Thursday, January 11, 2018

Get On Your Feet!

I went to opening night of Get On Your Feet  which is Gloria Estefan's Broadway musical about her life story. After playing in New York for two years, it's now on tour playing in DC for the month of January then traveling around the country. You'll be dancing in your seat, smiling and singing along to all the songs. The vibrant show is pure joy and my favorite musical to date! It was nominated for a Tony award for Best Choreography. Expect to hear all her classic songs like Rhythm is Going to Get You, 1-2-3, Dr. Beat, Conga, Get On Your Feet, Turn the Beat Around.

At the Kennedy Center honors a couple weeks the honorees were LL Cool J, Gloria Estefan, Lionel Richie and dancer Carmen de Lavallade. It’s an award given to people who have achieved artist excellence. For Gloria’s segment the cast of her Broadway musical sang a medley of her songs, you can see the clip here.

 I recently read an interesting article titled Why So Many D.C. Plays End Up On Broadway.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Sugar Free Cranberry Orange Loaf

I haven't baked a cake in awhile and wanted something low cal for dessert. With it being winter I'm not in the mood to eat my usual low cal treat of Halo Top ice cream. It's cranberry season so I baked this delicious moist cake with a mixture of erythritol and monkfruit instead of sugar. Monkfruit is a small melon grown in Asia. Previously I had always used stevia as my sugar replacement which tastes bitter raw, but monkfruit tastes sweet just like sugar and is zero calories! I used Earth Balance which is a plant based buttery spread but you can use regular butter or for even less calories just cooking spray.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup Classic Monkfruit (or the entire 8.29 oz bag if you like it sweeter) 
  •  tsp baking powder
  •  tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • juice of 1 orange squeezed
  • grated peel of 1 orange
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 TB original Earth Balance (optional)
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 8 oz sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with Earth Balance.
  2. In one bowl mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl beat the eggs. Then add the orange, nuts, sour cream and vanilla.
  4. Slowly combine the two bowls and gently fold in the cranberries. Then pour mixture into the loaf pan.
  5. Bake for one hour or until a knife comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis 
Makes  8 servings,  166 cal, 8g carbs, 4g protein, 14g fat, 2g fiber, 3g sugar, 

vs 1 slice of Starbucks Banana Nut Bread

420 calories, 52g carbs, 6g protein, 22g fat, 2g fiber, 30g sugar

Related Posts:
Healthy Apple Walnut Bread
Sugar Free Pumpkin Bread
Sugar free chocolate muffins

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Top Songs of 2017

Here are my top favorite songs from the year that I had on repeat for a long time. I don't follow Kylie Jenner, but like all the men the Kardashians date, they elevate their fame. Kylie put Travis Scott on my radar and now I love his music. Sky Walker was my favorite song of the year, hands down! When I had my first computer a long time ago I changed the start up music so that it played Foxy Brown - Gotta Get Me Home every time I turned on my computer. When I heard The Game sampled from that song, I fell in love with his song! Chris Brown did a reggae remix that was good. And when I was in Cuba I heard the song Despacito everywhere that I'm sick of it now! lol But Camila  Cabello - Havana song is warming up on me but hasn't made the list yet.

Huncho Jack, Travis Scott, & Quavo - Black & Chinese
Miguel - Sky Walker (feat Travis Scott)
Travis Scott - Butterfly Effect
The Game - Oh I

G-Eazy - No Limit
Remy Ma - Wake Me Up
DJ Khalid - Wild Thoughts
French Montana - Unforgettable
Future - You the Baddass
Wiz Khalifa - Something New

Dancehall Reggae or reggae remixes
Vybz Kartel - Wine to the Top
Collie Buddz - Control
Chris Brown - Questions
Zara Larsson - I Would Like

Friday, December 29, 2017

Most Popular Posts of 2017

I've rounded up my 10 most popular posts of the year according to you by going through my stats to see which posts had the most views.  I always think it's fun and interesting to see what makes this list. If you enjoy reading my blog make sure you follow me (and all your other favorite blogs) on bloglovin where you get a daily email in your inbox with a round up of new posts. 

The Top 10 Most-Clicked Posts Of 2017

#10 - What's New on Netflix
Looking for some good movies to watch, feel like you've already watched everything, check out my list of new releases to DVD this year.

#9 - New Halo Top Flavors
Learn more about Halo Top's low-calorie, high-protein, low-sugar ice cream.

#8 - Best Nail Polish Colors for Fall

#7 - National Gallery of Art

#6 - 48 Hours in Miami Beach
I've created a travel guide of where to eat, sleep and play.

#5 - Spiralized Vegetables
Recipe roundup of how to use spiralized zucchini and other vegetables instead of pasta.

#4 - What to Buy at the Sephora Sale

#3 - How to wear a Faux Fur vest

#2 - Tips for Traveling to Cuba
Last month the White House changed the travel restrictions to Cuba. Travel to Cuba is still legal but you are now required to do so with a tour group licensed by the Treasury Department which are expensive. Americans also are barred from staying at a list of 80 hotels. But hotels in Havana are priced at $400+ so you probably wouldn't be staying there anyway, unless you're the Kardashians who went last year. 16 employees of the US embassy staff in Havana were sent home last summer due to a botched, antiquated surveillance attempt at a hotel that left them with hearing loss. Following that, half of the embassy staff was sent home and visa operations for Cubans who want to visit America was suspended. 

#1 - Kusama Infinity Mirrors Exhibit
The Kusama Infinity Mirrors Exhibit is currently split between  the Broad museum in Los Angeles and New York but will soon move to the Art Gallery of Ontario in the spring of 2018 and to Cleveland in the summer of 2018. It was the hottest ticket in DC when it came to town! We're so lucky the museums are free here. The exhibit consists of six small “infinity rooms” that you get 30 seconds to be in. Inside you will find mirrored chambers with sparkling LED lights, luminous acrylic pumpkins, or floating orbs form an immersive, kaleidoscopic abyss.

I hope you enjoy browsing through some of my best posts of 2017.  I appreciate all the support from my friends and readers who visit my blog.  I hope you enjoyed doing a little catch up and reminiscing with me today.

Related Posts:
Most Popular Posts of 2016
Most Popular Posts of 2015
2014 Year in Review
2013 Year in Review

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December in Review

December has been such a busy month for me I thought I'd highlight what I've been up to as an expression of gratitude to celebrate the positive things in my life. December can be a month of reflection so I'm also busy working on my goals for next year, stay tuned for that post. Here's how I experienced the sparkle of the season in our Nations Capital.

1. Wharf Christmas Boats and Fireworks
The new Southwest Waterfront has opened up and they had their annual parade of private boats decorated with lights for Christmas.  I have two friends that live in SW so we went to one's apartment who had a view of the parade and we sipped wine on her balcony. Then we walked down to the wharf to watch the fireworks up close. Afterwards we went to the other's apartment for a homemade Thai dinner and boozy milkshakes.

2. Last Spanish class
I took spanish all throughout school and even spent a couple summers in immersion classes in Mexico and Venezuela. But it's been many years since I've used my Spanish and after my trip to Cuba  I wanted a refresher. I signed up for a weekly class after work with other students my age. We had a fun teacher from Peru who did stand up comedy in his spare time. I definitely felt a lot of my spanish skills coming back and want to take another class next year.

3. Zoolights
My friend told me she wanted to go see the lights she saw on my blog in my Favorite Christmas Activities post. Seeing zoolights has been an annual tradition of mine. The zoo is lit up at night with beautiful LED lights that transform it into a winter wonderland and it's free! I met up with some friends for drinks before heading into the zoo. As per usual, someone always gets lost. You take one picture, turn around and everyone is gone because it's so dark out! lol

4. Office Christmas Party
On the first snow day of the season, our party was held in a hotel on the SW Wharf. I wore an emerald floral lace, floor length gown not realizing when I ordered it online that the back was open and the front was sheer. But I still thought it was feminine and I got a lot of compliments on it. We drank pomegranate Moscow mules and listened to the band while watching people dance.

5. Bookclub
I've been apart of this bookclub for a few years now, but this year I've really gone consistently every month. We only read personal development books and this month's selection was The Big Leap. This group of supportive women creates a no judgement zone as we work on building ourselves up.

6. Christmas Pop-up Bar
Back for it's third year, the Christmas themed bar is back with hours long lines around the block. I was lucky to go early and walk right in! It has five themed rooms, including a gingerbread house, an antique sleigh from the 1800s and a Beyonce mural. The drink menu has names from holiday movies with garnishes like cookie dough or popcorn. The bartenders are all wearing Christmas sweaters. While we were there two police officers walked in so naturally everyone turned around to see what's going on, but they pulled out their phones and started taking pictures! lol So we all started laughing at them and then they realized they looked out of place doing that. lol

7. Flywheel party
I've been going pretty consistently every month to Flywheel, it's an indoor cycling workout made by a former owner of SoulCycle. I'll write a post soon explaining why I like one over the other. The invite read:
Come for class, stay for the party! We’re celebrating the holiday season with food, drinks, and festivities. Enjoy complimentary braids and makeup services, a sommelier-hosted wine tasting, food from Beefsteak, Nosh Bar and Vegetable+Butcher, and chances to win fun prizes!

8. Microwave
Keeping things real I wanted to share one frustrating thing I dealt with. In November my over the range microwave of 10 years died. I'm a meal planner, cooking all my meals on Sunday for the whole week. So I use my microwave a lot to heat up food. So being without a microwave for a month was a huge inconvenience.

The hardest thing was finding a replacement microwave with a curved door handle that would match my other kitchen appliances and cabinets. You can see my kitchen in this video. I thought I'd wait a couple weeks for a black Friday sale, nope not on microwaves. So that was wasted time without a microwave. Then I ordered one only to have shipment delayed, then when it came I didn't open the box because the microwave weighed 50 lbs. I thought I'd wait until the guys come to install it later in the week. Why the microwave comes separately from installation was another question I had.  When the box was finally opened the microwave was white, not stainless steel. Calling Best Buy to fix this was a one hour phone call of being transferred around and put on hold repeatedly. A week later my next microwave arrived, but no one picked up the old one. Had to call again. It was a huge hassle that is finally over!

9. Yards Park - Light Yards
There's a new amazing fast casual Indian restaurant I wanted to check out in Yards Park, and while there also got some boozy eggnog ice cream, then we went to check out  Light Yards. The interactive light installation on the waterfront has four spherical globes, ranging in size from 8 to 22 feet in diameter that light up in the dark, play music, change colors and show moving scenes.

10. Artechouse
It's an interactive digital art gallery with rotating exhibitions every 5 weeks of large scale installations. It was definitely an experience I've never had before as it's a completely new concept to the art scene here. This magical space brings sensory activation with its vividly colored installations. I saw Kingdom of Colors which is a collaboration between multiple artists who used a macro lens to blow up the liquids in motion interacting with one another to a musical soundtrack playing in the background. There were also two additional augmented reality rooms where you could interact with projection art.  It was a beautiful experience. Right now they have a Nutcracker exhibition on display.

11. Georgetown Glow
This is the fourth year Georgetown has displayed outdoor public art installations. I saw it last year for the first time and this year it's completely different! Below is just one of the installations, it's  chromatic rings light up only if you step on them, like in Michael Jackson's Billie Jean video. Before the kids started running around behind me the whole thing was blue.

12. City Center Igloo
Up for one weekend only, the real life ice igloo was so popular it had hour long lines for it. Unfortunately that weekend wasn't quite cold enough and it melted too quickly. But still a pretty cool experience!

13. Capitol & White House Christmas Trees

14. Neighborhood Christmas Light Display

DC has very few houses that decorate like on the tv show  The Great Christmas Light Fight, maybe that's more in suburbia? So it's a treat to see this one house that goes all out every year.

15. Movies
I saw the dark comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri starring Woody Harrelson. The story line is that after months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at the town's chief of police. I love watching Dateline's murder mysteries so this was right up my alley. My friends and I saw it at a theater with reclining seats so that was so nice!

16. Botanical Gardens
In December the U.S. Botanic Garden has on display model trains, various kinds of poinsettia in lots of colors and incredible replicas of Washington, DC's most famous buildings and monuments. It stays open until 8:00 pm for concerts on Tuesdays and Thursdays in December. It's free and open on Christmas Eve and Day.

17. Sephora Makeover 
If you're a VIB member you get one free makeover a year. I asked for one with all Hourglass products as I'm new to the line. I love the Ambient Lighting Powder! It gives your skin a beautiful glow while looking matte. It makes your skin look flawless. If you do the math, the mini size is not worth the price. Here's my recommendations on what to do buy at Sephora.

18. Red Nails for the holidays
My mom and I had a mani date. I got dip nails and she got her second gel manicure which she is loving how long they last.

19. Christmas Eve/Day
We had a low key holiday just hanging out at home watching Christmas concerts on TV. My contributions to the meals were a Cranberry Orange Bread  and Cranberry Walnut Baked Brie.

20. NYE Party - Got a pretty red lace dress to wear to my friend's party along with a disco ball sipper cup.
It truly is the most magical time of the year! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by family! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Past

I wanted to share some of my favorite Christmas posts from the past.

Two years ago I spent Christmas in Cancun. Check out the gorgeous pictures from this vacation.

My favorite seasonal beverages from Trader Joe's.  Be on the look out for Cranberry Secco and Gluhwein - German Christmas mulled wine, best served warm.

My favorite Christmas activities including Santarchy which I unfortunately missed this year since it snowed that day.

If you're looking for some new charities to donate to, check out my post on 7 Charities to Give Back to This Season.

Since it's cranberry season, try out this super easy and delicious cranberry baked oatmeal recipe.

My Christmas Home Tour.

Christmas Nail Art Ideas

Favorite Holiday Movie - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

2 Fashion posts at the same tree
Winter White
Over the Knee Boots

Monday, December 11, 2017

5 Things to Toss Before 2018

As you're setting New Years Resolutions for yourself, make sure one of those is to declutter your home. It will help you destress having a clean environment to come home to.  Here's a list of some things you should consider tossing.

1. Old Bras
Bras are supposed to be replaced every year, and even less than that if you wear the same bra frequently. Washing machines wear them down. You don't want to wear a bra that has lost its slack and is supportive. My favorite bra is Victoria Secret's T-Shirt  Lightly Lined Wireless Bra and I no longer have to push wires back in. It uses molded foam to replace an underwire and have the same support as one with a wire. It's so comfortable I don't feel I'm wearing it and can sleep in it.   They give me lift and full support. I recently bought two new colors and immediately noticed a difference from the same bra I bought last year so I knew that bra had to go. You can donate your old bras to these organizations: Free the GirlsSoma, and Bra Recycling. 

2. Nonstick cookie sheets
The coating eventually wears off and if you've used the same pan for years it probably looks run down and the nonstick coating scratched off.

3. Trendy shoes you've only worn once
When I built my shoe closet I made a resolution that whenever I buy a new pair of shoes it has to fit inside it. That means one pair of shoes has to be tossed anytime I buy a new pair. If your New Year's resolution includes cleaning out your closet, consider tossing those trendy embellished booties you only wore once. Still keep all your old sneakers and Uggs? I think your feet will thank you if you tossed them. Zappos will take your old sneakers and donate them to people in need. I do this every time I buy a new pair of sneakers online because then I already have the boxes to put an old pair in to mail off.

4.  Clothing 
If you have clothes you haven't worn this year, chances are you aren't going to wear them again and it's time to say goodbye.  If it still has a tag on it, you know it's never going to work out. Not your size - bye! Are there items you've been meaning to donate? For me it's my old clubbing dresses, special occasion dresses and old workout clothes. You can either donate in one of those charity boxes around town, sell them to a thrift store, or I use an online one Tradesy.

I started using Tradesy in last year and have had really good luck with it selling about one item a month. It's super easy and way less stressful then selling on ebay. The way it works is you get an email when something sells and you confirm if you still want to sell it. Tradesy's fees are that for all items less than $50, it will incur a flat commission fee of $7.50. Sold items with a selling price of $50 or more will have a 19.8% commission rate.You can use your funds to buy stuff from their website or withdraw it from your paypal account for a 2.9% transfer fee. You have the option of using Tradesy's shipping kit for $10 which the seller pays for. After your sale is confirmed, Tradesy mails you a polybag and a pre-printed mailing label with tracking. Listing is free and your listing remains up indefinitely.

5. Bath Rug
I know mine needs replacing since the plastic on the other side is coming off and I can not put it in the washer one more time as the bottom peels off something terrible in the wash. If your rug is like mine and has weathered down over time or lost its fluffiness then it's time for a replacement. They are only meant to last two years. You also can't see the mold that has gotten deeply embedded in your mat. And from a design standpoint, it may be fun to get a new rug anyways.

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