Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Currently Craving

Have you guys tried coconut water lately? It is being widely talked about in the health/fitness realm and is being touted for it's numerous health benefits. But the truth is, it really is a wonderful product! It's rich source of electrolytes makes it a perfect beverage to hydrate your body. Plus it's really tasty-like a tropical little treat!

I have recently been indulging in what I call an Orange Dream Machine smoothie. And yes, it is every bit as delectable as it sounds! The addition of coconut water to my daily green smoothies have taken my morning meal to a whole new level of awesome!

Try it for yourself and be amazed at the creamy texture it adds, along with the energy boost it offers!

Orange Dream Machine
1 orange, sectioned and peeled
1/2 banana
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 large handful of spinach
1 cup coconut water

Toss all ingredients in blender, in order listed. Blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Not for the Faint of Heart

Last week I mentioned I was taking a hot yoga class this weekend and I wanted to share a bit of my experience with you. If you have never done Bikram yoga before, let me assure you, it is not for the faint of heart! While I absolutely loved it, don't let me fool you-it was intense!

Upon arriving 20 minutes early with an empty stomach, I was told that my yoga for the day would be to stay in the room for the entire 90 minutes-um, yikes! I must admit that it was tough feat adjusting to the 105 degree room while getting through all 26 poses, but when all was said and done, I felt invigorated, challenged and totally exhausted! I would rank it up there with one of the single most challenging exercises I've ever done, and one I will certainly do again!

And did I mention that studies have shown you can burn up to 630 calories an hour? And keep in mind these are 90 minute classes! Just be prepared to be drenched from head to toe by the time you finish (think hot sauna for an extended period of time).

All in all, I would definitely recommend trying one out if you're looking for something fresh to throw in your workout routine. Classes can be pricey, but look for local specials and keep an eye out for groupon and livingsocial deals like the one I found. That way if you hate it, you aren't out much money and you still tried something new. Happy exercising!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Merriness

Happy Monday! Almost can't believe the weekend is already over, but we got so much accomplished these past few days! The best part is, we got our bedroom painted and new {awesomely tall} baseboards to replace the old 1-inch oak ones that came with the house. The bad part is, we didn't finish until late last night so I had terrible lighting for pictures, plus the room is still a bit disheveled. {Sorry!} But I'm hoping to get some pics posted later this week for ya, so you too can ooh and ahh over phase one of many on our Master Bedroom face lift. But believe me, it looks b-e-a-utiful!! Major kuddos to my husband for being so gosh darn handy!

I hope your weekend was absolutely wonderful and have a happy Monday!

image spotted on Lovely Little Things, original source unknown

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Perfect Compromise?

I briefly alluded yesterday to the ongoing difference of opinion my husband and I have had about fan vs. no fan in the bedroom. To me it just seems to take away some of the romantic whimsy, though I understand the practical matter at hand when it comes to a ceiling fan. After all, our room is west facing and can get pretty hot in the warmer months. But I remain optimistic that we can come to a compromise (or that my husband will suddenly realize he too wants to ditch the fan...).

So you can imagine how intrigued I was when I stumbled on this lovely blog and her DIY  "fandelier". At first I laughed and then I realized this may be the perfect solution (that is, if I must keep a ceiling fan). And it doesn't hurt that I've been lusting after this exact capiz chandy at Cost Plus. Meant to be? Maybe!

Check out how she did it on House Tweeking and while you're there, swing by her house tour-I'm drooling over here. And don't get me started on that DIY headboard!

What do you think? Reasonable compromise?


Have a Fun Weekend!

I love how short this week felt, though I definitely have some catching up to do around the house this weekend! But on a fun note, I'm trying out a new hot yoga class tomorrow. Generally hot yoga studios are really pricey, but thanks to a livingsocial deal I purchased a few weeks ago, I got 10 sessions for less than half the normal price! I'm looking forward to uping the intensity with a 90-minute sweat session! And if all goes as planned, I may also have a painted bedroom to share next week!

Hope your weekend is lovely!  


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dreaming in Gray

I shared a while back that Chris and I planned on getting the master bedroom re-do started. Unfortunately, others things have gotten in the way. But I think it's finally back on our radar. And guess what? I've changed my mind on the paint color...shocking, right? So for that, I am thankful because I am even happier with my current choice.

As for my inspiration, I am completely awed by the picture above. I love the serene, calm, yet romantic feel of the gray room. I love gray! Now if I could just convince my husband to replace the current ceiling fan with a chandelier, we would be set!

Keep your eye out for Master Bedroom makeover part 1! Coming soon!

While in Indiana...

This little guy turned 1! Could he be any cuter? I think not.

We learned that the zoo is way more fun with five curious little ones.

We raced was a close call;)

Loved on these sweet little faces.

Swung so high, we almost touched the moon.

Reached crazy heights on the monkey bars.

And generally had an awesome visit with my family! Thanks Dad and Rebecca for such a lovely trip!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wine + Tulips

I just recently heard about this place called Tulip Hill Winery. Doesn't the name sound amazing?! In another month or so their grounds will look something spectacular {like the picture above, taken from their website} with all sorts of tulips, daffodils and such in bloom!

It's located just north of Napa, making it a perfect little Saturday outing! I hope to check it out in the upcoming month or so-I'll let you know if it lives up to the hype!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

{Happy Spring!}

Just wanted to stop by and give a shout out for the first official day of Spring! Hope you're doing something fun and festive to celebrate the greatness of the season!

Personally, I cant wait to sip on iced americanos, enjoy the first of my early girl tomatoes and catch the next Alameda Antique Faire!!

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 18, 2011

TGIF: Indy Bound!

Happy Friday! Besides it being the end of a cra-zay work week, I am riding high on the enthusiasm that my husband and I are heading to Indiana this afternoon! We are really looking forward to celebrating my little brother's 1st birthday tomorrow and spending some good, quality time with the family. The break from normal life is also much appreciated :) Be back next week. Until then, have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Heavenly Dreams

I just wanted to share this little tip with you today, in case you are looking for a fresh way to bring Spring to your home. I recently tried a version of it and was really pleased with the results.

To bring a lovely hint of lavender into your bedroom, simply launder your sheets with Meyers lavender detergent and then throw in a lavender sachet or two when you transfer them to the dryer. Voila! It's as simple as that and I bet you sleep like a baby!

I only included the lavender sachets when my sheets went in the dryer because I have a brand new bottle of the detergent we currently use and did not want to spend money on something I didn't need. The results were still a welcome hint of relaxation as my head hit the pillow, and I'm sure including step number one would only increase the luxurious aroma.

Happy Spring cleaning!


Monday, March 14, 2011

A Taste of Spring

I love how Spring has a way of bringing nature indoors. Where it's warm enough to open all the windows and enjoy the fresh air, all kinds of flowers are popping up around the house and fresh herbs and produce are suddenly right at my fingertips, straight from my backyard. Doesn't get better than that!

While our tradition is to wait until the first official weekend of Spring to plant our herbs and vegetable garden, we decided to get a head start since we will be out of town next weekend. Not that I am complaining as my favorite springtime cookbook is on the counter, just begging to be opened!

And on another gardening note, my camellias have taken off this past week and are now covered in beautiful blooms. And might I add that after looking at the price of a mature camellia at the nursery this weekend, I am so grateful that we already have two!

I am utterly delighted by the beautiful, cheery colors currently surrounding our abode!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Happy Monday!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rest for the Weary

Happy Friday, friends! This has been an exhausting week to say the least, making the next few days a much anticipated respite! But despite the fatigue that has taken me over, it feels as if God has poured sunshine into my soul and I am somehow rejuvenated! Honestly, the Beth Moore bible study I am currently doing is rocking my world! I've grown to look forward to Thursday nights with my bible study ladies. How sweet it is to be surrounded by such wise and encouraging woman of God!

And on that note, it is also amazing that my husband finished ALL of our laundry this week. Yep, he's Mr. Wonderful! Because believe me, it was a lot.

This weekend I hope to visit our local nursery and make some headway on our vegetable garden and maybe even whip up a homemade pizza. That always seems to do the trick.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, March 10, 2011


"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" - Leonardo DaVinci

My goal this year has been to simplify and I'm learning to embrace it more and more each day. It's quite a beautiful thing, simplicity.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Natural Remedies?

I'm going on day two of a terrible sore throat. Being a huge fan of natural remedies myself, I've been sipping loads of hot chamomile tea with lemon as well as doing a salt gargle, but to no avail. So any other suggestions to fight this nasty discomfort would be dearly appreciated. Thanks, xo.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Twist on Tuna

I've drawn so much inspiration from my new cookbook by Ellie Krieger-I know, I know, I've already said that. But she has some great, simple ideas to spruce up lunches, which I tend to get in a rut over quite often! What can I say, it's my least favorite meal of the day. So I was more than willing to try her take on a tuna sandwich when I looked over the list of somewhat untraditional ingredients. But you must already now that it was a success, otherwise why would I be sharing it?

If you struggle with fresh, new lunch ideas like I do, give this sandwich a shot. You just might be surprised at how well the flavors go together!

A New Twist on Tuna
Inspired by Ellie Krieger's, So Easy

1 can tuna packed in water
1/4 diced green apple
1/2 chopped celery stalk
2 Tbsp chopped dried cherries
1 Tbsp plain non-fat Greek yogurt
Touch of mayo (if you like)
Splash of fresh lemon juice
Hint of Dijon mustard
freshly ground pepper

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Blooming Surprise

While the overall landscaping of our house needs some serious TLC, it's pretty evident that someone, at some point, really loved this house. I say that because little surprises keep popping up all over the place. The most recent find has got me all sorts of giddy!

This weekend (before all the rain came in), we spent some time planting several Spring bulbs as well as replanting some other previously potted plants. Here's a picture of what it looks like after taking out a large, unsightly bush and planting our gardenia and hydrangea. Keep in mind this is after it rained loads, before we moved the huge pile of green waste and that there is still much to do...

See that gigantic plant in the corner? We had no idea what it was and actually talked about replacing it with something else. That is until my Mom, in all of her gardening wisdom, suggested that it looked like a camelia.

So we left it alone and patiently waited for it to bloom. Well cripes, I am just head-over-heels with what I just discovered about our front yard friend this weekend! It is indeed a camelia with these hot pink blooms!

I am ecstatic to have another beautiful choice of fresh flowers from my own yard. Imagine how much money I'm going to save on blooms this year! While it still has plenty of time to show its beautiful self, I was able to cut off two vases worth!

So I would like to say thank you previous homeowner, whoever you are, for leaving us this pretty little surprise!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Brulée + Oats

If you have been stopping by for any amount of time, you might know that I LOVE breakfast! Something about spending a little extra time on the weekends to prepare a lovely morning meal, all while savoring a few cups of freshly brewed coffee just gives me all kinds of pleasure.

So it should come as no surprise that I am absolutely delighted to bring you this recipe for Banana Pecan Oatmeal Brulée, shared by my all-time favorite food blogger.

It's very possible that I will be making this tomorrow morning! Enjoy-I know I will!

ps~I will omit the butter from the oats.


Restful Weekend

Happy Friday! What are you up to this fine weekend? On my agenda: shopping for new jeans, diving into the heaps of laundry that have piled up and hopefully catching a matinee with my hubby. It should be the perfect opportunity to catch up on sleep and squeeze in some R&R. Have a good one!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kickin' Sweets to the Curb

Well peeps, I have temporarily kicked sweets to the curb...again. (remember this, this and this?) It's good, really. It gives me a chance to re-focus my clean eating efforts and purge the indulgences for a bit. But it almost feels like cheating when I have guiltless pleasures like the Jocalat bars around! I've been loving on Larabars for a long time (more on that here), but until last week, I had never tried the Jocalat line. Where have I been?

There is something very liberating about eating something so pure that still tastes so sinful. Almost like I've beaten that nasty little sweet tooth:)

From my recent experience I can tell you, the chocolate hazelnut is good, the chocolate coffee is okay, but the chocolate mint is outofthisworld fantastic! Like eating a mint brownie!

But just in case you look at the nutrition facts and think you would rather have an actual mint brownie, hear this: yes, there are 20 grams of sugar in this bar. However, the ingredient list is this: dates, almonds, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla and peppermint extract-that's it! No added sugars or preservatives, just good ol' wholesome foods. So the sugar is coming from fruit, ya know, the natural kind. Plus you've got all the beneficial healthy fats, fiber, protein and vitamins in there. Thanks larabar, for giving my sweet tooth a healthy fix!

Happy snacking!


Whether what you love is a job, a hobby or a simple it often!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tis' The Season

The season to plot out our garden! PS-We are that couple totally geeking out in the garden section of Home Depot-we're cool, we know. On the top of my gardening list this Spring - planting a Meyer lemon tree! It's been one of those desires I tucked away for when we were finally homeowners. And now that it's a reality, my garden department geek-ness has only grown. I bet you didn't think that was possible.

It has only fueled my obsession that a few friends have generously shared heaps of their excess crop. Which, of course, has got me dreaming up all the amazing goodies that could come from having my own supply of lemony goodness, like Meyer lemon marmelade and Meyer lemon pancakes. And if I'm in the mood for savory, Meyer Lemon risotto with Roasted chicken with Meyer lemon sauce. And don't forget about sweet endings like Meyer lemon cake and dare I even go there...Meyer lemon brulee! Sorry, have I gotten carried away?

I didn't think so either. Thanks for understanding.

So lovelies, with Spring right around the corner (18 days, to be exact!) what are your gardening aspirations?


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

So Easy: Chipotle Orange Glazed Pork Chops

This recipe is the first I made from my new Ellie Krieger cookbook, and boy did it impress! For such a minimal list of ingredients, I was really pleased with the burst of flavor these pork chops had and my husband loves that it is yet another reason to use his favorite ingredient, canned chipotle chiles in adobo. Okay, maybe not his favorite, but pretty close! And I love that on a busy weeknight, this lovely and substantial meal can be whipped up in less than 20 minutes-seriously!

And might I suggest pairing with mashed sweet potatoes and green beans sauteed with shallots? Just a thought. And most importantly, enjoy!

Chipotle Orange Glazed Pork Chops
Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger's So Easy

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon finely chopped seeded chipotle with 1/2 teaspoon adobo
4 (3/4-inch thick) center cut pork loin chops (about 8 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoons salt

In a small bowl combine the maple syrup, orange juice concentrate and chipotle.
Preheat grill pan. Sprinkle both sides of the chops with salt. Brush 1 side of chops generously with glaze. Place on grill pan glaze side down. Brush other side with glaze. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side over medium-high heat

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