Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Protein Smoothie + Puritan’s Pride Giveaway!

The following post is sponsored by Puritan’s Pride, but as always, all opinions expressed are genuinely my own.

Hello friends, and Happy Friday!

Today I’ve got a fun recipe and a giveaway to share with you guys! So we all know that smoothies are a great way to pack in lots of goodness into one delicious drink, but sometimes we all get into a rut of making the same ones over and over. Even though I like to get creative in the kitchen, heaven knows that I can get in the habit of making the same smoothie combo a gazillion times in a row!

pumpkin smoothie-2

That’s why I’m partnering with Puritan’s Pride, a maker of high-quality nutritional supplements and healthy foods, over the next three months to put some pizzazz in my smoothies. I’m using their protein powders and superfoods-based products to sneak in more goodness, making my smoothies more nutritious than ever. Each month, I’ll be sharing a superfood-packed smoothie and doing a giveaway of Puritan’s Pride goodies. And Puritan’s Pride and I would love to hear about the seasonal smoothie recipes you’re whipping up too!

We’re kicking off October with the theme of – what else? – pumpkin! Pumpkin is a superfood partly because it’s high in Vitamin A and potassium. This is the time of the year when pumpkin obsession is in full swing for food lovers all over, and I’m certainly not complaining since I can’t get enough pumpkin lately either. So why not incorporate some of this fall favorite into a smoothie?

choc pumpkin smoothie-1

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SoulCycle Fun in NYC

Hey friends! Long time no talk. The last bunch of days have been a whirlwind, and last night I arrived back to Cali after my 17-day stint in NJ. I was planning on writing this post while I was in the skies, but quickly abandoned that idea when I found myself in a middle seat next to a big man whose arm was resting in my territory the entire flight. Oh United Airlines, your seats keep getting smaller and smaller, but I keep flying with you because your flights time are the best and I enjoy racking up my miles.

Anywho, rewinding back a few days, my weekend was spent with A’s family in Pennsylvania at his cousin’s wedding, visiting his mom and grandmom back in Jersey, then ending at my parents’ house for a family dinner. Lots of family time, and a great way to end my trip!

wedding photo

With my hubby at the wedding last weekend

Prior to my whirlwind family weekend, I spent my Thursday night with my close friend Danielle. She has been raving about her SoulCycle workouts, so I of course had to try it out with her while I was in town. Danielle’s friend Tiff teaches class at SoulCycle locations around NYC, so we headed into the city for a late-night sweat session.

SoulCycle-4

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Homemade Snacks to Bring Camping

If you know me at all, you know that my packing for a trip always involves food. Even if I’m going to a gorgeous hotel in Italy where I’ll be eating my weight in pasta, I still bring some snacks for the travel there. This is because A.) I get hungry a lot, B.) I’m not happy when I’m hangry, C.) You never know when you’ll be stuck somewhere with zero even remotely healthy food choices, and D.) I like to snack and have a paranoia about starving to death. Sounds a bit dramatic, but I think this relates back to my mom and grandma always pushing offering food to everyone, making way too much food for meals and always having snacks on-hand.

Camping Snacks

So you can imagine my thought process when packing for our camping trip to Catalina Island. I was all:

“What are we going to eat the whole time?”

“What if we run out of food?”

We were bringing just the basic camping gear with no fancy pans or pots to make food in, so I really needed to come up with a couple of ideas of things to bring that didn’t need to be refrigerated, would hold up well for days, and would keep myself and my hungry man alive and well. Another big factor was the fact that we were backpacking and hiking a lot, so we couldn’t have a ton of food or anything too heavy.

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[My Life Lately] Wining & Dining All Over Jersey

Hey there! Happy Hump Day!

I’ve now been in Jersey for 12 days spending time with a lot of loved ones. My weekdays mornings and afternoons have been kind of normal in that I’m working from home, only instead of having my dog Harley by my side and being in my own home, I’m working from my parents’ and have this new puppy as my companion:

Jada Collage

Her name is Jada, and my parents rescued her a couple of weeks ago from what we suspect may have been a dogfighting situation. She’s a puppy somewhere around 6 months old, and her and I have become the best of friends. She’s a very sweet girl and a big cuddler, and I’ve been working on helping my parents start to train her. Dog abuse and neglect situations break my heart, and I’m glad that Jada will have a lifetime full of snuggles with loving human beings and a cozy bed away from any harm!

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10 Yoga Poses I’m Loving

Hi friends! Today I’m talking about the most relaxing form of exercise I do: yoga.

yoga quote

On average I do yoga once or twice a week, but lately I’ve been wanting to devote more time to my practice. Yoga is all about embracing where you’re at, but at the same time, I’d like to do so while also focusing on how I can improve my practice. In the spirit of stepping my yoga game up, today I’m sharing 10 of my favorite yoga poses. Let’s get to it!

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Veggie Tofu Stir Fry with Brown Rice

Happy, happy Friday!

Hope that you all have some fabulous plans for the weekend. I’ve had a great week in Jersey hanging out with family and girlfriends, and have some fun plans that I’m looking forward to for the weekend. My week has been full of good food, and there are definitely certain eateries that I simply must hit up when I’m in town. One of those places is Veggie Heaven (my post on the restaurant can be viewed here), which I just chowed down on for dinner:

Veggie Heaven

(I’m digging my fortune!)

And speaking of yummy, healthy Asian food, I have a new recipe to share today! 

Asian Stir Fry-3

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{Review} Cameron Diaz’s The Body Book

“The more consistent you are with [your] choices, the closer you come to being the happy, healthy, beautiful, glowing woman that you want to be. Being healthy and well is a lifelong endeavor. It’s important to establish a relationship with your body, to understand what its needs are and how to fulfill those needs. To connect to how your choices affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally.”

I love a good book, but between work, blogging, and school, I find myself with not much time to read. Or when I do have time to give myself a few hours of relaxation at night, I just want to do something that requires little brainpower, like watch trashy TV. But at any given time, I’m in the middle of reading multiple interesting books. Sometime it takes me months upon months to finish them, but I usually get to the end at some point. Today I want to talk about a read that I recently finished: The Body Book by Cameron Diaz.

the body book

From the start, I was in love with this book. In a society where so many women are struggling with body image, loathing their hunger, and dreaming of looking like someone else, Cameron Diaz’s book comes from a place of self-love and empowering vibes — putting the focus on our own strengths, our own capabilities, our own beauty. She calls it “a guide to accepting what you have and loving it with everything you’ve got,” breaking down topics like nutrition, hunger, and movement into digestive, easy-to-read bits.  As she puts it, “It’s a guide to maximizing your strength and endurance so that your body can take you everywhere you want to go in life: to all of your success, to the love of your life, to your passions and adventures.”

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Three Awesome Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil

I grew up in a household where more natural health remedies were common: I remember that when we got a cold, my mom used to have us put drops of echinacea in orange juice (I also remember it being nasty!) and gargle with warm salt water to cure any sore throat that started coming on. She usually cleaned with a spray bottle containing a simple mix of water and white vinegar. Funny enough, as I’m typing this while I’m visiting my family, I looked over to see this spray bottle on my mom’s kitchen counter:

vinegar bottle

In my adulthood, I too find myself looking to more natural solutions, with everything from the cure for a rash to what I clean my house with. That’s why when Apothecary Extracts reached out to me asking if I’d like to try their 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil, I happily agreed. I actually remember my mom having me use tea tree oil for something as a kid (though I can’t remember exactly what), and wanted to try it out as an adult.

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Friday Random Ramblings

Hello friends!

I thought I’d keep it light on this lovely Friday and entertain you guys with some random thoughts… so here we go!

Plane route

1.) Today I’m flying to the east coast to see my family and friends. My hubby’s cousin is getting married in a few weeks, so we were planning on heading out to attend that, and then I decided to go back earlier to stay at my parents’ for awhile and spend time with everyone. I’m pretty excited!

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2.) Harley makes me laugh pretty much every day. The other night I was in the kitchen doing something, and I looked up to see her walking across the floor to get a drink of water with her blanket completely wrapped over her. Sometimes she rolls around and gets all snuggled in it, and it totally reminds me of a person with a Snuggie on or something. On her way back to go plop on my living room floor, I was trying to get her attention to snap a picture, and she looked at me like, “What’s so funny lady?” If she could talk, I’m pretty confident she’d be one sassy biatch.

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Hiking & Camping on Catalina Island

Happy October!

Tomorrow marks 5 years since I married my man. Normally I’m not huge on anniversary celebrations, but since 5 years feels like a milestone, I wanted to commemorate the occasion by doing something memorable and fun together.

Instead of going on a relaxing weekend getaway to wine country or something obviously romantic like most normal couples probably do, us nuts decided to embark on what turned out to be the toughest endurance challenge of my life hiking around Catalina Island. Buckle up for this long weekend recap friends – it was most definitely an adventure with a roller coaster of emotions!
Catalina harbor

Catalina is a gorgeous little island off the coast of SoCal that has this sort of Mediterranean vibe to it. I visited there for the first time earlier this year with my mom for just a day trip, and wanted to go back with A to show him this cool place.

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