In Your Palm

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The power is in your palm. Do yourself a favor and visit this site RIGHT now. Watch the video and make a pact with yourself to not support products that use palm oil. I am not a pusher, nor do I sell ANYTHING. But, whenever I hear of a very important cause I want to share it.

Palm oil has become one of the world’s leading causes of rainforest destruction.

It is is in a LOT of junk food. And even some beauty products. But, is it necessary? Absolutely not!

Big companies are tearing down palm trees in our rainforests. Orangutans need these trees to survive, but if the big companies continue to utilize palm oil plantations they will become extinct in our lifetime. Do you want that? I know I don’t. Animals do not need to be sacrificed so that we can eat more Cinnamon Toast Crunch and use Dove soap. How absurd is that?!

These same big companies have plenty of other non-tropical oils they can use like olive oil, canola oil, or safflower oil, to name a few.

I hope you will take some kind of action. Think about submitting a photo like I did above to the #InYourPalm site. It’s so simple! If you have time this week, also consider looking at your food and product labels. Legally, a company can label it as “vegetable oil”, but luckily most don’t. These are palm oil derivatives to look out for:

  • Palm Kernel Oil (PKO) and PKO fractionations: Palm Kernel Stearin (PKs); Palm Kernel Olein (PKOo)
  • Partially Hydrogenated Palm and Palm Kernel Oil (PHP(K)O)
  • Fractionated Palm and Palm Kernel Oil (FP(K)O)
  • Organic Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil (OP(K)O)
  • Palmitate – Vitamin A or Ascorbyl Palmitate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulphates
  • Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
  • Elaeis Guineensis
  • Glyceryl Stearate and Stearic Acid
  • Steareth -2 and Steareth -20
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl sulfoacetate
  • Hydrated palm glycerides
  • Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye
  • Cetyl palmitate and octyl palmitate

Let’s take a stand together. Every person counts and our buying power is huge! If we buy less palm oil products, companies will have to consider using other available oils.

What cause are you passionate about? I would LOVE to hear about it!

What to Eat Wednesday: Dill

Dill

Let me get this out of the way first, as if it isn’t already clear by my title above, I have way too much fun with dill! I love the way it tastes and I even love the smell. Mark my words, it WILL be the next herb I grow. So anyway, I received a bunch of dill with my Urban Acres half share this past Saturday and had two experiments in the kitchen last night.

The first experiment was with dill dip. And yes, it had mayonnaise. If you know me, you know I hate mayonnaise and that even the look of it grosses me out. I was grossed out making this dish for that 2 second window, but once I combined it with the other things I was A okay. FYI, I blame that aversion on Stingerettes, my high school dance team. We had 5 hour outdoor dance workouts next to a mayonnaise factory. If that smell doesn’t make you want to pray to the porcelain god, I don’t know what will.

Back to dill dip, I found a recipe from a fellow blogger. Holla! And with the title, “Best Dill Dip Ever“, I figured I couldn’t go wrong. You can click the link on that title to see her recipe. Holy carrots and celery, it was smashing good! I mean, dip anything you can in it, good. And with 4 1/2 tablespoons of fresh dill, I am quickly learning that dill can take your dish from ho hum to wowza in no time!

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Best Dill Dip Ever!

Next experiment was my mom’s ever so famous Harvest Vegetable Chowder. I have always loved this soup, but have never recreated it myself. My mom’s is just THAT good! All I want to do is devour it like the cookie monster does with cookies. But, since I had another big handful of dill to use I thought, what the heck?!

My recipe was a little different than my mom’s, simply because I needed to think quick and didn’t have time to use the crock pot. So, here was my recipe (sorta… just going off memory since I didn’t write it down). Keep in mind, I didn’t have bouillon so just used sea salt.

Harvest Vegetable Chowder

And here is a picture of the finished product…

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You’ll be lickin’ your lips…

What is your favorite recipe with dill?

150 miles by Summer!

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Who is with me? Ready to take on this Bikini Series Challenge and be bikini ready by summer?

This will be my second Tone It Up Challenge. I really enjoy their challenges, because they are 1) FREE and 2) FUN. Two F words that everyone loves. You can find out more about the challenge on their website (which I linked to above for your easy click & go.. aren’t I sweet?!) and then I will blog about my journey throughout the challenge. Please let me know if you are taking on the challenge too.

My cardio of choice for the 150 miles over the next 8 weeks will mainly be Insanity. I am a lover of HIIT training! Since you really should only do HIIT’s a max of 4 times per week, I will also incorporate running or walking into the mix. And of course, booty shaking when I get the chance. I do love to dance!

How many miles will one Insanity video count for? I am so glad you asked. My 40 minute videos will count for 4 miles. So, to keep it simple… 10 minutes=1 mile for the vids.

On top of the 150 miles, the Bikini Series consists of other challenges as well. Toning workouts are posted on the weekly schedule for the challenge so I will do those during my lunch break or after work (whenever I can fit it in).

What about nutrition? Well, nutrition is VERY important. I already eat pretty healthy, but during this series I am going to try NEW fruits and vegetables. Expand my horizons a bit. And, lately, I have had a bad habit of over-snacking on crap at night in front of the TV. I am going to replace that bad habit with a bowl of frozen fruit and a calorie-free hot beverage (like tea or water with lemon). Not going to get rid of my TV watching, though. Too many good shows on these days. Bates Motel or Blacklist, anyone?

And didn’t I mention FUN? Yes, yes I did. Thanks for reminding me. While I find working out and living a healthy lifestyle EXTREMELY fun, I know that not everyone does. So what I also like about this Bikini Series is that the ladies of Tone It Up throw in some other to do’s into the mix, like making a vision board, creating a summer fun list, etc. Summer is meant to be enjoyable so heck, ENJOY it! Every moment of it… and that, I will.

Sunday Social

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It’s time to get social today, friends. This one is all about pet peeves. We’ve all got ’em. Feel free to share yours!

  1. What is your biggest driving pet peeve?  When the google map app tells you there is no traffic on your route and then you wind up getting into traffic. You slowly see that 25 minutes until arrival turning into 35 minutes. I usually leave only 5 minutes early so rely on that sucker! Guess I just need to leave earlier and my pet peeve will go away, but that’s a habit for another day.
  2. What is your biggest blogging pet peeve? When you strongly support another blog and get absolutely no support in return. I had a friend one time that always wanted me to share her fitness posts and such, but never once did I get a share or even a “like” on my Facebook page. And this was friend.. not some random person I don’t know. Thinking you rule the online world is a surefire way to be on my naughty list.
  3. What is your biggest shopping pet peeve? When I am almost 100% certain a store is going to have something I am looking for and doesn’t. Feels like the biggest time waster and I am instantly disappointed. For instance, I thought I could for sure find outdoor patio lights at Homegoods. That place has EVERYTHING… except for patio lights, apparently.
  4. What is your biggest general pet peeve? When people hound you to buy something they are selling. I HATE that. I mostly hate it when it is done in front of a store or at a flea market, but it is all over Facebook now too. In my opinion, people just need to relax. People will buy something when they want to buy it. If you force someone to buy it, they will not be a returning and happy customer.
  5. What is your most irrational fear? Yikes! Irrational? Most of my fears are rational, like snakes and spiders. But, I guess it would have to do with heights. I am not afraid of heights in general (heck, I even jumped out of a plane once). However, whenever I am on a really tall skyscraper I turn into a kid in a haunted house. I have to slowly make my way to the edge and almost crouch down so that I am WAY below the top of the railing. Very weird!

Bri’s Summer Fun List!

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Many of you have heard me rave about Tone It Up before. I LOVE these girls and all that they stand for. They have built a lovely community of supportive women who enjoy working out and living a healthy lifestyle. If I could use one word to describe Tone It Up, it would be FUN! They make health fun and y’all know I am all about fun.

So anyway, a bikini series challenge is about to start (3 days left to sign up for free, in fact). To kick it off, Tone It Up blogged about creating your own summer, which includes making a fun to-do list for summer. I decided to join in and share with all of you…

Bri’s Summer FUN List:

  • Take a Beach Trip– I have a trip to Hawaii booked so already have this covered. Can’t wait for it to get here! I get to see my cousin and her 3 year old too. My heart is ecstatic!
  • Attend a Music Festival– MK and I just bought tickets to Bonnaroo. Our new goal is to attend at least one music festival per year.
  • Try Yoga on a Beach– I am going to find a class in Hawaii or just do some poses myself. Either way, I have ALWAYS wanted to try this. I love yoga and for some reason I think I will love it ten times more on the beach. Wave sounds, anyone?
  • Take a Surf Lesson– I don’t need to master surfing, but I want to take a lesson. A little nervous about this, but I am always up for a challenge.
  • Attend a Concert by the Lake– I live fairly close to the Harbor (a retail development by a lake). They have a concert by the lake series every summer, but I have not been since 2008. I am missing out! But, this year that changes.
  • Enjoy a Party– My mom is retiring this summer so we are having a party for her. It will be a blast, no doubt. I may also have a 30th bday party- not sure yet.
  • Glow Like the Sun– No, I do not mean tan all day and get skin cancer, but I do want to glow all summer long by keeping up with my healthy lifestyle and perhaps using a sunless tanner/bronzer when I need it. I think happy people naturally glow too so plan to do more activities that make me smile! 😉
  • Make My Own Root Beer– I read a blog recently about someone doing this and I kept thinking it would be super cool to try. I may not be Betty Crocker, but perhaps I can make a mean batch of Root Beer. The jury is out.
  • Host a Girl’s Day Out– I love my friends (mom included). I sooooo want to plan a fun girl’s day this summer. Not sure what we would do or where we would go yet, but all I know is it will be fun.
  • See Fireworks– I am pretty much betting on this for 4th of July.
  • Play Sand Volleyball– Anyone in?! Thinking I can get at least one game in this summer… maybe more if I find a group of people interested.
  • Go on a Picnic– My cousin said that her and her 3 year old do this regularly so I have to say I am REALLY looking forward to a picnic in Hawaii.
  • Read a Good Thriller– Maybe a book for the plane ride? I love suspenseful books and have a few that my dad loaned me. Definitely want to read one or a few this summer.
  • Dance in the Rain– I love rain and I love to dance.. put them both together and you get a rain dance. Heck to the yeah!

What would be on your summer fun list?

What to Eat Wednesday: Non-GMO

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My brothers and I were talking a lot on Sunday about food and where it comes from. One of the broski’s mentioned genetically modified food. We all agreed how weird it is that so many food products contain a genetically modified organism (GMO).

Have you ever thought about that? GMO’s are plants and animals created through gene splicing techniques of biotechnology. The very genes that make up the plant or animal are being altered (think mutation, insertion, or deletion of genes). Crazy, right?!

Or maybe you don’t care. Some people don’t. And that freedom is yours, yo.

But I care. My younger brother and his girlfriend are growing spinach, kale, berries, and all sorts of other goodies. I totally dig that! Growing your own fruits and vegetables is obviously the BEST way to know where your food is coming from and what is going into it. Not everyone can grown their own food (or want to) so I wouldn’t be doing my job if I did not educate you on the Non-GMO Project.

The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit committed to preserving and building the non-GMO food supply, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices. This is GREAT news! They have a stamp that is very easy to find on food products. To ensure that your favorite food products are non-GMO, look for this stamp…

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And with that, my friends, have a fabulous non-GMO Wednesday!

After Sunday Social

Happy late Easter everyone! This past weekend was a fun one, but busy. I totally missed Sunday Social. And I hate when I miss Sunday Social so I am going to pretend that it is still Easter Sunday and “hop” right in…

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This Weeks Questions:

  1. 5 songs you’ll listen to the rest of your life: Man in the Mirror (Michael Jackson), I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty), I can’t help myself (Four Tops), My Girl (The Temptations), and Hold On (Wilson Phillips). I know.. none of them are new songs, but these have withstood the test of time in my music library. They are not going away any time soon.
  2. 5 things on your bucket list: Travel to New Zealand, participate in a Latin dance competition, perform in a local musical, learn to surf, and own a beach house within 1 mile from the beach.
  3. 5 celebs you’d love to hang out with for a day: Justin Timberlake, Luke Wilson, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, and Matthew McConaughey. Now THAT would make for an excellent day!
  4. 5 things you always carry in your purse: Iphone, EOS chapstick, phone charger (now that my battery stinks!), hair ties, and pepper spray (you know, to keep the crazies away).
  5. 5 books on your reading list: I am the slowest reader known to man.. probably because I only read a few pages each night. So, to have 5 books on my reading list would be lofty. Let’s just say I am reading a book called “Foodist” right now and I think my next will be “Cather in the Rye.” Change it up a bit! I read a lot of health books since my career is in health, but I often need to mix in a good fiction.
  6. Last 5 pictures on your phone: Here you go…
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    I have too much fun with Holly & Junebug!

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    Close up of Junebug!

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    Tazo Zen is my fave!

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    Cali rarely lets anyone else hold her, but she is liking MK these days.

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    I was proud of our chairs after we put them together and stained them. Now I get to drink tea outside and stare at people.

What to Eat Wednesday: Spaghetti Squash

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I have a new favorite dinner dish!

You are not going to believe this, but I am not a huge pasta fan. Most pasta dishes are so heavy that my tummy hurts the rest of the night. Not my thing! I blame it on the excess amount of noodles, oil, and cheese. But, I find that whenever I get to decide what goes into the dish, my tummy is so much happier.

My friend forwarded me a recipe for spaghetti squash boats recently. What I found appealing was the use of a vegetable in place of noodles. Less calories and more nutrients for the win!

Y’all… IT WAS SO GOOD! And yes, that sentence deserved all caps. Even Matt, noodle and pasta dish lover, enjoyed the spaghetti squash in place of the noodles. Actually, he said he could have the spaghetti squash by itself too he liked it so much.

And you know what? It was simple to make. The spaghetti squash I bought had directions on how to prepare it so I followed. I microwaved the squash for a couple minutes before cutting to make it a little softer. It’s hard to cut through otherwise. So, I cut in half lengthwise, preheated the oven to 375 degrees, and placed each half face down. Baked for 40 minutes. Then I took them out of the oven, turned them right side up and placed on two plates. Took a fork and had fun making the squash noodles, while leaving them in the “boat.” Then topped each boat with spaghetti sauce (I use grass-fed beef and a jar of Central Market’s brand marinara sauce) and sprinkled with a little Parmesan cheese.

It was also fun to eat. Who wouldn’t like to eat out of a boat?! No one I know, that’s for sure. And kids would LOVE the heck out of this. Great family dish!

Have you had spaghetti squash boats yet? If not, what are you waiting for? I kinda sound like a commercial now…

Getting organized!

Getting Organized!

I am not an insanely messy person by any means, but I am also not the neatest. I do not clean my house daily nor do I have everything put together, labeled alphabetically, and a partridge in a pear tree. But, I do like things tidy and I tend to pick up on a regular basis. I don’t like unnecessary clutter or messes.  Mainly because they tend to create clutter in my mind too.

A tidy space helps me be more creative and less stressed. I don’t know why, but again it all starts between the ears. The mind is so stinkin’ powerful and I like to keep mine as happy as possible!

So, I got organized. My office closet was chaos. My pantry was discombobulated (I really just wanted to use that word whether it fits or not). And under my bathroom sink, it was just plain disastrous. I would knock things over every single time I reached in for my comb or makeup bag.

I don’t like to spend a lot of money on baskets or containers and it is crazy how expensive some of that stuff can be. I opted for a less expensive route with canvas containers for the pantry and bathroom sink. I went with inexpensive shelving for my office closet. Now whenever I open my closet door for my crafting supplies or workout shoes, I smile. Same thing when I reach in for my blow dryer. And how do I feel when I grab the olive oil? “Like I could sing and dance for hours and be the happiest girl aliiiiiiivvvveeeeee.” (yes you were supposed to sing that as you read it and yes, I am exaggerating but my point is made).

So all is well with the mind when I get organized. How do you feel when you get organized?!

Sunday Social

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I am up and at ’em early today. I have some exciting Sunday plans.. or at least, exciting to me. I get free reign over our backyard. My plan is to dress up the backyard patio with some potted plants, add some outdoor lights (thinking solar powered tin stars), purchase a rain barrel to conserve water, and plant more herbs (and possibly a few vegetables). Also need to find a year-round plant to go under this tree we have. It’s completely shaded so no grass is growing underneath it, but I know I can find an evergreen to pump up the look. Who knew I would be so excited about gardening?! Things sure change when you live in a house.

Since today is Sunday Social, let’s get to it. Here are the questions:

  1. What was your best birthday? My 21st birthday back in 2005. I think I have mentioned it on the blog before, but I interned with the San Antonio Spurs and was at the championship game the day I turned 21. Luckily, the Spurs won. Everyone that worked for the Spurs had an after party. It was an absolute blast and I will never forget it!
  2. What was your best vacation? I love every single vacation that I go on so this one is a toughy. I will say St. Lucia since it is still fresh on the mind. We went in January and the island was beautiful! I also really liked my trip to London. I went with my mom in 2009 and had some awesome experiences. I love all of the rich history and traditions there. Two very different vacations, but both had their highs. Man do I love to travel!
  3. What was your best date you’ve ever been on? A day trip to wine country while we were visiting San Francisco. We rented a convertible and drove into the wind. Beautiful weather and scenery.. it was magical!
  4. Best movie (quality) you’ve seen? I have to add in a word to this one today. Let’s add in “recent” before best. I am not quite awake enough to remember the best movie quality of all time so I am going to go with the best recent one I have seen. That would be 10 Years a Slave. It was heart-wrenching and emotional, but quality material. I felt anger towards certain people in the movie and was very impressed with the acting.
  5. Best TV show ending of all time? Breaking Bad hands down. I remember Dexter having a stinky ending so I was expecting Breaking Bad’s to not be so well, but it did not disappoint. I have a huge respect for Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul. Excellent actors!