Sunday, October 31, 2010

Plottin' Plannin' Schemin'

Happy Halloween everybody!

This year marks the first time [ever?] I haven't dressed up for the occasion.

I'm not sure why- I just never got that wave of costume inspiration and all weekend, I've been perfectly content with celebrations of a low key nature, like the dinner date with my love and a PG-rated birthday celebration!

Speaking of, last night was tons of fun.

Alex's cousins came over and we carved pumpkins after dinner:

It turned into a competition for $5 (that I lost, of course)

After I got over my defeat, we had birthday cake!

Baskin Robbins ice cream cake to be exact... mmm mmm good!

When Alex brought the cake out, the 3 kids sighed with immense disappointment, "That's the smallest cake everrrrr..."

And thank God it was, since I was faced with this when I opened the freezer this morning:

Alex and I may or may not have spent our Sunday finishing this thing in its entirety just to get. it out. of the house.

But then we still have this to contend with:

Lucky for me, I'm heading to work tonight so this giant dish will be out of sight and out of mind.

While I'm still around the house, it'll stay right here in a place I can't reach:

This morning before cake, Alex and I went to Millie's Coffee Shop down the street for some breakfast.

I had a breakfast burrito:

with one of their DELICIOUS homemade biscuits on the side.

Today has been spent lounging and schemin' for the upcoming week back to the happy/healthy grind!

How great plans are born:
Before I head to work tonight, I fully intend to have the entire week ahead plotted out in terms of meals, workouts and work goals (not of the waitressing kind ;)

This detailed planning has been something I've done since childhood. I remember stretches in middle school where I would literally type up a schedule for my day- down to the minute.

An example?

6:30 Wake up
6:35 Brush teeth
6:40 Make up bed
6:45 Eat breakfast
7:00 Take shower
7:30 Leave for school

...etc. You get the point!

Well, my plans nowadays aren't quite so specific but the same checklist principle applies.

Are you having trouble sticking to a healthy lifestyle? Or maybe you've got a bad habit of eating out for every meal, even though your bank account would beg and plead with you to resist-if only it could talk?

If you've got a habit you're trying to break, or maybe a good one you're trying to incorporate into your life, it's all about making it a priority. I find by writing it all out (or drawing, if you're so inclined), you can make it a much more feasible reality.

A tidbit of my plan for the week?


Monday- 30 minutes cardio + weight training core and arms

Tuesday- Spin Class + Yoga

Wednesday- 30 minutes cardio + weight training lower body

Thursday- Light Yoga

Friday- 30 minutes cardio + weight training core and arms

The eating plan is a bit more detailed and involved, but to give you an idea:
  • I go through my favorite cookbooks and recipes to find a couple dishes I'd like to try during the week to keep things interesting
  • I take inventory of my fridge and pantry to see what I've got left to use up and am sure to incorporate them into my upcoming meals asap
  • I make one master grocery list to include everything I'll need for the planned meals, along with basic staples for breakfasts, snacks, salads and juice
This planning might take some time you're not willing to part with on your oh-so-precious Sunday but I can tell you without a doubt that it is THE best way to kickoff a healthy lifestyle plan for yourself.

As the weeks go by and you become more accustomed to everything, the planning will take less time and fresh, clean, seasonable eating will be second nature.

As always, if you've got questions or want help making a plan for yourself, email me!

Since I've been taking great culinary advantage of my birthday weekend, it's time for me to get back on track and help my body rid itself of all the birthday cake and goodies it's not used to taking in.

Green juice, hefty salads, whole grains and protein-rich legumes are going to be my belly's best friend during this first week of my new year on Earth.

Best wishes to you all as the week commences and ENJOY those Halloween treats!!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Before and After

What up yo?

Halloween is upon us and I still haven't finalized my plans... Ah well.

One thing's for certain: last night was a dinner to die for.

We went to Cliff's Edge, a happenin' spot in Silverlake with- no joke- a tree growing the middle of the covered patio dining area.

Don't believe me? Here's proof:

(Only it was WAAAAAY more crowded when we were there...)

Here's us pre-dinner, ready to par-tay

As soon as we were seated, they brought us two complimentary glasses of champagne :)

We started with the spicy mango ahi tuna tartare:

I chose the sea bass with onion and fennel rague for my main course:

But all that was really just to get to the grand finale...


Profiterole with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce

Fit for a birthday queen!


Our original plan was to hit the town after dinner and show LA who's boss.

But we opted to pass out in a glorious food coma instead.

So worth it!

This morning we woke up bright and early to hit up a swap meet about 30 minutes from home.

I made a tiny breakfast for the road (amazed I wasn't still full from the night before)

apple, banana, raspberries, strawberries and [of course] pumpkin butter.

We toasted our busy day ahead with some LA Mill Coffee (sayonara, Starbucks) and were OFF!

There wasn't much to be had at the swap meet, but during a quick stop at Target on the way home, I fell prey to my weakness for cookbooks and picked up this bad boy:

Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook

It's Vegan, written with a punch, loaded with kitchen tips and on sale. How could I say no?

Around this time, Alex and I were starving! We managed to find a food court complete with a healthy veggie spot where I chowed down on this...

"Protein Power Salad" Before:


Alex likes to balance his veggies with fun things like Hot Dog on a Stick:

Crazy boy ;)

We came home to get the house ready for his family's arrival...

I'm late posting tonight due to the birthday dinner and impromptu pumpkin carving "contest" we hosted.

I'll see you back here tomorrow with some pics from the night and other Halloween/birthday weekend fun!

Take care xox

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Lap of Luxury

It's Friiiiiiday!

And so begins my birthday weekend (or month- whichever ;)...

While driving yesterday, I saw a couple random things that highlight why I love the crazy city I live in.

(no offense smokers, I just think it's hilarious that this was chillin' on the median in the middle of a high traffic area- you'd NEVER see this in the Carolinas)


Before work last night, I had some dinner:

quinoa, roasted broccoli, green beans, squash and onion

Work was work.

This morning, I arose early for nutrition class and had some breakfast:

2 boiled eggs and whole wheat toast with Earth Balance

In class we discussed the importance of calcium intake- ESPECIALLY for women under 30!

TURNS OUT: a woman has accrued all the bone density she's ever going to have by the age of 30 (some studies are now saying even earlier- like 25-27).

This means we 20-something ladies need to pay extra careful attention to our calcium and vitamin D intake, since we're nearing the end of our bones' ability to accumulate mass.

A couple things to know:
  • While many think that calcium is all it takes, the fact is: Vitamin D is ESSENTIAL in bone health as it aids in the uptake and storage of calcium in the body. Moral of the story: You can't retain calcium without the presence of vitamin D.
  • Your adequate intake of vitamin D can be had by spending 15-30 unprotected minutes (yes, that means no sunscreen) in the sun daily. Science is still trying to determine the most vitamin d-rich foods... For now, the main edible sources include some fish (cod, shark, halibut), eggs and butter but none of them contain vast amounts. If you're really concerned, look into an over the counter supplement. Or just go outside and enjoy (my personal fav in life) the sun.
  • Your body is only able to absorb 500 mg of calcium at a time. If you think you're dong yourself a favor by taking that 1,000 mg calcium pill from the bottle, think again. In actuality, your body will take 500 mg from it and excrete the rest. Be sure to break up your intake of calcium-rich foods and/or supplements throughout the day.
Women over 30, have no fear! While you can no longer create bone density, there are still a number of ways to retain the great bone strength you've already got.

The best ways to do so are:
  • Quit smoking! (that one seems to come up a lot)
  • Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet and/or lifestyle.
  • Exercise Regularly. Research tells us that weight-bearing exercise is the best way to slow bone degradation. I was going to try and explain it myself, but I think this little tidbit sums it up quite nicely:
"Weightbearing exercise is any activity you do while on your feet and legs that works your muscles and bones against gravity. During weightbearing exercise, bone adapts to the impact of weight and the pull of muscle by building more bone cells. Consequently, bone becomes stronger and more dense.

Weightbearing exercise includes:

  • walking
  • jogging
  • hiking
  • dancing
  • step aerobics
  • soccer
  • baseball
  • basketball
  • tennis, racquetball
  • bowling"
Bowling! Imagine that- you can gather a group of friends, down a couple pitchers (ok, not too many), bowl your heart out AND save your bones all at the same time? Sign me up!

I got the info here.

After class, I headed to Old Pasadena to kill time before my haircut and free facial (I won a gift certificate back in February and the expiration date was coming up this Sunday).

I did a little shopping.

Apparently, I'm attracted to a very definite color scheme (please take note gift buyers- aka moms ;)

After a few minor successes in the shopping department, I headed to the Aveda salon for my appointments.

"Holy malarky!" is the only thing I could say to myself the whole 2 hours I was there. From the scalp massage to the provided magazines to that AH-mazing 45 minute facial,

I don't treat myself too often, so this was definitely something to relish in.

And THEN, it turned out the whole thing was free with the certificate!! I tipped my ladies generously and headed home, beaming from ear to ear. What a nice pre-birthday treat!

I walked into the kitchen and turned this (minus the clutter in the back):

Into this:

Since I was STARVING, I downed it quickly while watching President Obama on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (ehhhhh...)

Now my dears, I've got to excuse myself and head to the mirror to get ready for my hot date tonight.

I'm hoping that gargantuan salad serves as a good base for all the glutenous fancies I intend to stuff myself with this evening.

Have a beautiful Friday!

See you tomorrow :)

Tip of the day: Treat yourself! You'll be glad you did.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Your Essence

Hi guys,

This is going to be a quick one as I'll be out of the house for most of the day, then heading to work later tonight...

Today started with a yummy, yet standard breakfast:

2 egg whites + greek yogurt parfait with raw oats, ground flax, chia seeds, cinnamon and raspberries

Ahhhh! I almost forgot: the pumpkin butter.

You better believe that stuff's going on everything that comes out of my kitchen until I empty the jar.

Now for Deep Thoughts with Maddie (bwahahaha):

Yesterday in acting class, our teacher asked us to sum up who we are (aka our essence) in a single phrase. For instance, Kathy Bates would be "a down home, salt of the earth tough cookie."

Of course, all of us being put on the spot had no idea! It's funny how difficult it is to define your own self, isn't it? Being an actor in LA though, I think it's important to do this sort of exploration and find out what your base sellable product is.

After thinking in the shower this morning (all great thinking is done in the shower), I think I figured mine out.

**Bear in mind that your essence is a continuously evolving thing. Much like a phase in life or an onstage performance, everything is constantly changing- meaning there's never one final "black and white" answer.

My current essence: "A down to earth Southern girl who's always searching for the answer."

What's yours?

See you tomorrow...


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Healthy Pancakes... I swear

Well hello there,

I hope your hump day's going well.

Last night, I had a delicious dinner at work:

Salad with a side of well done salmon + wheat bread dipped in oil and vinegar.

While it definitely hit the spot, it didn't even COME CLOSE to the satiating experience that was this morning...

I wanted desperately to incorporate my new jar of delicious homemade pumpkin butter:

(It turned out quite well- the fresh apple juice is very present and I don't mind that one bit)

Hmmm, pumpkin pancakes? Nah, too much pumpkin. Toast with pumpkin butter? Nope, lacks the protein I need for my post breakfast workout session.

Then I thought back to a recipe I'd seen on The Fitnessista's blog a while back and figured I'd give it a try.

That's when these were born:

Perfect Protein Pancakes (courtesy of The Fitnessista)

The goods:
(coffee was for me, not the batter ;)

A little Earth Balance for the pan:

Here we goooooo...

Plop... Plop...

and BAM!

So good.

I'll admit: the consistency seemed a little strange to me at first- the batter's thicker and MUCH easier to handle than your average pancake recipe. "Sure it'll be healthy and protein-packed," I thought, "but will it make for a moist, delicious breakfast?"

Boy was my mind blown! With the pumpkin butter sandwiched between, it was a match made in heaven.

Another scoop? Don't mind if I do.

After those were SCARFED DOWN, I moved into my makeshift home gym...

and did some upper body work targeting the shoulders, upper back, biceps, triceps and chest.

It burned.

I hope I did it right... I know that's a weird thing to say, but sometimes working out at home just doesn't feel as effective as going to the gym. I'll know tomorrow when I get out of bed. I hope there's pain.

After I pumped da iron, I had a couple hours before acting class so I tackled the pile of dishes in the kitchen, only to form ANOTHER mountain with lunch (Santa, please bring me a dishwasher).

I was feelin' the lentils today:

I tried using the vegan bouillon cube to season the lentils (like I mention here with the quinoa), but it turns out: I prefer a simple garlic clove dropped into the water while the lentils are simmering (garlic means less sodium too).

I topped the legumes with raw red bell pepper and goat cheese.

The side dish (aka side paper towel):

Homemade sweet potato fries fresh from the oven.

I packed a salad for class:

Spinach, cucumber, carrots, goat cheese, strawberries, balsamic vinaigrette and pecans.

And brought this bottle along:

Aloe Vera juice is one of THE best bottled drinks you can consume on a daily basis. It contains all sorts of detoxifying properties that aid in digestion, clean the colon and act as anti-viral/anti-fungal agents (repelling those pesky seasonal colds).

**Note: I suggest drinking 100% pure aloe vera juice sans the sugar- the bottle above was a little too sweet for my taste... Be warned though: the REAL stuff tastes pretty tangy and plant-like, but as long as you know you're doing your body good, I think you'll acquire a taste for it. Plus, you only need 2-4 oz. a day to experience a noticeable effect!

Now I'm here on the couch, tummy rumbling with 2 pro sports games playing in the background (not my choice, obviously).

As soon as they're over, Alex and I are going to get dinner. It'll be an early evening since tomorrow is head shot day!

I'll let you know how it goes ;)

Tata for now,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Celebrity Encounter

Greetings party people,

I hope your Tuesday's going well...

Yesterday, I left off by saying I was suffering from a bit of a rut in the kitchen.

After an exceptionally productive acting class last night, I stopped by Whole Foods for several reasons:

A) Because I miss it- I rarely shop there anymore (it used to be my go-to place)
B) I was starving when I got out of class
C) I was hoping to gain inspiration from the goodies found here:

That's right: the infamous hot food bar.

I must have looked like such a weirdo- I weaved in and out of those buffet aisles at LEAST 5 times waiting for inspiration to strike... nothing.

I decided to mosey on over to the frozen food section and see what Amy had cookin'..

On the way, I almost ran smack dab into Colin Farrell and his [ahem] lady friend?

(I guess celebrities like to hit up Whole Foods just before closing time too)

Attempting to steer clear of the usual salt-laden frozen meals, I opted for this:

Low sodium, vegan, Mexican-influenced. Hello! I'll take it.

I came home, fixed a plate and managed to down one of the enchiladas, along with a hefty handful of tortilla chips and salsa.

This morning, I had some coffee...

I can't get enough these French Press photos- I think it's such a lovely contraption.

I had a bowl of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" breakfast:

Hemp-nola with goji berries, chia seeds and almond milk.

With sufficient fuel for the bod, I headed to spin class. Gah, that workout is like a drug! Having stayed away from the gym for about 3 days prior, today's class was slightly more difficult than usual but damn does it pay to stick with it!

Feeling good, I did a little ab work then headed home to make a smoothie with another long lost Whole Foods specialty:

a GIANT box of organic baby spinach (I can't find a box this big anywhere else)

The rest was water, protein powder, frozen banana and blueberries.

I did a little work and reading, then made a repeat of the previous night's dinner:

After that hit the spot, I headed to Trader Joe's to refill the veggie stock in our house.

I got a NEW vegetable to tackle:

An artichoke! I've been seeing them everywhere lately, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Along with a couple recent newbie repeats (because they're THAT good):

Butternut Squash + pomegranate

After I finished unloading everything, I rolled up my sleeves to get started on a goodie currently in the making: Homemade Pumpkin Butter (another "Oh She Glows" recipe).

First thing to do? Turn these:

Into this:

Since the juicer was all assembled, I made this for my immediate consumption:

The main ingredient, of course:

Everything in the pot before mixing:

It's currently bubbling away on the stove. The house smells like a heaven where Christmas comes everyday!

I'll let you know how it turns out tomorrow.

Right now, I've got to throw a salad together for work, then head out.

I know I promised info on my new workout plan but I'll have to save it for another day.

Have a great night!