Wednesday, March 28, 2012

fond memories...

I'm beginning to think that I'll never see the sun again... everyday since this it has been raining or it has looked like it wants to rain. The clouds have taken over the sky with their dreary color and strong winds. Not that I'm complaining, I love a good rain storm, but I am a little scared that when the sun does come out I wont be prepared and I'll have to hide away like a little mole. (the animal, not the facial deformity)

Looking through my queue I decided that it is perfect timing to post this lovely collection of my fun day in Capitola. We have friends that moved their a few months ago, we do miss them, but when we get the chance to go visit- it's totally a treat. Day cations are nice when you know you can go away from home, but still have the option to stay over night. That's the upside to going to see friends, a free place to sleep!! Maybe you should check your social calendar and see who might need a visit :)

We drove over and had lunch at this great sushi restaurant. It really does its due diligence when it comes to the fish they serve. They don't serve fish with high levels of Mercury (healthy) and they don't serve fish that is on the watch list for population endangerment (ecological). After lunch we treated ourselves to a delicious ice cream and waffle cone. I haven't had one in years, because I normally stick to frozen yogurt. It sounds so cliche, but we enjoyed the sunset while walking along the beach eating our ice cream cones- but isn't that what a beach day is all about?


Gor-Gor, their social cat

sweet sake

cute teapot collections, lined the walls

ice cream... what a treat!

Friday, March 23, 2012

enjoy a free weekend

Sorry, if the title led you to believe that I was going to pay to send you on an all exclusive weekend getaway to Cancun, Mexico.... My pockets aren't that deep. :(

But I am willing to supply you with a fabulous list of FREE and ALMOST FREE activities for you to do this weekend. Sometimes its nice to spend money and splurge on yourself with dinner or traveling or extra fun activities.... but I understand that not everyone has the same budget and sitting at home on the couch is only so- so fun (well to me anyway). I decided to share seven because the number rhymes with my name.  So, in light of the weekend coming up, and hopefully you have some free time, try out some of the activities and see how far you can stretch your dollar.

1. check out some uncovered art galleries or museums in your area. Most of them are free when they have gallery openings and they even offer hour de overs and wine that is complimentary. So try out your more sophisticated side.
2. Make dinner together, instead of going out to eat. Yes, you will have to pay for the groceries but it will be a lot less than having the same meal out at a restaurant. Roast up some veggies on the grill and grab some steaks from the store. Serve with some Salsa Verde and a Corona, Olé!! you have a meal for 2 for under $25

3.Go out with friends for Karaoke night at your local bar. You don't have to even get drunk to enjoy it. All the people on the stage making fools of themselves, is enough entertainment.
4. Enjoy a nice opposite date. Go out for a nice coffee and pastry with your friends or lover. Then enjoy a nice matinee movie (which is close to half the price of an evening showing). I'm going to see the Hunger Games this weekend and I think breakfast at this fun joint.

5.  Invite some friends over for a board game and a few drinks. I love the line of wines from Trader Joes, they each have a different abstract animal on the label. My favorite is the 2009 La Granja 360 Cariñena Tempranillo/Garnacha. Its only $4.99 a bottle- a nice upgrade from the usual "2 Buck Chuck." Grab a few and a twister mat and you have a fun night ahead of you.

Grab a couple of sandwiches from your favorite shop and head out on a walk to the closest park. Enjoy a picnic and a nap in the sunshine. A nostalgic bonus would be if they had a great playground nearby... How high can you swing?

7. Check out your local community calendar to see what fun events are coming up that you might be interested in. A lot of festivals are starting to pop up in my area because we're going into the warmer weather... well it is California, we think 50 degrees is freezing!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Something Sweet

You gotta love it...

The crispy, flakey, gooey, nutty goodness of Baklava... Have you tried it before? I was actually surprised that when I offered to share some with my friends, they had never tried it {some had never heard of it}?? I guess that my up-bringing was a little different than most. Let’s just say that my parents are very universal when it comes to the dishes they prepare and the restaurants they dine at. I think by the time I was five, my palate was more advanced than most- even more so than adults today. I can remember at my 8th birthday requesting Filet and Lobster Tails for my special dinner- I nanny for a nine year old and she begs me for Macaroni and Cheese. I grew up eating polenta, every vegetable known to man, I never shied away from seafood and I regularly had tea, crumpets and half a grapefruit for breakfast (my English Nana knew best). I thank my parents constantly for providing a household where I always had the opportunity to try new things. Today, as an adult, I have a better understanding of what tastes go well together and I am never shy to try a new dish- what's even better is that I primarily love every new item I try!! And the credit goes back to my parents, who never gave up and just gave me fish sticks instead... <3

Ok back to the food (sorry for that heartfelt insert, my fingers just wouldn't stop typing!!)

So my Baklava turned out to be a combination of a few recipes online, but I liked the family recipe from the Orgasmic Chef. I started with this as a base and then added my own touches. I made a graham cracker/almond crust for the bottom. Then I alternated walnuts, pistachios, and 4/5 layers of phyllo dough.

I made the sugar/honey mixture. But instead of coating the dessert after it baked, I did it before and then covered the top in ground pistachios and walnuts. Then I baked it and drizzled honey as I served it. Feel free to add or subtract what you like- I don’t think I have ever followed a recipe exactly... well except Red Velvet Cake. That you can't substitute, because it doesn’t come out right.

So if you have never had Baklava, and you are looking for a yummy recipe to try, the one I featured is delicious. Or you can just show off your culinary skills to friends and get them to broaden their palate ... Either way you can't go wrong.

 Enjoy <3

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The New Quicky

I have heard it a million times, and it is really hard to believe that no one has the time to exercise? I know that people have busy schedules- but the saying is really true: If it means enough to you then you'll find time to do it, right? Fitting in a little gym time doesn't mean that you have to spend hours on the eliptical; it just means that you should try to increase your physical activity-like squats on your coffee break, a walk on your lunch or crunches while you watch your favorite show. I'm not asking you to wake up at 5 A.M. and start running, just start with basics and fit them in when you can. The commercials are true that tell you to take the stairs or to park further away from the store you're shopping at. Even though they're cheesy, don't disregard them too quickly.

Motivation: If you are trying to loose weight, imagine that with every 15 minutes you jump rope- you are  that much closer to loosing a pound. If you are trying to be healthier, remember that with every 20 minutes you walk you can enjoy {guilt free} your favorite vanilla latte. Sometimes, people find motivation when they have a goal they're working to reach. I like to have a picture of Megan Fox (she has the best abs) close, so that when I get lazy after work I can remind myself that reaching my goal is important to me. And a 30 minute jog is only 30 minutes out of my day and I wont be tired after the first 50 feet- I'll feel empowered!!

In the new issue of Shape magazine, there is a great total body workout designed by Tracey Mallet, creator of the Booty Barre Workout. It has some great moves that especially target your arms. Perfect for all the tank tops you'll be wearing when summer rolls around- no more bingo wings for you mama.

What are some of your favorite quick fitness fixes? ciao xx

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I like Juice, but not this much..

A lot of my friends having been on a "cleansing" kick lately and I have been supporting them (because that's what good friends do, right?) But then I got to thinking... and I am all about health... what if this isn't the healthiest way to detox your body? A lot of celebrities talk about the benefits of a good cleanse and brag about their personal favorites. After I did a little research here here and here I came to the conclusion that it's not as good as it sounds. How can dizziness, cramping and headaches (plus a million other symptoms) be signs that your body is performing well while on the cleanse?

I think that this plan stems from the same ideas people have about Fad Diets- They are just looking for a quick fix without putting in the work ( truthfully, I have been that person before) ;But you get out what you put in. The human body does operate like a machine and it is designed to breakdown food for fuel. So with-holding food from it is completely going against evolution. If you really do want to cleanse your body from all of the unhealthy food you've been eating lately- why don't you start with good food. I suggest (** I am not a registered dietitian- but I do a lot of research about healthy eating.) starting with this healthier detox plan.

Lowering your daily calorie intake- about 1500 for Women 1700 for Men depending on daily athletics.
Eat your vegetables raw- The longer food is cooked, the more nutrients and vitamins are cooked out, so swap in some raw veggies to harness all the goodness. If you steam your veggies you can still get the nutrients- and in some cases its assists your system with breaking down the food. sources here and here
Stick with lean white proteins- White fish, like Talaplia or Mahi Mahi. White meat, like chicken or Turkey. Or Soy, Whey or Tofu.
Cut out Startches and processed Carbs- Both are considered an inflammatory, so do your digestive system a break and try to limit your intake.
Watch the Fruit- Even though they're good for you, fruit is loaded with sugar and it just spikes your blood sugar when you ingest it.
Remember when your shopping at the store- stay close to the outer edge of the market to make sure that you are only picking up fresh ingredients, not boxed processed items.

If you are thinking of trying out this new fad, I really would suggest doing your homework first! And I don't mean a search on google of "benefits of a juice cleanse".. If you're too lazy to do your research, check out the article I have attached from Womens Health. It will give you some solid facts about a juice cleanse, and then you can decided if it's still the road you want to take to "healthy living".

Friday, March 16, 2012

Color up you Wardrobe

I love color.. nail polish, dishes, art, flowers... but when it comes to clothes I'm a little bit more basic. I choose neutral colors to wear and sometimes accent my outfits with pops of color. Now, I have been a little daring lately and I have been branching out when it comes to my clothing choices. I pulled some of my favorite shopping articles and inspirational magazine layouts in an attempt to help others like myself. If you like what you see in the articles- use them as guides next time you head to shopping. Or if it helps you to think beyond accessories then bring the colors in with more statement pieces- like blazers, jeans or sweaters.

Click on any of the images for larger viewing. xx

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Dress, Old Girl

It's been raining here a lot lately. Which I really cant complain, because I love the rain. I love the way little droplets form on your windows, I love the smell after it first gets the pavement wet and I love walking with rain boots on and the feeling of the light sprinkles on your eye lashes. Even though I'm a born a raised California girl, I cant help but find comfort when it rains. 
For dinner last night my hunny made some yummy soup, which is always the best dish for a rainy evening.

I had these outfit shots sitting in my queue for a while, looking at them and remembering my weekends filled with sunshine is a nice change from the current view out my window. A walk, like the ones pictured below, is definitely on my agenda this weekend- even if I do have to wear a rain coat and boots. :)

xx ciao

dress- Forever 21, shoes- Sam Edelman. glasses-Dior, bag- Marc MJ

Marcs back!! oh how I missed him.

Mademoiselle and I

Fun garden art

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dinner Predicament?

Problem solved!!

This is a really healthy recipe that you can make quickly and be confident in the ingredients that you are consuming. Because sometimes those T.V. dinners can be a little questionable.
I picked up a package of fresh salmon from Trader Joes (it already was seasoned with Cajun spices, so part of my job was already done for me). If you don't like your dishes too spicy- there are a variety of other flavored fillets.

Salmon is a very heart healthy fish. It contains EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Which are both rich in Omega 3 fats plus it has lots of vitamin D and selenium. Salmon also contains bioactive peptides which provide protection for joint cartilage, support with insulin effectiveness, and control of inflammation in the digestive tract. Salmon also contains nutrients that support eye, cardio,hair,skin, and cognitive functions.
Just remember, if you are trying to loose weight- Salmon does contain high fat levels. Limiting your portion to 4 oz still allows you to reap all the nutritional benefits without consuming too much fat.

I decided to bake my Salmon instead of grilling it (read why, here) and its so easy to throw some vegetables on the pan as well and cook everything together.  So I grabbed some broccoli, zucchini, cutie oranges, lemon, and black pepper. I mixed the veggies and cuties and squeezed lemon juice with pepper all over it and tossed. Then arranged the fish and vegetables on the baking pan. I set the oven at 400 degrees and baked everything for about 15 minutes.

Then when I pulled it out, this is what it looked like.

&& it tasted like this
If you can see in the above picture there is a tray of tomatoes sitting above my fish dish. All I did was cut a Roma tomato in half and douse it in balsamic vinegar. Then I threw that under the broiler and let it hang out for 10 minutes. They taste so sweet and tart and are a great little appetizer for the evening.

So embrace Tuesday, and instead of going out to eat or making a T.V. dinner- try making this dish at home and impress your friends, significant other or next door neighbor with your fine culinary skills. ;)


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Quirky in Berkeley

Do you like the picture with my new boyfriend, isn't he cute? I found him on the side of a building, just waiting for me.. love at first sight.
I went on another day-cation the other day to good old Berkeley California. Home to the overly passionate environmentalists, hippies smokin' illegal things and of course the famous Cal Bears.

Well, it didn't start as a day-cation- I was up there because I had a rolfing appointment. Whats that you ask? read about it here. Basically it is a type of aggressive massage that helps the connective tissue release and realign the rest of your skeletal and muscular system. I had been having some pain in my right shoulder and hip and I found out that it was because 5 of my ribs were out of alignment and it was causing the tissue to tense up and that was causing my distress. After my painful but fabulous massage I treated myself to lunch and a walk around downtown.
YUM!! <3

Downtown ( I almost got run over taking this shot)

new hydration treat for myself from Lululemon

hi : )

new slouchy knee high boots from Nordstrom

dress- Forever 21, necklace- Hand made, watch- Michael Kors, ring- vintage from Vancouver, Canada

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The infamous green drink, perhaps you've heard of it?

Whats your opinion on multi vitamins?

Some people think that your body doesn't absorb the nutrients and you just end up wasting it out. Some people believe that you should take certain ones at certain times and they are the all seeing super power. I think it is important to get your daily intake.. but I'm not sure that a pill is the right way.. So my boyfriend has introduced me to this smoothie that he has every morning.. the Almond milk in the picture below is going to be used next week when he experiments with a new recipe.

In the picture are some of his main ingredients, feel free to add or subtract what you like. But if you begin with this recipe as a base it is a good start.
Nutritional Information

Frozen fruit- 3/4 cup 80 cals 15 g Carbs
Orange Juice- 16 0z 240 cal 52 g Carbs
Coconut H2O- 8oz 43 cals  11 g Carbs
Green Powder- 6 T 120 cal 12 g Carbs
Chia Seeds- 4 Tbsp 260 cal 20 g Carbs

 (743 cals & 110 g Carbs) / 8 oz glass = 5 servings :) it'll last you all week!! only 185 cals and 24 g Carbs... not bad for your daily intake of complete whole vitamins and...
Extra vitamin C for an immunity boost,
Chia seeds for hunger control,
Antioxidants from the berries that keep you focused,
Extra hydration and potassium from the coconut water great for first thing in the A.M.
*For complete nutritional information on the green powder

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Loungin' in the City for the day..

The next day after the Flea, we took it easy and went sight seeing around the Embarcadero area in San Francisco. It's home to the Fishermans Warf, Ferry Building, and Ghirardelli Square... all of which you must visit if you make a trip to San Francisco. It is so nice to move at a slower pace sometimes and not be stuck to a schedule. You get to appreciate so many more things, because you can actually take the time to look.

glasses- Electrics, shirt- RVCA, sweater- vintage.
If you're with some girls when you visit the City, I highly recommend you check out this little tea parlor in Ghirardelli Square. The Crown and Crumpet Tea Room is bright, charming, inviting, feminine and all the decorations are so delicate- just like a real British tea room. They have a great selection of decorations and gifts to buy and the pastries looked so delicious. Coming from an English background, this little spot is right up my alley. The tea room has such character and is so charming- I feel as though a girls weekend is in order just so I can dress up and share tea and scones with some of my friends.

drinks at The Beuna Vista- Bloody Mary for the boy, Irish Chocolate Coffee for the girl.
The way that they make their Irish Coffees is so fun. It's messy and so not elegant!! But the flavor is AMAZING. If you want more of a visual here is a post I stole from my boyfriends blog- shhh.. don't tell him.

courtesy of @lenscaption

Just some shots of typical things you'll find in San Francisco, for those of you that don't live close I hope you like the "tourist-y" photos. The city is always a place of inspiration for me. There are so many different worlds that come together and form this great City. I guess that's why they call it a melting pot?

glasses-Dior, jacket- thrifted, top- Victoria Secret, linen pants- Roxy, sandals- Havaianas

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