Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gilded Girly Bridal Shower

Gilded Girly Bridal Shower

My bestie/tweedle, Jolie, got married in somewhat of a hurry this past year (nothing untoward I promise you... more like a romantic elopement all planned by her hubby!) and while I was able to be present on her special day as a bridesmaid, I was a little bummed we didn't get to do all the fun pre-wedding partying that I had done with many other friends. Also, she's had it rough lately and I knew some girly time and gift giving would make her smile so I decided to throw her a post-wedding bridal shower!

Gilded Girly Bridal Shower
Me and my helpers/fellow bridesmaids
Another bestie of mine, and fellow bridesmaid/newlywed herself, offered to host the shower at her gorgeous new home since she'd been dying to entertain.

Gilded Girly Bridal Shower
Pink and gold all the way for my girly girl!
It was the perfect space and she was an enormous help, so thank you Mrs. A! We decided to have most of the food catered, to make it extra special, and supplemented with some homemade snacks and salads.

Gilded Girly Bridal Shower
Gilded Girly Bridal Shower

No party for Jolie would be without plenty of booze of course, so we had a mimosa bar and homemade sangria for everyone to sip.

Gilded Girly Bridal ShowerGilded Girly Bridal Shower

Following the food we played just one little "quiz" game, then dove into the delicious dessert/sundae station!

Gilded Girly Bridal Shower

Gilded Girly Bridal Shower
Almost all the food was gluten free, since J can't have the stuff
Gilded Girly Bridal Shower
Gilded Girly Bridal Shower
Mmmmm caramel sauce....
We got to peek at her wedding photos she had just gotten back, which was a fun treat, before she opened gifts and read our wishes to her on the wish tree. People also signed a large gold monogram I had made for her, to display in her new little love nest!

For favors, we threw together little jars of rosemary salt (Jolie LOVES salt - like will lick the rim of a margarita before drinking it) and attached a yummy cocktail recipe, a Salty Dog.

Gilded Girly Bridal Shower Rosemary Salt Favors
Gilded Girly Bridal Shower Rosemary Salt Favors
Monogram central - another one of J's faves!
It was a great group of ladies and we had a lovely time. I hope Jolie felt completely showered with love!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Make Your Mondays - January 26th

Em had a wonderful Friday night dinner with her friend Kell, then more "single mother time" with her babies while her TH worked and her TM spent time in the Bay Area.  She spent the majority of the weekend out of the house on a Great American couch hunt for her living room...thankfully, one was ordered! Nic relished in a weekend at home to keep house and run errands, in between back to back HypnoBirthing classes. She also managed to get some elusive toddler snuggles in, which have been much needed!

Are you happy with yourself? Is the foundation of your day centered around peace with your world? Not consumed by the simple stressors of everyday life, but able to step back and look at your bigger picture? Can you discriminate between what really matters against what doesn't? This week, let's find our inner peace and choose to thrive each day.  Let's create a balance for ourselves and welcome in the positive energy...starting now.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Recipe Rave Review - Brussels Sprout & Rice Casserole

I love a good Cooking Light recipe as much as the next girl, especially when it is easy to throw together after a day away from my boys.  When I stumbled across this rice and veggie dish I thought I needed to give it a go so I could add it to my repertoire.  As usual, I prepped my ingredients before hand so I would be ready to go as soon as I walked in the door. 

The recipe called for:
  • 1 (10oz) package of frozen brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups low fat (or fat free) milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 cup cooked long-grain rice
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • (optional) 1 oz thinly sliced prosciutto or ham, cut into strips

First, preheat your oven to 375.

Combine the brussels sprouts and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Then, reduce the heat and allow those green goodies to simmer for 5 minutes. Next, uncover, and cook for an additional minute before draining. 

Melt the margarine in a small saucepan over low heat then add the flour, making sure to stir, stir, stir with a whisk.

Gradually add in the milk and continue to stir.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cook for 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Stir in the salt and pepper and set aside.

With the sauce done, grab a 9 inch dish and coat with cooking spray. Pat the rice into the bottom of the dish, make it nice and cozy.

Grab those cooked brussels and arrange them evenly on top of the rice, (stems down if you want to get fancy). If you are opting to add meat into your recipe, now would be the time to sprinkle it on.

Pour your creamy sauce over the rice and brussels.

Combine the breadcrumbs and cheese in a separate bowl and sprinkle on top of the sauce. 

When covered, toss in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Once you have a nice brown little topper, take out your casserole and let it cool for a few minutes before diving in. The rice holds in the moisture of the sauce perfectly and adds a rich balance to the soft, steamed brussels.  The light crunch of the topping adds just enough taste/texture diversity to leave you wanting more.  This dish was easy and well rounded.  Served with additional vegetables or all on its own, it has everything a meal could need!

Are you a casserole loving mommy? Interested in prepping this over the weekend for an easy Monday night dinner?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

As many of you know I am a dedicated cycler.  I take classes whenever I can and even became certified to teach four years ago. I love this workout and enjoy every second of sweat dripping from my body while trying to achieve total exhaustion. I didn't think it was possible to love cycle more...that is, until I tried Bike2theBeat in Newport Beach. Oh. My. Goodness.  It was everything I loved all wrapped up in one, hour long, heart pounding workout. It was everything I needed to help me on my journey of, "Mommy Get That Body Back".

When you walk into this little studio, you will be most likely be greeted by the owner, Mindy.  She will welcome you, ask if it is your first time and make sure you have shoes (if you don't already have  your own). As other first timers arrive, she explains just how  "Beat Brats" roll and what to expect from the next hour.  She takes time to answer questions, motivate all her clients and get everyone in the waiting area pumped to take on what she and her team of instructors are going to dish out.  Then the doors to the Beatbox open and it is time to get this party started; and a party is just what it is.

As you prepare to hop on your bike, it isn't going to be the usual set up. I myself went on auto pilot and started to adjust my seat as I always do...well not here.  We don't sit on that seat for anything but to recover, so don't even bother.  This workout is all out of the saddle, so those legs and backside work the entire time, ooooh yeah. Once you are clipped in your pedals it is time to rock n' roll. Off go the lights and you pitch black...for the!

LET'S HIT IT! As soon as the music and lights kick in it is as if you have transported to the most popular night club in town, but you won't have sore legs from dancing in heels, you will have sore legs from powering those pedals baby. On go the black lights while colors fly through the room in sync with the beats of the fast paced, loud music.  As you drive your knees up with the beat, the dance moves start getting called out and your upper body starts to move side to side. Core is stabilizing you as you move back and forth rocking out to the music. It is absolute heaven, let me tell you.  This is not your average cycle class, no more boring, lighting monitored, music controlled typical cycle class at your regular gym. This is a good time.

The instructors do a phenomenal job making everyone who comes in the beatbox comfortable and ready to work. You will feel motivated to do your best and leave it all on the bike; this class is for everyone. After taking so much time off due to pregnancy and recovering from my C-section, I was beyond thrilled to get back on a bike.  When the time came, I decided to branch out from my gym and try something a bit different. Boy am I glad I did. This truly embodies all the things I love: dancing, the latest jams and exercise...You must try it!

With a New Year upon us, it is time to get out of that comfort zone you've been hiding in all of 2014. Check out your latest Groupon and see what new things you may be interested in trying. Grab a friend and sign up, you never know, you may just find a beatbox of your own to fall in love with!

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