Three Sisters Waterfall Hike + An Afternoon of Wine in Temecula {Weekend Recap}

Hi friends!

Hope that your week is off to a nice start! Did you have Monday off of work for Presidents Day? I had off from my publicist job, and actually didn’t do work for any of my jobs whatsoever. I think I only answered one email the entire day, which was nice! My long weekend was a great one, so today I’m rewinding it back a few days.

On Saturday while my hubby studied for an MBA exam all day, I took care of a lot of freelance & blogging stuff. I also ran a couple of errands, including a trip to Michaels to pick up a frame for a new addition to my travel-themed workout room.

The artist of this San Diego Modern Map Art was nice enough to send me a print, and I think it goes perfectly in my workout room. The room is full of canvas art and memorabilia of my travels, and now I have art in there of my current beloved city, San Diego!

Sunday first thing, I took my pup for a long walk along the coast on what was a misty morning. Afterwards, I got ready for the day & prepped some food for a picnic we were planning on having in Temecula wine country. I made Greek pasta salad and packed some healthy snacks, including hummus with carrots, apple and chickpea crackers.

We headed out to Temecula to meet up with my cousin Michelle and her boyfriend. Michelle’s birthday is coming up, so we had a celebratory afternoon together sipping wine and hanging out. First up, we stopped at Weins Cellars. Known for their big reds, Weins has a great outdoor area to picnic at, so after we tasted there, we nabbed a bottle and ate outside.

Afterwards, we headed over to Lorimar Winery, where my cousin is a wine member. I’ve been to Lorimar a few times recently, and they seem to always have interesting red blends on their tasting menu. Lorimar also has a great outdoor space for hanging out, along with a food truck if you’re hungry & live music on the weekends.

We had a lot of fun relaxing in Temecula, but then again I always enjoy myself in wine country. I mean what’s not to love? Even during this time of the year when the vineyards are looking scarce and the weather can be on the chillier side, Temecula always proves to be a great time.

Hydrating with pHenOH 7.4

After a laid-back, wine-filled Sunday, my Monday off went in a different direction. After taking my pup to the dog park for some playtime, Adam and I headed out to the California countryside to the town of Descansco for a hike to Three Sisters Waterfalls.

This was only my second time doing this hike. The other time I did it was almost exactly four years ago, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The other time I visited Three Sisters, the San Diego area was in a serious drought, whereas this time, we’ve gotten a ton of rain lately. I had high hopes for raging waterfalls, and I was not disappointed!

Continue reading

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone By Feeling the Fear & Doing it Anyway

Hi friends!

How has your week been? It has been quite a busy one for me. Lots of good stuff happening, including my participation in a workshop to get certified to teach Yoga Sculpt!

If you’ve read any of my monthly workout recaps recently, you may have noticed that I’ve been going to Yoga Sculpt classes. I love the mix of cardio, weight training and bodyweight exercises with a bit of Om sprinkled in. It’s a little bit of yoga, and a lot of sweating and sculpting. Out of the many kinds of classes that I’ve taken, the one I’d probably want to teach the most is Yoga Sculpt, so when the opportunity came up for me to take a certification class, I went with my heart and jumped on it.

While I’m obviously a longtime fitness lover and have gotten to do a lot of cool fitness-related things, like getting to workout with Jilian Michaels and attend awesome fitness seminars, fitness certifications are not in my usual wheelhouse. I’ve focused more of the nutrition and integrative health side of things with my health coaching certification. While a fitness certification is entirely new to me, when it came down to it, I asked myself, Why not?

I think that so many people are afraid to get out of their comfort zone, they go most of their lives staying within their little bubble – never taking risks or trying things that are new and exciting. I’m proud to be a person that is continuously just going for it – whether that means going to events where I don’t know a soul, traveling to unfamiliar places (my favorite way to get out of my comfort zone!), interviewing for jobs that are totally out of my usual realm (and then sometimes getting them!), or doing something new like getting a fitness certification.

When it comes down to it, if you want to lead a life that’s full of growth and excitement, you’ve got to feel the fear and do it anyway. Fear-based living is what leads to stagnation, and when you think about it, if you’re not going forward, you’re really going backwards.

Continue reading

Healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cinnamon Cookies {vegan}

Does anyone else just all of a sudden get in the mood for baking sometimes?

The measuring and mixing, pouring and stirring, baking and cooling. The smells of something delicious coming together and the anticipation of taste testing. It’s therapeutic to me.

Last week as I was jotting down a bunch of things to nab at the food store and planning out what healthy snacks I’d make this week, I got bitten by the baking bug. And I didn’t feel like just following a recipe, I was in the mood for experimenting and getting creative.

Today’s recipe is a result of that baking bug. These cookies center around a few of my favorite things: the combination of chocolate + peanut butter & cinnamon.

Cinnamon is without a doubt my favorite spice. I’m constantly sprinkling some on my fruit, in my smoothies, and on my toast. It gives meals a bit of something extra, au naturel.

I also love pairing cinnamon with peanut buttery goodness. Cinnamon sprinkled on top of sliced banana, topped with peanut butter. Oats with baked apple chunks, peanut butter & cinnamon.

Continue reading

Appreciating Family Time in San Diego {Weekend Recap}

Hi there!

I haven’t done a fun little weekend recap in awhile, and since I had a great weekend a couple days back, it seems like a good idea to share what I was up to with you guys.

Taught yoga on Friday with this view!

After having a great day of meetings and health coaching sessions on Friday, I kicked off my weekend with a long walk at the park with my pup, then made some veggie orzo soup (my favorite lately!) to enjoy with my hubby. It was the kind of day that feels productive and busy, yet fun at the same time.

After taking care of some work and cleaning my entire house on Saturday, the family-filled part of my weekend began!

My cousin Michelle, who lives a few hours north in Long Beach, drove down to spend the night at my house. I made homemade pizza and farro Greek salad, and we drank wine, caught up, and watched crime shows. We both are into murder mysteries, which she refers to as “murder porn.” My husband is always rolling his eyes at my TV and movie picks – but can’t stop, won’t stop!

Sunday morning, we headed into Del Mar to meet up with my cousin Noelle and her friend Courtney. Noelle and I grew up together in Jersey, and she recently moved to the San Francisco area. She flew down for a long weekend, and I was happy to get to finally see her! We hadn’t seen each other since Christmas 2015.

We first grabbed brunch at Snooze, where I had the most indulgent pancakes. They were sweet potato pancakes topped with homemade caramel, candied pecans and ginger butter. I only ate one pancake out of fear of a serious sugar coma, but they were OUT OF THIS WORLD MY FRIENDS! Snooze had a lot of other dessert-ish pancakes that sounded heavenly, including one that had some sort of chocolate ganache topping.

Continue reading

5 Healthy Valentine’s Day Desserts [All Dairy Free!]

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so today we’re chatting about healthy dessert recipes!

My hubby and I don’t get too crazy for Valentine’s Day. We’ll sometimes go on an adventurous date, like going kayaking in La Jolla as we did last year, or sometimes we’ll just have a nice dinner at home. To me, Valentine’s Day just serves as a reminder of what’s important in life. It should just be about spending time with the people you love – whether that be a spouse, your kids, your girlfriends, or even just dating yourself.

I’m not sure what we’ll be doing for V-Day this year yet, but if there’s one thing’s that for sure, it’s that I’ll be baking something fun surrounding the day of love…because I take advantage of any excuse to bake!

Baking is definitely a de-stressing activity for me, especially when I have time to get in the kitchen and just play around. As a healthy foodie, I like to substitute better-for-you ingredients into recipes to make them more wholesome. For instance, I’ll use maple syrup or coconut sugar instead of refined sugar, or I use oat flour instead of white flour. I love enjoying treats that I can feel good about eating!

I’ve rounded up 5 of my dessert recipes that would be perfect to make this Valentine’s Day, so let’s get to it!

1.) Chocolate Peanut Butter Brown Rice Crispy Squares. This healthier take on rice crispy treats has been a favorite in my household since I first posted the recipe on the blog last year. I mean, is there a better combination known to man than peanut butter + chocolate? In a word, NO! –> Get the recipe here

2.) Apple Pie Banana Bread. Made with oat flour and fresh cinnamon apple chunks, this banana bread is one of my favorite ways to use browned bananas. Sometimes I throw chocolate chips into the batter, but either way you make it, it’s delicious! –> Get the recipe here

Continue reading

Introducing My Custom Meal Planning & Health Coaching Program!

Happy February!

How’s everyone doing with their New Year’s resolutions & goals for 2017?

According to Forbes, only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions. JUST EIGHT! Not surprisingly, I’ve also read that the #1 New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to lose weight & eat healthier.

Personally, I’m less of a New Year’s resolution person, and more of a make-goals-at-any-time-and-crush-them kinda girl. Why? Because while I like the idea of a fresh start with a new year, I believe in the power of hard work & consistency to make changes in any month. I also believe that if you’ve already given up on your resolutions, you always have the power to start again with a renewed sense of motivation – no matter the time of the year.

When it comes to weight loss, eating better, & getting healthier, a lot of time people give up because they don’t have the support they really need to be successful – whether that means understanding their food cravings and unhealthy habits, having someone there to support & motivate them, becoming more knowledgable about nutrition, or a bit of all of the above.

So, I want to help you rock your New Year’s resolutions.

I want to help you develop healthier eating habits, shed unwanted pounds, and be the confident, happy person that you’ve been envisioning in your head.

ANNOUNCING… MY CUSTOM MEAL PLANNING & HEALTH COACHING PROGRAM!

Continue reading

Easy Mediterranean Flatbread Pizza

Hey, hey!

Last Saturday’s sunset

How was your weekend? Mine was a good one that was full of sports!

My husband and I went to the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, which was neat. I’m not a huge golf person but find sporting events of pretty much any kind fun – plus it was my first time at the Torrey Pines golf course, and the views were beautiful as expected!

I also watched a lot of tennis, as the Australian Open came to a close. Watching the Williams sisters compete against each other in the finals was inspiring – I mean, they are such badass female athletes! – so on Sunday my hubby and I headed to the tennis courts nearby to get in a workout together. We’re not technically all that great at tennis, but we have fun and get some exercise, so that’s all I really care about.

Besides a weekend full of sports, my weekend was also filled with good food, as per usual. For dinner one night we enjoyed Mediterranean flatbread pizza, and today I’m sharing the recipe with you guys!

These flatbreads are a great healthy recipe idea for this weekend’s Super Bowl – and they’re ready in 20 minutes flat! Since I love to make a bunch of appetizers & finger foods to graze on during the big game, I tend to go for recipes that are easier to whip up. Otherwise, the game’s starting and I’m running around the kitchen like a madwoman trying to finish cooking. Anyone else ever been there on Super Bowl Sunday? 

The flatbreads center around Mediterranean diet-centric ingredients like baby arugula, crumbled feta, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, red onion, and olive oil that give these babies a ton of flavor, a nice dose of produce, and a bit of healthy fat without being calorically heavy.

Continue reading

Potato Black Bean Soup [vegan + gluten free]

Lately the weather in the San Diego area has been nuts. Rain, rain, and more rain for the past month! This is usually the “rainy” season – though I use that term loosely – but this has been more rain than I’ve seen in my 7+ years in California.

For the state, this is good news! California’s reservoirs are swelling for the first time in half a decade, and the drought we’ve been in for years might be over if Mother Nature keeps it up.

With all of the rain lately, a few things have been happening in my world.

For one, my dog has been super whiny and energetic. She literally does sprints around the house when it’s raining out, and cries at the door yet doesn’t want to go outside and get wet… not that I blame her, I’ve been missing our outdoor workouts too.

Secondly, my backyard has been getting a little out of control. A few of my trees were close to falling over last week due to flooded soil and strong winds, and we did our best to temporarily secure them. My pool looks like it may overflow with a few more big rain storms, and I have about an entire tree’s worth of leaves in there. There are also a ton of oranges that have fallen off my front yard tree and gotten smushed in my driveway. Now you guys know a few of the things on my to-do list to take care of this weekend! 

And third, I’ve been obsessed with eating soup. There’s nothing better on a chilly, rainy day than a big bowl of healthy, hearty soup with a hunk of fresh bread. Add a fire crackling + hit play on a good movie, and that’s my idea of a perfect night in.

I realized that I haven’t posted any soup recipes this winter yet, and knew that had to change this month.

Continue reading

How to Spend a Weekend in Santa Barbara

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru

One of my favorite things about California is how there are endless road trip options within the state itself. Two weekends ago, my husband and I went on our first road trip of 2017. For this little getaway, we traveled up to the charming central California coast city of Santa Barbara. Situated next to the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez mountains + wine country, Santa Barbara is a popular tourist destination – and for good reason!

Even though we’ve been to Santa Barbara before in passing through on bigger road trips, this was our first time where Santa Barbara was our end destination. I love planning trips and enjoyed doing research online beforehand to find out the best places to eat, drink and explore in Santa Barbara.  And so, today I’m sharing a guide on how to spend a weekend in this beautiful town!

If you happen to be driving into Santa Barbara from Southern California as we were, you can get your sweet fix en route by stopping at the popular vegan Los Angeles donut shop, Donut Friend.

I happened to find out about this donut shop while reading a travel magazine last month that had an article about road tripping from San Diego to Santa Barbara, and I knew it was meant to be that we stopped in for sweet treats.

Donut Friend makes delicious dairy free stuffed donuts. We ordered two of their signatures: one “Custard Front Drive” – a donut filled with Bavarian cream and topped with chocolate glaze – as well as an “X-Ray Speculoos” donut – which was stuffed with cookie butter and topped with chocolate glaze and sea salt. I think we might have finished our donuts in abouttttt 2.5 seconds! But totally worth the stop off.

One you make your way into Santa Barbara itself, check into your hotel room, throw your bags down, and get ready for a fabulous day! There are tons of hotel options in downtown Santa Barbara. We stayed at the Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara, which had a nice location right next to the ocean and was within walking distance of the downtown action.

If it’s a nice day out (chances are it will be!) and you want to soak up a bit of sun, head over to the beach or to one of Santa Barbara’s parks. A few that were nearby our hotel were Cabrillo Park and Chase Palm Park. You can explore your walkable options on the City of Santa Barbara’s website.

Santa Barbara is about a 4-hour drive from San Diego, so by the time we dropped our dog off at the kennel, stopped for donuts, drove up to Santa Barbara, and checked into our hotel, it was after noon and we were ready for some wine tasting!

While there are numerous wine tasting routes and gorgeous vineyards outside of the city of Santa Barbara, including ones that I’ve visited like the Santa Ynez Wine Trail and in the Danish town of Solvang, there’s also wine tasting right downtown. Called the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, it offers many wine tasting rooms that are all walkable.

While I tend to like to visit the vineyards themselves, wine country is a bit of a further drive out, so we opted to keep it easy and experience the urban wine trail for the first time.

Continue reading

My Workouts Lately [Nov & Dec ’16]

Hi friends!

Is it just me, or is January flying by?!

Today I want to rewind a bit and look back at my workouts of November and December ’16. I capped off my year with many awesome sweat sessions!

Harley photobombing my headstand, as per usual!

I kept up with doing an at-home yoga practice most mornings, though I feel like I stuck more to the basics and didn’t challenge myself with new/deepening asanas all that much.

Well okay, this pose is a pretty tough one! 

Class-wise, November was fun because I got to experience spin classes at a new studio in downtown San Diego called Pure Indoor Cycling.

The folks at the studio kindly gave me a complimentary membership to try out their classes, and you guys, I had so much fun taking spin classes there! Pure offers the club-esque type of cycling classes that are becoming so popular in many cities — complete with loud, energizing music and lighting effects.

I love breaking up the day with a lunchtime ride, and I burned mega calories at Pure classes. I have my bike trainer at home that I use all the time, but I definitely pushed myself more in the classes. I left every Pure class feeling awesome, with lots of endorphins flowing!

One thing that I dig about Pure Studio? The classes are a bit more reasonably priced than you’d find at comparable cycling studios. And San Diego locals, the first class at Pure is free! I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

The only bummer for me? I wish I lived closed to the Pure studio!

Next up with my studio class workouts throughout November & December was going to more yoga sculpt classes at Fortis & YOGALUX in Carlsbad. I’ve become such a fan of yoga sculpt classes!

Continue reading