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Sep 29, 2014

Weekend Things/Apple Picking In LA

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Hey guys… Happy Monday!

Did you all have a good weekend?

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My Friday started out pretty great.  I had a meeting at Le Pain for brunch.  Had this refreshing watermelon juice with mint.  YUM.

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And speaking of yum - Cookies N’ Cream from Sweet Rose Creamery.

This was after a very long Friday of teaching and working - WELL DESERVED.

Saturday we woke up and headed over to Oak Glen, CA, also known as Apple Picking Town.  This has become a tradition between me, Tyler and our two friends, Kelsey and Dillon.

We headed out around 9:45am.  It takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Los Angeles, so do plan to go early if you’re making the trip.  Lines do get long!

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We first went to Riley’s Farm.  We hadn’t been to this one before, so it was fun to try a new place.  Riley’s is colonial themed, which made it even more fun and different.

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Me and Kelsey in our element.

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The grounds were pretty huge so we needed a map to find our favorites apples and way around.  The three stooges - eatin’ their apples.  :)

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They had these beautiful flowers too - just a really pretty place.  And refreshing compared to L.A.

After Riley’s we headed to Snow-Line Orchard.  We went last year and I wanted to make sure to go back again.  They have a big store with a bunch of things…Candy, Apples, Christmas Decorations.  

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Like this 100% Pure Apple Cider Vinegar!  I made sure to stock up on it.  Guys, you know I love me some ACV.  Turns out the woman in line behind me was an older lady who saw it in my hand and had to ask where it was located in the store.  I told her how good it is for you and she proceeded to tell me how she takes it every day since her last daughter was born. “It’s good for your immune system.”  Amen sista!

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You know what’s also good for your immune system? :P Caramelized Apple Ice Cream Topped with Apple Cider Donut Crumble!

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Oh my gooodness was this good!

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Next, were the mini Apple Cider Donuts (also at Snow-Line).

Yes, this was basically a day of eating….  Yikes!

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So good.

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Such a FUN day!

We got home around 4pm pretty exhausted from all the apple excitement.

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And had more than enough apples to last through the week - so when life gives you apples, APPLE PIE!

We first ordered in salads from La Scala so don’t worry - we got our healthy on first.

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(Recipe at the bottom of this post!)  YOU’RE WELCOME….

Sunday, I had the morning off so we took the monkeys to the dog park.

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We also got to walk around the Silverlake Reservoir.  A nice peaceful morning walk in a cool area.  If you’re in LA, you should definitely check it out!

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I spy a pug butt!

…After I went to teach a class, met up with my friend Misty at Joan’s On Third, got a Thai Massage and headed to the movies with Ty to see “This Is Where I Leave you”.  I really liked it!  …Especially because Adam from Girls is in it!  Would recommend to go see it!

NOW back to that apple pie…Warning: We did NOT go the healthy route with this one.  Straight up apple pie.

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STRAIGHT UP APPLE PIE 

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Ingredients:

Apple Filling:

3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
Freshly ground nutmeg, to taste
7 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons butter, diced
Egg wash, for brushing
Sugar, for sprinkling

Perfect Pie Crust:


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold
12 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Paula’s Perfect Pie Crust:
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat it all up with the flour. Add the cold butter cubes and work it into the flour with your hands or a pastry cutter. Work it quickly, so the butter doesn’t get too soft, until the mixture is crumbly, like very coarse cornmeal. Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough. Bring the dough together into a ball.

When it comes together stop working it otherwise the dough will get over-worked and tough. Divide the dough in half and flatten it slightly to form a disk shape. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. On a floured surface roll each disk out into a 10 to 11-inch circle to make a 9-inch pie.

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Mix together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl. In another bowl, sprinkle apples with the juice of 1 lemon and toss. Stir in the sugar mixture to evenly coat the apples.

Set aside. Roll out chilled dough into 2 circles and use 1 round to line a 9-inch pie pan. Chill the other round.

Mound the apple and sugar mixture into the pie pan lined with dough. 

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Using a pastry cutter, cut an even number of strips from the remaining rolled out dough. Transfer every other strip to the pie top and weave in the lattice by folding every other strip back onto itself and laying another strip perpendicularly. Fold the strips back across and repeat until completed.

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Brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Trim the overhanging dough and crimp edges.

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Bake pie for 45 minutes. Let rest 20 minutes before slicing.

Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

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HOLY YUM.  Seriously - I have to say SUCCESS!  So happy the pie is gone (I mean kind of), just so it’s not staring at me in my kitchen haunting me to EAT IT!

I am off to clients & classes today!  Ready for the very busy week ahead!  

See you tomorrow on The Beauty Blender!  Tips and experience on my meditation challenge coming tomorrow!

Sep 26, 2014 / 4 notes

Meditation Challenge

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Hi guys!

So yesterday I mentioned the #MeditationChallenge I am starting.  I would like to invite you!

Everyone and anyone can meditate.  It’s a natural state.  All you have to do is close your eyes and sit.  However, the challenging part is being still with yourself.  We have been programmed to be on-the-go constantly.  So you may find it extremely difficult to be still.  But what we are missing out on is a true connection with ourselves.  When we are constantly running from activity to activity or from thought to thought in our head, there is no space for stillness.  When you find that stillness, you find answers, you find calm, you find love, you find peace and you find truth.  Above all, you find happiness from within - not from some external thing such as a car, a house, falling in love, etc. Trust me, this is not spiritual at all - it is just a simple technique and tool to use for every day life.  

And it has now been proven that meditation changes your brain, rids and reverses the body of stress and disease and helps with progress and clear thinking.

I mean, why you would you not meditate?  

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JOIN US!

20-Day Meditation Challenge

To Do:

-Meditate every day for 5-10 minutes for 20 days.

I will be giving you techniques and tips along the way and all I want you to do is try to meditate every day for 20-days straight.  

TALK TO ME PEOPLE along your journey! - Instagram or Tweet (@daniellecuccio or @thebeautyblender) a picture with a description of your experience, struggles, findings…Lets challenge friends to continue the meditation movement, because who doesn’t want happiness?!

A WINNER: A winner will receive a prize from me for the best meditation picture & description by the end of the 20 days.  So lets say 20 days from NOW!  OCTOBER 16TH, the winner will be announced!  

So get going…Start meditating!  Invite friends to do it with you.  It makes it a whole lot easier and holds you accountable!

Good luck!  

(photos by: Kimberly Genevieve)

Sep 26, 2014

It’s Favorite Quote Friday!

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Good morning Friday!

I am so excited for the weekend!  What are you all up to?

Yesterday I boxed with my trainer and man did he kicked my butt!  I am hurtttting today.  Today I have some clients, meetings and going to work out at some point and just push it through.  Oh yeahhh I’m so tough and strong!  Haha.

This week was a tough one if I’m being honest.  It was jam packed to say the least.  It made me realize how important it is to slow down.  I watched a great documentary that made me realize this even more and the consequences that if we don’t slow down, are just not worth it.  We will get sick and our bodies will create disease.  (Not to get all Debbie Downer on you - it is Friday after all!)

So…with that said, this weekend, slow down.  Relax.  Enjoy.  That is what life is all about …In the midst of all that working hard stuff, it’s just important to find your down time.

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Now go live.  Follow me to the ocean, if you will… :)

Sep 25, 2014 / 1 note

THE CONNECTION - A DOCUMENTARY

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Hi guys!

Last night I was invited to go see a new documentary called The Connection!  

I’m always that nerd watching those “health talks” or healthy documentaries on Netflix: “Food Matters”, “Supersize Me”, “Hungry For Change” just to name a few.  YES, MAJOR NERD ALERT!  Haha, yes sometimes I do want to learn something instead of vegging out in front of the TV!

Here’s a little about the movie - After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, journalist and filmmaker Shannon Harvey travelled the world in search of the missing link in healthcare.

From interviewing world leading scientists to meeting people with remarkable stories of recovery - this documentary delves into the link between our mind and body.  The film proves we have more say in our health outcomes than we ever thought possible.

Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Dean Ornish and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Phd are just some of the many Doctors featured, proving to us that many of the studies are actually scientifically proven.

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Before the movie started, we did a little yoga with a mindfulness teacher.  It was awesome to see an entire movie theater of people doing YOGA!

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Okay, maybe only I think that’s pretty cool because I am a yoga teacher (nerd alert again?).

Then it was show time.

Without giving away the entire film, here’s what I think some pretty crazy findings.  

What I Took From The Connection Documentary:  

- Meditation was a major point in this film.  Meditation has been scientifically proven to reverse genes.  If your mom, dad or grandparents had a disease than it is likely you might get it; however, with meditation you have the ability to turn the OFF or ON switch to those genes!  Pretty crazy!

-Yoga is big too. Connecting breath to movement instantly connects your mind to body.

- Psoriasis Study: When people meditated with a certain light treatment for Psoriasis, they had better results vs. when not meditating with the treatment!!!!  Something linked with the mind and body here… Something linked with inner health and outer health!!!! (Having a background as an Esthetician, this is something I strongly believe and what my company and brand is all about! Cuccio Somatology)

- BELIEF- Believing something is going to work is more likely to work and have positive results than not believing in something!  

- Doctors should be talking to their patients because their emotional well-being has a lot to do with their physical well-being.  ”What’s going on? What’s bothering you at home?” 

- The biggest companies in the world are making it a requirement to learn meditation. Why? More progress. 

Meditation can be used as a tool for stress.  We are using stress too much, when it was actually supposed to be used as a “Fight or Flight” response.  Ex.  Getting a parking ticket in LA can be just as severe in the body as a Baboon getting attacked by another animal!  We need to calm down!

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After the movie, they had a Q&A with the film’s director Shannon Harvey and CEO of Mind Body Green, Jason Wachob, who is also featured in the film.  

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After watching this film, I know what the right thing is to do!

MEDITATE - Every day!  

Join me for a 2-Weekend Meditation Challenge!  

Starting TODAY, meditate for 5-10 minutes.  I will be giving daily techniques that you can add to your practice, or just sit quietly, no phone, no e-mailing…You got it - nothing.

Join me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook…sharing your #meditationchallenge.  Tag me @daniellecuccio or @thebeautyblender so I can see the work we are doing together!   Join me in a class if you are in LA so we can meditate together.  :)

The film will be out for purchase on October 14th, 2014 here.  I know I will be buying a few copies to give out to friends and to spread the word!

Sep 24, 2014 / 1 note

How To Relax Before The First Date

First date!  I know the feeling.  Going on a first date can be somewhat scary.  Walking back and forth, trying to calm yourself down, telling yourself, “It’s going to be great! …Actually forget it, I don’t want to go!”  We have all been there.  Before you get all caught up and cancel it all together: BREATHE!  

Before I was a yoga instructor, I remember going on dates so nervous!   Changing outfits 100 times, trying to even breathe like a normal person, looking at my watch every .5 seconds to see how much longer I had until THE DATE.  Ugh.  

After practicing yoga #everydamnday and watching my yoga clients dramatically change, I now know that it can make a difference with dating too!  Wish I knew these tips earlier!  Here are some easy tips to follow before the first date to guarantee you feeling confident and ready to meet your Prince (or Princess) Charming! 

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.   .   . 

PRE-DATE TIP #1 : BREATHE - Take a moment.  Close your eyes.  Just breathe.  Breathing is closely tied to the nervous system.  We can dramatically shift the state of our nervous system by breathing deeper, longer breaths.  Tap into your Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) with this simple exercise.  Inhale for 6 - Hold for 6 - Exhale for 6.  Automatically you will start feeling calmer, lighter and ready for your date.

PRE- DATE TIP #2: LAVENDER - Lavender is known as a remedy for anxiety, depression and stress.  You can find it in many health food stores in an Essential Oil form or stock up on some of the actual plant at your local farmer’s market!  Take a whiff 10 minutes before your date, he won’t mind if you smell like it too!

PRE - DATE TIP #3: MUSIC - Music has been proven to affect your mood & restore energy.  Want to be in a good mood and feel energized before your date?  Turn on some upbeat music or music that relaxes you to re-boot your mind & body.  

PRE - DATE TIP #4: MEDITATE - Meditation might not be your go-to pre-date routine; however, it might be the most effective.  Simply close your yes, watch your thoughts pass you by and just try to find stillness.  When you’re ready, start to envision “The Perfect Date”.   See both of you smiling; see how easy it is.  Let all your worries and all those negative thoughts (that are so not true!) drift away.

PRE - DATE TIP #5:  WATER - I always like to eat healthy, get my workout on and drink plenty of water before a date.  I drink a crazy amount of water every day, but on the day of your date, this is no exception!  Drink up!  Staying hydrated promotes skin circulation, helps you eat less so no binging because of those nerves and keeps bad belly bloat at bay so you can fit into those skinny jeans!

Get it girl…(or boy!).  Good luck!  You got this! 

Sep 23, 2014 / 7 notes

My Home On Style Me Pretty Living!

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  Guys!  The Beauty Blender blog and I are featured on Style Me Pretty Living today!  

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I was so excited when I was asked to do a home tour for them…

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Such a compliment!  

I spend so much of my time (when not teaching & blogging!) looking at interior design inspiration, a new obsession with a new furniture item that I probably can’t afford, that it made me so happy to see how these beautiful pictures by Kimberly Geneviéve for SMP Living turned out!  

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Pictured: Lace Blouse by WAYF.

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Gwyneth, always an inspiration to me.

My home is really my little getaway from work.  Even though I blog from home, I try to make my home as welcoming and peaceful as possible.

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My kitchen is probably one of my most used rooms.

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I love whipping up my Morning Green Smoothie or other healthy sweet treats.  

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Pictured: Dress by WAYF.

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My backyard is where the dogs and I get to “play”.

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Toby, very familiar with mom’s dog bed, I mean yoga mat.

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I mean, that face!  Haha, what a goof.  I can never get upset with him - even when licking my entire face while trying to hold a pose.  

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Getting outdoors is really important to me and one of the things that sold this house when I was looking a few years ago, was the quiet and peaceful backyard.  

You would never know it sits in the middle of a busy city!

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Practicing and getting in my own yoga time when not teaching clients and classes out here is perfect and time well spent.

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"This is the bright home in which I live, this is where I ask my friends
to come, this is where I want to love all the things it has taken me so long to learn to love.”

~ David Whyte

Stay tuned for more this week…

Sep 23, 2014 / 5 notes

I Love Fall

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Gloomy days are starting to embark on us here in Los Angeles.  It’s exciting…and then we have a sunny day here in LA and that fall feeling is slightly taken away but there definitely is a change and I feel it around the corner!

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Bring out the Uggs!!

I seriously love Fall.  The coziness, the warmth, the Pumpkin Lattes, the candy, the leaves falling from the trees, the rainy days listening to the rain from inside, the rain boots, the winter coats starting to come out…I am getting pretty amped up and have no problem saying “Au revoir, Summer”.

Fall makes me feel at peace.  It makes me want to go inside, curl up with a book and a cup of hot chocolate.  Put on some cozy pajamas and relax.  

I believe Fall makes us stop and think about our lives.  We notice the shift in the weather, as if things start to slow down.  We can take some time to look at ourselves a little deeper and just be at peace knowing that everything is perfect.

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Things I’m looking forward to this fall…

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1. APPLE PICKING!!!  Read about my apple picking adventure last year here…Most likely one of the best times I’ve ever had.  Growing up in LA, it was rare to see people with gardens or fruit growing from trees….So seeing this, was refreshing and almost like a healthy kid in a candy store.

We are going again this year, not sure when, BUT WE ARE GOING!

2. HALLOWEEN!  I love Halloween.  This year we might just be out of town for Halloween and I am a little sad…BUT we are going to celebrate!  Somehow, somewhere!  

Guys, check out Toby’s amazing costume from last year…

My little prince frog. :)

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3. THANKSGIVING - Last year was the first year we did Thanksgiving at our home.  image

I made sure to make it look somewhat nice and decorate with Orange/Yellow colors to bring out the festive side of our guests.

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OH and LOOK at our dessert table!!!!

Seriously how could you not love Fall…?

Wishing you a very warm, cozy, food-filled Fall, and of course, I’ll be here along the way to keep it somewhat healthy. ;)

Sep 22, 2014 / 1 note

My Health Talk With Bellus Magazine!

Check out my health talk with Bellus Magazine in this video!  

PS. I spill some of my beauty secrets!

Enjoy!  

Sep 22, 2014 / 1 note

Weekend Things

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Happy Monday!

Did you have a good weekend?  I did!

Friday I spent the day teaching classes, clients and also fit in a yoga class somewhere…

I also was craving a smoothie from Beverly Hills Juice.

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Yum.  The Banana Manna is gooood.  I got it with ginger and va va voooom was it ginger-y!!!!

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I headed straight home after work to get ready for a date night with Ty.  It was actually a special occasion…

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Our 2 year anniversary!

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We headed to the very same place we met on the exact day 2 years ago…image

Axe on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

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We stared with a drink in their garden.  So pretty…

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Then we sat pretty much where we sat 2 years before.

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Lets just say this date was much less awkward than our first!!! Haha.    Flashback to our first date:  We are both kind of shy as people at first so lets just say we drank a bottle of wine and were very very giggly.  It was cute.

We of course, had to get a bottle of wine to celebrate and for good ol’ times (and new).   

After, we wanted to keep the night going so we headed to where else, but my favorite place…

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Shutters! :)

It was a really fun night.  

Saturday I woke up to this snuggle monkey.

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Tobbbby.

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Tyler’s parents are in town visiting from Vermont so I wanted to take them to some of my favorite spots…so that included, Shutters.  I know, two times in one weekend Danielle??  YUP.

Glass of wine, beach breeze and good company…It was perfection!

After we headed to one of my favorite restaurants in LA, Milo & Olive.

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:)

We then headed to Sweet Rose Creamery…which I didn’t capture because I was obviously very happy and excited to simply EAT/not take any photos! (That’s how you know I’m hungrrrry!)

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Sunday I woke up and it was a long work day for me.  I had clients and classes to be taught.  I did get to find some time in between classes and clients to grab a yummy salad from Simple Things.  It’s conveniently located next to the studio I teach at so I stopped there before I headed to my next and last client of the day.

Grabbed my Yoga Journal for reading material…Good little lunch. :)

Sunday night we had my mom over for dinner and Tyler’s parents, Lori & Brian, cooked a delicious home-cooked meal!  (Again…The lack of pictures show how hungry I was!).  

It was a really good weekend and I am feeling ready for my week!

Some fun things to share this week…Stay tuned!  

Wishing you all a great week!  Go for it!! ♥

Sep 19, 2014 / 6 notes