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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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When life gives you cold days in San Diego, make chicken noodle soup!  Last weekend I was fortunate to be soaking up the PERFECT weather in San Francisco while it was pouring rain in San Diego.  I came home on Sunday to cold temps and dark skies, so I decided to make soup for the very first time.  I found a delicious looking recipe, and it turned out just so.

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Flu Fighter Chicken Noodle Soup
Slightly modified via Baker by Nature
INGREDIENTS:
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon organic taco seasoning
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 very large onion, finely diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
Big pinch of salt
(1) 32 oz containers chicken stock
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
16 oz noodles (I used organic fusilli)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Place chicken tenders in a large baking dish lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with spices. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, flipping the chicken at the half-way point. Once cooked, pull into small chunks using two forks.
  2. While the chicken is roasting, make the soup.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a large, heavy bottomed soup pan over a medium flame. Add carrots, celery, and onion, and cook – stirring occasionally – for 8-9 minutes. Add garlic and salt and cook for another minute before adding the bay leaf, water and chicken stock. Increase heat to high, bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, stir in noodles, and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and the pasta al dente. Stir in cooked chicken, dill, and lemon juice. Taste soup to adjust seasonings, then serve at once.

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Christmas is in 3 days!  If you’re struggling with some last minute gifts for friends, family, neighbors, etc. here is a cute and super simple gift (and cuz everyone loves succulents, especially those blogger babes out there 😉 )

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What you need:
Cool/unique mug
1 succulent plant

What to do:

  • Place or plant succulent in the mug.

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Sunday we had my running club holiday party including a white elephant gift.  Last year I went all out and gifted a homemade bloody mary kit.  This year I knew I still wanted to make something homemade, but wanted to go a slightly less labor intensive route.  So I made rosemary infused vodka!

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Homemade Rosemary Infused Vodka
What you need:
Large glass bottle with clamp stopper
750 ml bottle of vodka
2 sprigs of rosemary
Decorations: tag, twine, stamps

What to do:

  • Prepare at least 1-2 days in advance. Pour vodka into bottle. Add rosemary sprigs. Seal and decorate!
  • Gift with lil’ red solo cup shot glasses, festive straws and cocktail napkins!

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What’s the best and worst white elephant gift you’ve ever gotten?
I got a pair of nose/ear trimmers in exchange for this combo! 😛

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London and I are at it again!

Last week Kelli offered up her own beach bungalow to host a little DIY Happy Hour Made Healthy. We’re not quite sure she realized just what she was getting herself into, or that we were going to take over her kitchen and hijack her Friday night. Muahaha.

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Planning the menu, we wanted to highlight peak summer herbs and fresh ingredients without being totally #basic. Along with hefty handfuls of fresh basil and cilantro, our drinks featured Bon Affair, a lighter calorie and unique wine spritzer filled with health benefits thanks to electrolytes and grape seed extract. To compliment the light cocktails, we took the party to the grill for simple skewers and a fresh summer panzanella salad.

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Refreshing cocktails, goofing off with the girls in the kitchen, and a warm summer breeze…the recipe for a perfect al fresco happy hour! Stick with us for our inspired menu and four new summer recipes.

On the menu –

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Peach Basil Fizz
Serves 3-4
INGREDIENTS:
2 white peaches, pitted
3 basil leaves
1 bottle Bon Affair Sauvignon Blanc
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Blend peaches and basil until you reach a nice and smooth consistency.
  2. Pour in the bottom of a glass. Top with Bon Affair.
  3. Serve with straw and garnish with basil leaf.

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Cilantro Cucumber Boozy Lemonade
Serves 3-4
INGREDIENTS:
½ cucumber, sliced
1 handful cilantro
2 lemons, halved
1 bottle Bon Affair Sauvignon Blanc
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Divide cucumber slices and cilantro leaves equally into glasses.
  2. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into each glass.
  3. Top with Bon Affair.

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Summer Panzanella
INGREDIENTS:
Arugula
Rosemary olive oil bread loaf
Pearl-size mozzarella balls
Cherry tomatoes
Zucchini
Yellow zucchini
Avocado
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut bread into crouton-sized chunks; slice zucchini and yellow zucchini; halve tomatoes; dice avocado.
  2. Brush bread with olive oil and place on the grill until toasted. Repeat for zucchinis.
  3. Assemble all ingredients into a large bowl and toss.

Pineapple Shrimp Skewers
INGREDIENTS:
Pineapple chunks
Shrimp
Grill pan
Skewers
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash and clean shrimp. Assemble the skewers alternating between pineapple and shrimp.
  2. Place on the grill until grill marks begin to form and the shrimp starts to cook.
  3. Flip and repeat.
  4. Cook until the shrimp is fully cooked.
  5. Remove and serve.

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Don’t forget the: lemon juice. Add it to anything and everything to brighten and bring out the flavors.

Take away tip: Grill summer ingredients for a unique flavor that’s very seasonal.

Stay tuned for the next Happy Hour Made Healthy!

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My roommate has become one of the biggest pilate’s aficionados I know.  So for her Christmas present, I wanted to give her something personalized and Pilates related; enter the “Pilates Pack.”  I included some of my favorite fuel as well as some things I thought would be good to have pre/post workout. Basically, it turned out to be kind of like a gym gift set.

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“London’s Pilates Pack” included:

  • Larabars
  • Tube of Nuun
  • Vega One protein powder packet
  • Kusmi Tea
  • EOS Hand Sanitizer
  • Sencha Green Tea Leaf Mints
  • Quest Bars
  • Mama Chia Squeeze
  • Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter, Perfume Roll-on and Lip Tint

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Since not everything would fit into the (half-gallon) mason jar like I had anticipated, I also packed along a workout top rolled up with some homemade hair ties.

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Merry DIY Christmas!

Today’s a busy day for me, so I’ll keep it short and sweet.  NEWS FLASH: DIY girl has come out of the cave.  It finally hit me that I didn’t have to buy all of my Christmas presents, I could make some!  So I put together this “keep warm kit,” that is simple, sweet, and has the ability to be personalized through selecting a unique mug for every recipient.  Enjoy!

Are you doing any DIY gifts this year?

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Homemade Mexican Hot Cocoa Mix
From Yours Is The Earth
Makes one 16 oz. mason jar (equivalent to 4 cups/servings of cocoa)
INGREDIENTS:
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup of sugar (mixed with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
½ tsp of salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
A dash of cayenne
1/2 cup chopped semisweet chocolate chips
Approximately 1 cup large marshmallows
DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, vanilla sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne and chopped semi-sweet chocolate chips
  2. Pour into your 16 oz mason jar.
  3. Top with the marshmallows (used to fill the space at the top of the jar).

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How to enjoy the cocoa (one serving):

  • Set marshmallows aside.
  • Scoop ¼ of the mix into a mug.
  • Warm up 1 cup of milk (cows, almond, coconut – your choice).
  • Pour over the mix and stir.
  • Top with a marshmallow (or two) and enjoy!

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Materials

  • 16 oz mason jar
  • Cute coffee mug (I got a variety from Anthropologie)
  • For the labels: kraft paper, black ink pad and rubber letter stamps (I got my set from Michael’s for $1.50).
  • For the instructions: Scrapbooking paper (in kraft paper color) and printer.
  • For the accessories: baker’s twine and paper straws from Michael’s.

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Last night we had our running club holiday party, complete with a White Elephant gift exchange.  I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go with my gift (gag or serious).  So I decided to go with alcohol and a little touch of homemade. image-3

I gifted a bottle of vodka, bloody mary mix, rimming salt, and fun holiday straws.  Here’s how to make your own DIY Bloody Mary Kit:

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Homemade Bloody Mary Mix
From Almost Makes Perfect
INGREDIENTS:
6 cups tomato juice
6 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a blender combine the tomato juice, lemon juice, lime juice, horseradish, worcestershire sauce, garlic, and hot sauce and process until smooth.
  2. Transfer to a nonreactive container and add salt and black pepper, to taste.
  3. Refrigerate overnight.

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Homemade Bloody Mary Salt
From Julip Made
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
1/2 Tbsp. ground Chipotle pepper
1/2 Tbsp. celery seeds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.

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Materials

  • For the Bloody Mary Mix: 32 oz mason jar
  • Bloody Mary Salt: 8 oz mason jar
  • For the labels: kraft paper, red stamp pad and chrome letter stamps (you could also use regular letter stamps, but I just used what I had on hand).
  • For the accessories: raffia and paper straws from Michael’s and Target

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I just have to share how in love I am with the “run” bracelet my roommate (london, like the city) made me for my birthday!  It is one of the most perfect gifts I have ever received.  Check out some of her DIY tutorials for making  your own jewelry here and here.

You know those words you never take the time to fully read? Well carrageenan is one of those for me. And it doesn’t help either when you’re trying to talk to someone about it, and the only thing you can remember is that it starts with a c, has some r’s and a g. Somehow I magically turned the word into “carcinogen.”  It might as well just be that.

Carrageenan is a seaweed extract that is used as a binder or texturizer. It is sometimes used in place of gelatin (an animal by-product) to make a something vegetarian or vegan. I have primarily found carrageenan in dairy products such as almond milk, coconut milk, etc.

When I started the Whole30, any additives were no-no’s. Carrageenan was specifically identified as a “no-list” ingredient. This meant that I could no longer drink my Blue Diamond unsweetened vanilla almond milk. For a while I went to canned coconut milk (only ingredients are coconut and guar gum), a quick and easy fix for dairy-substitutions. However, I finally took the time (and not too much time) to make my own almond milk. This has become my new favorite. In smoothies, protein shakes, in place of coffee creamer.

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After conscientiously avoiding carrageenan in products, I have noticed it’s negative effects when it had entered my diet unexpectedly.

Case Study: I had been making my mocha protein shakes at home with no problem. The amount of coffee had never been too much or provided me with any kind of headache or caffeine overload. However, several times I made this shake at my boyfriend’s using his protein powder (Optimum Nutrition Vanilla Shake), and every time it gave me a headache even before I finished it. I thought it was weird that less than 8 oz of coffee would be giving me headaches, and only when I didn’t make my shake at home.  I finally looked at the ingredients and realized the culprit was carrageenan.

Moral of the story is that I have found carrageenan to be a good for nothing additive that can also be a culprit in GI distress, and supposedly cancer.  So don’t worry if you look at your non-dairy milk and realize the big C is in it.  Almond Milk one of the easiest things to make. All you need are some nuts, agua, a blender and some cheesecloth (or a nut bag)!

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Homemade Almond Milk
Adapted from Oh She Glows
Referenced here and here
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup almonds
3 ½ cups filtered water
½ tsp. vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS:

1. Soak the almonds for at least 2 hours, preferably 8-12 hours or overnight. Make sure to cover them completely (can be tap water, this is different from the water listed in the ingredients).

2. Drain the almonds and rinse with water.

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(nice, plump soaked almonds)

3. Place soaked almonds, filtered water and vanilla extract in the blender. Blend on high for 2 minutes.

4. Place the cheesecloth over a fine-mesh strainer and let the milk separate from the almond meal.

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5. Carefully squeeze all of the milk from the cheesecloth or nut bag.

6. Option to reserve the leftover meal for future recipes (recipes using almond meal see here, here, and here).

7. Pour the milk into a container and use within 3-5 days.

Enjoy your additive free, 100% pure almond milk!

 

 
 
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