Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lifestyle changes.

I never really did a Whole 30 recap of how our month went.  It's been a while but I'll say this: I'm a believer.  I have never slept better in my life.  My tension headaches (that have plagued me almost daily for years) have practically disappeared.  I feel better than I have in a long, long time.  I stopped fully doing Whole 30 right before my Austin trip.  The best thing about Whole 30 has been the long-lasting lifestyle changes I've made since.

One of my favorite lifestyle changes that I began while doing Whole 30 was smoothies!  I switched my routine to gym in the mornings (best change ever!), so smoothies & boiled eggs are staples.  I make my smoothies the night before.  Whole 30 isn't a huge advocate for smoothies, but I make sure to load up with more veggies than fruit & use no artificial sweeteners or dairy.

I love that I can pretty much throw any combination in and have a decent breakfast.  My favorite smoothie combo so far consists of these ingredients:

 [Pumpkin, mango, spinach, carrots, coconut milk, + cinnamon]

That's literally it.  I only add some extra water to make blending easier.  The fruit adds enough sweetness & the "carby" pumpkin keeps me full even after my am run.  

While I haven't been so good about staying away from dairy cheese and carbs within the past couple of weeks (which I am totally contributing to last weekend's bought of sickness), I try to mostly base all of my meals around primarily fruits & veggies.

I wish I could afford to eat Whole Foods salad bar daily.  My usual from there is a salad topped with egg salad and strawberries & cashews on the side.  I feel the best when the majority of my meals are like this.  I eat a ton of eggs over greens with fruit on the side.  I didn't go crazy over finishing whole 30 (i.e. indulging in every single "bad" item I couldn't eat), but I definitely have let myself get a bit too lenient.  Seriously though, it's a big deal when I choose to order a salad at a restaurant.  Boo change.

My am gym routine allows me to go to a yoga class every Wednesday.  It's an easy wake-up class that is never crowded!  I love the teacher & it's the best to start the day with.  It's reminded me of my love for yoga, so I've broke out my yoga DVDs again.  It's tough balancing running, yoga, & strength training, but I feel a million times better.

These days I actually want to work out.  I've finally gotten to that point that I love the way working out makes me feel, makes me look.  While I am still trying to get down to that goal weight (and planning to reward myself greatly when I do), I just enjoy feeling this way.  I broke out Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30 to use on days that I can't quite fit in the gym.  I know continued strength training will help my running game, and let's me honest...I want to lose that beer belly that's continually hanging on!

These are lifestyle changes that I hope really stick.  I know that if I keep in mind how different I feel now, I better keep it up!

A Mommas Desires And Pacifiers

Friday, August 24, 2012

Food & Beer Friday :: Your organic beer option!

One of our favorite watering holes is Tasty Beverage, and they celebrated their one year anniversary on Wednesday.  While I was there, I picked up some new bottles for tasting!  Let's talk organic this week!

Bison Brewing is a brewery out of Berkeley, California.  I'm a big fan of their support of sustainable & organic agriculture.  While I do think California allows more accessibility to organic ingredients, lots of breweries are trying to make steps in the right direction.  According to Bison,
"A household purchasing just one 6-pack of organic beer (4.5 pints x 16 oz. pints) every week for an entire year causes a farmer to convert 1,700 sq. feet of conventional farmland into organic agriculture. Drinking more organic beer a week only increases that impact!
A bar or restaurant purchasing just one 15.5 gallon keg of organic beer per week causes a farmer to convert ONE FOOTBALL FIELD of farmland from conventional to organic! Ask your favorite bars and restaurants to to commit to at least one tap handle to organic beer! The more tap handles, the more football fields worth of land we can covert!"
Just some food for thought!  But let's get to the beer!

This sums it up!  The ingredients are all organic & it blends together for a nice ale.

I couldn't recall having this beer prior to now.  It didn't have much of a description on the bottle as to the style of beer.  Bison Brewing calls this their Honey Basil Ale.  It was a bit darker than I was anticipating; it lends an amber color with very little head.

I didn't taste much sweetness and was more influenced by the basil notes.  The beer definitely is not hoppy.  The Honey Basil is more malty than hoppy.  The hops and malt offset the sweetness, so don't imagine a sweet wheat-like beer.  This is not that at all.  It is really a sessionable, easy to drink ale.

The great thing about this beer is the opportunity for pairing with food!  The herbal notes lend to lots of unique flavors in a beer.  I would love to experiment with the pairings, but my mind immediately goes to a green curry or Thai dish for pairing!

This little lady paired a summer tomato soup.  Or this grilled honey-basil chicken.  Seriously, the options are endless!

Overall, I'm happy I discovered another easy-to-drink beer that's not overly hoppy or super sweet beer.

Have you tried any other Bison Brewing beers?


Thursday, August 23, 2012

A sweet summer cocktail.

Way back when I had find a signature summer mixed drink on my summer bucket list.  It took me a couple months, but I succeeded!  I gave you a snippet, but here is the full recipe you've been waiting for!

The recipe was inspired by Eat Love Drink's blueberry French 75.  I had leftover champagne from my first birthday weekend, and we had grabbed blackberries at the farmers market, so I made my own adjustments!

To make 1 drink you'll need:

  • A handful or two of blackberries
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1 oz (or a shot) of gin
  • 3 oz champagne
  • Ice
Obviously I'm very classy and used only the best champagne & gin.  But seriously, I'm a girl on a budget!

Muddle your berries in a pint glass (or shaker which I only realized later we had).  Muddle them just a bit to release some of the juices.  I muddled a little too much the first time, but I perfected it on my second round.  Add your gin, lemon juice, & ice.  Shake or stir gently.  Add your champagne & pour into your glass.

Super easy!  Hope you take time to make my summer cocktail before fall sneaks up on us!  Cheers!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm 27 bitches.

I mentioned that this has been probably my best birthday yet.  27 has not disappointed so far.  It has nothing to do with the fact that D has been so incredibly good to me.  I mean this (last picture) was my first "gift" then this trip (and likely a couple other items such as new luggage), and now letting me celebrate for over a week & taking me all out.  He is literally the best.

It's been exactly a week since my official birthday.  I'm lucky that he let me celebrate for over a week.  He let me start celebrating the Friday before.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that D took me to see Kathy Griffin live in Durham.  We had a yummy dinner before & headed over for drinks prior to the show.

The Durham Performing Arts Center is a beautiful locale.  We saw Wicked & Chicago here.  They have these huge windows that lend a gorgeous view of the city!

Seriously.  12 rows away.  No zooming.  The show was so funny & so worth it!

On Saturday, the weekend continued by heading over to an old school theater that serves beer.  We saw The Campaign which was so funny.  Can't go wrong with Will Ferrell.

Then margarita pizza and one of my favorite summer beers!

D had family come in town on Sunday, so we hit up the farmers' market and ran some errands.  Monday did not disappoint.  We headed over the The Hive for their Terrapin/Pinecone Bluegrass Jam.

Tuesday, my birthday, was major.  I worked for the first time in year (I'm a huge proponent of NEVER working on your birthday).  I told D that my motto used to be, "Do only what you want to on your birthday."  This year since I was working, I switched the motto to, "Don't do anything you don't want to on your birthday."  The subtle wording changes everything.  I didn't do anything I didn't want to.  I got up early and ran because I wanted to.  I treated myself to the Whole Foods hot bar (and my fav drink) after my run.

[Don't worry that's vegan sausage!]

I worked mainly because I like my job now.  I don't dread it, so it doesn't fall under the "don't want to" category.

I came home to an orchid (virtually un-killable!), sweet card, & tickets to Busch Garden from D.  My co-worker gave me the balloon & the giant cupcake!

Then I dressed down (and graced you with a fabulously blurry photo) for dinner & drinks with friends that night.  I chilled out for the rest of the week until I took my birthday day-off on Friday!  D met me outside Virginia Beach where we had some beach time.  Then we drove over to Williamsburg, VA.  We pooled it & had some yummy dinner.  Saturday was the big day at Busch Gardens!

Walking almost 10 miles & 9+ hours in the park were totally worth it.  I didn't bring in my cell phone/purse, so I can't grace you with more pictures.

Suffice it to say, I couldn't be more happy with 27 so far.  I hope this year shapes up to be as good as this last week has been.  I can't thank D enough for making me such a happy girl this bday season.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Life lately :: Celebrating me.

I pretty much wanted to start celebrating my birthday at the beginning of August, but I tried to limit it to about a week.  It mostly ended up being about a week and a half.  The most wonderful week & a half birthday I've had yet.  I'll give you some brief snippets with more to come this week!

 [Started an obsession with Whole Foods triple latte in the mornings...better than the crappy work coffee, but way too expensive to become such a habit]

 [More Whole Foods obsessions...salad bar.  At least I'm continuing my Whole 30 eating, but the cost is extreme...but also delicious]

 [A long Monday before the birthday was call to celebrate with a week day beer + cashews]

 [Dream come true :: seeing Kathy Griffin live the weekend before my birthday!]

 [Massive cupcake from my co-worker for my birthday]

 [Sneak preview of the makings of my signature cocktail!   Recipe coming soon!]

 [A Friday off for my birthday calls for the beach...finally!]

[SO happy D got me this for the birthday!  Such a fun weekend!]

Linking up with these beauties!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Food & Beer Friday :: Well there's a "fancy" letter in the name.

I've been a bit busy this week celebrating my birthday week, but rest assured I'll be back next week in full swing with updates and recipes and other fun!  For now, let's get to this week's spot light!

I have already featured a Heavy Seas beer, and I promise I'm really going to mix things up come pumpkin beer season (it's scary how quick it's coming!).  Since it's still summer, this Märzen vienna-style lager is just perfection.  I have the worst memory but remembered really enjoying this beer at a Heavy Seas event.  The second tasting did not disappoint!

This beer is light in color and the low alcohol level makes it easy to drink on a summer evening (or day...who doesn't love day drinking?).  The last is clean and easy.  In my opinion, there's not a prominent hop flavor, more malty but not a lot.  The aroma is sweet and appealing.  I'd completely recommend it for you beer newbies!

The food pairings are almost more appealing than the beer just amazing!  How much do you want to drink this beer coupled with the Pepperoni Pyrate bread?  Think Bisquick + cheese + pepperoni.  I'm in.  Heavy Seas also recommends a Märzen Mushroom Gravy which just looks delicious (and vegetarian!).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Yes, I want a deer head for my living room.

It's pretty pathetic that I have yet to cross off more than one thing on my summer bucket list this year.  I'm sad and embarrassed.  Since tomorrow is my birthday, I am planning to pick up some spirits in order to develop my signature summer drink.  The instagram wall idea has really got me thinking about decor.

Our poor little living room is pathetic.  We have old, hand-me-down furniture.  It's really a beautiful room though.  It's the room that we and guests spend the most time.  It is the first room that I really want to invest in decorating.  The walls were already painted when we moved in, and I love the color.  A grayish-blue with white trim.  I've been fervently debating decor ideas and have a pretty clear idea of what I want.
Source: via Kristin on Pinterest

I want a version of this couch from Ikea.  I'm thinking of a darker grey for a couch so every spill does not show up.  The grey I prefer is a little bit darker than the above version.  Since our couch sits in front of large windows, it won't clash with the walls.  The problem is our little kitties who love to claw our current couch.  Will they destroy the new one?  Even a "cheaper" Ikea couch?

I'm pretty obsessed with lucite (and those antlers on the wall).  I want just a lucite coffee table to replace our huge, awful one that has followed D all the way from south Georgia.  I think the lucite will give things a bit more of a modern feel.

We have three large windows on the back wall, and they're currently holding these terrible red, suede curtains (what can I say? They came with the house, and we're cheap).  I adore these simple but chic curtains.  I think they'll pair perfect with the grey couch.

Source: via Kristin on Pinterest

Obviously this rug is going to tie the curtains in together.  Perfection.

Then it's the deer head (but I promise it would be all white) that would be the focus of the gallery wall that meets your eye when you walk in the door.  It would be surrounded by instagram pics and fun printables and other Pinterest DIY ideas.

First priority is the couch & coffee table...


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