Monday, January 18, 2016

January 2016 Birchbox Unboxing

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Hi Friends!

As we push ourselves into the second half of January, already, I'd like to say that I've got my 'ish together. Alas, it's so not the case. However! My birchox finally arrived this month so it's not a total loss.

I was stoked to see that the theme was dedicated to what we want this year to be about. In the box was a sheet of stickers that you can choose from (below) and I chose "Strength". It's been a goal of mine for quite a long time to get fit. So fit, in fact, that I'd be walking around with a 4 pack. I want to fee comfortable running through Seattle in a sports bra. You heard me!

This is the year for it.

Now, I have been a member of Birchobx since December 2012 and a few of my posts have been on the company (Favorite Skin Care of 2015 and 5 Fall 2015 Lipshades). I am not affiliated with the company. They do not pay to tell you what I think about them. With that said, my heart would probably deflate just a little without my birch box every month. Here's the kicker for me. I always for get about it until it arrives at my door in it's beautifully decorated box. It's a sweet little gift I allow myself to have for $10 a month (+ tax). The Customer Service is insane and quite honestly, one of the main reasons I continue giving them my money every month. But! Most of all, it's makes me happy.

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They started allowing you to choose one of your items per box. For this month, I chose to get a liquid eyeliner pen. The last time I attempted to use one of these was ... pshhh Middle School? A time I would prefer not to look back on. This an brown lipliner. (Don't Ask.)

The liquid eyeliner is Eyeko. It's a fat eye pen and it has amazing ratings. I tried to use it the minute I got the box. Let's just say I will be youtubing some of my favorite beauty vloggers on How-tos. I also got an AMAZING stain that smells like Strawberry LipSmackers. Do you remember those? Am I too ancient to bring them up?

TonyMoly is right up my alley. Conveniently the lip shade comes in one color, Red. The remaining items are Ciate Nail Polish in Mineral Clarity, which I'm not very excited about. I wish I was but it's just not my taste. Key West Aloe Facial Cleanser, amazing for summer or a vacation. Plus 0.2 Meet your Destiny, smells better than I thought. I'll keep it in my gym bag to test it out.

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I'll still test out the nail polish, obviously. Maybe it'll last longer than the average coat! You never know. What are you making your 2016 about??

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Chicken Vegetable Boule Soup

Written while: Listening to Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15 (Lang Lang - Beethoven)

Don't mess with yourself guys. If you're sick, you're sick. Admit it. Take your time to rest up, eat soup and, I know you'll be surprised when I say this but, cheat.

That's right, you heard me. There's absolutely nothing worse than being sick and not being able to eat comfort food. Now I'm not saying go crazy. If you're allergic to something, please don't make yourself worse. However, if you're like me and don't dream amount a quality boule of sourdough on a regular basis, I say live. Be free and eat the damn loaf.

This past Saturday I was so sick. I went to bed late and got about 2.5 hours of sleep. I was a mess. I felt like I had gotten hit by a bus and my stomach couldn't decide if it wanted to throw nothing up (cause there was nothing in it) or just lay there in misery. I choose to lay in misery cause I'm the worst sick person ever. Eventually I forced myself to get up because I didn't have any food in house. I burning up. It was literally 43 degrees outside and I walked to the grocery store... in running shorts.

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I made list but didn't buy half of it, still not sure how or why (head sick happened). I walked out with a turnip but somehow forgot to buy almond milk. Anyways, I came home, cut up the chicken and added olive oil to my cast iron. I got to work on making soup because once everything is cut up, it's an easy waiting game.

This may come as a surprise but I don't like canned soup. I never have and I've always tried to figure out why. It wasn't until very recently when I started experimenting with creating my own soups that I'd come to realize I only like homemade, from scratch, all veggie soups.

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Here are my secrets/instructions for success soup:

  1. Use a cast iron pot. They work wonderfully and are easy to clean.
  2. Start with olive oil and add Mirequoix (1/4 cup onions, 1/4 cup carrots and 1/4 cup celery) and 2-3 garlic cloves to a pot.
  3. Add 1 diced chicken  breast into the mirequoix and let it cook/whiten on both sides. No need to cook through because the rest will cook while boiling.
  4. Add 48 oz of chicken stock to the mix and allow the soup to come to a boil.
  5. Add your 1 diced turnip when the soup barely starts to boil.
  6. I add in majority of my spices at this point because I like mine a bit spicy. (Spices I generally use: Himalayan salt, pepper, chili powder, red pepper flakes, basil and oregano.)
  7. Let this cook on medium for 20 minutes.
  8. Add your soft veggies (I love squashes here. I add 1/2 of one zucchini and 1/2 of one yellow squash to my soups)
  9. Let cook on medium-low for 15 minutes.
Serve in either a warmed boule (in the oven at 350 for 3 minutes) or in a bowl with crackers.

Stay warm and stay healthy, my friends!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

CorePower C2 UP

Oh my loves, I know exactly what you're thinking: What the heck is CorePower C2 and Why the heck do you looks so excited? 

I've gone to quite a lot of yoga studios throughout the past 10 years. I started with Hatha Yoga and then worked my way to Vinyasa. I have been to Hawaiian inspired studios, actually Studios in Hawaii, 24 hour fitness classes, YMCA classes and the basic everyday standard class. 

This past summer, a good friend's fiancé started to do a teacher's training course and invited me to one of her easy classes. I quickly discovered that this so-called "easy studio" tries to activate your mind through out your entered practice by keeping your body moving quickly and to fairly moderate music. I was floored! I'd never been to a studio like this in my practice. 

The class I took is politely referred to as a C1 class. It's the easiest of the classes because it isn't heated. I've been absolutely terrified to attempt a C2 class because it's in a heated 95* to 98* (The Hardest Thing). As you can imagine, even without my health background, I'm completely freaked out by these dangerous temps and don't want to pass out! It just doesn't seems safe. 

But, I conquered my fear! I went to a class and was the only one with a shirt on. I forgot my towel, of course, and I couldn't do the headstand. I went really easy on myself, focused on my breathing and I didn't black out! I'm supremely impressed with myself. Is that sad? -- Don't answer that because I honestly don't care. I'm my harshest critic anyways. 

I'm so proud that I'm going to post my gross "after" photos which are below. Check out my hot mess of hair, red face and all around drench-ness of my shirt! SO GROSS! LOL! I've never sweat so much in my life! -- That's a lie. I lived in Florida for 3 years but it's still nasty. My pants were soaked and I didn't realize it til I stepped outside in the 35* cold. Oh, Washington. You kill us. 

Namaste, friends!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Hello 2016, Hello Vancouver

Vancouver BC Marina, Marina, Boats, mountain, mountain view, water view, Vancouver BC

Hours after toasting to a better year for 2016, I hoped in the car and drove up though the Peace Tunnel to Vancouver BC. If you're unfamiliar with this side of the states, that's okay! Vancouver is about a 2 hour drive up from Seattle with a LOT of shopping outlets on the way. Conveniently we told ourselves that we would stop on the way home but had so much fun that we left well after open store hours.

Vancouver is gorgeous! I can't begin to tell you how delightful and unexpected the trip was. It was freezing, around 39 degrees, but stunning in the afternoon and evening light. It's not a big city but its surprisingly not small town either. There are darling little homes in between the parks around Yorktown and adorable little shops that were closed to celebrate the New Year.

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Even though Vancouver is super close, it's still a foreign country so when we crossed boarder patrol/customs we set our phones to airplane mode and turned on wifi. The first thing we did was panic because we realized that the speed limit is in kilos but then quickly realized that all cars have a kilo meter on them... Momentary silly heart attack. We ended up driving to a Park and Ride to take public transportation into the city. We figured it would be easier and less expensive. Plus, we wouldn't have to worry about parking meters all afternoon.

As you can see, upon arrival from the train, I took a photo of the map in the tunnel. I learned this trick in London on our second day because we can't use GPS on our phones and we were trying not to look like tourist. It works great every time. Super easy to figure out where you are by streets and the train tracks show stops for when we didn't want to walk. Both R and I are walkers so we walked the whole bit.

I truly wish I had taken a picture but our first stop was to a little itty bitty Sushi Restaurant that, no joke, had some of the BEST sushi I've ever had. That says a lot. I've had sushi all over. Orlando, Portland, Seattle, Virginia, DC... this was amazing. I will happily take a trip up there just for this grub again. SO GOOD.

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After eating our weight in raw fish, we began the walking. We walked from Yorktown to the Harbor Green Park, Waterfront to Granville. It was so lovely. I really really adored the Waterfront. I love water and the boats! So many of them with that amazing backdrop! Haha.

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The last photo I took was of the airplanes landing on the water. I want to post a video to instagram so if you don't follow me, maybe you should. ;) There was a Cheveron station, literally, floating out in the middle of the water for the planes to fill up. It was so weird! Haha.

Vancouver BC plane, Vancouver BC mountain view, mountain view, water view, waterfront view

I will definitely return soon because it was such a spontaneous short adventure and just how I want to begin the new year. All and all, a great day! I love trips.