MY TOP 10 PET PEEVES

We all have those little annoyances. Things that aren’t really a big deal, and shouldn’t bug you but they do. Pet peeves. Here are my top ten.

1. People waiting for parking spots. Especially at Costco. People do it everywhere, but especially at Costco and it kills me. If you parked at the farthest parking spot, and walked in it would still be quicker than waiting for someone to unload their massive Costco cart, and get their kid(s) in their seat(s) and get out. KILLS ME!

2. When I have a Pandora station on, and they don’t play any songs by the artist I’ve chosen. ie: When I’ve got my Gavin DeGraw station on, and they don’t play any Gavin DeGraw in the 30+ songs I’ve listened to.

3. Smudging nails I’ve just painted. Argh.

4. People who never use their blinkers when they drive. So rude. And dangerous.

5. People that don’t put shopping carts back where they belong at the store. I always see people put carts near where they belong, but not where they actually go. Like it will actually kill them to walk the extra foot and put it back in the right place.

6. When a book starts out great but doesn’t end that way. I recently read Pretty Girls, and was sucked in right away. And then it took a turn for the very dark and very disturbing. I can handle a little bit of dark, and a little bit of disturbing but this was too much. I actually had nightmares from this book.

7. People who take up two parking spots. I can’t believe how often I see this. WHY?!?!

8. When people call San Francisco Frisco. Or when people refer to California as Cali. I cringe so hard with both of those. It really is like nails down a chalkboard to me.

9. When a book becomes a movie, and then they change the book cover to the movie poster. No, just no.

10. When I hold the door open for someone and they don’t thank me, or even acknowledge me. What happened to manners, people?!

What are YOUR pet peeves?? Let me know I’m not the only crazy who has them! 😉

CARRY-ON ESSENTIALS (FOR A LONG FLIGHT)


Hey friends! If you follow me on Instagram you know that Tony and I were in St. Lucia a couple weeks ago for our tenth anniversary. It was an absolutely incredible trip, and one for the memory books. While being on the lush, amazing, incredibly beautiful island was magical, traveling so far was long and arduous, but I wanted to share a few things that helped. We flew out of San Francisco and into Atlanta. That was a five-hour flight. In Atlanta we had a three hour layover, and then another four and a half hour flight from Atlanta to St. Lucia. Coming home was even more of a beast, but I digress. I think what made the long travel times so bearable was my handy-dandy carry on, packed with the following…

All of those goodies fit beautifully into my carry-on bag, which is just a super large purse. That bag also had my wallet, passport and other travel documents, but still fit easily under the seat in front of me, and I didn’t have to carry on any additional luggage. Let me breakdown the specifics of what I carried on.

To keep boredom at bay I had a fully charged iPad, loaded up with a bunch of shows from my DVR (if you have the comcast app you can do that too, it’s super easy), my iPad charging plug and my iPhone charging plug. We flew Delta which has charging stations at every seat, but if the airline you’re flying doesn’t make sure to bring a Mophie. I also brought a brand new book that I was dying to read. (Spoiler alert – it was awesome! I also read The Nightingale on my vacation, which was heart breaking, and beautiful and I can’t recommend it enough.) With my iPad (and in-air wifi) I was able to watch my shows, return emails and of course Instagram. When I got bored of that I read my book, and before I knew it we were landing.

 

All that travel in a cooped up plane, with recycled air can get you funky. I brought wipes, deodorant, a super luxe lip balm, hand cream, eye cream, eye drops (my eyes always get dry in a plane), tylenol (just in case), Colgate wisps (basically little toothbrushes you can use anywhere, without water), a brush and micellar face cleansing wipes. I used all of these things travelling both ways, and reached my destinations feeling great despite 12+ hours of travel.

What is up with planes charging big bucks for crappy little snacks? $12 for a cheese plate? No thank you. I brought a box of individually packaged almonds and a bunch of protein bars. It might look like too many protein bars, but I figured my hubby would steal one or two. I was right. I highly prefer Detour Bars and Quest Bars. Both are super clean, and high in protein which keeps you full, longer.

My husband made SO much fun of me for packing slippers, but they were probably the best thing I packed. I snagged these ones at Payless because they are super light weight and could be shoved into any corner of my bag, but they were also super warm and cozy. I am always freezing on planes, and these helped big time! I got the neck pillow (also fuzzy and warm) and eye mask – this one is awesome because there is extra space above the eyes, so your eyelashes don’t get all smooshed down – at TJ Maxx.

We flew overnight on the first leg of our trip, and my eye mask was awesome. It may have looked like I was wearing a tiny bra on my head, but it was 100% worth it.

TJ Maxx and Marshalls both have great travel sections, make sure to check them out before your next trip.

What are some of YOUR travel essentials??

GIFT GUIDE FOR THE 30-SOMETHING WOMAN ON YOUR LIST

I have been asked by several people to please do my annual gift guides, or at least a personal wishlist. I’m not doing my gift guides this year for a handful of reasons, but decided to do a personal wishlist/something I think would be a perfect gift guide for any woman on your list, especially ages 20 – 50. This year (and really, every year as I’m getting older) it seems I would rather have one or two nice gifts, instead a handful of smaller ones. I’m loving quality over quantity, and I’m *really* loving personalized gifts. Below are some things I would love. Enjoy!

 

 

1. A personalized bag from Barrington gifts. I’ve only recently discovered this company (and don’t own anything by them, so can’t speak to the quality…) but I adore how you can truly personalize their bags. From the pattern, to the colors, to adding your initials. These are awesome. My favorites are the St. Anne, the Sonoma and the Belmont Cabin Bag (is that not the most chic travel bag ever, or what??)

2. Hanky Panky undies. I was recently given a pair of these at a “favorite things” party and they are kind of amazing. They are incredibly comfortable (seriously!!) and the material is really luxe. I feel fancy when I wear them, lol, and I now want every color!

3. Laura Mercier beauty products. Particularly the Sleek & Chic eye palette and the Petite Soufflés’ Body Crème Collection.  I worked for Laura Mercier years ago, and the makeup and body products are absolutely incredible. If you haven’t experienced them yet, head to your nearest Laura Mercier counter and check them out for yourselves, and please let me know what you think!

4. Personalized Signet ring by Stella & Dot. I sell Stella & Dot so I might be just a tad biased, but I think our personalized items are amazing. The quality and pricing is just incredible, and the turnaround/shipping time is unparalleled. I am getting this for myself and will wear it proudly!

5. Two-toned petite Kate Spade watch. I know the trend with women’s watches over the last few years has been oversized, but I am personally loving a more petite watch that you can wear with a few bracelets. I love the rose gold and silver KS one, but since this is a WISHlist I’m also digging this two-toned classic Movado watch.

6. The Hayden Satchel by Gigi New York (personalized, of course.) I have an Uber clutch by Gigi New York (seen here) and I love it. It is such a beautiful quality, and seriously – there is just something about having your initials on it that makes it extra special!

7. Tieks in any color, but especially Obsidion Black and Rose Gold Glam. These shoes are amazing. I own several pairs and am asked all the time if they’re worth the money. YES – worth every penny.

That’s what’s on MY wishlist, what is on yours?? Let me know in the comments section, so that I can check it out too!

SCENES FROM CHRISTMAS

Happy {almost} New Year, everyone! This year, as always it seems Christmas came and went in a flash. My girls are at such fun ages – Leila is almost 9, and Coco is 5.5 and they still both believe in Santa, and all of the magic of Christmas (though they of course know what the REAL reason for Christmas is!) This year Tony worked the days before Christmas, and came home on Christmas morning. I’m not going to lie – it’s kind of nerve wracking being Santa all by yourself. Every little noise I heard while laying out presents, and stuffing stockings made my heart drop, thinking I was getting caught. Luckily I didn’t! 🙂

I made the girls come into my room as soon as they woke up, and we watched “A Christmas Story” on TV while waiting for Tony to get home. Lucky girls didn’t have to wait too long, though. The second he walked through the door, he came into the room and said “Girls, Santa was here, get up get up!” and just like that they were excitedly running down the hall.

The big things they wanted (and received) from Santa were a sewing machine (Leila) and a Barbie pop-up camper (Coco) I can’t sew to save my life, so I am currently looking into lessons for Leila. She is fashion-obsessed, and wants to be a designer when she grows up, which is why she wants to learn to sew. Melt my mama heart!

All I really wanted was for Tony to for sure be home (and YAY – he was, you never know with his job!) but he also got me the other thing I really wanted – a new bike! (He also got me some awesome new Lululemon pants, which I’m calling my magic pants because I look pretty good in them!)

Ramon got everything he wanted too 😉  {so did Sugar, she’s just not a fan of the camera, unlike my boy}

We had my parents over in the morning for presents and brunch and then the girls were able to play with their new goodies for a few hours while I attempted to get my house back in order. In the afternoon we went to my brother’s house.

My girls and my brother’s girls. Love them all so much!

And this is me and my brother – believe it or not I was a whole foot taller than him up until his junior year of high school….

And my four.

I am not one of those people who dreads the holiday season, quite the opposite actually. Every Christmas night, for as long as I can remember this Sesame Street Christmas song has popped into my head. Always a little bit sad to say goodbye to the magic and beauty of the holiday season.

Not like things are slowing down one bit, though! Leila’s birthday is at the end of January, so we are in planning mode for that. In February I have my cousin’s bachelorette weekend, and the very beginning of March holds Coco’s birthday, and my cousin’s wedding, which I am a bridesmaid in. I’m planning on sleeping a lot after that 😉

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! And I would love to know – what was your favorite gift you gave or received this year!

Boo-ing the neighbors

Last year we were “Boo’d” and had so much fun that we decided to “boo” our neighbors this year.  I got some cute boxes from Michael’s and filled them each with a mini pumpkin that I puffy-painted “Boo” on, some bubbles, tattoos, a granola bar, mini goldfish, a fake spider, fun dip (yum!) a few little candies and a certificate for a frosty at Wendy’s.  We “boo’d” three houses, on three different streets hoping to maximize the Halloween spirit!

Leila loved leaving goodies on the doorsteps:
We all had a lot of fun and will definitely keep up the tradition!

For a crazy cute free printable “Boo-ing” poem and sign, go here!  And while you’re there check out all of her other fabulous posts – one of my favorite blogs ever!

BOO!

Yummy dinners make yummy leftovers

Last night I made a *super* yummy dinner, if I do say so myself. Judging by my family’s reaction, I know they agreed. I made chicken cordon bleu burgers with fingerling potato oven fries. I made a handful of tiny burgers for Leila, and used a star-shaped cookie cutter yo make her buns. Every single time she took a bite she said “Mmmmmmmmmm!” SO delish! If you want the recipe to either, let me know and I’ll send you the link to my tastebook, which has all my recipes.

Anyways, just thought I’d share since I just had a delicious mini-chicken burger for lunch.

WHAT I EAT + CLEAN(ISH) EATING TIPS

It’s the number one question I get asked – WHAT DO YOU EAT?? Well my friends, I’ve been sick and stuck at home all week so I finally had time to write it all out. At this point in my life I am sticking to mostly whole foods, with one cheat day a week. I limit drinking to two days a week (it used to be the weekend, but now that I get together with girlfriends on Monday for The Bachelor it’s always Monday + one weekend day.) When I do drink, I try to stick to one glass. Usually wine, or a margarita on the rocks. I also still indulge in “fancy” coffee several times a week. At the beginning of my fitness journey, one year ago I completely cut going to coffee shops. Then I found that I was constantly substituting “low calorie” candy bars, or cookies, or anything sweet to replace what I really wanted – a fancy coffee. (Usually a nonfat iced caramel macchiato, or nonfat mocha. Not clean eating, I know.) Eventually I decided I would allow myself my coffees, but not the other crap and it works for me. (Side note: I know that nonfat milk is not actually very good for me, but I cannot stand the texture of whole milk. I might try to switch to 2%)

A typical breakfast for me is one or two egg muffins (HERE is a ton of recipes for egg muffins. I typically use the Southwestern egg beaters only because I don’t want all of the cholesterol of eggs, turkey breakfast sausage and salsa. I will write a separate post on my specific recipe soon.) I have my egg muffins about every other day, on the other days I usually a cup of yogurt, sometimes with granola mixed in. I prefer the Chobani or Oikos Greek yogurts.

A typical lunch for me is either a bunch of ground turkey and salsa over cauliflower rice, or leftovers from the night before. On Sundays I will make a batch of Jennie-O extra lean ground turkey, and season it with taco seasonings and eat it over the course of the week at lunchtime, sometimes as a snack. I like to eat it over cauliflower rice, with a bunch of salsa, and usually some black beans and  sprinkling of cheese too. If I don’t have my ground turkey lunch I will have leftovers from the night before. This lunch was a leftover paleo almond crusted chicken filet (sold at the Whole Foods butcher counter) and some veggies. I like to keep a ton of steamed veggies in my fridge for quick and easy lunches.

A typical dinner is something like this. A protein, veggies, a starch (or complex carb) and some legumes. This was Taco Tuesday (minus the taco for me!) The protein was al pastor, the veggies were bell peppers and onions, the starch, corn and the legumes refried black beans. With a sprinkling of cheese on top, because I’m human and cheese is delicious.  This ended up being my lunch the next day too, but over lettuce, and with a bunch of salsa on top. (Salsa is something I always have. It’s healthy and full of flavor!)

Clean(ish) eating tips that have worked for me:

  1. Buy smaller plates. Our everyday dishes are Fiestaware, and the dinner plates we have are MASSIVE. The other plates are inky dinky. I am not a Walmart shopper, but when I saw the Pioneer Woman had a new line there I made a special trip and bought a dozen of her salad plates. They are the perfect size! I can fill up my plate, and if I’m hungry go back for seconds. It’s all such a mental game. When I was eating my smaller portions on my massive Fiestaware dinner plates I always felt like I was missing out.
  2. Snack throughout the day, but snack wisely. At Trader Joe’s they have individually portioned out trail mix, which is awesome. I always keep a bag of those, and an Oh Yeah nutrition bar in my purse at all times for on the go snacking. Those bars are awesome, and taste like a candy bar. My favorite are the Mint Chip and Coconut Almond. I buy mine at Nutrishop Dublin, bu if you’re not local you can buy them HERE with free shipping. Truly the best nutrition bar I’ve ever had! I also sometimes snack on extra sharp cheddar (just a tiny bit, but it’s really satisfying.) I also love carrot sticks or bell pepper sticks with hummus.
  3. Drink a TON of water. If you feel like you can float away, that’s a good thing 😉
  4. Focus on whole foods, not diet foods.
  5. “Front-load your carbs” I remember reading this in a magazine years ago, and it stuck in my head. The idea is that you eat the majority of your carbs at breakfast, because you have the most opportunity to burn them off throughout the day (especially if you work out first thing, like I do.) Have less carbs at lunch time and snack times, and even less at dinnertime. (I don’t know about you, but after dinner I get Coco bathed, kitchen cleaned up, girls to bed, and then I veg out and plant in front of the tv or a book. I’m not burning anymore calories, so I really don’t need to be eating anything that’s going to turn to fat because I’m not using it!)
  6. Un-follow your favorite pinners food boards on Pinterest. I went through and individually un-followed all of the delicious, decadent-looking food boards that I was following on Pinterest. Pinterest is one of my favorite late night pastimes, and looking at all sorts of delicious recipes was not helping me at all. I instead only follow healthy food boards. This might sound silly, but honestly it’s helped me.
  7. Embrace leftovers. I eat leftovers all the time. They make great lunches, and it’s cost-effective too. I tend to buy mostly organic (especially with the meats) and I feel better when a meal makes some leftovers.
  8. Don’t be a short-order cook, but don’t make your family feel deprived. I never cook two meals.

    There have been plenty of times my girls didn’t like dinner, but they have two options: take it or leave it. There have been fights and tears, but my kids aren’t starving by any means, and eating a bit more diversely has opened their horizons and expanded their taste buds. But I try not to make things I know they won’t like, and I try to make sure there are still some of their old favorites available too. For example on taco night I definitely had taco shells and rice made and available for Tony and the girls. Just because I don’t want it (well, I do but…) doesn’t mean they can’t.

  9. Advocare recipes are awesome. I don’t follow the Advocare plan or take any of their supplements, but a lot of their recipes are fantastic and stay right in line with how I try to eat. The Jenny Collier Blog has some great recipes available HERE.
OK -those are my best tips, and breakdown of what I typically eat. I will try to add more over time.