Ditching My Fitbit, Keeping My Active Lifestyle

Around a month ago, I kept noticing something missing from my wrist that’s usually there….

FitBit-2

My Fitbit Flex!

Unlike in the past when I’ve unintentionally lost my activity trackers, this time it was on purpose. I had been feeling the urge to stop wearing my activity tracker, but I had worn one pretty consistently for so long, that it almost felt weird to consider not using one anymore. It was almost this little fear inside of me that thought that if I didn’t track my movement, I somehow wouldn’t move as much – that not wearing a Fitbit would make me a less active person.

But then I realized that that notion was total crap. Who am I kidding? I lead a super active lifestyle. I don’t need a Fitbit to tell me that. I usually workout 6 days a week, and most of the time I do both a longer nighttime workout, along with a short yoga session or HIIT workout first thing in the morning to wake me up and get me feeling strong and energized for the day. Plus, I take my dog for daily long walks that usually are around 30 minutes long during the week, with a longer hike mixed in about once a week. A lot of the time when I meet up with girlfriends, we go for walks along the coast or meet up to do a fitness class together. Being active and moving my body a lot is a big part of my life – whether or not I have an activity tracker reinforcing the idea that I move enough or not.

My lunchtime Power Hour yesterday: a booty working Bar Method class!

My lunchtime Power Hour yesterday: a booty working Bar Method class!

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Blueberry Almond Granola

Recipe creation is a funny thing sometimes.

At times, I come up with an idea for a recipe moments before and I just throw ingredients together. Other times, I have a recipe in my head for weeks and weeks that I just have a feeling will be a winner that I will want to share on here, but it takes me awhile to actually make and photograph it.

blueberry granola-2B

The latter was the case with this granola. When I randomly threw a bag of dried blueberries into my shopping cart one day, the idea of making granola with them immediately popped into my head… but then I wound up eating all the blueberries before I could get to making any granola. Oops. 

So then I had to wait until the next time I found myself in a food store with dried blues to make this recipe. But, the next time I went to make this granola, I realized that I was out of honey. And agave nectar. And brown rice syrup. And any other sweetener I would use for granola. Damn it.  
blueberry granola-1

Last weekend, I finally had everything from the ingredient list I had made up in my head on hand, and I was in the mood for creating yumminess in the kitchen…. so my blueberry almond granola finally came to fruition. And it turned out exactly how I wanted it to. Yea! Continue reading

Ending a Fabulous Day with Outdoor Vino’s Rambling Red [Wine Review]

Saturday was a close to perfect day for me, full of some of my favorite things – including yoga, good food, the beach & wine.

Outdoor Vino Rambling Red Wine-4

More specifically, my morning began with a live music rock ‘n roll yoga class at Black Sheep Yoga. While it wasn’t a gentle practice and some parts really challenged my sore muscles, it was just what my body needed after doing high intensity workouts all week. Got to love kicking off the weekend with some invigorating yoga!

FitSnap-Yoga class

Next up, my friend Tiffany, who had joined me in class, also joined me for a trip to a nearby farmers’ market. We strolled around, tasted some fruit, and picked up some local produce and other eats (raw sage honey!) to take home.

Afterwards, I headed back home to take my dog for a walk and shower. My hubby got home from what he was doing around then, and we settled in the living room to watch golf and nap. I don’t nap often, but every now and then, it’s exactly what my body needs. It was glorious!

My favorite nearby hiking & walking spot

My favorite nearby hiking & walking spot

When I woke up from my siesta, I spent some time in the kitchen. I loosely followed this recipe for chocolate chip cookies (Thanks, Sarah!), and created and photographed a granola recipe (to come on the blog soon!).

blueberry almond granola

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Want a Positive Life? Hang with Positive People

Hey friends!

happy friday

While I tend to keep it light with my Friday posts, I must be feeling philosophical, because today we’re going deep and talking about relationships, and how you have the power to create a happier life by choosing who you spend your time and energy with. Ready? Okay, let’s dive in!

One of my favorite quotes in the world is, “Respect yourself to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”  I think of this quote partly in terms of the people that I surround myself with.

respect yourself to walk away-quote

Awhile back, I made a conscious decision to let go of the people that weren’t bringing light and love into my life or in some way helping me to grow as a person. I think that people’s vibes have the power to rub off of you, whether you’re aware of it happening or not, and I just didn’t want negativity in my life. My dad always says, “You get like who you hang with,” and knowing the phrase to be truth, I just wanted to be a happy, positive person who spent her time with other happy people who were trying to do good things in the world.

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My Latest Feel-Good Workout Playlist

Whenever I’m working out on my own, either at a gym or at home, one important factor is the music I’m listening to. I definitely exercise harder when I’m listening to good music, and if I’m kind of slacking, a good beat will get me moving faster.

I have 2 categories of music I jam out to during sweat sessions: either what I think of as “fight” music, which includes any songs with almost angry lyrics that get me feeling pumped up – think Eminem and Jay-Z’s “Renegade” or one of my favorites, Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” – or feel-good music that just makes me want to dance and move a lot. I can listen to the same few playlists for months if they have songs on them that I’m a big fan of, but then there comes a time when I need to switch it up and download some new stuff.

HRM leg circuit workout

That time came a few days ago, when I finally took the time to get on my iTunes to nab some of the songs I had jotted in my phone’s notepad over the last couple of months. I thought I’d share my new playlist with you, which definitely falls into the category of feel-good music. A few of the songs are silly (um, LMFAO), some of them give me motivation to be awesome at life (OneRepublic’s “I Lived” for instance), and they all give me that I-just-want-to-move feeling or make me want to belt the lyrics out (which I certainly do sometimes!). Yesterday I had an awesome workout listening to this new playlist! Here it is:

Feel-Good Workout Playlist-2

Tell me, what kind of music do you listen to when you exercise? Any current favorite workout songs?

*The winner of my MealEnders giveaway is Suzie Williams. Congrats, Suzie! I’ve emailed you for your shipping address.*

Avocado, Spinach & Walnut Pesto Pasta

Good old St. Paddy’s Day is tomorrow, and while I didn’t make any Irish soda bread last weekend or have a blast celebrating at any parades, I wanted to share a green recipe in honor of the holiday.

avocado pesto pasta-1

My heritage is part Irish, and I have lots of St. Paddy’s Day memories: my family getting together at my grandma’s house (who was Italian, but loved any excuse to celebrate!) for corned beef & cabbage (hold the corned beef for me), potatoes and Irish soda bread; and day drinking at many Irish parades in Jersey as a college kid.

2009 St. Pats Day

Celebrating with my college roommates Marla & Meaghan

I kind of would like to be wearing green shamrock stickers on my face and day drinking with my girlfriends right about now actually, but any who… here’s a fun little holiday tidbit: The color green being associated with Ireland dates back to at least the 1600s.

A sign I saw at an Irish bar in Italy

A sign I saw at an Irish bar in Italy

And speaking of green… helloooo pesto – a veggie-packed, vegan pesto pasta dish to be precise.

pesto ingredients

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Hiking to Wind Caves at Gaviota State Park

Happy almost weekend!

What’s the weather looking like where you live this weekend? I know that some of the U.S. is seemingly getting out of its polar vortex for the season, so I hope that all you who have been cooped up inside for awhile have time to enjoy some more mild temperatures. In San Diego it’s supposed to be pretty hot and sunny – in the mid to high 80s all weekend – so I’m going to try to soak up the sunshine outside as much as I can! Speaking of being outdoors, today I’m talking about my favorite outdoor workout: hiking – more specifically, hiking to wind caves in California’s Gaviota State Park.

Gaviota Park-4

This outdoor workout was part of my getaway with my hubby a couple of weeks ago. First I told you guys all about the Danish town of Solvang that we stayed in, as well as our wine tasting experience in the Santa Ynez Valley (post here), so today is my last recap from our getaway. We hiked at a park near Santa Barbara on our way back home to San Diego on Sunday afternoon.

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5 Tips to Avoid Overeating + MealEnders Giveaway!

Portion control is so important when it comes to eating healthily. You can be consuming all nutritious, delicious food, but if you’re eating too much of it, it’s going to throw your body off. Besides having an achy stomach, feeling lethargic, and not being able to trim down (if that’s your goal), it can even make your brain feel foggy if you overdo it with your portions.

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been there in having that uncomfortable feeling in your gut when you’ve eaten too much. I love to enjoy great food, but I also hate that stuffed feeling that makes me feel uncomfortably full. Like with most things, I think it’s all about balance and moderation.

Michael Pollan-Eat Food quote

Because of all of this, I make sure to pay close attention to not only what I’m eating, but how much I’m putting in my mouth on a daily basis. While I’m not perfect and I still have times when I overdo it, for the most part, I keep my portion control in check to keep me feeling my best all around. Here are five tips I habitually use to avoid overeating:

1.) Eat on smaller plates & bowls. I’ve mentioned this one on the blog before, because for me, eating my meals out of smaller dishes really works! If you have nice little appropriate portions on a big ole plate, there’s something in your brain that thinks, “That’s it?!” whereas if you have the same portions filling up a smaller plate, you subconsciously feel more satisfied and not at all like you’re depriving yourself.

HippocratesQuote

(source)

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Cinnamon Almond Butter Date Truffles

Hey friends!

Hope that you had a fabulous weekend. A highlight of my last few days included meeting up with my friend Trish and her little pup for a hiking doggie date….

Elfin Forest Hiking with Harley

Temperatures were in the 80s on Saturday, but it didn’t feel too hot because it was nice and breezy. Harley wasn’t slowed down by the warm weather and was her usual maniac, super friendly self.

Harley & Cody

Harley & Cody

Another fun thing I did over the weekend was volunteer with a group called CropSwap. The organization is dedicated to harvesting produce from farms, which would have otherwise gone to waste, and getting it to people who can’t afford to buy fresh fruit and veggies. As a health coach whose passionate about the importance of nutrition and eating a healthy diet full of whole foods, I wanted to get involved because I think it’s an awesome cause.

CropSwap March 2015-Sisters Heritage Farm

On Sunday morning we met at a farm in the area and harvested oranges to be donated to Feeding America. The farm had tons of pigs (lots of piglets too!), goats and dogs to play with. The pigs are apparently fruit hogs, and they love to eat orange after orange!

Sisters Heritage Farms pigs

Another highlight of my weekend was food, obviously. I made this pancake combo – banana oatmeal protein pancakes with strawberries, blueberries & chocolate chips – two days in a row. How pretty are they?

fruity banana protein pancakes

Are you guys tired of my protein pancakes pictures yet? Don’t answer that… because I’m not tired of showing off my beautiful pancakes!

almond date truffles-1

I spent a good amount of time in the kitchen experimenting. My Marine worked all weekend, and it always seems like when he’s gone and I’m not working and have some downtime, I cook and bake up a storm. He gets home and I’m all, “Hey try this… oooh have some of that!” and shoving food in his face. I don’t think he hasn’t any complaints about it though. :)

almond date truffles-3

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Wine Tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley

Happy Friday friends!

Since the weekend is almost here, I thought that today I’d talk about one of my favorite weekend activities: wine tasting. Besides just loving to try new wines and compare and contrast different varietals and vintages, I enjoy visiting wineries because I like to hear firsthand the stories behind the wineries and their products. There tends to be so much passion put into winemaking, and I love hearing about it.

ITALY! 299_2

I also am in love with the beauty that typically surrounds wine country. This love affair first started when I studied abroad in Italy in college, met a local restaurant owner who offered to take two of my friends and me on a winery tour, and spent a day in the Italian countryside sipping wine with winery owners who spit their wine out in a seemingly angry matter, spoke too quickly in Italian for me to understand anything they were saying, as they pushed plates of cheese and bread at me. True story.

Sicilian wine country

Sicilian wine country

I find wineries to be romantic and relaxing. Usually the people at wineries are in good moods – I mean, why wouldn’t they be?! Since moving to California, I’ve taken full advantage of all of the wine regions in this state. There have been weekends in Napa and Sonoma and day trips to places like Livermore Valley….oh, and I spent many days at my favorite winery in Santa Clara Valley during our stint of living in the Bay Area. It was only a 5 minute drive from my place, so how could I resist?

Stags-Leap1

This brings me to last weekend’s getaway in Solvang. Earlier this week I talked about the town itself, and today I’m recapping the wineries that we visited there during our stay.

I did some research beforehand to choose some wineries I wanted to visit. I’ve definitely done wine tasting days where I just have kind of winged it, but sometimes that leads to me tasting at places that specializes in varietals I don’t care for (sauvignon blanc – no thanks!) or have $30 tasting fees (borderline ridiculous). This time, I picked the nearby Santa Ynez Trail and scoped out a bunch of wineries ahead of time. All of the wineries we tasted at were within a 10-minute drive from the hotel, which was great.

Santa Ynez Trail map

(source)

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