Monday, December 29, 2014

Year in Review


I wanted to make a recap of all of my favorite moments from the year to reflect on how grateful I am for them. This past year was full of a lot of changes for me and as I reflect on it I think I've grown personally from it. I wound down the year with a much needed massage on Saturday. I did a big cleaning out of my closet and donated clothes and shoes I never wear. If you're looking for a new NYE tradition, borrow one from another country.

So looking at the bigger picture, the top highlights of my year were my vacations and the joy they brought me. My trip to Bali was an amazing experience, feels like so long ago now.

Even though this was my fourth trip to Thailand, it never gets old. I wrote another post on the delicious food and luxurious experiences I had there.

Then I did a week in LA and enjoyed every minute of it! 

            Los Angeles                               Santa Monica                                Vegetarian in LA













I had a weekend in New York that was a blast!
















I joined a weekly running group and made some good friends out of it. We even took a day trip to the beach together where I had my first yoga class on the sand. I'm in the green shirt in the middle:

I ran two races this year, the Glo Run and the Color in Motion. And I SoulCycled.












Lots of wardrobe changes this fall as I pushed myself to try new things when it comes to style. 
Fall Fashion Challenge                               Leggings Love                                         Cami Organizer


I dressed up for my favorite holiday - halloween.



I read 26 books this year, finally started borrowing books on my kindle from the library.


As I reflect on 2014, I would say that I am enjoying where I am and just focused on being happy in the moment and not constantly waiting until the next big thing happens.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Cranberry Chocolate Baked Oatmeal


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Per tradition, my mother and I see the Nutcracker ballet and visit the botanical gardens (which had huge lines) during Christmas week. I noticed many churches in my city had their "midnight mass" at 10pm,  but my family went to the 5pm Christmas Eve mass at the Presbyterian church where it was nice to seeing all the men (even kids) wearing suits. It was the family nativity service which I didn't realize means no sermon. lol But it was really nice! It was a whole hour of the nativity story done by kids in costume with a live nativity (and baby). Afterwards I took a 2- hour candlelit yoga class which served eggnog and treats afterwards. Here's the class description:
The great Medieval mystic Meister Eckhart said it would be far better for God if Jesus was born in our hearts than in a manger in Bethlehem. Every year at Christmas millions celebrate the birth of a miraculous child said to be the savior of the world, yet it's often easy to forget that the savior emerges from the purest part of our own hearts. In this special candlelit asana class, we'll merge the radiant themes of a mystic Christianity with the equally stunning beauty of the yogic belief that everyone is an incarnation of God.

In the spirit of Christmas flavors I present this delicious recipe! I layered the chocolate on the bottom of the dish that's why you don't see it. For another delicious cranberry recipe, check out this desert I made.

Ingredients:



  • ½ cup rolled oats 
  • ½ cup peeled and diced zucchini
  • 1/3 cup frozen (or fresh) cranberries
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • handful of Hershey's sugar free chocolate chips
  • ½ tsp Ideal Sugar (optional)
  • pinch of salt


  • Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees  and spray a single-serve ramekin with nonstick spray.
    2. Peel and discard the outer layer of the zucchini unless you want green oatmeal.
    3. Puree the milk and zucchini in a food processor.
    4. Add the oatmeal and vanilla to the food processor.
    5. Pour into the ramekin and add the baking powder and salt.
    6. Stir in the chocolate chips and cranberries and make sure it's evenly distributed.
    7. Bake for 25 minutes.
    Adapted from: The Oatmeal Artist


    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

    Herringbone Vest








    On the shopping list for the Winter Fashion Challenge was a puffer vest which so far I've found to be both a fall and winter closet staple. Looks like JCrew sold out of the herringbone color, but it's all over ebay. Once again I have the fashion challenge to thank for this outfit as I never would have put it together into an outfit if I wasn't given the idea to do so. From the shopping list I was in search of a tunic to wear with my leggings which brought me to the Express where the saleslady gave me this blue shirt off the clearance rack for $11, I told her it wasn't my color but I thought hey it's the right length and so cheap why not and now it's turned out to be my most favorite outfit.








    Funny enough fellow blogger  Carrie has the same sweater! She expressed perfectly how I feel about the two fashion challenges I've participated in so far:
    I realized I am really happy with how my wardrobe looks right now. I love so many of my pieces and can create tons of outfits. Much of this is because of the many outfits Alison created for me and the pieces she suggested using the shopping lists provided through the Style Me Challenges. I feel like my wardrobe has a completeness that makes more sense now. It’s no longer just random pieces but items than can be remixed. And yes, I read other blogs and find great style inspiration on Pinterest but there is something about the Style Me Challenges that has me coming back. You know what it is? It’s community. Real women of all ages speaking words of encouragement and kindness to other women in ways that cause them to get out of their comfort zones and take fashion risks.

    My fall wardrobe was totally lost and I never thought to look to pinterest for fashion. Now I've created fashion boards with outfits showcasing wardrobe pieces from the fashion challenge shopping lists; things I never knew I needed but now make my wardrobe complete. My winter wardrobe was all the same uniform of sweaters and pants so I've really changed my style and feel good about how I look. Because I like to be super organized, I use the stylebook app to organize a calendar of outfits in advance for each month to make sure I'm wearing my closet.


    The necklace I got from Rocksbox.


    Just in case you need more convincing that you need a herringbone vest, let's take a look at this collage that I put together of how to pair it.



    Monday, December 22, 2014

    Weekends are made of this



    I had a fun weekend! Friday night I went to happy hour and had a blast! Saturday I went ice-skating with some awesome ladies and afterwards we stopped for cupcakes (eggnog and gingerbread), then we went to happy hour for margaritas. On Sunday I invited some girlfriends to brunch at a new restaurant in town that was amazing.

    Then met up with some other friends to see the movie Top Five. The movie stars Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, Cedric the Entertainer, Whoopi Goldberg, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, lots of strippers and so many comedians you might recognize if you go to the comedy club as often as I do. One scene was filled on my college's campus which I recognized immediately! The movie had an awesome soundtrack, probably because Jay-Z was the producer. I'm a tough critic but this movie had me laughing the whole time! Chris Rock was actually in town last week sneaking into theaters to see what people thought of his movie. The movie is titled after who are your top 5 MCs of all time so the soundtrack CD for the movie is classic rap songs and the song I put at the top of this post by Jay-Z and Kanye played repeatedly throughout the video. To me it's always been a song that never gets old and makes me want to get up and dance! Chris Rock's last movie Good Hair was awesome as well, you should definitely check that out. It's about what black women go through with their hair. By the way ladies Chris Rock is back on the market, he just filed for divorce. I can't believe he's 49 years old! It's true what they say "black doesn't crack". lol

    There was stuff I needed to get done at home this weekend but nothing beats hanging out with your girlfriends. I read something the other day that I thought was so insightful I saved it. It said that the four steps to lasting friendship are self-disclosure, supportiveness, interaction, and positivity. Interaction being key to friendships – meeting in person.



    Friday, December 19, 2014

    My Christmas home tour



    Who said fake trees can't be pretty? Mine is full and tall and to get the Christmas tree scent I use plug-in scents. It also has candles on them which is a European tradition. And if one light goes out, the other ones stay lit!  My tree is filled with pink ornaments, ribbon, pearls, snowflakes, icicles, and roses.  Earlier this month I posted about some of my favorite Christmas things and here's a list of my favorite Christmas songs. Another tradition of mine is to watch the movie Elf before Christmas. I also love to do Christmasy nailart, click here to see last year and here's this year's snowflakes:

    I just got a bottle of my favorite light dairy free eggnog by Califia Farms!

    I got my annual delivery from Pittman & Davis of juicy red grapefruit!




    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

    Light up the Season



    Baby, It's Cold Outside (feat. Nick Lachey) by Jessica Simpson on GroovesharkOn the shopping list for the Winter Fashion Challenge was a poncho sweater which is something I never would have thought to buy, but I had this outfit on my pinterest fashion board and thought let me give this trend a try. It's been said that you should never wear white after Labor Day but it's also been said over and over again that times have changed and that rule is no longer true. Come winter I love wearing my winter white pants for winter looks! I recently picked up some off-white corduroys that I love. I got my purple poncho sweater from the Limited but it's no longer up on their site but they have a few others to choose from. Old Navy has one too.



    One of my favorite desserts are a macarons and I'm not talking about the coconut macaroons with 2 o's. I'm talking about the little pillows with cream in the middle that come in every flavor yet so delicious it's hard to describe! If you're ever in New York City start with the best at Laduree. They fly their macarons in straight from Paris! I once took a baking class on how to make lavender macarons and it's not easy, any slight temperature in your oven can ruin the whole batch. Trader Joe's sells frozen pumpkin macarons that are delicious! I stopped by my favorite macaron shop in town over the weekend and they had eggnog and gingerbread flavored macarons! Plus silver and gold dusted macarons, how pretty is their window display?

    Monday, December 15, 2014

    Christmas Sweater


    Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer by The Temptations on Grooveshark It's that time of year when you're either looking for a festive holiday sweater or an ugly Christmas sweater. Look no father than JC Penney, they have a ton of themed sweater including a make your own ugly Christmas sweater kit! I have Lisa to thank for showing me this hipster sweater. Here a bunch for you to decide fugly or not?
    Christmas Sweater



    And check out my favorite Christmas songs.

    Friday, December 12, 2014

    Winter Gym Fashion






    Just because the weather is drab, doesn't mean you have to resort to wearing all black. There's nothing like walking by twinkling lights everywhere you go to get you into the holiday spirit. Wearing bright colors make me smile so let the festive and decorative winter months inspire me to keep the celebrations going by wearing bright colored workout clothes. Can you tell purple is my favorite color? lol I have to wait all year for clothing manufacturers to decide this season they will release purple clothing. I don't need new sneakers as I'm still wearing my neon ones but I'm snatching these up to have on the shelf in my shoe closet for when I'm ready for them. I'm loving the shine on the crackle pants, definitely a unique look! How cool is the sequin sports bra?! It's not actual sequins but a print of sequins. Hope this inspires you to brighten up your gym wardrobe.
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