During the last week in August, Ryan and I dropped the dogs off at boarding, packed up the Versa and embarked on a 5-day road trip through the southwest. Thousands of miles and 35 hours of driving took us through 5 states: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. After attending a beautiful wedding, we left Aspen and headed to our final destination: the Grand Canyon.
The road out of Aspen was full of grays and greens - a cloudy sky and pine trees rising up on either side of us quickly ushered us out of Colorado and back into my favorite state.
Right before the window closed on finishing 50 books in 2014, I read a PopSugar post about 40 Life Changing Books to Read in the New Year. As I read through the list, I realized that all of them were self-help books. Since reading is mostly an escape for me, unfortunately, I've never really found much value in those.
But one of the books, Spontaneous Happiness, sounded sort of interesting, because it was about nutrition and lifestyle and how they affect your mood. Knowing I might not finish it if I bought the paperback, I downloaded it on Audible and finished it a week before the year ended, making it my final "read" of 2014.
So was it life changing?
When I headed to Sayulita for vacation last month (was it only a month ago?), I decided to grab a book that would easily hold my attention whether it was poolside or on planes. Nothing too meaty, just a good story. And for that I decided to pick up Gone Girl, the blockbuster book that was, at the time, just being released as a future blockbuster movie by David Fincher (whom I absolutely love).
Naturally, I needed to read the book before I could see the movie and so vacation sounded like the perfect time to dive into one of the most popular novels of the past few years.
Thanks to GNC PurEdge for sponsoring this post!
One of my takeaways from the Fast Metabolism Diet was how easy and delicious fruit smoothies are to make. And one of my favorite recipes is Hayley's Frozen Fat-Burning Mango Smoothie. It's so quick, refreshing and delicious in the mornings, that I find myself craving it on a fairly regular basis.
Since I first did the diet 9 months ago, I've customized the recipe through a couple of additions. First, I've found that not only does a 1/2 cup of strawberries make this smoothie taste perfect, but it makes it look pretty too! Kind of a like a sunset in a cup. Second, if I'm making this for breakfast, I figured, why not get a little boost? It will definitely help with morning workouts. So I've decided to start adding an energy supplement to the mix.
For this recipe, I tried GNC's new PurEdge Daily Energy, which comes in Cherry Limeade or Watermelon. I used the Cherry Limeade for this, but I may have to get the Watermelon because that combo sounds pretty on point. Throw it all into a single-serve blender that converts into a travel mug, and this whole thing will be ready and in your hand for your morning commute in under 10 minutes!
- 1 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 scoop GNC PurEdge Daily Energy Supplement (Cherry Limeade or Watermelon)
- 1 Meyer lemon, juiced
- 2 fresh mint leaves
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 cup ice
1. Add the mango, strawberries, energy supplement, ice and water to the blender.
2. Juice the lemon and add to the blender, careful to strain out the seeds.
3. Tear the mint leaves to bring out the flavor and sprinkle on top.
4. Blend until smooth.
For whatever reason, this has been the year that I've finally started discovering all the holiday events that San Diego has to offer. For instance, a couple of weeks ago we went to the OB Holiday Parade for the first time. The parade is over 30 years old and it was super fun... we're even thinking about applying to participate next year!
And just this past week, I was invited to come check out and review Hillcrest's annual Taste 'N Tinis event. The Taste 'N Tinis tour of Hillcrest offered bites and sips at more than 30 stores and restaurants in Hillcrest. It was a great way to check out what's new to the neighborhood and to do some holiday shopping at the participating stores, all of which were running discounts.
Best of all, it was fun way to drink with my bestie!
One of my favorite local bands, Danny and the Tramp, was founded by two east coast imports like me. And like me, they're just as obsessed with this beautiful city of ours as I am. Which is why I was super stoked that they came out with a hilarious Christmas song about where I dig it the most, San Diego. ;)
Grab a taco (it's Tuesday after all), light up your palm tree (just kidding they only do that in Florida), and jam on to "Hey Brah, Feliz Navidad!"
Here is a short and incomplete list of topics covered in this book: Alcoholism. Prostitution. Self-mutilation. Extramarital affairs. Eating disorders. Incest. Pregnant strippers. Rape. Child Molestation. Estranged family members. Sexual experimentation. Physical abuse. Abortions. Death. Suicide.
If reading that list seems emotionally exhausting, imagine what reading 270+ pages of that feels like.
Hint: not great.
Way back in 2005, on the other side of the country, I was working in the music department of a Borders bookstore. One day, one of the label reps came in and handed me 10 copies of an EP titled Love. He started talking about the artist, this girl from San Diego named Tristan Prettyman, and I can still remember how enthusiastic he was when he told me I was going to absolutely love her.
He had no idea how right he was.
During the last week in August, Ryan and I dropped the dogs off at boarding, packed up the Versa and embarked on a 5-day road trip through the southwest. Thousands of miles and 35 hours of driving took us through 5 states: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. In Part IV, we continue our stay in Aspen and celebrate a beautiful wedding at the top of Aspen Mountain.
Saturday was the big day! The impetus for our trip was my cousin Brett's wedding at the top of Aspen Mountain and what an amazing day for a wedding it was! The air was crisp but warm and there was hardly a cloud in the sky.
My dad picked us up at the campgrounds and we headed to his room at Aspen Inn to get ready, then we met everyone over at the entrance to the Silver Queen Gondola. The Gondola is in the center of Aspen and normally operates as a ski lift during the winter season. During the summer however, you can take the Gondola for a 15-minute ride to the top of the mountain for picnics, disc golf, hikes, or just to take in the ridiculous views.
The morning of the wedding, however, it was only transporting all of the gorgeous wedding guests gathered at the base of Aspen Mountain. And as soon as we arrived at the summit, we could see why it was such a popular place to get married.
Lately I have been paying a lot more attention to the ingredients in the beauty and hair products that I use everyday. I know that's been the cool kid thing to do for a while now, but I guess I just thought that being that conscious seemed time-consuming, inconvenient, and a little too hip.
Which is a shame because there's no better way to spend time than on taking care of yourself. Inconvenient truths are sometimes the most important kind. And if there's anything I don't have to worry about any time soon, it's being too hip.
This year I've definitely started making an effort into leading a healthier lifestyle in every way possible. From the foods I eat to exercise to the people I surround myself with and the chemicals that I'm exposed to in my household and beauty products. I've been educating myself, reading labels, and trying to find natural replacements for the things I use every day.
One of my first searches has been for new face wash and moisturizer. That's when I stumbled across California Naturel, headquartered right here in California, all the way up the coast in Sausalito.
Most of the time, I get packages delivered to my office. Such was the case when I had my first order from Nasty Gal delivered a few years ago. Little did I know that "NASTY GAL" would be splashed across the packaging in an incriminating font.
Obvs, I made a point to stress to everyone who saw me shamefully carry the box back to my desk that it was clothes, just totally normal clothes, I swear... Still. Because of that, I didn't really order from Nasty Gal much in the years that followed. I wasn't super impressed by the quality vs the price and it wasn't totally my style anyway.
But recently, Nasty Gal and it's CEO, Sophia Amoruso, started popping up everywhere. Everyone on social media was reading Amoruso's book, #GIRLBOSS, and then my friends started reading it too. By the time my friend Raina chose it for our company's book club selection, I was intrigued enough to give it a shot.