Rain, Rain Go Away

We are having some crazy weather here in LA – courtesy of El Nino.  All of the rain has made it difficult to run outside, so I’ve resorted to being kicked in the booty by Jillian Michaels.  I’ve completed Level 1 of her 30 Day Shred several times, but it expired on Exercise TV, so I was forced to move onto Level 2:

And it was hard!  It was a great workout that had me sweating buckets.  Cali loved it too.  She jumps in the air and shakes her toys around while I’m doing jumping jacks.  When I finished working out, Cali decided to take a nap on my yoga mat with all her toys.  I love how she thinks it’s her bed. 🙂

Going Green

Monday was a day off from school so I decided to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure.  But not just any mani/pedi, the Fresh Treatment at Color Me Green, an eco-friendly nail salon.  The treatment was wonderful and relaxing and definitely worth the $10 more than a typical nail place.  According to their website: “Color Me Green takes pride in using only the purest blends of certified organic essential oils, extracts of fruits, herbs, and botanicals; plus, vitamins and minerals. Our products have been carefully selected to create customized treatments to heal, cleanse and produce overall balance.”  And, they only use nail polish that is DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde free.  Isn’t it crazy to think that regular nail polish contains formaldehyde??!!  Yikes!! Now that I’ve found Color Me Green, I don’t think will ever step foot into a chemical filled nail salon again!

Baking News

In an attempt to cure my craving for homemade cookies I tried a recipe that I found on Carrots ‘n Cake.  Tina’s recipe for Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies was definitely the best cookie recipe I have tried in a long time.  They are my new favorite cookie – and they are super healthy!

Check out these ingredients:

Super healthy ingredients include: ground flaxseed meal, whole wheat flour, soy milk, agave nectar, banana, canola oil, oats, cinnamon, walnuts, and a little chocolate.  These cookies can easily be made vegan if you use vegan chocolate chips (I didn’t have any on hand).

These cookies were SO delicious and knowing how healthy they are makes them that much more tempting. 🙂

Easy Weeknight Meal

Honey Broiled Salmon with brown rice and stir fried snap peas:

I marinated the salmon in a mixture of honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chopped scallions, and fresh minced ginger.  I reserved some of the marinade to drizzle over the rice and salmon before serving.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Question: What is your favorite kind of cookie?

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Working Out at Home

When I began training for the marathon last year I decided to cancel my gym membership, because I knew I wouldn’t be using it very often. Throughout the course of my training I didn’t miss the gym because I really enjoyed running outdoors.  Now that all my time isn’t consumed with running long distances, I am planning to incorporate more strength straining into my routine. I definitely slacked off on this during marathon training. Instead of re-joining the gym I decided to purchase a few “home gym accessories” to help me get stronger. I spent about $80 on the following items (Cali and her red ball not included):

Tonight I did the following strength circuit using my new equipment:

1. 20 pushups (10 real ones, 10 girly ones)

2. 20 crunches on stability ball

3. 15 squats using kettle bell (the kettle bell is one of my favorite items to use – if you have never tried one, you should!)

4. 20 rotating lunges using medicine ball (lunge forward holding medicine ball and twist upper body to the side)

5. 15 bicep curls with the resistance tube

6. 1 minute plank on the stability ball

In between each activity I did 1 minute of jumping jacks or butt kicks.  I repeated the circuit 3 times and it was a great workout!  I ended with some stretching and foam rolling, which is a wonderful tool for runners.  It hurts like crazy to use the foam roller but it really helps loosen my tight legs.  I really enjoyed my home workout and can’t wait to do it again!

So, one goal I have for the blog is to start posting more of the meals that I cook.  I think it will help me to stay motivated to cook healthy meals and hopefully give you some ideas for easy, quick dinners – because I’m all about quick and easy cooking after a long day at work!

Recently I’ve been making a lot of stir-fry dishes – because after all what is easier than stir fry?!  And you can make a stir-fry a really healthy all in one meal.

Stir-fry #1: tofu, bok choy, asparagus, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and brown rice cooked with a little canola oil and soy sauce

Stir-fry #2: chicken, peppers, onions, mushrooms, basil, and garlic tossed with quinoa and feta.  Serve with a green salad and you’re all set for dinner!  Quinoa is a new favorite of mine – it is yummy and very nutritious.

Question of the Day: Do you workout at home or at the gym?

Guest Post on Carrots ‘n Cake

Please head over to Tina’s blog Carrots ‘n Cake to read my guest post about my marathon experience!

Running Tour

It is a gorgeous day here in LA.  Cali begged me to go for a run, and of course I couldn’t resist this cute face:

When we go for short runs, I always take the same route throughout our neighborhood.  Even though we live in a new “cookie cutter”  type development, there are many beautiful parks and trails, which makes for great scenery while running.  Today I decided to bring my camera along so I could snap some photos of the route that Cali and I run.  So, I leave you with a photo tour – enjoy!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  I’ve been enjoying some much needed rest and relaxation and still have one more week of vacation to look forward to.  I also have my best friend in town for the next few days along with my brother, my husband’s brother and sister-in-law, and our adorable nephew!  We are all looking forward to spending New Year’s Eve together tonight.

A couple of highlights from the past week include a visit to Candy Cane Lane and a hike on the Westridge Trail.

We visited Candy Cane Lane with our good friends and their girls.  Candy Cane Lane was established in 1949 and the residents there have been decorating their front lawns to the max ever since.  Now, they close off the street to cars every evening so that people can come and walk around to see the light displays.  We bundled up to pretend it was cold (only about 58 degrees!) and I must say that it definitely felt like Christmas.

Tiger Woods even made an appearance:

Fake snow is all we get here in LA, but at least it looked pretty real:

One house had a full movie theater set up in their yard:

Complete with a big screen showing of the Polar Express:

Visiting Candy Cane Lane was a great way to kick off Christmas!

On Christmas Day my family took a hike on the Westridge Trail and enjoyed the beautiful views of LA.  It was a gorgeous day here on Christmas, and we enjoyed views of the ocean and downtown:

Cali loved being able to roam freely along the trail – she felt like the queen of the jungle!

Well, now we’re off to watch VT play – GO HOKIES!  And, to celebrate New Year’s Eve!  I hope everyone has a fun and safe night!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

No Snow in Sight on a Warm Winter’s Night

While the east coast is getting a full blizzard, we are having a heat wave here in LA – 75 degrees today instead of the average 68 degrees for this time of year.  I’m definitely not complaining, but I have to say it is a bit strange to have it be so warm right before Christmas.  This is the first year we are staying here in LA for the holidays and I do miss the cold weather just a little.  Although, it is nice to see palm trees all year:

And, it was really nice to sit outside and enjoy lunch today with the loves of my life:

It was also really nice to run a 5K this evening in the warm weather.  It was the perfect evening for a race on the beach.  The Manhattan Beach Yuletide 5K is run on the beach during low tide.  My husband and I both ran the race, although he beat me by a few minutes.  The race was beautiful, but HARD!  There were luminaries all along the course and they handed out glow stick necklaces for participants to wear.  By the time the race started it was dark and all you could see throughout the race were the glow sticks bobbing up and down.  The sand wasn’t packed as hard I was anticipating.  For much of the race we were running in wet, mushy sand, which made it difficult.  There were also a lot of holes that were impossible to avoid, because you couldn’t see them!  Even though it was a difficult race, I pushed myself and averaged a 10:30 pace (I normally run a 10:45-11:00 pace).  It was a fun race to run and I look forward to running it again next year!

While driving down to Manhattan Beach for the race we had a beautiful view of Catalina off in the distance:

After running, we stopped by Target for a few things, including a santa suit for dogs that I was determined to fit on Cali (even though it said up to 50 lbs. and she weighs 65).  She was not too excited when I tried it on her, especially since it was way too small.  Her paws couldn’t even fit through the sleeves!  She really was not happy when I took her picture:

It’s a good thing Cali isn’t a small dog, because I would be dressing her up all the time. 🙂

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season – and if you are back east, have fun in the snow for me!