friday funnies

This will never fade out for me. Need this book.


pining for pinterest

Arts and crafts is my middle name. Well, it's actually Sky, but you get the picture. I love anything that involves a hot glue gun, paint, and some mod podge. There's something about making something from scratch that gives it a special feel. I would much rather spend a night in doing DIY's then going out for a wild night. Maybe that makes me a grandma, but I'm totally cool with that.

Later, my friend Tina and I are going to embark on a night of crafting. I'm excited to say the least. We don't know what DIY we will be getting into yet, but Pinterest is always flowing with inspiration. Here are some I would like to dabble in soon...

[Chalkboard mason jars]
[Peppermint candle]
[Sharpie-written plate]
[Cork coasters]
[Lemon poppy seed soap]
[Newspaper gift bags]


what i'm lovin' wednesay

1. Nike
I love my new pair of workout shoes. The Nike Free are so comfortable, breathable, and light, but still supportive. I love rewards!

2. Mom
My mom is my best friend. She's so supportive and loving, and I love the time we spend together. I took her up Camelback Mountain for her first time. We caught the sunrise,which was beautiful. She did awesome and made it all the way to the top! So proud of her.

3. Hair makeover
I do my hair myself, and recently got into trimming it myself too. I'm happy with the color refresh and cut!


anthropologie wish list

Anthropologie is like the whimsical cottage I never had, or probably will have. I love stepping in that store. It always smells cozy, if cozy could have a smell. I start with the clothes, make my way to intimates, and end up in house ware. I would decorate my whole house in their items, but Boyfriend probably doesn't want to be surrounded by shabby chic decor. Le sigh. I can still decorate myself in their clothes. So here is my wish list...


tuscan kale salad

[via Arizona Foothills]

Mom and I ate lunch at True Food Kitchen yesterday afternoon after our sunrise hike up Camelback Mountain. I got my usual Mediterranean chopped salad, and my mom got the kale salad. Their salads are deee-licious. Mom makes a pretty bomb kale salad, but she's always looking to improve it. She found the recipe for their kale salad here and is pretty excited to try it out, along with me.

Here is the recipe...

4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black (Lacinato, "dinosaur," cavolo nero) midribs removed
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
salt & pepper, to taste
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese (Rosselino variety if you can find it) or other flavorful grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread
  1. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
  2. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
  3. Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again.
  4. Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.



you ask, i answer pt. 2

Okay! Part two of the "you ask, i answer" series and you all want to know...

Q: What does your diet consist of?
A: I think the word "diet" is often linked to fads or quick fixes where all you eat is cabbage soup and drink water with lemon and cayenne pepper in it. Blech! I think we have to form our pretty little heads around the idea that "diet" is actually habitual and a lifestyle change. I wish there was a better words for it, but before I get lost in searching a thesaurus for a more suitable word, lets move on.

I thought I would show you show you what I have layin' around in the kitchen. I didn't run out to the grocery store, so I'm missing a couple items, but most of my staples are listed below...

  • Multi Grain Oats
  • Trader Joe's California Style Complete Protein Bread
  • Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch CLIF Bar
  • Trader Joe's Sweet, Savory & Tart Trek Mix
  • Quinoa (not pictured)

I love oatmeal. I eat it with berries and peanut butter. I mix it with protein powder and bananas to bake yummy 3-ingredient cookies. It's filling and it tastes so good. I like this particular oatmeal because it's really hearty and filled with all the good stuff.

I love this bread because it's low in calories, high in protein. It's made from berries and sprouted wheat. Sound weird? Yes, but it's yummy and a great alternative to white bread. I eat a slice with peanut butter, or use a slice for an open-faced sandwich to save myself some calories.

I've been obsessed with the Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch CLIF bars since I was a freshman in college. I think I used up all my Sun Dollars to buy one every morning in my dorm's grocery store, along with a Naked Juice. With 10 grams of protein and a delicious taste, it's a great post-workout treat or a snack when you're on the run.

I don't buy any other train mix besides this one. I will drive out of my way, past Fry's and Safeway, to get to Trader Joe's for this trail mix. It's that good. It's a little handful of heaven that has peanuts, cashews, almonds, golden raisins, cranberries, and sweet chips of the peanut butter, white chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate variety. I eat it as a snack and in my yogurt. Calories seem high at 150 for 1/4 cup, but it's filling and actually has a lot less than other trail mixes.

I never knew how to pronounce Quinoa, let alone what it was until I asked someone at the grocery store.  You say "Keen-wah" if you didn't know, and it's a whole grain and a seed. Identity crisis! It has really high protein content, which is perfect for vegetarians. I like it with chicken and sauteed veggies, or even plain with a bit of olive oil and seasoning.

  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries (not pictured) 
  • Apples
  • Lemon
  • Bananas (not pictured)

I am a berry fiend.  I ear them with everything. Yogurt, almond milk, oatmeal, salads. I pop 'em in my mouth when I need something sweet. They are my healthy substitute for dessert. High in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.

I love apples and peanut butter. It's one of my all-time favorite snacks. I think I buy them solely for that reason. It's a perfect combination of crisp sweetness and a nutty sweetness. High in fiber and vitamin C.

Lemons are great for salad dressing and in hot tea. They are also great as a detox tool. Squirt some in a glass of room-temperature water, and sip it on down.

Bananas are a great on-the-go snack. Peel and eat. They are also yummy in cereal, almond milk, yogurt, and oatmeal. I blend them up with my protein for shakes. They are an ingredient in my three-ingredient cookie. They replenish the body with vitamins and have lots of potassium.

  • Trader Joe's Steamed Lentils
  • Baby zucchini
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Kale (not pictured) 
  • Tomatoes (not pictured)

Lentils are delicious. Hot or cold. I like them over brown rice, with chicken and salsa, or over salads. These are easy to make when you just want a quick dinner. They've got loads of fiber and protein.

I sautee zucchini with spinach, tomatoes, and a little bit of olive oil and seasoning. It's great with chicken. I also grate it into long strands to make for a pasta substitute by simply sauteing it in olive oil and adding a tomato sauce. You still get the pasta experience, without all those carbs!

I'm avocado's biggest fan. They are so creamy and delicious. I just can't get enough. Yes, they have higher calories, but the fat is good for your heart. They are loaded with fiber, potassium, and vitamins. And after all that, I just remembered that avocado is a fruit. Whoops! Either way, I eat them sliced up on sandwiches, over salads, and by themselves.

Spinach and kale are great for salads, or sauteed with some other veggies, or in smoothies. They both vary in taste, but both are delicious. They are loaded with vitamins and health benefits. Look up some smoothie recipes on the web. I know it sounds a little nasty to mix spinach or kale with fruit, but trust me, it's good.

I use tomatoes a lot. In my sandwiches, on my salads, with chicken, in my zucchini pasta. They are good cold, or sauteed for a hot dish. I like their sweet taste when biting into a sandwich, and I love the juiciness they add to an Italian dish. They are loaded with antioxidants, and since they have a high water content they fill me up.

  •  Trader Joe's Cilanto Salad Dressing
  • Wholly Guacamole Spread
  • Trader Joe's Chunky Salsa
  • Trader Joe's Better'n Peanut Butter

This dressing is low in calorie and delicious over a southwest salad or chicken. It reminds me of my favorite dressing from El Encanto. Mmmm. It's tangy and sweet. With a cilantro base, and sprinkles of pepitas and peppers, it's truly a salad essential.

Look above to see why I love avocados so much. I use the spread for sandwiches and wraps. It's a great alternative to fatty mayo!

Salsa is my first love. I've been eating it since I was little with tortilla chips. It was my go-to after school snack. When I realized that tortilla chips weren't the best for me, I began using salsa on wraps, salads, and with chicken. This one is so good because it's not too spicy, but gives the chunky feel of pico de gallo.

What's better than peanut butter? Better'n Peanut Butter, of course. It has 40% less calories than regular peanut butter. It tastes just as good as the real thing, but I don't feel as guilty eating it with a spoon. With no refined sugars or preservatives, it's still a healthy dieter's choice.

  • Silk Almond Milk
  • Greek Lite Yogurt
  • Eggs
Okay, so Almond Milk isn't really a dairy product, but it's a great alternative. I haven't had regular milk in ages. I'm hooked on this stuff. With only 30 calories per cup, it's perfect for cereal, oatmeal, and by itself. With more vitamins and less calories than soy and rice milks, this is a great choice. It's also high in protein. I like the Original and Vanilla flavors. I have yet to try the chocolate kind!

I love the taste of Greek yogurt, but I don't love the high calorie content. So I was thrilled when I tried the Greek Lite Yogurt! It's got a lot less calories, but still tastes great. With almost double the protein of regular yogurts, and a lot less sugar, it's a healthy choice. I love it with my trail mix or with shredded wheat and fruit. Yum.

I mostly eat egg whites, but sometimes I will add a yolk or two in there because that's really where the nutrients are. I could by the egg whites in a carton, but boyfriend eats eggs too and I use them for baking him treats. I don't mind the extra step of using my egg separator. I love scrambled egg whites and egg white sandwiches. They're delicious and they have plenty of protein.

  • Trader Joe's Pomegranate White Tea
  • Traditional Medicinals Organic Roasted Dandelion Root Tea
  • Trader Joe's Organic Green Tea
  • Green Machine Naked Juice
I recently bid adieu to Starbucks and Dutch Bros. sugary coffee drinks, along with Red Bull. Le sigh. It's been a little hard because I was pretty hooked on my caffeine drinks, but I realized they were adding pudge with their empty calories. I even said goodbye to diet soda because I know my body isn't processing those fake sugars. I switched to tea! All three of these flavors are delicious. All with great antioxidants, the Pomegranate White Tea takes the cake in that department. The Green Tea suppresses my appetite, and the Dandelion Root Tea is a great detox.

I love the Green Machine Naked Juice. It's full of nutrients, and one cup really fills me up. Sure, it looks a little funky, but it's really yummy. With no sugar added, it's a healthier alternative to all those high-fructose juices out there.

So, there you have it. Those are the staples in my kitchen. They're mixed in with Boyfriend's cheese balls and frozen chicken nuggets, but they're there. It's important to have a kitchen that provides you with options. When I have a variety of interesting, healthy foods I'm less likely to nab the junky food in the house. Experiment with your groceries. Make it fun! I have a blast trying out new recipes in the kitchen. Some are failures, and some are masterpieces, but that's the fun of it. Eating healthy doesn't have to be boring.

Oh, and I eat chicken, lean turkey, and fish too. It's just one of those meatless weeks! I like to keep my body guessing :)


thanksgiving memory

I spent my Thanksgiving with Boyfriend, my family, and Boyfriend's family up at my mom's house. It was so special for our families to come together and celebrate the holidays. It was even more special because my adorable nephew was in town with my sister and brother-in-law. There were tons of laughs, long conversations, and delicious grub.

My mom and sister decorated the table so beautifully with sunflowers, wooden pumpkins, and name cards. Everyone brought a dish to enjoy, and they were all enjoyable. The unbuttoning of the pants was definitely a move some of us pulled. My favorite part of the day was when everyone shared what they were thankful for. It was really heart-warming to be surrounded by so many of the people that I love.

I couldn't have asked for a better day, better people, or a better way for our future in-laws to come together. I am so blessed.

My better half.

The whole gang.
Lukie helping in the kitchen.

Sis and hubby with the delicious turkey.

Curious little guy.

Place settings.

Typical Traynor boys.

Cutest family.

Silly faces.

We love nana!

Bue-Bue and Lukie.

Boyfriend giving Luke a drum lesson.

The Traynor clan.

My family.

friday funnies

This video made me crack up. To all the healthy eaters.

Click on pic for video.


reasons to be thankful

[image source]
I already posted about what I was thankful for. So I asked you, my wonderful readers, why you were thankful. You are the reason I write and I'm so grateful you read the blog and for all your emails, tweets, Facebook messages, and kind words. Here is what you are thankful for...

"The same things as every year--family; friends; my intelligence (it truly is a gift), motivation to do the things I do; health; family's financial stability; and in the last few years, my amazing boyfriend. There's so much for which to be thankful. Those are a few of the HUGE things."

"It's funny I hadn't even thought of this till I read this... normally its an easy answer family, friends, home, etc. But reading it now and trying to figure out what I'm thankful for this year is really hard. How can I say family when one of the most amazing people in my life was taken from me this year? But yet I'm still thankful for the rest of my family I just wish I could say I'm thankful for all of them.
So I guess I'm thankful for my family, friends and the amazing memories I had with my Daddy! Thank you for helping me to realize this and know what I'm so very thankful for this year."

-Kelly (my dear, strong friend)

"I am thankful for my boyfriend. Hes helped me get through the toughest times in my life. For my family even if their crazy sometimes lol(: I am thankful to have a roof over my head even if it isnt the greatest. I am thankful that I am able to go to college and get my career started and am able to start to achieve what I want in my life."

"The fact that I'm very blessed to have a bed to sleep in every night, clean water to drink, and little things like movies and tv shows that so many don't have. I feel like I take those things for granted. I'm very thankful for the simple things." 

"I'm thankful to be back home in NYC with my family after being away for two years, my amazing boyfriend (my best friend, business partner and partner in crime), and I'm thankful to be the healthiest I've been in nearly a year, finally treating my body like the temple it is :) happy thanksgiving!"
-Falcon (Falcon Photography)

"I am thankful for my family and all the support they show me."  

"I am thankful for music because without it I wouldn't be mentally stable."

"I'm thankful to be thankful."

"I'm thankful for the girl of my dreams becoming a reality." (had to post Boyfriend's)


[via Modern Hepburn]
There is so much to be thankful for every day. Thanksgiving presents us with an opportunity to share that thanks with the ones who matter most over food, drink, and conversation. I will be spending the day with my wonderful family, along with Boyfriend and his family. I’m so happy we get to create a memory as one big family.

This year I am thankful for…

My family. Their support and love have molded me into who I am today. They are my roots. I have come to appreciate them so much more as I have grown older. I value every moment with them, every word of advice they give, and every encouragement they have blessed me with. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive, silly, and unique family.

My friends. Their ambitions, honesty, ingenuity, and good hearts make them wonderful people to have in my life. I feel good when good people surround me, and that’s who they are.  I’m happy for every friendship that’s formed, old or new, and that they only bring light and good to my life.

My relationship. I have found someone who really is my better half. It fills my heart with so much joy to be in a relationship that is healthy, happy, and true. I have found “the one.” He constantly encourages me in every aspect of life. He’s shown me what love is. He is the best person I’ve ever known. He’s not bad to look at either.

Our pups. My little Jack Russell is my best friend. She’s brought so much joy to my life, and now she’s accumulated a roommate who is just as special to me. They bring so much happiness, energy, and playfulness to our house. There couldn’t be better companions.

My health. I’ve never been happier in my skin. I’ve found a lifestyle that keeps me in shape, mentally, and physically.

My career. Making a difference in children’s lives is incredibly rewarding. I love each and every one of my students and the special relationships that have been formed.

This blog. She’s been my baby for almost two years now. I am in love with writing, and getting to share my words is so special to me. I’m happy to have met some of you, whether in person or through e-mail. I’m even happier to have inspired and influenced such beautiful people. Thank you for your continuous support. 


what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Progress
Moving up in free weights was one of the highlights of my week. 12.5!
2. Family
I got to spend time with my wonderful family for my tata's 75th birthday. It was a blast.
3. DIY
I've been wanting a pair of studded high tops for awhile, so I figured I would make them myself.
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