Christmas Detox

28 Dec

Christmas went a lot quicker than it came. This year was very different for me because I didn’t spend it with my family from L.A. I struggled a lot with this and poor G had to be my biggest support through it all; poor guy… We grew up soo differently and our outlook on life is extremely different. We balance each other out really well through it all.

Today feels like my first official day off. Up until yesterday, we were in full Christmas mode: running errands, xmas shopping in two days, cleaning house, etc., as I’m positive everyone else was. Now that Christmas is over, I’m really looking forward to organizing our house and redecorating our living room. We did a great job with our bedroom and my closet but never fully finished it. I really need to focus on the living room and our office. G needs to focus on our home gym and his closet, too. I’m hoping to get everything done in the next three days although I really don’t know how realistic that is; we’ll see!

After all the craziness of Christmas, I realized that sometimes it’s good to put yourself first. I was surprised by how many people we know seemed to be so wrapped up in the stress holidays can bring, that they completely missed what it’s all really about. I was also shocked by the lack of appreciation that is expressed. I never, ever give to receive, but I, unfortunately, noticed that some forget to show gratitude or were just too busy to do so. No one needs a parade of ‘thank you’ banners but, heck, don’t expect and don’t make us feel like we’re inconveniencing. Idk, perhaps we misinterpreted or everyone was so busy that it was obviously not intentional…I am obviously digressing. Anyway, today I took the advice of one of my homegrrls and decided I would have some “me” time. I laid in bed for as long as I could stand. I hung out online (lol). I worked out heavily. I made myself a healthy breakfast smoothie. Then I took a detox bath! I’ve never taken one before and it was pretty incredible. I blasted Sublime from my computer until it died then resorted to Sublime on Pandora on my phone. I realized I am not very good at relaxing but I forced myself to float there. My skin felt so soft. & I am one step closer to getting comfortable with relaxing.

I ❤ tutu's

I looked up some recipes prior to jumping in and then just picked and chose what sounded best. I didn’t use any measurements that I found, just went with it and it was incredible.

Detox Bath

1. Fill your tub with hot hot water.

2. Add 1/2 cup of fresh grated ginger.

3. Add 1 cup (or more) of apple cider vinegar.

4. Soak for 30 minutes and [I read somewhere that the ACV is good for your hair so I dipped my head in for a little bit before] finishing off with a brown sugar scrub. Rinse and shower as usual. Enjoy your super soft skin and drink lots of H20!

When I made the brown sugar scrub, I did the same thing as I did with the detox bath- I found tons of recipes, and when I started actually doing it, I kinda did my own thing.

Super Easy Body Scrub Recipe

1. In a bowl, mix 1 cup of brown sugar, enough EVOO to reach your desired texture and consistency (if measuring is your thing, I would say 1/4 cup), some honey (about 2 tablespoons), some cinnamon (1 tbsp), some vanilla (1 tsp)  and a bit of sea salt (1 tsp). (I read somewhere that it acts as a natural preservative). Stir well and store in an airtight container.

*Technically, you can add/omit whatever you want. Scents, lemon- which I meant to add but forgot, etc.

It looks really pretty in a mason jar but I just put mine in a plastic tiny tupperware because I’m so clumsy, I could already see it dropping and shattering in my tub. I also read that it’s not good to get water in it so when you scoop it out, use either dry hands and don’t double-dip, or use something like a stirrer, spoon, etc.

It’s almost 6pm and I’m typing this in bed, in a bathrobe. Learning to love myself more and attempting to relax. :]

I’ll end my post with a reflection of my amazing blessings this last week:

1. Planning a bridal shower and bachelorette party for my dear friend, Kelly, who relocated to Iowa today :/  It doesn’t seem real, at all. Talk about stress the week of Christmas while you’re still working up to the day of the events. I had 48 hours to get it together and I honestly, loved the craziness and stress of it all. I work much better under pressure than when I have time. & albeit, wishing it was at a later date, I couldn’t have been more honored to do this for her. She loved it and that’s all that mattered to me! Love her so much!

Bridal Shower

2. That same day, my amazing Squirrel and her fabulous Sophia surprised me. I couldn’t believe it. I swear, the handful of amazing friends I have are out of this world! They have gone above and beyond to make me feel loved, appreciate and plain ol’ special. I couldn’t believe that they changed their already paid flights to DRIVE from Austin, Texas, just so they could spend a day with me. It was absolutely priceless and amazing. I couldn’t be happier and more blessed.

Hiking Telegraph Pass with Christmas Cheer

3. On Christmas Eve, we invited our dear friends over for Christmas dinner. It was such a fun evening. I cooked our traditional Puerto Rican dinner and even made Coquito for the first time. It tasted like it came straight off the island! I was so excited. They have a 2 year old son and it was hilarious fun to watch him enjoy and begin to understand Christmas. G and I felt beyond blessed having them there.

Coquito; Arroz con Habichuelas, tostones y aguacate!

The Cheatwoods & The Montgomerys

4. We have a lot of friends who have kids and even though we know it’s not necessary, we absolutely love getting them gifts for Christmas. We got to witness so many of them open up their gifts from us, and their excitement made us so happy [Thank you, Becca for letting us spend special time with Ri & Aido on Christmas Eve; it meant a lot to us! <3]. I think a lot of has to do with the many times we didn’t have much to open growing up (my sisters and I), that it gives me so much happiness to be able to give as an adult. & we love our friend’s kids so much that it makes us happy and imagine what life with our own kids would be like. Thank you to all of our loved ones who thought of us during this holiday season! So sweet, and so thoughtful! ❤

Girls' gifts; guy's gifts

5. Honey Munster’s birthday is on December 25th. We had a stocking full of awesome goodies for her and we had SO much fun watching her go through everything. She literally stuck her head in her stocking and pulled out things and then would try to carry them in her mouth. She had a blast! We even got to take her to the dog park yesterday- well, Geoff did, I stood on the outside gate, lol- dogs still scare me!

Honey Munster is so rad!

6. Spending my first Christmas as a Montgomery. I volunteered to bring breakfast and everyone loved it- I was so relieved. It was just nice. I think my favorite memory this year was when we were having Christmas dinner at Gma Loy’s and we kept telling stories back and forth and none of us could stop laughing. We all had tears in our eyes from so much laughter. It seriously was one of my favorite moments with my M family! ❤

7. Two of our best friends got engaged right before Christmas. It was so amazing to see the joy that exuded E and B as they begin the next stage of their relationship. We couldn’t feel more excited for them! Yay! ❤

8. All the love from my family and friends. All the hugs, the thoughtfulness, the showing of gratitude, friendship, texts, phone calls…I suppose I’m just THAT easy to please. I love it all. ❤

9. The fact that my husband is alive and well. Nothing at all beats that. ❤

10. My life is full of blessings. Yes, times get tough and challenging, and some days are better than others but overall I have more blessings than sorrows everyday! :]

Lately, whenever I feel overwhelmed with issues/problems, I google or pinterest search “first world problems,” and LAUGH at how hilarious I/we can be! A little perspective whips me back into shape! :]

Looking forward to reuniting with my L.A. familia this upcoming weekend for NYE! ❤

NYE 2009- This year Isa & Jake will be there!!! We'll be missing our Squirrel!!!

P.S. Did I mention that Jillian Michael’s “Extreme Shred and Shed” is intense when you do both levels back to back?! Eek! I also heard that she is adopting a little girl at the beginning on 2012. So exciting! See? Blessings everywhere!

Grilled Asian Flank Steak with Slaw [Kirby- Homegrrl Guest Blog]

23 Dec

I absolutely love food and I absolutely love my friends! Sharing recipes is one of the coolest ways to combine these two awesome relationships! When Kirby told me she knew exactly what recipe she wanted to share, I was very intrigued. We have swapped dozens of recipes and tips over the years and always learn so much from each other! She told me that this was her husband’s favorite and immediately I was hooked! Our husbands are also best friends and for almost all their lives shared similar eating habits. So, a recipe that had a guy hooked on leftovers [mine used to be super picky about eating leftovers, too], is one I cannot wait to try! & hello? Asian flavors?! Yes, please!! This sounds delicious and I cannot wait to try it! Let us know if YOU do!

I love Asian food as much as any other good little Japanese girl, but this dish is on regular rotation for a reason!  Not only is it cheap and SUPER easy to make, but my husband loves it for leftovers, and getting him to eat leftovers is an accomplishment in itself. I happen to like just about anything cold (going back to my “starving, so-broke-I’ll-eat-anything days”), but my husband works outside all day and can’t microwave his lunch.  This is one of just a handful of recipes I have that he will eat cold!! I happened to stumble upon this recipe one day while thumbing through the Arizona Republic newspaper. To give proper credit, it can be originally found on Epicurious.  Below is the original recipe, with healthy modifications that I have made in parenthesis. Enjoy!!

Your goal after reading this recipe!

K’s GRILLED ASIAN FLANK STEAK WITH SLAW

Ingredients:
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use regular, but you can use low sodium if you prefer)
5 Tbsp. Vegetable oil (I substitute 3 Tbsp of EVOO)
5 tsp. Peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove (to save time, I use the minced garlic in the jar)
1-1/2 lb. Flank steak (I use thin cut Sirloin Tip Steak or another similar cut – sometimes this is on sale for around $3.50 a package!!)
3 Tbsp. Sugar (I use 2 packets of Truvia sweetener)
3 Tbsp. Seasoned rice vinegar
2 red jalapenos, seeded, thinly sliced
5 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 green scallions, cut into 1 in. Pieces

Instructions:
1. Mix soy sauce, oil, 3 tsp ginger, one scallion, and garlic in a gallon-sized plastic bag. Add flank steak, seal the bag and turn to coat.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, flipping occasionally. 

2. Stir sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. 

3. Add jalapenos and remaining 2 tsp. ginger. 

4. Place cabbage and 1/2 c. green onions in medium bowl.  Pour vinegar mixture over and toss to coat.  Let stand while grilling steak. 

5. Grill steak until cooked to desired doneness, anywhere between 3-6 minutes on each side.

(BEWARE: this steak cooks QUICK, and can be tough if over cooked.). Transfer steak to work surface, and allow to rest for 10 minutes, then thinly slice against the grain.

6. Toss the slaw again to evenly coat with the vinegar mixture. 

I like to serve it as a “rice bowl”, starting with rice (substitute brown rice if you prefer), then the slaw, topped with the steak and some green onions for garnish.

NOTES:
1. If you are unfamiliar with ginger, consider reducing the amount of ginger on the recipe until you know for sure that you like it. It can be a very powerful flavor even in small doses.  I peel mine with a vegetable peeler, and then grate it using a lemon zester. 
2. I have found scallions to be non-existent at my regular grocery store, so I usually skip them…use extra green onions if you want.
3.  Only slice the top half of the cabbage head – the white, thick parts at the bottom are hard and can be bitter tasting.
4.  I have also never been able to find red jalapenos at the grocery store, so I use Anaheim Red Peppers, or for a spicier version, regular jalapenos (the slaw will just not be as colorful).

 

Healthy, Easy, Delicious…. Cookies!?! [Maritza: Homegrrl Guest Blog]

16 Dec
I love cookies. I love healthy, mindful foods. & I absolutely love my homegrrls. Which is why when Maritza (aka my Roomie) told me she was trying a new recipe she found for healthy cookies, I was beyond excited that she decided to make this her first guest appearance on my little ol’ blog! I had this recipe pinned on Pinterest but like a dozen other recipes (like those energy balls and the healthy cookie dough with chickpeas(?!), I haven’t gotten around to it; SO glad she did!!
Enjoy and let us know if you try it out!
As I stumbled across a recipe that read “healthy cookies” I couldn’t resist but to feel a little curious and skeptical at the same time.  “Is there such a thing as a healthy and delicious cookie?” “Are they going to be too healthy that I’m going to end up just throwing them away?”- I asked myself. So, despite of my trepidations I decided to make them.  Which I’m glad I did! They were delicious, and will definitely be making them again.  Oh, and did I mention that these are way easy to make (always a plus, in my book!).  These cookies are considered to be healthy because they DON’T contain any sugar (crazy, I know), flour, eggs, or butter (pretty much all the good but not good for you stuff, I thought were always a must when making cookies).  By the way, I know these might not be the prettiest cookies you’ve seen but don’t let that fool you.  

Delicious AND Healthy?! YES!

The ingredients:
1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup mixed nuts, finely chopped
1 cup dried fruit (I used 1/2 chopped dried dates, and 1/2 raisins)
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
I didn’t have any allspice so I added 1 1/2 teaspoon of cinammon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg instead.  I’m also not a big fan of dates and didn’t have mixed nuts so I substituted those with 1/4 a cup of dried cranberries, 1/4 a cup of cashews and a 1/4 cup of yogurt chips.  Lastly, I added 1/4 cup of flaxseed meal to it as well.  As you can see you can add whatever your little heart desires (remember try to keep it, healthy) ;).
Original Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, almond meal, mixed nuts and coconut flakes. Stir in allspice and cinnamon. Add dried fruit and stir until well and evenly mixed. Make sure the dried fruit do not stick together in big batches.
In another bowl, combine canola oil, mashed banana and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
 

Cookie Mix

Take medium size spoonfuls and place on parchment paper. Mine came out to about 16 cookies. Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

And…..tada!!! You made yourself healthy cookies!  My favorite part was being able to eat a couple of them at a time without the guilt.  
Mmmm, can’t wait to try these! If you’re interested in being a Homegrrl/Homie Guest Blogger, let me know!
P.S. I’ve been on a roll making all kinds of crafts and recipes that I pin on Pinterest! So far this week: all my Secret Santa gifts were inspired and recreated in my own way; Butternut Squash Pasta was re-hashed- never thought we’d love it but we did(!), Parmesan & Panko Crusted Asparagus (followed exactly and absolutely loved it); guacamole salsa (edited recipe: yuuum); chicken enchilada with green chile/sour cream sauce!! Everything has been great!

My new To Do List

13 Dec

There are SO many things that I constantly think about that I REALLY want to do.

1. Have a Craft Party!

I think it would be SO much fun to have all my girlfriends come over and make STUFF! We’re all pretty crafty and enjoy wine/crafting/socializing. So wouldn’t that be fun?! I think YES! I’d have everyone bring old t-shirts and we’d make t-shirt scarves; I can teach them how to cut them up (no-sew) to repurpose them; or we can make headbands, or fun crafts to decorate our homes. I suppose we’d have to choose a specific thing to focus on so it’d be a bit more organized, though! But how fun would it be to make things like THIS:

felt flower scarf
Chalkboard Paint Wine
T-Shirt Scarf

T-shirt Headbands

& of course, a dozen other options…

2. Hair and Nails Did Night

How fun would it be to have a night where we all come with clean hair and nails and try out hairstyles on each other. Then do our nails…even do different eyeshadow try-outs?!

3. Accessories Swap Night

I got invited to one of these and although I didn’t get a chance to attend, I would looove to host one! How awesome would it be trade all these accessories we all have that we don’t use! I may be tired of certain pieces but be enamored with my friends’! Genius! Then we can end up like this and I’d be so happy! 🙂

4. Workout Motivation Group

I would REALLY love to get a group of friends together to workout. I think it would be SO much fun to have a group of 4 or more to workout everyday on a consistent basis. That way no one would slack off because [hopefully] there would always be someone motivated to do so! I looove working out in groups and getting everyone pumped up to push their limits. I see “trainers” at the park all the time and I always think I could do it and do a little more than what they’re doing (I often see them just yelling and not moving from the tree trunk they are leaning against, haha!) We could also swap delicious healthy recipes and even indulgent ones (all in moderation is my key)! 😉

Homies never leave each other behind!
Too bad Crossfit is so expensive! We make up our own!

I have tons of more idea, as I’m sure my homegirls would, too! Now it’s just hoping my friends would be as excited as I would to make these happen!

[P.S. None of these images are my own] 
Image

Full…& Motivated?!

13 Dec

I just finished dinner and all I can think about is working out! I looked for Jillian Michael’s new DVD while shopping today and didn’t find it at Target. I think I may just go out to see if Wal-mart has it. If they don’t, it’s going in my Amazon shopping cart tonight, lol!

Extreme Shed & Shred

When I first read about it, I didn’t have any intentions of buying it. Mainly because it’s only two workouts and they’re each 45 minutes. No, thanks! I like my workouts intense but quick! But I was reading reviews yesterday and it sounds like SO much fun. Even more fun is that JM challenges everyone to do them back-to-back…I love myself a challenge! So off I go to see if it’s a possibility for me!

I was able to go shopping after work to start on Christmas shopping. I called my girlfriend and asked if I could take my godchildren with me! I let the boys choose a toy each. They had a really good time. We were in my “magic” car as they call it, and LMFAO’s “Sexy and I know it” came on. Cash yells, “It’s MY soooong!” hahaha! Awesome! “wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle!!!” Such fun times. They were SO good, too! The hardest part was getting them in and out of their car seats multiple times!

20111212-203337.jpg

Baby Jack & Cash playing on the “big ball” at Target!

I wish all my friends would let me borrow their kiddos! I also wish my nieces and nephews were here because I’d be the best Titi ever and they would be spoiled rotten! Miss them every single day…

I got to go birthday shopping for my little homegrrl, Rian, whose birthday party is this weekend. Harajuku Mini for Target is SO cute. I found the CUTEST hoodie but they didn’t have her size! :/ So I settled for a cute plaid hat and a sweet dress for a pair of fringe boots she already has. I was so excited and when G saw them, he was shocked by the size. Oops! Maybe I didn’t do such a good job of sizing them! I was with boys! haha! I also managed to find a super cure winter skirt in the girl’s section….for a huskier girl, though! Got some online Christmas shopping done, too! Making sure all my little homegrrls and homeboys are covered!

Work was really good today. It was really good last week, too! & I don’t want to jump the gun and assume the same thing for the next few days, but I’m hoping it remains this way! I have still managed to not repeat a single outfit. My goal of Thanksgiving has been extended to Christmas break. I can probably keep going but what about my one piece outfits, like dresses? I have too many that I’d really like to wear again. Would it count if I wore completely different shoes and accessories? Hmmm, who knows…actually, who cares! I love blogging about meaningless things like this! Puts my amazing life into perspective!

20111212-202700.jpg

Black booties & Chevron Striped Tights: LOVE!

Secret Santa Crafting

12 Dec

I started working on this week’s secret santa gifts! I loooove participating in these; so fun! My co-worker is a teacher so I really wanted to make her a crayon initial craft I, of course, saw on Pinterest!

20111211-215110.jpg

She also loves popcorn, like I do, so I made her “popcorn in a jar,” using popcorn kernels, popcorn toppings (apple cinnamon and chocolate marsmallow), and two vintage popcorn bags (I have tons leftover from our wedding)! It came out so cute! I hope she loves ’em!

20111211-215404.jpg
all the supplies

20111211-215447.jpg
all packaged up!

I already know what I want to do for two more of her gifts but I’m a bit stuck on one more! We’ll see! :]

Christmas Spirit

12 Dec

I feel like I’m going through the motions of Christmas without feeling much of anything. I have no idea why but I seem to have misplaced my Christmas spirit. Sad…I think it may have to do with this being my first year not going home to L.A. for the holidays. G and I always figure out a way to split our Christmas between both families, despite the fact that they are a state away. Christmas for me, is one the 24th, whereas for him, it’s on the 25th. I can’t imagine cooking, dancing, having so much fun without my small family. Midnight won’t be the same… :/ If we had children it’d be easier to make our own little traditions BUT as we always do, we’ll try and make the best of everything.

For now, I am searching for my spirit. One of the ways I like doing this is by giving back. Volunteering is one of the best things I can do. This weekend was the Help Portrait event, in which families get to get their hair and make up done and get a free portrait by a professional photographer. Seeing all these families come into the Boys and Girls Club to take (for a lot of them), their very first family portrait was beyond incredible. I, personally, had our first family portrait taken at our wedding early this year! When we were raising our teenage sister, we always made sure to take her to serve food during the holidays. The first time she was annoyed that we had to wake up so early and stand in the cold to help, but by the end of the day, she was asking for our next event. When I was growong up, we often didn’t have money for gifts so we would be on the opposite side of charity events. I want to spend my life giving back as much as possible. I wish I could just invite all my family, friends and their kids to volunteer to give back. How amazing would that be?!

I haven’t done any Christmas shopping this year, probably part of my missing spirit…  I always go all out at Christmas and absolutely loooove giving gifts! I get so much satisfaction from finding or making the perfect gift from me to a loved one! Geoff always tells me I go overboard and never likes when I keep giving when it’s not reciprocated. But seriously, who cares?! If you give to receive, are you really giving with generous and true intentions? Not in my opinion…anyway! I’m digressing! Lol!

Speaking of gifts, I want to make some awesome crafts from Pinterest! I have a Secret Santa at work and can’t wait to make her gifts! But I have to get started on it tonight and I didn’t find anything at the store earlier so now I’m left to creativity at home!

This is our first year together with a real xmas tree! Of course, it’s all gold, rose gold, and copper lol! We topped it sith Geoff’s gold maneki neko instead of a star this year. Maybe once our lights are on outside and I get some gifts under the tree it’ll feel more like Xmas? Or maybe, and better yet, once I experience the true meaning of this season…:)

20111211-180333.jpg
Top of our Christmas tree with G’s Maneki Neko atop; G’s parents gave us a new ornament for our first Xmas as a married couple! ❤

20111211-180440.jpg

My ivory/cream booties! Wish the tops weren’t so wide!