starbucks for a soy chai...yum!

Tonight I'm whipping up a Chicago style pizza for dinner (from Clean Eating) complete with a bottle of wine and a few candles to set the mood! I predict it to be quite a lovely evening!

As for the rest of the weekend, we have not a care in the world. We spent yesterday afternoon talking about fun things we could do and sadly, a day trip to San Francisco is out because it's raining there all weekend. But I feel sure whatever we come up with will be wonderful, even if it's just hanging out at home together!

Happy Friday! Hope your weekend is lovely!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Tropical Breakfast

Doesn't this Pineapple Breakfast Sandwich look stunning?! The recipe also suggests substituting the strawberries and walnuts with banana and coconut for a tropical twist...yes please!

Pineapple Breakfast Sandwich
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
4 tablespoons Neufchatel or part-skim ricotta cheese
2 slices whole grain bread, toasted
4 large strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

In a small bowl, combine pineapple and Neufchatel and then spread evenly on bread. Top with strawberries and walnuts and serve.

I think I might need to try this for breakfast this weekend!

A Perfect Pairing


I tend to get on kicks when it comes to food, but I mean, who doesn't? You've got to change it up to prevent boredom!

Lately, greek yogurt is one of my favorite snack choices! Something about its super thick, creamy texture makes it feel like I am seriously indulging, when I am really providing my body with healthy energy. Who doesn't love that?! Over the years I've tried numerous brands, but these days I am loving Chobani non-fat vanilla greek yogurt with sliced strawberries.

Now I know, I know, strawberries are not actually in season and I am almost always against buying produce that is not in season. But while grocery shopping this week I made an exception because they were calling my name, not to mention they were reasonably priced and looked tasty!

I should also mention that Chobani was recently featured in Clean Eating magazine as the best greek yogurt! Take a look at the label for yourself. (these are for the nonfat vanilla variety)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hello Sunshine!

I must admit to you, my blog neglect the past few days has been due to the glorious weather we have been having in sunny California! Admittedly, I would much rather be outside, soaking up the sunshine than inside on a computer. This, by the way, is why we adore living here, it's been 70 degrees and sunny in mid-February! It definitely explains my super cheery mood today. Well, that and a delightful sushi date I had with some sweet friends last night!

I hope your weekend treated you well! If you were lucky like me, you had Monday off in honor of Presidents day, which was a wonderful way to end a lovely weekend!

A little peek at our Valentine's day~

Like I mentioned, we opted for a low-key date, which included: homemade paninis for lunch, a little shopping, an afternoon nap and dinner, followed by watching Fireproof on the living room pallet we set up to feel like a "slumber party" (my idea, because I always want to stay up late watching movies, but have to go to bed early for work!). Of course, this was all topped off with delicious chocolate covered strawberries we picked up at Whole Foods! I'm not gonna lie, it was a pretty fantastic day!

Tasty panini fixings!

A simple favorite of ours, because who doesn't love Trader Joe's Vodka pasta sauce?

How cute is the little tuxedo strawberry?!

Have a perfectly delightful day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Have a Very Sweet Weekend!

Hello Lovelies! What are your plans for the weekend?

I am looking forward to being pampered this afternoon with a mani/pedi and have hopes of stopping by Anthro to pick up something cute for the weekend! Although Saturday is completely booked with renewing my CPR certification, I fully intend on enjoying the rest of the weekend with my sweet valentine! There will definitely be some delicious cooking involved, I was thinking maybe homemade cinnamon rolls...mmm. Then we have a wonderful, low-key date planned for the rest of the day. And I won't stress about waking up early Monday morning because I have the day off work!

Wishing you an extra delightful Valentine's weekend full of sweet treats and lots of love!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

All In Good Health

image via

This week I have tried two new soup recipes from the new Eat Clean Cookbook and both have been absolutely fantastic! I'll have to post the curry soup next week, but I just had to steal a minute from our lovely evening to share tonight's dinner with you.

I'll be honest, when I read through the ingredients list I was a bit skeptical about this soup having enough flavor. So I promise not to be offended when you skim through the recipe and think to yourself, "This looks too healthy". But I was most pleasantly surprised by the wonderful combination of spicy flavors and hearty textures. It was nothing short of delicious. Give it a try! I'm already looking forward to the leftovers!

Clean Eating Meal in a Bowl Mexican Soup
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 large purple onion, peeled and sliced thin
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into ribbons
2 chili peppers, coarsely chopped
5 fresh meaty tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh corn kernels
2 cloves garlic, passed through a press
3 bouillon cubes
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp taco seasoning
1 tsp paprika
1 19 oz. can beans, red kidney or black
dash Tabasco

Place stock in a dutch oven or stockpot. Add all vegetables (excluding beans), bouillon cubes and spices. Bring to a boil, Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add beans and heat through.
Serve with Tabasco and a little dollop of low-fat sour cream. Enjoy!

V-Day Favorites!

In honor of the upcoming "Day of Love", I wanted to share some favorite finds for the occassion!

To wear~

This oh-so-feminine Recital Cardigan is from my favorite store, Anthropologie.

As are these pretty earrings.

Naturally, painted nails are a must for V-Day. I am loving this Chapel of Love hue by OPI.

To hear~

Sinatra's greatest love songs.

To taste~

Chris and I will definitely be popping open our bottle of Chandon's sparkling red wine this weekend! It only seems appropriate.

Hand dipped chocolate covered strawberries from Shari's Berries. A-mazing!!

To feel~

Heavanilli massage bar from Lush.

To see~

And finally, I have fallen in love with this I Heart You photograph by pinkiesister.

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Inspiration: Pizza Garden

A huge reason Chris and I look forward to having a house one day is the endless possibilities for a garden! Just imagine: fresh herbs, plants, flowers and of course, a Meyer lemon tree!

For now we are perfectly content with our potted plants and little, overflowing herb pot, but some day I plan on borrowing this idea from Better Homes and Gardens and planting a pizza garden!

How perfectly fitting for us since homemade pizza is a staple in our kitchen!

They even grid out where to place the various veggies and herbs. Leave it to Better Homes and Gardens to be so clever!

A. 2 'Husky Cherry Red' tomatoes
B. 1 'Golden Jubilee' tomato
C. 2 basil
D. 1 'Keystone Giant' bell pepper
E. 1 'Jalapeno' pepper
F. 1 oregano
G. 3 onion
H. 2 rosemary
I. 5 thyme


I got home from my hair appointment last night to find a lovely bunch of purple tuilps sitting perfectly on my bathroom counter. That sweet husband of mine!

While I was getting ready this morning, I couldn't help but long for the beautiful, sunny days of Spring. There's nothing like tulips to get me wishing for warmer weather!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Sweet Gift and a Funny

You may remember me swooning over this pillow a few weeks ago. Well, my sweet aunt made a special delivery this weekend with none other than a Pottery Barn bag carrying the pillow! It was a thank you for helping her get back on track with diet and exercise. How sweet and appreciative is that?! Needless to say, I was totally suprised!

And I just had to share this ridiculous picture of our pup who, as you can see, thinks she is one of us! About fifteen minutes after waking up yesterday I walked into our bedroom to see this! How she got herself nestled under the covers like that is still a mystery to me!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Our Weekend Plus Some D-licious Cupcakes!

Happy Monday! While I'm sad to see our fun weekend come to an end, at least I can say it was a delightful one!

Our Friday started earlier than usual because Chris left work a few hours early, giving us a chance at a fun afternoon! We ended up going to see Edge of Darkness, the new Mel Gibson movie. We would definitely recommend for an edge-of-your-seat flick. Very good!

Saturday morning I took a bootcamp class at my new work and besides kicking my butt, it was fantastic! I had an opportunity to meet the two part time trainers and also some regulars to the class. Let me just say, I love the whole environment and the people and am so excited I get to work with them!

We also had some yummy sushi with our friends, the Hookers, cleaned a lot, ran a lot of errands, Chris cleaned our cars, and we ended up having our friends Brad and Laura over for the Superbowl.

And that brings me to the one thing I was actually looking forward to about the game, making these delectable Dark Chocolate Stout Cupcakes!

I found this recipe several weeks ago on my fave food blog, Pinch my Salt, and have been stowing it away especially for the Superbowl. I just knew Chris would love them!

They are ridiculously moist and not super sweet, but the cream cheese frosting takes care of your sweet tooth for an amazing combination that is just oh-so-scrumptious!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plain, thick yogurt, at room temperature
6 oz. dark stout (I used Guinness), at room temperature
2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tub cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake papers; spray the whole thing, cupcake papers and all, with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Melt butter in microwave or on stovetop, then set aside.
In a large bowl, preferably with a pouring spout, whisk together eggs and yogurt. Add beer and vanilla whisk until well combined.
Sift all the dry ingredients together (cocoa powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and cinnamon) into a separate bowl.
Add about a third of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and using a hand mixer, blend well. Add the rest of the flour mixture, a third at a time, mixing well after each addition. When all ingredients are blended, add the melted butter then continue mixing until very well combined.
Pour batter into the twelve cups, filling each only about 3/4 full.
Bake on center rack of the preheated 350 degree oven and for approximately 25 minutes.
When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake will come out clean), remove the pan to a wire rack. Let cool for ten minutes then remove cupcakes from pan and let them cool completely on wire rack.
Frost cupcakes once completely cooled.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dream Job Made a Reality

Happy Friday sweet friends!

I have some extra exciting news to share today! Yesterday afternooon I was offered a personal training position at a place my "job dreams" are made of!! We have been praying that a wonderful opportunity like this would come up and I am beyond grateful it is finally a reality. I am so ready to get started!

Without going into too much detail just yet, I will be training at a personal training studio where I can offer private sessions on my own schedule without the hassle of having to sell products, work floor hours or fight for clients like I would in a gym setting. The studio is amazing and full of the best equiptment! I'll definitely keep you updated as I make this wonderful transition and put my degree back to work!

This weekend I am looking forward to celebrating a lot, getting my business cards made and even a boot camp class tomorrow morning! Although Chris and I had talked about having a little Super Bowl thing, it is honestly the farthest thing from my mind right now...we'll see how that plays out.

Have a lovely and exceptionally grand weekend!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"We Need A George"

Since Chris and I have been together, he has always said he wants a Great Dane someday. Contrary to their enormous size, they are known to be wonderful apartment dogs! Even so, we have decided to wait on getting our Great Dane until we are in a bigger place. Can you imagine a Great Dane and Abby in our apartment?? I don't even want to!

All that as a little background to the email I received from my husband this morning that said, "We need a George!".

When I opened it up this is what I saw~

This is George and his owner, Dave. George is a Blue Great Dane measuring 7 feet and 3 inches from nose to tail and weighs nearly 245 lbs! They are trying to enter him into the Guiness Book of World Records as world's tallest dog. Ya think?

Apparently he eats 110 lbs. of food a month and sleeps in his own queen size bed! The owner has had him since he was 7 months and never expected him to get so large. Talk about not knowing what your getting yourself in to!

My husband cracks me up and mostly because he's serious!
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