Living a tasteful life

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Smart Snacking

Smart Snacking

Although most of my social media posts and many of my blog posts feature food that may be unhealthy, that isn't my way of life 24/7. What I have yet to share in any of my posts is the fact that during the week I strive to maintain a clean diet and then, I reward myself on the weekends. This is not to say that I don't ever have a few slip ups during the week. I take my lunch most every day, rarely going out for the sake saving myself from making unhealthy choices. 

Twice a day, at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, I find myself reaching for a snack to hold me over before lunch and also a little something to get me through my evening workout. For the most part, I try to go for something healthy.  Let’s be real, eating unhealthy food before the gym makes for a tough workout. I tend to fall into routines where I will eat the same thing for a month or two, get tired of it and move on to something else.  For that reason, I enjoy discovering new snacks and quick recipes that are convenient to take to work. 

Below are a few of my current go-to snacks, for the moment anyway. What are some of your favorite things to nibble on in between meals?

Breakstone's Lowfat Cottage Cheese is a great snack before the gym. It's not too heavy, but is filling enough to give provide the necessary energy to get through a workout. Sometimes I mix it with fresh sliced peaches for added flavor and sweetness. 
Okay, I have a serious confession about these Zesty Ranch Garden Veggie Straws, I think I became a bit obsessed for a little while there. I had to stop buying them, because let's just say I was eating way more than the suggested serving size. However, a serving size is 38 straws, which is actually a good bit. I had no self control. So far I've found the best deal on these at Walmart. You can get a 16 oz bag for just $4.98.

I don't think I will ever get tired of eating hummus. I enjoy the flavored hummus, specifically the Sabra Sun Dried Tomato.  I either dip pretzels in it or cucumbers, depending on the amount of carbs I'm willing to consume. 


If you haven't noticed from my list by now, I crave crunchy things. These Simply 7 BBQ Quinoa Chipssatisfy that craving, plus there are 8 grams of protein in one serving. 

These Emerald Chocolate Cocoa Roast Almonds are so good! They come in the perfect snack size pouch, and are only 100 calories.  There is a perfect hint of sweet from the dark chocolate, there are just enough in the bag to nibble on for a mid-morning snack and they are great to just throw in your purse when you're on the go. 


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Broccoli Salad with Apples

A few weekends ago my husband and I joined his family for a casual cookout. I was put on salad duty and my first thought was, "how can I make this not boring." A salad just seemed so unexciting, but maybe that's because I eat them everyday for lunch. I decided I wanted to make a Fall inspired salad, and apples were the first thing that came to my mind. I found a few ideas on Pinterest, but this broccoli and apple salad caught my attention. Not only did it look pretty and colorful, it also sounded delicious. It was a nice change from the typical lettuce in bowl.

I was originally asked to make dessert and since I already had a plan for that, I decided to make both. My dessert of choice was a caramel apple dip which I shared with you last week. 

Today I wanted to share this quick and easy recipe that left me feeling excited about bringing a salad to the party. It's sweet, crunchy and semi-healthy. And by healthy, I mean at least you're getting a dose of vegetables. 

Recipe via The Recipe Critic

Broccoli Salad with Apples
2 or 3 gala apples (chopped)
3 heads of fresh broccoli (florets only)
½ cup of shredded carrots
1/3 cup of red onion (diced)
½ cup of pecans (chopped)
½ cup of dried cranberries
½ cup of mayonnaise
½ cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1.     Rinse and drain the broccoli.
2.     Once the excess water has drained, slice the broccoli stems off, leaving the florets only. Slice the larger pieces of florets in half. I prefer them to be in smaller bite size pieces.
3.     In a large serving bowl, add the broccoli florets, shredded carrots, diced red onion, chopped pecans, and dried cranberries.
4.     For the dressing: In a separate small bowl, mix together the mayo, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
5.     Pour the dressing over the top of the broccoli salad and toss well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 


Monday, September 28, 2015

Designer Handbag Sale

I love a good designer handbag. I mean, what woman doesn't? A nice bag is not only a confidence booster, but it can also take an outfit to a whole other level. Being realistic, there are some bags out there I will probably always lust over and may never actually own, however there are others that are a possibility, especially if there is a sale involved. 

Today I'm sharing some beautiful, drool-worthy designer handbags that are all on sale.  Given that everyone's idea of a "sale" differs, I've chosen a variety of bags at different price points. Let's just say that I would gladly welcome any of these beauties a place on my shoulder. 

First up, a few bags from Saint Laurent that I may never obtain any time soon, but hey... a girl can dream.

Next up, a few pretties from the lovely Kate Spade. The price range of these handbags are a bit more affordable, especially when you factor in the sale prices. I foresee some early Christmas shopping. 

And just because it never hurts to look, a few jaw droppers from Valentino and Chloé

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall Friday

Now that it's officially Fall, I feel compelled to share a story and explain why I love this time of year so much. There's a sense of comfort and excitement that overcomes me when the weather starts to cool down and the leaves begin to change color. Certain times of the year cause me reflect on memorable moments and just give me an overall good feeling. Do you know what I mean?  

Almost three years ago, on Friday, October 19th, to be exact, I was sitting at my desk working away, when my boss sent out an email to our team with the subject "Fall Friday." She graciously told our team that we could shut down our computers at 3 pm and go enjoy the day. An extra two hours, I'll take it! Whit (who at the time was just my boyfriend) and I were planning on spending the weekend with my parents and enjoying a nice dinner in Beaufort with them that evening. 

Anxious to get on the road, I packed up my suitcase and was ready to head out the door. As we were about to leave, Whit suggested that I change out of the gym clothes I was wearing so I didn't waste any time getting ready once we got to my parent's house. After a little back and forth discussion about this, I decided to go ahead and change and get ready for the evening before we left the house. Although workout pants seemed more appealing for the 1.5 hour car ride, but hey, choose your battles, right?

After stopping at a gas station for a little snack, Whit decided to change out of his t-shirt into a button down he was planning to wear to dinner that evening. He said it was because he had been sweating and wanted to go ahead and change. Strange, but okay.

Back on the road, we were coming up on the most beautiful plantation, one that I've always been infatuated with, called Bonny Hall. Located off River Road in Beaufort County, this stunning plantation has been around since the 1700s. As we approached the plantation, Whit began to slow down. He asked if I wanted to stop and quickly tour the grounds while we were in the area. I immediately questioned how this would be possible, given that it's not open to the public. Whit said he had met the manager a few weeks ago and he said he would be more than happy for us to stop by sometime and take a tour. So, I got out of the truck hesitantly, took Whit's hand, and trusted that this story was accurate and that we weren't going to get arrested for trespassing. 

We walked around to the front of the house, admiring the grounds and taking it all in. As we made our way to the back, there was a massive, beautiful old oak tree with a tree house built into it. Whit's first reaction was obviously to climb to the top and take a look around. So, up the ladder we went, only to discover that the view was even better. As we stood at the top of the tree, Whit began to continuously clear his throat, something he is known to do when he is nervous. After taking in the view for a few minutes, he casually pointed out a rope that was dangling from the side of the tree, which he then proceeded to pull up to the top so we could see what was tied to the end. At the end of the rope was an old basket covered in moss. At this point I was a bit confused about everything that was going on, including what in the world we were doing in the top of this tree. He slowly opened up the basket, and inside was a beautiful diamond ring. The next thing I knew, he was down on one knee asking me to spend forever with him. I was in complete shock and stood there trying to grasp what had just happened. Everything became one big exciting blur. Luckily, just above our heads, sitting on a large branch and covered in camo, was a photographer who captured it all on video. I had always told Whit that it was important to me to have the moment captured and I'm so glad we did. We spent a few hours on the property taking photos and enjoying champagne. And you all should know by now that I said yes. 

And that is exactly why I get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside when the season changes. Side note, I later discovered that my boss was in on this surprise the whole time, hence the reason we were able to leave early. 

 Below are some photos from that special day. 

Happy Fall!


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Decorating for Fall

We can officially talk about leaves changing colors, scarves, pumpkin recipes, pumpkin candles, pumpkin everything, because Fall is finally here!  Why not celebrate by doing some decorating and filling your home with the warmth of the season? Today I'm sharing some Fall inspired decor for the home, that creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. Now, if only someone could come decorate for me. 

I love the rustic touch and natural colors in this photo. 

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers, so naturally I was drawn to this centerpiece perfection.

I just want to take a seat in this rocking chair with a cup of coffee and a good book. 

Loving the all white decor for the yard. 

"Mumkins," how clever!

Now, I think it's time for a PSL!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Caramel Apple Dip

This past weekend my husband I got together with his family for a cookout out and I was asked to bring dessert. I will go ahead and admit that dessert isn't exactly my favorite contribution to a meal. I'm not sure if it's because I don't care too much about sweets, or if it's because I'm just not confident in my baking skills. I just so happened to have quite a few green apples, so I went on a Pinterest mission to come up a sweet way to put them to good use. Caramel apples were the first thing that popped into my mind, but those aren't the easiest to eat. When I came across a recipe for caramel apple dip, I knew it was the perfect mess and no baking. This was so simple and took little time to put together and it was very addicting!

I will definitely be reaching for this recipe again holiday parties this fall and winter. 

Recipe via Jennifer Cooks

Caramel Apple Dip
4 granny smith apples
2 8 oz package of 1/3 less fat cream cheese
½ cup of powdered sugar
Caramel apple dipping sauce
Heath Bits ‘O Brickle Toffee bits

1.     Soften the block of cream cheese in the microwave in a small mixing bowl.
2.     Add the powdered sugar to the softened cream cheese and mix well.
3.     Pour the mixture in a serving bowl. I recommend shallow.
4.     Spread the caramel apple dipping sauce over the top of the cream cheese mixture.
5.     Top with the toffee bits.
6.     Slice the apples and serve.
NOTE: slice the apples before serving in order to avoid them turning brown.

Friday, September 18, 2015

News Feed Friday

Happy Friday friends!

The photo above has some of my favorite Fall pieces that I shared in Wednesday's post. Make sure to check it out if you missed it. 

The arrival of all things pumpkin is beginning to take place, although it's still 80 degrees outside. What better way to get in the Fall mindset and stay cool, than with these Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Sandwiches

However, when those temps to begin to drop, a bowl of this buffalo chicken chili should warm you right up. 

I didn't think guacamole could get any better?

If you're looking for living room inspiration, here is a good place to start. 

Or maybe it's a Parisian inspired kitchen you're looking for??

I really must try to follow this plan. #maybelater

15 Nightly Routines of 15 Successful Women. What do you do before you go to bed at night? 

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Los Angeles (Barbie Party): #TBT

As I mentioned  previously, I thought it would be fun to do an occasional "throw back Thursday" post once in a while. If any of you have the Time Hop app, you will know that every day you receive a notification with photo reminders of what was going on in your life years ago. It’s always fun to look back and reminisce on the past, and sometimes cringe at the outfit choices. Around this time two years ago, my best girlfriends and I took a trip across the country, to LA for my Barbie themed bachelorette party. One of the great things about this trip was the fact that none of us had ever been to LA before, making every experience that much more memorable.  It was seriously one of the most fun trips I've ever taken. 

We rented a house that we found on VRBO, and arrived only to realize that air was not an amenity. We were in disbelief that you could rent a house without air! The thought of seven girls blow-drying their hair, in this house, with no air, caused panic to set in. A few phone calls to the landlord and bottles of champagne later, we had our very own mobile air conditioner.  And so the weekend began...We were like a bunch of giddy school girls, struck by the Hollywood lights, stopping at all of the hot spots, in hopes of a celebrity sighting. 

Day 1

The first night we were there, we had a casual dinner at Don Antonio's. If you were a regular viewer of the past MTV hit, The Hills, you may remember that this was the Mexican restaurant that Heidi and Spencer frequented. We may or may not have asked to sit at "their booth." 

After dinner we made our way to Chateau Marmont, a historic hotel, located on the famous Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. Our original plan involved going into Chateau Marmount for drinks, but let's just say we made a shameless failed attempt. Apparently you have to be an A-lister to get in late in the evenings, but that didn't stop us from having a good time. We walked next door to the iconic hotel lounge, Bar Marmont and spent the rest of our evening there. 

Day two: Hollywood Barbie

Brunch reservations were at Urth Cafe, a casual spot offering organic coffees, and buzzing with a trendy Melrose Avenue crowd. 

 After brunch we explored the area, popped in out of various shops along the streets and obviously stopped to take a photo or two. 

We then set out for some fun in Hollywood. Our first stop was the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Then we found Marilyn!

After exploring Hollywood Blvd and all it had to offer, we moved on to more important things, like shopping at The Grove, a retail and entertainment complex, suited to meet any and all shopping needs. 

 We had a great afternoon in Hollywood, but we were more excited about our plans for the evening.
We had dinner reservations at SUR, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, Lisa Vanderpump's restaurant in West Hollywood. SUR is also home of the Bravo TV show, Vanderpump Rules. Our group is no stranger to reality TV, so this was super exciting for all of us.  
We enjoyed a nice dinner in one of their stunning private rooms. 

And had a cocktail or two...

Later that evening, we met Drew Kenney, a runner up on Desiree Hartsock's season of The Bachelorette. To say we were excited, would be an understatement. 

                       We had a successful evening full of laughs and minor celeb sightings.

Day 3: LA Barbie

The next morning we sluggishly rolled ourselves out of bed and headed to The Ivy for brunch. This stylish restaurant, known for celeb sightings, was absolutely gorgeous. Inside the restaurant was shabby chic decor along with fresh flowers that filled every corner, creating a bright, colorful and inviting atmosphere.

We were immediately greeted with chilled champagne the moment we walked in the door. 

No celeb sightings here, but the lobster salad was delicious!

 After brunch we headed to the intersection of luxury, fashion and entertainment, otherwise known as Rodeo Drive

We made a stop at the Beverly Willshire Hotel, a glamours hotel that also happened to be where the hit movie Pretty Woman was filmed. 

 After a long day of shopping browsing, we headed back to get ready for a night out on the town. We hopped around to a few places, one of which was called Supperclub, a lively bar, lounge and performance space. 

Not many photos to show from the evening...we were too busy taking it all in.

Day 4: Beach Barbie

By day four, we were in need of some rest and relaxation. What better place to chill out than Manhattan Beach?!

This beach was so beautiful and much different than our beaches in South Carolina. The mountains in the background created a picturesque view. But the water was absolutely freezing, so much so that I only got my toes wet. 

We somehow found the energy after our day at the beach to go to Runyon Canyon for a hike. I mean, we couldn't go all the way to LA without getting a closer look at the Hollywood sign.


The views from the top were breathtaking.

So, we may not have gotten close to the Hollywood sign, but at least we had a nice view of it. 

Getting to the top to enjoy the view... took some time.

We stopped to take a few our matching sweatbands. 

Who knew hiking could be so much fun?

 By the time we made it back to the house, we were exhausted. We all had our first In-N-Out Burger experience for dinner and planned on a low-key evening since we were flying out the next day. After thinking about it for a while, we decided we had to make the most of every minute left in LA. So, out the door we went!

We were walking down the street, trying to find a place to stop for a cocktail, and heard the sounds of a piano.  We landed at Don't Tell Mama, a piano bar and restaurant with great entertainment.  

We had to get one last night of celebrating in!

 It was an amazing trip, with an amazing group of ladies... ladies that I'm lucky enough to call my best friends!

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