Importance of Sundays & Soup Recipe

For your fitness and nutrition goals Sundays are the day to meal plan for the week!  You'll be blown away by how satisfied and successful you feel at the end of the week if you lay your week out in advance. I put an exercise schedule in front of my TV so I know which DVD I'm doing each morning. Early morning workouts rev up your metabolism, jump start your energy level and accelerate your ability to burn up calories.

However for the month of October I've decided to mix up my routine a bit. I bought a groupon for a one month gym membership so I can take zumba classes 3x a week. I thought it would be a fun change, but also a hectic change since I'm so used to working out in the morning and having my whole evening free. I'm also going to challenge myself to not consume refined sugar and wine for the month to tone up for my favorite holiday - Halloween! I was inspired by Ashley who is giving up alcohol for a year.

 Now that it's fall I make a pot of soup every Sunday for my lunch for the week. This week I made a lentil, coconut based soup with some Indian spices. Lentils are a great source of protein and cholesterol-lowering fiber which help stabilizing blood sugar levels They're also a great source of folate and magnesium which is good for heart health. Plus it has vitamin B, phosphorus, iron, potassium and other minerals.


Red Lentil Coconut Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups red split lentils
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper  diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1  jalapeno chili pepper, finely chopped, including seeds
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • ½  teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 can unsweetened light coconut milk
  • ½ of a 15-ounce can of white northern beans
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt (optional)
  •  freshly squeezed lime juice
  •  fresh cilantro for serving
Directions:
  1. Saute the onions, bell pepper and jalapeno in olive oil
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, spices and tomato paste for a couple more minutes
  3. Add the water, coconut milk, lentils and beans,  cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes
  4. Taste and adjust with salt and lime juice 
  5. Serve the soup topped with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro

Nutritional Analysis 
Makes 7 servings, 326 cal, 18g protein, 7g fiber

Butter London Nail Polish



I have to say that happiness really does comes by mail because I'm always excited to come home and check my mailbox!  I bought the most beautiful shade of olive green nail polish online from a company called Butter London. I've never worn green nail polish, having just branched out to wearing blue nail polish a couple years ago so this was big! Non conventional colors are trendy now and I think polish is supposed to be fun since it's easily changeable.

Olive green is my favorite shade of green but it's so hard to find pretty clothes in that color, but when I do I snatch it up! (like my new sweater) I bought a  nail polish color named Wallis that is described as a "tarnished, metallic olive gold nail lacquer, as mysterious and regal as its namesake." It's named after Wallis Simpson, the divorced American that King Edward VIII of England had to abdicate his throne to marry. I LOVE this polish, it's just gorgeous and  a complex golden olive green shimmer. It's a bit thin so it needed 3 coats. The website has free shipping for all orders plus I had a discount code from my IPSY order so it was a good incentive to try this brand out. You can also find it at Nordstrom or Ulta. 

In the picture above you might recognize the watch I posted about here and my initial heart bracelet was inspired by the famed Tiffany's toggle bracelet.

t is named after Wallis Simpson, the "saucy yank" that King Edward VIII left his throne for. I LOVE this polish, it's fantastically beautiful and complex. - See more at: http://www.kelliegonzo.com/2011/08/butter-london-wallis.html#sthash.WERvojqZ.dpuf
t is named after Wallis Simpson, the "saucy yank" that King Edward VIII left his throne for. I LOVE this polish, it's fantastically beautiful and complex. - See more at: http://www.kelliegonzo.com/2011/08/butter-london-wallis.html#sthash.WERvojqZ.dpuf
 
t is named after Wallis Simpson, the "saucy yank" that King Edward VIII left his throne for. I LOVE this polish, it's fantastically beautiful and complex. - See more at: http://www.kelliegonzo.com/2011/08/butter-london-wallis.html#sthash.WERvojqZ.dpu
Butter London just released a new color called The 444 for New York Fashion Week, looks like a glitzy glittery champagne.



This week wraps up dress week for me. I set a challenge for myself to wear a dress everyday since I never seem to wear the dresses in my closet. Hope everyone has a nice weekend! I plan on taking a 22 mile bike ride tomorrow!


 

September Sapphires

Sapphire is the birthstone for September and it's also been named one of this season's fall colors by Pantone (the world-renowned authority on color). Here's some ideas on how to shift your wardrobe from summer to autumn with this beautiful color from my two favorite stores.


While you're add it get a bold blue nail polish. My fave is the second one called Song. It's described as a "bold, vibrant medium primary blue with silver and blue glittery metallic sparkle." You can do a reverse french manicure with it like I did here.

September IPSY Bag Review


I kept hearing about those monthly subscription beauty boxes so I decided to give one a try. I choose IPSY since I knew so many people using it. The way it works is for $10 a month you receive a gift bag with 5 full-sized beauty products. Their website is very interactive where you can see other users post pictures and videos of how they used the products. It arrived in a pretty hot pink foil bubble wrap shipping envelope. I signed up on July 17 and got off the waitlist on Aug 26, and had my first bag arriving mid-Sept. However I got a shipping notification from IPSY after I already received the package and according to the shipping history online it was a week after it left their building.

When you sign up you fill out a quiz to customize the product types you'd like and they give you coupon codes to order from all the brands they send you. I have to say I was underwhelmed with my package. First  I was disappointed to see online that the package was supposed to include Butter London nail polish which I remember saying in the survey I would definitely want, but wasn't included in my kit. See every kit is not the same for everyone and I read that a lot of users are disgruntled as well for getting things they specifically say they do not want like mascara every month or hair products when they have no hair (chemo) or the wrong hair type products.

I'll stick it out for a another month and hope it gets better, but it's not off to a good start.You can sign up here if you want to give it a try too, maybe your experience will be different from mine.


 

Apple Pie Vanilla Shakeology

Autumn brings apple picking, apple cider, and Honeycrisp apples so I thought why not Apple Pie Vanilla Shakeology? People always ask, "Why should I buy Shakeology? It's so expensive, I can get this shake or that one for waaay cheaper & it's just as good." Well actually, it isn't as good. If you are comparing shakes, make sure you don't just compare the price and the calories. Look at the ingredients - that is where the difference is!






Apple Pie Shakeology

Coconut water Ice cubes
1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology 
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Blend & enjoy!


 
 
 
It's official the Shakeology Sampler Box is now here! If you are interested in trying this amazing shake I keep talking about you can get it here.
I've decided to lead a 30 Day Clean Eating and Shakeology Support Group starting September 30th.  We will incorporate Shakeology as 1 meal each day (whatever meal you choose).   It is going to keep you full for 3 hours, help to curb your cravings, give you natural energy and help you lose weight.  It is the one meal a day that I don't have to think about when I am trying to change my eating habits. Exercise is optional, but is encouraged. The only requirements are that I am your official Beachbody Coach and that you commit to completing the 30 days with Shakeology.

You will be provided with daily tips, motivation, accountability, meal plans and recipes.  You will set goals for yourself based on your own health and fitness. You will be given the principles of clean eating  and taught how to apply them to your every day life. We will discuss topics such as meal planning, snacks, portion sizes, metabolism, emotional eating, dealing with stress, water intake and more.  My goal is to make this a lifestyle change and not another fad diet!  I want you to truly adopt a new way of living.  To know that the food is good, that you don’t have to crash diet and that you can live a healthy and fulfilling life! What do have to lose besides fat? Message me for details or comment below.


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DIY How to repair a broken lipstick


I've found that red lipstick tends to come off easily, so when I ran the Electric Run, I put my RiRi Woo lipstick in my purse. Well after the run was over and after drinking many cups of water I wanted to touch up my lipstick and reached into my purse and was shocked to find that my lipstick had somehow opened and it had broken off the tube. This lipstick is not for sale in MAC stores, it had to be ordered online and who wants to pay for another lipstick they've only had for a month? Has this happened to you? So frustrating!

So I went about fixing it! I'm happy to report it's working good as new!

Instructions:
  1. Take a match or lighter and carefully run it across the base of the broken part of the lipstick. This only takes a few seconds, enough to slightly melt the broken piece so it can reattach.
  2. Put the lipstick back together, careful to see how it fits together and smooth down any lumps on the side.
  3. Put the lipstick in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
  4. Give your lipstick tube a little spin and it should be back in action!
ps to avoid lipstick marks on wine glasses, discreetly lick the rim of your glass before sipping. 



Fall Outfit Inspiration

I did some window shopping yesterday at the mall and all these jewel toned items are on my wishlist to buy! I pretty much live in sweaters at work year around and I can never have enough orange sweaters! Every fall I wear my favorite orange nail polish and use pumpkin scented body wash.





And let's not forget accessories! Love the mustard pumps! Already have the bracelet and necklace which I got in a lighter blue color which you can see in this video. Will be making my own healthy version of hot apple cider at home.






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How to Be Charismatic and Attract Success

I wanted to share this short video from motivational speaker Brian Tracy. I wrote about him before in this post.


Did you know that 85% of your success and happiness will come from your relationships and interactions with others? The more positively others respond to you, the easier it will be for you to get the things you want.


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22 days protein bar


I was looking for some new protein bars to try to add to my favorites list.  So I tried out some gluten free, organic, non-GMO energy & protein bars from 22 days nutrition. They're 220 calories per bar, 100 cal from fat (from the nuts), and the protein ranges from 5-6g for the energy bars and 10g for the protein bar. The sugar is 11-14g which comes from date paste or coconut nectar. The company was founded by fitness expert Marco Borges who has trained both Jay-Z and Pharell. They're available at Whole Foods but my local store didn't have all the flavors so I ordered online since the company had a free shipping deal. But I was disappointed at the humongous box the 4 bars were shipped in! I received:

Fruit Nut Karma - absolutely delicious! The mango and pineapple made it extra sweet!


Goji Maté Firecracker - if you like your bars less sweet this one is for you, it's still good though and tastes just like goji berry if you know what that tastes like. I suspect the tartness comes from the yerba mate.

Pineapple Chocolate Chip Wonder - on first bite I had no idea what the flavor was, looked at the package and saw it said chocolate then thought ok maybe I taste chocolate, either way the bar doesn't have a strong taste and didn't do much for me.

Nut Butter Buddha (protein bar) - this was my least favorite, it was very gummy and tasted like a "protein bar" where you can almost taste the chemicals and it was a tad dry

Since the founder of the company is vegan, he listed where he gets his protein from, see pic below. I eat most of these during the week but I also consume tofu/edamame. One of the best plant sources with a high protein content is hemp, it's 35% protein and deliver tons of nutrients while having lots of fiber. If you're surprised by brown rice and peas on the list, vegan protein powders are made of just those ingredients. Shakeology has just about everything from this list: quinoa, flaxseeds, chia seeds, brown rice protein,  pea protein, and greens (Moringa, Chlorella, Spirulina, Spinach, Barley Grass, Kamut Grass, Wheat Grass, Oat Grass).



Interesting article on actress Michelle Pfeiffer who credits vegan diet with 83 point drop in cholesterol.

Another article on tennis star Venus Williams becoming a vegan to decrease inflammation in her body and reduce the energy-sapping symptoms of her immune system disease (that took her off the court) "by not overloading her body with excess calories, pesticides or sugars."


Paint + Wine = Masterpiece


In the past couple years quite a few places have popped up in my city that offer paint classes that serve wine, the concept has really taken off! I tried a painting class last year with a living social deal where I painted a peacock because as you know that's my favorite bird.  This time I picked the class that was painting Georgia O'Keeffe's Red Poppy to match my orange living room. 

It was more challenging than I thought it would be just getting all the different shades of orange. Then to make it more challenging, the instructor said she doesn't like to use orange paint! She only uses primary colors when she paints (red, blue, yellow) and mixes up whatever color she wants from that. Even though as a child I used to take a lot of pottery classes, I don't have any drawing ability. I had to ask the instructor many times for feedback on my piece because I couldn't see it the way she did. She kept telling me to add more highlights and shadows. I re-did the purple background three times until I got the color just the shade I wanted.

Somehow I managed to produce this beautiful painting that I'm very proud of! If you have a paint bar in your area, I highly recommend going. It makes a great girl's night out. Or you can opt to get paint thrown on you at a color run! lol

September Favorites: Music + Food


I haven't posted a playlist since March, but have to say that the Calvin Harris song is still on frequent repeat mode because I heard it a lot on the radio in Spain along with the first song on this list. I went to Ibiza last month and saw David Guetta in concert so his latest song is on my list as well.

Wake Me Up - Avicii
Play Hard - David Guetta, Ne-Yo, Akon
Hold On we're going home - Drake
High School - Nicki Minaj
The Other Side - Jason Derulo
Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Ray
Don't you Worry Child - Swedish House Mafia
Atmosphere - Kaskade
Reload - Sebastian Ingrosso, Tommy Trash, John Martin
Spectrum - Zedd
This is what it feels like - Armin Van Bueren
Silhouettes - Avicii


In Spain I was introduced to these donut peaches which I also found at Trader Joes.


I'm excited to announce its Honeycrisp apple season!!!!! If you don't know what that is, let me tell you! It's a super big, extra juicy, pricey apple that's only available once a year!


Fall would not be complete without Vitatop pumpkin flavor! Vitatops are muffin tops with only 100 calories and no preservatives. Best served toasted and with a dab of a natural whipped cream - Truwhip!

I also treat myself to a $16 body wash that smells like heavenly pumpkin pie. I find that I only end up using half a bottle in the fall so I put it back in the closet to take out the following year.



My new favorite perfume


I went to Sephora a number of times in Spain and they had a line of perfumes by Loewe that reminded me of the hotel in Miami Beach, though probably no relation. They were light and perfect for summer! I even saw it at the airport duty free but thought I would wait to buy it at home, but sadly I can't find it here. If anyone knows where I can buy these please let me know!

Secrets from a woman who rarely gets sick

You want to know how I manage to rarely get sick? I'd say maybe once a year I get a cough or sore throat, but never a full on cold.
Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to other. - CDC
Wash your hands regularly. You're probably not as vigilant as you think. I often see ladies in the washroom run out without washing their hands. I wash my hands when I walk into my office in the morning because I've touched door handles, elevator buttons, etc. Likewise I walk my hands everyday the minute I get home. My local grocery stores have wet wipes available for the shopping carts which I always use. And because of that and my vitamin regime/diet I rarely get a cold.

If I feel an impending cold I attack it with Vitamin C (oranges) and Zinc - I take a few blasts of Zicam. And I drop some Echinacea & Goldenseal drops into my tea. Zinc and Vitamin C will help shorten the length of your cold if taken at the start of your cold.


If I get a sore throat I drink fresh carrot juice with a little apple and fresh ginger, the ginger really clears out my throat. Then I drink this tea adding honey to it:

I've found that the best cough medicine is Delsym. It's expensive and you get a small bottle inside a large box (a 5oz bottle retails for $20). So I read the CVS sale flyer every week and it's on my list of things to buy whenever it's on sale just so I have it in stock. The serving size (cap) is much smaller than Nyquil but it works so much better. It does make me feel a little woozy though but it completely knocks out my cough for the full 12 hours it promises. They also have lozenges which have less medicine so easier to take.
If you do get sick, please wash your hands after you sneeze or blow your noise. Because at work you pass your germs on every time to touch a shared surface like a door or shared keyboard. Likewise don't invite friends over your apt when you're recovering from a cold, it's just common courtesy to try not top pass on your germs.

Interesting article that claims that public restroom soap could be dirtier than toilet water, course the testing was done by GOJO who manufactures hand santizer.

Fashion Files: Plum

I talked about plum a month ago, and it seems it's the color of the season for lululemon right now. In fact it's so hot the crops sold out online and in stores in less than a week! Luckily I was able to snag a pair! Here's a close up detail of in the flow crop ii in the heathered plum color as it's hard to see the design in the dark colors online. The color is amazing as I was looking for colored pants (that wasn't too bright) to wear with the black backless top I got recently. There's not a string waist band and I wore these to the Electric Run and I have to say they did sag a bit when running. It's made of cotton, not that usual luon the rest of lululemon clothing is made out of, yet still moisture wicking fabric and around the knees it's more sheer. The waist is a bit higher than my other workout crops. It look funny on the hanger because of the pattern, but very flattering to wear.


Since today also happens to be  9/11, my thanks goes out to those who died on 9/11 including the firefighters that tried to save them and those that serve in our military. I always look forward to the tribute in lights at the World Trade Center on this day. 
What do you do on September 11 to remember, reflect or remind you of that day?



Farewell Summer, Hello Fall Bucketlist

This summer I created my own bucket list for which I achieved all but two items. I wanted to share an awesome Fall Bucketlist I found that someone else made - link. I plan on printing it and framing it at my desk to remind me of all the fun things to do this fall!

One of my goals that's not on the list is to make sure I get at least 8 hours of sleep every night so I've made sleep my #1 priority. I feel more energized to get things done when I’m awake if I've slept well the night before.
Those who don't get enough sleep at night are also going to be at risk of suffering from a slow metabolism. In addition to that, getting enough sleep will also increase your glucose tolerance, so you'll be able to handle any carbohydrates you consume that much better. This means you’ll have a lower chance of suffering from an increase in body fat.
Another important goal is to make something pumpkin! I know a lot of you are waiting for your first Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks! Since I'm not a coffee drinker I will be joining the pumpkin party by making some sugar free pumpkin bread.

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Electric Run

My friends and I competed together in the Electric Run under the team name Glitter Bomb.  After doing my first 5K Color Run, I had this craving for another fun run!  Have you noticed how many fun runs there are now days? The color runs, glo run, the mud runs, hot chocolate run, jungle bell run, and cupid undie run. The Electric Run is a 5k run/walk at night with amazing lighting effects that are synchronized to music! Very similar to the Glo Run and Cosmic Run. It's untimed, so it's just meant to be a fun social event so I had time to take some 60 pictures, well many were out of focus. lol I talked about my training for the race yesterday. I registered for the Electric Run the day registration opened and that was a good thing because it sold out in 2 days!



Your registration gives you a black t-shirt, LED bracelet, and Glow sunglasses. Out of all 5 of us none of our sunglasses glowed. Our packet was also supposed to include a glow necklace but we didn't receive that. The t-shirts were on the small size, a lot of people were at the check-in desk exchanging shirts so be sure to size up. The race cost $45 and a portion of the proceeds went to the charity Dreams for Kids which organizes free life-changing activities to empower children with physical and developmental disabilities to unite with their peers and realize their full potential. The biggest challenge for this event is deciding what to wear! I wanted to do another fun team t-shirt I like did for the Warrior Dash but ended up just wearing the black t-shirt they gave us. It is basically a big party and I saw quite a few people dressed in fun tutus and colored wigs! I highly recommend getting yourself a bunch of glow sticks because the race doesn't really give you any. For fun get yourself some glow in the dark nail polish! I painted my nails a neon orange for the race.


Race Night

When we arrived to the race location, there was the most beautiful sunset! Then it was pitch dark when we got to the check-in area, I lost my friends momentarily because I stepped away for a minute and panicked and it took multiple phone calls to find each other so stay close! lol Don't think about using the port-a-potties since it will be completely dark inside, I don't know why they didn't put glow sticks inside them. Since we got there late, we were at the end of the start line so we waited one hour in the crowd to start the race. They had the most awesome playlist blasting that really hyped us up! When I did the Color Run, when you registered you signed up for different start times at 10 minute intervals which I think is a better system then waiting in line for one hour for them to let small waves of people go at 10 minute intervals. I was in the first wave at the Color Run so there was no wait, but others waited by the party stage not trapped in a line. Once we were allowed to start running at the Electric Run, with so many people, it ended up being very slow moving space due to all the walkers, initially I thought will I even be able to run?

Once we finally found some space to actually run, I have to say a good portion of the route was in the dark with no music.  There were parts that were paved and parts that were gravel. The gravel parts made me really nervous. It was pitch black, in a crowd, and I was running on an uneven surface, and at one point even rolled my ankle. We ran next to a river so between the night air and water breezes the weather was just perfect! I did like the decorations they had, the lighting elements and music to pump up and energize your run. For instance they had:











  • Glowing arches changing color in tempo
  • Glowing paper lanterns in neon trees
  • Glowing Tunnels 
  • An art display with dancing patterns and figures on the walls
  • Lit up umbrellas hanging from trees


  • At the beginning, middle and end of the run they had  mini cans or bottles of Rockstar Recovery drink (who sponsored the race). Rockstar Recovery was named the Worst Energy Drink by Men's Health magazine for having 280 calories due to 67.5 grams of sugar. It has more caffeine than a cup of coffee and the has the controversial herb guarana so I passed on that. It's definitely not to be mixed with alcohol which they sold at the end of the race - $5 beers. To be fair there is a sugar free version of Rockstar recovery that is not carbonated made with Sucralose. I had to google the ingredients since the company doesn't list it on their website. I overheard lots of people say how nasty it tasted, that explains why there were so many almost full bottles on the ground which were easy to trip over since you can't easily see them in the dark. At the end of the race were cups of water and Kirkland granola bars (if you happened to see that table).


    There were a bunch of spectators yelling us on saying "Go! Go! You're almost at the end!" and kids putting their hands out for high fives. If you ever have the chance to do this run, do it! It is so much fun!  The next day my whole body was sore. If you have done fun runs, what has been your favorite?

     

    Training for the Electric Run



    If you're not a runner like me, no need to feel like a failure because it's not your forte, there are plenty other types of exercise that give the same results but are easier on your body. I chose to do a 5K because it's only 3.1 miles so to me it was a very doable running distance. Entering a beginner friendly 5K is also good motivation to get you running. I only started training a week before this race, on the treadmill. My first run was only 2 miles and I was surprised I could do that without stopping or cramps. I did feel it in my thighs for the next couple days which I took off. After being gone on vacation in Spain, my goal was to get a week in of runs, so that afterwards I could "fall" back into my routine and love my regular workouts (hybrid of Focus T25 and Chalean Extreme).

    My second run was the full 3.1 miles at 5.5 speed an it took me 34 minutes and let me tell you I was ready to quit every minute of it! lol I was watching the Real Housewives of OC while on the treadmill so that made it easier. On my third run I wasn't watching the clock as much and was able to do it at 5.6 speed, but boy did I feel it in my thighs afterwards, not pain, but tight.

    I know that the treadmill will never, ever fully prepare you for running outside so on my fourth run I ventured outside because it was such nice weather. However I was reminded why I enjoy running inside: it was too distracting having everyone stare at me. lol The run felt so much longer and harder. I had to keep pushing myself to get through it and maintain a slow steady pace. I was thankful for every stop light and was super careful when crossing the street with my earphones in as just a month ago I read about a jogger that was hit by a bus. At one point I was so excited to see a water fountain that someone was drinking from until I got up close and found it had bird droppings all over it. #fail If I ever run outside again (highly doubtful) I need a handheld water bottle. That evening, despite stretching, my thighs hurt when I tried to sit down as if I had done a zillion squats.

    The day before the race I only weight trained to give my legs a break. The morning of the race I played flag football with a church league.

    Do you want to hear a funny glow in the dark story? In college I had put on my evening cream (nice way of saying zit cream lol) which ends up looking sheer on my face. Then I heard a party on my floor so I thought I would pop over. Well they had black lights, remember how cool those were? Shoot I even had one for my room! lol Anyway so this guy I knew said to me in a cautious tone, "I think there's something on your face" and I'm thinking OMG in the black light it must look like I showed up for the party with a mask on my face! hahahaaha So I ran out of there, ran back into my suite and asked my roommate how it looked. I switched on my blacklight and she was speechless, she said I looked like one of those guys in the movie Dead Presidents (below) then she couldn't stop cracking up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you imagine showing up at a party looking like that, chatting casually not even knowing that's how you looked? I tried washing my face but it didn't come off and of course I couldn't see for myself in the mirror because it only worked with the black lighting. Needless to say I had to sit the rest of the party out.
    Something else I learned in college at a frat party was that if you dye your hair blonde, it glows in the dark under a black light. So everyone knows you're not a natural blonde. lol

    Reader Request: What did I eat in Spain?

    I received a comment asking me what did I eat while in Spain. People ask me if it's hard being a vegetarian and in the USA honestly no. For my trip to Spain I brought my Shakeology with me to get a boost of protein and vitamins everyday at breakfast. Generally my only option at breakfast was a baguette with cheese, usually manchego cheese (sheeps milk cheese from La Mancha) and some fruit. I absolutely love manchego cheese, you should try some if you never have!

    Lights. Camera. Spain.


    I spent two weeks in Spain visiting the major cities and the smaller historic charming towns many with a Moorish influence in architecture. I took over 1300 pictures! In Andalucia (the south of Spain) there were orange trees everywhere on city streets with blooming fruit. Driving through the countryside I saw lots of olive groves and sunflower fields. There were Zara stores everywhere! I drank lots of sangria and ate lots of tapas. In the north of Spain you could pay €1.5 for a glass of wine and one tapa, quite a steal! In Granada when you bought a glass of wine you got your tapa free! Rumor has it that King Alfonso in the 13th Century made it a law that bars had to serve food with alcohol due to a problem he had. lol You can ready about my time in Ibiza here.

    The Butler


    Honestly this was the most powerful movies I've seen in a long long time, it was really compelling to watch! I cried several times during the film. It has topped the box office for three weekends in a row! If you see one movie this year this should be it! It's inspired by real-life butler Eugene Allen who worked in the White House under eight Presidents. It  has an all star cast of Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr.,  Mariah Carey, Terrence Howard, Robin Williams, Jane Fonda, and Lenny Kravitz. The cast was amazing, Oprah and and Forest did an amazing acting job! Wouldn't surprise me if Forest got an Oscar nomination for it. I thought Mariah was miscast as a light skinned field slave. After seeing the movie I saw Lenny Kravitz's name in the credits and had to go back to figure out who he was because I didn't recognize him clean shaved with cut hair. lol Terrence Howard is missing a tooth in the movie, turns out it wasn't a special effect, he really did remove a crown for the movie! Robin Williams played President Dwight Eisenhower, it was interesting to see him in a serious role. The movie gave a great refresher on the civil rights movement, perfect timing with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. I truly think you will be wowed by the movie as it gives a much better perspective on the movement than any history book will.

    There has been some criticism of the movie that it took some liberties. For one all the family details of the Butler are fabricated. There is a scene where Ronald Reagan says he will veto any sanctions against South Africa and his son is upset because the movie doesn't explain why he did that and his thought process behind it. Some people are upset that Jane Fonda played Nancy Reagan because of her protest of the Vietnam War. Fonda said that Mrs. Reagan "graciously" responded to Fonda playing her and they 
    corresponded over the part for accuracy. 

    On a positive note Eugene Allen was given a VIP invitation to Obama's swearing in ceremony. You can read more about him here. The funniest moment in the movie was seeing Oprah Winfrey in an 80s tracksuit! lol The rest of her fashions all through the movie were very glamorous! Did you have a tracksuit? I didn't. 


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    Tropical Shakeology Recipe

    Now I know you're thinking why can't every Monday be a holiday! lol I had a super relaxing day yesterday hanging with friends. I also had a few minutes to make this video to show you how I like to make my shakeology.

    Ingredients:
    1 scoop Tropical Shakeology
    1 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk
    1/2 of a frozen banana  (makes it extra frosty and smoothe)
    Zico coconut water ice cubes
    berries
    half of a lime (forgot to put it in)

    Tired of Grocery Shopping?

    As you know creating a weekly meal plan has been key to my weight loss success. However getting back from Spain last Sunday meant I was too tired and busy to create my plan for last week. I returned to work the very next day on Monday so I just went to Trader Joes and picked up a ton of fruit and salad ingredients because I ate a ton of bread in Spain. 

    So I placed my first order with HelloFresh which delivers a weekly box of fresh ingredients and recipes to make three healthy meals out of it. Each meal should take less than 30 minutes to cook. The company prides themselves on using local farms, seasonal foods and high quality ingredients. They only deliver to states on the right half of the country and use recycled boxes, no styrofoam and gel packs to keep the temperature inside. Their meals claim to be low in calories, low in fat, and high in protein, however I got the two person serving box but the serving size was very generous and could be stretched out to more servings. It comes with a glossy card with recipe and ingredients to make it easy to prepare but I found the directions were often missing something.




    My box contained foods for the following recipes and none of them wowed me. The directly heavily relied on salt for the main seasoning.

    Chickpea and Rice Salad with Sesame-Lime Vinaigrette

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    Pasta al Forno with Roasted Eggplant and Mozzarella


    Tofu Potato Wrap with Greens - this was the worst meal as the tofu had no flavor