WIAW: Ringing in the New Year

After missing out on WIAW last week (being sick for a few days=no delicious food photos, or food period) I was itching to join in on the foodie party this week!

New Year’s Day is always a bit depressing for me–it marks the official end of the holiday season and it’s back to the daily grind and blah-ness of the winter season. Not that I’m complaining about getting back into a routine (I’m also not technically back into my normal routine for another 3 weeks when spring semester starts up again) but January is a bit of a letdown after the holidays. This year I want to be more excited about January so I’m soaking in my last few weeks of Christmas break and just enjoying the month for what it can be–a fresh start.

Pretty Christmas lights still up in Denver.

Pretty Christmas lights still up in Denver.

The usual post-Christmas shopping spree was on Sunday. The fam and I headed up to Denver for the day and my dad checked out the Van Gogh exhibit at the art museum while us girls shopped the afternoon away. Other than the clothes shopping (I’ll be sharing some of my purchases later this week!), I also convinced my mom to stop at Nooch Vegan Market, a fairly new addition to the city. It’s a small, all-vegan grocery store that stocks a lot of products that not even Whole Foods offers. I could have bought so many things, but I just left with some garlic Parma (a nut-based ‘cheese’ sprinkle), pico de gallo bean chips and a super-delicious dark chocolate chipotle caramel bar. The combo of coconut milk caramel, chipotle powder, dark chocolate and pecan/peanut pieces is incredible–I wish I had gotten more than one!

Maybe the last red cup of the season...

Maybe the last red cup of the season…

While shopping I sipped a short soy skinny peppermint mocha. I’ve never gotten a short at Starbucks before but it’s a good size option for when I don’t want to be too filled up by the drink. I’m sad about this picture though because I’m thinking that might be the last time I drink out of a red cup until November 😦

Recent lunch: leftover sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, chopped dried fig, sunflower butter and mini chocolate chips, spicy orange bok choy.

Recent lunch: leftover sweet potato topped with peanut flour paste, chopped dried fig, sunflower butter and mini chocolate chips, spicy orange bok choy.

I have a new obsession with bok choy. It is sooooo good sauteed in a little coconut oil and topped with a thin sauce made from red curry paste, citrus juice and coconut aminos. It gets all wilty and delicious in the pan. New favorite veggie over here!

Recent snack: leftover sweet potato fries dipped in Nuttzo, organic ketchup and peanut flour paste.

Recent snack: leftover sweet potato fries dipped in Nuttzo, organic ketchup and peanut flour paste.

This was a weird (but good) snack. I love cutting up sweet potatoes into fry shapes and then baking them with some spices and then dipping them in everything and anything. Organic ketchup and peanut flour paste are the best options, of course.

The cookbooks I got for Christmas...I love them!

The cookbooks I got for Christmas…I love them!

I generally don’t make things from cookbooks, but that’s only because I never had a vegan cookbook before this year. I was lucky enough to get two great vegan cookbooks for Christmas and I’ve already tried a couple recipes from them. Last night I made eggplant muffaletta sandwiches from Veganomicon for my family and they loved them.  It was literally one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, probably because I love the combo of olives, spinach and really good bread. I haven’t had bakery bread in at least a year (it’s a huge fear food of mine) but I got some ciabatta bread from Whole Foods specifically for this recipe and it did not disappoint. I guess eating bread, especially quality bread, every once in awhile won’t kill me!

Recent snack: sweet potato tortilla chips with fresh salsa and hatch chili guac, roasted kabocha squash, dried figs and peanut flour paste.

Recent snack: sweet potato tortilla chips with fresh salsa and hatch chili guac, roasted kabocha squash, dried figs and peanut flour paste.

Another random snack plate. Roasted kabocha tastes amazing dipped in salsa and guac, don’t knock it til ya try it!

Ringing in the new year with Kahlua+almond milk+amaretto.

Ringing in the new year with Kahlua+almond milk+amaretto.

This was a coffee-lover’s dream cocktail. It tasted like a hazelnut latte! Like I’ve said before, I’m not a huge drinker (and I’m not planning on becoming one when I turn 21) but it’s great to enjoy a nice cocktail every once in awhile, especially for special occasions.

My last meal of 2012: Whole Foods salad bar goodies including Indian coleslaw, homemade tortilla chips, coconut curry tofu, chipotle orange sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and lentil dal.

My last meal of 2012: Whole Foods salad bar goodies including Indian coleslaw, homemade tortilla chips, coconut curry tofu, chipotle orange sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and lentil dal.

My dad and I made a quick stop at WF for some NYE snacks and I just couldn’t pass up the salad bar–they had a bunch of vegan Indian food options. I got some of my usual items, and then loaded up on the Indian coleslaw (not at all like traditional coleslaw but way better), green garbanzo curry, lentil dal and some battered veggies. It was an amazing last meal!

My first successful donut experiment.

My first successful donut experiment.

You knew I couldn’t go more than a week without trying out my new donut pan! I made some so-so pumpkin protein donuts over the weekend but I finally made some delicious (and healthier) donuts that I just had to share. They are pretty much like banana bread in donut form…

Banana Bread Donuts (vegan)

1 tbsp ground flax+3 tbsp warm water, for flax “egg”

1/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 banana, mashed

1 packet stevia (optional)

2 tbsp coconut sugar (or other natural sugar)

3/4 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup vanilla Sunwarrior protein powder (or other protein powder, or more spelt flour)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini)

Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Spray a donut pan (I used a 6-cavity pan) with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, mix flax and water; stir and set aside to gel into an “egg”. Stir in all ingredients through coconut sugar. Add in spelt flour, protein powder, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips until a batter forms. Spoon batter into donut pan, filling each to the top, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just set. Remove from pan and set out on wire rack to cool. Makes 6 donuts.

These donuts are a healthier morning option, made with whole grains and about 6 grams of protein per donut, and they’re made with natural sugars and not overpoweringly sweet. I’m still trying to experiment with gluten free and vegan donut recipes so hopefully I can have one up soon for all you GFrs.

What have you been eating so far in 2013? Do you like to cook from cookbooks? 

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How I Spent My Thanksgiving Break

The title totally sounds like a middle school English class essay you had to write after coming back from Thanksgiving break, doesn’t it? Haha guess I just love reliving my younger years 😉

My break isn’t quite over which I am very thankful for–the last three weeks in the semester are always the hardest because you just got a taste of freedom but then you have to go back and get ready for finals and write papers. Not fun. But this is how I’ve been spending the past few days, with a mix of the successes and struggles I’ve had along the way.

Struggles

Still dealing with ‘disordered’ thoughts. 

Thanksgiving is a tough holiday for a recovering anorexic. And as a vegan, I’m not that thrilled by the usual selection of holiday foods. So I did struggle a bit on Thanksgiving Day. For one, I didn’t have breakfast. Yep, I wasn’t exactly planning on it (I love breakfast and never miss it!) but I wanted to have a pumpkin waffle with plenty of real maple syrup but my mom ended up using my waffle maker to make waffles for the rest of my family, and I freaked out about the ingredients she used in the waffles and decided not to make a waffle. But I didn’t end up making breakfast at all because I just got stuck in my disordered eating thought patterns and was getting anxious about Thanksgiving. I also didn’t eat lunch, because our family just does a lot of snacks in the afternoon. So I did enjoy some snackage (homemade guac I made myself, rice cake with pumpkin butter/chocolate chips, raw carrots and cauliflower, amazing spicy salsa). I also had a few adult beverages but we’ll save that for the successes part! I think I did an okay job eating once the big meal went around and I even tried some of the vegan stuffing my mom made. But I definitely struggled with feeling okay with being a little full. The feeling of fullness still scares me to death so that was hard to deal with. I also had some issues with exercising. I told myself I’d take a day or two off from working out this week but that hasn’t happened. It’s still too scary for me to take full-blown rest days.

The cute plate I had my snacks on.

Never being able to make a really delicious dessert from scratch.

Lately, I haven’t been able to make a dessert from a recipe that I actually like enough to eat. For some reason, I like it when I’m tasting it in the cooking process but then once it’s made, it doesn’t quite live up to my expectations. And then it goes in the trash. I can’t keep wasting food, but I can’t figure out why I can’t make an amazing dessert. I guess I should just stick with my simple, throw-it-together desserts like coconut milk ice cream or ‘banana bread’ protein bowls. Those are always satisfying.

A delicious lunch at my favorite restaurant. Falafel, tabbouleh, fresh red cabbage, lettuce and hummus.

Body image issues.

This kinda goes along with the first one, but lately I’ve been really having a hard time accepting what I see in the mirror. I always go through phases where I either like what I see or I’m totally disgusted by it, and right now I’m dealing with the latter. Anyone who’s ever dealt with this knows how much this sucks, but I’m hoping I start moving out of this phase soon.

Going back to classes after break.

Not gonna lie, I’m already burned out by school. The hardest time for me is always the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, especially this year when I’m buried with a million assignments. I’m simultaneously freaking out and feeling passive about finishing up the semester.

These almost look like stars, don’t they?

Successes

Enjoying alcohol without worrying about the calories. 

I’m not quite 21 yet (just 8 months to go!) and I’ve never been one of those people who partied hard in college but lately I’ve been more interested in drinking, at least on special occasions. On Thanksgiving, I tried some cake vodka mixed with a little vanilla almond milk (to die for!) and I also had some green apple liqueur at dinner and I enjoyed them both. I did NOT get drunk or anything but it was nice to be able to sip my drinks and not freak out about drinking OMGsomanycalories.

This was soooooo good!

Getting a lot of assignments done.

I was kind of dreading Thanksgiving break, because I had a lot of schoolwork to do during it. But I’ve been splitting it into manageable chunks and working on a little each day and I’ve definitely been making progress.  I’m still stressing out about some of them, but I’ve got a few more days to finish them up.

I love fall sunsets.

Mixing in fun with the work.

My break hasn’t been all work and no play though. Yesterday we went up to Denver for the day for some window shopping, a cheap lunch at Garbanzo (they were offering a buy one get one deal all day) and checking out a cool German Christmas festival. We also played tourist with my grandparents and went to Garden of the Gods and Old Colorado City the other day. It’s kinda fun to explore the sites in your own city even if you’ve seen them a hundred times.

The weather was gorgeous and so were the views.

What have you been enjoying over the past few days? Do you like to be a tourist in your own city?

A New Decade (Birthday Weekend Recap)

Hi everyone! Did you all have fab weekends? Mine was the best I’ve had probably all summer, and as promised, I’ve got a recap of my birthday weekend for ya! (Warning: Plenty of photos ahead!)

Who doesn’t want their own birthday banner?

I woke up on Friday to this–my mom taped it up there while I was asleep, how sweet is that?! My morning continued with an unpictured homemade chocolate chip oat flour waffle topped with fresh raspberries and chocolate protein frosting.

I love having a summer birthday because I can always wear a cute dress on my big day!

Most of the morning and afternoon were low-key. My mom and I stopped at the store to pick up a few things she needed and then we headed downtown for a special Olympics event they were holding. We got there around 4, which was when it was supposed to start, but not much was going on when we first got there. There were some cool things set up, like a giant trampoline, BMX ramps, a mini tennis court and a synthetic ice rink but no one was really doing anything. We did end up getting on TV though–one of the guys I know from my TV internship saw us and he interviewed my mom! And I also got some free Starbucks (unsweetened iced coffee) so it was worth it.

Whole Foods cold bar dinner: jicama apple quinoa salad, sweet potato/pepper/currant salad, marinated artichokes, zucchini pickles, chipotle orange tofu, curried potatoes and Korean slaw.

For my birthday dinner, I chose the Whole Foods salad bars! I am obsessed with the one near me, they always have the best stuff and they change it a lot so I can always get something new. My mom got some of the Mexican things they had, I got a random mish-mash of cold salads and my dad got a seafood sandwich (my sister was at her rehearsal for the theatre camp she’s at, so she missed out on the WF fun). Oh, and we of course watched the Olympic opening ceremonies! The best part is watching all the countries come in and making fun of their outfits.

My first birthday cake in a couple years! Totally vegan, and totally yummy!

I’m usually not a huge fan of cake. I’ll eat it if it’s a really interesting flavor, but I definitely prefer giant warm cookies or vegan ice cream for desserts. In fact, the last couple of years for my birthday, I’ve requested gelato instead of cake. But this year, I was super excited to try one of Whole Foods’ vegan cakes. I was planning on getting a slice of raw cheesecake but (full disclosure) the fat and calorie content kinda freaked me out. I loved how simple the ingredients were (cashews, coconut oil, raw chocolate) but I ended up with a slice of their vegan chocolate raspberry cake. And I was not disappointed at all! I split this giant square with my dad, who also loved it. With most cakes, I scrape the frosting off immediately because I’ve never been a fan. But this vegan frosting was so rich and delicious that I couldn’t skip it.

My special birthday nails (that match my laptop!)

Saturday wasn’t too exciting. I had work in the afternoon, but after dinner, my dad and I watched The Descendants. George Clooney and Shailene Woodley were perfect in it and it was a really great movie. Funny in some parts, and super sad in others. Plus it made me realize that I need to move to Hawaii!

Ready for a day of shopping!

Sunday was the day I was really looking forward to. I decided to forgo birthday presents in favor of a parent-funded shopping spree in Denver. I live for shopping, seriously! I just love looking through all the stores I love, laughing at some of the weirder items and finding the perfect outfits. We started out at the Pavilions at the 16th Street Mall and hit up H&M and Forever 21. Both of those stores are HUGE at that location so it can be kinda hard to find something you want to buy, but it’s still super fun. And I bought my first-ever item at H&M!

From top to bottom: navy lace tee (Hollister), pink printed tank dress (Forever 21), colorblock skirt (F21), navy bow leather flip-flops (HCo.)

I love long necklaces: pink heart pendant (Forever 21), jeweled parrot pendant (ALDO Accessories).

We also went to my favorite mall on the south side of Denver. My sister and I ventured off on our own and ended up going to a bunch of stores: Hollister, American Eagle, ALDO Accessories, Bath & Body Works and Abercrombie & Fitch. It sucked though because it was a Sunday, and we got to the mall around 4:30…and all the stores started closing at 6. We got to Abercrombie as soon as they were closing, so we had to rush around trying to find something to buy and I left the store empty-handed. We’ve never gone up there on a Sunday, so it was weird being kicked out of the stores so early, but we’ll know better next time.

I feel so French in this dress: light pink/black striped T-shirt dress (H&M).

Cute in stripes: orange/navy striped cropped tee (Hollister).

Apparently I love orange: strapless orange dress (Hollister).

Garbanzo is one of my fave places to go! I ordered a plate with falafel, tabbouleh, cilantro sauce, grilled eggplant, lettuce, red cabbage and hummus.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go to the vegetarian restaurant because it was a little pricey but I’m planning a visit to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in my college town sometime soon. We did go to Garbanzo, though, which I could eat at every week. They have a lot of vegan options too which I love and everything there is so fresh and pretty cheap. Their tabbouleh and hummus are my favorite of any Mediterranean place I’ve been to!

So that’s pretty much my entire birthday weekend. I had such a fun time, treated myself a few times and did some major shopping. I couldn’t have asked for a better 20th birthday!

What did you do for your last birthday? What do you like for your birthday dessert?

Friday Faves (July 13)

Well it’s Friday the 13th…anyone experiencing any bad luck today? I’m really not a superstitious person so I think bad things (and good things too) can happen any time regardless of the day on the calendar. Plus I’m feeling pretty darn lucky today anyway–my birthday’s in exactly two weeks and I went to the dentist yesterday and came back with no cavities. Yay!

(Soon to be) Favorite Starbucks Drink: Refreshers

It’s like a limeade with a caffeine boost!

It’s no secret that I love Starbucks, but sadly I haven’t been in a couple of weeks, even though we just moved within a 5 minute driving distance of one. But now I have an even better reason to go–their new Refreshers drinks! P.S. They’re giving them away free today between noon and 3 pm so get one now. They have different versions of the drinks–two iced ones in their stores, three sparkling water kinds and instant VIA packets at grocery stores. I’ll be keeping my eye out for those the next time I go shopping and I’m hoping I enjoy my free one!

Favorite App: Phonto

Just in case you didn’t know, this was a lunch. Steamed edamame, squirt of sriracha, baby carrots, blueberries, sprouted toast topped with blueberry chia jam and cashew cream cheese.

I can’t say enough good things about the LabelBox app, but now there’s another photo editing app I love–Phonto. As a self-professed font nerd, I like being able to add a caption directly to my photos in a million different fonts and colors. From now on, if my photos aren’t LabelBox’d, they’ll be Phonto’d. Just warning you 😉

Favorite Fitness Move: Planks

Not this kind of planking, but isn’t this adorable?

Until maybe a year ago, I had no idea what planks were. And now, I’m hooked. I do them a couple of times per day in addition to my other fitness routines and I’ve been working on holding them for a long time. Right now I can only do them for 2 minutes straight, but I want to get up to 5 minutes soon! They’re such a good fitness move since they pretty much work everything–arms, core and even legs.

Favorite Day I’m Looking Forward To: July 27th

From my birthday last year…apparently I was proud of this tiny strawberry I grew on my strawberry plant!

I’ve tried not to talk about it too much on the blog, since people don’t really care too much about other people’s birthdays, but I’m definitely excited to turn 20 in exactly two weeks! It’ll probably feel really weird to finally be out of my teenage years but I’m ready to be one year closer to legal drinking age 😉 Actually, I’m just more excited about the plans I have for my birthday this year. On the actual day, I’m gonna get Whole Foods salad bar for dinner (and hopefully some bakery-made vegan dessert) and watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics and who knows what else. And over the weekend, I’m planning on going up to Denver for a day of shopping and going out to eat at (hopefully) a completely vegetarian or vegan restaurant for the first time ever. Possibly even Native Foods Cafe, which just opened in Boulder! Shopping, good eats and the Olympics–doesn’t get much better than that for me!

What do you like to do for your birthday? What’s your favorite fitness move?

Shopping & Sledding

Soooooo guys, I kinda lied to you last time at the end of my post when I said we were going sledding. We actually ended up going sledding yesterday since the state park we were going to didn’t have any facilities open on Monday or Tuesday and we didn’t want to be stuck up there without a bathroom–ummmm TMI!

What we did end up doing on Tuesday was even better–shopping! Obviously I am such a shopaholic, I will almost never turn down a shopping trip, clothes or grocery or otherwise. It’s just so much fun. We headed up to our favorite Denver mall for a day of shopping and eating out.

One major disappointment of the day was driving to Gelazzi (aka the best gelato place ever) and realizing that it was closed for remodeling! Yeah, uh, what is that all about? But no worries, we ended up checking out a new-to-us froyo place called Peach Wave and the disappointment ended when I realized they had several seasonal flavors to choose from. Me and seasonal flavors are BFFs, of course, so I ended up getting peppermint stick and chocolate froyos with raspberries on top. Boy was it delicious! I also sampled a few other flavors, including peanut butter, which was outta this world! But then again nut butters rock my world 😉

Shopping was hella fun, as expected. My sister and I headed out on our own, only to be surprised by how crazy the crowds were! I don’t think we’ve ever gone shopping that soon after Christmas so it was quite a shock. We even had to wait in a line outside of Hollister for about 5 minutes before they’d let us in since so many people were in the store 😯 It was hectic to say the least, but we got a ton of good deals and we both scored a ton of things! I seriously don’t think I’ve ever bought that many things at once!

I'm starting to really love stripes--especially in my favorite color (A&F Audrey pullover sweater)

 

I can always use another cute tank top...especially when it has the same name as me 😉 (A&F Ashley tank)

Abercrombie & Fitch, usually the calmest store at the mall, was packed with so many people that my sister and I got really frustrated! We did end up leaving the store with two purchases each in hand (for 40% off, too)–a pair of flare jeans and a lacy top for her, a pink striped sweater and ruffly grey cami for me.

I'm obsessed with lace...and bows! (Abercrombie Kids Dessa tank)

Abercrombie Kids was also a zoo, but practically everyone in the store was much shorter than me–that’s what I get for shopping in a kids store, I guess. I did score this adorable lacy tank with a pinstripe bow ‘belt’ for less than $20 though!

As if I really need more necklaces in my life... (AE)

How cute is this ring? (AE XO Ring)

 

American Eagle is the best place to get good jewelry cheap (okay, Forever 21 is too). I had a gift card to here that I spent completely on a necklace and a ring. I am basically jewelry obsessed and rarely go a day without wearing at least a necklace or some bangles. Apparently this Christmas I was really blessed with jewelry, since I also got another necklace and another ring as presents…

You can never have too much plaid (Hollister Manhattan Beach shirt)

 

Still in love with jeggings (Hollister Cord Jegging)

At Hollister, I continued my recent obsession with plaid shirts and jeggings. I’ve been eyeing these corduroy jeggings for the longest time, and once I took the plunge and bought my first pair the other day I decided to get these too. Since they’re tan, they’ll look good with anything and will fit well with my brown suede boots and the new boots I got for Christmas!

I also did a little online shopping back at home, where I ended up buying grey lace shorts from Abercrombie Kids and a pinstriped oxford-type shirt from Gilly Hicks.

We ended our day in Denver with dinner at On the Border, courtesy of a gift card my mom got. I haven’t been there in years, not since I’ve gone vegetarian, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a delicious veg-friendly meal of grilled veggie fajitas. Fajitas are always good and this one did not disappoint–it was mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, squash, zucchini and topped with super-hot fresh jalapeno slices. You can bet I was downing a ton of water throughout the meal, but it was delish! The fresh guac on the side was also amazingly good. I’m also pretty sure that the fajitas are vegan-friendly, as long as you don’t eat the side of sour cream that it came with–so I was able to find a yummy vegan meal in a regular restaurant..wooooo!

Sledding yesterday was also oodles of fun! We drove up to a state park up in the mountains and spent a couple of hours racing down the hills on our sleds. On one really fast run, I ended up tearing our inner tube on a stick and it deflated 😦 But it was fun while it lasted, and we still had two other sleds to have fun on. I was surprised by how fast and far we could go, and also by how bumpy the runs were. It was also reeeeeeally hard to walk up the hills, but it was an awesome workout without really feeling like one! On our way back home, we hit up Starbucks and I bet you can guess what I got–my usual holiday drink, a tall skinny soy peppermint mocha. Definitely a day to remember!

What fun things have you been up to lately? Have you gotten any good after-Christmas deals yet?

A Very Vegan Thanksgiving

Hi peeps! Hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving and Black Friday (if you live in the U.S.)! I am so sad that it’s over, mostly because I’m headed back up to campus tomorrow 😦 I’ve had such an amazing time this past week that I can’t believe break’s almost over. However, in less than 3 weeks, I’ll be back home for a whole MONTH! I ❤ college 😀

I decorated my little Christmas tree, even though I won't get to see it again for a couple of weeks. Ignore the toilet in the background, I am so classy 😉

Let’s back up to the day before Thanksgiving. I’ve never gone shopping on Black Friday before–I love shopping, but can’t handle the crowds and possibility of being attacked viciously by desperate shoppers 😯 My family decided to head up to Denver’s 16th Street Mall the day before Thanksgiving to try to avoid the crowds. We hit up the brand new H&M store first…where apparently a million other people also decided to go! So yeah, we did not end up avoiding the crowds. And unfortunately, the store was underwhelming. I mean, it looked cool inside, but it was packed and the clothes were kinda eh. I was definitely expecting more. I was considering buying a cute gold clutch, but I didn’t really think it was practical, so I passed. The only things I really wanted, a pair of cream knit legwarmers and a sequin skirt weren’t there or in my size so I left empty-handed. My sister and I also left Forever 21 without buying anything. They had more cute things than H&M, but I wasn’t really feeling it.

The lovely boots I was telling you about in my last post. I've already worn them out a few times!

What didn’t end up being a disappointment was Pinkberry. But then again, is froyo ever disappointing? Especially peppermint froyo? My mom and sister really wanted to try their seasonal peppermint flavor, so both of them got a cup topped with peppermint bark. I also got peppermint, but topped mine with just pomegranate seeds. Weird? Yes. But also really good. Don’t knock it til ya try it 😉

Another way I've been avoiding my homework--reading my fave magazine, People StyleWatch.

After walking around the pedestrian mall to kill some time, we drove across town to our favorite mall. We seriously go there quite a few times throughout the year, even though it’s probably 60 miles from our house. Dedicated shoppers right thurrrr 😛 But it is such a nice mall, and pretty huge. I just realized that it has an Anthropologie store–I may have to check that out next time we go there! Anyways, my sister and I were on a mission so we ditched our parents and headed straight for Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch. As I’ve said before, those are two of our favorite stores. I know they’re totally cliché or whatever, but we truly love them and don’t just shop there because it’s the ‘cool kid’ thing to do. We both ended up getting one thing at each store and with all the discounts we used, we ended up saving a ton of money. Love when that happens! Afterwards, we met up with our parents at the T-Mobile store. Our cell phone contract expires soon with them, so we wanted to play around with the phones and see what we might end up buying. A lot of them were really neat, but my mom ended up deciding later that we’re probably going to switch to AT&T. Fine with me, as long as they have awesome phones!

Navy striped pullover sweater from Hollister, red/navy plaid shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch, both for less than $50 total!

Can I have this sexy man for Christmas? Kthx.

Thursday was, of course, Thanksgiving. The food of T-Day is never my favorite part–I just love being with my family. The Macy’s parade was fun to watch and it was so nice to just spend the morning and afternoon relaxing while my mom slaved away in the kitchen. One of our traditions is to have snacks in the early afternoon instead of lunch and I was looking forward to that. I filled up a turkey-decorated paper plate with some of my fave snacks and then just chilled out on the deck with my madre and padre. It was so weird that it was warm enough to sit outside on Thanksgiving–usually it’s pretty cold and sometimes snows. But Colorado is so random weather-wise, I love it. After snacks, my dad and I went on a long walk and then came back and started prepping the brussels sprouts we were going to grill for dinner.

My T-Day outfit: grey wool duster cardi (A&F), grey floral tank (HCo.), coral culotte shorts (A&F), grey polka dot tights (Target). Sorry about my weird stance, I was trying unsuccessfully to show off the tights.

Snack plate lunch: Whole Foods kettle corn, jalapeno-stuffed green olives, local salsa, Whole Foods guac, bell pepper strips, green mojo multigrain chips, artichoke hummus. I went back for more kettle corn and chips latah!

Thanksgiving dinner was pretty quiet with just the four of us, but it was nice. My dinner ended up being all vegan, but it was kinda disappointing. I tried this field grain celebration roast that tastes exactly like stuffing. Unfortunately, I hate stuffing, but the roast wasn’t awful. The best part of my dinner by far was the baked sweet potato topped with a little maple syrup and some peanut flour sauce. Mmmmm, so darn tasty! What is it about sweet potatoes that’s so addicting? The sprouts turned out way too hard and dry, which was sad because I usually love ’em. You win some, you lose some. I tried a little of my mom’s stuffing, which she made vegan, but honestly, I still hate it. Sorry stuffing lovers! I might like a cornbread stuffing though so that may be tested out at next year’s feast. However, dessert is always the best part, hands-down. I had another piece of the festive garland bars I made (I’ve seriously had a piece of it every night since I made it on Monday–can you say obsessed?) and a slice of the pumpkin pie bars my mommy made. She also made these vegan especially for me, and they were super delicious, even better than a pumpkin pie. They were a little cakey and pretty sweet but so good.

My breakfast on T-Day: banana softserve topped with chocolate & PB Puffins and peanut flour sauce.

Friday I woke up later than I have in awhile (9 am!), had breakfast and just hung out for awhile. Lunch was a strange but yummy creation I’ve been enjoying this week. I cook up some butternut squash cubes, top them with black beans and some plain Greek yogurt mixed with a little guacamole. Then I pour on some really good salsa and crush some Late July mild green mojo chips on top. It seems so weird, but it’s actually good and kinda Mexican-y. I made something similar to it over summer break, but it was on top of lettuce instead. We ran out of lettuce this week, so I decided to use squash as the veggie base and it turns out just as good. Plus I’m obviously obsessed with anything orange.

I'm not even sure what to call this, except amazingly delicious!

Later on, my sister and I drove out to brave the Black Friday crowds get our Starbucks fix. The ‘bucks we went to was crowded as usual, but we actually ended up getting to sit in the leather chairs in the corner, so that was a win. I got the tall skinny peppermint mocha with soy, and it was even better with the soy versus the skim. A lot creamier without being sickening. I think this will be my holiday drink go-to. Afterwards, we walked over to Ulta to goof around and try on sunglasses and smell all the lotions and stuff. I love that girl; we always have so much fun together, especially when it’s just the two of us. Surprisingly, most of the stores weren’t that crowded (except the Apple store) but then again it was almost 5 at night. I guess most Black Friday shoppers head out early.

I'm a sucker for the red cups!

Friday night my dad had another performance of his play, so the rest of us just stayed home and had a nice dinner of leftovers (I had a slice of the celebration roast topped with yellow mustard, which made it so much better, and some sweet tater fries) and then spent the rest of the night watching The Devil Wears Prada (my favorite movie ever!) and playing games.

How sad is this--packing up to go back to school 😦 The countdown til Christmas break officially begins Monday!

What have you been up to the last few days? Have you ever shopped at H&M?

WIAW: The Big 1-9

Hey guys! Sorry my WIAW is a little late this week. I was pretty busy on Wednesday, so I didn’t have much time to post. But I still wanted to get in on the party, so here it is!

Well, it’s finally here–my 19th birthday!I feel like I’ve been waiting a whole year for my birthday…oh wait, I have 😉

The most exciting part of this year’s birthday (besides a special store opening event–more on that in a bit) is that it just so happens that it’s also Wednesday. As in, What I Ate Wednesday! I love this weekly party (hosted by the lovely Jenn) and this week, it feels like even more of a party, since it’s my b-day. Self-centered much? 😀

Peas and Crayons

I started my birthday out reaaaaaaaally early (well, early for me!) at the ripe hour of 6 o’ clock. Who in their right mind wakes up that early on their birthday if they don’t have to go to work (or they just happen to be an early bird, which I am most definitely not)? This girl right here, and for a good reason–my mom and I were going up to Denver for the grand opening of Colorado’s first-ever IKEA store! I’ve never been to an IKEA store so I was curious about what they’d have there, but mostly because they were giving away gift certificates worth $52.80 (the elevation of the store is 5280 feet, I guess that’s how they got that amount) only to people whose birthday was on July 27th (the grand opening day, obvs). I’ve never thought my birthday was on a special day (though, one of my lucky numbers is 7, so it’s kinda special) but I guess it was in this case! I had to prove my birthday was really July 27th, though (this is when having a driver’s license comes in handy…oh, I guess also if you want to drive 😉 )and I got a neato Happy Birthday stamp on my wrist. I think some people thought it was a tat lol JK.

Cake batter oats for breakfast. I just had to, I mean, it was my birthday after all!

...along with a spicy veggie sausage, mixed berries and PB Puffins.The sun was shining right behind it, so you can't really read the sign

Welcome to IKEA!

The coolest stamp ever!

 My mom scored a $10 gift certificate at the door, so we had over $60 to spend. My dad told us that we couldn’t go crazy and spend way over the amount we got (knowing us, we probs could have easily) and we didn’t! We even had $5 left over. We ended up getting a floor lamp with a pink and orange shade, a pink plastic shower caddy and a cool orange lamp thing (notice a trend here?) All the stuff gonna be for my dormie room and I can’t wait! I’ll show pics when everything’s actually assembled. As for the verdict on IKEA? Love. It. I’m a big fan of modern, sleek, cool furniture and I can totally see myself shopping here when I have a place of my own. The best part is that it’s all pretty cheap but well-made. Double score!

After the adventure that was IKEA (I totally got my exercise in for the day at that store. No joke. We were running to try to find the birthday certificate hand-out area, wrestled people to the ground manuevered around people to check out the lighting fixtures and almost got lost in that maze of a store.) we went to Panera for lunch. I got the strawberry poppyseed salad for the second time, and it was perfect for a hot summer day. It was huge though, so I wasn’t able to eat much of it.

Mi ensalada: greens, grilled chicken, pecans, strawbs, mandarin oranges, bloobs and pineapple

Then we drove to Gelazzi (the best gelato place, hands-down!) to pick up my b-day dessert. I was planning on getting a gelato cake or pie, but after being shellshocked by the prices (30 bucks for a cake? No thanks!) I settled on 2 pints of gelato, one mint chocolate chip and the other Hilo pineapple. Mmmmm (not together, though!)…

Back at home, I was starving so I munched on a handful of PB Puffins (those things are like crack, I swear) and some raisins. IDK why, but I’ve been loving on the raisins lately, even more so than my beloved dates. Don’t worry dates, you’ll always be my true love 😛

Birthday girl outfit: light green floral Hollister dress, coral VS Pink bandeau bra, AE pink crystal necklace

After some cardio interval time and yoga (as if I didn’t exercise enough already at IKEA…) I had a snackie that’s quickly becoming a favorite of mine: Late July mild green mojo multigrain chips alongside an almond butter-stuffed date and pineapple chunks. I convinced my sis to try the chips and she fell in love. My sister, the organic-hater, loved these organic healthy chips because they “taste like Doritos” (her words, not mine). I’m glad I can convert her to healthy eating 🙂

Amazing snack!Another birthday "present" I got was my first edible strawberry from my little plant. The first one got eaten by birds...yikes!

My daddy got home and then we were off to Pei Wei for my birthday din din. If you’ve never heard of/been to Pei Wei it’s basically a cheaper version of PF Changs. Okay, maybe that didn’t help either, but it’s a place that has a bunch of different Asian cuisines and dishes. I got my personal fave, the Vietnamese Chicken Salad rolls. I also had some iced chai black tea (s0 delish with a fresh orange slice!), edamame and a little bit of my dad’s brown rice mixed with peanuts from his Kung Pao. Such a delish dinner and I can’t wait to have the leftover roll for lunch! My only complaint is that I was freezing my butt off the entire time! What is it with restaurants and their extreme air conditioning?

Sorry about the horrible quality of these photos, they were taken in weird lighting and I had to be sneaky about it!

Edamame for the win!Vietnamese summer rolls are my favorite!

 

 Presents time back at home (aka my favorite part of my b-day)! I got really sweet cards from my parents and sis and some pretty rockin’ presents as well.

Coach Poppy backpack, cropped denim jacket, Gilly Hicks pink tee and blue floral pj shorts, hair waver, fashion book

I'm a little obsessed with wrapping paper...

After a little AGT (America’s Got Talent) watching, I was starving again (!) so we decided to have the birthday gelato then. Remember above when I said that I would never have pineapple and mint chocolate chip gelato at the same time? Well…I did. It honestly wasn’t bad, but that’s probs because I ate each flavor separately (and now I can look forward to many more nights of gelato leftovers!) I was surprised the house didn’t burn down, with 19 candles on a tiny gelato container!

That's a whole heck of a lot of candles!

Mint chocolate chip and pineapple--a match made in (weird) foodie heaven!

My new pjs in action!

Thanks for sticking with me through that monster of a post! I had an amazing day and couldn’t ask for anything more!

What is one of your birthday ‘traditions’? Ever been to an IKEA?