Starting today and continuing through Thanksgiving, I’m setting a goal for myself each day to find one thing I’m thankful for. Scientists who study happiness have found that people who keep gratitude journals (daily or even several times per week) consider themselves happier than those who did not.
Think about it … Don’t you always feel good when you focus on something positive? What is more positive than recognizing something that you consider a blessing?
I’ll be posting my daily “Thank You’s” on my Instagram page & using the hashtag #attitudeofgratitude.
Join me and discover if this boosts your happiness quotient for the next month!!
Fitzgerald was always one of my favorite authors, and this quote from The Great Gatsby: “Life Starts All Over Again When It Gets Crisp in the Fall” has a whole new meaning for me this year. I am truly motivated to be the happiest that I have ever been!
I am grateful for all of the good things and amazing people in my life, and I know and appreciate that any negativity I am experiencing is going to make me stronger.
Question: Do you love the Fall weather? Are you experiencing any EXCITING new beginnings? Please share!!
Organic tomatoes, freshly-picked basil leaves, high-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, buffalo mozzarella, as well as sea salt & freshly ground pepper all make a difference.
We planted tomatoes a little late in the season this year, so the ones I used today are beautiful fresh local heirloom tomatoes from our local market. I’m SUPER excited that I HAVE BASIL in my garden this year!! We didn’t plant any basil last year, but this year we have 3-4 plants that are doing well. I LOVE going out & picking out a few big, fragrant leaves to include in my summer salads. Ahhhh, summer on a plate for sure!
For the past several years, I have enjoyed going out to my garden and picking beautiful heirloom tomatoes and basil to make this salad. I have experimented with different cheeses over the years, but this is my favorite version.
- 3-4 large heirloom tomatoes (I used yellow & red ones above)
- 8-10 basil leaves, chopped
- Buffalo mozzarella, sliced thinly
- Extra-virgin olive oil (best quality you can afford — you only need a couple of capfuls)
- Aged Balsamic Vinegar (again, good quality makes all the difference)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Sea salt
- Slice tomatoes and arrange on a plate. I find that a big serrated knife does the best job slicing tomatoes.
- Add a thin slice of mozzarella in between each tomato slice. Sprinkle the chopped basil leaves over the salad, then add a little sea salt & freshly ground pepper.
- Using the cap from your bottle of olive oil, add a capful to each row of the tomato combo on your plate.
- Finally, drizzle a small amount of balsamic down the center of each row & you are ready to feast!
This salad serves 3-4 people. I always serve with a sweet French baguette. Enjoy!! ?
SO TELL ME …
What are your favorite summer salads? Do you grow lettuce, tomatoes, and other herbs/veggies in your yard?
Happy Friday, peeps! I’m linking up again with the DC Trifecta (Eat Pray Run DC, Mar on the Run, and You Signed up for What?!!) and their Friday Five Linkup! This week is a fun theme — 5 Ways To Beat The Heat — and very timely! Yesterday, as I went on my walk at The Stanford Dish the sun was intense! And I didn’t leave the house until 5:45 pm!
But it was a clear day — I mean, look at this view!
So, here are a few ways to stay COOL this summer when the days heat up!
1) Exercise indoors – I know, this can be boring. And you won’t catch me running on a treadmill unless it is a last resort. I like to keep things interesting, so I included 10 pretty awesome workouts in this post — The Best 10 Workouts You Can Do At Home. Try these for awesome arms & abs, sculpted legs, and killer cardio!
Check out these 13.1 Smoothie Recipes for 13.1 Miles if you are training for a half-marathon this summer! You’ll find some tasty treats here chock full of nutrients to fuel your run. Did I mention they are also yummy? Which one is your favorite?
3) Get Outta That Kitchen!
Ok, not out entirely … but don’t turn that oven on when its scorching outside! Try a few light summer salads, like this Summer Coleslaw when temps are soaring. It’s a great chance to go meatless for a day if you haven’t tried it! Mucho benefits!
4) Take a Dip
Remember how you used to swim when you were a kid? Not just dipping your toes in or tip-toeing around so you don’t get your hair wet. Throw caution to the wind, hold your nose, and go under water! Its a lot more fun than you may remember. You’ll have FUN!!!! I have a new suit that I am dying to wear. Now I have to track down a pool!! ?
5) Drink Up!
Yes, I mean hydrate! It is especially important to drink more water when temps rise, especially if you are exercising. I bought one of those pitchers that has a fruit infuser in the middle a while back to add a little zest to my plain water. I used it religiously for a few weeks, then I put it away when I was tidying up the kitchen one night. Time to pull that thing out and make some cucumber lemon water!!
SO TELL ME …
What are your tips for beating the heat? Any fun weekend plans to kickoff the summer?
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?
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!
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!!
Today’s theme is: 5 Things I Will Do This Summer
Here’ s my list!
1. Visit my family in Louisiana. I decided to throw my dad a big party for his birthday in August and invited all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. My dad will be thrilled! He loves a big family get-together, and I can’t remember the last time we all got together. It will be just like Christmas Eve when I was a kid, and we would all pile in to my MawMaw’s house. I’ve got a LOT of planning to do — Wish me luck!
2. Head back across the Pond. Since the hubs works for a French company based in Paris, he travels abroad quite a bit. I was lucky enough to join for a couple of weeks in July last year, and I hope to do so again this year. It would be nice to squeeze in a trip before the end of June, when the big shopping SOLDES (sales) are in full effect! Last summer it was much warmer than usual when I visited.
I took this photo from the roof of my husband’s office building in the 9th arrondissement on Bastille Day. I was shocked that the fireworks show didn’t start until around 11pm on a weekday so that it was completely dark.
I hope it is at least cool enough this summer so that I can stop in and have a cup of hot chocolate at Angelina on the Rue de Rivoli. The best hot chocolate I’ve EVER tasted! And it comes with a lovely little dish of the most yummy whipped cream! I sat down in the team room last year, but it was SO hot inside (most places in Paris don’t have A/C) the idea of drinking a hot beverage was out of the question. Champagne to the rescue! ?
Heading down to Anaheim to meet up with my #SweatPink Ambassador sisters for IDEA World Fitness Blogfest! I am super excited to attend the first ever Blogfest with Sweat Pink. Already got my room reserved! Hoping to connect with many more SPAs virtually before the show in August when we meet in person. Are you going??
4. Score new magazine assignments. Most of you know that I’m a Freelance Writer, and I write for cool magazines & publications like Z-LIFE (Zumba’s magazine), MAX Sports & Fitness, YouBeauty.com, and others. I’ve been a little lazy with my pitching lately, so I’m going to kick it up a notch & become an idea-generating machine!
5. Launch Awesome Beauty Product Giveaways on My Blog. I currently write about health, nutrition, and beauty. My love of beauty products is intense. I’ve got SO MANY samples to try and review in my beauty closet (yes, I’ve got an entire closet people … it is a sickness!!) Planning to spread the love, though. Sign up to the right of this post for Giveaways, and you’ll be added to the raffle for some awesome beauty product giveaways including luxury brands like Chanel, La Prairie, and others!!!
What are your plans this summer? Got trips planned? Any time for R&R?
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!
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!
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!
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!
SO TELL ME …
Do you have a favorite egg dish that you like to make for dinner? Is it a quiche, frittata, or something else?
I hadn’t heard of the Liebster Award until just a few months ago. For those of you who need a little background, the Liebster Award is an award passed around the blogging community. It is simply a way of getting to know each other & share new/great blogs with your friends & fellow bloggers.
First, you answer 10 questions asked by the person who nominated you. Then, you nominate 10 bloggers and create your OWN List of 10 Questions for them to answer. Sounds like fun!
Here are my answers to Susan’s questions (great questions, Susan!):
How long have you been blogging? 3 years this month!
What was your first blog post about? Work-Life Balance. The post was called The Balancing Act: Take Inventory. It was a series of reflective questions to ask yourself to figure out if you were spending the bulk of your time doing what you love with the people you care about the most vs. on other things. It is still one of my favorite posts, and I go back & re-read it/answer the questions frequently myself just to check in.
What do you do for work outside of your blog? I’m a Freelance Writer who writes about health, nutrition, and beauty for a variety of health and wellness publications including MAX Sports & Fitness magazine, Z-LIFE, Clean Eating, YouBeauty.com, and others.
What is your favorite recipe? My Spicy Veggie Frittata, which is easily my most frequently pinned recipe! I love it because it is super tasty & easy to make. I can whip it up for dinner and have leftovers in the morning for breakfast. LOVE that!
Why do you like fitness? I like seeing the progress I am making over time. I feel strong when I can hold a plank longer than the last time, run a faster mile, etc. Plus, it keeps me healthy by managing my weight, keeping my cholesterol levels in check (a problem for me because I am predisposed to high cholesterol genetically) I also love going for hikes & runs with friends.
Do you exercise alone or with friends? Both. I actually prefer doing cardio outdoors, which for me is hiking near my home at the Stanford Dish Trail or running on one of the nearby trails usually around Stanford’s campus. I find that I’m much more motivated to go for longer runs/hikes when I’m exercising & chatting with a friend.
Where is your favorite place to work out? Outdoors, near my home for cardio. I have a 1:1 Pilates session once a week, but otherwise I do strength training at home either using videos or workouts from the Nike Training Club app. I just don’t like going to a gym and standing in line to use machines. I feel like I can get a very effective workout at home. I’ve featured some GREAT & effective 15-minute workouts courtesy of Nike Training Club on the blog previously. Those are my go-to workouts.
What is your favorite way to relax? Kicking back with friends having a glass of champagne or a margarita, just chatting and laughing about our lives.
Where is your favorite place to travel? Hawaii! I’ve been to both Maui and Kauai, and I love the southernmost beach areas of both islands. I love visiting Wailea on Maui, specifically waking up & doing a little jog along the beach to get the day started.
How many countries have you been to? A few countries in Europe: France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, as well as England. I’ve also been to Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia. I’d like to visit Australia & New Zealand, as well as explore other parts of Europe, such as Greece.
Diatta at FemmeFitale Fit Club
Jody at Truth 2 Being Fit
Alyssa & Carla at Alyssa & Carla
Jessica at Jessica Gets Fit
Becky at Run Be Run
Caity Jane at Slim and Savvy
Paige at A Paige Full of Glitter
Amy Pope Fitzgerald at Twingles Mom
Mandy at The Running Besties
Jess at Just Call Me Janks
Please let me know when you have posted your answers so I can check them out!
Here are my QUESTIONS FOR YOU:
1. What is your fondest memory?
2. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
3. What was the best trip you’ve ever taken & why?
4. What is your favorite song to listen to while exercising?
5. What are your 3 must have beauty products?
6. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
8. How far away do you live from the place you were born?
9. Who is your Fashion Icon?
10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I am a devoted coffee lover. Seriously, to the point that I have to stop myself from having “just one more” so that I don’t start having palpitations.
I come by it honestly … I grew up in Louisiana, home of some pretty darn good coffee and have been guzzling it down before anyone outside of Seattle had ever heard of Starbucks. I even met my husband in a coffee shop in college!!!
I know that I can go overboard with my coffee so I was intrigued to try these LYFT Energy Stir Sticks for my afternoon caffeine-boost, a no-calorie “clean caffeine” product made from green coffee beans and boasting vitamin A as well as a handful of B vitamins that no cup of joe can offer.
I found the product extremely easy to use. Simply remove the wrapping from one of the sticks and stir into 8-ounces of the beverage of your choosing. Each stick contains 125 milligrams of caffeine — about as much caffeine as an 8-ounce cup of coffee.
I decided to mix it with a glass of sparkling water since staying hydrated is super important in this warmer weather. I did not detect any taste at all, which I considered a benefit. The fine powder seemed to dissolve completely, and I chugged it pretty quickly as I do when I’m drinking room-temp water.
THE ONLY CON …
I consumed this bevvy at around 2:30, and by 4:30, I was yawning & feeling oh-so-very-sleepy! My usual Grande Iced Coffee (packing 190 milligrams of caffeine) usually keeps me going well into the evening hours & gives me just enough of a boost to make it through dinner and a little TV watching but not enough to keep me from falling asleep at a decent hour.
So insanely convenient! No waiting for a coffee pot to drip or standing in a long line. Just keep it in your handbag, work bag, etc. for an anytime boost.
I would like to try LYFT again but this time use both sticks at the same time instead of just one. This coffee addict just needed a little more of a boost to keep going!
Learn more about LYFT Clean Caffeine by checking out their website: PureLYFT.com. You can also find them on Twitter @PureLYFT?
Have you tried LYFT? If not, would you try it first thing in the morning or for your afternoon boost?
Disclosure: I received a sample of LYFT Pure Energy Sticks to try as a SweatPink Ambassador. Opinions are my own.
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…
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!!
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
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
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
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!
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST
5) Zakynthos Island, Greece
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 ?
SO TELL ME …
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!