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The best gift I received this year (and maybe ever) is my Nespresso.

It’s the gift that never stops giving. Not only do a I enjoy a warm cup of a FROTHY latte first thing in the morning, EVERY MORNING, from the comfort of my own home…but I’m also saving money.  This is why you need to get your loved one THE GIFT OF ENDLESS COFFEE.

For 70-80 cents per pod…I just purchased 70 capsules (aka 70 cups worth) for the equivalent of 8-10 of my “fancy coffee” drinks (and allows me to drink 2-3 cups guilt-free daily…)

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And not only do I enjoy my Nespresso at home, we recently just bought one for the office from William’s Sonoma at Westfield UTC (the whole store smelled like one big holiday pie).

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Now purchasing Nespresso pods is even easier with the new Nespresso store at Westfield UTC. PLUS it’s equipped with a tasting station where you can “try” those brand new holiday flavors you’ve never ever tried before (or maybe just have 3 sleeves of waiting at home… ;-)).  When you’re thinking of what to put on your wish list or what you should get someone this holiday season…trust me and GIVE THE GIFT OF NESPRESSO!

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For Deb’s birthday, she dreamed of a rainbow layer cake. So I came up with this cake and then transported it all the way down to Mexico.  My process of baking it earlier in the week (to avoid any stress – cakes take a lot of time!), cooling, freezing and thawing the cake lent itself to the most dense, moist and delicious cake ever.

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4-Layer Rainbow Coconut Cake
Coconut cake adapted from Homemade Interest

INGREDIENTS:
Cake
2 box White cake mix
16 oz sour cream
1/2 c Vegetable oil
6 eggs
2 cups coconut cream (I used the cream on top of full fat canned coconut milk. ~2 cans)
Food coloring
Topping
2 containers of store-bought cream cheese frosting
Sweetened shredded coconut
Cake topper from Amazon

DIRECTIONS:
Cake

  1. Heat oven to 350°F
  2. Mix cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and cream of coconut in a large bowl.
  3. Separate batter evenly into 4 different bowls. Add desired food coloring to each respective bowl.
  4. Pour cake batter of first 2 layers into 2 9” pans that have been greased.
  5. Bake approximately 30 minutes at 350°F or until you can put a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.
  6. Repeat with remaining 2 layers.
  7. Cool all layers completely at room temperature (~12 hours).
  8. Freeze overnight. Remove from freezer and let thaw in refrigerator.

Toppings

  1. When ready to serve, spread cream cheese frosting between each layer and around exterior of cake.
  2. Completely top with sweetened coconut flakes.

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One of my favorite things to do the first of every month is to read my Susan Miller horoscope. Since Mercury will go retrograde during the holiday season, it’s suggested I get my holiday shopping done this month. While it might seem early, that’s what has me thinking already.

This Christmas I’m looking to shop Uncommon Goods. I love how everything is handmade and artisanal, making each gift feel like it’s one-of-a-kind.  Uncommon Goods also makes shopping easy, with Christmas Gifts for Women and Christmas Gifts for Men collections.

Here are some of my favorite finds on Uncommon Goods —

uncommongoods_plantsRight now, one my favorite things are home accents, especially indoor plants. They can add so much vibrancy and completely change a space. This hanging planter is really cool and so is this succulent living wall planter kit!

uncommongoods_kitchenThe kitchen is also another important place where gifts are always welcomed. This reclaimed wood cookbook stand ads just a bit of rustic flavor to the kitchen, and I like how raw and natural these stoneware pieces look.

uncommongoods_babiesAnd even though I don’t have any babies, and don’t really have too many friends with babies yet (Kendall said I can get these for her in 4-5 years…) I’m obsessed with these swaddling and bootie collections that look like food!!

While the gifts on Uncommon Goods are unique, the company is also different in that it’s a B Corp meaning it’s been evaluated based on areas including company governance, environmental practices, and impacts on the local community.

Where are you planning to do your holiday shopping?

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Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Uncommon Goods. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I am constantly bored with lunches. I easily get over salads. And I leave sandwiches for when I’m feeling really uncreative. In my meal planning these days (which basically means making my lunch), I’ve been looking to Naturally Ella for recipes. The picture for this recipe enticed me enough to give it a shot! I am not a fan of garlic or onions (both hurt my stomach for some reason), so I omitted them. Check the original recipe if you’d rather add both.

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Ginger Brown Rice with Carrots
From Naturally Ella
1 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
2 hardboiled eggs, for serving
DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium low heat. Add in ginger, and cook until it becomes fragrant (roughly 2 minutes). Stir in shredded carrots and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  2. Whisk together soy sauce, honey, vinegar, and sesame seeds. Pour over carrot mixture and cook until heated through.
  3. Finally, stir in rice and cook for 3-4 minutes or until rice is warm.
  4. Serve with toasted coconut.

 

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An update on running —

I won’t run for myself these days. The only thing pulling me out of bed at 6:30/7am is either committing to Matt that I’ll pace him for some of his xx miles (he’s just a couple weeks out from his first full Ironman) or running to the BUMP coffee truck with the promise of a ride home.

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Basically I went from 0 miles to 14 in one weekend, to 16 miles a couple weekends later. The jump was brutal. At 16, I was practically limping by the end, my left knee feeling like it was tracking out for the majority of the last miles. I lacked any type of mobility and was completely unable to extend my knee.  Of course we got back to the starting point and I was still 0.2 miles short of 16, so you know I had to hobble down the block until my watch beeped 16.

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This past weekend I thought I’d be out for Halloween Friday and Saturday, but Friday ended up being pretty mellow. Since I stayed in town that night, I promised Matt I’d complete 2 of 3 laps that would give him 21 miles (and me 14) early Saturday morning. The course ended up being 100% familiar and mentally easy. My knees felt better than the weekend before, and I felt like I could run forever if my legs weren’t attached to my body.

Originally I thought I wanted to try and run the Ray Miller 50/50 (50k) on November 19th, but honestly, I don’t want to train or run consistently.  That, and it’s like 3 weekends away…

What’s your running situation these days?

Weekly Workout Recap (10/17-10/23):
Mon – 4.5 mi
Tues – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – 16 mi
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 20.5 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 2
2016 miles: 743.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (10/24-10/30):
Mon – 4 mi
Tues – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – Power Flow @ YogaSix
Thurs – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Fri – Mixed Level @ The Bar Method
Sat – 14 mi
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 18 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 5
2016 miles: 761.5 mi

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This past weekend London and I had planned for the ultimate La Croix costume flavor throw down — Coconut vs. Pamplemousse.  Unfortunately, London ended up being too sickly to go out, so I ended up just being a single La Croix.

I love a good creative, inexpensive costume.  We probably spent around ~$20 total for this costume.  And I feel like we caught this right on the cusp of the La Croix trend.

What you need:

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For the shirt:

  • Oversized Tshirt — H&M had some great men’s long tee’s that were perfect for this!  I bought taupe and London got a dusty rose color
  • Metallic acrylic paints
  • Cheap paint brushes and/or sponge applicator
  • Iron-on transfer sheets (we used these— came with 5 sheets for dark material– and they worked great!)
  • Printer and iron (duh)

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For the headband:

  • Silver headband — the metal material of this one (also from H&M) matched
  • Can tab
  • Hot glue gun

Directions:

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  1. Start by painting the back of the t-shirt first.  We followed the same design as the front of the La Croix cans, sans the logo.   Let dry overnight.
  2. Print the La Croix logo onto transfer paper.  I took the logo and separated it into “La” and “Croix” since the cans have a stacked logo but the La Croix logo is horizontal.  “La” and “Croix” each received their own transfer sheet (4 sheets total for 2 costumes).
  3. I also found a font that’s similar to the can flavor font (Comfortaa). I typed out the flavor names and picked up the dark blue color of the La Croix logo.  We shared a transfer sheet for “coconut” and “pamplemousse.”
  4. Cut the designs on the transfer sheet, leaving some white around.  The transfer sheets we used do not require you to mirror the image when you print this. Keep this in mind if you use this brand because I almost messed up our costumes!
  5. Follow the iron-on transfer instructions.
  6. Painting around the iron-on, follow the La Croix can design.  Let dry overnight.
  7. For the headband, apply a dot of hot glue to the thicker part of the can tab. Press off-centered onto the headband.

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This has been the season of concerts!

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In the beginning of October, London and I enjoyed a trip I originally planned for someone else.  At first it made me nervous that I’d feel a longing-ness for something that was no more, but quite the opposite actually happened.  It re-confirmed my present state of single-ness.  The ability to journey and adventure freely, without any worry for another human being.  On a Friday, after work, we headed out to Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown to see TOPS and the Allah-Las, and meet up with a couple of friends who already planned to be out there.  We spent the night camping in the back next to the horse corrals (this is a real thing). Then the next morning we headed to Joshua Tree. We grabbed some brunch from The Natural Sisters Cafe and then entered the National Park.  It was hot and already mid-day, so we opted to explore around points of interest such as Skull Rock, and the Barker Dam (which was all dried up).

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The following week I went to the Colbie Caillat acoustic tour concert with my mom as this year’s birthday gift.  My former co-worker grew up with her so we also enjoyed a special meet-and-greet before the show.

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And if that wasn’t enough, the next night I went down to the House of Blues with a couple girls to see Dan Humphrey’s band, MOTHXR (and basically indulge in my recent Gossip Girl obsession).

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In other news, the weather is warm as ever, making beach days still a possibility.  I haven’t been reading as much lately, but I have Find Her and All Is Not Forgotten in the queue.  I’ve also been hitting bootcamp at YogaSix, Pilates at Core40 and barre at The Bar Method pretty consistently.  Trying to cook more, so expect some easy and healthy recipe posts to come!

Weekly Workout Recap (10/3-10/9):
Mon – 4 mi + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Tues – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 4 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 4
2016 miles: 714.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (10/10-10/16):
Mon – 4 mi
Tues – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – 4.5 mi
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Mixed Level @ The Bar Method
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 8.5 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 3
2016 miles: 723 mi

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Agh! I literally feel like I don’t know how to blog anymore. It’s the last thing that crosses my mind. My days usually go a little something like this — morning workout, work, evening workout, read, watch gossip girl, repeat. It’s crazy that sometimes I go 2 weeks without running and it doesn’t even cross my mind. Before I’d get AT LEAST 10 miles, with a goal of 20, but these days it’s more like 0-4 miles weekly. I’ve still been enjoying the variety of ClassPass and feel stronger and more fit than when I was just running. Plus after running with Elisa in Oregon, I realize I do miss the company that make the miles fly by. For now I’ve been enjoying group workouts with the girls that include barre, Pilates and CARDIO HIP HOP!!!

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So, mid-September I randomly scheduled a hair appointment and after feeling bored with my usual long layers, I decided to chop off 5 inches. My hair grows pretty fast so I don’t feel too attached to it, I just have to limit myself from doing anything too extreme (like a complete bob circa 2013). During the same weekend, our blogger babe Kelli got married, throwing the most picture perfect wedding, which also included lawn games, vintage VW photo bus, flower crowns, and late night foods (ice cream cookie sandwiches, sliders and french fries with vats of ketchup and ranch dressing!!). That weekend I also went to KAABOO mainly to see Jack Johnson.

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The following weekend I flew to Bend for a completely surprise visit…Elisa had no idea. It was insanely beautiful, with perfect weather and so many hikes and outdoorsy activities (plus BEER) nearby. Planning to do a full Oregon post soon…

The night I got back, London and I went to the Oh Wonder concert.

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Then the following weekend, I decided to run 14 miles with my friend, Matt, when I had not run more than 8 miles in a really long time. This is when I thought I wanted to run another 50k in November…and I still might want to but we’ll see how much I actually end up training…then I probably should’ve taken a nap because I am no longer my youthful self that can just go go go and rage the entire day. And also because that night I went to see Jim Jefferies with London and Kendall (supes funny watch his stand-up on Netflix).

Life is busy and writing about it is even more challenging!!! And SoCal Runner Girl doesn’t respond to my texts when I ask “ugh how do u blog” 😛

Weekly Workout Recap (9/12-9/18):
Mon – 4 mi + Hot Yoga @ Yoga Tropics
Tues – Rest
Wed – Cardio Hip Hop @ The Movement Lab
Thurs – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Fri – Mixed Level @ The Bar Method
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 4 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 5
2016 miles: 678.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (9/18-9/25):
Mon – Mixel Level @ The Bar Method + Cardio Hip Hop @ The Movement Lab
Tues – Full Body @ Core40 + Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – 8 mi trail run + 3 mile hike (Paulina)
Sun – 6 mi hike (Broken Top Mountain)
Total Weekly Mileage: 8 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 6
2016 miles: 686.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (9/26-10/2):
Mon – 6 mi trail run (Tumalo Falls) + 4 mi hike (Sahalie and Koosah Falls)
Tues – Rest
Wed – Mixed Level @ The Bar Method
Thurs – 4 mi run
Fri – Rest
Sat – 14 mi
Sun – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Total Weekly Mileage: 24 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 3
2016 miles: 710.5 mi

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If you’re looking for a unique experience in San Diego…then I think I’ve got it.

Last Tuesday night, London and I went to dinner and a (Oh Wonder) show at West Coast Tavern/The Observatory North Park. West Coast Tavern is the restaurant connected to The Observatory. And while I’ve been to The Observatory venue several times for shows (e.g. Jungle and Tame Impala) I never knew that the VIP/Balcony area existed.

When London and I first arrived to the show, we were seriously worried that we weren’t supposed to like Oh Wonder. Everyone was literally 18, or younger with a guardian. However, I guess they were just trendy teens, something we’ve always aspired to be 😛

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Everything was running a little late (mainly stemming from the doors opening ~20 minutes behind). Fortunately, we our dinner was located in the balcony area overlooking the stage. So we were able to sit, relax, eat and enjoy a literally elevated experience!

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We started off with the charcuterie & cheese board (because we can never seem to pass one of these up when we’re together). And the seared hamachi tostadas (which were perfectly mini little bites filled with a lot of flavor).

For cocktails, if you know us and rose…we had to try the “Ladies Choice” made with minuty rose, pamplemousse, leon, simple syrup.

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Next we had the quinoa & feta salad, and I was loving the black olives, marcona almonds and lemon oregano vinaigrette in this (London also said this seemed like a salad I’d make for lunch).

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Lastly, we shared the prosciutto flatbread, that had a sundried tomato pesto base underneath a layer of gooey cheese. Between the food, drinks and live music, we were fully satisfied and entertained in all aspects.

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If you’re planning on seeing a show at The Observatory North Park (and they’ve got a lot of good ones coming up), I highly recommend reserving a table in the balcony section. We had completely unobstructed views. You could hear everyone on the ground level singing to the band (in a good way). And we also got to enjoy a variety of food and drinks delivered straight to our table. And, if Oh Wonder is ever playing near you, go see them! They were amazing live! I would say, even better than on Spotify. And contrary to what I said above, they’re not just for teens! 😉

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September started off great. I turned 26 and celebrated with another camping trip in Mexico. I went to the Prepkitchen 5 year anniversary party which led to indulging in an abundance of great food. The following night we hosted our first (and very successful) evening Taste of Del Mar (for work).

Then came the negative that has actually become more of a positive. I’m not one to talk about relationships on here. It’s usually vague, moving from a no-name, to a “boyfriend” to eventually maybe a name. And then when it’s over, there’s usually an amorphous and somber post about moving on. But no need for that this time.

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This might be in conjunction with purchasing crystals (and burning Palo Santo smells so good), adding horoscope dates to my calendar (“new moon favored financially”), and reading articles that feel so aligned with my life right now. But I feel very at ease and content, yet spontaneous in a healthy way — saying yes to more opportunities and putting myself first (like driving to Venice on a whim and booking a surprise flight to Oregon).

Definitely trying to get back into blogging, and along with that, definitely getting the itch to start running more again (although cardio hip hop has been SO FUN).

The rest of September coming…stay tuned :)

Weekly Workout Recap (8/29-9/4):
Mon – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Tues – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – Hot Yoga @ Yoga Tropics
Thurs – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Fri – Rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 0
Number of cross-training workouts: 4
2016 miles: 667.5 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (9/5-9/11):
Mon – Rest
Tues – Bootcamp @ YogaSix
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – 7 mi
Sun – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 7 mi
Number of cross-training workouts: 1
2016 miles: 674.5 mi

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