Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

It's been a busy past few weeks.  With life filled with lots of great challenges, road blocks, and a few nights lasting way too late, I've taken some extra time to stay quiet and just be.  As the year comes to an end, I have found myself naturally reflecting back on the year and critically judging myself.  Not celebrating the highs enough and focusing possibly too much on the lows. 

I've been working on accepting that negative energy is part of life, but being able to accept it, push it away, and move forward has become my new project I'm working on this time of year.  It has been necessary for me to literally take a few breaths, count my blessings (no matter how corny that sounds-you need to do it), and smile.  I am a true believer in making yourself happy first and not depending on only others making you happy. It's a recipe for disappointment and sadness and not a fulfilling way to go through this life. 

I may be all over with my thoughts and there is not a real theme for this post other than I am all over the place right now. Holiday activities, present shopping, animals needing to go to the vet, work overload, more animals needing to go to the vet, and trying to enjoy it all sometimes takes an extra cup of coffee and a few Christmas cookies for breakfast. Other days it's necessary to just drop what your doing and spend some time with the ones you love and really be in the moment. 

Right now it's important to enjoy who and what is already in your life and just be.  In just another week it's a new year and time to think of your new goals and who and what you would like to add to your life. For now, I hope everyone has a safe and healthy holiday, and I hope these Christmas picture outtakes make everyone smile a little (making three dogs sit still in a snow storm is harder than I thought!)  Merry Christmas to you all!


Friday, December 5, 2014

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

With the weather getting colder and more snowy evenings coming this way, I tend to want to stay at home for dinner and a enjoy a comfort food meal with a good glass of red wine.  But if I ate mac n' cheese, vegetable lasagna and pizza every night, I probably wouldn't be able to fit out of my house when it was time for me to leave.  Thus, incorporating a savory, filling meal into the dinner line-up that doesn't make me change too many pant sizes.

I've tried a few different versions of what to mix into quinoa to make it just right, and I (obviously) really enjoy it with the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and pomegranate seeds for the taste and the crunch.  The acorn squash is the treat to this meal and all you need to season it is a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Enjoy!


Serves 4 (make with just one acorn squash and you will have some quinoa left over for lunch!)
  • 2  acorn squash
  • 1 pomegranate (1/2 cup pomegranate seeds)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

~Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit 
~Cut acorn squash in half vertically
~Scoop out seeds in the middle to make a space for the quinoa 
~Drizzle squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
~Line a baking sheet with tin foil and lay squash on baking sheet, squash side down, skin facing out
~Bake squash for 35-45 minutes until soft
~While squash is baking, cook quinoa according to package directions (usually 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water and takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to cook)
~Once quinoa is cooked, mix in pumpkin seeds, almonds, and pomegranate seeds into the quinoa
~Remove squash from oven, allow to cool for five minutes before removing from baking sheet
~Scoop quinoa mixture into acorn squash and serve warm

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gingerbread Cookie Smoothie

I have officially made the switch from my fall obsession and pumpkin everything craze to more peppermint infused cocktails and ginger spiced everything.  However, I am still trying to stay healthy through out the holiday without over indulging every day.  

I love the holiday themed desserts and drinks.  It is very hard for me to say no all the time to freshly baked cookies or hot chocolate as my after dinner treat, again every night.  For me, the holiday is a time to treat yourself a few times to enjoy the deliciousness of all things homemade, but I also like to keep active and healthy all through out the Christmas season.

I decided to try a few extra spices in my smoothie the other morning to try and create the feeling of drinking a liquid gingerbread cookie.  It is still low in calories, keeps you full for a few hours, and really does taste like a healthy, holiday treat.  I added a scoop of protein to make it a full breakfast, but without the protein it tastes just as good.  Pour yourself a glass or two and enjoy feeling full and satisfied with this healthy, holiday smoothie.  Happy December!



  • 1 and 1/2 cups of vanilla almond milk (coconut milk or regular milk works too)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup of ice cubes (add extra if the banana is not frozen)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Extra: 1 scoop Perfect Fit Protein (my favorite!)
Add all ingredients to blender and mix until smooth.  Add an extra shake or two of cinnamon to the top of the smoothie and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Pants

This year, my husband and I will be hosting family at our home for Thanksgiving.  Everyone is helping out by each bringing a few dishes so not all of the cooking will be happening right in our kitchen.  However, we are still cooking about five dishes, cleaning the house, and decorating a little too much. So, I want to feel casual, but still look like a hostess who took more than two minutes to get dressed. Enjoy feeling festive this holiday and dressing with a little extra effort for Thursday, with a side of comfortable.  And remember, it's ok to wear your pair of pants that give a little extra for those second and third helpings (no one can see the elastic waste band).  Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Outfit Details:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thankful Thinking

It is very important and humbling to give thanks all year long, not just on Thanksgiving day.  Some days when all you can think about is what you want or what you do not have, an easy way to guarantee a thought change is being thankful for what you already have in your life.  I wanted to share my list of five things I am thankful for right in this very moment.  I have been taking a few minutes every day to list off three to five things I can smile about, laugh about, and that fill my heart with joy.  It quickly changes my mood, puts be back on track and puts my life in perspective.  I think you will all quickly find how much easier it is to be grateful for who and what has already blessed our lives and be thankful for another day to strive for more blessings and joys in life.  

1.  Family~A few weeks ago my family shared a very special moment; we all became neighbors!  It was a few seconds frozen in time where everyone was simply happy to love one another and grateful for actually being excited to only live a few minutes apart from one another.

2. Animals~Those who know me already have learned my love for animals.  And for those who don't, I am grateful every day for having enough love in my heart to share with all of our animals.  I feel so lucky to be loved unconditionally by so many four legged angels.  

3.  Chocolate~No other words needed, just thankful.

4.  Nature~For letting me stay active, for allowing me to take deep breaths to fill my lungs with strength and peace, and to enjoy all the simple elements that hold so much beauty.

5.  Grapes~Because they make wine.

I would love to hear what all of you are thankful for right this moment.  Please share and encourage those around you to take the time and give thanks.  


Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Cranberry Cocktail

I am happy to admit I am a big fan of all things SkinnyGirl.  I have been a big fan of Bethenny's work ethic, business skills, and amazing products for years.  Out of them all though, my favorite products are her SkinnyGirl Cocktails.  Since Thanksgiving is less than a week away and with my husband and I hosting our first dinner, I wanted to have something a little festive.  And when I say a little festive, I mean I  go overboard trying to make every single detail as holiday themed as possible down to having frozen cranberry ice cubs and pumpkins holding my seating cards.  However, I enjoy decorating and don't mind if anyone else notices or enjoys the little touches I put on my entertaining decor.  The idea is as long as I'm happy doing these crazy projects, it's all ok (that's at least what I like to tell myself).  

So, to the cocktail.  It is made up of SkinnyGirl White Cranberry Cosmo, cranberry juice, and frozen cranberries.  It's so easy to make, but looks great and tastes even better.  A shaker is not necessary and sometimes I add a splash of club soda for a little fizz to the drink.  So pour yourself a glass, kick of your heels while cooking dinner, and take a few sips.  It will definitely be a happy and festive Thanksgiving.  Cheers!



~1 bottle SkinnyGirl White Cranberry Cosmo
~1 bottle of Cranberry Juice
~1 package of frozen cranberries

  • Add a handful of frozen cranberries to the glass, and I also added a few ice cubes
  • Pour 1 part SkinnyGirl 
  • Then pour 2 parts cranberry juice to fill the glass

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Soup for You

It's officially too chilly out for cold salads and sandwiches at lunch every day, so I am now on a soup kick. For me soups are a great way to get a few servings of vegetables in one meal, feel satisfied and warm my chilled bones.  This vegetable orzo soup is really easy to make and most of the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen.  It takes about five minutes to prep the vegetables and 20 minutes to cook.  Add some freshly baked rolls with butter on the side (and when I say freshly baked, I mean Pillsbury rolls) and enjoy! 



2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can stewed tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
8 oz. orzo 
4 cups spinach
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

  • Heat olive oil in a stock pot at medium heat (I had frozen some fresh herbs from my garden this summer in ice cube trays with olive oil so I used those for my soup).
  • Add celery, carrots, and garlic to the pot and sauté for 3 minutes
  • Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, orzo, and spices to the pot and stir together
  • Cover pot and allow to cook over medium-low heat for fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally 
  • Add the spinach to the pot and stir. The spinach only needs 2 minutes to cook and will turn a bright green color
  • Remove pot from the heat and spoon into soup bowls
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and eat while nice and warm

Monday, November 17, 2014

May your coffee be Strong and Your Monday be Short

"May your coffee be strong and your Monday be short"

I woke up this morning seeing this quote a few times and decided to accept it as my Monday mantra.  It's going to be a busy work week and a fun, festive time to get ready for Thanksgiving next Thursday.  So I'm sticking to my late Fall uniform of jeans, a warm, comfortable sweater, and boots.  It is a common trend of mine, and I don't plan on changing it.  Enjoy your cup of coffee (cups for me) and fill your day with hard work and some fun!


Outfit Details: 
Sweater: Kensie | Jeans: J Brand | Shirt: Caslon | Boots: Sam Edelman Sunglasses: Ray Ban

Friday, November 14, 2014

Falling Back

These past few weeks I have taken a little more time to reflect on my past, look to the future and give my present a chance to breath.  I have found I am guilty of making myself feel guilty.  I have a feeling we all do this to ourselves.  I know a few people close to me have admitted to doing the same more than is necessary. 

Feeling guilty for not eating enough vegetables and too many pieces of cheese, for skipping a work out to watch another episode of Scandal or for snuggling with a really cute Beagle before getting back to all the emails.  Whatever you're "guilty" choices and pleasures may be, why do we feel to make them guilty? 

We still find the time to cook a homemade dinner (re-heated take-out totally counts), take the dogs for a walk, and complete multiple tasks at work all within a day.  So why choose to focus on the guilt part and ignore all the productive and wonderful things happening through out our days and in our lives? 

I have been trying to focus my thoughts on the good and being grateful for all parts of life.  Even if you are having a bad day and can't see how it could get better, take a few moments and think of three things you are grateful for right then instead of piling on guilt for things you didn't do or don't have.  It sounds a little silly, but try it.  You might just find those three little blessings are all it takes to move forward with positivity and a smile.  

Enjoy the weekend.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Sweater Weather

With all of the leaves almost fallen to the ground and the nights getting almost below freezing, my sweater wearing is in full effect.  I seem to always be cold and always needing another layer to add to my outfit.  Finding cozy sweaters makes me happy and keeps me cozy.  I definitely need to wear a layer under my sweaters though so I love this sweater because it allows me to have two layers plus it's very long and fits loosely.  I added my new favorite scarf from Target to indulge myself in my ever continuing fall obsession, including plaid.  For me it feels good to bundle up, keep toasty under all my layers, and enjoy the season.  Before we know it Thanksgiving will be here! 



Outfit Details:

Sweater: Rachel Zoe (similar style) | Pants: 7 For All Mankind (similar style) | Boots: Ariat
Scarf: Target | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Colors

Happy Halloween! So even though I am not the biggest fan of Halloween (even though it is a fall holiday), I wanted to try and get in the spirit for the day.  My husband and I will be going to a costume party later tonight at a friend's house, and we are going to dress up.  I'm excited to see what everyone will be at the party, and I love to see how creative people get for the occasion.  You'll have to wait until later tonight to see who we decided to be...

But for the day, I decided to be Halloween colors.  Simple, easy, and maybe a little bit spooky.  Enjoy the weekend, eat too much candy, tell a few bad jokes, and have fun!


Outfit Details:

Sweater: Vince (similar style) | Skirt: French Connection (similar style) | Boots: Stuart Weitzman | Purse: Stella McCartney

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Night Out

It's been a long week, you need someone to cook for you, and you definitely need that glass of champagne.  As much as I love to cook at home with my husband most days of the week, sometimes by the time Friday rolls around, we need a break from the stove and oven mits.     

Last Friday night my husband and I decided to put on some nicer clothes (meaning something other than our usual jeans and a sweatshirt) and head out to try a new restaurant.  We were away for the weekend so it was a great excuse to give somewhere we had never been a taste test.    

It was nice to get a little dressed up, brush my hair, and put on a pair of heels.  Every once in a while a dinner out is needed to spend a little extra time looking at each other and having a meaningful conversation.  So many nights we cook up a storm and then from exhaustion, sit down at our table and turn on the TV to watch episodes of Scandal (I know, it's a good time pretty much most nights).  

But tonight I am encouraging you to put on that special sweater or new boots, experiment with a new lip color, and find a new restaurant to try or make a reservation at your favorite spot.  It's good to love home, but it's also necessary to get away for a few hours to realize how much you love home and how much you love when other people cook for you.  Enjoy your Friday night out and have a great weekend!


Sweater: 360 cashmere (similar style) | Pants: J Brand | Heels: Sam Edelman | Bag: Stella McCartney

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Unwind right at Home

The days seem to be getting darker sooner, but for me they are feeling more full.  Days are so filled with a million things to do at work, taking care of six animals, trying to keep our house clean, and with the little time left socializing with family and friends.  Honestly, by the time my head hits the pillow I am always astonished with how the day went so quickly.  

Some days are more stressful than others and with that I am always looking for a good way to wind down.  Sometimes it's just with an extra glass of wine or a good book.  Last night my mind and body needed something together to relax.  

First it was necessary to get outside and take a breath of fresh air, literally.  We packed up the pups and went for a walk to enjoy the fall scenery.  It felt so good to just move, and that's it.  Allowing your eyes to do the thinking and let the rest of your senses relax is a nice way to focus your energy.  

After our walk, it was too late to find a local yoga class and my husband and I really didn't feel like leaving the house, but we wanted to stretch and relax more.  So, trying to use what we have, my husband got a fire started (hello hot yoga), I lit some candles, got out our yoga mats and an old yoga DVD, and surprisingly our family room was transformed into our own yoga studio.  With the blinds closed to set the mood, I was transformed into a space so peaceful and quiet I couldn't believe it was my own home.  Every time I finish a yoga class I always feel energized and relaxed at the same time and I love that lasting feeling.  

The evening would not have been complete with out a soothing, hot bath to finish the day.  I've included a picture of some of my favorite calming bath products (obviously red wine is included).  The smell of lavender and candle light sends me to another level of tranquility that some nights you just need.

So by the time my head hit the pillow last night, I still had a feeling of deja vu when pulling back the covers, but this time, I didn't really care.  I was too relaxed and peaceful to mind that the day was long, tiring, and went by way too fast.  But I was grateful for an evening to truly unwind, mainly in my own home.  I encourage you to find a way to make your a home a little more peaceful tonight.  Whether that includes your favorite book and a cup of tea by the fire or a leisurely walk with your friends, find a way to make your very own space your very own relaxation area.  Pour a glass of wine, get in that bubble bath, and breath.   Be grateful for having another day and knowing you will be ready for the next one to come.


Bubble bath: Aveeno | Bath oil: Jo Malone | Face Mask: Naturopathica | Candle: Diptyque