1. { MY HAWAIIAN HIATUS } 

    If I could live anywhere in the world, all I know is that a beach would be involved.  And I recently got to fulfill my little life’s fantasy by taking some time off to visit the Hawaiian islands of Kauai and Oahu.  Lemme tell you friends, it was nothing short of pure bliss.  I just fell in love with the idea of embracing a simple lifestyle in a beautiful place with passionate people.  **SIGHHH** I wanna go back!  But until then, here are some of my Hawaiian highlights for ya: 

    • Waimea Canyon State Park had gorgeous overlooks.  (And if you’re lucky, it’ll rain just enough for a rainbow to appear!) 
    • Hamura Saimin is a local favorite for ramen bowls, but I personally LOVED their Chiffon Pie.
    • Setting sail with Capt. Andy’s crew to see the Na Pali coast at sunset was one of my favorite activities from the entire trip!  Our Chef was even kind enough to share with me his recipe for the purple sweet potatoes (which are jam packed with antioxidants) we enjoyed that night.  (See recipe below.) 
    • The Coconut MarketPlace Farmers Market was just a hop, skip, & a jump from our hotel so we picked up some local produce, including dragon eyes (aka longan) & mangos. 
    • Sadly, we got rained out at Anini Beach.  (Be prepared for showers when on the “Garden Isle”!)  So we went chasing Opaekaa Falls instead. 
    • Ate one of the best meals in Kauai at the The Green Pig food truck to pig out on some seriously yummy porky grinds.  Then after, walked off our feast at the Kapaa Bike Path (across the street) at sunset. 
    • We island hopped to Honolulu and walked along the famous Waikiki Beach when we got in.  (It’s quite the popular place with many more people than anything we ran into in Kauai.) 
    • We stuffed our faces with Leonard’s Bakery malasadas.  These amazing Portuguese donuts are covered in sugar, sometimes cinnamon, sometimes stuffed, but all the time delicious!   
    • Then we only had the energy to be beach bums at Kailua Beach Park.  But don’t worry, the fasha & I got to snorkel with sea-life at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
    • And our last hoorah involved driving the entire North Shore of Oahu.  While I didn’t witness any 20-foot waves, it was a lovely way to see other areas of beautiful Oahu. 


    Capt. Andy’s Purple Sweet Potatoes: 



    After this Hawaiian adventure, I can’t help but dream about a life in paradise.  Who’s ready to pack up and move with me?! 

    aloha, 

    lj 

     

  2. { A SUPER SIMPLE PARFAIT } 

    The parfait — part fruit + part granola + part yogurt…and part delicious!  This nutritious little layered concoction has become a popular offering at even the most local of establishments.  But no need to shell out the big bucks for this balanced breakfast.  Simply choose your favorite fruit + low-fat granola (I’m loving Ladera Granola’s Original variety which includes a short list of all natural ingredients) + low-fat Greek yogurt.  Easy peasy!  You could even make a batch of individual servings ahead of time, just pre-portion a serving of your granola to add at the end so it maintains all its crunchy goodness! 

    What’s your favorite way to enjoy granola? 

    lj 


    P.S. HUGE shout out to Julie at www.juliebloom.net for her amazing shots!  I hope to work more with this super talented little lady. 

     

  3. { HEALTHY SPRING BREAK ESSENTIALS } 

    I think it’s safe to say we all have spring fever.  Warmer weather just could not some soon enough!  And for those of you who get to break away from the daily grind, I have just a few tips to ensure you have a healthy & happy spring break: 

    • PACK SNACKS: portable, shelf-stable goodies are always reliable (like whole-grain cereal & crackers, unsalted nuts, tuna packed in water, individual PBs, dried fruit)  
    • KEEP HYDRATION HANDY: the fluids should be flowing no matter if you’re on the road or in the air — ladies aim for at least 91 ounces per day and gents at least 125 ounces per day of low or no-calorie drinks. 
    • STICK TO A SCHEDULE: skipping meals & snacks will only leave you feeling hangry and set you up for overeating later on 
    • SAMPLE & SAVOR: allow yourself to enjoy small servings of extra special eats instead of depriving yourself of these tasty treats 
    • SLATHER ON SUNSCREEN: while 10-15 minutes of sunshine can provide your body with Vitamin D, too much sun exposure can be harmful to your health.  Look for a lotion that’s water-resistant, "broad-spectrum" to protect you from both UVA & UVB rays with an SPF of at least 15. (And remember to reapply!) 
    • "YOU BETTER MOVE, YOU BETTER DANCE": You better listen to Pitbull & Ke$ha!  Getting active whenever you will help you have the healthiest, happiest vacay yet. 

    Safe travels spring breakers! 

    lj 

     

  4. { NEW NUTRITION LABELS } 

    Can it be true?  Are food labels finally getting a facelift?  Perhaps, according to the FDA’s most recent proposals to update the nutrition facts label in order to help consumers make more informed food choices.  

    Sneak a peak at my Talk of the Town feature on “
    What New FDA Proposed Nutrition Labels Meanto learn what’s new and what this means for our favorite food products! 

    lj 

     

  5. { BREAKFAST TASTING AT THE ROW } 

    Who doesn’t love a good place to breakfast & brunch?  Well I’ve got one addition to add to your list.  (BONUS: They have healthy eats too!)  You must go to The Row Kitchen & Pub.  If you’re feeling a little naughty, their Biscuit Beignets & Le Country Boy are delish.  Just promise me you’ll give their lighter sides a chance too :) 

    Happy brunching!

    lj 

     

  6. { HAPPY #PISTACHIODAY! } 

    Pistachios are my favorite nut!  These little green guys are packed with nutrition.  So much so that they’re just bursting out of their shells!  Check out what makes 1 ounce of pistachios (49 nuts) such a healthy choice: 

    • only 160 calories
    • contains both monounsaturated & polyunsaturated heart-healthy fats
    • 3 grams of dietary fiber
    • 6 grams of protein
    • 342 micrograms of the antioxidants lutein & zeaxanthin (great for eye health!) 
    • as well as the nutrients: Vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, potassium, phophorus, & thiamin 

    So get crackin’ & enjoy some pistachios today! 

    lj 

     

  7. Sooo I may or may not have seen the adorable Hayley Williams from Paramore at the Franklin Frothy Monkey the other day & totally fan-girled out!  Here’s to fiery-flavored hair & Friday fun, peeps :D

    lj  

     

  8. {OMNI FOOD & BEVERAGE TASTING + TOUR } 

    Have you been to the Omni yet?  Lemme tell you, it is an experience that every southern lover in Nashville needs!  I had the pleasure of checking out the full-service Omni Nashville Hotel in true VIP-style with my fellow Nashville Food Bloggers.  We spent an evening wining & dining at their Kitchen Notes Southern Dining & it did not disappoint folks!  Just take a peak at our evening’s menu: 

    1. Deviled Eggs Chef Inspired for the Day 
    2. Low Country Crab Cakes Corn Bone Bisque
    3. Sweet Potato Tater Tots Sorghum Honey Mustard 
    4. Black Kale Salad, Romaine, Fennel, Apple, Radish, Reggiano Cheese, Torn croutons, Garlic dressing
    5. Winter Squash Latte, Vanilla Bean Foam 
    6. Nashville Hot Pork Shank, Maple Butter, Blue cheese Waffles
    7. Bison Meatloaf with raisin BBQ, Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Collard Greens
    8. Golden Tile Fish Blackened, Roasted Local Vegetables and Barrel Aged Green Pepper Aioli
    9. Cast Iron Seasonal fruit Cobbler a la mode (it was cherry!) 
    10. Chef Andrews dessert of the Day 

    Ermehgerd.  The squash latte, meatloaf + collard greens, and tile fish blew my tastebuds!  (And I didn’t even mention the trio of delicious biscuits we nibbled on before this fabulous food coma.) 

    To top it all off, we scooted down to Barlines for THE BEST (George Dickel) whisky cocktail I’ve ever I had called the “Lincoln County Maple Smash”. 

    Special thanks to the Nashville Food Bloggers (especially Beth Sachan) & all the super gracious folks at the Omni (Tod Roadarmel, Kellie Keyes, & company) for all the food & fun.  This downtown hotspot is a definite must (no special occasion required)! 


    lj 

     

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  10. { CHEAP VALENTINE’S DAY IDEAS } 

    The mushiest, gushiest day of the year is soon approaching.  But don’t panic friends!  I have some super sweet ideas for you that won’t break the bank.  Check ‘em out: 

    1. Heart Glasses Valentine Cards (via Mr Printables)
    2. Heart Headphone Splitter (via H&M) 
    3. Hearts Melamine Measuring Spoons(via World Market)
    4. DIY Printable Valentine’s Cards(via A Pair & A Spare)
    5. Candy Hearts Hipster (via Urban Outfitters) 
    6. Heart Hair Pint Set(via Forever21)
    7. Pad Printed Heart Mugs(via West Elm)
    8. All Over Heart Printed Infinity Scarf(via Agaci)
    9. Candy Heart Garland(via Crush)

    What’s your favorite cheap Valentine’s Day find? 

    lj 

     

  11. { LOW-CALORIE FOOD FINDS } 

    Did you catch my Talk of the Town segment on Cutting Calorie while Food Shopping last week?  I was sooo nervous to make my TV debut, but also so excited to share some of my favorite low-calorie food finds with you.  Check ‘em out here: 

    1. Thomas 100% Whole Wheat Bagel Thins — 110 calories per bagel
    2. Smucker’s Reduced-Fat Natural Style Creamy Peanut Butter — 190 calories per 2 Tbsp
    3. Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat — 120 calories for 3/4 cup
    4. Ocean Spray Reduced Sugar Craisins — 100 calories for 1/4 cup
    5. Chobani Simply 100 — 100 calories per 5.3oz container
    6. Honey Maid Honey Fresh Stacks — 130 calories for 4 squares 
    7. Blue Diamond Lightly Salted 100 Calorie Pack — 100 calories per bag 
    8. Mini Babybel Light — 50 calories per piece 

    What are your favorite lower-calorie food finds from the grocery store? 

    lj 

     

  12. My fav jam to chill out to right now.  Just remember to close your eyes & breathe today. 

    Hang in there, friends! 

    lj 

     

  13. { HEALTHY WEIGHT WEEK 2014 }

    Have you ever wondered, “What should I weight?”  Well, before you get caught up in what what you should or should not weigh and how you should or should not look, I challenge you to consider what healthy means to you without a number on the scale.  

    Stumped?  Join in on Green Mountain's mission to help individuals find & accept their healthy weight through happy, healthy, & fulfilled lives by participating in their Healthy Weight Week activities: 

    1. Monday 1/20 :: Let Go of Dieting Day
    2. Tuesday 1/21 :: Rid the World of Fad Diets & Gimmicks Day
    3. Wednesday 1/22 :: Change the Conversation Day
    4. Thursday 1/23 :: Do Away with the Weigh Day
    5. Friday 1/24 :: Embrace Your Healthy Weight Day 

    Find more deats on these Healthy Weight Week activities here

    So what is your healthy weight, friends? 

    lj 

    « photo credit: www.fitwoman.com »

     

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  15. { #FanGirlFriday :: Nashville Food Bloggers } 

    There’s nothing I admire more than passionate people.  And who better to fan girl over this Friday than my fellow Nashville Food Bloggers?!  Check out these food-filled blogs that will make your stomach swoon: 

    lj 

     
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