life in an instagram.

There are lots of new & exciting changes in the works for Aaron and I which has kept me away from blogging for a bit.

In a nutshell: Aaron and I will be relocating to Chicago at the end of August.

This means that we have been trying to check as much as we can off of our “LA to-do” list while also making sure we visit our favorite spots in LA one last time. I thought a nice way to catch everyone up on our crazy last few months was to post some instagram shots… some of which date back to April!

here is what we have been up to:

ec1d1c62d1ee11e2b07922000a1fbd9b_7[at Kimberly & Guy’s beautiful wedding at The Bel Air Hotel in April]

35217a36d53511e2902222000a1fa52b_7[Zig, my brother and I spent several days lounging around Laguna Beach]

562546fed9fe11e2b57222000a9e07e9_7[my summer has been filled with LOTS of yoga & pilates]

db86e7d2d60f11e28ea222000a9f1946_7[Aaron’s parents came to visit the weekend before Aaron’s 30th birthday, we lived liked kings by staying in The Beverly Hilton Penthouse, eating at The Bazaar, and drinking some fantastic wine]

6e3a0e02d6eb11e2914322000a1f984e_7[even Ziggy approved of the Penthouse]

b0a1f752d61211e2a52422000aaa0a0f_7

0bfe9910d63c11e29a8222000a1f8ccf_7[one of my most-favorite things at The Bazaar- the Caviar Cones]

3be894aed86311e2a64f22000a1f968e_7[Aaron’s actual birthday was gorgeous, so we went for a hike north of Malibu and then took in the beautiful Pacific Ocean on our drive back home]

edf6fb32d86211e2b4e822000a9f130c_7

8360ddc0d88e11e282c522000a1fa433_7[Aaron’s birthday dinner at Gjelina. It was incredible.]

63dd59d0dc7911e2938922000ae8007c_7[the weekend after Aaron’s birthday my parents surprised him with a sailing adventure]

aeb5c640dc7911e2a2fe22000a1f8ce3_7

ee1d4bb4dc7911e2b60722000a9f09f0_7[he loved it]

ed7fb208dc8011e28e8222000aa82017_7[Justin Wine & Sweet Lady Jane cake for the birthday boy]

df7af9b8d1dd11e29efd22000a1f9a07_7

c8d68dd2e19411e280ce22000a9e05dd_7[I ended my running hiatus with a fun & blazing-hot 5k in Pasadena]

5e0a066ae65211e2b7e922000aaa0a96_7[Ziggy and I headed to Mobile, AL for a week of R&R]

9bebaaa8ec8611e28a8922000a1faffc_7[….and he took full advantage]

85d64f64ece711e2b96122000aa802d9_7[I returned to LA from AL (without Ziggy) and Aaron and I celebrated our new adventures with a great meal at Sotto and great bottle of wine]

1a216facf0d811e2a52322000a9e02f9_7[then we did it again at Fig & Olive]

468c8d98ed5311e2997822000a1fd57c_7[then the packing & organizing process started]

1d8c5608f23a11e282b622000ae912ed_7[lots of coffee has been consumed]

318fc42ef34711e28d7d22000a1f981a_7[we enjoyed one Monday night on our friend’s rooftop in Angelino Heights with more great wine]

5dac12b0f34711e2900e22000a1f96c7_7

42e9c34af7c611e2a13a22000aaa05ca_7[Aaron’s parents came to visit us in LA one last time before we head out and we were able to go see the Endeavor Shuttle and check another thing off of our “LA to do” list]

76db257adffe11e28b6c22000a1f8db8_7[and now we are putting all things moving related on hold so that we can focus on prepping for our 3 week adventure in France that begins on August 1st]

Au revoir!

recipe: gazpacho & cheese toast.

Its been quite hot here in LA. While most people think that LA temps hover around 72 degrees year round.. that’s not the case in the summer months! We have been hitting some pretty high temperatures which makes for a warm home (we do not have air conditioning or proper insulation). This poses a bit of an issue with cooking or baking because turning the oven on is the last thing you want to do when your house is already blazing hot. This time of year is when I start relying on crock pot recipes and recipes for foods with minimal cooking.

Yesterday was warm (although not nearly as hot at the weekend and days prior) and I wasnt really in the mood to do much cooking that involved being over the hot stove or turning on the oven for too long.

For some reason I started craving gazpacho. That cold, tomato goodness sounded perfect for a hot evening.
Aaron isnt big on cold meals… so I wanted to make sure there was at least one element to dinner that was warm and “cooked” for him.

The end result was fantastic (and easy!) gazpacho with cheese & herbed toast:

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Not only did the gazpacho turn out delicious, but it was SO easy to make and ended up making enough for either 2 dinners or a dinner and 2 lunches. I love that!

Gazpacho
(recipe slightly adapted from MattBites.com)

3 large heirloom tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1 large green bell pepper
2 tbls red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste

1. chop up the tomatoes, cucumber and bell pepper into small pieces (it doesnt have to be perfect!) and throw them into your Vitamix blender (this is the model we have, and love). Add the peeled garlic cloves (they can be whole) and red wine vinegar to the blender and blend until the mixture becomes a smooth liquid.

2. once blended, taste the mixture. Add more red wine vinegar if needed.

3. add the olive oil and salt (depending on how much it needs) and blend again until smooth.

4. taste one final time, and add salt/vinegar if needed.

5. pour mixture into bowl, pitcher, individual Weck jars (as I did), or even Mason Jars. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

6. remove from refrigerator and serve. optional: top with diced avocado, sliced heirloom cherry tomatoes, pinch of flaky sea salt, etc. Enjoy!

IMG_3314just look at all of those beautiful summer colors!

For the cheese toast– smear a slice of ciabatta or sourdough with a butter-olive oil-herbs of choice mixture (we used cumin, oregano, pepper) and top with muenster cheese. bake until warm/melted and then broil until the cheese bubbles.

packing a lunch.

My blogging hiatus is finally over!
I blame my Spring semester (Biology and Chemistry) and being all-around busier than normal the past few months.

Even though my semester is over and I am in full SUMMER BREAK mode, I thought I’d share my food prep for my long days on campus. On Monday’s and Wednesday’s I would arrive at 7:45am and wouldnt leave campus until around 4pm. Considering I dont eat from the school cafeteria (unhealthy! eww!) I would prep a full days worth of food to keep me from getting hangry (hungry+angry) while I was on campus and then while I fought traffic on the way home at the end of the long day.

My breakfast was usually one of 2 things:
1. An Arbonne protein shake, or
2. a jar of refrigerator oatmeal

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My lunch was usually a Chickpea-of-the-Sea sandwich or some quinoa with tomatoes & avocado topped with Bragg’s Healthy Vinaigrette; a bag of Smart Puffs, some freeze-dried fruit, and a small bar of organic chocolate.

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I would also pack snacks for throughout the day. Things like: a banana, a Kind bar, organic baby carrots, and ginger chews.

IMG_2866Its a common misconception that packing your own lunch is hard and time consuming. Yes, it IS time consuming… but after a time or two of doing it you learn the tricks and you learn what works best for you.

For example, for my lunch I have learned:
1. That I need a good sized, insulated lunch box. My favorite one is this one from the Neiman Marcus + Target collection (also available here).  Aaron’s mom gave it to me for Christmas last year and I absolutely love it. Its a great size and the insulation works very well to keep things chilled until you need them. I also really like this one from reuseit.com (its great if you have smoothies or bottles of kombucha that need to stand upright).

2. That I need a variety of small glass jars and containers. I love using mason jars (both the tiny ones and the pint sized ones), but I also keep a few of these and these on hand; they are great for keeping oils/dressings from leaking all over your lunch bag.

3. Reusable napkins (these are my absolute favorite) & silverware (I use a set like this or these) are a must.

4. Reusable & nontoxic ice packs are essential.

5. It also helps to buy lunch items in bulk. For instance, at my local Whole Foods I can buy a 6pk bag of the Smart Puffs and a 6pk bag of the freeze-dried apples. I also purchase a whole box of Kind bars at a time. Having items on hand makes prepping my lunch even easier. If you dont have a Whole Foods nearby, Amazon.com is another great resource for purchasing things in bulk.

6. and last but not least: prep your lunch (or at least the majority of it) the night before. Have the containers stacked up on the top shelf of the refrigerator waiting for you and have your lunch bag with napkin and cutlery sitting on the counter or dining room table just waiting for the chilled items & ice packs to be put in it the next morning. If you prep ahead of time, the morning of will be a breeze. And trust me, you will thank yourself for the extra effort when you’re eating a yummy homemade lunch while your coworkers or classmates are eating nasty & chemical ridden food from the cafeteria or a nearby fast-food place.

Spring Break 2013.

In hindsight, I should have done a lot less “having fun” and “relaxing” and “spring cleaning” and a lot MORE  “studying” and “prepping for midterms” over my Spring Break…… but alas, I cant turn back time and change that.

The good news is, I had a great, fun, and productive week anyway (regardless of what my midterm grades were).

Here’s a peek into my Spring Break thanks to Instagram:

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coffee. lots and lots of coffee.

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baking. lots of baking.

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I tried out FoodBabe’s Decadent Pound Cake with Chocolate Frosting… which is now a new favorite in our household.

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spent two different days in Laguna Beach with my brother. It truly is a peaceful and fabulous place.

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Laguna Coffee Co = amazing.

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Ziggy loves the beach.. and the City of Laguna Beach is extremely dog friendly.

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I spent a little time day-dreaming of a beautiful home on the beach.

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love brother & sister days of fun.

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checked out the new Stone Company Store in Oceanside… fantastic dog friendly patio!

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and made lots of yummy & healthy breakfasts since I wasnt have to dart out of the house to get to class.

Orange Coast Magazine.

My dear friend, Melissa Valladares, is an amazing photographer. She was asked to take some photos for Orange Coast Magazine for an article they were doing in the April 2013 issue about dog-friendly restaurants in Orange County. Knowing that Aaron and I are always on the hunt for dog-friendly places that have good food and allow you to enjoy a beer or glass of wine on the patio… AND since we have an adorable dog who loves to be the center of attention…she asked if we could come along with her on her photo shoot.

We had a great time trying out some new places to eat, spending some much-needed quality time with Melissa and (her now fiance!) Vinnie; AND, our little Ziggy had his very first magazine debut:

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You can check out this article, the adorable picture of Ziggy, and other articles involving restaurants in Orange County in the the April issue of Orange Coast Magazine:

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Here are a few other photos Melissa snapped that day:

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*Photos are the property of Melissa Valladares Photography
*Magazine Cover is the property of Orange Coast Magazine

help create a new standard for our country’s food.

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Please join Vani Hari (from Food Babe), Lisa Leake (from 100 Days of Real Food), myself, and thousands of others in the fight for eliminating dangerous chemicals, additives, and food dyes from our food.

Sign this petition on Change.org to get the message out to Kraft Foods (and many others) that we, as a nation, don’t want to consume these dangerous (and deceptively hidden) ingredients! Especially since these same companies send out additive & chemical FREE versions of these foods to other countries who have already voiced their concerns over these ingredients and have successfully banned their use.

For more information on this issue please read Food Babe & 100 Days of Real Food’s informative article:
How Food Companies Exploit Americans With Ingredients Banned in Other Countries

 

Are you as passionate about this as I am? Then…
Get involved.
Sign the petition.
Help create a new standard for our country’s food.

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a birthday weekend.

so, this post is nearly a month late. oops.
I blame it on Spring semester starting and Aaron being on hiatus. ha

February is a busy birthday month. Not only is it my birthday (on the 9th), its my Dad’s birthday and my former roommate Ashley’s birthday (both on the 21st) and my Mom’s birthday is the 29th (leap year) however, since 2013 isnt a leap year, she celebrated on the 28th.

Luckily my birthday fell on a Saturday this year. Which meant I was able to have a day full of fun actually ON my birthday; instead of a day or two after.

my day started with a delicious cup of coffee & snuggling Ziggy while I shopped for shoes on my iPad.

my day started with a delicious cup of coffee & snuggling Ziggy while I shopped for shoes on my iPad.

for breakfast, Aaron made baked eggs and toast (with my homemade ciabatta) topped with Aaron's grandmother's homemade jam.

for breakfast, Aaron made baked eggs and toast (with my homemade ciabatta) topped with his grandmother’s homemade jam.

I was super excited about my birthday outfit (a custom made tutu!) but I had to send this photo so several friends, my mom and Aaron's mom to help me pick out which shoes to wear.

I was super excited about my birthday outfit (complete with a custom made tutu!) but I had to send this photo to several friends, my mom and Aaron’s mom to help me pick out which shoes to wear.

Aaron and I took a walk over to The Grove to grab a birthday donut from Bob’s Donuts (the donuts we had at our wedding in lieu of cake), we walked back home and then Aaron drove me to my appointment at the DryBar on Montana Ave. After my hair appointment, we ran a few more errands and then came back home so that we could shower and I could start the process of getting ready.

We had dinner reservations at Roof on Wilshire which is a restaurant and bar on the rooftop of the Hotel Wilshire. We became fans of chef Eric Greenspan’s after going to The Foundry; so when we found out he was behind the menu of Roof on Wilshire we knew we wanted to check it out. As it turns out, the Roof on Wilshire ended up being the perfect space for a birthday gathering as well. So it all worked out nicely.

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invites via Paperless Post.

cocktails by the fire pit.

cocktails by the fire pit.

I went with the pink shoes.

I went with the pink shoes.

Dinner was lovely (I love that any menu associated with Eric Greenspan contains a grilled cheese!) and I am so grateful that so many of my friends were able to come share a cocktail with me on my birthday. The weather was a little chilly to be hanging out on a rooftop, but thanks to a few heaters and the fire pit I completely forgot that it was cold. While the Roof on Wilshire’s cocktails were a little pricey; they were tasty and everyone seemed to have a good time. It was nice having friends from several different parts of my life (yoga, school, my former career as a costumer, my former roommate, etc) all come together and have a fun evening.

Thanks to everyone that helped make my birthday so special!

Here’s to a great last year in my 20’s.
and, who knows how I will celebrate the big 3-0 next year….

YogaWorks 300hr Professional Program Final Project

When I found out that we had to do a final project for the YogaWorks 300hr Professional Program I, of course, gravitated towards something food related. I remember being pretty fascinated with how my mentor Joan Hyman ate during our 200hr Teacher Training last year so I thought: “hmm, I wonder what other Los Angeles based yoga instructors eat?”

I ended up “interviewing” a handful of YogaWorks senior teachers asking them 7 questions:
#1. Do you follow any type of “diet” or “eating lifestyle” such as vegetarian, vegan,  raw, Ayurveda, etc? If so, do you care to share your thoughts on how this improves your over-all health and practice?

#2. What is your go-to meal or snack that you feel fuels your body before a yoga class? Or do you practice in the morning before eating anything at all?

#3. What is your favorite post-yoga meal or snack?

#4. If you go out to eat in Los Angeles, where do you like to go? Is there any specific reason you choose this particular establishment?

#5. Is there one food item that you feel you cannot live without?

#6. I’m asking everyone to share one of your favorite recipes. It can be breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, or even dessert; it can be simple or complex. Whatever you love to cook at home that you feel is a good representation of your preferred way of eating and contributes to your overall health and yoga practice.

#7. Do you have any tips or suggestions regarding food, health, and how you feel this relates to yoga?

 
I compiled the answers and organized them in a little pamphlet-type-book titled food & yoga and I am really happy with how it turned out! I love how similar these teachers answers are and I also love that I agree with so much of what they had to say.

I presented this to my 300hr TT group as well as my mentor this past weekend and I wanted to share it with you:

f&y cover

f&y pg2f&y pg3f&y pg4f&y pg5f&y pg6f&y pg7food&yoga pg8

A special thanks to Joan Hyman, Carmen Fitzgibbon, Anne Van Valkenburg, Kia Miller, Lisa Walford, and Jennifer Elliott for their contribution to this project!

ted talk tuesday: why i’m a weekday vegetarian

I try not to push any sort of agenda in terms of a particular diet or eating lifestyle because I feel that each person needs to find their own way and discover what works for them. However, there is incredible data available that shows how reducing your meat intake can not only improve your overall health, but can really impact the planet in a positive way as well.

The “Meatless Monday’s” movement has been gaining in popularity (and was even endorsed by our Los Angeles mayor recently); but I also like Graham Hill’s idea too, especially if you arent ready to make the jump to being a full-time vegetarian:

ted talk tuesday: how to cut an onion

This is a great TED Talk for yogis & foodies alike. The speaker takes two subjects: food & yoga/meditation [both of which are extremely important to me] and merges them together to show how they relate and can aid one another.

and, at the end, she teaches us how to properly cut an onion. Enjoy!