8.29.2014

foodie fridays

[via Food Network]
I feel like sometimes there are just days when you need a cake...to yourself. I'm not talking a slice that you buy at the store, which I didn't know they even sold sole slices until recently. I'm talking the Sunday morning you wake up and you're like "cake is a good idea." Then you get to baking because the smells wafting in your kitchen are much better than the smells wafting the cold grocery store. Nothing beats a homemade cake anyhow.

Is this healthy? Naw. But it's so damn good for the soul.

Here is a delicious and simple recipe from Food Network.

Ingredients
For the cake:
18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
For the frosting:
24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Chocolate candies for decorating (recommended: M&M's)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until smooth. Finish mixing by hand to be sure the batter is well mixed. Pour evenly into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan to room temperature.

For the frosting, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chips are completely melted. Off the heat, add the corn syrup and vanilla and allow the chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the chocolate mixture and softened butter on medium speed for a few minutes, until it's thickened.

Spread the frosting evenly on the cake.



8.28.2014

{weird} thoughts on love

Our wedding is almost six months away. I'm in a little bit of shock. I remember wishing time would speed up, and my wish was granted. The past eight months have been a blur, and I dream of the big day basically every day. Everything about it is magical to me, from the centerpieces to walking down the aisle in my beautiful dress, to seeing all our family and friends.

The most special part is becoming Matt's wife.  

Wife. Woah nelly. That still freaks me out. Even hearing Matt introduce me as his "fiance" is weird. Good weird, of course. The kind of weird you love. To be honest, our relationship is totally weird. We talk in made-up languages. We spit water on each other to piss each other off. We burp and fart, a lot of times on each other. We are basically like five-year-old boys, but it works for us.

We just like to have fun. Most of the time our idea of fun is playing Nintendo 64, drinking a bottle of wine...or two, and deciding to bake cookies. Matt has his own baking secret that makes them come out juuuust right. Not too soft, but just gooey enough.

Often immature, we still have our heads on straight when it comes to the grownup stuff. You know, jobs, bills, starting a family, buying a new house, yada yada yada.

The point is, don't forget to be kids. It doesn't have to make sense to everyone else, but if it makes sense to you, then be happy in your kooky relationship. Don't let all the grownup stuff steal your youth, happiness, and love you have for each other.

Here is to all the [weird] years ahead with my future husband.





8.27.2014

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Happiness Challenge
This is something I started last Friday, and I looove it. It really puts into perspective the things you take for granted in your every day life. Learn more here.
2. Inspirational Quotes & Lilies
I found these quote cards at Target. They provide inspiration for the every day. These lilies were a surprise from my best friend when I was having a rough day. Two-in-one.

3. Business Website
Don't fret, I will still have this blog, but I am building a website for my upcoming training business. It's been super fun and easy using Weebly.



8.26.2014

boot wish list







Fall is coming. That means a lot of wonderful things, and it also means booooots. One of the most wondrous things of all. I absolutely love wearing boots with jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses, etc. I'm itching for a new pair, but I know they're probably not in the cards for me at the moment. Every dime is going to the wedding and bills and grownup crap. A girl can dream...

Balta Boot
Lilyn Stud Boot
Watson Buckle Leather Boot
Andover Lace Up Boot
Suede Tall Boot

I'm all about the ankle right now, but I threw in a pair of suede knee highs because...Jeffrey Campbell...enough said. They also make me feel pretty bad ass.

What are your favorite boots to wear?


8.23.2014

kt tape


When I began building my endurance for running, everything was going great! I was able to run longer and not feel so out of breath, but then I began getting painful shin splints. I felt totally discouraged because I felt like I was finally getting somewhere in my running, and then had to stop because of the pain in my legs.

Awesomely enough, KT Tape offered their product to help me out! I ordered the brightest color possible (duh). I followed the directions on application from their website and I went for a run. I didn't suffer from my usual shin splints.

I was always skeptical of this stuff. How is tape going to solve my problems? But honestly, it supports my muscles in a comfortable way and it stays on. If you can't afford a brand new pair of running shoes, but suffer from shin splints (or any other issues) try KT Tape out.

For those suffering from shin splints, here is a demonstration on how to apply the KT Tape.




8.21.2014

six ways to happiness

[image source]

Happiness. That thing what we are all striving for, but don't realize we have the power to obtain it easier than we think. These are the six ways to happiness...

Why six? Because it's my lucky number, and it makes me happy.

1. Settling. I have always said to "never settle." It's taken up until now to actually practice what I preach. You do not have to settle for less than you deserve. Even if it's super scary to say goodbye to things that no longer serve your well being, it's incredibly freeing. Once you say goodbye, you open the door to so many other possibilities that are better for your soul. Don't let fear trap you in a situation that isn't meant for you. Never settle.

2. Be unapologetically yourself. Block out other people's opinions, judgments, and perceptions. Why would you let the skepticism of others keep you from being you? When you constantly try to fit the mold and aim to please other people, you lose the magic that makes up you. Not everyone will like you or understand you. It's utterly impossible. Just realize they don't have to, and that all that matters is if you like you.

3. Follow your dreams. You're never too young, middle-aged, or old to go after your dreams. If you dreamed them up in your head then they are special. Don't let failure or competition or criticism break you. Protect your dreams. They're sacred and they deserve to be gone after.

4. Say "Buh-Bye" to negativity. No matter how positive you are, if you keep negative company it will ultimately wear you down little by little. You have no obligation to keep anyone in your life. You have the right to choose who you want close to you. Choose those who uplift you, support you, and surround you with good vibes.

5. Take a break. It's okay to tune out! Shut off the phone, cancel dinner plans (on the verrrry rare occasion), climb in bed, and have time to yourself. We can get so wrapped up in jobs, relationships, social media, house chores, that we forget we need a little breaky. Get back to it tomorrow when your mind and spirit are refreshed.

6. Embrace change. It's terrifying. Absolutely terrifying, but there is something so beautiful about change. Once you look past all the layers of "what's going to happen?" and "is this the right choice?" you'll see that change is inevitable. It's often times exactly what we need to grow and love more.




8.20.2014

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Rain
The rain in Arizona has been so beautiful. I love having an excuse to have an umbrella.

2. Girls' Weekend
One of my best friends, Nikki, came out to stay the weekend and we had so much fun! We ate everywhere, relaxed, enjoyed cocktails, and she bought her bridesmaid dress.
3. Personal Planner
My new customized personal planner came in and I loooove it. Get yours here.


8.15.2014

foodie fridays

[via The Chic Wife]

This recipe is from my friend Kris, over at The Chic Wife.
Honestly, check her out because who doesn't love someone who bakes killer chocolate chip oatmeal cookies? You'll love her in general, but the cookies are a plus.

Here is the recipe...

Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup of almond butter
  3. 1 cup of light brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  6. 1 cup of all purpose flour
  7. 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  8. 2 cups of quick cook oats
  9. 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  10. 1 tsp cinnamon
  11. 1/2 tsp salt
  12. 1 cup of mini chocolate chips
  13. 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (or sub in any nut you prefer)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a large baking sheet
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla, continuing to beat at medium speed
  4. In a separate bowl combine the flours, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
  5. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, 1/2 a cup at a time, mixing in between each addition
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts, mixing until just combined
  7. Using an ice cream scoop place dough balls on the prepared baking sheet (two inches apart)
  8. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Let slightly cool on pan before removing and fully cooling on wire racks

8.14.2014

go for it


Fitness and health have completely changed my life. Four years ago I was completely lost. I didn't know who I was, where I was going, and I was forty pounds heavier. Fresh out of college, I was in a body I wasn't confident in and with a Bachelor's Degree in writing that offered NO WORK. Discouraged, I worked many part time jobs trying to pay the bills as I watched my friends with business/nursing degrees land their dream jobs. Of course I was happy for them, but I felt like I was failing. I opted for graduate school for early childhood education because a teaching job felt like a safe bet. It was, and I landed a job as a preschool teacher.

All along the way, I kept blogging and posting about my health/fitness journey on various social media platforms. Instagram surprisingly took off. It's led me to virtually meet thousands of individuals and given me the opportunity to motivate. It's led me to opportunities I never thought possible and it's led me to work with amazing companies. I've found more joy in motivating other women and communicating with them through social media than I ever did at ANY job.

So, I took the steps towards gaining my personal trainer certification. I've been studying for the past five months. One more to go. I know that I want to help others be the best versions of themselves and to help them find self-love. I've never felt more fulfilled or confident in a decision. I'm taking the steps to start my own business, and that is something I NEVER thought I would do. I'm scared shitless. I think the next few months will be hard, scary, exciting, and testing, but I am giving it all I've got.

Like I've said... "If you're dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough."



8.13.2014

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Mama time
My mom and I enjoyed a yoga class, massages, and lunch by the pool at the beautiful Royal Palms. I love our time together.
2. Best friends
T and I had a fun photoshoot!
3. Charlie snuggles
Charlie loves to watch me study. She's such a snuggle bug.

8.06.2014

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Disney Movies
I enjoyed watching Pinnochio with my little nephew.
2. YouTube Backdrop
I finally got around to making my backdrop a little more exciting.

3. Enjoying the moment
Matt came home for the day and it was special just soaking up every moment.

8.01.2014

foodie fridays


Wheat Berry and Farro Salad from Bobby Flay.
How delicious does this look? Cold, refreshing, yet filling. The perfect combination for summer.

Ingredients
1 cup wheat berries
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup farro
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Handful basil leaves, roughly torn
4 ounces aged goat cheese
 
Directions

Put the wheat berries in a medium saucepan, add 6 cups of water and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender and chewy, about 1 hour, adding more water as needed. Drain any water that is left. Transfer the wheat berries to a large bowl.

Put the farro in another medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by an inch and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, 25 to 40 minutes, adding more water if needed. Drain any water that is left. Transfer to the bowl with the wheat berries. (The grains can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated.)

While the grains cook, make the mustard vinaigrette. Whisk the vinegar, mustard, pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisking constantly, dribble in the 1/4 cup oil until the mixture is smooth and emulsified. Taste and season as necessary.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and when it is almost smoking, add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing once or twice, just until the tomatoes have a few dark spots, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and halve.

Add the tomatoes, scallions and basil to the grains. Pour the vinaigrette around the sides of the bowl; toss and fold the salad together. Transfer to a platter and grate the goat cheese over top.


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