Saturday, March 28, 2015

Avocado Rosemary Lime Bars



Hopefully you are intrigued by the the title of this post and not grossed out. It does seem odd to see these three ingredients together, especially in a dessert, but trust me, these are sweet and yummy!

I came across the recipe on allrecipes.com and was duly weirded out. I decided to give them a try because all nine reviews are positive. Granted, if you don't like avocado, rosemary, lime, or shortbread, then these aren't for you. I personally love them.


I made them for the baking competition that we had at worst last week. Sadly they didn't win, but I gave myself a mental blue ribbon for Most Creative.



The avocado provides the texture for the sweet lime base which pairs really nicely with the hint of rosemary.





I actually made rosemary shortbread cookies at Christmastime  (half with chocolate chips, half without) following this recipe and they received rave reviews. If you're not feeling the lime part, you could always start here. 



Hope

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Morning Journal 3.22.15

first day of spring - 2015

This was a short workweek for me, as I left the office early on Thursday to go get my wisdom teeth extracted. Yes, I successfully managed to dodge this fact-of-life until age 28. I had no excuse to avoid it since I now have bangin dental insurance and don't plan on moving (and thus switching dentists) every 2-3 years like I did during my early- and mid-20's.

It wasn't that bad for me because I only had to get the top two teeth removed. I didn't go under anesthesia or get nitrous. It was a very similar process to when I got four molars pulled out before getting my braces on in middle school.....until he started stitching me up, that is. That really freaked me out.

I got through it by breathing deeply and thinking about how much worse it must have been to get teeth removed in Colonial times. Even if Claire Fraser were performing the procedure, I don't want to mess with her homemade ether, so the only option would be staying awake and feeling everything.


I've been home for the past couple days with Lexi, napping and eating gentle foods. Friday was actually kind of nice, I forwent my prescription pain killers for advil and we watched the snow fall. 

On to the weekly recap!

Exercising

Monday - Cardio Barre
Tuesday - Rest Day
Wednesday - Ballet Body Fitness
Thursday - Peloton Cycle class
Friday -  Rest Day

Saint Paddys Day (this past Tuesday) in NYC is really rough. I couldn't stand the thought of muscling through the drunk crowds to get to the gym, so I took an unexpected rest day and went straight home after work.

On Wednesday, I tagged along to Ballet Body Fitness with a friend on ClassPass. As you know, I LOVE Barre class, and I thought it would be a similar thing with more "authentic" ballerina moves. 


Nope! This is an actual Barre class like real ballerinas take. No cardio, squats, or thigh-squeezing a ball. You're supposed to keep your body straight and tall - no bending the standing leg and all that. I have zero dance experience so it was hard to effectively perform the moves. That said, I had a blast trying it out - especially the jumps! I didn't look graceful but it was fun to pretend. I thought it was interesting and the teacher was lovely, but it was more of an educational experience that an exercise class.

an extra gif from Step Up because it's the best movie ever.


If you're curious about it, your first class is only $20--or if you're on ClassPass, I hear it's pretty easy to get a spot. I would recommend it for a rest day or if you have another activity planned, since it's pretty low-impact. 


Some news I've been waiting to share is that on April 26th I will be competing in an indoor triathlon! It's like a baby triathlon - 10 minutes of swimming laps in a pool, 30 minutes on a spin bike, and 20 min on a treadmill. 

I ordered a new bathing suit to start my swim training and I can't wait! I've never swum for exercise so this will be interesting, especially when it's immediately followed by 50 minutes of biking and running. Sheesh. 

I'm waiting to start the swim training until my mouth has fewer gaping wounds, but today I tried out 15 minutes of spin following by 20 minutes of running and it was pretty tough. I also went on a real bike ride with my husband tonight for about 40 minutes. Gotta keep my muscles strong!


Wearing




I haven't gotten any fun new clothes in a couple weeks, but I did pick up a new nail polish. This is "Mind Your Mittens" by Essie.

Random, but is anyone else based in/around NYC obsessed with Jack's World? There's one next to Penn and also near my office on 46th St. I go once a week on my lunch break to get soy milk, tea, .33 cent cans of Fresca, and yogurt for work. This week they had some Essie polishes! It was only $3.99. 

I also got a huge bag of Bob's Red Mill coconut flakes for $4.99!

Eating

Pre-Wisdom Teeth extraction, I calorie splurged and got my favorite sandwich at Pret A Manger: Posh Cheddar and Chutney (no picture, sorry. I ate it on the train). It's got 720 calories-so I don't get it very often. The crusty baguette was a perfect goodbye to chewing and it kept me full for many hours after my surgery when I didn't want to open my mouth even for water. 


On Friday and Saturday morning, I had scrambled eggs and half of a very ripe 'cado for breakfast. 


For lunch on Friday, I had leftover curry that was pretty easy to chew - stir-fried cabbage, carrots, and frozen peas cooked with curry powder, grated ginger, and garlic and topped with salt-and-pepper tofu (I just browned the tofu in a separate pan and liberally seasoned it with S&P). 


I chose not to photograph the entire pint of Chocolate Haagen Dasz I had for dinner on Thursday, but if you follow my insta then you've seen the delicious Red Mango treat I grabbed after the gym on Saturday. This is a swirl of the dark chocolate sorbetto and popcorn (!) flavors topped with mini gummi bears and blueberries. I may treat myself again today depending on how many miles I log. 


My husband got me the little applesauce six-packs which I've been eating like crazy because it feels good to have something cold in my mouth. I've discovered my favorite way to eat them is to mix in a tablespoon of PB2 and a little cocoa and cinnamon. Apples and PB is a no-fail combo!

Reading:

I'm still working on The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley.. I'm really enjoying it. Next up is a pick for Feminist Book Club - The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf.


I think I'll run outside today since the snow is mostly melted and the sun is out. Have a great weekend everyone!


Hope

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Favorite Tights from Athleta


So here I am, two servings of potato chips in, to talk about my favorite exercise pants. I have varied interests, ok?

Here's what you need to know about Athleta:

  • Size down. If possible, go to a store and try them on. When I was a size 14, I wore a medium. Now I'm a size 8 and I wear a small. Hope that helps.
  • Athleta has more sizes and styles and is slightly less expensive than Lululemon. They even have discounts occasionally. They have free workout classes in store on Saturday mornings in some locations. I am happy to support Athleta where I tend avoid lulu (I just don't appreciate their image, and, ok, those weird button scarves are waaay too suburban).
  • It's a Gap brand, so you can throw some active wear in with your Banana Republic order. One-stop internet shopping is my jam.
  • If you're looking for staples like running tights or sports bras, save up and get two of your favorite pair. If you see a sweater or cute little jacket you like, it's extremely likely it will end up on the clearance rack, so wait it out a bit. 

My favorites are the Chat tight and the Be Free running tights. I'm even modeling them for you which I hope you find somewhat helpful, as I do not have a fitness model body (like when on Anthropologie the real customers post photos of the item you're looking at - I love that). 


Be Free Series

This was supposed to be a test picture but it turned out the best, sorry I'm holding tape.



For my purposes these are exclusively for running. I never wear them to spin or yoga or anything because I like to keep them clean to run in since they're my favorite. Here's why:

*POCKETS! There is a side pocket that can hold your phone or ipod (you don't have to wear a BS arm band) and a back zippy pocket for your Gatorade dollar.

*Unstinkable technology: I wear them for 2-3 runs (6-10 miles) before washing them. I mean, if you bury your face in them after a run it won't be a great situation, but they won't stink up your gym bag. 

*The back-of-the-knee area is a mesh panel that breathes really nicely.

*Fit: they don't feel too tight or like you have to hike them up. They're like comfy sweatpants that happen to have compression. 

*Rise: They come up to my belly button and have a wide waistband.

I'm ordering another color right now! Dobby Be Free Knicker, $64.00

Chaturanga Series

Chaturanga tight

(regular) Chaturanga Tight

These are very cute and THICK. I originally bought these when I couldn't stomach another walk to barre class in frigid temperatures in my thin Old Navy crops. They're not designed for cold weather, but because it's such a luxe thick fabric they do keep the chill out. I haven't worn them in the summer yet but I feel they would do well in a lightly ACed studio. I don't wear them for activities where I'm very overheated, like spin.



Without getting specific - they are FLATTERING. On the weekends I wear them with longer sweaters and shirts. 

I posted a picture tucked in and out so you can get a general sense of the rise of these tights. These are the regular rise, which hit normally on my hips. They do slide down a bit if I'm moving a lot causing some muffin top (espesh with these thin tanks), but it doesn't personally bother me that much. 


High Rise Chat Tight 



I got these online to see if they solve the sometimes-muffin top problem of the regular Chat tight, and they do. They were out of my size in the regular inseam, so I got the tall. I have a 32" inseam, so these just pool a little bit, but they keep my ankles warm!  They are my perfect pair of yoga tights and look cute with ankle boots after class.

Here you can see they bunch at the ankles just a touch. 



Lexi and I thank you for stopping by!

-Hope

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday Morning Journal 3.14.15



This photo is entitled "I'm enjoying the camera on my new phone"


I'm typing from my dining room table. The driving rain is extinguishing the last vestiges of the snow on the ground and our vegetable garden is germinating by a sunny window.

My only wish on this quiet day is that I could figure out how to use my damn french press. This morning was my first attempt making coffee in an FP, as we currently have a Keurig, and before that I just went out every morning for a cup. I realize it's going to take some trial and error before I find the correct coffee:water:steep time ratio, but if you have any tips I'd welcome them. I'm drinking hot creamer water right now.


Exercising
I RAN OUTSIDE. I RAN OUTSIDE. Monday was sunny and beautiful, so I hauled ass to Central Park right after work. I meant to do the small loop starting at Columbus Circle but missed the turn, which I didn't realize until I was  halfway past the Met. I feel like I could have run forever. Yay, Spring!

Monday - 4.12 miles outside
Tuesday - 20 minute run, treadmill
Wednesday - Barre
Thursday - rest day
Friday -  10 minute run, 7 minute stair climber, strength training (easy day)



Forgot to selfie but here's my instagram of Central Park on Monday.

Wearing

I'm trying to leave my gray sweaters behind. I fell in love with this dress on the ASOS website on a particularly chilly day last week and I'm thrilled with it in person, too.  I got compliments all day when I wore it to work. People go crazy for a floral print ya'll. 




I can hear you thinking it.

Anyway, here's the link/better pictures if you're interested and a size 2 (the only remaining size).




Eating

This was my favorite dinner this week (I'm excluding the five-course gourmet dinner I had at a work event since I don't like to go into detail about work stuff). Did  ya'll know about this Vegan Tikka Masala from TJ's?! I hadn't been by in a month or two so I just now tried it for the first time. I feel better after eating it than the paneer option.

I served it with some sliced grape tomatoes, spinach, and TJ's frozen Na'an bread on the side. 



Also worth mentioning - City Kitchen in Times Square! It's similar to Plaza Food Hall in its offerings but has the virtue of being four blocks from my office. I picked up Dough donuts for some coworkers and ate 1.5 of them myself (they're huge).

If you're in the area, check out City Kitchen! It's great for a quick option before seeing a show or if you don't feel like walking to Ninth Ave. 


Reading:

I actually started two books this week and gave up on them. First was Us by David Nicholls. I loved One Day and liked Starter for Ten. I think Us is probably up to par with Starter for Ten but I wasn't feeling reading a book about a middle-aged guy.

I also started Dark Witch by Nora Roberts. I'm going to come back to this one when I'm in a 'witch novel' mood, because for all intents and purposes, it sounds right up my alley.



In the end I settled on The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley.. I'm about 100 pages in and liking it. One thing that annoys me about her writing is that she doesn't describe her main characters in a lot of detail. I'm having trouble picturing the heroine of the story - like, what color is her hair?

The story is good, though, and I'm looking forward to getting further into it.


Thanks for reading! It's time to get started on the weekend. I'm going to bust out some miles, bake a loaf cake, and practice  my coffee making skills.

Hope

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Shopping Inspiration for Spring, Part 1

I'm working on my shopping list for 50° and up. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the fashion choices I see online and in the city everyday and don't know how to make what I like work for me. This season, I'm taking a methodical approach so I don't end up with a pile of mediocre garments that don't mix well together

step 1: Identify what pieces I need from a practical point.
step 2: Collect images that contain colors, textiles, and silhouettes I'm inspired by.
step 3: Pick out pieces based on steps 1 and 2.


Step 1: Here's what's missing.
Spring coat - preferably one that is water proof and doesn't look dorky with my Everlane backpack.

Shorter jeans in lighter washes.

Walk-able flats to wear to the office with skirts and jeans.

Sneakers for commuting, weekends, and general coolness.

Skirts - lighter fabrics with loose sillhouettes (a-line, circle) that can be worn with or without tights

Tops - my t-shirt situation HAS to be fleshed out, like, now.

Watch for everyday wear. My fancy graduation present Bulova watch clashes with my wedding ring.  It's a problem considering that my commute adheres to a strict time table.

Step 2: What I'm inspired by.

So my whole Pinterest board is normcore, but I'm actually feeling really feminine stuff right now. I think I want everything I buy to be blush.

But talking about normcore reminds me that one thing is for certain - I need white sneakers right now.


The other day I was leafing through the Anthropologie catalog over some cheerios and I almost wept when I saw this image. I tore it out immediately. Both garments are beautiful and romantic, and it's been. so. cold. here. I know I didn't write that I need lace shorts but they are happening. Hey man, cheaper than therapy. 


Another pinboard photo - I am loving collarless jackets right now and I think I'd like something like this for March and April. 


This look is really feminine and dynamic. I saw some geometric sweaters at Joe Fresh that spoke to me and now I'm newly inspired to pick one up. 


I've always loved a straight denim skirt and happy they're coming back. Gorgeous tights too. 


Boyfriend jeans, yeessss!


Printed pants are comfy and on trend.


Cute light pink loafers and short skinny jeans - but man, those shoes would get destroyed immediately in Times Square (where my office is). 



I've been thinking about this a lot and I think leopard flats are the way I want to go for my work flats. I know they're a little "last year" but I'm wearing my husband's hoodie right now so wHaTeVeR.



Step 3: The List. 


Jacket

I'm in love and it's only $80. I'll  just get an umbrella. Mango


Jeans





The skinny resolution are my fave jeans of the moment, so I'll get another pair to work into rotation. I like the look of boyfriend jeans but in actuality they're too baggy for my style - I'll just cuff a pair of straight jeans. 

Sneakers


Black Slip Ons - Keds



Champion Mushroom - Keds


Keds are cheap, so I'm getting two pairs. How weird and cute are the mushroom print ones? I get keds every summer, they're perfect for every warm-weather activity, including wearing to work with cropped trousers. 


Leopard Espadrilles - Soludos


Classic Adidas - Zappos

I like these a little better than the way-cool Stan Smiths. I'm torn, though. I've been lusting after white sneaks for months but I'm extremely aware that they will be ruined after I wear them twice. Maybe I should just stick with the black slip ons?



I think someone is getting me this for a first anniversary coming up. How can I spin a watch as "paper?" Nixon



Hope


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Journal 3.8.15


Raising a coffee mug to sleep, good books, and a clean house.

Let's jump right in, shall we? My best friend from college visited this week with her three-year-old son, and I threw a party at my house for another friend's birthday. So this weekend has been comprised of cake, wine, Catchphrase, Grey's Anatomy, the Natural History Museum, not enough sleep, and one 20-minute treadmill session. I'm in no way ready to return to work tomorrow - damn you, springing forward!


Exercising
I crammed in gym time where I could this week between snow storms and extremely necessary 9pm trips to Trader Joe's. I've definitely worked out harder in my life, but I'm happy I got up and out most of the time.

Monday - 20 minute run, treadmill
Tuesday - Physique 57 - first time ever!
Wednesday - 5k on the treadmill
Thursday - 20 minute run, treadmill
Friday -  rest day


My friend Stefanie and I tried Physique 57 for the first time this week. It's like Barre on crack. I take Barre twice a week and found the beginner class we took pretty difficult. We used really heavy weights for the arm stuff that kept me sore for days - and man, they dip it LOW in this class. It's not convenient for me to take classes here so I'm not likely to pursue it, but if you like barre and want to see results fast, I recommend taking Physique classes a couple times a week. 


Wearing

In the photo above I'm wearing the Studio Crop Sweatshirt from Athleta, which I got on sale a week ago. It's so soft and comfortable! I wore it to work out in everyday this week. On weekends, I've been pairing it with a tucked in black camisole and high-waisted black jeans.



It's on sale for $40 right now!

Eating




I did a good job preparing healthy food for the week, which worked out since I've been eating pre-packaged Trader Joe's snacks exclusively since Friday.

I followed this recipe for Energy Balls on Peanut Butter Fingers as an alternative to granola bars. I actually forgot the cocoa powder, but the almond butter is scrump so I didn't mind. Mine are little more "rustic" than hers, probably because my food processor is very old. These were great for before a workout or as a dessert item. I wish I had more for this weekend but I don't feel up to rolling up a bunch of date balls right now.


I used my spiralizer (I love you like XO) to make sweet potato noodles this week, I blanched them and added them to stir-fried tofu and edemame, then coated them with this peanut sauce.

It was one of those serendipitous meals where I came across the peanut sauce recipe when I was looking at blogs on my phone on the train home. 1 sweet potato, half a cup of edemame, and a block of tofu made two servings.*

*probably four servings, but I ate it in two sittings.

Reading:

I finished The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes this week and now I'm not sure what's next. I have a couple of hot 2015 readz on my short list but there all kind of bummer-y (sideglance at Anthony Doerr).

I think I'll go pick out a book now to start on my commute tomorrow.


This week I want to run outside some and not eat too much chocolate. I hope all your March dreamz come true!

Hope