Mauruuru French Polynesia!!!

IMG_1892

I seriously think I have enough pictures and stories to share that I could spend the rest of the year blogging ONLY about our honeymoon to the French Polynesian Islands!!!  It was magical for soo many reasons.  Number 1 is obvious…spending almost 2 straight weeks with your newish husband who also happens to be your best friend is unreal!  And then together being able to be completely selfish with your time, doing only what makes the two of you happy…priceless!  Now throw in…beautiful beaches, friendly people, amazing weather, exciting culture, and mouth watering food…and you’ve got one happy couple!

DSCN2439

Here’s a quick overview of our trip.  We visited three islands…Moorea, Tahaa, and Bora Bora (in that order).  I know, your next question is which was our favorite?  We thought about this too and honestly can’t pick just one.  Each island had it’s own personality and charm and I would have hated to miss any one of them.

IMG_20160127_093637517

What to do…

So, if like me you thought that the islands were all about relaxation and laying about, you were only half right.  The relaxation is guaranteed!  The staff is so incredible that our entire trip was effortless!  And you can lay around if you want to (trust me…I read 3 1/2 books!), but you can also kayak, SUP, snorkel, swim, paddleboat, and explore.

DSCN2405 DSCN2538

We spent a huge amount of time in the water, by the water, and on the water!  There are also plenty of excursions to choose from (jet skiing, hiking, boating, ATVs, etc.) that you can do on your own or in groups.  We did a super cool jet ski tour along the north coast of Moorea, exploring the bays before stopping for a dip with the sting rays and sharks and then lemonade at the Motu.

DSCN2579

DSCN2682

DSCN2720

DSCN2493

Eats and Drinks…

To rehydrate and refuel, there were plenty of options.  The French influence on cuisine was apparent from the start of the day with crepes, croissants, and jams.  Not to mention fresh eggs cooked how you like them and plenty of other options.  And always served with fresh juice…the pineapple was incredible!  Even the restaurant views were amazing!

IMG_2014

Lunch was a mix of options, usually delicious sandwiches and a glass of wine : )

DSCN2557

And sometimes a second…or a festive, local bevvie!

DSCN2945

DSCN2726

DSCN3142

DSCN2863

For dinner, there was plenty of freshly caught fish and French specialties.

IMG_2423

It was some of the best food I’ve EVER had!!!

And to Relax…

We read, did yoga, swam in our plunge pool and the big pools, hit up happy hour (sometimes in the pool), napped in the sun, took boat rides, fed the fish, laid in the hammock, played cards, took a million selfies, met new friends, got a couples massage, and enjoyed all the Polynesian culture.  I told you there was a lot of relaxation options!

IMG_20160122_175934918

IMG_20160122_073345906_HDR

DSCN3321

IMG_20160128_175801227

IMG_2199

And the views…

IMG_20160127_111444342

IMG_20160124_130609522

IMG_20160123_183743081_HDR

IMG_20160130_102903551

…Were breathtaking!!!

Fingers crossed, we get to visit these incredible islands again one day!  We were lucky to have friends who helped us plan our trip, so if you are thinking of visiting the area or want to know any details from our trip, reach out and let me know!

DSCN2958

Our tans may be fading, but our memories are not…

Mauruuru! (Thank you!)

Ia Orana!!!

Ia Orana (pronounced yo-rah-nah)

Which must be said in an adorable sing songy voice!

DSCN2819

This post was supposed to be done and ready to go while we were gone, but I just wasn’t that pulled together and organized.  Now that we are back and working through some serious jet lag (3 flights in a 24 hours…or something like that), I have a few minutes to update the pictures and finish the post.  And tell you that our trip was absolutely incredible.  It exceeded all our expectations and we loved EVERY minute!

IMG_20160130_181328359

Leaving our last island, Bora Bora…

January Goals

Exercise Often– Goal Met!  Prior to vacation, I hit the weights and got my runs in.  Best part was having the hubs by my side!

IMG_20160109_071940315

And we had tons of opportunities to exercise in the Ocean!  I finally got to try stand up paddle boarding!

DSCN3045

Keep my Eating On Pointe– Once we got past the fry party on the first day of the year, I did a good job of keeping my meals clean!

Get Organized (for our trip and 2016)- So I was totes organized for our trip, or at least as organized as one can be when heading half way around the world to a place they’ve never been.  As for 2016…well, that’s another story.  2016 bucket list to come…

Create and Appreciate Expected and Unexpected Adventures- We made every day memorable and amazing on our trip!  We enjoyed the views and relaxation, the food, and all the cultural experiences.  Believe it or not, our trip went slowly, which was fantastic!

IMG_2198

February Goals

Change my name…Ugh!  I just have to change 2 letters and I know it will be a HUGE headache!

Cook some new recipes…we loved the Polynesian cuisine and can’t wait to try to replicate some recipes at home.

Create a budget and bucket list!

Maintain my vacation Zen!

IMG_2271

Honeymoon updates coming…if you want them (or haven’t seen my Insta pics). 

How was your first month of 2016?  What are you goals for this month?

Sips, Saturday, Sherlock

Before Saturday began, I celebrated FriYAY!

IMG_20160114_081818870

It was an especially exciting day since it marked the start of my 2 plus weeks of vacation!  Sadly, the BOY had to work late, so I celebrated Friday night date night with Cooper.

IMG_20160115_204159884

We caught up on my DVR and set the table for our Saturday lunch guests.

IMG_20160116_065422281

Then curled up to cuddle and read.  I am trying to get my book finished before the trip and already have some new books and mags packed and ready to go.

IMG_20160115_194430404

I slept fantastically and was sad to hear my alarm go off early this morning.  The BOY and I had one last training session before vaca.  I’m bummed that I didn’t get any pics of us in our matching boxing gloves, but here’s a recycled one.  I did this a bunch today so it seemed legit.

IMG_2016

The BOY and I came back home to pick up a bit and a little before 10am, my mom came by to drop off Cooper’s Hanukkah gift and pick me up for our nail appointment.

IMG_20160116_114837803

Then my mom and some friends came back to our house for lunch.  We made two kinds of chili, a huge salad, and had fruit and dark chocolate for dessert followed by lattes from my Nespresso maker covered in whipped cream…Mmm!.  After lunch, I had to run out for a few errands.  On my way home, I swung by to pick up take out Coopers Hawk and a bottle of wine for dinner. 

IMG_20160116_195343181

While we ate dinner, Cooper enjoyed/stalked his new toy.

IMG_20160116_195940680_HDR

So the BOY called me at work this week to tell me that there is one episode of Sherlock available online.  The next season doesn’t come out until 2017, so we were super excited to spend Saturday night sipping through Sherlock.  I’m not planning to stay up too late tonight because I have a busy day of packing up my tropical clothes while it’s 1 degree outside tomorrow.  What can I say…

IMG_20160116_173323739

LOL!

 

What are you up to this Saturday night?

Do you watch Sherlock?  Any good book suggestions?

Random Wordy Wednesday and a Recipe

IMG_20160113_071737588

1. THE BLOG

So although I have blogged a bit less this year, I am still blogging.  Why does this matter?  It came time to renew my domain and despite the fact that blogging does not play as big of a role in my day to day life, I seem to like it enough to sign back up without thinking twice about it.  Speaking of blogging…I do need to update a few pages.  Perhaps that will be part of my 2016 goals.

 

2. RECIPES

Speaking of the year ahead…I took the easy way out last week with 2 Ingredient Chicken, but between the BOY and I and all our new kitchen toys, I think we will have more new and unique recipes on LWYD this year.  I am already loving this Cleansing Carrot Ginger Soup (topped with raisins…Mmm!).  This week, I also made turkey meatballs.  Believe it or not I didn’t use my crockpot (it was busy), so I used my other favorite kitchen tool.

IMG_20160111_175643212 IMG_20160111_175807124

IMG_20160111_181632956 IMG_20160111_182737036

I should admit that there are people who were made to make meatballs and then there is me.  Have you ever seen meatballs so not round?!  Thankfully, they tasted amazing (even though I left out the bread crumbs).

IMG_20160111_192700151_HDR

 

3. WORKOUTS

Tuesday morning, I was running circles around the track again watching the cold, miserable snow through the windows.  Thank goodness for Serial to keep me company!  I am all caught up and already downloaded a bunch of podcasts for our trip.

IMG_20160112_071416420_HDR

 

4. WEATHER

Brrr!  Baby…it’s cold outside!

IMG_20160113_070223103

5. TRAVEL

Thankfully, it’s getting REALLY close to honeymoon time…

IMG_20160112_205609499

Sunshine, here we come!!!  I’ve ordered us TONS of sunscreen, water shoes, snorkels, and more in prep for the big trip which is less than a week away.

 

6. COOPER

He is just so darn cute!  Except when he lays on your face in the middle of the night : )

IMG_20160111_182159771

What’s on your mind today?

Crockpot Turkey Meatballs

From Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound 97-98% lean ground turkey1
  • 1 pound 92-93% lean ground turkey1
  • 2/3 cup (40g) Panko (I omitted this)
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (22g) grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion sweet onion, sliced
  • two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes

Directions

  1. Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl. Add the ground turkey, Panko, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, parmesan, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix everything up just so the ingredients are combined – avoid overmixing. Roll into desired size balls – mine were slightly larger than a golfball. Place all rolled meatballs on a large baking sheet.
  2. Place onion slices in the bottom of the crockpot, topped with 1 can of crushed tomatoes.
  3. Coat a large skillet with remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Lightly brown the meatballs (only 6-8 meatballs at a time) for about 1 minute on each side. Do not skip this step – read above for why. Layer the meatballs into the crockpot as you’re browning each batch. Once all browned meatballs have been added to the crockpot, pour remaining can of tomatoes on top.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-6.5 hours. Serve with pasta, as meatball subs, plain, etc. No matter how I serve them, I always top with a little chopped fresh basil. Store leftovers covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Sally has a ton of notes, including how to make this without the crockpot like I did, so check them out!

Multitasking Monday

One week into the new year…can you believe it?  Where does the week go?  Seems like just yesterday, I was hosting a fry party and now I’m running around my house making food for the week, searching for my lost marriage licenses, and listening to some new podcasts.  I am multitasking like crazy, trying to make the most of this Monday after a fun and busy weekend!

IMG_20160109_071940315

Saturday morning, the BOY and I were back at the gym after the last two holiday weekends, training together with free weights and dumbbells.  We left with some serious sore arms and made our weekly trip to the Target before running a few other errands.  I refueled with a ginormo latte!

IMG_20160109_094411479

We spent the afternoon cleaning our garage to fit in a car and then napping before getting dressed up for sushi date night.

IMG_20160109_202359153

Sunday morning was another early wake up.  I drove into the city to meet my mom and some friends for a yoga class. 

IMG_20160110_075211895

I forgot my phone so here is a recycled picture from the same studio.  Ironically, it was take exactly 1 year ago and the day looked quite similar : )

IMG_20140119_112220728 

After yoga, I met some of my old coworkers for a fun brunch, catching up over coffee and omelets.  Then, I was back home to scoop up the BOY for dinner with his parents.  On the way, we stopped by my parents house quickly to say goodbye to my dad who leaves for Florida today and have a quick pre dinner glass of wine with my mom’s new wine glasses.  When I woke up this morning, it occurred to me that I did not get close to what I wanted to get done this weekend…hence the busy day today. 

Cooper’s view on Mondays…ha ha!

IMG_20160109_225455253

It was tough for all of us to get up and moving today!  And then it took me extra time to get myself pulled together and out the door.  My first stop was the gym for an intense training session.  My biceps were still sore from Saturday and the resisted burpees were brutal, but it was a GREAT workout.  Afterwards,  I hung around for a yoga class.

IMG_20160111_092154297 

I don’t typically double up on workouts, but I have been wanting to take the Monday morning teacher’s class for awhile.  With a busy week ahead, today was the perfect day to get there.  The class was tough, not just because I was tired, but absolutely incredible and inspiring.  I left the yoga studio feeling invigorated for the week ahead and at peace with the week behind.  I ran a few more errands, including the grocery store where I stocked up on fresh produce and meat for this week’s meal plan.

IMG_20160111_130246298

I made lunch and then began the serious multitasking with laundry, meal planning, and initial packing piles.  And continued to look for our marriage licenses which now appear to be totally gone.  Ugh!  In the kitchen, I put tomorrow’s dinner in the crockpot and began pealing carrots.

IMG_20160111_143859968_HDR

For lunch this week, I decided to try Candice Kumai’s cleansing soup.  I love starting the year with a warm and hearty clean soup!

IMG_20160111_143907480_HDR IMG_20160111_144347141

IMG_20160111_145248767 IMG_20160111_153701973_HDR

The soup was fairly easy to make until the end.  My food processor isn’t big enough to hold everything, so I did it in batches.  However, they turned out inconsistent, so I ended up taking my immersion blender to the entire bowl in the end.

IMG_20160111_155757141_HDR

Which made a HUGE mess, but worked like a charm.

IMG_20160111_155031599

I spent the rest of the afternoon working away on a variety of things including making a batch of Fig and Date Energy Balls and trying on my bathing suits before going back to the kitchen to make dinner.

IMG_20160111_154317668

Since my crockpot was in use, I washed my Dutch Oven for it’s next job.  For the second week in a row, Cooper kept me company while he begged for his dinner.

IMG_20160111_182922983

I accomplished a whole bunch of stuff today, so as always on Monday nights, I happily collapsed onto my couch for a bit of down time before bed.  After packing up tomorrow’s lunch, of course.

IMG_20160111_210643615

Do you multitask?  I do it ALL the time…even right now : )

Meal Planning 1/11/15

Monday: Turkey Meatballs (recipe to come)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Island Pulled Chicken

Wednesday: Feta and Spinach Chicken Burgers and Broccoli

Thursday: Pork and Veggies

 

Cleansing Carrot Ginger Soup

From Candice Kumai

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1  yellow onion, finely diced

2  pounds organic carrots (2 bags) scrubbed, peeled, rough chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf, dried

2-3 tablespoons ginger, freshly grated

6-8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock (*depending on desired consistency)

1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg

1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste

Directions

In a large stockpot, over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onions just until soft and fragrant, approximately 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add carrots, garlic, bay leaf, ginger and sauté for an- other 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in the stock and turn the heat up to medium (a mild simmer). Cook carrots and onion until soft, approximately 20 additional minutes. Remove the bay leaf, discard.

Carefully add the soup to a food processor or blender (an immersion/handheld blender works, as well). Pulse until well combined and a pureed soup forms. Season nutmeg and sea salt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot. If desired add a bit of extra ginger, or orange zest to top off soup.

*For a thick soup opt for 6 cups of stock; for a thinner soup go for 8 cups.

The First Meal Plan of 2016

After eating a whole lotta fried food on January 1st, I knew the rest of this week needed to include some greens.  And I had bought some veggies to go with our aps on new years day and…umm…totally forgot about them while I was drinking mimosas and eating off the cheese plate.

IMG_20160101_132747396

So, I started my Monday at the gym and then swung by the grocery store on my way home. You will definitely see a theme to this week’s meal plan…lean meats and veggies!  Exactly what we need to start the year off feeling good and energized.

IMG_20160104_100529197

I had a busy Monday picking up the pieces of a fun filled 4 day weekend.  When I came home, I found my un used veggies and started making Buffalo Turkey Chili for lunch this week. 

IMG_20160104_173743512

It was fun to use our super sharp new knives to easily dice up the veggies.

IMG_20160104_175022039

And this is one of my favorite chilies!  Note: recipe is below!  You can make it with chicken or turkey.

IMG_20160104_180116891

I had company in the kitchen, who was less helpful and more sing whine for my dinner : )

IMG_20160104_174150997

I can’t blame him because I think he is still recovering from his cousin Roscoe’s visit.  On the exercise front, yesterday morning was a run around the track(and more Serial) and tomorrow morning, it’s treadmill intervals.  And I am planning to bring the BOY with me. 

IMG_20160105_071014002_HDR

Which means, that I will be heading to bed soon.  The goal…to rock the new sale bikini I just bought for under 30$ from Athleta that finally arrived in the mail today.  #Countdowntohoneymoon

 

Meal Planning 1/04/15

Monday: Turkey Burgers and Sprouts

Tuesday: Chicken Tacos (made from 2 Ingredient Chicken)

Wednesday: Fish and Veggies

Thursday: Pork and Veggies

Lunch: Buffalo Turkey Chili

Happy FryDay!!!

Happy New Year Everyone!

PBG_2779

How did you welcome in 2016?!

Me?  Why, thank you for asking…I had the happiest of new years celebrations! 

I started December 31st with a run around the indoor track.  I finally began Serial Season 2, which kept me engaged as I ran what felt like a million circles around the tiniest of tracks.

IMG_20151231_062629086 IMG_20151231_062631202 

When I got home, I made a Nespresso that made me smile…

IMG_20151231_075341908

What a happy accident!  Then it was off to work for a crazy, busy day!

IMG_20151231_173204387

After my shortish work day, I came back home and showered.  Then the BOY and I got ready to host NYE with my brother, SIL, and their 4 month old puppy, Roscoe.

IMG_20151231_180822936

We were so excited to have them come out and celebrate with us and kick off our weekend ‘staycation’.  I can’t say that it was love at first sight for Cooper though : )

IMG_20151231_185030874

We hung out and talked while noshing on aps (and of course decorated glasses for midnight).  Roscoe made himself right at home with Cooper’s toys and the BOY’s chair.

IMG_20151231_200745015

We had the most unbelievable dinner and I have to admit that I didn’t do much of anything to help…except pick out a great wine from our Napa trip. 

IMG_20151231_201914495_HDR

The BOY made braised short ribs in our new pot, while my sister in law made champagne risotto.

IMG_20151231_204044792 IMG_20151231_204020374

And…then the BOY made seared scallops on our new salt block.  YUMMY!

IMG_20151231_204732298_HDR

It was seriously a five star meal!!!

IMG_20151231_210005992

After that, the new years shenanigans began.  We played cards against humanities, Wii tennis, and attempted to get our selfie stick to work with all of us and a puppy as we started the countdown to 2016!

IMG_20160101_242610696

We stayed up WAY too late and New Year’s Day began with a lot of laying around and rehydration.  We made a fantastic breakfast casserole for brunch with bacon and fruit.

IMG_20160101_103154706_HDR

Around noon, things got serious…

IMG_20160101_125755050

The fryer came out…

IMG_20160101_134333884

Friends came over, mimosas were poured, an apron was donned…and FRYday began!

IMG_20160101_140747215

You name it…we fried it…and dipped it in anything and everything!  And that proceeded for hours and hours accompanied by beer and mimosas and plenty of other snacks.

IMG_20160101_134711839

My favorite was the BOY’s homemade chicken strips.  They were AMAZING!

IMG_20160101_155859745

IMG_20160101_160407067

And for dessert…more card and Wii games and of course, fried Oreos.

IMG_20160101_200515901 

We stayed up too late for the second night in a row and woke Saturday morning with new memories and wonderful stories to share.  And I had a bit of a stomach ache : )  The best part…there were still a few days left before it was time to go back to work!

IMG_20151231_222633261

I certainly didn’t start off my year healthy, but I did start it off happy!!!  I am still smiling about all of the fun we had hosting this 2 day celebration!  I am looking forward to another exciting year ahead!

IMG_20160102_130233529