Uncategorized, family, food, health, motherhood

The easiest Christmas appetizer you have to try! plus workout update (setback)

Happy December y’all!! I honestly am in disbelief that we are in the last month of the year, anyone else? If you’ve been following along with me you know that I’ve been on a health journey over the past several months and have tried different approaches as I go along. Well, last week I tried a barefoot cardio class at my local gym and loved it, so I went again two days later; halfway through my second class I tweaked my back so badly I couldn’t even walk on my own out of the gym bathroom soo that was a lot of fun! My Dad and I were talking about it and I realized, as much as I want to do all the fun classes and have done so many new things, the most success I have had in fitness is when I stick to regular ole’ cardio, i.e the bike and elliptical. As much as I hate to admit it, my body is just not cut out for fancy workouts; this is not to say I won’t be partaking in them anymore but I am going to shift my focus back to old school cardio and weights for the most part so I’m sure I’ll give an update on how that goes once my back is back to normal and I can get into the groove.

Now, even though we are staying health over the holidays, I can NEVER resist making fun holiday appetizers and desserts. I can’t tell you how much people loved this super simple appetizer that I made so I wanted to share it with you guys to maybe try it out this year or put your own spin on it. All you need to make this Christmas Tree app is some cheese to cut into cubes (regular or dairy free) in two different colors for layering, grapes, one celery stick and greens for garnishing. After cutting the cheese into cubes, place on cutting board or serving tray and layer between the cheese and grapes to create a tree. Cut about 1/3 of a celery stick to use for the trunk and cut one piece of cheese into the shape of a star for the topper. Garnish with the greens and viola, all done! I can’t tell you how easy this was and how many people commented on it. Let me know what your favorite festive foods are and if you give this tree a try! Until next time, xo Chrissy

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fitness, food, health, motherhood

How to Rock a Low Carb Diet + Thanksgiving Treat

Low carb diet + a Thanksgiving treat full of carbs, goes together like PB&J right?! Well actually it can; what I’ve been learning most on this weight loss journey is that balance truly is so important or else success is hard to maintain. By eating less carbohydrates over the past month I have dropped almost ten lbs and feel less bloated than I have in such a long time. One thing that has helped tremendously is that in the mornings I have a smoothie (can we get an Amen for NutriBullets, so mad at myself for not getting one earlier, the cleanup is SO easy!) with a scoop and a half of vegan protein powder mixed with a very small amount of berries, frozen spinach, water and a handful of seeds, such as chia and hemp. This keeps me from getting over hungry right away and gives me the nutrients I need. I would highly suggest incorporating this into your diets if you can. Now, if I’m going to do a workout I will have some hard boiled eggs or whole grain toast with peanut butter etc to go with the smoothie or else I don’t have enough energy to keep up. Instead of processed carbs I have been incorporating non-starchy vegetables whenever possible with meals and snacks and get as much protein as I can to avoid the sluggish side effects than can happen on low carb. Protein stays with us longer as it is digested slower than the other food groups and gives lasting energy instead of highs and lows like sugary items do. I’m not willing to have no carbs at all since they are important for brain function etc so I do have small amounts of fruit and whole grains. If you’re looking to kick start your weight loss I definitely have had success with focusing on lower carb-high protein, however as we know our bodies are all different but I would say it’s worth a try! Now for the fun and festive part: Turkey Cupcakes!

This is SO easy and fun for the whole family to put together. I made these several years ago so the picture quality is not great but I hope you can get the feel anyway. Make some cupcakes of your choice and frost, set aside for the time being. Get Oreo cookies and candy corn; place candy corn into the frosting on top half of cookie to mimic feathers. Take Nutter Butter cookie and with colored icing make eyes and gobbler on cookie to make the turkeys face. Let sit while frosting and icing hardens then stick the Nutter Butter into the cupcake and place the Oreo part slightly behind. Making all of these didn’t take as long as you would think and I had a lot of fun with it! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season ahead of you with loved ones! Until next time xo Chrissy

family, fitness, food, health, Uncategorized

Festive Fall Fit Tips!

This weather lately is throwing me for a loop. One day it’s hot as hell and the next I want to stay in bed all day curled under some fuzzy winter blankets. Its been pretty nice weather the past couple of months and I fell into a routine of walks and swimming, but now that the weather is so extreme from one day to the next I’ve been needing to focus on other activities to keep me active. I have been sticking with Orangethory a few mornings a week and have added some seasonal activities to the mix that I wanted to share since they are a fun and easy way to incorporate fitness into your daily routine while still having some festive fun regardless of the weather. From one person trying to take back their health to another, I hope this gives a little inspiration for staying motivated regardless of where you are on your health journey. Until next time, XO Chrissy

Family Fall Outings: I’ve found that taking my son to Halloween activities such as the pumpkin patches, bounce houses, fruit picking etc. is not only fun for him and gets his energy out but it gets mine out as well! Sure you could sit down and just watch from afar but walking through the patches, running around like a kid with him and being out in the world all day (or until the heat hits) gets my heart rate going and calories burned simply by doing outside activities with him. This coincides with my next tip below.

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Wear a FitBit: If you have a FitBit get in the habit of wearing it everyday. Even just going to the patches and events like mentioned above I can see how many steps I’ve taken and track my active calories burned and try to beat that each day in some way or another. Now naturally I do not do crazy active things every day but try to only take a couple of days a week off but even o those days off wear your FitBit or similar tool to be mindful of your activity and push yourself to reach goals you create.

Find indoor workouts you look forward to: I live in the Bay Area and October is typically very warm but in a month we’ll have consistently cold weather, which I love but limits workouts to the indoors most days. Finding indoor workouts that don’t rely on weather to be done is a great way to stay healthy during the cold months. I love workouts like Orangetheory or Spin because you can look at the screen and see where you stand next to others in the class as well as compare your stats from one class to the next, which if you’re somewhat competitive like me would be right up your alley. Not everyone can get to studio workouts and they aren’t always affordable so also look up online workouts such as FitnessBlender or Blogilates, both available for free on YouTube and there’s so many videos that can be done in the comfort of your own home, no equipment required.

Run, Forrest, Run!: I know some people will read my last tip and think “Well thats great for you people but I want to be outside!” and I hear you. Personally I think the best times to be outside in terms of soaking up the beauty of nature is Fall and Spring, but Fall wins in my book no matter what. Soak up the feeling of Fall with an outdoor run or walk, make sure to dress appropriately and layer for the weather. Let the foliage inspire you and put together a kick-ass running playlist. Pick new trails that you haven’t tried before and let your runs take you on your own personal Fall adventures.

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Eat seasonal and embrace the pumpkin!: If you live near a Farmers Market, shop there for local Fall produce and eat whole foods full of nutrients to keep you healthy and satisfied. Pumpkin has gotten a bad rap for being “basic” but it’s so good for you: it’s low calorie, delicious and packed with nutrients, especially high in Vitamin A. Look up recipes that call for squash and pumpkin; soups are especially easy and can be so healthy when made at home with simple ingredients full of vegetables.

Stay inspired: Let the changing of colors and the crisp Fall air keep you motivated to stay healthy and enjoy all the beauty that comes with this season while continuing on your health journey. It’s easy to let the cool weather convince you to stay in bed but take this season as a chance to get your goals back on track and experience new ways of staying healthy and happy.

family, fitness, food, health, Uncategorized

Dairy-Free Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Muffins!

On today’s episode of “I literally never bake except for in the month of October” we’re comin’ at ya with some Dairy-Free, organic Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Muffins. Yeah you heard me, and yes they are as delicious as they sound. I got inspired by one of my favorite YouTubers Kalyn Nicholson (if you love lifestyle, fitness and recipe videos I would definitely check her out she’s amazing.) I took the recipe she had found online and tweaked it a bit for my own personal taste since I typically like to add vanilla into most baking recipes. This recipe is so simple and perfect for Fall, not to mention that it made the whole house smell like pumpkin spice heaven! I hope you give this one a try and let me know if you put some of your own personal baking touches as well. Until next time, XO Chrissy

Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Preheat oven to 375, use a cupcake/muffin baking sheet. I used baking cups to make for easier cleanup.

Ingredients
15 ounce organic canned pumpkin
1/3 cup melted vegan butter
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Melt butter in large mixing bowl, then add all other ingredients and mix. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes depending on your oven but start checking on them after minute 20. Top with walnuts and dark chocolate chips like I did or whatever your heart desires! Seriously guys, give this one a try.

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family, food, health, motherhood, Uncategorized

Deliciously simple Fall family recipes

Any excuse to make pizza and I can guarantee you my son and I will take it! I think having kids help us in the kitchen not only makes them feel proud but also teaches them from a young age the importance of making their own meals (until college and all they care about is Taco Bell per usual.) The weather may not be rainy and cold like I’m waiting for but it IS October so that means Halloween themed everything, including pizza. These were so easy to make, since we know if it’s not a simple recipe I’m not about it, and were delicious! Side note: my son had so much fun making these and while they might not look perfect, they were to us 🙂

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Ingredients

  • English muffins
  • Pizza sauce of your liking
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Sliced cheese (I used CHAO vegan cheese for the mummies)
  • Whole black olives

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet and cut english muffins in half if not pre-sliced. Add sauce. For mummies: cut thin slices of cheese and arrange into mummy-like pattern. Cut two slices of olive for eyes, you can cut some small tomato rounds to place in olives for even more of a spooky look. For bats: cut olive in half, place one half on pizza and cut other in half again to make wings. Not pictured: we made spiders on spider webs but ate that one before pictures were taken.  Place in oven for approx. 15 minutes but check as it goes. Enjoy!

I know I can’t be the only pumpkin spice lover on here, but as much as I’d love to go to Peet’s coffee everyday and get theirs I try to make my own as much as possible. Adding some vanilla really makes it even better and I literally just add three ingredients plus ice and am in pumpkin latte heaven!

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Ingredients

  • Ice
  • Cold brew of choice (I use vanilla Chameleon cold-brew)
  • Pumpkin spice milk (I used the brand Almond Dream from Whole Foods)
  • Vanilla coffee creamer

Just toss some ice into your favorite cup and combine the ingredients to your liking, add as much or little of each ingredient as you like. I know these are ridiculously simple but I hope you get inspired to have some fun and make your own Fall creations.

family, motherhood, Uncategorized

Festive Fall Decor for Apartment Life

Happy Fall Y’all! Even though the afternoons here in the Bay Area have been hot as hell, the mornings and nights are freezing and since it’s officially Fall, we decided to start getting in the spirit. For those that don’t know, Halloween is my favorite holiday and my son ended up being born on October 29th so it’s a very special time of the year for us in general. I love to decorate for this holiday and as I’ve gotten older I find myself being more drawn to the cute, aesthetically pleasing decor, even though I still love some good old tacky Halloween items and that will never change. These are some staples that I’ve gotten over the past couple of years that don’t overwhelm the apartment since we don’t live in a huge house, and also add just the right amount of Fall and Halloween festiveness. Living in an apartment set up can be tricky when it comes to decorating because one wrong move and everything can look over crowded and simply too much. Although this isn’t everything I will have out by the time October rolls around I hope it gives some inspiration on how to create a fun and stylish vibe without making your apartment feel cramped. Please share with us some of your favorite Fall and/or Halloween staples below! Until next time, xo Chrissy

Holiday Table Decor

Decking out your table makes such a difference and is so simple without taking up any extra open space. For every holiday season I get a table runner and place mats. Now here’s the best part: I literally got everything you see on this table (except for the Apple Harvest candle) form TJ Maxx and if you’re a Maxx fan like myself, it’ll be no surprise that the prices were great and I have no complaints about the quality of any of these items. I like to have my son feel like he’s apart of the decorating process so he picked out “Owly” who gets to be the main center piece display. Adding festive salt and pepper shakes is also a great addition if you feel like “shaking” things up a bit.

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A Creative Corner

Designate one area of the apartment to be extra fun. I typically choose our bar-cart that is in the corner near the dining table. This works nicely when hosting people as they tend to favor the cocktail area anyway! I got a banner from the Target dollar store section (word of advice, go to the dollar section in early September to grab the good stuff before it’s all gone.) Banners like this are fun and don’t create any sort of mess/are easy clean-up. We have our favorite Halloween candy bowl for people to grab some treats along with the hand (Thing) candle holder. My favorite thing to do for holidays is to fill a clear vase with something that goes with the season; for example I put in sparkly Christmas ornaments for winter and this year I got some scented pine cones and pumpkins in a package from TJ Maxx.

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Entryway Fun

I like to display items on the open-concept wall that separates the living room from the kitchen as it is the first thing people tend to see as they come into the apartment and it has a great ledge to place items. This year I went with a white and gold theme with my elephant I was given for my birthday that went well with the pumpkin Sean and I picked out from…I’ll give you one guess…..howd you know?! Yup also from TJ Maxx. The pumpkins on a string banner is from Target and I finished this area off with candy-corn lights that I draped around the wall to add a spooky-effect at night.

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Finishing Touches

I think the little finishing touches often get overlooked but end up tying everything together. Try finding some themed pillows from TJ Maxx or Kohls as the prices are super reasonable (I even found the bicycle pillow cover on Amazon and think the quality is great.) I love having themed hand towels in the kitchen and a suggestion, although I haven’t gotten mine yet, is cute holiday soap dispensers that I’ve even seen at CVS.

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I hope this got you all in the Fall spirit and maybe gave you some ideas for how to decorate in an apartment as I know it can be hard when you aren’t working with an awful lot of space. Happy haunting!!

family, motherhood, Uncategorized

When a pet passes on and explaining it to your child

Sorry for being so MIA guys as you can probably tell from the title we have been going through a rough time. Our beloved french bulldog has been suffering from a disc disease for over a year and when it happened out Vet and the emergency doctors told us he would most likely need to be put down but had us try medical maintenance for a while and it would work but only to a certain degree. He was only seven but in that amount of time has suffered from so many medical conditions it was unreal. The amount of times his back/neck would go out and debilitate him was getting more prominent and he was taking longer in-between episodes to recover. Finally the other week an episode was going on for almost three weeks and we knew it was time to let him go and not have to suffer. I can’t explain how hard this has been and how conflicted I have felt even though I knew it wasn’t fair for him to live like that and was told by many people, including the veterinarians that it was what was right for him it doesn’t stop you from feeling so incredibly guilty and sick over it. On top of that having a toddler that doesn’t understanding everything yet has made it more difficult. Now I know everyone has different religious beliefs and to say that I have been strong in faith as an adult would be lie, however I was raised going to church, my parents still go to church every weekend and growing up having something to believe in such as Heaven truly did give me comfort in times of grief like this. I explained to my son at first that our dog was very sick, then as it got more obvious that he wasn’t coming back I explained the concept of heaven as simply as I could and that animals like our dog go there when they are sick and can’t live down here anymore. I won’t lie and say it was easy and that it made him feel better right away but it did help him to understand the concept of death in a way that I feel wasn’t overwhelming but also wasn’t just lying and acting as if his dog might possibly come back to give false hope. Regardless of what you believe or how you choose to explain what happened, just know that telling you toddler the truth, as much as it hurts, truly is for the best and helps them go through the grieving process and accept it as opposed to acting as if nothing has happened. I hope that if anyone is going through this, or has before, and has struggled over it that you truly aren’t alone and even though it’s the right thing to do to stop their suffering, it will always be hard for us to deal with. I will be taking a little longer of a break online then will get back into the swing of regular posts etc. Until next time, XO Chrissy