LA Food and Fun

smoothie from earth bar

I did a lot of eating out while in LA, I ate out everyday while there, usually 2 of my meals per day, so I tried to keep it somewhat healthy a majority of the time.  I also had my fair share ofindulgences while there, but all in all I don’t feel that I went too overboard.  I weighed myself 2 weeks after I got back, after giving myself some time to get back into my normal routine, and I was the exact same weight as I was since I had last weighed myself.  It was nice to see that a week away didn’t totally derail my efforts.  And now some pics of the healthy and not so healthy eats I enjoyed in LA and also a few pics just for fun.

half eaten southwest salmon

fresh squeezed oj

cafe primo salad, whoa bacon!

salmon at the polo lounge

millions of milkshakes

caught in the act

mexican at marix, best meal ever

laguna beach

laguna beach seagulls

say cheeeese

until next time...

last day brunch

Sephora Makeup Madness

Use code MADNESS at checkout for 15% off.  Offer valid today through April 19.  According to the e-mail  I got from Sephora this offer is only valid for Beauty Insiders only so if you’re not already an Insider, sign-up now!

My picks:

If I didn’t already have a brand new bottle of Clarins UV Plus sunscreen I would be purchasing this.  This has been my daily-wear sunscreen for well over a year now and it’s well worth the price tag considering daily sunscreen is your best defense against fine lines.  Also does not cause my skin to break out and also mattifies.  AMAZING.

Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel is a sulfate free cleanser that gentle yet still removes all traces of makeup.  I like this cleanser because it doesn’t completely strip my skin of it’s natural moisture.

MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microfinish Powder gives skin a smoothe, poreless finish and controls oil.  Sure you can use plain ‘ol silica powder (it’s the only ingredient in this powder) but I’m a sucker for convenient and nice packaging AND I’ve been using this powder daily for at least 6 months and still have half a jar left.

LA Adventures

I’m finally getting around to posting a recap of my recent trip to Los Angeles.  I only got back, oh, 3 weeks ago, but better late than never right?

Something very exciting (well fitness related exciting) is that I realized I could do an unassisted chin-up!!!  More about that in a sec.

Our first full day there we decided to go bike riding on the beach.  I had wanted to do this on my previous trip but didn’t have time, so this time around it was a MUST.

We started in Santa Monica and biked to Venice and back and then did it again.  It took about 3 hours (with a 30 minute stroll through Venice and a stop for ice cream :)) According to the guy at the bike rental place we figured it was about 18 miles.

There are some really cool houses along the beach.

awesome treehouse looking house

and their neighbor with a buddha statue

I love looking at nice houses, I have ever since I was little, I know a little weird.

some more along the beach in Venice

Now on to the exciting part.  I wanted to stop at Muscle Beach in Venice just to check it out and take pictures there.  There were people doing all sorts of stuff.

muscle beach

not the greatest pic but I felt like a stalker

Check out really tan guy, he was the only real body builder looking guy there,  I thought there’d be more!

check this guy out

This guy climbed up the chains and then sat on the top of this thing, it was NUTS.

my attempt

That’s the most I could pick myself up on the tarzan rope.  That shiz is HARD.

me doing a chin-up!

And finally…drumroll please…I attempted an unassisted chin-up and did it!!!  My feet are not on the ground!  Although it kind of looks like they are, I should have bent my knees.  I was holding myself up there screaming at my friend to come over and take a picture, the guys around there must have thought I was nuts.  And yes there were only guys working out there, no girls working out at Muscle Beach sadly.

Some more pretty scenic shots from the ride.

Sigh.  I love palm trees.

Another day we went hiking at Runyon Canyon, this was my second time hiking here but I didn’t take any pictures on the last trip so brought my camera this time around.  Right outside the gate before you walk into the park there is a spot that has water and various snacks, but there is no one there to make sure you pay for it, it’s totally done by the honor system.  How cool is that?  I’ve certainly never seen anything like this in the NJ/NY area.

I have no idea who puts that there/is in charge of it but I think it’s great.

I’ve only done it twice but I love hiking here.  I don’t like the woods so I don’t think I would be into that type of hiking but here with the beautiful scenery (and the possibility of seeing celebrities-I saw Giles Meroni aka the naked guy from the SATC movie) I love it. I only bad part?


The first time I saw this sign I freaked out, I had no idea there were rattlesnakes around there.  Shiver.  Good thing I didn’t see any and had an enjoyable hike.  I don’t know how many miles we did but we hiked for about 2 hours.

me posing like a geek

lots of people with dogs, made me miss my brutus

we climbed to the top of that!

view of the city

the ocean on the horizon to the right

hollywood sign

I don’t know why the Hollywood sign looks so far away, it was actually much closer.  It’s hard to see but there are so many amazing houses in the hills, I would love to live there.

Besides biking and hiking, we went on a couple of leisurely walks on the beach in Santa Monica a couple of mornings.

I really wanted to take a yoga class on the beach but we never found one/ran out of time.  I improvised for a picture.

is this even a real yoga pose?

so pretty

the hardest part was the stairs!

I would really love to be able to hike around here, but my only options are to hike in the woods and I’m not even close to any woods/trails.  I guess I’ll just have to enjoy it when I’m vising the west coast.

Stayed tuned for my LA recap numero dos!

NROLW Stage 7, workout 2

The good news is that I didn’t feel like vomiting at the end of this workout like I did on Monday.  Although I was glad about that at the same time I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t feel sick, like maybe I should have pushed myself harder…I know that is kind of crazy!  The bad news is that my mp3 (yes I am not with it and do not have an Ipod like everyone else), DIED 5 minutes into my workout.  Working out without my music pretty much sucked plus then I had no way to time my rests, so I counted in my head.  That was a little hard though because without my earphones in people would start to talk to me during my rests causing me to lose count!

 I still had a good workout though, here are the deets:

 NROLW Stage 7, workout 2 (I didn’t do the workout exactly as it’s laid out because I can’t superset certain exercises because of where the machines are in the gym, so I make adjustments)

 Dumbbell chest press (on stability ball)-3 sets 8, 25 pound db’s

Alternating sets (30 seconds rest between sets)

Dumbbell squat-4 sets 20, 15 pound db’s

Shoulder press-1st set 20, 2nd and 3rd sets 16, 4th set 15, 15 pound db’s

Step-ups (6 risers)-4 sets 15 each leg, 15 pound db’s

 Own sets

Seated row-1st set 6, 105 pounds, 2nd and 3rd sets 8 reps, 90 pounds

Underhand grip lat pulldown-1st set 20 reps-50 pounds, 2nd-4th sets 15 reps 55 pounds

On my rests in between these sets I added in some ab work, prone jack knives and stability ball crunches.

In health news…PepsiCo gives their products a nutritional makeover and a study finds big butts may protect you against type 2 diabetes.  Woohoo a reason to embrace my big ‘ol butt and thighs!  But I won’t stop the squats and lunges just yet…

Starting NROLW Stage 7 and a Zing bar review

My weekend the good:  Beautiful weather Saturday and celebrated a friends birthday with champagne with hibiscus syrup (a must-try if you like champagne!), vodka, the first night of the seaon on a rooftop bar, and a late-night diner stop that may have involved a gyro platter.

My weekend the bad:  It took me 2.5 hours to drive into NYC due to traffic, a guy spilled a drink on my head when I was out (I actually think he did it on purpose, no idea why, but no I did not punch him in the face or kick him in the balls), and Sunday I was so tired from being out late the night before that I got nothing done except for going to a bridal shower.

All in all, a good weekend, I have to enjoy my free weekends right now when I have them because I have a bunch of weekends over the next couple of months where I’m going to have to work.  No fun.  The good thing about that is that it is way easier for me to stay on track eating-wise if I’m not going out and drinking vodka and going to diners. 🙂

Today I was back to my New Rules of Lifting for Women workouts.  My lifting days last week were actually NROLW workouts but they were Stage 6 workouts which are short and not too difficult.  Stage 6 is an optional stage which focuses on working up to be able to do an unassisted chin-up.  Well I’m happy to say I can now do one unassisted chin-up!!! I will be telling the story (including pictures!) on how/when I figured out I could do this when I finally do an LA vacation re-cap post.  I promise this will be coming soon.

Because I can do an unassisted chin-up and right now I prefer to have really challenging workouts because hello summer is right around the corner, I’m skipping right to Stage 7.

That leads me to today’s workout.   Well I wanted a really hard workout and boy did I get it.  This was one of those workouts that I didn’t think would be that hard, but it was extremely tough.  Here’s how it went:

NROLW Stage 7 Workout 1

Barbell squat-3 sets 8, 1st set 95 pounds, 2nd and 3rd 115 pounds

Alternating sets (with 30 second rests between sets)

Static lunge, rear foot elevated- 4 sets 15, 30 pounds

Push-up-4 sets 20

Barbell Romanian deadlift-4 sets 20, 50 pounds

Dumbbell bent-over row-4 sets 15, 50 pounds

That’s it.  I thought I was going to do a bit of cardio afterward but I couldn’t.  I was so shaky and slightly nauseous that I called it quits.  30 seconds of rest in between sets was killer, I barely caught my breath again once it was time for the next exercise.  After doing the 4 exercises through I had to rest a good minute/minute and a half before I could start the sequence again.  Whew.

I realized, especially after doing this workout and Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones DVD, that I have to start working again on my muscle endurance.  I guess my body has gotten used to lifting heavier but with less reps but is totally not used to doing higher rep work.  I’m OK with this since I LOVE heavy (for me) lifting but I don’t want to feel like a total wimp when I do a higher rep workout.  Hopefully by the time I finish this stage I will be able to finish the workout without feeling like I’m going to die.

Since I was feeling so shaky I had a couple of bites of an almond blueberry Zing bar on the car ride home.  I picked this up while I was in California and wish I bought more flavors to try.  I’d been wanting to try them and I can’t get them around here so was excited when I found a place in LA that carries them.  I have been looking for a bar similar to a Lara bar or Raw Revolution bar which I love,  being wheat free and made with natural ingredients, but with a bit more protein.  The almond blueberry flavor has 11 grams of protein, which isn’t as much as your typical protein bar, but still more than a Lara bar.  The bar had a very sweet almond biscotti flavor but I could not really taste any blueberry.  I would love to try the other flavors so I hope a store around here carries them soon.  I may have to make a request at the health-food store I go to.

I hope this post isn’t totally boring since it has no pictures, I really need to start getting better with that!  I desperately need a new camera AND a new computer, hopefully I will be able to get them soon.

Q’s:  Do you eat nutrition/protein bars and if so what are your favorites? I love the peanut butter & jelly Lara bars and chocolate hazelnut Raw Revolution bars but because they are high-calorie but low protein I don’t eat them as regularly as I’d like to.

Have you ever had such a hard workout that you got sick? Once a couple of years ago when I had a personal trainer at the end of the workout I threw up, but made it to the bathroom thank God!

Welcome Spring!

And allergies, UGH.  Not to be a downer because I’ll take this gorgeous 70 degree weather with allergies over the hurricane-like rain of last weekend or the snow and cold of the few weekends before that any day!

I had full intentions to post last night but the Benadryl I took kicked in before I got a chance to.  I was at my wit’s end yesterday with what I suspect is a combo of allergies and my never-ending sinus issues so I stopped by the store to pick up Benadryl to hopefully stop some of the itching and inflammation and just make me sleep for awhile.  It worked and I feel a bit better today.

I won’t bore you with the specifics of this week’s workouts (2 days spin and 2 days lifting) because I was feeling so crappy that my lifting days were just not all that great.  I’m hoping that I’ll be back to my normal self on Monday and be ready to really lift some heavy weights!

So onto some food.

I’m enjoying my usual weekend breakfast of quinoa flakes with my usual combo of half banana cooked in/half scoop vanilla protein powder/tbsp. ground flax/cinnamon/almond butter, but this time topped it with some shredded coconut.

the almond butter is hiding on the bottom, getting all melty

The coconut was a yummy addition.  While I really love quinoa flakes something about it being so warm today and eating the warm quinoa just seemed off.  I think I need to find a summer weekend breakfast.  Not sure what that will be yet.  Last year it was always scrambled eggs with turkey bacon and Ezekiel toast, but since I’m not eating eggs or wheat regularly right now I’ll have to be creative.

Last night I was in the mood for some Mexican and I had some avocado that I wanted to use up.  I didn’t have any packaged taco seasoning and I’m not a huge fan of the flavor of taco seasoning packets anyway so found a recipe that I tweaked slightly based on the spices I had on hand.

The original taco seasoning recipe  can be found here.

I cooked up some ground turkey with some chopped onion and red pepper and then added 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, sprinkling salt and pepper.  I doubled the amount of crushed red pepper flakes because I didn’t have the chili powder the recipe called for and it was spicy!  A little too spicy so I probably wouldn’t add that much next time.  I topped this with some reduced fat cheddar, a dallop of Greek yogurt, and chopped avocado.

Greek yogurt disguised as sour cream

This was really good and really easy, just the way I like it!  This was my first time using Greek yogurt as sour cream and I thought I was going to hate it but I was pleasantly surprised.  I don’t think it tasted exactly like sour cream but it added a nice amount of creaminess.

I had this along with a salad tossed with olive oil and white balsamic and chopped onion, chopped red peppers, sprinkled with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, garlic, and of course a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese.  This is one of my favorite salad combos and think I will be making it a lot more now that the weather is getting warmer.  There’s something about nice weather that makes me want salad.

I swear there are peppers in there

I hadn’t used white balsamic in awhile because I had run out and kept forgetting to get more.  This is by far my favorite vinegar to use for salads.  It’s not as tart as regular balsamic and just has a really nice flavor.

welcome back into my life

I realize the flavors of the salad don’t necessarily go with the flavors of the turkey taco bowl but I don’t mind.  I actually do that all the time, although I’m sure some people would think that’s weird.

Later on I decided to make a protein cake.  I’ve tried (and failed) in the past to make microwaved protein cakes/muffins and they never really came out all that good, but April’s always delicious looking protein concoctions inspired me to start experimenting again.

I noticed that when you leave out the egg the cake doesn’t really stick together in one piece and comes out more like a crumble, so that’s been what I’ve been having.  That’s OK because while I may not look pretty it still tastes good.  However last night I left out the egg again and it did stay in one piece this time.  Not sure why this happened but it did.

in one piece!

This was half a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, 1/4 tsp. baking powder, 1 tbsp. ground flax, cinnamon, and just enough milk to make it wet.  Cooked for 40 seconds and topped with raspberry jam and almond butter.  While this one stuck together it was also really dry.  So the experiments will continue!  At least these are coming out edible.  I did receive a tip from someone who told me that if you use a mix of whey and casein protein powder instead of just straight whey it will come out way better.  Sometime in the near future I plan on getting my hands on some!

Some questions!  Do you eat random food combinations or do your main dish and side dishes always go together? I eat random combos all the time.

Do you eat different foods depending on the time of year? For the most part I eat a lot of the same stuff but I find I want salad more when it’s warm out.

BEAUTY EVENT-JolieMD Metamorphosis Launch at C.O. Bigelow in New York City

New skincare line JolieMD Metamorphosis will launch this Saturday, March 20th at C.O. Bigelow in New York City.  The line, brought to you by Beverly Hills facial plastic surgeons Dr. Jason Litner and Dr. Peyman Solieman along with beauty blogger Nadine Jolie, is a 2-step system designed to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, even pigmentation, and reduce redness.  Both Dr.’s Litner and Solieman will be on-site to discuss Metamorphosis as well as all your skincare concerns!

If you are in or around NYC do not miss this exciting opportunity!  Word on the street is that this product is fantastic for acne and fine lines and I of course cannot wait to get my hands on some!

When: Saturday, March 20th, 1:00-6:00

Where:C.O. Bigelow, 414 Sixth Ave. NY, NY