Five Things Friday: Fitness, Funnies, and Random Ramblings

Wow, Friday came along FAST this week! I’m linking up again this week with the DC Trifecta (Eat Pray Run DCMar on the Run, and You Signed up for What?!!) and their Friday Five Linkup! It looks like EVERYONE was busy this week!

Today is “Free Friday” with the Friday Five, so I’m sharing a little fitness update & randomness with you.


First, I’m happy to say that since I listed a summer goal of kicking up my fitness a notch that I actually did some kind of exercise EVERY DAY this week! The weather has been SO nice this week for running/hiking/walking. I even logged a 2nd Pilates session this week. And, I’ll be taking my VERY FIRST class at Soulcycle in Palo Alto on Sunday! When I put my goals on paper, I really take them seriously! 🙂


Yesterday was a REALLY good day! I don’t know if it is because the past couple of weeks haven’t been that great, but all sorts of good things happened yesterday and I am GRATEFUL!

In addition to getting several new writing assignments (yay!!) I found out that I was chosen to be a new Sparkly Soul Ambassador! I’m so excited to be representing this awesome brand. Every girl deserves a little bling, right?

Today I Am Grateful |



Ok, were you one of the 10,000,000 people who saw the “Dear Kitten” video on YouTube this week? If you haven’t seen it, I am SO JEALOUS! You get to see it for the first time now! If you have cats, have ever had cats, or just like cats, you will CRACK up when you watch this video. Seriously, watch it now. If you are like me, you will watch it at least 20 more times. And still laugh. Every time. Seriously.



June is the month for peonies, and I LOVE PEONIES!!! If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen the beaucoup photos that I have posted of my peonies. I love the way they look, the way they smell! I can’t get enough!

Peonies |


Happy Father’s Day weekend to everyone, especially to my Daddy! Wish I could be there to spend it with you, but I will see you in August — Love you!!

Happy Friday, y’all!

Share your Friday Randomness below!!



Meatless Monday Recipe Roundup: Elegant Egg Dishes

Since I moved to California, I’ve become a little spoiled with the open-air grocery stores and Farmer’s Markets that are in no short supply! Fruits, veggies, and herbs that were freshly picked the same day? Yes, please!!!

Menlo Park Farmer's Market

Shopping local for fresh ingredients reminds me so much of the European way of life, which is my opinion is “LIVE EVERY DAY!”

I particularly like simple French-inspired egg dishes such as quiches, that you can whip up in no time for friends and family. They can look very elegant, and are a perfectly balanced meal especially when paired with a salad of fresh greens!

Here are a few of my favorite meatless egg dishes in honor of Meatless Monday.

This Spicy Veggie Frittata is a Pinterest favorite, still scoring loads of views & repins every day!

Spicy Veggie Frittata |


Next is a Broccoli & Cheese Quiche. I make this one pretty often and always hope there are leftovers so I can steal some for breakfast too!

Vegetarian Broccoli Cheese Quiche



Next up is my Low-Fat Asparagus Quiche. I made this one a little lighter so you can try both varieties. You can add pretty much any veggies you like to these — hard to go wrong!

Reduced Fat Asparagus Quiche Recipe |


And finally, my new favorite, my Fingerling Potato and Kale Frittata! This one has delicious roasted potatoes & healthy greens. I think it looks so elegant, and it was so easy to make in this cast-iron skillet!

Fingerling Potato & Kale Fritatta |




Do you have a favorite egg dish that you like to make for dinner? Is it a quiche, frittata, or something else?


Friday Five: 5 Places I’d Like To Run

Happy Friday! I have been absent for a couple of weeks, but not because I wanted to be! I was moving to a new hosting provider, and the migration was not as easy as I had hoped it would be. I’m thinking some of you fellow Bloggers can feel my pain, right?

The really bad part is that I lost ALL of my Blog subscribers! The number of subscribers I had using the plugin from Jetpack is now a big fat zero, and I don’t have all of the email addresses to get in touch & let people know 🙁  So here I go again with an attempt to grow traffic from scratch.  SIGH…

Today I am linking up with Mar on the Run, Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, and Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?? for their DC Trifecta FRIDAY FIVE LINK UP.

The theme this week is “Five Places I’d Like To Run.” I’m excited to join this link-up for the FIRST TIME!

Without further delay, here are the Five Places I’d Like to Run!!

1) Vancouver, Canada – The Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon 

Vancouver |

Image from SeaWheeze Half Marathon

This Half Marathon sounds AMAZING! I saw pics from runners who ran this last year, and the views were incredible. As if the scenery weren’t inspiring enough, there is pre-run yoga & an after-run festival. This run is most definitely on my bucket list. Has anyone run this half? Does anyone want to??? 🙂

2) The Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half-Marathon

Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon |

Image from

13.1 miles of running through vineyards and then wine at the end? I’m SOLD! But so are a lot of other folks … this race sells out FAST! Haven’t been quick enough to get a spot  yet, but I’m going to keep trying.

3.  Patagonia, Argentina

Patagonia |

I’m a sucker for gorgeous views, lemme tell you. Nothing puts a smile on my face like a run while taking in something amazing! Patagonia, Argentina is #7 on the list of 100 Places to See Before You Die. It’s on my list too!  Just … WOW!

4. Springtime in Tokyo, when the Cherry Blossoms are in Bloom

Cherry Blossoms |

Photo courtesy of El Scrapeo via Flickr
Aoyama Cemetary, Tokyo

My husband took this photo, and though I have visited Tokyo a few times I have not had the pleasure of being there during that precious week when the Cherry Blossoms or sakura are at their finest. Peak season is mid-March, though you can find a more precise schedule from year-to-year posted by the Japan Weather Association! These are my FAVORITE flowers — such a delicate pink. I can’t imagine a better backdrop for a run!


5) Zakynthos Island, Greece

Zakynthos Island |

And once again, that gorgeous turquoise water has caught my eye!! Though the rugged terrain may make for a tough run, what a prize at the end when you get to relax and enjoy the view from this beautiful beach! I think I’ll just close my eyes and pretend I’m there for a few minutes now 😉


Have you ever run in one of the places? Make me jealous & tell me ALL about it in the comments, please!!

What are some of the places you dream of running? And if you aren’t in to running, how about beautiful places on your Bucket List to see someday?

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Meatless Monday Recipe: Tomato & Chickpea Thai Soup

The other day, I was really craving garbanzo beans and a really flavorful soup. I started nosing around in my pantry, which usually has a few goodies I’ve forgotten about. I found a can of my favorite Coconut Milk as well as garbanzos & diced tomatoes, and I got to work creating this recipe.

Tomato and Chickpea Thai Soup |

I LOVE Thai flavors! One really distinct flavor that I used in this soup (and use as often as I can) is the Kaffir Lime leaf. These are used similarly to bay leaves in soups & sauces for their flavor, while the limes on a Kaffir Lime plant aren’t really edible. If you haven’t tried cooking with these leaves & you love Thai food, you are missing out!

Here’s what you’ll need to whip up this coconut-y, yummy soup.


  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (with juices)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces)  of canned garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) to the soup – Save the rest of the can for garnish later!
  • 1 14-oz can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (optional)
  • 2 Kaffir Lime leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Salt, Pepper, and Red Chili Flakes to taste



  1. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or medium/large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion, crushed garlic & a little salt & black pepper. Cook until the onions become translucent (about 8 minutes).
  2. Add the diced tomatoes, maple syrup, cilantro, and Kaffir Lime leaves. Stir to mix well.
  3. Add the garbanzo beans and canned coconut milk. Fill one of the empty cans with water, and add this to the pot. Cover with a lid and and simmer over low heat for about  30 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a blender in batches to puree ingredients.

NOTE: You will need to transfer the mixture to a separate bowl or pot to do this in batches. You want to do this in batches because HOT liquid will tend to shoot out the top of your blender. Been there, done that!  I also tried using a hand blender, and it was NOT powerful enough to puree the garbanzo beans so save yourself a step unless you have a really heavy duty hand blender!!

I toasted the rest of the chickpeas with a little salt & pepper in my toaster oven & added to the top of my soup for a little extra crunch.

I also garnished with a little more chopped cilantro & red chili flakes and served with a couple of slices of a crusty baguette. DELICIOUS!

This is a really nice protein-rich soup that is full of flavor & other nutrients.


Do you like Thai flavors? Do you make your own Thai soups & sauces at home? Share your recipes with me below in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by!


Fitness Friday: Work Out at Work

Hey everyone! Happy Friday. I took a few days off last week for some much needed R&R, but I’m back to give you another great option for fitting a workout into your work day as part of the Workouts You Can Do Anywhere series.

Let’s talk about the work day…

Some of you have a desk job that leaves you kind of folded in half & hunched over for the majority of the day, (been there!) while others may do work requiring standing on your feet for most of the day. Whatever your current situation, I’ve got some ideas for how you can squeeze in a workout while you’re at work!

I’m sure one concern is getting sweaty and not the having time or facility to shower in the middle of day. Lucky for us, there are several AWESOME No-Rinse Bathing Wipes on the market that you can throw in to your handbag that will nip that problem in the bud!

The Desk Job Workout

I love this infographic from that gives you several ideas you can do while still parked at your desk. You can try these while you are on a conference call or during a break.

Work Out at Your Desk |


Time to get out of your chair too? Even better! Walk around the block to warm up & cool down before & after doing one set of these exercises.

Now, for those of you who are standing most of the day at work …

The good news is, you are already burning an average of 50 calories more per hour that people who sit during the day. And if you are doing a job with extra activity while standing (cooking, styling hair, giving facials) then you are burning that many more calories!!!!

While you’ve got the advantage here, you still need to crank up the intensity a bit to get that cardiovascular workout you need.

Take advantage of adding a little pep to your step on the way to work. Park farther away than you do now & try and get a 5-10 minute walk from your car both before & after work. Got lots of stuff to haul with you?  Great! That’s extra resistance — but make sure you are balanced! You don’t want to injure yourself by carrying 25 pounds on one shoulder!

Park in a parking garage? Take the stairs instead of the elevator when going to and from your car. Three flights of stairs three times per day burns off about 45 calories. Doesn’t sound like much, but over time it can make a huge difference!

Take the Stairs |


On your break, try walking to pick up lunch vs. ordering in. Go for a quick walk around the block to push through that afternoon slump instead of grabbing a coffee that might lead to poor quality sleep later that night.

Hope these tips for How To Squeeze a Workout Into your Work Day were helpful!


Is there a special part of your commute or daily routine that you thought of that can be changed to help you burn a few extra calories? Share it with me below!


Meatless Monday Roundup: Use Those Leftovers

If you’re like me, you hate throwing away leftovers. As if the waste weren’t bad enough, think of all that time you put into grocery shopping, food prep, and cooking just to toss the leftovers away. Ugh, I hate that!

Stop the madness! Today, I’m showing you 5 Easy Ways to use stuff you probably always have in the fridge to make a great breakfast, lunch, or afternoon snack.

Everyone's Favorite French Toast.jpg

1. Got half a leftover baguette or biscuits from last night’s dinner? How about whipping up French Toast for breakfast or brunch? This recipe is a huge crowd pleaser. As someone who order French Toast every single time I see it on a menu, let me tell you … this recipe makes a mighty fine breakfast or brunch. Got fruit or berries in the fridge too? Perfect! Toss on top for an extra nutrient boost!!

Savory Quinoa Cakes


2. If you’re a vegetarian who is always looking to add a little more protein to your meals, then you probably cook quinoa pretty often. Like rice, we tend to cook more than we may use in one serving. Tired of just reheating & eating leftover quinoa? How about trying these awesome Savory Quinoa Cakes? I whipped these up one night before friends were coming over for a cocktail. Even the meat eaters went back for seconds!

Quinoa Breakfast Porridge


3. Usually grab a bowl of instant oatmeal for yourself or make hot instant cereal for the kids? Forget about instant today and try heating up leftover quinoa and topping with yogurt, honey, and berries to make this super fast, easy, and protein-rich Quinoa Breakfast Porridge. So so good!

Slice of Fritatta on a Plate


4. Got leftover veggies or raw veggies with a short shelf-life? Fritattas are a great way to get a good source of protein (from eggs) as well as nutrients from any veggies you have lying around. The Fingerling Potato & Kale Fritatta in the photo used leftover potatoes as well as some kale I had in the fridge that I threw in for even more of a protein boost. The most popular recipe viewed on this blog with loads of Pinterest pins & likes is the Spicy Veggie Fritatta. Again, this is a great way to use up eggs that are nearing the expiration date, whip up a quick dinner, and use some veggies that won’t last much longer in the fridge.

Talk about using up leftovers… if you make this for dinner, you may even have enough to take with you to work for lunch the next day. Heats up in a minute, unlike those frozen dinners that take 8 minutes in the microwave. I’d much rather be eating than wasting ten minutes heating up something full of preservatives in the microwave!! As Sweet Brown would say, “AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!!!!!”

Sweet Brown


5. What about bananas? I don’t know about you, but I like my bananas just after they turn from green to yellow. Once they have spots, I have GOT to hide them in a protein shake, something I’m baking, or transform the ingredient (as they say on Chopped 😉 into something more palatable!! Voila! Try these Sweeter Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Full of beta-carotene (which your body turns into vitamin A), these sweet potatoes have a little brown sugar for taste, but you can easily add stevia, raw honey, or anything you prefer for natural sweetness.



I hope you found this Meatless Monday Recipe Roundup on How To Use Those Leftovers helpful! I’m always looking for ways to use up veggies & other leftovers.


Have you got your own favorite ways to use leftovers? Leave me a comment below & share your tips & tricks!!



Fitness Friday: Are You a First Generation Fitness Enthusiast?

Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to try something a little different for today’s #FitnessFriday post.

Until recently, I was one of the only people in my extended family that was really in to health & fitness. A little while back, my cousin Jill started kicking butt & taking names by ramping up her fitness & dropping a significant amount of weight (good job, girl!!) My “cousin-in-law” Beth also joined the party and despite having four young kids and a full-time job, she is up at 4:30 a.m. to hit the gym before the kids are up getting ready for school.

Then LOTS of other cousins and my sister started the 21-day Advocare challenge. My sister lost a whopping 40 pounds in 40 days!!! My cousins have all posted great results of their own on Facebook & continue to drop pounds each week.

We are all what I call First Generation Fitness Enthusiasts. By that, I mean we didn’t grow up with moms and dads who did Jane Fonda or mall-walking (at least as far as I know!!!)

At some point, we each came to the conclusion that we wanted it enough to BRING IT, despite the time, energy, effort it took or the fear of making a change.

Because change can be scary, right? Change brings up feelings from the past, maybe when we tried something that didn’t go so well. The image below says it all:  If You Change Nothing, Nothing Will Change!


Question: Are You a First Generation Fitness Enthusiast? What prompted you to embrace change and opt for a healthier lifestyle? Also, what motivates you to KEEP GOING when something comes up?

If you have a blog or Facebook page where you talk about your own fitness challenge & journey, I invite you to share your link below! It helps us all stay motivated when we realize how much we have in common with one another!

Have a great weekend!!

Meatless Monday Recipe: Magical Breakfast Cream

I’ve always been a little enamored with the French lifestyle. The language and the accent were always very attractive to me, which is probably why I continued studying French after high school. The women I met always seemed so confident (and THIN!) as well.

Now, after visiting France, I can say that some of the romantic imagery in my head is true — the open air markets, the calm, “go with the flow” attitude — and others not (not every woman is stick-thin and walking around town with a snobby poodle).

Most of the food is wonderful and people take time to enjoy what they eat, even if that means not rushing back to the office within 30 minutes (GASP!)

A few weeks ago, I started looking for easy & tasty dinner recipes and I stumbled upon the French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook written by once-CEO of the famous Veuve Cliquot champagnerie, Mireille Guiliano.

French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook

I highly recommend this cookbook (which you can find here) for a multitude of fabulous recipes!!

One of my favorite recipes in the French Women Don’t Get Fat cookbook is for breakfast … the tantalizing Magical Breakfast Cream recipe. This is extremely tasty, filling, and highly addictive! I’ve been making this just about every morning for the past two weeks, and I can’t get enough. It has also helped reduce the sweet cravings I was having during the day.

I’m excited to share this one with you for Meatless Monday! Here’s what you need to make one serving.

Magical Breakfast Cream Recipe

Preparation Time: 10-15 Minutes


1/3 cup yogurt (I used lowfat Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey (or to taste)
2 tablespoons finely ground cereal (with no added sugar — I use Udi’s Au Naturel granola)*
2 teaspoons finely ground walnuts*


1. Mix yogurt and oil in a bowl. Add lemon juice and mix well then add the honey and mix well. (It is important to add each ingredient one at a time, mixing well between additions to obtain a smooth, creamy texture.)

2. Add ground walnuts and cereal to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Serve at once.

* You can finely grind the cereal and walnuts using a small food processor or mortar and pestle.

Mireille’s notes:

* You can do a week’s worth of grinding cereal/nut mixture and keep it refrigerated so in the morning it will take just an instant to mix together!

* Flaxseed oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, have no fear, you will not taste the oil in the fine creamy blend.

Very simply and oh so tasty! What’s your favorite healthy breakfast recipe?

Fitness Friday: Lower Body Blast

Happy Friday! So many people LOVED my previous post, The Best 10 Workouts You Can Do at Home … especially the Kill Those Calves workout. That workout alone received more than 1400 repins on Pinterest!

If its lower body you want, then that’s what you’ll get!! 🙂

I’m working on more lower body toning myself, and I have reviewed TONS of lower body workout pins on Pinterest, YouTube videos, as well as my print magazine archives.

Today I’m going to share one of the BEST lower body workouts that I found.

This was a segment from one of Jillian Michael’s videos that I discovered on YouTube. I’m having you repeat each move three times to get that lower body burn that will equal GREAT RESULTS.

I’m calling this workout the Lower Body Blast. I did this 2 days ago, and I can still feel the burn (in a good way!)

Lower Body Blast workout

Tack on this 20-minute session after 30 minutes of cardio or do on its own to create shapely glutes & thighs. To watch each of these moves performed, check out Jillian’s demo here.





Meatless Monday Recipe: Coconut Flour Paleo Pancakes

Happy Monday! As promised last week, I’m sticking to my protein-packed Meatless Monday recipe theme this week. Today we’re cooking breakfast!


Eat Cake for Breakfast

Who doesn’t want cake for breakfast … especially when its a healthy, tasty, Paleo-friendly pancake recipe 🙂

This recipe uses coconut flour instead of regular flour & egg whites instead of eggs. I like using a carton of 100% cage-free egg whites vs. separating eggs, but it is entirely up to you!

Here’s what you need to make six medium-sized pancakes …


  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 scoop vanilla-flavored whey protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 dashes cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • 2 dashes ginger powder
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp 100% egg whites
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted in microwave (plus extra coconut oil to use in skillet)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (may substitute regular milk here if you aren’t on a dairy-restricted diet)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pam cooking spray

Optional ingredients: Sliced bananas, Pure maple syrup



  1. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (coconut flour, whey protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and ginger.)
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg whites, 3/4 cup almond milk, vanilla extract, and melted coconut oil.
  3. Pour the egg white mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir well. You want this batter to be the consistency of regular pancake batter. If it is too thick, add a little more almond milk to thin out.
  4. Spray a large skillet with Pam cooking spray & heat over medium-low heat. Add a little coconut oil to the pain as well.
  5. Once oil is melted, pour some of the batter into the skillet to form a 6-inch pancake.
  6. Cook until the bottom of the pancake has reached a golden-brown color and top is set (you will see the pancake bubbling, just like a regular pancake). Flip & cook the other side.
  7. Remove from pan & repeat until you have used all of the batter. This recipe makes about 6 pancakes.

Product recommendations:

If you can’t easily locate coconut flour or coconut oil at a nearby grocery store, I recommend purchasing Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour and Barlean’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil on Amazon.

paleo-pancakes-nutritional info