Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Twice Baked Potato Bites

Its been cold here in California and cold weather to me calls for nice warm food to warm me up. I took one of Giada De Laurentiis' recipes because I record ALL her shows. All of her recipes are easy to make and always mouth watering. My little one and I ate 6 of these between us, no joke. Since Thanksgiving is this month as well I think I will make a batch of these as a side dish. Love how little but packed with flavor they are. After making all these delicious potato bites I had extra filling left over which I used as a dip the following day. 
If youre a baked potato lover than I highly recommend making these.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sofitel Moorea

Taking an island vacation sounds like a good idea any time of the year. Taking an island vacation to celebrate a 40th birthday sounds even sweeter. Thats exactly what I set out to do a year ago for my husbands 40th last month. Ever since we were dating he has always mentioned how much of a dream it would be to get an over the water bungalow, cocktails in hand, sun kissing our faces and just relaxing. 
what we manifest comes to fruition. I worked and saved what I could to make his 40th a memorable one. Like many travelers I rely heavily on travel sites that give honest opinions, not bought opinions and rarely blogs because lets face it, a lot of those sites dont mention anything if they are displeased. I however, am not that type of person. Back in beauty school I remember the director of the academy stating that word of mouth is the best type of advertisement. when you like something youll tell 3 or 4 people, when you dont like something youll be telling 5 or 6. I couldnt agree more.

When I was doing my research I barely found honest ratings. I did find things about where to go and what to take while on vacation but lets face it, how do you not know what to take on vacation? Have you never left your house before? Okay maybe some havent so Im here to give you a truthful glimpse at what to expect.

 When you first land in Tahit, which is where we went, Moorea to be exact, everything seems picture perfect. For the most part it was but our itinerary stated we can check in anytime after 6am. We arrived to the airport arly in the day and since its a small area you have to wait for your flight to take you to Moorea, about 4 hours. The airport is small. Lots of little tourists shops selling chocolates and beads as well as 1 McDonalds. Chickens roam freely everywhere. We got to the airport and decided to just relax and people watch. Since its French Polynesia everyone speaks French. The culture is actually really different than what we are used to in the states. 

 Something we found interesting is that some shops dont list their prices, instead they fist ask you what country youre from... I found that funny as I have encountered that before in Iran where prices jump when you say America....

When we finally flew to Moorea we were very excited to get to our bungalow and rest a little while. it was 9 a.m. and when we gave them our itinerary we were told to relax in the lobby and wait for fresh pineapple juice and a cold towel to freshen up. We started noticing other guests arrive , speak French then be excorted to their rooms. Not us. When we asked they told us our room was being cleaned and to relax and listen to the local birds. 1, 2, 3 hours later I started to become a little agitated. I kept asking when our room would be ready and they kept saying the room was being cleaned, then offered us another drink. by the fourth hour I lost my cool and showed them my itinerary. We were supposed to be in our room upon arrival but the hotel decided not until after 2pm. I will admit, I started demanding to speak to a manager and that this was unacceptable. I saw probably 13 guests arrive and receive their keys. For us, there was no such luck. Once the other guests started hearing my concerns the staff decided to get us in right away. Upon enterting our room my husband and I flopped on the bed to rest. When I pulled the covers there was long dark hair and a yellow stain on the bed. So... what happened to cleaning the room???  I quickly called the front desk and asked for a manager to come to our room. When she came and I showed her the condition of the room she was red in the face. I told her how disappointed I was about the service and how this vacation was for my husbands 40th. She called for more staff to come and change the sheets as well as give us complimentary tickets for the bar. 

Me, not being a big drinker was not pleased.

The view was beautiful, the outdoor shower was neat but I was more concerned with what the hotel had to offer, especially for such a hefty price...

The bed, once changed, felt like a wooden box with a thin foam covering on it. There was zero comfort. So, we decided to get out and meet some people. Apparently we werent the only ones that shared the same sentiments about service and accommodations. Luckily we met two other couples from New York that were on their honeymoon and they told us to save our money and not spend it on the dinner and dancing as they ran out of their main dish of pork and dont have fire dancers. oh... okay.

We decided to get off the resort and go into town for dinner and again, were highly disappointed.  We learned early on that we werent going to be getting good rest nor enjoying good food.

What I did enjoy was a beautiful sunrise and gorgeous sunset every day we were there. the breakfast was included and it was buffet style so I didnt enjoy that because the offered croissants and asparagus (when they had enough) I started looking around at other tables and noticed guests actually brought their own food. Clearly they had been their before.

we stayed a week and I will say for me it was a very long week. very long. Now that its over and done I can say it will be a memory for sure. My husband still says he enjoyed it because the bar staff made sure to make him his favorite drinks and though they over srved him a few times, they didnt charge us a cent.

So, for this trip I will have to say the Sofitel in Moorea is a HUGE disappointment. The hotel and its staff werent nominated for a Mauruuru award, which is something they do offer. The island wants to know what person was the most helpful on the island so they could be rewarded. better luck next time, if there will be a next time...

Friday, October 14, 2016

3 Under 4

If you would have asked me last year if I would consider being a mother of 3 Id laugh in your face. But here I am, pregnant with my third baby. Not only is it a complete shock to me that I will be a mother of three its also shocking that they will all be under 4 when my son will be born. There are so many emotions that come with being pregnant. So many thoughts swirl my mind and at times give me complete anxiety. How will my first born feel, for she knows what its like being an only child, even if she is almost 2 years older than my little girl. How will I manage to do it all and still hold onto my sanity? What does this mean about family vacations? work? personal time? my body? space in the house? Its all piling up but at the same time its the most bad ass feeling knowing I am carrying another human again. Another soul in Heaven chose my husband and I to be his parents.

With this pregnancy it is a complete breeze. knock on wood. When I was pregnant with my girls I was sick from morning till night. Throwing up, feeling nauseous all day long. Back pain, migraines and not being used to managing my time between work and family was an all day thing for 40 weeks, okay 39.

After I had my first baby I knew we would have more but I also played with the idea of only having one. 1 baby to travel with, teach as much as I could to, raise in a balanced and happy environment and go everywhere with, even to grade school because hey, I was hoping to volunteer as yard duty. Life has other plans, as usual. I was pregnant with my second when my daughter turned 2. She knew there was a baby in mommy's belly but didn't grasp that soon mommy would have to give her time and attention to baby as well. I needed time to recover from c-section surgery before I could pick her up again or allow her to run and jump on my lap. For her, she just knew I had a baby in there. The adjustment was hard only for the first few weeks after baby was born. She only mentioned 1 time "you dont love me anymore, you love Serene". When she said that I was holding her baby sister in my arms on the glider in Soleils room. She was standing in between my legs and looking down. When she said that I literally felt a sword go through my neck. I had this thick lump of pressure in my throat and I started crying immediately. I didn't care how much my stomach hurt, I lifted her onto my lap and made room for her in my arms. Having to explain to her that I love her and she is my first born, the one who made me a mommy was the only thing that mattered in the world at that time. Many moms go through this stage of parenting. Its tough, it's raw but its a part of life. From the beginning I told Soleil that daddy and I love her and made Serene for her, so she can have someone on this Earth to be with forever. Know the same history, experience the same people and memories. She seems to really understand and enjoy that, after all, Serene is "Soleils baby"

My daughter is such an amazing helper with her little sister. Sometimes I forget that she is still a baby, herself. She speaks exceptionally well and understands 2 languages. I had the time to dedicate to her before Serene was born. I taught her her ABC's and 1-25 before she was 15 months, she was also already walking and holding a pencil or pen the proper way. I felt like I was on the right track. With my little Serene shes 13 months old right now and Im still waiting for her to walk on her own more than 6 steps. She doesnt talk yet but will mimic the sounds of whatever we say to her on repeat. I started to feel mom guilt when I noticed such a dramatic difference in each of their growths. However, each child is different, I cant compare but you know as a mother of multiple children you cant help to. Everything for the most part has been going exactly as it should be until I had to tell my eldest that there is another baby in my belly. This time around she knows very well what that means. She has been showing an extremely jealous side and the little one is picking up on the territorial trait. There are times they both push each other just to stand in front of me while Im sitting. When you have a baby and a toddler its hard for the toddler to understand why this little baby is getting all the good treatment. When the toddler raises her voice we quickly SShhhhh her and tell her to be quiet. When the baby raises her voice we pick her up and rock her. These little instances are hard, for everyone in the family. There are a lot of emotions going around. A lot of energy between people. We've learned to balance any emotions our eldest daughter may have from her little baby sister but it is hard. Now we are introducing another one. Ive been listening to  mommy friends and gymnastics moms stories but it still has me fearing, even if they say it will all fall into place.

The future is exciting to say the least. My husband has been showing a sense of excitement and joy that comes from knowing you will soon have your little boy after 2 girls. Im just shaking in my pants because I know what recovery will be. 3 c-sections is tough on the body. My skin is strong but cutting the same place over and over again, cutting through muscle and the uterus is all extremely painfull and taxing on the body. I had a hard deliverly with my second one even though the pain wasnt as bad as the first time. Maybe I psyched myself out too much the first time or maybe I knew it was going to suck so I prepared better for it the second time, I dont know...

However, having multiple c-sections can really bang up your body. Ive decided to not look online about complications from 3 c-sections because apparently Ill have misery to look forward to. Risk of injury to the bladder, the intestines, Placenta previa, Placenta accreta/increta/percreta, Uterine atony/ excessive bleeding, Uterine rupter.. it is never ending. I spoke to my doctor, which is the best thing to do when you have questions. She suggested I dont do anymore after 3 due to how much blood I lost with my second and those complications that arose.

Its a lot to take in and a lot of fear inside but I feel blessed to finally feel what it feels like to have a boy. Happy to grow the family. My husband mentioned something to me that I keep replaying in my head. He said Holidays are going to feel so good with 3 excited little humans we created. He said the house is going to sound beautiful. I couldnt agree more. Little girls laughter is heaven, absolute heaven. I cant wait to hear a raspy little boys voice in the mix. As a couple we are aware we are in this together and have a lot to get used to together. We may not have as much personal time together as we once enjoyed so much. However, what we have now is a different kind of enjoyment. Its mixed with complete exhaustion and nursery songs stuck in our heads. Its making each other laugh from how we can change the beat of a nursery song while keeping the words the same with an occasional curse word added in here or there. If we do get an evening to ourselves we debate going out or just sleeping earlier, uninterrupted.

These days are fleeting, it wont be like this for long. Soon we will look back and wish we could spend 1 day with our littles and love on them more, kiss them more and show more. Ah, here comes the pregnancy emotions again.....

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sahara Rose

This beautiful soul right here was a ton of fun to work on. I met her in my chair and learned about so many wonderful things from her. I wanted to add her to my portfolio not only because she is gorgeous but I saw her aura before I met her. Sounds funny, could even sound downright strange but when you can identify the difference you'll know...

I'm always talking about balance. How our lives are truly incomplete and off if we don't have balance in our lives. I like to look at it like a pizza pie. Every slice represents something important in our daily lives. Who we are, what we do, what makes us, US. For everyone the names to each slice are different, it could be Love, Family, Friends, Health, Travels, Career, Alone Time, Creativity or anything else that matters most to the individual.  If you're biting off too much from one slice and not as much on the other then your not in balance. When you mindfully pay attention to each slice and nurture those aspects of your life then you start to maintain a balance in life.

This is something I have worked on for YEARS, yes years. I believe I will continue to work on it because hey, I'm human, I'm alive and I'm working on being a better person for myself and my family and friends.

When meeting people that are balance seekers a light goes off. An excitement rushes through. I met Sahara and didn't know anything about her, nothing. All I knew what that she had a clean aura and Im BIG on that, huge! It wasn't till 30 minutes into our session that I started learning about her career as a nutritionist and author. We started talking and she told me about an online facebook page she runs that is filled with amazing information about mind, body and soul. All about balance.

If youre interested in a deeper connection through social media then I highly recommend following her on Instagram @EatFeelFresh and make sure you check out her incredibly insightful website EatFeelFresh.com .
For me, theres just so many food pictures, fashions pictures and makeup pictures (yes, I really did write that) that interest me. I like for my mind to be engaged and my curiosity awakened. Deep thinkers, soul seekers, purpose driven conversationalists you will all find yourselves in complete bliss with Saharas perspective on things. 

check her out! 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Tuna Salad with Endive Spoons

Its been almost a month since being on my elimination diet due to Hashimotos Hyperthyroidism. Honestly, there's nothing I feel I hate more than this who thyroid issue in my life right now. Knock on wood it isn't cancer but its still something I have to completely change my life around for. I have never been one of those fad diet type of people. If my doctors didn't tell me I'm intolerant to this or sensitive to that then I wouldn't change anything in my diet other than adding more good stuff in.

I miss chips, Ill be real here, when i give my daughter a little bowl of puffy cheetos Ill take 1. yes, just 1. But other than that I havent had my pasta, my bread, my cheese. I miss eating!!!!

Being on a gluten free, soy free, diary free diet almost feels like slow torture. What does help though is if I have some ready made healthy snacks in the fridge. I snack, its how I fuel myself while chasing two little ones, in between feeding them, changing them, teaching them, cleaning. theres a lot going on and if I dont have something ready then I will reach for the things I shouldnt be having, even if it is a gluten free snack.

Ive been experimenting with foods lately and trying to make things that my body will absorb and help heal itself. For my type of health issues, Hashimotos Hyper 
 I need animal protein. I cant have beans, cheese or mayo. Tuna fish has been good for me because its the only fish I can tolerate to eat. I mnot a fish eater, nope, not at all. I need to start though but that will take a while. So in the meantime, i got this...

1 can of Tuna fish
3 Avocado
1/2  Red Onion diced
4 baby carrots diced
3 Garlic stuffed Olives diced
2 cloves of Garlic diced
Salt & Pepper
1/2 Lime
Regular and Red Endives
Green Apple slices

After opening and draining Tuna place it in a large bowl and break the chunks of meat up with a fork.Add Avocado and mix the two ingredients together. Squeeze lime in as well. Add all your diced ingredients and mix everything together and add salt and pepper for taste. Spoon your tuna in Red Endive leaves. Cut ends off for a clean "spoon" for your tuna. Eat it all. I like green apples for a little after bite.

Soon Ill have more recipes, lately this one has been helping me. Hope you'll try it and see how well you adjust with switching out an old snack item for this one.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Serene Moon

Who doesnt remember playing pretty pretty princess by getting all dolled up and decked out when we were kids? Heck, Im still doing it. The party never stopped on my end I even made a career out of it. Now that I have two girls I can indulge with them every now and again.

With my first baby I dressed her up like a little mermaid and took some photos of her on the beach in Malibu. Now with my little one I decided to dress her up as a little Hula girl. I got the outfit nowhere other than Amazon!! Im addicted to online shopping especially in the middle of the night when I cant sleep. Everything goes in the cart. Everything, sometimes 3 of the same thing.

I had fun with this. My daughter Soleil who is 3 helped out as well. I know a lot of mommies and have a few new mommy friends. Check out all the outfits they have for both boys and girls.They are all really affordable and will make for the cutest memories

Think Ill look up toddler ones next...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

When It Rains, It Pours

No one ever really talks about how much your body chemistry changes after childbirth. We hear the normal "no sleep, no rest, no personal time but all worth it" sayings but no one really talks about how pregnancy as well as childbirth can change everything about what made you you. My cells are changing, my brain is growing, certain smells and taste  cant be tolerated anymore, you name it, for every person its different. But we ourselves know when something is more than just a change after a huge life milestone.

After my second baby was born I started feeling more tired than expected. As tired as I was I couldnt ever really fall asleep. Staying asleep was even harder. On a normal night I would get 3 hours of sleep. On a good night it would be 3 hours uninterrupted sleep. During the day I would nap when the girls napped, Id go to bed early when I put them down for the night. I did everything I could to rest but nothing worked. Aside from sleepless nights my anxiety was getting worse.My skin became unusually dry, my hair was also dry and brittle. Worst part is, my hair started falling out at an abnormal rate. I went into the doctors office to get my yearly check-up after baby. I told her everything I was feeling, all my symptoms and how I felt on a day to day basis. On a scale of 1-10 I was averaging a 3 in energy, motivation but a 10 in dizziness, pain,mood...list goes on.

She sent me in for blood work and called me back  within 3 days to tell me my cells are irregular. She checked for HPV as well as Cervical, Uterine and ovarian cancer.I was in the clear with all those but needed to be back in 6 months to see if they changed or if we are catching something in the beginning phases.

In the meantime,
I found a family doctor and decided to take my lab results over to her and get checked out. Before going into the office I had an idea of what to ask for because a friend was recently diagnosed with Thyroid cancer and she gave me specific instructions on what I needed to ask. A thyroid Ultrasound would be even more accurate than a blood test. I asked, I told the doctor specifically to please have an ultrasound ran on me. Nope. She kept insisting that since I had bloodwork done while pregnant that my thyroid was already checked. Instead, we did an EKG screening...

I didnt leave that office feeling like ANY of my questions were answered. Yeah, I know I have weight to lose but I went in asking about my symptoms not my weight. She kept relaying all my symptoms to weight.

While all this was happening I was also having skin issues on my face and body. Oh yes, another day another doctor. I had what looked like a little pimple on the tip of my nose. I went on spa days and had facials done at those facilities but still, it remained on the tip of my nose. Cut me some slack, right??  Well... after a few months it started getting larger, then smaller, then larger. Then the same issues happened on my leg. I went into my Dermatologists office to ask if it was a cyst, it wasnt. It wasnt a wart either. He noticed another spot on my cheek as well. After 2 biopsies the one on my nose came back pre-cancerous. Went in, had it removed, was recommended to NOT use any holistic remedies like black salve to cure it. I didnt. It came back. At this point my Dr told me we would treat it as cancer since it came back but will take another approach in removing it. Got it removed again. keeping my fingers crossed it doesnt come back.

Now, back to my OBGYN. The time had come to check out those cells. Still irregular. Another 6 months to check. I mentioned my experience with the family doctor and all my symptoms. FINALLY the nurse practitioner referred me to an Endocrinologist for a thyroid ultrasound.

We found it!! The reason my voice became so hoarse and my hair started falling out, my lack of energy, vertigo, nauseousness, pains throughout my body, everything, all of it was explained.

I have Hashimotos disease, an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your thyroid. Every person that has this disease has a different variation of it. No two people have the same type. It sounds harsher than it is but its definitely a lot.
When your immune system creates antibodies that attack your thyroid it damages the tissue around the thyroid and makes the thyroid leak hormones into the body. Your body is running on zero and not filtering toxins. Not a good situation. This creates a storm of issues throughout the body. Hair loss, body aches, TMJ, Depression, exhaution, anxiety, foggy thoughts, slurred speech, dizziness,  Joint pain, weight gain, moodiness the list is long and definitely worth getting in control. Since women get this disorder more than men its worth having checked through blood work and an ultrasound when going in for your yearly check up. If you feel off and feel your body isnt performing how it used to then get checked out ASAP

In the meantime, Im looking up diets and snack ideas for people with Hashimotos hyperthyroidism. Im hoping to meet more people and exchange health tips and food tips since elimination diets are extremely hard.

Heres to the new chapter of my life...