Archive | June, 2013

White Haute

28 Jun

I love me a white dress…and I’m not talking about weddings.

I’m talking about the Little White Dress. The LBD is a timeless closet staple and sexy in it’s own right, but I must admit I’ve always felt just a little more feminine when I’m rocking something short and white-hot.

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 My dress available here.

Plus,  nothing shows off your hard work at the gym all spring (think killer shoulders and toned biceps) or a well deserved organic spray tan like a bright-white mini dress.

The LWD is a major summer must-have this year and I’ve already started stocking up! They look fabby with everything – nude platforms,  metallic sandals, even high tops.

Just call me P-Diddy. I do love a good white party.

Here are a couple of my favies right now – I can’t decide which to order next.

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ASOS Mini Bandeau Sundress $23.67 (Click Image for Details)

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TIARE HAWAII Sand Dollar Dress $90.00

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NIghtcap Rivierra $319.00 (I’ve been wanting this dress for weeks. Must. Purchase)

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Talulah I lLove to Kiss Dress $206.00

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ASOS Sundress with Cutout Back $37.33

Unfortunately, my LWD is still on a hanger ’cause here is the view out my window this June evening:

sunset fog

Not sure about all that late afternoon fog. Not exactly seasonal, even for June Gloom.

Hoping the view out my window will look much more like this  tomorrow night so I can wear something short white and adorable to dinner at Besos with the hubs.

sunset sun

Ciao,

M

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Weekday Pasta

26 Jun

I’m the first to admit that I have a bit of a love affair with Italian food (Who doesn’t? It’s amazeballs). I  can’t think of many foods more more comforting than a big, steaming hot bowl of noodles covered in whatever does it for you. As long as the sauce is made of high quality ingredients I’m in like Flynn.

Last year I took my 3rd trip to Italy and as per the first 2 visits, I found myself in what I like to call Fat Kid Heaven. The hubs and I tried to walk a line – we didn’t want to pig out the entire time we were there but we didn’t want to miss out on the local experience – and food is very much a part of that. Luckily the Italians don’t eat quite like you might imagine. Light chicken and fish dinners, fresh crunchy salads, sweet ripe tomatoes, and white beans simmered in sage were absolutely delicious and straight from farm to table. That didn’t mean we didn’t try a handful of pastas, Italian meats (gasp!),  bread (double gasp!),  panne cottas and Mozarellas. Oh, we did, and we tried them all. We didn’t feel the least bit guilty because most of our meals were fresh, lean, we were walking ungodly distances each day. When we ordered a pasta we’d split it between the two of us and eat it along with a salad.

Spring peas with flash fried basil and tomato linguine ordered in one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever been to (Bucca Mario), in Florence last summer. Not an excellent photo but it was absolutely delish.   italy1

Mostly we split things like caprese salads, chicken, and other fresh stuff. italy2

But when in Rome  Florence, you gotta try things like this at least a handful of times. Worth every calorie.  italy3 italy4

I don’t eat a ton of meat, and  very rarely do I eat processed meat, but apparently when I do I look just thoroughly delighted about it.

The bottom line is A. I’m cheesy, and B. pasta totally rocks and I whole-hardheartedly encourage indulging in it every once in a while. But yeah….noodles are pretty caloric and starchy to eat on the regular. I’ll spare you the tales of pasta woe (plus you’re reading a health blog – I’m confident that Mr Atkins already  burned “Pasta is baaaad, mmmkay?”  into each of your brains in the early 2000’s. Ya know, before he died of a heart attack or whatever).  But look, here’s the bright side! There are some solid options when it comes to keeping Italian both a low calorie and  nutritionally dense meal – and I swear on my food-loving life that some of them are just as good. I call them my Weekday Pastas.  Here are 3 of my favorites:

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash is the OG pasta alternative. When I was 20 and on some silly low carb diet, I used to get bored of eating huge sausages dipped in mustard for dinner with a side of sugar free Jello. In my frustration I stumbled upon spaghetti squash combing the discussion boards for “Atkins friendly,” I’m sure.  While I certainly eat carbs today, this is an easy swap out from white flour pasta. It’s easy to make and has nutritional value, as well as  a perfect vehicle for sauces and proteins.

To cook, just get in there and cut it in half (lengthwise) and scrape out the seeds and pulp. Bake rind side up for 30-40 minutes at 375, or microwave for about 6-8 minutes. Let it stand for a few minutes or you will burn yourself, and then scrape the flesh (ew) with a fork, creating long spaghetti-like strands.

Before 

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After. Pretty !  

Spaghetti Squash

Shirtaki/Yam Noodles

Shiritaki is pretty awesome in that it has around 40 calories a bag. For those of you concerned with processed soy (I am one of those someones), there is a yam noodle version of this as well. The secret to these guys is to rinse the crap out of them. Put them in a colander and rinse away until the smell is gone. You’ll know what smell I’m talking about, but don’t be deterred by it. These puppies are totally versatile and SO, so easy. Just heat however you like, add your toppings, and serve. You won’t miss the real deal. Promise.

They come in this nasty little bag. I buy mine at Whole Foods or the Japanese market.

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But rise, cook, and pair with your faves.  Shiritaki noodles are totally versatile. Don’t be tricked by their Asianness, these guys go just as well with homemade tomato sauce and turkey meatballs as they do with ramen and green onion. 

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Zucchini Ribbon “Pasta” 

I’m especially excited about this because it’s summer now and zucchini is in season. I get a little cray when it comes to summer foods and zucchini is definitely one of my favorites! I also like this because unlike the Shiritaki noods, it packs a nutrient punch on its own. I love doing this one simply with just olive oil, lemon, white beans, fresh Parmesan and some red pepper flakes.

To make just slice off ends of zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Slice it lengthwise with a mandoline, into very thin (about 1/8-inch) slices, trying to keep some skin on each piece for color. . Reserve zucchini ribbons in a large bowl. Boil in water or vegetable broth for about 3 minutes, or steam until you’re happy the texture.
Your zucs should look like this before cooking. They kind of look like small snakes in this photo.
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And this afterward. 

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I promise you, the next time you’re craving something noodle-y but it’s not a special occasion or you just don’t want the pasta, try swapping these bad boys out in it’s place. You won’t think you’re missing a thing and your skinny jeans will thank you.

Ciao bellas!

XOXO

M

Cookie Monster

25 Jun

One of my super-healthy besties recently intro’d me to this delishy treat. We were drinking wine and watching Bravo at her apartment one PMS-y evening and I demanded she share the Halloween candy I know she keeps in her pantry for such occasions. She quietly got up, disappeared into the kitchen, and emerged with a plate of warm cookies shortly thereafter. Only they weren’t “real” cookies at all.

Have I told you that I love you lately, Erin? I’ll take 3.

1 super ripe banana

1/2 cup oats

A good shake of cinnamon, and whatever else you want to add. (Tonight I added walnuts and blueberries dark chocolate chips because I had them on hand, but I want to try lots of yummy things – like cacao nibs and dried cherries, or chia seeds and almond butter)

Smoosh the crap out of it, stir it up, fashion cookie shapes from the “dough” and bake for about 15 minutes at 350.

Voila.

And you’re welcome. (I’ll tell Erin you thanked her)

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Workout Pant Roundup

25 Jun

Yeehaw! I have too many workout pants! But I keep buying more! It’s an addition! What’s with the exclamation points?!

Sorry. I’m done with that.

Anyhow, yes. I’m slightly obsessed with workout pants. They’re just so much more stretchy than regular pants. It’s gotten to where they have begun to outnumber my real pants, like jeans.  And work pants. Oh, the life of a fitness enthusiast.

Recently, a friend (who also happens to be the person who politely pointed out that I do in fact own more Wunder Unders than J Brands) asked which were my favorite.

Oh my.

That’s like asking about a favorite child. Not that I have kids,  but my mom says that no parent really has a favorite. She insists that we are each her favorite for different reasons. She can say what she wants, but I’m pretty sure I’m her favorite…I digress.

Anyway this got me thinking, so without further adieu, I present to you…

THE WORKOUT PANT ROUNDUP!

Pant #1: The Lululemon Wunder Under.

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Price: $72-$92

Ahhh, the good old Wunder Under. I suppose it’s fitting that I begin here because the WU is my staple and go to pant for my workouts. I’ve been told more than one that I need to seek Wunder Under counseling, but I will try not to be biased in my review.

The Good: Both the crop and long WU are a perfect length (in my humble opinion), and they come out in fun new colors and prints every month. The compression is awesome –  I really believe that this is possibly the most flattering workout pant out there. At least for me. Additionally, I feel comfortable wearing some of them with a pretty sandal or boot as daywear- but again, maybe that’s just me.

The Bad: Having to go up a size from what I normally wear can be a bit hard on the ego if I shop during the wrong time of the month. Also, the black ones (my staple of all staples) tend to get a little ratty over time, but A. maybe that’s because I wear the $hit out of them, and B. still, they truly do last no less than 8 months before that begins to happen. Another complaint of mine is the Big Lululemon Issue – the sheerness. In the past, none of them, not even the colored ones, were sheer. At all. Sadly, I can’t wear my colored pants to Lagree Fitness or Yoga (not that I go to Yoga very often), because I just think it’s not nice to make my trainers look at my ass that closely. I know, thoughtful.  So that kind of sucks.

Pant #2 – The Beyond Yoga Essential Gathered Legging

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Price: $75-$82

I wasn’t totally sold on Beyond Yoga for absolutely no particular reason, until a friend ordered a pair and told me that she looooooved them. So I bought a pair on sale, and wow. Beyond Yoga pants, where have you been all my life?!

The Good: These are hands down the softest, most comfortable pants I have ever worn. I feel like I’m wearing PJ’s, but I’m totally not. I find myself coming home and putting them on more often than I’d like to admit, and even in the color I own (which is the Bordeaux), there’s no hint of sheerness whatsoever. Downward dog for everyone!

The Bad: The compression doesn’t quote compare to the Wunderunders, but it’s not a dealbreaker by any means. They do tend to slip a little bit when I wear them running, but stay put for Lagree Fitness, spin, etc. Unfortunately, the amazing softness of the fabric means that they ball up a little bit and don’t stay as new looking quite as long as say the Wunder Under,

Pant #3: The Michi Illusion Crop

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Price: $189

This is one sexy article of clothing. If you’re the type who wants to sex it up when you workout, this be your pant. In the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t actually own these. I haven’t (yet) been able to justify spending the nearly $200 it would take to get them in my workout drawer(s). However, I keep trying them on at Equinox, over and over again. One day I will grow the balls to just do it.

The Good: Look at these babies. They’re h-o-t. They’re as lingere-esque as pants get, which in my opinion is a great thing: there is nothing absolutely wrong with feeling sexay while you’re sweating away. They also seem well made and have decent compression…although I believe that most wearers of this pant aren’t overly concerned about compression.

The Bad: Again. The price tag. My jeans don’t cost this much. (Ok, I buy half my jeans from Old Navy. Shhh.) But $189 is steep, even for someone who is excellent at validating large clothing expenditures from a cost-per wear standpoint. Also, while there are no sheerness issues, my friend who owns multiple pairs claims that the fabric tends to ball up a little bit, and the mesh is a bit high risk for a klutzy someone like myself who tends to…snag…a lot.

Pant #4: The Lorna Jane Ida Core Compression Tight

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Price: $99

When Lorna Jane first came on the scene in the USA, I was pretty excited and have remained a fan. Not only was their second US location a quarter mile from my house, they have proven to be big believers in bright colors and high quality. I know a lot of my Lulu-loving compadres took a stand against this new competitor, but I’m a lover and a believer that there is room for everyone.This is one of their staple “tights” (leggings), basic but functional.

The Good: I like this pant a lot. The fabric is a great quality – its withstood many washes without balling and there is virtually no sheerness. It’s comfy, stays put, is a perfect length (again, for me), and is all around a great pant.

The Bad: It’s a little more expensive than some of it’s competitors, but the quality is really there. The fabric is a little heavier than some of the others, so they can get a little bit warm, but I’m grasping here. Overall, I’m a fan of the appearance & quality.

Pant #5: The Ellie Lovestruck Legging

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Price: $59

These guys surprised me! When Ellie first came out I wasn’t sure what to think. The prices seemed right, but I ‘d read a lot of mixed reviews. I saw these online and loved the way they looked – but would they be cute in person? After a shipping mishap, they finally showed up on my doorstep. I tried them on with bated breath and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I loved them. Like loved them. (Sadly, I ordered a different pair of pants -the Electric Love capri-  from Ellie after this fully expecting another awesome pair of pants. They were also late getting to me and I didn’t like the fabric or the way they looked on me and back they went. Bummer.) But this pair was a keeper.

The Good: The fabric is awesome. Really cool and different than anything I’ve tried on elsewhere – it almost has a sheen to it. I also love the cool mesh panel down the sides. No sheerness. They stay put. And the length is the holy grail of workout pant lengths: just above the ankle. This alone was enough to really make me happy, but the fact that the waistband doesn’t cut in at all and lays smoothly is the icing on the cake. Oh, did I mention I got a 25% off coupon code? I guess that’s the ice cream, on the icing of the cake (who eats a cake without icing, anyway? Or without ice cream for that matter? Meh, not me. If you’re gonna do it…DO it).

The Bad: Really, for me it all comes down to the fact that these are only available online. Not only am I quite the fan of instant gratification, but I also hate waiting, and I really hate having to ship stuff back. Also, these ran a little big. I ordered the smalls and could have easily gone down a size, but was just too lazy to send them back. I guess you could say that clothes running big (as opposed to small) is a good thing, but not when you’re just too lazy to send them back and wait for new ones. Too anti-climatic.

So there you have it. My workout pant roundup (cue Western movie music).  The bottom line is, you’ve got more to choose from than just Nike these days, and there are some excellent options out there. Do I have a favorite? I do, and I guess I take after my mama, cause I love them all.

Rumi Quote

19 Jun

I like quotes, but I’m not necessarily a Quote Person. You know who you are: You post photoshopped quote after quote on your Twitter and Facebook. You upload motivational quips to Pinterest and Tumblr. And sometimes I make fun of you or roll my eyes. But today I thank you, because  I stumbled across these this afternoon and they both made me smile.

Rumi

love is

A Healthy Dose of Fun: San Francisco with my Girls

19 Jun

I just got back from a weekend in Northern California visiting some of my best friends from college and had the pleasure of meeting their adorable wonderful babies for the first time. My girl Ash’s baby Parisa (Baby P)  just turned one, and Alicia’s lil muchkin Finley (Munch) is 4 months.  You might already be savvy to this information, but having babies changes things. Normally our Bay Area visits entail sake-laden sushi dinners, late nights out, and sleeping till noon followed hangover fueled brunches, but we spent a long weekend drinking great wine, eating cheese, laughing till our stomachs hurt (seriously…my abs are killing me still), gossiping, and squeezed in a little bit of workout time as well. It was divine and a hundred million times better than the old status quo.

At the risk of getting sappy, spending QT with my college friends is hugely fulfilling to me.  I’m very blessed in that I’ve had the opportunity to make a lot of very close friends from many walks of life but there is something about this particular group of girlfriends that is always just what the doctor ordered. Over the course of living together for 5 years, we never fought. Ever. I can literally count the number of arguments we had  one hand.  When I left for college at 18 I had no idea female relationships could be that way. I had good friends in high school but I was so turned off to the way girls fought and gossiped viciously that many of my friends were male – so when I met these girls my freshman year of college, my view on girlfriends changed drastically.

Circa 2003. One day around this time, Karie told us that her mom said that one day we’d look back at pictures of our frosty eyeshadow and wish we hadn’t worn it. We thought she was so rude. Doh! 

BFFs

And us in 2005 at Amy’s wedding.

GFs

It’s been 10+ years since we graduated and we’ve remained so important in each others lives. No matter what the physical distance  between us they’re always been the first people I call for major life events, everything wonderful and tragic.  Relationships are really an important part of overall health, never overlook that. I am beyond blessed to have these chicas!

Speaking of overall health, I would be remiss in not admitting that we let the normal habits slide  from the get go. Delayed flight=extra wine

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But we got right back on it.

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Getting ready for an easy 9 mile run around the Lafayette Reservoir

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Then we saw this. Understatement of the year left us gasping for breath and cutting 9 miles down to 6.

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Quick pit stop at the hippied-out Lululemon in Berkeley

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Lunch al fresco on a perfectly sunny San Francisco afternoon. Grilled chicken & peach salad, white wine, and oysters. Yummm.

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Miss Finley – this lil face just melts my heart.

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Lunch with my girlfriends and my new BFF, Baby P.

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Blue Points & bubbly in one of my favorite cities, San Francisco.

Fathers Day Dinner

18 Jun

My dad is the business. I’m not even joking here, he’s one of the coolest men I know. My dad was a top Hollywood agent for years and years, and left his way-cool life to start up one of the early successful Internet advertising companies in the 90’s. He literlly grew up in the Hollywood Hills (who can say that, really?), he’s run a dozen marathons, served as a Marine reserve, and was a regular guest at Gene Kelly’s house.  He  showed up to every football game I cheered at, every dance competition I partook in, and embarrassed the crap out of me by yelling at the top of his lungs at said events. And um…I am so freaking grateful. He told me that I could be anything I wanted to be (and I believed him – my career has changed at least 4 times now) and told me I was beautiful when I was a decidedly awkward pre-teen. He’s the other man in my life and I think he’s the bomb.com.  When he moved to Chicago 10 years ago to live with his wife, suffice it to say I was heartbroken. Happy for him, because my stepmother is Awesome with a capital A, but it still totally sucked.

Lucky for me, he was in town for fathers day this year, but unluckily for me I hadn’t realized it and had booked a trip to San Francisco that weekend.  I was back early Sunday afternoon, but my pops usually has plans with 100 different people when he’s in LA and I have to pencil myself into his schedule well in advance – so I assumed he’d be with one of my brothers for Fathers Day. Somehow I managed to luck out and snagged him to myself for dinner. Yipee!

Naturally, I was so excited because I love every minute I can get with him since he moved away and I never get to be with him on Fathers Day. I was also rather stressed out since my flight got in at 3:30pm.  Bob is a blue plate special kinda guy (he’s 74),  I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of time to cook, and I’m basically a perfectionist when it comes to entertaining.  Luckily, panic attack was averted and my wonderful husband assured me that the house was “extra clean” (this can mean many things, but he really meant it this time) So I just had time to swing by Whole Foods and grab some goodies.  I know he’s trying to lose a few L-B’s but he’s still a man and likes man-food, like steak and shrimp, so I knew I had to put a little spin on it. Here’s what I ended up with.

Shrimp lettuce wraps

Part of the Father’s Day spread

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Lime Marinated Shrimp lettuce wraps with peanuts, mung sprouts, and the works

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Grilled Peaches, Burrata, & Proscuitto on some yummy spicy arugula with a little balsamic reduction.

steak

I knew I wouldn’t have time to marinate a steak so I had to cheat here a little bit. Luckily Whole Foods makes an awesome ready-to-pickup flank steak. And no one was the wiser 😉

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Bottle of Coppola Pinot, compliments of Bob. Terrible pic.

We satisfied our sweet tooth (teeth?) with decaf coffee and the Smart Blondies I mentioned in an earlier post, and was pleased to find that another picky man just had to have seconds. I didn’t bother to tell him that the were good for him, either – I will just let that be my little secret!

I hope all of you had wonderful fathers days and enjoyed some time with your dads. I know I did.

XOXO

M

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