Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Easy Peasy Flourless PB Cookies

These super easy, gluten-free peanut butter cookies made it into my first vacay day. The recipe has been sitting in my recipe binder for a LONG time, and it was a simple but yummy, no-fuss recipe. If you're looking to do some baking after work, this recipe would be a good pick, as it uses minimal ingredients, minimal equipment, and bakes quickly. And since they're flour-free, that co-worker who's super trendy and refuses to eat gluten has no excuse. (And the people who actually can't eat gluten will be grateful). Ta-da!

Real Simple's Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 36 cookies| Hands-On Time: 10m| Total Time: 30m


  • 2  cups  creamy peanut butter
  • 1  cup  packed light brown sugar
  • 1  cup  granulated sugar
  • large eggs
  • 2  teaspoons  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt


  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, sugars, eggs, baking soda, and salt until smooth.
  2.  Shape the dough into balls (about 1 heaping tablespoon each) and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the tines of a fork, flatten each ball, creating a crisscross pattern.
  3. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until puffed and golden, 10 to 12 minutes (the cookies will deflate as they cool). Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
You can also get creative with some add-ins, if you'd like. After baking half of the cookies, I added pretzels and toffee to my dough. You could also mix in rolled oats, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips.

Ellie wasn't even hiding the fact that she was waiting for me to drop some cookie crumbs her way.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Vacay Week!

Last week was SUCH A LAZY WEEK. Every night I came home from work and crashed...missed two nights of work outs, and ate frozen TJ's pizzas a few too many times. Now I'm even more thankful that I was planning to take this week off work, have a little personal stay-cation week in ol' Chitown.

I've got a look of cooking and baking to catch up on.
Last night I finally made these grilled fennel crusted pork chops. I wasn't the biggest fan of the carrot salad on the side, but pork/fennel is a beautiful combination. If you haven't tried it, please do! Just smash the fennel seeds a bit, crack 'em up, to release a little more flavor, and season your pork with salt, pepper, and the fennel. That's all it needs.

Today I'm catching up with this creamy chicken and spinach pasta I was supposed to make last week...woops.

In my free time, I'm hoping to work through a few dessert recipes. I have a giant  accordion file folder that I sort my recipes in after ripping them out of magazines, printing off line, and scribbling on napkins. Boyfriend doesn't believe it's actually organized, but I swear it is, by breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides, desserts, and etc. It weighs about 8 lbs. so I need to have a big baking spree and tackle a few desserts this week.

There are so many good dessert recipes out there, but who ever finds the time to make dessert? Definitely not during the week, that's for sure. We need more cookies in our life. ASAP.

I'm just home from teaching my 6AM spinning class, starting the week off right! Only other goals today would include taking 3 big bags of clothes to the donation center and starting this throw, or at least getting the supplies for it. And I have to finally finish 1Q84, the book I've been reading. I'm so close!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

50% off J. Crew Sale! Boom!

 So by now J.Crew has been blowing up your inbox with their extra 40% off sale items promo. But what they're NOT telling you is that if you GO INTO a J. Crew, they're giving 50% off sale items, in store only! Boom. So get off the couch, hop on the el, the bus, in the car, and get there.

I went to J.Crew on my first day off. The sale was a bit picked over, but with an extra 50% off, I knew I could find something.

I picked up this two-toned pink color block Oxford for $20. Boom! I can only wear a few button ups alone, without a sweater over, because I'm, well, "blessed" up top. But I'm happy to say, this one looks great alone or under a sweater.

This soft blue bling button cardigan was only $20, too! Another score, you can never have too many cardigans. And this one is so light, it could easily be worn in the springtime over a dress. I only found these in XS, but luckily the XS fit well! And let me repeat, only $20! A J. Crew cardigan for only $20, you can't beat it. 

I also picked up this necklace, in my recent efforts to build up my jewelry arsenal and wear legit jewelry. Because I had none. Until now. This necklace was only $39.50, in store. Not bad for J. Crew jewelry!

I don't think any of these pieces are available online anymore. But remember, extra 50% if you hop into the store!!

And can we take a moment and discuss the downward spiral that is J. Crew Factory Online? I've only ever shopped J. Crew factory via their website. A few months ago, they had that giant website overhaul, and basically since then, I feel like there has been no selection on that site. Not that it's been a bad selection, but they have about 30 items listed on that site to buy, total! Why is that? And it also feels a little more expensive than before their website re-design. Any thoughts? Do you agree, or am I just being a spoiled brat?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Salty Chocolate Chunk Cookies - Sounds Weird, It's Not!

Last month's Bon Appetit had an entire section on salted desserts - YES!
I'm such a sucker for salted caramel, salted chocolate. That little pinch of salt adds and brings out so much flavor, it's ridic. I'm going to work my way through all of those recipes, but I started out with these Salty Chocoalte Chunk Cookies.

A few notes: I used chocolate chips instead of chocolate chunks - time saver in chopping that chocolate. I also used Hawaiin Black Lava Sea Salt instead of a Maldon or flaky salt, because we had it lying around, for some reason. You can use any brand of sea salt, as long as the flakes are big.

Also, bring your butter and eggs both to room temperature before you start. This keeps your cookies fluffy so they don't collapse while cooling.  My boyfriend LOVED these, and his friends took a few home.

This recipe makes about 25.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • Maldon or other flaky sea salt


  • Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 375°. Whisk flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, sugar, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add egg yolks, egg, and vanilla. Beat, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until mixture is pale and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low; slowly add dry ingredients, mixing just to blend. Using a spatula, fold in chocolate.

  • Spoon rounded tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Sprinkle cookies with sea salt.

  • Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until just golden brown around the edges, 10-12 minutes (the cookies will firm up as they cool). Let cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks; let cool completely. DO AHEAD: Cookies can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

    Isn't baking the perfect Saturday afternoon activity? I kind of love it. 
    I'm going to tackle these after I teach Body Pump this afternoon.

Friday, January 25, 2013



Mint green dress / Markus Lupfer sequin sweater, $505 / H&M , $24 / True Religion true-religion jeans / Kate Spade crossbody bag / Essie mint green nail polish, $16 / TOPSHOP Mint Baby Cord Skater Skirt

I'm seeing it everywhere. Are you?

Vacation Day #1 I did a SMALL amount of shopping (I'm trying to space it out so I don't spend too much money all in one day) and saw mint EVERYTHING! What do you think? A little pale for winter, or a nice, almost pastel softness perfect for the snow?

I think this is going to be my excuse to pick up a few new pieces for my already bloated closet :)

I'm heading to Anthro tomorrow, and going to keep an eye out for these:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guess what!?!?!? Big girl-life moment had last weekend...

I got my first facial! I don't know why I've never had one before, I just never thought about it.

But lately I've been trying to overhaul and hone down my skincare routine, figure out what products I need, what works, what will give me a great complexion.

I've always been a big Neutrogena person, but suddenly all of my adolescent Neutrogena buys seemed to dry out my skin. I tried a few other drugstore products, and while on my Lush kick I tried Herbalism, but that's not strong enough for me, I started breaking out like crazy. Thank god I got this facial ASAP, because 1. I needed it, and 2. I learned a lot.

I went to DermaSpa and Chrissy's Vitamin-C facial was great! My skin felt so clean and smooth afterwards, and she was very forthcoming with recommendations, talked me through my daily routine and what I could improve on...

1. Exfoliate 2-3 times per week. I used to exfoliate every day, because I struggle with blackheads, and exfoliation gets rid of blackheads, right? Big NO! Apparently my overexfoliation screwed up my natural oil-making process, and my skin has been over-producing because it thinks it's being starved.

2. Salicylic Acid is my friend. I always hear, and kind of believe that organic products are best for your skin, but it sounds like I need a salicylic acid to break through the oils and dirt on my skin. That's one thing I feel like I wasn't achieving with Lush's Herbalism. It didn't get everything off. So I picked up a face wash that Chrissy recommended. And salicylic acid isn't BAD for me, right? At the end of the day, I want to look good, so bring on the acid!

3. Sunscreen! I've never really thought about wearing sunscreen on a daily basis. But Chrissy stressed this more than anything else. Sun will age your skin more than anything else. I'm going to pick up an SPF 30 today to mix with my current facial moisturizer and I suggest you do the same!

4.  It's never too early to start using anti-aging products. With young, healthy skin, I may not NEED any anti-aging products, they wouldn't hurt to start using, for maintenance, at least.

All of these tips sound so obvious, but when look at all of those skincare products out there, so many choices, it's just a bit overwhelming.

I've heard good things about Mario Badescu products, so I'm going to pick up a few of those products.

Any recommendations on your end? And do you usually stick to one brand with your skincare, or will you use cleanser, moisturizer, toners, and serums from several different brands?

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Little Things

Boyfriend had the day off from work, and not only did he put up our curtains, but he made dinner! What a good boy :)

Slightly wrinkled, but I think they'll do :)

He did a very good job with this roasted chicken and beets w/ couscous and yogurt sauce from Real Simple. This chicken had a perfect amount of spice to the skin. I'm not a big fan of beets, but he did a good job roasting them and I'm very impressed.

All of his help leaves me with some time to put the laundry away, and more importantly, sit down and relax. Which rarely happens at night during the week. A glass of wine, some stretching, and The Bachelor. What could be better?

Happy Monday!

Here are my workouts for the week - I usually plan my workouts in a calendar, but writing them down in a blog somehow makes me more likely to get to the gym on all planned nights :

Tuesday - Teach Body Pump Express / CXWorx
Wednesday - 7pm Yoga
Thursday - Sub CXWorx
Friday - Teach Spin
Saturday - Teach Body Pump
Sunday - 10:15 AM Yoga

- Yeesh, lots of teaching this week! Means extra moola. Also means I need some more yoga and stretching time, and maybe an epsom salt bath.

I'm excited for this recipe coming up this week, mostly because I bought the pork chops at my favorite butcher's, Gepperths, and I know they're going to be delicious.

Have a great rest of the week!

Recipe HiLite: Moroccan Vegetable Soup

Last Saturday, Boyfriend's friend came over for dinner. We all were in the midst of, or just finishing up the sniffles. I made this spicy Moroccan soup from Martha Stewart Living, and it definitely helped things along.

This vegetable soup has a light broth, it comes out as a spicy water more than a broth, and I couldn't have been happier to drink up some spicy liquid. I couldn't find a rutabaga, so I used a turnip, and it turned out great.

Keep in mind, this recipe says it only takes 25 minutes to prepare, but with boiling the carrots and turnips, I had let the veggies boil and simmer a little longer than the recipe says.

PERFECT soup for a winter night, especially when you've got those mid-winter sniffles. It cleared out sinuses right out, without being too spicy :) The soup is also so light that it doesn't bog you down when you've got an icky stomach, too.

I'll definitely be making this one again. Thanks, Martha! Enjoy!


  • 1 pound carrots, washed, trimmed, and cut on the bias into 3-inch-long pieces
  • 1/2 large rutabaga (about 1 pound), peeled and cut on the bias into 2-inch-long pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (2 to 3 small)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (North African hot-chile paste; kalustyans.com)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
  • Coarsely chopped cilantro, for garnish


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add carrots and rutabaga, and simmer 2 minutes. Reserve 6 cups cooking water, then drain vegetables.
  2. Place oil in a large, wide, deep pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened and golden brown in places, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and harissa, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine, and simmer 30 seconds.
  3. Add vegetables, chickpeas, reserved cooking water, and saffron to pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and cover. Simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with 2 teaspoons salt.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook couscous until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.
  5. Divide couscous among 6 bowls. Ladle soup over couscous, and garnish with cilantro. Soup and couscous can be refrigerated in separate containers 2 days; let cool completely before refrigerating. Gently reheat together in a covered pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
View the recipe from Martha Stewart's website here

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sprinting to the Finish

ZOMG! What a week. We had a super crazy deadline at work, and luckily our team pulled together to finish the project, but it left me so tired at night that I got nothing done. Plus I was still getting rid of this cold.

I made a great, and easy, tomato soup with Parmesan croutons from Real Simple magazine. It really, really was easy. And quick! My boyfriend loved it. I used my immersion blender so I didn't have to drag out (and clean) the giant counter blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, go get one now! I have a 2-speed KitchenAid hand blender, but if you want to shell out a little more money, I'd go for the 5-speed.

Hit up Cesar's on Thursday for a $6 margarita and some delicious tostados. I LOVE this Mexican restaurant, right across the street from me. It's huge inside. 

Friday, one of my company's newest television shows premiered on Investigation Discovery. It's called "Desperate Measures," has kind of a "Desperate Housewives" stylish feel, and it was done really well, produced by a GREAT group of people. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Saturday AM was cleaning day. I taught my Body Pump class, bought a pair of Run: Inspire crops from Lululemon, and passed out when I got home.

Sunday I had to wake up early to sub a Spinning class and a CXWorx class back to back. I sprinted home, and had my FIRST EVER FACIAL! at a great place called DermaSpa. A well-informed Chrissy did the facial, she gave me some great recommendations for my skincare routine. I left feeling refreshed, clean, and extracted! I'm definitely going to have to make these facials a slightly more regular part of my routine.

After teaching, my hips and IT band were feeling SUPER tight, so I ran back to my gym and got an impromptu massage. Perks of being an instructor, I get a good 20% off on massages :)
Jeff was awesome about opening up my hips and rubbing out my lower back and hams. He even gave me some stretches to help keep things loose.

After a massive grocery spree and 4 loads of laundry, it's about time I sit down and relax. Eating some sushi, and excited for the raspberry gelato in the freezer! I'm gearing up for next week, and just can't wait to hit the sack.

Only 4 days of work, and I'm taking a week off :) ahhh....

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Plight of Small Businesses

A giant Walmart moved in across the street from me this past Wednesday, and I'm torn. In a time when I need to save every penny and dollar I can, it would be great to save $1.50 on paper towels by visiting the giant across the street. But at the same time, I've been noticing a terrible trend in my area...at least 4 small businesses have closed within the past month...all within a three block radius of my apartment.

Red Hen Bread closed their location around the corner...goodbye awesome espresso and walk-up window. Ellie will miss those dog treats. 
Pizza Persona was up and running two days ago! And yesterday it was all papered up, out of nowhere.
The Counter closed maybe a month ago, same story, quick and sudden. They were easily the best burger on the block, build-your-own burger? Genius!
Lakeview Flower Shop, after 40 years, is clearing out.

How sad is this?!
It really underlines the idea that we need to support our local businesses.

But how do we do that when we all feel the need to save every penny and dollar? It'd be great to spend $1.50 less on paper towels by shopping at this new Walmart, but I would HATE to ever see The Market Place, the amazing, wonderful, kind grocery store around the corner, get hit because the "king of cheap" has staked it's territory.

I'm actually slightly upset that Chicago let this happen. Chicago has been known to fight these large corporations in the name of shopping local and family-owned businesses for a long time. Recently a Target made it's way into the loop, and there's a Walmart Express in the heart of Lakeview, but this giant Walmart? I'm surprised the thought was even entertained.

So my dilemma: these big Walmarts and Targets are cheaper. And I need to be fiscally responsible. But I also need to feel morally responsible. I just want to go to every private restaurant in my area and give them my business. But it probably wouldn't be financially responsible for me to eat out several times per week.

So what do you do? Do you guys bite the bullet and pay out some extra money to support your local businesses, or do you stick to bargain shopping at the corporate-mega-giants?

I wish I wasn't put in a position to feel so torn. I wish the US Small Business Administration could help the people in my area.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bad (hair) day

So I woke up today feeling super tired, more so than normal. Like really tired. Like can't even flop over to slap the alarm clock tired :(

I went into the bathroom to do my hair, and instead of grabbing my purple can of hair spray, I grabbed my purple can of lavender scented Lysol air freshener, and
went to town.

My boyfriend said I smelled like a public restroom.

Thank god Tuesday is over.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bath, Brew, Read: In the Nude

 I took a sick day last Thursday and drew up an nice, warm bath to try to ease my ick. I almost fell asleep in the bath tub, it was so relaxing, and I so needed some extra sleep.

Bath: In the Nude by Lush 
I picked this up when Lush had a free shipping promo a while back. It's online only, but I REALLY wish this bath melt were available in stores. While their bubble bars and bath bombs provide a great aroma and atmosphere to calm my crazies, Lush's bath melts actually DO SOMETHING for my skin.
It's a little bar of cocoa butter that you drop into a warm bath, and they literally melt in the tub, releasing different oils for your skin. This bar is brown, but melts clear and doesn't leave a residue around your tub (thank god!) I drop a whole bar in my bath, but you can break it in half if you want to.

 In the Nude smells most strongly of lavendar, the best scent in the world, with hints of rose, and chamomile and almond oils to soothe and moisturize the skin. This bath bar is exceptionally great for dry, red, or irritated skin, but the scent is so perfect that I use it just to relax. The silky smooth skin is just a perk!

Brew: Honeybush Vanilla Tea from Teavana
The last time I had a cold I bought this tea and it definitely did its part in soothing my sniffles. Equal parts honey and Madagascar vanilla bean, this tea brews up sweet. Sold loose leaf, the best way to drink tea, for $4.80/2 oz. , so it's not that expensive if you're just getting into teas. I imagine this would make a delicious iced tea, as well.

Read: Bon Appetit, January 2013
I'm just now getting around to reading the January issue of Bon Appetit, and I'm sure the February edition will be here soon enough. There were a few great hilights I'm looking forward to using:
  •  Bibimbop Party - back in our sorority house, our chef used to make authentic bibimbop all the time, and I'm so excited to finally have a recipe for it. Eddie was the greatest, but hopefully this recipe will come close. 
  • Making my own stocks - I've been wanting to make my own vegetable stocks for a while, and reading several articles this past month in cooking magazines makes me want to save my scraps and cook up a big pot!
  • Salty/Sweet Desserts - I'm such a huge fan of the salted caramel craze, really salted anything is okay in my book! I made these salted chocolate chip cookies last night, and am looking forward to this lemon honey tart with salted shortbread crust.

How good does this look!?
Little Ellie is sleeping next to me, and I may have to join her for a quick puppy nap.

Have a great one!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Arrival: NARS Makeup Kit in Super Orgasm

I really don't need to buy any more makeup, but see I had this credit for Beyond the Rack that I wanted to use up, and, well....

To be honest, Beyond the Rack never really has anything that interests me, other than low cost, super comfy sheets and MAC makeup from time to time. I bought a pretty horrible pair of shoes from their site and had a $15-ish credit after the return. By the way, I pretty much hate Beyond the Rack's return policy. You end up losing about half of what you originally paid, as they charge you a stupid-high return shipping charge which is deducted from your credit. For this reason, I probably won't be buying anything from them in the near future.

But recently I bought this Yorokobi Super Orgasm Set including a small blush, lip gloss, and nail polish. I've been interested in trying out some "cult classics," and settled upon this sassy version of NARS Orgasm blush. Orgasm is credited as being the perfect blend of pink/peach, and Super Orgasm adds a little gold glitter to the mix.

The kit cost $31.99 on BTR, but originally costs $49.00.

To be honest, I probably should have just bought the full-size Orgasm blush, it will probably get more use than these three pieces.

The blush has a nice color, the glitter isn't too overwhelming, it's mostly pigment. I didn't feel like a 6th grader getting ready for a school dance, which is always my ultimate goal. High standards over here. So the blush is a keeper, but the compact they give you is really, really small.

The lip gloss is sheer. It goes on slightly light, mostly neutral that could be paired with anything.  But how much do I actually wear lip gloss? I'll probably have it for years before it's used up.

Nail polish color is also fun, not overwhelming, but young with the gold glitter. However, the application brush is awkwardly small because it's a travel size, and I really hate taking off glitter nail polishes (it's always so much more work than a regular nail polish).

I don't think this kit was worth  $31.99, let alone a $49 original price. But I had a credit I wanted to use up, so whatever. I'll use the blush, I'll use the nail polish, and the lip gloss will just sit in my lip bag until the end of time, probably.

I'd recommend you pass on this kit if you come across it. Just buy the original NARS Orgasm blush. At $28, it's less expensive than this whole little kit, anyways.

1/13/13 Week in Workouts and Food!

I've been a bit sick this past week. Don't you hate being sick? It totally limits productivity, rearranging prioritites to accomplish the few things I can while I'm sick.

I'm usually a stickler about not working out while I'm sick. The gym doesn't need my germs, and the fastest way for me to get better is to tax my body as little as possible. So I skipped workouts on Thursday, and probably today, too. Going to sit around and read some magazines and cookbooks - woe is me!

Depending on how I feel, I probably won't fit in any extra workouts outside of what I'm teaching this week, so here it is, my week in workouts:

Sunday : OFF

Monday : Teach 6AM Spin

Tuesday : Teach BodyPump Express and CXWORX in evening

Wednesday : OFF - will go to yoga if this cold has cleared up!

Thursday : OFF

Friday: Teach 6PM Spin

Saturday: Teach Body Pump

I'm loving getting back to cooking, and can't wait to cook my way through another big group of recipes:

Sunday: Peppered Flank Steak

Monday: Tomato Soup with Parmesan and Croutons - Super easy, and soup is perfect for when you're sick!

Tuesday: Leftovers/Something Quick

Wednesday: Roasted Chicken and beets

Thursday: Chopped winter salad with squash, apple, and feta

Friday:  TBD

Saturday: TBD

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Recipe HiLite: Veggie Tacos

This past week, the first full week of the new year, got me back on my cooking schedule, and thank god, because eating out for lunch and dinner all last week was making me feel blah...

I usually try to cook at least three nights during the week, and both nights of the weekend, unless we're going out for dinner. Cooking three nights per week is usually enough to provide me and boyfriend with food for lunch and dinner of leftovers when we work late.

This past week's menu included:

And the winner of the week, hands down, are Martha Stewart's Portobello and Zucchini Tacos. Quick, easy, delicious, and most importantly for the new year, healthy!

Just a few minutes chopping up some onion, portobello mushrooms, and zucchinis is all you need.

I straightened up the kitchen while the veggies roasted, and then tossed them all in soft taco shells. I topped our tacos with some cheese and a bit of Greek yogurt, but that wasn't even needed, they would have been tasty without the add-ons. And if we get bored with leftover tacos, we can always used the roasted zucchini and mushrooms in a salad, on a sandwich, or tossed with eggs for breakfast.

These veggie tacos were super quick and easy for a week night meal and were surprisingly filling. I planned on both of us eating two tacos, but they we only needed one each. 


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Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Arrival for Spring! Ali Ro Wrap Dress

Just a few days ago, Gilt had a great sale on women's clothing, where I picked up this number in anticipation for spring!

At $49 and such a sassy pattern, how could I say no? Ali Ro markets to young professional women with a social calendar packed tighter than that last pair of heels on my shoe rack. So duh! Match made in heaven, right!?

The jersey knit means that I probably could have/should have sized down, but I went with my usual 4. Could have gotten away with a 2, it's a little loose. But luckily I can use the tie to cinch it in a pinch. It falls to the knees, so I could definitely wear this to work or out to dinner.

Ellie clearly likes it, too!

On a different note, this was actually my first purchase from Gilt, though I've belonged to the site and checked it religiously for a year or two. And I have to say I was REALLY satisfied with their service. My dress came in just 3 days. I've waiting upwards of 3 weeks for purchases from Beyond the Rack. Plus, Beyond the Rack's return policy sucks.

For better or worse, I'll have to start buying more through Gilt :)
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Big Celebration for Little Victories!

I like to think that I eat healthy, but the reality is that I eat A LOT more sweets and sugars and indulgent foods than I'd like to admit, probably more than I'm even aware of. "I'll eat whatever I want until I turn 30 and it all sticks to my hips..." Sounds fair, right? I'm lucky to be a 24-year-old with a speedy metabolism, but that doesn't mean eating that stuff is healthy. As a group fitness instructor, I believe I'm a good role model when it comes to working out - I can push hard, but I know when too much is too much - but the nutrition thing? Not so much.

As 4PM rolled around yesterday, I found myself craving a cupcake from the bakery around the corner. I wasn't hungry, I wasn't necessarily bored. I just wanted it. It was hard, but I said no. I chatted with a co-worker, and I got a cup of coffee. And before I knew it, 6pm came by and I was on my way to yoga.

It doesn't sound like much, but I really think this is the first time I've practiced self-restraint in years. I usually give myself whatever I want. But now that I'm growing up, I need to shift those priorities around. That $4 cupcake wouldn't have helped my health goals. Nor would it have helped my bank account.

So I got to thinking, if I eat 3 cupcakes per week from the bakery around the corner, which has happened many times, that's $12 per week. That could buy me a new nail polish, with room for a latte. That's a lot of nail polish. And a lot of cupcakes. And I think I'd rather have the nail polish.

I was also tempted to skip yoga yesterday and just lounge around. But I dragged my butt there, and am so grateful for that 90 minute stretch session. It was exactly what my body needed.

Cheers to celebrating the small victories that will add up to big success! And when your body gets that craving, or wants to skip a workout, tell it to "Shut up and rub some dirt in it." We can't always let our selves have everything we want.
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Weekly Spin Playlist

Because of the holidays, my Monday AM Spinning class was cancelled. This was the first week back to my regular schedule, and it felt so good to wake up at 5AM for Spinning...wait...ugh. 

Choosing a time to work out during the day has always been a big personal struggle for me. If I work out in the morning, I get to come home right after work, have dinner by 7:30-ish, and have the rest of the night to relax. But if I try to work out in the morning, I always run the risk of hitting snooze 5 times. And I drag my feet getting ready, so by the time I make it to the gym, I only have a quick 30 minutes to work out before it's time to hit the showers. 

If I work out in the evening, right after work, I usually get a better workout. Plus there's a larger class selection later in the evening. But then I don't eat dinner until closer to 8:30 or 9 and after I eat, all I want to do is hit the sack. 

At the end of the day, I get a better and longer workout in the evening, so that's usually what I stick to.What's your favorite time to work out?

And on that note, here's your weekly Spin Playlist. Have fun!


Seated flat
Warm-up. Take it easy. Get warm, you’ll need to get moving to finish this class
Jamie Knight
Seated flat/Standing flat

2 minutes seated, 2 standing
I Don’t Wanna Be in Love
Good Charlotte
Standing climb/seated climb

30-second recovery. 2 minutes standing flat, 2 minutes seated flat
Save the Day
Seated flat

30 second recovery, followed by 3 minutes seated flat.
Katy Perry
Standing flat

3 minutes standing flat
The Fratellis

Straight into jumps, with short breaks in between sets of 32
Ravers in the UK
Standing hill

30-second recovery, then right into a standing hill. Crank on the resistance
We Used to Be Friends
Dandy Warhols
Seated hill

20-second recovery, then back up hill
Dani California
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Seated flat

Quick little “sprint” at 80%
Little of Your Time
Maroon 5
Standing hill

And back up hill, some rolling hills here
Sick Puppies
Your choice
Your choice
Your choice. Last song. Make it count
Rude Boy
Cool Down
Pinch Me
Barenaked Ladies
Cool Down
Travis McCoy

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