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!!

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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

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Let’s move on from Mom Guilt, shall we?

The thing about becoming a stay-at-home mom is that, for many of us, you commit to it full force and get swept away in turning your attention to your childs needs every minute of the day with very little emphasis on your own. Of course, this is how parenthood should be, but to say it isn’t wearing at times is a lie. This summer has been unnaturally busy for me with all the weddings I am in on top of regular every day activities, but each time I have had to go out-of-town that Mom Guilt in the back of my mind has crept in. I have had to take these trips for some of the wedding activties and WANT to, so why should I feel guilty? My son is almost 4 and had a blast staying with my Father-in-law and getting his own vacation of sorts, so the feeling of thinking I shouldn’t take this time for myself and to be there for these activities with my friends is ridiculous, but goes to show the stigma of being a stay-at-home parent can get to you whether you realize it or not. Just because being a parent is our job, it doesn’t mean we completely put our lives on hold for 18 years. I realized that feeling like I need to be with him all the time and feeling like a burden for having family watch him a few days (even though they were literally elated to have him,) is putting guilt on myself for absolutely no reason. We may not have a 9-5 jobs but our job is literally to care for our kids 24 hours of the day, and that’s the most difficult job anyone could have. I do realize though that the older he gets and the more vocal, the mom guilt when I’m away from his has lessened because I know he can tell people if he needs something. The anxiety assumingly also stems from me not being used to being away from him and that has become my comfort zone for the past 3.5 years, even if it isn’t always comfortable, it is my norm. It’s funny to look forward to the minute you get a trip away then immediately think wow, I miss him so much. The grass is certainly always greener but I’m trying to find balance between being involved in his every move and also making my own needs a priortiy because he will only rely on me for so long, but on the other hand I need to continue to build on my own goals as well. Just writing that sounded so dramatic but it really is a balancing act trying to be a parent and be your own person as well. If you are experiencing the mom or dad guilt for taking time for yourself, even if it’s just making sure you get to some workouts every week or get to have happy hour etc., don’t ever feel bad for this. We can’t be the parents we want to be if we constantly burn out on taking care of everything and everyone else except ourselves. It doesn’t matter if other people think you should be doing more or what their opinions are because anyone who thinks we don’t need breaks..isn’t a parent. 🙂 Until next time, xo Chrissy

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Healthy(er) Summertime Desserts

It may be August but I don’t think we should expect cold nights anytime soon, therefore let’s bring on the cool treats! I myself am not the biggest dessert person but my son and husband are so I put together some ideas for healthier desserts during these warm months. As always they are super simple and perfect for the whole fam. I hope you give some of these a try, and if you put a yummy spin on one please share with us below! Until next time, XO Chrissy

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Pizzelle Ice Cream Sandys

If you come from an Italian family like I do, I’m sure you grew up with at least one aunt who made the best homemade Pizzelle cookies! Now I hope to learn how to make them myself but for now, I buy them from Whole Foods and they are actually extremely delicious and as close to the real deal as I have found.

Ingredients

Pizzelle cookies
Ice cream (we used a coconut based one for anyone who can’t have dairy)
Chocolate chips and/or sprinkles

Directions

Ok now bear with me here this is about to get complicated. Scoop your ice cream and place in-between two cookies. Sprinkle some chocolate chips or sprinkles onto the ice cream and eat immediately as you will not want to wait a second longer to try this delicious combination!
Chocolatey Meringue

I bought meringues from Trader Joes for the first time the other week and loved them! For store-bought they were so light and airy and have the perfect amount of flavor. My son loves chocolate of any kind so I decided to take some dark chocolate chips and melt them (I suggest using a pot and melting them on Low, stirring continuously until it reaches a nice melted consistency but not runny.) Dip the meringues in the chocolate and place on parchment paper until the chocolate solidifies on the meringue. It was so easy and made for a delicious, low in fat treat.

The Taco Berry

Ok this one was really fun for the family to make together and is something you could totally customize to your own liking.

Ingredients

Organic toaster waffles
Whip cream or a non-dairy whip cream
Chopped strawberries, blueberries and blackberries

Directions

Toast waffles according to packaging directions. Once toasted, immediately fold into a taco shape. Spray whip cream to fill the taco and top with the fresh berries. Another ridiculously easy treat that is fun and delicious.