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Archive for December, 2010

My Apologies

First thing, I want to apologize for being MIA the last two weeks. We took off for Florida on the 16th and have been non-stop from the moment we got in. I purposely left my laptop behind to spend as much time with family as possible. We won’t see them again for another year or so, unless they decide to take a trip up here, so I wanted to enjoy every minute. We had such a good time, but I have to admit that it was stressful for the both of us. We were constantly trying to divide up the time spent between families and didn’t want anyone to feel left out. I never knew just how stressful it all was! But looking back on the time spent, I do feel like it was an overall good time.

I had no yoga down there, and no time to go for a long walk or jog. I ate everything I wanted (good and bad) and didn’t think twice about it. I thought not worrying about what I ate or exercise would be relaxing and calming… wrong! The sludge that I ate left me feeling crappy and lethargic. I can definitely notice the difference in my body when I eat poorly. Plus, no yoga or exercise of any really took its toll on me. I feel like a huge paperweight and I swear I have gained 5 pounds or so. Now that we are home, I am so relieved to be back in my element. My beloved yoga has been cancelled the last few days due to tons of snow hitting VA Beach. The roads are HORRIBLE so grocery shopping has been put on hold along with job searching. And to top it all off, I’m sick as a dog. No voice, sore throat and tired all the time.

Sorry for the short post, but I feel like death and still have so much unpacking to do 😦 I just wanted to let you all know that I’m back on the map and will be posting regularly again! Merry belated Christmas!

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I usually have that warm fuzzy feeling around Christmas time and I get into the spirit hardcore, but this year something is off. We have no decorations up, no tree and no friends or family to aid in that spirit. We decided not to get a tree or put up decorations since we’re not going to be here for the holiday. But, yesterday I woke up to this

How could I not feel the spirit of winter in this?! I opened our blinds while Ruca and I sat in awe of this mysterious white fluff falling from the sky. You guys have to realize that I have only seen snow twice in my life so I become mesmerized by it. It would be like living in a place that never rains so naturally when it rains, you just stare. When I walked out to my car to head for yoga yesterday, it was completely covered in an inch of snow! I thought to myself, “okay, this is where I wipe off the snow with some kind of scraper right?” We don’t have such a thing so I grabbed a dish towel and went to work on my car but let me tell you, I had a smile on my face the whole time 🙂

This past weekend I had Ruca model her Christmas attire but she didn’t seem to be in the mood for it. However, I did manage to get a few shots of her looking cute as can be.

My little Do-Do Rabbit!

Isn't she cute?!

The "are you done yet" look

With all of the picture-taking my camera’s battery died when I tried capturing my lunch yesterday 😦 . Such a shame because it was so delicious and colorful! I think I may have enough ingredients to recreate it today and will for sure be capturing it. No yoga for me today as I am sore and lethargic. I’ve gone the past two days and will be attending tomorrow and Thursday. Plus, I really need to get my packing done. I’m one of those people who takes a few days to pack because I ALWAYS forget something if I’m rushed. It takes me a few days to remember everything I need to bring. It’s always the little, yet important, items I mistakenly leave behind. Now off to packing and getting the house situated. I’ll leave you with a post yoga  picture with my baby girl.

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First up, my photo giveaway before and after photos.

Original

And here are the 3 different editing styles

Enhanced color

Black & white

Sepia

I thought they came out great! I ordered three 8 x 10’s of the sepia picture with a matte finish for our parents. Good thing I already have the picture frames. These are going to be thoughtful gifts for such  little cost. I paid $1.99 each for the 8 x 10 frames at goodwill (they’re brand new!!) and around$8 for three 8 x 10 prints. That’s three gifts for around $15 and not to mention how personable they are. I’ll have to share the finished product in the frame and all once we receive the prints in the mail. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Leah was generous enough to edit a picture of my dog Nikki as well. For all of you that are not familiar with the story of my dog Nikki, let me share. I entered to win this photo giveaway by telling the story of my favorite holiday gift…

My favorite holiday gift had to be when I got my dog (now 14 years old) Nikki. I was 9 years old and my mother surprised me with a trip to Disney World for my 9th birthday in November. It was a special holiday Disney celebration with fake snow, hot chocolate and sledding (I was born and raised in FL so that experience was freaking awesome!).While we were in Orlando, the dog we had at the time was killed when we let a family friend watch over him. I was crushed and so was my mom. There was only a few weeks left before Christmas and my mom knew I was missing my best friend. Early Christmas morning, I was awakened by the sound of whimpering. My mom insisted I just go back to sleep, but I knew something was there. So at 2 o’clock in the morning, my mom said we can go check it out. The whimpering was coming from the garage and as the garage door opened, there was a fuzzy little white puppy jumping in a box begging to be played with. I was ecstatic! Needless to say, I couldn’t go back to sleep and I kept thanking Santa Clause for the best gift ever. That little white fuzzy puppy is now an old tired dog, but she is still one of my best friends and always remembers who I am when I come home after being away for so long. This is also one of many things I am looking forward to when going home this holiday season!
  
Allow me to introduce my dog Nikki…
 

Nikki - December 2010 (14 years old)

Can’t wait to see her on Friday! Thanks again Heather and Leah for all of your talent and kindness!

As for eats, I’ve been keeping it simple… real simple. We’re trying to eat up all of the perishable food we have before heading down to Florida, so the following food items are a result of our efforts.

I had to compromise these so I could mix the perishable food into a dish that the hubby could get down on.

I decided on my version of baked ziti. Jon is a very picky eater and if it’s good for you, he doesn’t want it. Who would have thought I would be married to my complete opposite? I’m just glad I could finally make an unhealthy dish a little healthier, and it would be something he would eat. I threw grass-fed beef on the skillet while the pasta was being boiled and used up the rest of the organic pasta sauce we had in the fridge. After the three were done cooking, I mixed them all together and poured into a baking dish.

I added some shredded Trader Joe's mexican cheese to the dish and baked at 400 F for 15 minutes.

 

This was good but would be better with the right kind of cheese. Mozzarella, parmesan or romano would have been perfect.

I’ve been eating the following for lunch

Cajun turkey with pickles on a whole wheat tortilla, paired with flax-seed veggie tortilla chips.

I forgot how much I love mangos. So glad we have been reunited.

Well, that pretty much covers it. I took a few Christmas pictures of Ruca today and will be sharing in the next post. Yoga later today and the start of packing for FL! So much to do, so little time.

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Pictures, as promised!

Last night was amazing! We went over to Jon’s friend’s house before the party and had a blast getting to know everybody. I snapped a picture of Jon while he was modeling his newly bought outfit and he looked so cute!

He cleans up nicely

He insisted on wearing his Nike’s with his outfit and I couldn’t fight him because he was being such a good sport by dressing up. I tried to get a good picture of us before we went out but this was the best one I got.

The pose is a bit awkward but I'm just happy we got a picture!

We arrived to the party around 8:30 and stayed until it was over at 11. I was able to meet his co-workers and superiors which is nice for any significant other to do. I guess it’s just comforting to know who your husband is around everyday, all day. I didn’t hold back at the party one bit. I was the first one on the dance floor and the last one off of the dance floor, but I managed to get all the “stiff” people on their feet! 😉 When I’m put in situations, doesn’t matter which one, I adapt and make it a situation worth while. I usually break the ice with a sarcastic joke or a good conversation. I find that it makes people open up and the night tends to go pretty smooth after that. While we were dancing and having a good time, I managed to get yet another picture of us!

Sorry for the poor quality, I had to take a picture of the picture. They wanted us to pose and it was very uncomfortable if you can't notice.

The night got even better after we won this

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you freaking kidding me???!!!!! Hell yeah! I was completely blown away when they called our ticket number. The whole night Jon and I kept saying, “we won a f***ing ipad!”. Probably not the best choice of words, but that just gives you an insight on how excited we were. Honestly, I am one of those people who never win anything but lately that luck is beginning to change. First with HEAB’s photo giveaway and now an ipad. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. All in all, it was a great night and a much-needed great night. 🙂 Speaking of the photo giveaway, I got the pictures back! Leah was kind enough to edit a picture of my dog Nikki as well. Since my favorite holiday gift story was about getting my dog Nikki, which is what won me the giveaway, it means so much to have a picture of such a fond memory. The only catch is….. you all will have to be patient and wait until tomorrow to see them. I have to keep you on your toes, right?

So close to leaving for the holiday and we’re both getting antsy. Jon gets released for leave the 16th at 4:00 pm and then we’re off to Florida. We will be down there for 10 days and then it’s back to work for Jon and job searching for myself. I attended hot yoga yesterday for an hour. I knew I would be having a few drinks last night and not making it to yoga today so I made sure I got my fix in. The class was pretty intense for me because it was structured like a flow class. I have never taken any kind of flow class so the speed caught me entirely off guard. At first I was like, “are you kidding me” as I was almost an entire pose behind everyone else, but as the class went on I just went with it and I kind of enjoyed it. It helped me work up a sweat faster and was more of a strength building class for me. I would do it again 🙂 I apologize for not having a food picture, but we’ve been eating out at the gatherings we’ve attended lately. Maybe tomorrow you will get one… or two. Jon is on watch until 4:00 pm today 😦 so while he’s there, I’m going to try to keep busy with household chores… fuuuuun. Enjoy your Saturday everybody!

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Big day

Today’s post is a big post. Big in the sense of news received and the length it will be… I hope you don’t mind :). Okay, so first  up…

EEEEEE!!!

I was so excited to receive this in the mail yesterday. Now, I can focus on the holiday ahead, preparing myself to find a part-time job  and gathering my supplies for school. The only down part is Ruca will be spending a lot of time in her kennel :(. Hopefully she will be a good enough girl to where we can leave her out by herself, but I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon. Secondly, I wanted to share some yoga poses with all of you. These are poses that I have been personally working with and find them breath-taking to the eye. If anybody has any suggestions on to make these poses better or any adjustments I could use, please let me know. I consider myself a bit of a perfectionist but when it comes to yoga, I feel like if you are not in the pose correctly you will not feel the stretch intended and can even cause injury.

Standing head-to-knee pose. (Still working on getting that head to my knee but I have come a LONG way from my first attempt at this pose)

Tree pose

Standing forward bend. (Still working on flattening that back and bringing my heart space towards my legs.)

Downward-facing dog. (Again, still working on flattening the back and bringing my heart forward.)

Reverse warrior

Half moon (3rd variation back bend)

Dancer's pose (I envy those who can lift that leg high into the air.)

I have come so far since the very beginning of my practice and continue to see growth. I cannot express my love for this practice enough and hope I have the opportunity to practice for the remainder of my life. Thirdly, remember that sweet potato action I promised? Well here she is..

My topping bar 🙂 (Almond butter, sunflower seed butter and chocolate peanut butter from Whole Foods.)

I baked a medium to larger sized tater at 375 F for about an hour. When it was ready, I cut the potato in fourths so I can accommodate all of my toppings.

1/4 with sunflower seed butter, 1/4 with chocolate peanut butter, 1/4 with almond butter and pecans, and 1/4 with butter, cinnamon and honey.

And my favorite topping? Plain old sweet potato with a spoonful of sunflower seed butter.

My first time trying sunflower seed butter but will definitely not be my last. I cannot wait to put it on other creations.

Fourthly, the hubs and I had a mini photo shoot here in our apartment to send to Leah in honor of winning HEAB’s photo giveaway. I never take pictures of myself anymore so here is a behind the scenes picture of myself from last night.

Take advantage because this doesn't happen often 😉

And lastly, Jon and I have a Christmas party to attend tomorrow night for his unit. It’s a semi-formal event so I am kind of excited to get dressed up. In honor of the occasion I am going shopping today for something cute to wear. Hopefully Jon will participate in taking a picture all dressed up as we never do something like this. If he so chooses, I will be sharing with you all. Have a lovely day!

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My favorite snack

Unfortunately, yesterday I was feeling completely down in the energetic department. I think I may be getting some kind of bug. I did manage to make it to yoga thinking it would help me to sweat out the bad toxins and maybe instill some energy within me. I gave the studio a bag of the bark I made yesterday and they loved it! I wrote the ingredients on the bag because if they’re anything like me, I want to know what is in what I am eating. They thought the idea of a bark with nuts, fruit, chocolate and coconut oil was pretty neat and Alex, I directed them straight to your blog for further creative recipes :). I did sweat, there’s no doubt about that, but immediately after class my ears started popping like I was in an airplane. I don’t know if it was due to it being a hot class and having the start of something or if it was just because I wasn’t feeling 100%. I came home, showered and made a snack to sit on the couch and read with.

Half of a chopped apple paired with vanilla almond butter with unsalted chopped pecans.

Ughhh, SO goood! There is something about the juicy, crunchy sweetness of the apple that goes perfectly with the creamy, nutty flavor of the almond butter. Plus, the pecans give in a whole new element.

The best post-yoga snack out there!

While I was taking shots of my food, my pup Ruca was completely baffled as to what I was doing. She sat on the couch looking so confused but her confusion was mixed with the perfect amount of cuteness… I must share.

"What are you doing mom and what is that thing glued to your face?"

She has got to be one of the cutest pups I’ve ever seen and not just because she’s mine ;). I know I was supposed to bake myself a sweet potato yesterday but I just didn’t have the patience to wait for it to cook. When I came home from yoga, I wanted something easy and quick. Shortly after I finished with my snack, Jon came home with an appetite out of this world. We then made some dinner and Jon was not wanting a sweet potato so we settled for quesadillas. I sautéed half of an avocado, onions, and bell peppers as Jon sautéed our chicken. I used two whole wheat tortillas and sandwiched the veggies, chicken and a thin layer of shredded cheese. I baked it at 400 F for about 10 minutes until the tortillas became crunchy and dug in. I ate half last night for dinner and saved the other half for today.

Yoga today but instead of attending a hot class, (which I have been incorporating a hot class in each week) I will be attending the warm class. I’m excited to get in there and stretch and connect with myself. And you better believe the sweet potato is happening today :). Oh yeah, and I won HEAB‘s photo giveaway!! SO excited for the opportunity to have a great looking photo to give to our parents for the holidays. None of them have a photo of the two of us (crazy, huh) and this will be a great first photo. Thanks so much Heather for the chance to make our first married photo so memorable. I will definitely share the finished product!

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As mentioned yesterday, I made my very own bark of nuts, fruit and chocolate. This recipe is so easy and quick but the results are tasty as all hell. I got this recipe from Alex’s blog, A Spoonful of Sugar Free. Thanks Alex, you are a genius!! In a medium bowl went unsalted roasted chopped pecans, unsalted roasted sliced almonds, roasted flax seeds, dried cranberries, dried pomegranate seeds, grain sweetened chocolate chips & semi-sweet Hershey’s chocolate chips, and vanilla extract (to taste).

I mixed all of the ingredients together.

I melted a generous amount of coconut oil in a skillet on warm. I poured the oil into the bowl and mixed until the oil thoroughly coated everything in the bowl. I then poured the mix onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and spreaded it evenly.

Looked so good and I couldn't wait to try the finished product.

 All that’s left to do is pop it in the freezer for about 10 minutes or so. I left mine in there for about 20 minutes while talking to my dad on the phone. When I got off the phone, I immediately checked out what I created.

This was SO good!

On a health note, I’ve been experimenting with suplements and vitamins. I’ve been loosing my hair and my nails have had dips in them. I started incorporating meat into my diet and have felt 5 times better. With the meat intake I wanted to start taking some vitamins, so when Jon and I were in GNC we found these.

Despite the awful experience of swallowing these vitamins (a personal battle for me when I take any pills), these are a great investment!

 These vitamins can get expensive ($60 for a 30 day supply). Fortunately for us, we got these on sale ($24.99!!!). Jon is a gold member of GNC and they were running a special on them so we lucked out. You take a pack of the 8 vitamins a day for 30 days. They make your urine extremely yellow but do not be alarmed. Just make sure you drink plenty of water. Check out what these babies do for your body.

Sounded good to me!

Since I’ve incorporated meat and vitamins into my life my hair loss has subsided and my nails are slowly growing out without any dips in them. Actually, I’ve noticed this change with just the meat intake, but the vitamins didn’t hurt. I don’t think I would pay $60 every month for vitamins but I do think I need to invest in a few supplements to take on a daily basis. Yoga today (yayy!!). On the agenda for today? Baking a delicious sweet potato with some sort of savory topping. 🙂

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