My June Listing post was such a success that I thought I’d make it a semi-regular offender, so get ready for some information about me and details about what I’ve been doing lately.
What I’ve been eating:
I can’t seem to get out of the kitchen actually, something which I blame this new 11-Cup Cuisinart Food Processor for. I was thrilled to upgrade from the 4-cup to the 11-cup but I haven’t stopped baking since it arrived, and that’s rough on the jeans!
I’m still eating tons of veggies, cooking healthy meals for Arianna at least once a week, and eating my body weight in fruit every day, but everything I eat seems to come with a side of baked goods these days…
The boy has been thrilled by this little development and no one in my office is complaining about the abundance of cookies and zucchini muffins, I can assure you!
What I’ve been reading:
It seems like lately I’ve spent a lot of time on the train or in the car, so reading materials have been a must. The benefit is that I’m all caught up on my favorite magazines now, which is a relief, and I’ve read a handful of books over the last few weeks.
Recently I’ve gotten through the too cute Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Martin Cruz Smith’s Russian crime novel Stalin’s Ghost, and the international espionage novel Moscow Vector by Patrick Larkin. Now it’s on to Robin Maxwell’s Signora da Vinci and Lucrezia Borgia by Sara Bradford, both of which have been gathering dust on my bedside table.
What I’ve been writing:
Um… I take the 5th. I swear I’ll have an answer in my next Listing post. I swear!
What I’ve been wearing:
I’ve been making an effort to trade in my easy-to-wear dresses for fun separates and that’s given me a chance to be more creative with colors and prints and accessories so far this Summer.
Hopefully I can keep this up through the end of Summer and start Fall off right with lots of great skirts and pants paired with fabulous tops and all the cold weather accessories I’ve been missing!
Some Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me:
- I spend most of my waking time thinking about food – I love to cook and eat, and trying a new recipe is one of my favorite parts of the day.
- I compulsively double lock my front door whenever I walk inside my apartment. Even when Sean’s just walked out to drop off the garbage. I can’t help it!
- I love swimming and spending my vacations in the water, but I’m afraid of lake monsters. Don’t ask.
How have you been spending your time lately? Have you eaten anything great? Read anything new? Worn anything fabulous that you’d like to share?
Everyone seems to be in the mood for lists right now. A handful of bloggers that I adore have published list posts lately: The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson’s What I’ve Been Eating, What I’ve Been Reading, What I’ve Been Writing, What I’ve Been Wearing, Holly Would If She Could’s 16 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me, and SnackFace’s This Week’s Sounds, Scents, Sips, Snacks & Sights…
And with my hectic schedule lately, both at work and personally, I’ve been living and dying by my daily To Do lists. First thing in the morning I make a list of all the things that need to get done that day and before I leave the office for the day I take the list of tasks and put them in chronological order. Don’t worry, I’m not going to share my daily To Do lists with you. I thought I’d take a cue from my blogging idols though and share some of the details of what’s going on in my life these days.
What I’ve Been Eating:
I didn’t do a great job following a healthy diet in April or May, as I confessed, so I’ve been doing my best to rectify that over the last few weeks. Tons of fruits and veggies, and smoothies galore. Green smoothies, berry-based smoothies, and even peanut butter smoothies. Yum!
What I’ve Been Reading:
My boyfriend’s mother insisted that I read The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato, and I ended up reading all 544 pages over the course of a weekend because I couldn’t put it down. Botticelli’s Primavera has been my favorite painting of his since I saw it in Florence when I was 21 so I was especially drawn to the storyline. I’ve also just finished Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink and was stunned by how much I related to each and every study that he discussed. Definitely keep an eye out for a Book Report on this! I’ve also just started Add More -Ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness by Gabrielle Bernstein, which isn’t a self-help book – I swear – it’s a self-transformation book. 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing how it impacts my daily approach to life as part of my #1 2012 goal to Be Positive.
Oh, and I have a serious fashion magazine problem. Like a – I need a 12 step program type of problem.
What I’ve Been Writing:
One of my goals for 2012 is to publish a piece of my writing and while this has been a personal goal for years, this is the first time I’ve officially written it down. Not to make excuses, but as a result of my spinal injury and my laptop dying earlier this year, I haven’t worked on this goal much so far in 2012. Hopefully this post will serve as motivation for me to start editing my first novel, I started writing it when I was 20 and wrote a large chunk of it while I was traveling around Europe by myself when I was 21.
What I’ve Been Wearing:
During May I submitted a handful of looks to a fashion challenge run by Definitely RA, you can so you can check out some of those looks – Mission: Put Together 2012 – Part I and Mission: Put Together 2012 – Part II. The challenge was great and I wish I’d had time to participate more, but even putting together a few looks was fun. And as part of my goals for June I wanted to make an effort to wear less black, especially on sunny weekends, so that’s been a major factor in choosing my daily looks. Definitely an adjustment not to automatically reach for the black pieces!
Some Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me:
- I don’t actively follow astrology but I’ve always believed that I embody many of the traits of my Scorpio sign – Determined, loyal, suspicious, discreet, introverted, dramatic, passionate, possessive…
- I originally hurt my back springboard diving in college when I was 18
- If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life it would be sweet potatoes. There’s an endless number of ways to cook them… Chips, fries, baked, mashed, in pudding. They can be sweet or savory. Hmmm… Now I kind of want to spend a weekend eating only sweet potatoes and blog about all the recipes I come up with! 🙂
- Sometimes I forget that I don’t really “know” bloggers. I begin to feel like I’m friends with people whose lives I read about every day. Does that happen to anyone else?
- I have three tattoos.
And so that we can continue to get to know each other, I’m going to re-start my short-lived Les Confessions series, where I post some “confessions” about myself and my life on a regular basis.
I’ve been listening to 70’s and 80’s music non-stop. From vintage Bon Jovi, Kenny Loggins, and Twisted Sister to fabulous 80’s movie soundtracks – Footloose, Pretty In Pink, Breakfast Club. The upside is that it’s really upbeat music that wakes me up and makes me smile every morning, the downside is that I dance at my desk. A lot.
I’m a peppermint junkie! Candles, air fresheners, essential oils… Whatever I can find. I’ve also been baking up a storm and I love the scent of raw cacao and carob powders as their heating up.
Peppermint tea – duh – and I have to confess that my guilty pleasure these days is Cherry Coke Zero or Cherry Diet Dr. Pepper. My boyfriend is horrified by the red color from the syrup but I treat myself to one a week! I’ve also rediscovered the Synergy Kombucha drinks, and I laugh every time I get carded buying them!
I seem to have almost forgotten about hummus when the weather was cooler but now that it’s warming up I’m craving hummus daily. Carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, and radishes dipped in spicy hummus is favorite after-work snack. I’ve also been eating my bodyweight in fruit on virtually a daily basis – pounds of grapes, cherries, apples, and bananas. Just can’t get enough!
This Spring was amazing with weekends in Sonoma, San Diego, and Sea Ranch, but June has been a gorgeous month in San Francisco and I’ve been really enjoying spending time in my favorite city. Walking everywhere, trips to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, lazy days spent shopping and wandering around the sun-drenched streets… Amazing!
So tell me, what have you been up to? Do you like to make lists to ensure that you get everything done that needs to be done each day?
Here’s a little Instagram Lovin’ for you today!
Follow me at Instagram @ moicontrelavie
As an avid supporter of moodboards and a longtime lover of visual inspiration, Pinterest really appealed to me for its capability to influence and motivate.
In case you’re not following me on Pinterest I wanted to share a few of the things that I’m loving and can’t live without right now. My boards are broken up into a few of my favorite categories:
Fashion shows, clothing, sketches, advertisements, editorials, red carpets, street style, accessories, bags, closets, blogs, jewelry…
Home decor, books & book shelves, furniture, floral arrangements, trunks & hat boxes, wet bars, closets, organizational tips, pillows & bedding, wallpaper…
Entrees, cocktails, breakfasts, snacks, desserts… Anything that looks good!
Places I love, things I’ve bought, clothes I wear, words I believe…
I Use, Therefore I am
Things I swear by, from protein powder to skin care products to perfume…
Pretty much anything that strikes my fancy…
So take a look and get to know some of the things that I love!
Would you like more recommendations on great moodboards to take a look at? Fashionista has you covered with their piece 10 Fashion Pinners You Should Be Following Right Now.
P.S. Am I the only one who hears all of this “pinning” talk and thinks of an adorable couple in an old black & white movie going steady…? 😉
You know those shiny, happy people who make everyone around them feel like a dark, ominous cloud? Well, I’ve never really been one of them. While I wouldn’t call myself a pessimist, I might not be the most positive person there ever was. Cards on the table. I’m a high-strung, Type A personality who works 12+ hours a day in a high stress, fast-paced environment. I don’t like to wait. I don’t like people who walk slowly. I don’t like it when things don’t go exactly according to my carefully laid plans.
It has been pointed out to me that perhaps my outlook could use some refreshing. Oh, and that I need to relax.
While the responsibilities and obligations of adulthood make being completely carefree a challenge for many of us, it may still be a worthwhile goal.
So with that being said, I am going to embark on an odyssey to improve my quality of life by being more positive on a daily basis. Changing how you initially react to things isn’t easy, but I’m committed to trying to make this change.
And what – you ask – does this entail?
(1) Be grateful: How can you appreciate things as they come into your life if you don’t acknowledge what you already have?
- I have an amazing family – They’re completely insane, yes, but they’re also warm, loving, supportive and loyal.
- I have unbelievable friends – I have met some truly amazing people in my life, from my best friend in junior high & high school who I don’t get to see as often as I like, to the girls that adopted me in college and without whom I wouldn’t be who I am today, to my work friends who make my daily life so much more enjoyable.
- I live in a gorgeous city that I adore – Just seeing the views from my office building puts a smile on my face.
- In an awful economy where jobs are scarce, I’m lucky enough to have a great, challenging job in an interesting field where I’m surrounded by bright, well-educated, hard-working people.
(2) Realize what matters: Does it really matter if you wait a few minutes for a friend to meet you for dinner? Does it really matter if every little detail of a weekend is planned out or goes according to those plans? No! What matters is being able to enjoy yourself and when you’re filled with stress and anxiety about everything you can’t control, you’re not enjoying yourself. In fact, you’re probably giving yourself ulcers.
- Accept what you can and cannot control.
- Realize that the journey, even filled with roadblocks & speed bumps, is just as important as where you end up.
- Find joy in the little things. Singing along to a great song. Sharing a meal with someone you care about. Laughing with a friend. Finishing an amazing book. These are just as important as the big things and deserve to be savored.
- Make time for love. All of the songs can’t be wrong, love is worth fighting for. Whether you’re having dinner with your family, falling in love for the first time, or just filling your day with people and experiences you love, make sure not to underestimate how important this is.
(3) Find Inspiration: Find something that reminds you to cherish what you have. It could be different for everyone, but for me, I love hearing what other people have to say. Reading a great writer talk about how grateful they are for the things in their life or watching a hilarious motivational video will make me appreciate what I have all the more. Here are some to get you started.
- Rachel Wilkerson is one of the funniest, no-nonsense bloggers out there and in this video, she talks about how women need to stop “hating” on their lives and think about how good they have it – Stop Being A Hater. She also tells you that sometimes its ok to just SHHHHH yourself.
- Everyday Life Lessons – This website is nothing short of inspirational, it’s a community of people sharing life’s little lessons. A little cheesy, but I think we all could use some cheese in our lives!
- The blog Polish My Crown is great to get yourself out of a funk, the About page simply says: “Polish My Crown is a go-to guide to encourage and inspire you to live your life to the absolute fullest by being your fabulous, magnificent self.” It’s unabashedly sweet and optimistic, but not nauseatingly so.
“There is nothing to hold you back except yourself. There is only one question to ask yourself here: “What would you do if you were not afraid?” Think about it.”
Do you think that you’re a positive person? Do you have a tip or recommendation for me to help my positivity?
While I plan to share more of my eats and the dishes that I throw together on a regular basis soon, I’d also like to share with you some of the recipes that I’ve cooked and have been enjoyed by others recently.
I didn’t start cooking until a few years ago, and at that point I was already eating a mostly vegan and mostly gluten-free diet, so my cooking skills aren’t exactly what you’d call “well-rounded.” I’m really interested in expanding my repertoire though so using my very brave boyfriend and friends as guinea pigs, I’ve embarked on a mission to learn to cook meat.
Recently the MCLV kitchen has made…
Turkey & Black Bean Chili from Eat, Live, Run (recipe here, picture above): My parents live in Albuquerque these days so I’ve learned to appreciate chilis and HOT food. I thought I may have overdone it with the spices in this dish, but since I came home to find the Tupperware container of leftovers completely empty I think it was a success after all… 🙂
Stuffed Chicken Breasts from The Fitnessista (recipe here, picture above): Two of the BF’s favorite things to eat are chicken and goat cheese so when I saw this recipe I KNEW it would be a hit. I wasn’t wrong. Another bonus of this one is that it’s incredibly easy and quick, with virtually no prep work.
Pumpkin Chili from The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson (recipe here, picture above): While I take the 5th on whether or not I made this chili in the buff – a la Rachel – I can tell you that it was quite the success. It has the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor without being too overwhelming, but was still hearty and wintry.
Coconut Chicken from Cooking Light (recipe here, picture above): Coconut anything (milk, flakes, water, oil, butter, flour…) is a major ingredient in my apartment these days and everyone I know loves it so when I read about Rachel’s experience with this recipe I decided to use it as inspiration and tweak it a bit. Rather than breading the chicken breasts with coconut flakes, egg, and flour, I decided to just use coconut flakes and coconut milk as a marinade w/ some serious chili sauce for the perfect kick.
Honey Spiced Chicken from Holly Would If She Could (recipe here, picture above): This is everything that I look for in a recipe – quick, easy & composed entirely of ingredients that I already have in my apartment! The verdict? Mikey likes it! 🙂
You may have noticed that I
stole borrowed pictures from the recipe sites, well unfortunately my boyfriend seems to be in a constant state of starvation – I feed him, I swear – and tends to eat everything before I can get a picture of it. I’ll try to do better in the future, even if I have to invest in pepper spray!
Stay tuned for a new weekly MCLV segment on cooking and recipes – from Paleo-friendly eats to vegan, gluten-free and raw recipes. A little something for everyone.
Note: Check with a doctor before beginning a few fitness routine to avoid injuries.
15 minutes of intervals on the elliptical (30 seconds as fast as you can, 1 minute 30 seconds at a fast but manageable pace, repeat for 15 minutes)
100 walking lunges (each knee touching the ground is 1 – try to keep moving for the whole 100 even if you do have to slow down)
20 burpees as quickly as possible (How To – Do level II or III if possible, there are also other variations on burpees that we’ll try later one)
3 x 20 mountain climbers
Day 2: CORE!!!
1o minutes of cardio, any machine, moderate pace
5 rounds of:
- 1 minute plank
- 30 frog crunchies
- 30 squat jumps (bend knees, touch ground, jump up, clap at top, repeat)
- 30 leg lifts
- Row 100 meters as fast as possible
* Rest for under 1 minute between each round
10 minutes of cardio – Warm down
Day 3: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) – Pick a machine and go-go-go
5 minute warm up
- 30 seconds as fast as possible
- 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
- 30 seconds as fast as possible
- 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals
Switch machines and repeat for an additional 15 minutes
5 minute cool down (i.e. walking on a treadmill etc)
(Same) Weekend Mini Workout:
To be completed at any point Saturday or Sunday (***Bonus points if you get a workout buddy to join you and race!)
Sprint the length of the street, walk back to your starting point, 5 burpees (how to) – Repeat 10x
Starting w/ your feet together, jump as far as you can & repeat for the length of the street. To the end of the street and back to your starting point = 1, complete 5x
Results: This week wasn’t about change, it was about creating a consistent fitness routine and really trying to make time a couple of days a week to go to the gym even when you’re tired and/or busy. Squeezing in just a small workout can improve your mood and productivity, which is especially important as the holiday season is starting to gear up and your schedule will get more and more hectic.
How do you stay motivated for your workouts? Any tips that always work for you? I like to workout first thing in the morning because in addition to giving my metabolism a little burst, it sets a healthy tone for the day and encourages me to stay on track. I also have to have a great playlist to keep my workouts upbeat. My brother got me the Nano for Christmas last year which is great because it has a clip and it holds such a small number of songs that I update it at least once a week. As for long-term goals, I’ve found that it’s all about giving myself something to look forward to. Like, say, a weekend trip to the Lululemon on Union Square. (Rachel agrees, clearly) Not only do the promise of Lulu’s keep me going, once I have them I’m doubly motivated to hit the gym because I can’t wait to show them off!
As your workouts are progressing and you’re beginning to feel (and see!) results, you should start thinking about your recovery time. We’ve talked about stretching and rest days to help you stay loose and prepare for your next workout, but your choice of foods immediately before and after a workout can also affect your performance (as, obviously, your food throughout the day can affect your fitness goals in general). Shape shares their tips here, Women’s Health shares their top fitness food picks here and fitness guru to the stars David Kirsch shares his post-workout recovery smoothie here. And if this topic interests you and you’re heading to a book store, definitely pick up any of Brendan Brazier’s Thrive books which discuss this in-depth.
Stay tuned for Week IV!
Thanksgiving is one of the few days a year that has a set menu, and while each family has their traditions, the basics are fairly common: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie…
What about mixing things up this year? You don’t have to go crazy or change every single memorable moment of Thanksigivings past, but you could add a new dish or two. Even one that’s – GASP – healthy?
Here are some delicious, easy recipes that you might be interested in adding to your traditional holiday table. Maybe you don’t even have to tell your guests that they’re low in the salt, fat, butter & sugar that Thanksgiving is known for. Maybe. That’s between you and your conscience.
Sides (my FAVORITE part of Thanksgiving):
Baked Butternut Squash w/ Cranberries from Eat, Live, Run
Cinnamon Sweet Potato Chickpea Salad from OhSheGlows
Savory Pumpkin Quinoa from The Wannabe Chef
High Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes from OhSheGlows
Carmelized Brussels Sprouts from Eat, Live, Run
Cornbread Dressing with Tempeh Bacon, Cherries and Portobello Mushrooms from Peas and Thank You
Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf from OhSheGlows
Sprouted Grain Stuffing with Field Roast Sausage from Peas and Thank You
Mushroom-and-Spinach Lasagna from Rachel Wilkerson.
Pumpkin Chili from Rachel Wilkerson
Seitan log from Hungry Hungry Hippie
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake (5 ingredients) from Blisstree
Pumpkin Pudding & Chocolate Mousse Parfait from Choosing Raw
Vegan Pumpkin Pie Pudding from Choosing Raw
Pumpkin Gingerbread w/ Spiced Buttercream from OhSheGlows
Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from Eat, Live, Run
If you’d like to brush up on your cooking basics, head over to The Wannabe Chef for instructions & tutorials, from dicing an onion to dairy-free mashed potatoes to making your own ice cream and bread. Or check out the Huffington Post’s take on a Vegan Thanksgiving here and Vital Juice’s Skinny Thanksgiving Side Dishes here.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!