Life Lately (7/5/15)

Howdy!

I’ve been slacking with blogging lately but I thought it was time to get back to it.

I know your summer has probably been busy like ours has. Here’s what we’ve been up to…

Father’s Day weekend we went camping, it was glorious. I worked long work days through the week so we could get out of town Thursday night. We would have liked to stay longer but just being able to get away from work and the heat for those 2.5 days was so wonderful. Patrick caught one fish, I struck out, but it sure was one tasty fish we had as an appetizer that night.

I started this crochet project while camping.

 
I’ve since stopped to undo it all and start over ooh, about 4 times. I’m learning a new stitch every time though! And hey, it’s a pillow I intend to put on the couch in the winter holiday months so I’m thinking I’m good on time.
I’ve been eating this salad. 

 

It’s the Power Greens mix, this dressing, cherry tomatoes, feta and some kalamata olives if I’m feeling crazy. I’m off to make more dressing right now, so good!

I got a promotion at work. Had to throw that in, I’m so excited to be taking on a new position and learning a ton. 

We celebrated the Fourth of July and my Father-in-Law’s birthday which was the third on the same day.

We contributed dessert and herb buttered corn.

 

We had a brush fire down the road from us a couple weeks ago.

 

It was too close for comfort but CalFire was on top of it and they go it out before any major damage was done.

Next weekend I’ll be celebrating my best friend’s bachelorette party, I’m so excited! But that probably means another short hiatus from blogging, I’ll be back soon.

I want I hear from you guys.


What summer foods can’t you get enough of? 

My neighbor has been sharing her abundance of zucchini and this looked like a great way to use up some of it. Cassie is so creative! I’m thinking freezing them for later would be great for preventing zucchini burnout. You know what I’m talking about!

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Skinny

Happy Sunday ya’ll! I know I’ve been MIA for a little while now, I apologize. We’ve been off and on busy and while I had been writing notes to myself about things I wanted to write about, I hadn’t yet sat down and cranked out any full fledged blog posts. I had been wanting to discuss the word skinny and things that bother me about our everyday usage of it for a while. I wrote snippets here or there but with Lauren Conrad recently posting on her website that she has banned the use of “skinny”, “slim” and “thin,” I got the motivation to say what I had been feeling about the word skinny too.

Skinny is defined as, very thin, especially in an unappealing or unhealthy way. So why has the word “skinny” become something positive to aspire to be? Skinny lattes, skinny jeans, getting skinny for my wedding day. If someone had not lived in our society to learn what the evolved meaning of what skinny is to Americans today, they might go by what is written in the dictionary. The definition of skinny is very clear about being unappealing and/or unhealthy. 

We also know that striving to be skinny has helped create a culture so stuck on getting our number on the scale down that we have had to deal with consequences like anorexia, bulimia, dismorphyia, etc., so why is it still so prevalent? Why aren’t we striving for health, both mental and physical? More energy? Muscle tone? Running more? Lifting more? Nourishing our bodies with real food? Happiness?

I cringe whenever I’m in line for coffee at Starbucks and I see someone order a Skinny Vanilla Latte. Not only is the vicious cycle of body shaming being continued by choosing something that is marketed to help you get to your goal of being skinnier. But that Latte is full of artificial sweeteners that will only trick the metabolism into thinking it’s been given the sugar it craves, confusing the metabolism. It also lacks any fat, meaning that the sugar left in the milk will be burned off very quickly as fuel, spiking the blood sugar only to drop suddenly again, causing another sugar craving. The irony of it is, one is likely to gain weight consuming these on the regular. The drink has a lot in common with skinny as it is not healthy or nourishing. 

I think our use of the word “skinny” should go back to its original usage. A malnourished and abused dog is skinny. An actor starving himself for a role is skinny. All of these things that ar truly skinny, are not things we should be striving to be. 

Let’s nourish our bodies with real food and condition them with regular exercise. Let’s be proud of the feats our bodies can accomplish and support them in doing all that we ask of them. Let’s be fitter, stronger, happier, and healthier!

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My Top 5 Reasons to Exercise

Hello everyone! 

Checking in here to talk about exercise, but first, a little weekend update.

This Saturday I got to go celebrate a good friend’s new addition to her family. Khrystyne and I worked together at Whole Foods and I’m so excited to meet her little one! 

phote credit to Khrystyne’s husband, Ezzat

 
 We all had fun catching up, eating, playing games and doing some crafts. I contributed the cake for the occasion. Strawberries and Cream! It was so nice to see everyone and celebrate such a happy occasion. 

The craft I had been working on for a little while but couldn’t post about was Khrystyne’s baby blanket. Here’s a shot of it before I packaged it up. I got the pattern from a friend who had made it many times in various colors for baby gifts.  She said it was one that everyone always loved and I can see why! 

  

We spent today doing errands and chores like usual. Gotta have a clean house, clean laundry and groceries to start the week of right!

Now to today’s health topic: exercise!

This time of year you’ve surely already been told it’s time to start getting in bikini shape. You wouldn’t want to be seen on the beach without toned abs, defined arms and firm butt, right? 

There was a time when I was younger when I fell for that motivation to exercise. I fell for the idea that the physical appearance of my body was the only reason to workout, the rest of the year I’d be covered up and there was no reason to get fit. But now I’m older and dare I say wiser, at the ripe age of 24. In the past few years I have learned why making fitness a part of one’s lifestyle is important. That’s all year round folks, not just from May-September. 

Not only is it easier to feel confident in your skin at the beach when you stay fit year round, but there is a large list of other positive things that keep me motivated to stay active and strong. Here are my top 5.

1.    Confidence

Making accomplishments and progress in your fitness can bring you lots of confidence. As you get better at something, whether it’s a difficult yoga pose or a new running PR, you’ll amaze yourself at how awesome you really are. I know whenever I complete a new BodyPump release or increase my weight for a certain muscle group, I feel on top of the world. It’s about proving to yourself that you can do this and that’s a great feeling.

2.    Sleep

Sleep, glorious sleep! I’m sure any of you can attest to this one. After a tough workout, you sleep like a baby. That means going to sleep easier and staying asleep longer. Quality of sleep is better after exercise. For me it works like this, the harder the workout, the better the sleep. After BodyPump I typically fall asleep right away and stay asleep all night compared to days where I don’t do much in the fitness department. 

3.    Stress 

This is my personal biggest motivator for exercise. I’m naturally a very anxious person so I’m always finding ways to use my nervous energy. My go-to is exercise. Crochet and bubble baths help too but nothing works as well as a good sweat session. Even aside from my nervous energy, if I’ve had a bad day at work, the gym is my instant cure.

4.    Energy 

I really think this goes hand in hand with the higher quality sleep you get from exercise as well as using up energy. It sounds weird but using up energy on one day and sleeping well because of it makes for an energetic start to the days following. You might even find that you need less coffee to get going in the mornings after implementing a regular workout routine.

5.    Happiness

Elle Woods said it best, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” While you may be cursing me when you’re struggling starting out on a run or barely hanging on through a new fitness class, once you make it through and catch your breath, you feel great! Lactic acid and all, there is a direct correlation between exercise and happiness and who doesn’t want to be happy?!

I hope this little snippet helps motivate any of you struggling to get on a regular workout routine to make it happen. You won’t regret it!

Until next time…


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Day Trip to Point Reyes

 Howdy!

It’s Brittany checking in to tell you about our little day trip we took on Friday. Patrick has spent a lot of time in Point Reyes hiking and camping, but I never had. And after reading about what a foodie and agricultural destination it is on top of a beautiful hiking area, I wanted to visit too. Cowgirl Creamery was on the top of my list of places to visit in Point Reyes. For $5, you can get a little tour/history of the company along with a tasting of many of their famous cheeses. They have a few different locations but the one in Point Reyes is the one and only place they make the famous Red Hawk cheese. This is because of the naturally occurring bacteria in the ambient air that make Red Hawk taste so good. We really had fun learning about the cheese making process, the area of Point Reyes and the origins of Cowgirl Creamery. Of course the cheese tasting was the best part! It was fun to start with fresh cheeses (creme fraiche and fromage blanc) and work our way through to the more aged and harder cheeses (Red Hawk and Wagon Wheel) They also had jam pairings with some cheeses that were wonderful! If you’re in the area and looking for some fun things to do, I highly recommend booking a spot in the tour/tasting online before you go. There’s also a cantina in the creamery where you can get gourmet foods using their cheeses as well as other local foods.   

Here you can see Red Hawk being washed as part of the cheese making process. 

After Cowgirl Creamery, we got lunch across the way before heading to our other appointment of our trip, a tour and tasting at Heidrun Meadery. We learned a ton about mead and how the company came about. Mead traditionally is honey wine made from fermenting honey, water and yeast. Heidrun is different in that it is made in the style of champagne. It is sparkling and dry, not overly sweet like traditional mead. The location of the Meadery used to be a dairy, true to the Point Reyes heritage. The tasting room is in a large loafing barn turned  green house, see below.   

The mead is made in the big barn on the left in the picture below. The owner, Gordon, showed us around and answered all of our questions about the process. They company started out using honey from various bee keepers but recently has grown its own beekeeping to harvest enough honey to make a mead with honey from Point Reyes and the surrounding areas. We tasted a Hawaiian Lehua Flower mead, Oregan Radish Blossom, Carrot Blossom, Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, Orange Blossom, Point Reyes Wildflower and Alfalfa and Clover. If any of you have ever tasted different varietals of honey, you know they can taste very different, taking on the flavors of the flower they are from. That made tasting the different meads very fun. We went home with a couple of different bottles for ourselves and one for a friend. Heidrun is the only Meadery to be making mead in a champagne style, that makes them really special. You can find some of their bottles in grocery stores but I highly recommend visiting them for a tasting if you’re in the area too. The specialty ones don’t make it to stores but can be tasted and purchased at the Meadery. I saw they sometimes have avocado blossom, buckwheat and sage meads, I’m very interested in trying those one day!       

I really like the saying on the wine bag! 

We’ve spent the rest of our weekend kicking back and relaxing and doing all of those weekend errands and chores. Autumn’s been particularly enjoying playing with her new “horse” Patrick’s parents brought back for her from Kentucky. I hope you all had a great weekend! Here’s to starting another week!

 

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3 day weekend

Don’t let the title fool you, it wasn’t another state worker holiday weekend. The allergies got the best of me and Thursday I came done with a nasty sinus infection/cold so I ended up staying home from work Friday. I slept more hours than I was awake, that’s for sure! I’m no stranger to sinus problems, it runs in the family. (Hi Mom and Kristen!) Through my troubles with my sinuses, I’ve found a few things that help me recover. I can’t have another one last 3 months and end in a surgical draining like I did several years back! 

Sinus rinsing and Baraka Oil are my go to tricks. I got started rinsing when I had that 3 month long sinus infection and haven’t looked back. I used it to recover from my surgery and now I use it as needed. When I come down with allergies like I did recently, I start rinsing once a day, more often if I can. The oil I learned about when I was working at Whole Foods. It’s like Vick’s Vapor Rub but all natural essential oils. You put a little on your pinky and rub it just inside both nostrils and breathe deep. It helps open everything up. The last thing I make a point to do is drink lots of water.

   

 

I spent all of Saturday pretty much on the couch crocheting. With allergies kicking my butt, it was a great time to make some headway on a project I’ve been moving too slowly on. I’ll show you guys when it’s done. 

After too many hours of Hulu and movies, I HAD to do something on Sunday and I was finally able to kind of breathe through my nose. So today we cleaned house, meal planned, shopped and tied up some other loose ends around the property. 

I had been talking to my neighbor about propagating some plants, (she’s brilliant at it!) and when we came back from errands, these little guys were waiting for me.  

Hydrangea are one of my favorite flowers! I’ve got one in a pot already but I’m excited to add to the plant family. This has got me thinking about propogating some of my other plants.

Tonight I’m baking cookies and getting ready for the week. How was everyone’s weekend? Are you fairing better with allergy season? Anyone have success propogating plants?

P.S. Happy Game of Thrones premiere!

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Easter Sunday

 Happy Monday everyone! 

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Sunday. We had a low key holiday at home with just the two of us and the four legged kids. Rain was forecasted Sunday afternoon so we were up early to finish up some work outside before that storm moved in. Then I got to work in the kitchen. I try to make quiche and cinnamon pull apart bread every year for Easter, so those were first. Then Patrick was craving buttermilk biscuits so those got thrown in also.       

We ate our little brunch then hung out the rest of the day. A little nap and a movie and it was time for round two. Spiral sliced ham, the previous night’s scalloped potatoes and some bacon braised green beans was on the dinner menu. What are the holidays for if not for eating right?!

 

Do you have anything you make for Easter every year? 

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Weekly Update

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a good weekend. We ran some errands Saturday before going to a much anticipated concert, Garth Brooks with Trisha Yearwood! We had a ton of fun, Garth put on a great show.

Sunday we slept in after being up late the night before. We did our grocery shopping for the week after meal planning. I thought about how some of you suggested I share our weekly menu, so here it is.  

Monday-Pizza

Tuesday-Flautas (made with carnitas from a couple weekends ago, thanks to the freezer!)

Wednesday-Healthy hamburger helper

Thursday-Breaded Chicken Alfredo over Fettuccine

Friday-Date night at a Kings game, dinner TBD

Saturday-Honey mustard baked chicken with scalloped potatoes and asparagus

Easter Sunday-Ham, leftover scalloped potatoes, bacon braised green beans. Also will be making cinnamon sugar pull apart bread and a hashbrown quiche

Something I didn’t do ANY of this weekend was exercise. With all our running around, my plans to workout went by the wayside. So just like planning our meals for the week, I’ve planned my weekly workouts for this week. Hopefully nothing comes up to thwart my plans but here’s what I’ve got.

Monday-Bodypump at the gym

Tuesday-Off/exercise Barry

Wednesday-Bodypump at home

Thursday-Off/exercise Barry

Friday-Off

Saturday-Fitnessista arm workout

Sunday-Run with Autumn

I try to keep my fitness plans from being too outrageous, that way I can really complete what I set out to do. That means realizing “off” days will happen and that sometimes all I can squeeze in is a quick little workout (arm workout). The good news is, Monday’s Bodypump is a scheduled thing. Patrick and I go to the gym with friends at the same time every Monday so I almost never miss Monday’s workout. As for the rest, I try to get straight to my weekday workouts when I get home from work. If I put them off, I’ll make an excuse not to do them. And same with the weekends, I try to do those right when I get up. Especially as summer gets here, running in the morning is much more tolerable than the afternoon!

How do you set yourself up for success for the week? Do you plan meals or grocery shop on a certain day? How about exercise?

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