Friday’s Cocktails!

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Happy cocktail Friday!  Check out what is needed for your new favorite cocktail.

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Friday’s Cocktail! | Sangria madness

With  a major heat wave hitting southern California, I am in need of a refreshing cocktail. Sangria is one of my favorites but only if done well.

Recently I had a Sassy Sangria at The Patio in Mission Hills, SD. Essentially a sangria with some tequila… it sure will get you sassy ūüėȬ† The Patio is a fabulous restaurant that is all about local ingredients and being sustainable, on top of that it is absolutely stunning¬†with great¬†¬†ambiance.¬† It is an open kitchen with a¬† wall of lush living plants and a mix of rustic wooden¬†and elegant heather blue turfed chairs. Your plates will look like art and your taste buds will be dancing.¬† It is a must try in San Diego!

My other favorite sangria place an happy hour in general is Costa Brava in Pacific beach, SD. It is a Spanish tapas place with $8 pitcher of delicious fresh fruit sangria… I could have an IV of this stuff!!!¬† You will need some munchies, so.. try everything on the menu ūüôā¬† really… its soo good!

Start your weekend off right with a fabulous glass of sangria and use this amazing chart from wine enthusiast to try something new. Mix it up and get sassy!

Share your favorite cocktails or go to places in your area!

xo- A

Bacon Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

You know those dinners that are so good that you are picking at it during the whole cooking process…. well Bacon crab stuffed mushrooms is that dish for me. This is a by taste recipe… Alex and our buddy Kellen made this happy creation and now it is a staple.

You can make this as low fat or low carb as you want.

Ingredients-

-Crab legs- chop it up!

-Red pepper- thinly diced…. about one big one.

-Onion-¬† thinly diced…. about the same amount as red pepper.

-Bacon– there is never enough… chop it up!

-Salt and pepper

-Cayenne or red pepper flakes- I like a little kick to it and I am not spicy eater.

-Moisture- We usually use some soft cream cheese and little sour cream- I know not the healthiest but it still is low carb ūüôā¬† You can use mayo, yogurt or even an egg.¬† The cream cheese mix can also be used for a delicious dip. ūüôā

-Parmesan- to Alex it is very important that it is fresh Parm. quarter for in the bowl and the rest for the end.

**Mix all the above and then stuff it into your mushrooms.

We use big portabellas and bake them on a rack to avoid the mushroom getting soggy.

The last few minutes¬†is when you add¬†fresh parmesan¬†on top¬†and put it in the broiler for a few minutes…. it creates a perfect little crust.

Ta daaa…. you have a delicious low carb/low fat however you like dish!

 

 

 

My go to protein bar!

Seems everyone has their go to favorite protein bar/shake to get them through the morning or a good mid day snack or lunch. What I have discovered is that a lot of protein/power bars are filled with carbs,sugar and tons of calories.

Then I found my love of Atkins bars and shakes, they are filled with protein and have very few carbs and calories. They don’t taste chalky or “dietiy” ¬† Like most protein bars. They are a little pricey. I try to purchase them at Target or Walmart since they seem to be almost a $1 cheaper there verse the grocery store. They do have good sales pretty often, so just stock up. ¬†I keep these bad boys with me all the time, so I avoid a “hangery” state lol.

Share with me your favorite way to eat healthy when in a rush and really hungry!

x- A

Dry vs. Dehydrated and The hydration magic of Hydroluric Acid!

 

healthy face

Who knew there was a major difference¬† of¬† Dry vs Dehydrated skin?!!? ¬† I have always thought my skin was oily and that’s why my foundation never lasted. Years and years going to different makeup artist and just being told to use a primer… well I have and it still doesn’t work.¬†¬† Lately, I have noticed my foundation has become patchy after an hour or so. Which is not a cute look. I started looking into patchy foundation and the causes. I stumbled upon lumiashe’s¬† Youtube Channel and she went over what she learned from her research and mostly from Caroline Hirons’ blog

Caroline made a fantastic cheat sheet on Dry vs Dehydrated skin and how you can have oily skin that is dehydrating. New news to me!

Here is what Caroline explained about the differences in skin types and conditions !

“Dry and dehydrated skins have similar characteristics, but different underlying reasons.

Dry Skin – normally a skin type but can be a temporary skin condition

  • caused by lack of oil in the skin
  • small pores
  • ‘tight’ feeling
  • may be flaky
  • milia, blackheads and spots may still be present
  • skin looks dull
  • skin is not plump
  • doesn’t absorb products easily
  • easily irritated – more likely to suffer reactions to products
  • aggravated by poor skincare

Dehydrated Skin – is a skin condition affecting any skin type – including DRY

  • caused by lack of water in the skin
  • pores can be large or small
  • skin feels tight and dry although it can confusingly sometimes look¬†oily and have breakouts
  • absorbs moisturizers really quickly
  • blackheads and spots are still visible
  • makeup disappears (and goes patchy) throughout the day as the skin is absorbing any water in your foundation
  • skin looks ‘ashen’
  • aggravated by lifestyle circumstances – may suffer from a lot of headaches

Skin is made up of 70% water Рaround  20-30% of that is in the epidermis (top layer of the skin). In normal circumstances, your hydrolipidic film acts as a regulator and barrier Рretaining moisture and protecting against germs. If Рfor whatever reason that is compromised, the moisture in the epidermis evaporates too quickly and the normal, healthy state of the skin is compromised.

The following can cause dehydration –

  1. Environment – wind, cold air, dry air, too much sun, air conditioning, central heating
  2. Diet – the wrong foods, alcohol, caffeine, not eating enough water-heavy foods, not drinking enough
  3. Lifestyle – stress , poor skincare routine, using the wrong products, medication – including birth control, smoking
  4. Genetics – monthly cycle, pregnancy

It is quite common to be both dry and dehydrated but if by looking at the above you have ascertained that you are one or the other – these do’s and don’t might help.

Do and Do Not:

  • Do upgrade your moisturizer to something suitable for dry skin if you recognize the signs – go for products using the words ‘nourishing’
  • Do change your moisturizer to something labelled ‘hydra’ or ‘hydrating’.
  • Do steer clear of foaming anything¬† – keep the bubbles for your dishes
  • Do use balms, oils and serums for dry skin.
  • Do use milks, specified oils and treatments for dehydrated
  • Do stay away from mineral oils, silicone (in skincare – not makeup), lanolins and synthetic fragrance which will make a dehydrated skin worse and make a dry skin scream for help.”

So, what is the magic to getting hydration back to your face? Hydroluric Acid!!¬† It holds up to 100 times it’s own weight in water.

Doctor Oz covered the who, what and why of  Hydroluric Acid!

He explains, that it is a powerful humectant which is a  moisture-binder. This  keeps skin plump and hydrated and looking young!

Biology geekout:  Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide in the human body. It’s present in large amounts in the spaces between skin cells, where it provides moisture, plumpness, firmness and suppleness to the skin.

As a baby you are born with extra H.A but over time you no longer have the fresh dewy baby skin and need a little help.  While you’re never going to get back that perfectly dewy baby-skin, it is possible to help restore the skin’s hyaluronic acid content and get a  fresher, more supple look.

There are serum or moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid. While it won’t give you the dramatic, instantaneous  results , you will see benefits in the form of softer, smoother, more hydrated skin.

Applied topically, it will increases hydration, improves elasticity and also reverses free radical damage, so it may have some benefit in protecting from UV damage.

Bonus: Hyaluronic acid is one ingredient that works across the board. Every skin type, even oily, can benefit. Look for hyaluronic acid serums and apply one alone if you have oily skin or under moisturizer if you have dry skin.

It is all about prevention of wrinkles and making sure  your skin is kept  fresh and hydrated.

Hope you babes learned something helpful!

xo- A.

 

 

 

 

Low carb comfort food | Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients:
1 medium head cauliflower

1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened (optional)

1 tablespoon of half and half or cream.

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions
Boil water over high heat  to then  

Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces.

Steam cauliflower.about 6 minutes, or until well done.

Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry 

In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese (or some half and half),

Parmesan, garlic,

salt and pepper to taste.

Blend until smooth or your desired taste.  

Other ways to mix it up:  try rosemary or cheddar cheese. for a whole new taste.


This dish is key to fulfilling my comfort food craving without eating mass amounts of carbs. This is a superb way to eat low carb and not feel like you are missing out on anything! I have also made mock mac n cheese with cauliflower.. which is delicious!!

Finding new ways to enjoy your favorites is important when eating healthy.

xo- A

 bonappetito

New York City & Conneticut Holiday Adventure.

This gallery contains 154 photos.

A little back tracking to this past Christmas.. who doesn‚Äôt want to feel a little Christmas cheer in May ūüėČ I went on a 3 week North East adventure with my boyfriend, Alex. My family and I wanted to have … Continue reading

My New York City Love Affair

The Top of  Rockafeller

The Top of Rockefeller

I have a love affair and it is with the one and only , NEW YORK CITY, The Big Apple, The City, Manhattan, whatever you call it, I know, I fell in love with it instantly. From the moment I walked up the stairs and set my eyes on the city that stole my heart. I was barely 14 years old and took the train in from Princeton. We were visiting my mom and I’s best friends (Which were mother and daughter) Rebecca, my mom’s friend had a whole day and evening planned even a¬† Broadway play and dinner at the Blue Ribbon Bakery ( AMAZING) . I walked up the steps out of the station and the hustle of the street and the smell of¬† the cars engulfed me. We worked our way around the city weaving our way through¬† the streets and taxis. The New York sidewalks are like freeways, no holding up traffic and no stopping unless VERY necessary. My little feet were moving as my chubby cheeks were sore from smiling. I could feel New York and that was the first time I ever felt a city, and it was electrifying. New York was the launching pad of my love affair with fashion.

At my ripe age of 14 my priorities and must see’s were very different but oh so important ūüėȬ† This was in 2000 and at that moment TRL was the rage for ALL teens. I was eager to see where the MTV filmed . I pictured this grand building, a moment…. and then there it was, a corner window with colored printer paper on the bottom that read “TRL” my brows dropped and my bubble of expectation popped. It was my first experience of TV in person. I laughed at myself for the idea I had and what it actually was. I walked toward Broadway with the group while constantly cranking my disposable camera to catch every bit of the city I could, which embarrassed my mom. lol

As the others were busy at the box office handling tickets for Kiss Me Kate, I had my eyes on a whole new world,street vendors!!! I saw beautiful purses, every design and color you could want and as I noticed the price tags of my favorites; I realized I wasn’t going to buy a $50 purse at 14. Then I saw a woman negotiating the price of the purse…She was straight haggling and my eyes got wide. I pulled my favorite purse down and asked how much, he said $50. I quickly offered him $20… yeah, I was bold for my first time. He laughed and responded with an absolutely not and how he could not do such a price. My smart Ass 14 year self decided that I needed to let him know he wasn’t my only option and proceeded to tell him I would go find the same purse from the next guy and I did’t need him. As I began to walk away, he hollers for me and shouts “fine,fine I’ll do $25, you take!”¬† I was thrilled, I made my first deal on New York City streets. My mom wasn’t surprised by me and made the typical¬† “you are just like your father” comment. I was gleaming with joy that I just snagged a look a like designer bag, that was the start of my love of purses and just street vendors in general. My mom had to take my wallet at times, so I would stop giving every homeless person money and trying to haggle any and every amazing new york item I could get my hands on.

Then I had very real moments as a teen, that was a true learning lesson. One of my early visits to¬† New York was 2 months after 9/11. My mom’s best friend that I mentioned earlier was in the building and was able to make it out. I will never forget sitting in world history while living in Georgia and hearing the announcement. At that age, I didn’t understand the real implications, the meaning of the building or even who or why they were attacked. We went to pay our respects at Ground Zero, it had only been 2 months and all the rubble was still there, there was workers and chain link fences everywhere. It was unreal, how two building so massive that took over the skyline, was just¬† rubble. As we walked through the pathways there was several American flags and banners with messages for the lives lost that day and the hero’s that helped. I couldn’t imagine what Rebecca was seeing or feeling, she was in it, she saw and heard the terror.¬† That day will live with me forever, we visited ground zero every year after and watch it turn from rubble and a place of loss¬† to now a beautiful place of remembrance and triumph.

The Sphere is a large metallic sculpture by German sculptor Fritz Koenig, once stood in  between the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan. After being recovered from the rubble of the Twin Towers.It maintained structurally intact, it had been visibly damaged. 6 Months later the sculpture  was relocated to Battery Park and formally rededicated with an eternal flame as a memorial to the victims of 9/11.

The Sphere: by German sculptor Fritz Koenig, once stood in between the World Trade Center towers .After being recovered from the rubble of the Twin Towers. 6 Months later the sculpture was relocated to Battery Park and formally rededicated with an eternal flame as a memorial to the victims of 9/11.

New York was my playground,a discovery around every corner. At the time living  in Georgia, and by no means was Georgia on the same  fashion  scale as NYC.  scuffed baseball hats and Birkenstocks were the trend in GA ( shout out toe berks coming back)  and there was no H&M in Georgia or even in California when I moved back my junior year of high school.

My discovery of SOHO was magical, the only time I saw famous people in NYC was in SOHO. They happened to be my all time favorites, Lauren Graham from my¬† favorite show Gilmore Girls and my¬† Marc Jacobs moments… as we crossed the street we caught eyes, he probably didn’t realize it, BUT I DID. He was handsome and only in true Marc Jacobs fashion, he was rocking a kilt and sneakers.¬† I thought¬† I was soo cool in my knock off oversize Chanel sunglasses, which I still¬† I have to this day. Big sunnies were not popular and when I went back to school feeling glamorous, everyone else thought I looked like a¬† bug. Little did they know, they all would be rocking large sunglasses,2 years later. One of the many times my New York hit, failed in my little town.¬† As a teenager… well I still do, I saved all my money just so I could shop my way through New York.¬† I remember searching for H&M stores¬† and they were only in NYC and Europe, they didn’t even have an online shop. I still have my first H&M purchase, a soft black turtle neck sweater. ūüôā

New York moments,like seeing¬† Hair Spray, the year it won 8 Tonys‘. I felt jubilant¬† during the performance, it was electrifying, it was much different from my first play, Kiss Me Kate. Just another reason to love New York.

Then the not so high brow events of being¬† 18 and going to my first New York bar and feeling so cool that I was even drinking a beer… oh the highlights of life at that age. ūüôā¬† My more High Brow moment was¬† during the same trip, I had recently finished my first modern history course and I desperately wanted to go to the MoMA. My mom took any and all learning opportunities she could for me, so¬† as admired the¬† paintings, taken back that I was seeing the real deal, the paintings that I just learned about. I was just a few inched from the art work that is known around the world. The even better highlight…. I saw Jake Gyllenhaal with his mom… yep, we were both there with our moms, it like we were practically there together. hehe, or so I wished.

Some of my MOMA favorites:I don’t know if I was technically allowed to take these photos.

 

picasso

Rene Magritte’s ‚ÄúThe False Mirror‚Ä̬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† Picasso’s¬† “Guernica”

Water Lillies

Monet’s Waterlilies

I began visiting New York because of a family friends but then, my dreams came true… well as¬† close as I was going to get at 14.. My older brother, ten-year my senior, was moving to Manhattan!! I then spent every Christmas in Manhattan and felt like I was in the Christmas movies, that¬† I still obsessively watch .Everything from the lights intrinsically¬† strung¬† around every tree that lined the streets, the snow flakes that dance to music on the Cartier building, the smell and oh the delicious taste of hot roasted nuts. The city captivates your every sense. I loved walking the Upper East side and admiring the architecture and the mysterious apartments behind all the little windows you see. As a teen, I felt so independent and free being able to walk to the store or catch the train, I admired and envied the other teens that grew up living the New York life. They just seemed so much cooler, more mature and for the most part way more fashionable….because they were and are. lol . My favorite Christmases were the ones in my brothers 1 bedroom new york apartment with his little tree and eating dinner at the coffee table all together. Those are the memories I will cherish forever.

lit trees     

¬† After 12 years, my brother moved from the beautiful city of Manhattan to Florida, with a growing family they needed room and lot more sun. I protested, knowing it would slim my opportunities at visiting New York but thankfully a friend of mine and his babe are living in adorable Astoria and I seized the chance to visit….

xo- A

NEW YORK II…. to be continued….

Crunchy Roasted Edamame Snack | low carb.

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Who doesn’t love to snack‚Ķ I know I do and I try to find healthy alternative to my bad cravings. Here is a healthy low carb crunchy salty snack with my favorite,  Edamame! 

1 (12 ounce) package frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 tablespoon olive oil or until nicely coated
Sea salt abd cracked pepper to taste and
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. 

Directions

1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
Place the edamame into a colander and rinse under cold water to thaw. Drain.
2.Mix in a bowl the edamame with evoo and seasons and then finish with tossing in the parm. 
3. Then spread the edamame beans onto  baking sheet with parchment paper.
4.Bake in the preheated oven until the they are crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.
5. Lastly and most important,   enjoy hot or cold, your new favorite low healthy low carb babe snack.

Be adventurous and toss in your favorite seasons for a twist on this yummy snack. Try some garlic, basil or even paparika, get fun and creative.

Healthy Low Carb Essentials.

¬†About a 18 months ago,¬†I decided to start the ¬†low carb lifestyle. After gaining some..welll, more than some weight, I needed to take action. The weight gain was ¬†all thanks to my chef boyfriend over feeding me ūüôā . ¬†I knew ¬†low carb was ¬†the easiest ( lets not kid ourselves, it wasn’t always easy to deny pizza and cookies) ¬†and best option for me. Since my boyfriend is a chef, it was¬†easier to pass on the carbs than monitor every little ingredient he uses. ¬†Below is a list ¬†of ¬†healthy low carb products that ¬†I could not survive¬†without. ¬†It is never to late to start being the healthiest babe you can be!

Mission Low Carb tortillas: These saved the day! I love Mexican food and sandwiches, and this healthy option is fantastic. They are super soft and HUGE. I often cut them in half and have a good healthy wrap with some sliced turkey and cheese. Or make some low carb healthy enchiladas with them, even non low carbers with love them.

One carb Heize Ketchup : I love sauce and to dip!!  Compared to 3.76 for 1tbs of  carbs this is a simple 1 carb per 1tbs.  You can still enjoy your healthy bun-less burger or meatloaf with some ketchup!

Cauliflower: I never thought I would eat cauliflower so much but damn it’s good and versatile. From cauliflower mash,puree,faux mac n cheese and rice, makes cauliflower an amazing healthy substitute for carbohydrate filed dishes. I barely eat mash potatoes or regular mac and cheese, because this option fulfills my craving completely.

Spaghetti Squash: As an Italian, I grew up eating pasta, so this was a hard breakup. Thankfully spaghetti squash is a great alternative to the a lot of Italian recipes. I love bolognese  ,low fat Alfredo with mushrooms,spinach and sausage with it or even mock hash browns. Mix it up and I am sure it will win you over. Keep in mind it does take a while to bake, about 45 mins to an hour.

Eggs: I often eat eggs for breakfast and throw in whatever veggies or even left overs I have, in with them. They are high in protein and with taking out a yoke or 2, I am eliminating some fat. I also make them into healthy egg muffins that are quick and easy for the recipe –>¬†Egg Muffins Recipe.¬†I also¬†hard boiled eggs ¬†for snacks or to make deviled eggs with or even an egg salad in a romaine lettuce wrap.

¬†Red Peppers: I am pepper bias, I only really like red ones. I love peppers in and with everything, dip them,sautee them, mix them in salad… you get the point… they are great and great for you.

xo. A