Little Gifts to Show We Care

We are back from our US adventure, jet lagged, tired, but full of love. I’m trying to get back on schedule, but that 12 hour time difference kicks me in the pants.

While we were gone we asked some friends to stay in our apartment to take care of our cat {she’s needy and hungry}. To say thank you we left a little welcome gift of Japanese chocolate covered potato chips. I wrapped them up with ribbon and a note. IMG_6895

 

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For our friends and family in the US, we wanted to share a little taste of Asia. The green tea taste has won us over, so we got some mini green tea KitKats to hand out. I added our contact information to each package. I attached the strips with special edition washi tape of the Hong Kong Star Ferry and skyline.

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We hope everyone enjoyed our gifts!

DIY Wellness Day

This past Sunday I hosted some girlfriends for a healthy day of yoga, juicing and massage. It was a great to relax and spend time together, and feel good about it the next day. We had so fun that we are thinking of making it a series.

One of the girls knew someone who could teach yoga as well as our juicing class, so we arranged a private class. Sandra from Latin2Yoga was a great instructor and she got along well with the entire group. She was so laid back and helped the entire day run smoothly.

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The weather held out, so we were able to have the yoga class outside on the terrace. It was supposed to be a scorcher, so I put together water bottles for each of the girls, as well as sweat rags (nothing is worse than slipping and sliding on your yoga mat!)

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We started the day at 9 AM, with some light nibbles before yoga class. When everyone arrived, we had oatmeal chia bars and fruit out. I didn’t want it to be heavy, but some people need to fuel their work out, so I wanted to have something available.

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Our yoga class was 90 minutes of breathing, movement and relaxation at the end. It was the perfect amount of work and wellness—and I definitely felt sore the next day!

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After yoga, we were presented with cold towels, scented with peppermint. We added just a few drops to the water to give that high end hotel feeling.

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Then we really dove into the fruit, oatmeal chia bars and veggies with homemade hummus. I tried new bars this time, from my every day muffins, and they drew rave reviews. I used this recipe here.  We also served cold water and flat belly water {lemon, cucumber and mint, infused over night} as a choice of beverages.

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veggies

After we snack a bit, we started the juicing class. It was a 2-hour class, the first hour for understanding the benefits of juicing and smoothies and the second hour for tasting. Most of us are fairly educated on the value of organic produce, so it was a lot of fun to try out new recipes we had never imagined.

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Once we were well prepped and educated, it was time for lunch. My awesome husband put together a healthy spread of various salads and roasted vegetables. They were so good and so beautiful. With lunch we served iced tea {like the proper southern girl I am!}, my favorite T2 Quince Tea and for a light dessert, I made my favorite unprocessed mounds bites.

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lunch

Once we were good and full, we piled in a taxi and headed to get massages. One of the girls found a modern, fun place where we could get a choice of foot or body massage. It was nice to be able to all get a massage at the same time. I got a body massage and it was wonderful.

As a take away, I gave each girl a box of organic chocolates and some tea to take home to extend her wellness.

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We had so much fun spending the day together, and focusing on our wellness and ourselves. And, in truth, as I spend a lot of time eating healthy, it was great to share some of my recipes and favorites with my friends. I’m looking forward to the next installment!

 

New Obsession: Quince

As you all probably already know, I tend to get obsessed with something {particularly food} for a bit. For awhile, everything seems to be about that dish. Right now that obsession in quince.

I’ve heard of quince before, but until Australia this Christmas, I’m not sure I ever really came across it. In Melbourne we found this quince tea that we now make iced tea from every weekend, and this amazing smelling soap. It’s become my new thing- I look for it every where. Because the scent is sweet and spicy, it would be a great hostess gift or new flavor to your next party.

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Artisan quince syrups.

What a quince looks like.

Quince paste, which is quite tasty. They say it’s good with cheese.

This is the brand of soap we found. Smells so good!

T2 teas are all the rage in Oz. This quince tea is perfect, it doesn’t need any sweetener.

I bet this body moisturizer smells amazing, too.

Beach Loving

My husband and I recently celebrated 5 years married {which also means 10 years together}. We decided that was a decent milestone, so we took off to a destination we’ve always wanted to visit– The Maldives.

As a popular destination for the rich and famous (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes honeymooned here, and William and Kate were on an island the same time we were visiting), its hard to get to and not cheap when you do. So we only managed it for a few days, but loved every second. It’s truly an island paradise– white sand, crystal blue water, private villas, and the best snorkeling we’ve ever seen.

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It was so special to have this experience together and a different way to celebrate than with the traditional anniversary gifts. I loved it, I loved being my husband, and hope we can go back together sometime soon!

Spring Forward

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a bright, warm spring this year!

Here’s some fun things getting me ready for this colorful season…collage spring

 

Awesome spring wrapping options for Mother’s Day, birthdays and more.

Spring tags.

Chocolate egg gift boxes.

Flower Chandelier.

Fresh and Easy

I’ve been working to lose weight and get my body healthy in the last year, and now I’m starting to focus on food. I’m trying to eat whole foods, cleaner and less processed. Even though it seems a bit “Brooklyn” to me sometimes (you know, like eating kale), its recently become more important, particularly living next door to China. And honestly, I feel better when I eat well.

I still have a mean sweet tooth, so I’m always looking for recipes that let me enjoy my cravings without falling off the wagon. Here’s a few I’ve tried lately… and may even serve to guests!

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Fresh almond milk. Creamy and rich, it is so much better freshly ground. It goes bad in a few days, so it would be good to have on hand with a full house.

Breakfast quinoa bars. These have a lot of ingredients, but are tasty. I’d make ‘em again.

Oatmeal banana muffins.  Ok, I haven’t tried these yet, but they look good! Next on the list.

Chocolate Chia Pudding. I mentioned this before–  while not that sweet, nor like pudding, it’s fun with fruit.
Any good healthy recipes you can share? Any that have particularly loved by guests– even non-healthy ones?

Smooth Fruits and Veggies

We recently got a Nutribullet and I am now obsessed with finding new recipes. I love my usual spinach + banana + berries + flax seeds, but I really want to get in more veggies {rather than fruits} that I wouldn’t usually eat, while keeping it relatively low calorie, and, of course, tasty. It doesn’t hurt that they are so colorful!

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1. Beets + avocado + strawberries + lemon + celery + apple

2. Carrot + banana + almond milk + cinnamon 

3. Greens + almond milk + flax + banana (can I handle it without the berries??)

4. Fig + banana + vanilla extract + flax

Red Carpet Ready

Do you get excited for the Oscars? I do. I enjoy watching movies anyway, but with the added challenge of seeing the top movies before the Academy Awards airs, it gives it a sense of purpose to the past time. And I love having friends over to hear what they liked and loathed that year. I’m proud to say that I’ve nearly seen all of the best picture nominee this year, with just one hold out {and I’m hoping to see Captain Phillips in time!}.

Here’s some fun ideas if you want to have a red carpet party this Sunday…

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These black and white popcorn containers are so cute, they could be centerpieces.

Gotta get the right cookie cutter for this, but the results are amazing.

I love the glitter and tickets to spruce up these cups.

The Hollywood sign really takes the cake here.

Downloadable one page ballots here.

These ballot envelopes are so cute.

Popcorn boxes are great for show munching.

Modern and Whimsical Fairy Wings Kids Party

I adore everything about this private book reading party. What a gorgeous setting, with tons of pops of color, crafts, and snack.  And, seriously, I’m loving those wings.
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Kelli Murray‘s photo’s bring this party to life. See more from her and this party here.

Animal Figurines

This weekend I was sick on the couch most of the time, and online shopping {and chocolate} made me feel better. I started looking at Shopbop’s home decor and fell in love with these little guys.

The beautiful white porcelain with the touches of gold make these animals’ regal nature shine through. That horse cake stand is mine– as soon as I have a big enough kitchen to keep it.

 

 

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All images from Shopbop.