Friday, November 21, 2014

Her Christmas Wish List 2014

Her Christmas Wish List

I love reading everyone's Holiday gift guides. Typically I wait until after Thanksgiving, but I thought I would post a few days early. I'm kicking it off with her wish list -- up next his wish list, stocking stuffer ideas and maybe even baby m's wish list.

Fitness is a big part of my life and some new threads will help motivate me before and post baby. I'm loving the thesethese and these. {size m}

After our bundle of joy arrives I have a feeling I'll start working out at home more. I really love using the TRX Suspension straps at the gym. They would be perfect for at home workouts. Kettlebells (15/20/25) are also on the list. Maybe I can even convince the hubby to build me a box for box jumps :)

Like workout clothes one can never have too many shoes. I love the mint green REEBOK Crossfit Nano 4.0.

With all the baby planning I started thinking about my hospital bag and what to pack. After labor I think a fresh pair of PJs is just what the doctor ordered. Plus tons of cuddle time. I'm eyeing these and these from Victoria Secret. This Will Leather Goods tote would be perfect for running errands and holding all the new mama stuff.

I'm a big fan of Sorels, but I love wearing UGGs in the fall and spring when it's not snowing. I think it's time for a new pair. {size 7}

Since I've been lusting over the Tiffany Arrow Necklace and wayfarer Ray-Ban sunglasses for awhile it's time they're on the list.

What's on your list this year?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Baby it's Cold Outside // Upgrading our Fireplace and Saving Energy

Thank you PG&E for sponsoring this post. Follow PG&E on social for more useful energy efficiency tips to save money!
Green is the new black. It's a struggle, but we try to be as "green" as possible whether it is recycling, cleaning up local beaches or keeping our thermostat at 65 degrees -- every little bit helps.

Being energy efficient (or using less energy) is beneficial because:
    • Direct benefits
      • Financial: saves money
      • Productivity: saves time
      • Comfort: improves quality of life
    • Indirect benefits
      • Puts less strain on the grid (reduces outages)
      • Puts less strain on other natural resources (like water)
      • Reduces emissions that can harm the environment

PG&E offers consumers some great tips on warm weather, cold weather and everyday savings (broken down by no cost, low cost and investment solutions). Owning our home has allowed us to make adjustments and upgrades that help keep monthly bills low. Our biggest up front cost, but biggest long term energy saver was purchasing a wood insert.

When we purchased our house we knew this was an upgrade we were willing to invest in. There are many advantages to having a wood stove for your main heat source, or at least as a supplemental heater.  First is the fact that wood is cheaper to buy than other heating fuels.  With the hike in oil prices, propane gas is now one of the most expensive of fuels, and electricity has always been one of the most expensive ways to heat your home.

An open fireplace might be nice to sit next to, but it's an inefficient heating source. Plus, it can create high levels of smoke in your house. Enter the wood insert or stove. A energy-saving wood insert transforms your existing fireplace into to to a very efficient fireplace. It can even cut your bills up to 40% (depending on house size, insert, climate, etc.)!

Our fireplace before installing the Jotul C 550 wood insert.

Aside from adding a wood insert we painted the brick and added a reclaimed wood mantel.

Each summer we start prepping for winter by collecting 2-4 cords of woods. We actually collect rounds and spilt the wood ourselves. Oh, there's no axe involved -- we barrow a gas splitter from a friend. Then there's the stacking aspect. The goal is to collect and split early in the summer. Then stack in the fall once the split wood has had a chance to dry.

It's been three years since we purchased the wood insert and we're extremely happy. It has paid for itself. Since the wood insert is energy-saving we even received a $300 rebate on our taxes! Winning.

Other energy saving upgrades we've made include:
  • Replacing single pane aluminum windows with double pane vinyl windows.
  • Purchasing insulating blinds/curtains
  • Adding insulation under the house
  • Upgrading appliances -- washer/dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator and stove
  • Using CFL bulbs
Future energy goals include:
  • Upgrading to a tankless water heater
  • Requesting a energy audit from our electric company
  • Utilizing PG&E's Money Saver Tool to plan upgrades and research rebates offered
Tips from PG&E:
Enter the #PGEhome Instagram #photochallenge for your chance to win one of seven $100 Home Depot gift cards! First, follow @pacificgasandelectric on Instagram, then click here for more details and make sure you tag your photos with #PGEhome #photochallenge!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Healthier Dessert Options from Whole Foods Market

{Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Northern California's Whole Foods Market. Although I received product for review opinions are 100 % my own.} 

There are two things I can't pass up -- a good sweaty workout and dessert.  So when Whole Foods Market came knocking and asked if I wanted to try a few new dessert items I couldn't resist. As we approach the holidays I've continued to maintain my workout schedule, but am really trying to watch my sweets in take. Enter Whole Foods "healthier" options. I'm still able to indulge in a craving, but without over doing it. Alright, let's dig in.

Caramel Pears

So the caramel might have melted a little in the car ride home and my dog might have managed to eat the "tuxedo" half-- oops, but OMG -- This pear was unreal. Dipped in caramel then two types of chocolate it was a "healthy" party in my mouth. A tad on the rich side for me, but it's perfect for sharing. I sliced the half that wasn't touched and stored it in the refrigerator. Over the course of a few days I enjoyed a slice here and there. I  recommend buying a fews and slicing them up for your next get together.

WMF Details: Caramel pears are the new caramel apples. Surprise your fruit-loving guests with  these perfectly-ripened pears, covered with toppings like Walnut Caramel, Sea Salt Caramel, Pistachio Caramel, and Tuxedo (Dark and White Chocolate) Caramel. Only available through fall and made by our in-house bakers, get them while they last! MSRP: $3.99/each

Coconut World Organic Coconut Jam 

I definitely didn't know what to expect and honestly was a little scared. Preggos likes avocado on her toast in the morning. Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised. I don't even know how to describe it other than awesome. When I first opened the jar I thought oh that's going to be hard to spread, but my knife cut through it like butter. It spread across my toast as though it was meant to be. The taste wasn't what I expected, but then I really didn't know what to expect. It was so creamy and tasted like milky coconut with a hint of caramel. 

WFM Details: Made from just coconut milk and coconut syrup, coconut jam offers benefits of coconut milk and the low glycemic index of coconut syrup. We think it’s delicious on toast or fruit slices, melted in oatmeal, or as a filling in baked goods. Additionally, Coconut World brings sustainable social and economic development opportunities to families in the Philippines. MSRP: $11.39/16 oz.

Madhava Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Brownie Mix 

My husband couldn't wait to make these. I'm not kidding. The same day we picked up the brownies he insisted on making them. We actually spruced up the brownies by adding walnuts and sewi-sweet chocolate chips! Living at altitude we also added flour to the mix. Well they were utter perfection. You would never know they were organic. I personally like the brand madhava and have enjoyed their agave nectar syrup for awhile. We'll definitely buy this brownie mix in the future.

WFM Details: Madhava Natural Sweeteners has been creating delicious sweetness since 1973 – using only pure honey, agave nectar, and now organic coconut sugar. The ooey-gooey chocolate brownie mix is organic and made with ancient grains (spelt, KAMUT®, farro), cane sugar, coconut sugar, vanilla and salt. MSRP: $5.99

There you have it, a few healthier options to enjoy this season. What are your favorite treats to pick up at Whole Foods?

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Happy Monday! 
I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week. Winter is quickly approaching and I'm savoring the last days of fall --  weather and seasonal flavors like pumpkin! This weekend we were busy baking, walking the dog and taking our maternity/holiday photos! Our photos should be ready in a few weeks. Hopefully my barely there baby bump is noticeable :)

Some how we ended up with five extremely ripe bananas. Instead of freezing them for smoothies we made three loafs of bread -- classic banana bread and pumpkin banana bread! I say we because Nick was my sous chef! He's the best.

Last year I made Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips and it was insanely delicious. I tried to convince the hubby to add chocolate chips to the pumpkin banana bread, but he wanted to keep it simple. It's a good thing I listened to him the banana and pumpkin combo was pure perfection! So moist and full of flavor.

Pumpkin Banana Bread {via}
Makes two loafs

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (15 oz.) Pure Pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 medium) very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, bananas and vegetable oil in large mixer bowl; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture; stir in nuts.  Split between two prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Additional Blogger Notes 
For high altitude we added 1/3 cup flour and cooked for an hour and 15 minutes. We also used pecans instead of walnuts. Tip: Freeze one for later and enjoy one now.

Linking up with Join the Gossip, Lisa Loves John and Hun What's for Dinner

Sunday, November 16, 2014

TOMS for Target

TOMS for Target

I'm not sure about you, but I'm a huge fan of TOMS. Not only do I love their shoes, but I I love their mission. I'm more incline to spend money on TOMS because of the one for one. Naturally when I heard TOMS and Target were partnering I was ecstatic. However, the line is a bit underwhelming. I expected so much more. Either way the TOMS for Target line launched today. Although I'm not completely sold these are a few pieces I would consider. However, I'm seriously crossing my fingers that there are more options at our local Target. What do you think of the line? Are you considering purchasing anything?

Shoes {view all}

Clothes & Accessories {view all}

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bump Update // 29 Weeks

How far along: 
Exactly 29 weeks today -- About 11 weeks left! Yup, officially in the third trimester and the home stretch.

Baby's size:
She's the size of an acorn squash and measuring up to 15.2 inches and 2.5 lbs. 

Weight gain: 
Roughly 12.5 pounds. 

Food cravings: 
Carbs for the win. Toast in the morning is still going strong as my go to breakfast. Loving all things pumpkin. The hubby made a double batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies this week.  

Sleeping great! No special pillow just lots of water, stretching and working out.
Team Pink {reveal}

So much. I can actually see my belly move. It's like there's an alien in there.
 Best moment this week:

 Painting the baby room, putting together the jogger and enjoying the last days of fall.

Miss anything? 
Girls weekend in Sonoma. The idea of being pregnant and going winery to winery didn't sound like a good idea.

A little heart burn after anything with dairy. Apparently, I haven't learned yet. It doesn't last long. 

Still maintaining and feeling lucky. CrossFit, spin and mostly walking and running (only at CrossFit).  I've really noticed a decrease in strength and muscle tone this week. It's frustrating, but I know after the baby it will com back in no time with a little hard work. 

Maternity Clothes?
 Yes and no. I finally wore my GAP Jeans.  The verdict -- I'm on the fence I'm crossing my fingers that they will fit better in a few weeks when my belly is bigger! They stretched out way too fast. At least I they were 40% off when I purchased them.

Still a combo of happy and stressed. Work has been crazy and I wish I could say it was slowing down.

Looking forward to: 
The nursery is coming together nicely, but I can't wait until it's complete. I'm also looking forward to our time in So Cal.

Linking up with September Farm

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fit Pregnancy // How I'm Staying Fit While Pregnant

I love gaining weight -- said no woman EVER! 

When I found out I was pregnant I was overjoyed with excitement of becoming a parent, but was fearful of what would happen to my body. I promised myself I would try to stay as active and healthy as possible. However, I'm human and sometimes a grilled cheese and pickle sounds better than a grilled chicken salad. 

Although, I've managed to keep my pregnancy weight gain under control I've definitely struggled with the idea of it. I might sound crazy, but before finding out we were expecting I started to see major fitness gains. Plus, don't forget about my awesome  90 day challenge results. 

Aside from eating clean healthy meals I move every day for a few hours. Whether it's at the gym, crossfit box or walking the dog the key is to move. I feel very fortunate to be able to continue to workout. Remember I was this active if not more before becoming pregnant so at this point I'm maintaining. 

How I'm Staying Active
A few things to note:  1.) My intensity level has dropped 2.) I've decreased weights 3.) I'm learning to modify certain movements 4.) The First 20 Weeks

A month after starting crossfit I found out I was pregnant. I didn't let that stop me. Once I hit five months I tailored back to two days a week. I'm still loving these workouts and plan to continue as long as my body will allow.

26 Weeks

 Walking the Dog
Spending time with baby #1 is a top priority. We're very fortunate to have access to a number trails from our doorstep.  

27 Weeks

On the weekends I try to walk the dog for at least an hour + tons of ball time. Not only is she getting exercise so am I.

28 Weeks

Monday through Friday I'm at the gym before work. My workouts vary from spin and HIIT classes to my own circuits or a power hour on the treadmill. Treadmill mornings keep me moving without over doing it. 

27.5 Weeks

My favorite WOD from last week.

How do/did you stay active while pregnant?

Disclaimer: I'm not a registered doctor, trainer or dietitian  so before you attempt anything please consult your doctor. 

Linking up with Join the Gossip
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