January 30, 2015

Products We Love

For those of you that don't live in Portland, let me apologize ahead of time because you are not going to like me very much after this post. 

Today's post is about a product I don't just love, I'm crazy for them ! 

Let me introduce you to Pixie Retreat Raw'r L'il Pudding Cups. I was turned on to these $7 cups of pure magic by my friends Kait and Candace from barre3. Thanks to you ladies I now have a serious addiction. 

These little cups of magic come from Pixie Retreat Raw'r "makery" that makes all raw vegan organic gluten free soy free dairy free refinedsugarfree plantbased whole foods, REAL FOOD. 

Everything they make is crazy good. You can find their products at their SE storefront and also at a variety of grocery stores throughout the city including Food Front, New Seasons, and Whole Foods. And, if you want to be sure you can get your hands on one of these little cups of magic, they re-stock on Thursdays!

The Mini Fashionista was pretty excited about our most recent visit. And trust me, you'll be as giddy as a three year old too when you get your hands on one!

January 29, 2015

C & C on the Move: Maui Part 2

One of the best parts about travel is food! I love taking to Facebook for recommendations - and I must say, my friends have never steered me wrong. Our trip to Maui was no exception. Because we had a kitchen in our room (check out Maui Part 1 if you missed it), we saved our eating out for select, choice meals and restaurants, and I've got to say, I wasn't disappointed by one!

For organization sake, I'll do this by areas of the island.

It's only fitting to start with my most favorite place (we went twice - and I easily could have eaten there EVERY day), Choice Health Bar, which was recommended by friend and blog reader Mariko (THANK YOU!). Right off Honoapiilani Highway in Lahaina, this little gem offers organic fresh food, vegan soups, smoothies, and the MOST INCREDIBLE acai bowls you'll ever have.

And while I didn't get any pictures (#fail), we also had a delicious meal at Star Noodle. I'm not sure if we didn't order the right things or if it was an "off" night for us, but I was expecting more based on friends' experiences (one of our readers ate there 3 times in one week). That being said, I would definitely try it for yourself. You can tell it's a local favorite. Although these are my only two spots in this part of town, Lahaina Grill, Mala Ocean Tavern, and Honu Seafood also came highly recommended by trusted sources. 

Coming in close behind Choice was The Gazebo. Right down the beach from us on the other end of Napili Bay, this Hawaiian equivalent of a diner (but my kind of diner) has an eclectic atmosphere (you're literally eating in an open-air gazebo), efficient service, incredible views, and mind-blowing pancakes. I mean life-altering Pineapple, macadamia nuts, bananas, you name it. And did I mention the coconut whipped cream they put on top! I had an omelet and half a papaya both days (stealing bites of Dr. B's of course) which were the perfect way to start the day. They're also known for their fried rice, which we did not try. Beware, there's usually a line (they only have 30 seats), but they offer free coffee while you wait...and truth be told, there's not a better view for waiting in line. 

Our nicest and most delicious dinner was a short walk down the street at The Montage. You may remember from this post that our cousin is the executive chef at The Montage in Laguna. They just took over the property about a year ago and not only are the grounds impeccable, but the food and service at Cane & Canoe were superb - as you'd expect. 

I started out with goat cheese tempura with roasted beets, lilikoi (passion fruit), arugla, and orange. I'm not a fan of queso, but if liquid cheese was like this all of the time, sign me up. It was truly sensational. Dr. B started the meal with a kula strawberry panzanella (bread salad) with burrata, crispy basil, braised walnuts, and pickled fennel. While his was delicious, mine definitely was the big cheese (hah hah, get it ). 

We both went vegetarian for our entrees. I had the buckwheat soba noodles with kumu kale, hamakua mushrooms, grilled pumpkin, tamari, and a fried egg. They had me at fried egg. While this dish was incredibly simple, the earthy flavors from the vegetables paired with the soba noodles were perfection. Brian had braised turnip "scallops" with oatmeal verde, kabochoa squash, and porcini tea. Even up close these "scallops" looked like the real deal. Add in brussels sprouts with macadamia nuts and horseradish and kula corn with chili pepper and cotiija cheese, and you had to roll us out of there. Thankfully, I've always got room for dessert - and in this case, I'm glad I did. This goes down in the dessert hall of fame. Without the recommendation of the waitress, who said it was the best she's ever had, I wouldn't have gone this route (give me chocolate, or give me death). But not much compares to this vanilla panna cotta and lilikoi gelee with basil "caviar", macadamia nut shortbread, and coconut espuma. If I could have, I would have licked the glass. And you think I'm kidding...

Also within walking distance to Napili Kai (as in right next door) is Merriman's (you can also find them on the Big Island and Kuai). Overlooking Kapalua Bay, there's no better place to watch a sunset. 

We had drinks and appetizers one night and went back for our "last supper" before getting on the red eye home. The food was very good, but for me it was all about the cocktails. The No Ka Oi is hands down the best cocktail I've ever had. Ocean vodka, thai basil, lime, and honey lilikoi foam (are you sensing my obsession with passion fruit) come together to make a spirit sensation. They went down way too easy! Also worth the mention (thank you if you're still reading, I know this is long) was the molten waialua chocolate purse....molten and chocolate...need i say more?

Before I wrap up (if I'm tired of writing, you're most certainly tired of reading), a few others of note. 

Morimoto - We had a great dinner with friends here in Wailea. We're not huge seafood/raw sushi eaters, so are probably not the target audience, but our friends who are LOVE it. 

Da Kitchen - If you find yourself in need of a good casual meal in Kahalui (where the airport is), this is a great spot. Definitely a local favorite, this is the spot for traditional Hawaiian cuisine (with huge portions). I had a very gluttonous basket of mahi mahi fish and chips. 

Mama's Fish House - There isn't one person that didn't tell me to eat here...and we didn't. We weren't in the area at the right time (the location is unbeatable). Now we've got something to save for our next trip along with Hali' imaile General Store in the same area. 

Hungry yet? Stay tuned next week for more on Maui! 

January 28, 2015

What I Wore: ASOS Goes to Hawaii

Before we went to Hawaii, I was jonesing for some new warm weather attire. NO ONE had anything in store yet for resort or spring, so I turned to old reliable ASOS for  two-day shipping, free returns, and plenty of warm weather options. I'll give you the disclaimer here...everything I bought was black. I've been in a major neutral palette phase, leaving patterns and color feeling sad and unwanted in the closet. I was hesitant to keep all three items, but at such incredible prices and knowing that you can never go wrong with a little back dress (or several), those thoughts dashed quickly from my mind. 

We'll start with the dresses. This black maxi was on sale for $20.85! This was the night we left (at 10:30 p.m.) so I took the dress right from dinner to the airplane. It was super comfortable for the long flight home. This might just be the best $20 I've ever spent. Click the link to see how cute the back is, giving that little extra something. 

Black dress number two broke the bank at a whopping $34.11 and was great for a night out with friends. Coincidentally two of my best friends from college were on Maui at the same time as we were. Sometimes life throws you little perks like that. It doesn't matter how much time passes, we're always able to pick up right where we left off. And their husbands are equally fun. It makes me wish we all got together more often! 

Finally, I was pretty pumped when this jumpsuit fit perfectly. I've been on the lookout for a jumpsuit, but haven't found just the right one that fits well in all the right places. I love how this can be dressed up or down. I may try my hand with this little number for a different look with jacket and heels....stay tuned. 

And if you're wondering about my accessories. You can't go some place tropical without Angela Caputi bracelets. My shoes are the Stuart Weitzman "Alex" sandals and I found them last winter at Nordstrom Rack, but you can get them here. And the Danielle Nicole clutch (which I can't live without) will be available in March - don't worry, we'll post as soon as you can get it! 

January 27, 2015

C & C on the Move: Maui Part 1


If you follow us on instagram you probably know that Dr. B and I just got back from an amazing week in Hawaii (sorry for the insta-spamming - it's just too pretty not to take a million pictures).

I've got so much to tell you about the week - where we stayed, what we did, and, of course, what we ate! I've even got an outfit post that doesn't involve a bathing suit and a cover up! So instead of writing the Moby Dick of blog posts, I'll break things up. Starting today with a few general tips and the 411 on our base camp for the week. First, a few things to know before you go. Make sure to download the GyPSy Guide app. For $9.99 you've got a built-in tour guide that automatically plays information when you drive by interesting stops or historical sites - and you don't need a cellular or data network (which is especially nice for the road to Hana - more on that later). I would recommend bringing a phone charger to plug into the lighter to make sure you've got unlimited listening pleasure! My favorite tidbit that I learned...they used to put whale vomit in perfume (verified here)!

And, if you're going to get one guidebook Maui Revealed is the way to go. If you don't get around to picking it up before your trip, they sell it at Costco right by the airport. Which leads me to my #1 tip. Make sure to hit Costco when you arrive. Maui isn't cheap, and it's a great place to pick up snacks, beer, wine, liquor, and everything else you need for the week. It's also the best (and least expensive) place to pick up treats for friends and family (macadamia nuts (dark chocolate covered is my fav), coffee, etc) and fill up your rental car with gas before you leave. 

Now to our home for the week. And when I say "home," going back to Maui felt in some ways like going home. Our family has some long history with the island, specifically Napili Kai where Dr. B and I stayed. My grandparents' ashes are off the coast there, Regan and I were baptized in Lahaina when we were three months old, and before my parents started going to Baja, we spent many a holiday at Napili. I hadn't been back in over 25 years, and while much had changed, it was also the same and just as special as I remember. 

Situated on Napili Bay on the Western side of the island, Napili Kai Beach Resort was founded in the 1960s and still has that "old Hawaii" feel that so many of the island's other resorts can't claim. From "putting parties" and 50 cent drinks to a weekly hula show from local children, Napili gives you enough "on-campus" events that if you don't want to leave the resort the entire time you don't have to. Dr. B and I had nightly "Maui Invitationals" on the 18-hole putting green in front of our room (our view below) - including two holes-in-one by me! 

And because most of the rooms are appointed with a fully-stocked kitchen, you can cook as many or as few meals as you want at the resort (our room was in the newly renovated Keaka II in a "family studio"). This is a great way to stay on track with healthy eating and to keep vacation costs down. And nothing beats a sunrise or sunset meal on the lanai. 

Did I mention the beach? I'm not sure you can find a prettier spot to snorkel, sunbath, paddle board, boogie board, you name it. 

And the location can't be beat - there are some of the island's best restaurants within walking distance (more on that later), Lahaina is a 15 minute drive away, and the west side doesn't have that same touristy feel as other parts of Maui. It's definitely a more low-key environment. That being said, if you're looking for night-life and a modern, swanky vibe, this isn't your place. But, if you, like Dr. B and I, love a more unique experience, want to savor the hospitality of local staff, and appreciate that people return every year for decades, Napili Kai is your place. One day when we have a family, we'll come back to Napili so our kids can experience what Regan and I so fondly remember. 

Check back later this week for Part 2 of C & C on the move in Maui! 

January 26, 2015

Keeping it Real- Food as Fuel

Happy Monday. Here is a post I wrote on Saturday. I hope I don't regret "Keeping it Real".

As I write this, I am on a plane en route back to Portland from Orlando where I spent the last 48 hours for a Junior League Leadership Conference. While this post isn't really about the Junior League (an incredible organization), it plays a part in my story...

We talk about food here on C&C on a regular basis: our favorite recipes, restaurants we've tried, food from our travels, etc. We've shared our commitment to healthy eating through things like the barre3 challenge and Katie's recent reboot, so it's no secret that we like to fuel our bodies with good, whole foods.

Despite years of "healthy" eating, this past year my +1 and I have really made a commitment to eating vegetables, to cutting out sugar (not all) and to fueling our bodies with the best quality of whole foods possible. In these last 48 hours I have realized just how much of a change I have made in my life, in my eating and in my preferences. My purpose in this post is not to judge anyone or to alienate anyone who chooses to live their life in a different way. My hope is just to bring awareness to a topic I feel quite passionately about, food as fuel to energize your body.

Let me start at the beginning...

Last Wednesday at a Junior League General Membership meeting we screened a TED talk by Jamie Oliver about food and the obesity epidemic in children. I highly recommend watching it (here). The screening was a part of a program the League has called "Healthy Habits Healthy Kids (H3K)." We are in the process of ramping up this program and showed the talk as a way to educate and excite our members. As a part of H3K, we hope to roll out something called "Kids in the Kitchen."  This program was created by the Associations of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) and is a critical element of their ongoing commitment to teach kids and their parents about the importance of eating healthy foods and involve them in the fight against childhood obesity.

Fast Forward less than 36 hours from the screening of Jamie Oliver's Ted Talk to my arrival at the AJLI Leadership Conference in Orlando. My day started at 2:30 a.m. Portland time after a terrible night's sleep. My motivation for an incredibly early wake up....exercise. Lucky for me, barre3 has partnered with AJLI, so barre3 workouts were included as a part of our conference agenda, including a early morning pre-conference workout and 5 and 10 minute workouts through the day. I dragged my roommates (somewhat willingly) out of bed for a 6 a.m. barre3 workout. Afterwards we rushed back to make ourselves decent for the business of the day.

Now here's where the "Food as Fuel" comes in. Let me start with breakfast, arguably the most important meal of the day, and especially when you will be sitting in a conference room trying to stay alert enough to retain important information... No small task when you've had maybe 3 hours of sleep.

The breakfast buffet included a croissant egg, ham and cheese sandwich, English muffins with a fried egg and ham, fruit, and a variety of cereal and sugar filled yogurt. Now that doesn't sound terrible, right? I suppose it could have been worse, but I'm used to fueling my body with filling and nourishing foods like oatmeal with nuts, flax and hemp seed and some almond milk or a smoothie with kale, carrot juice, banana, Greek yogurt and frozen mango. I finished breakfast with a stomach ache (thanks to jet lag and a cold and hard fried egg), feeling nauseous, unsatisfied and sluggish.

Let's move on to lunch. After a long morning of meetings we sat down to a plated "luncheon" of Cesar salad, a chicken pasta with heavy cream and garlic sauce and a gigantic piece of chocolate cake. I struggled to eat the pasta dish given the richness of the sauce and the dryness of the chicken. Needless to say I skipped the cake. Nothing about the meal was nourishing. Nothing about the meal was going to give me the "fuel" or the energy necessary to stay alert in my afternoon meetings, but it was in front of me, so I ate what I could. Once again I finished with a stomach ache, feeling nauseous, unsatisfied and sluggish.

Day 2 was more of the same. Breakfast was slightly different with an offering of fruit, eggs, bacon and a selection of sugar, oil and butter loaded muffins and breads. Again, not the "fuel" I was looking for to get me through the day. I tracked down some plain oatmeal and fruit and called it good. Lunch was a slight improvement over day 1. They served a green salad that actually had tomatoes and cucumbers (hurray for veggies), mixed vegetables of carrots, squash and zucchini, a small serving of orzo, a GIGANTIC piece of chicken Parmesan and a piece of key lime pie. Again, I skipped the dessert. While slightly better than Day 1, the meal was still rich and heavy and left me with a stomach ache, feeling nauseous, unsatisfied and sluggish.

The intermittent 5 and 10 minute workouts throughout the day lifted my energy, but never did I feel at the top of my game. Never did I feel energized. Isn't that how you would hope a group of women leaders would feel during a leadership conference?

Through all of these meals I couldn't help but think about Jamie Oliver's Ted Talk, about our H3K program and about AJLI's "Kids in the Kitchen". How is it that we as an organization educate kids and communities about healthy eating, yet we are not able to put these principles into action ourselves? How can we fuel our leaders with the same junk that they discourage kids in their communities from eating?

Putting on a large conference and feeding hundreds of people is no small task. I pass no judgement on the Junior League.  If anything, after this weekend, I am even more motivated now to help facilitate change not only in our own League and community but also throughout the whole organization.
Because we are an organization of smart, talented, caring and motivated women, there is so much opportunity to make a difference in the health of our members and our communities.

Interestingly enough, the lack of good "food as fuel" over the last 48 hours has fueled me to find opportunities for improvement. Big shifts in behaviors take time. They start with small steps. I'm hopeful that in our own League we can use H3K to make a positive impact on both the health of our members and of our community. I'm hopeful that with the help of barre3 and some amazingly open minded and motivated people at AJLI that there is an opportunity to make a positive impact on other Leagues and subsequently in their communities.

Start small. Dream big. Maybe Jamie Oliver wants to help?

January 25, 2015

Red Carpet Rundown

It's time for another Red Carpet Rundown. Here are my favorites from the SAG Awards tonight. 

As far as I was concerned, Lupita Nyong'o fell flat at the Golden Globes, but she has redeemed herself ten-fold in this incredible Elie Saab. Talk about the belle of the ball. 

I don't know what it is, but I really like Emma Stone in this Dior Couture. I love the placement of the sheer feminine fabric against the more suit-like silhouette of the dress. And the red lip and hair are perfect. 

A pregnant Keira Knightly look fabulous in Erdem. Way to work the bump Keira!

I love Rashida Jones in this Emanuel Ungaro. You know how much I love a plunging neckline! 

Reese Witherspoon also left something to be desired at the Golden Globes, but tonight she nailed it in Armani. Now this is a dress of a leading lady.

I am in LOVE with Rosamund Pike in this Dior dress. It's fun and young and fabulous.

And finally, how can I have a red carpet post without my all time favorite, Oscar de la Renta. Tatiana Maslany is a bit overwhelmed by the dress since she is so petite, but what is there not to like about an Oscar de la Renta gown with a deep v and stripes.

I LOVE Julia Roberts, and everything about her is gorgeous, except this Givenchy jumpsuit. It's pulling across the chest. The pockets are too low making her hips look wider than they are, and it looks like the pants need to be hemmed.

January 23, 2015

Keeping it Real

One of the things I enjoy most about having a blog is sharing information that our readers might not come across.

Let me introduce you to Z Girls, a powerhouse of programs, people, and resources
dedicated to empowering girls in sports. This organization was the idea of 10 Year US Ski Team Veteran and Olympian, Libby Ludlow.  Z Girls was born out of Libby’s passion for helping girls thrive in sports so that they’ll stay in sports, and is driven by her vision of a world where all girls operate from a place of zero limitations.

The Z Girls mission is to empower girls with confidence, courage, and community.

If you live in the Seattle area, be sure to check out the Z Girls Programs. If not, I highly suggest following Z Girls on Facebook or through their blog. Libby has written a number of blog posts that really made an impact on me. The first being this post on how confidence is different than self esteem.

This excerpt from the blog post created a real AHA moment for me.

"Katty Kay, co-author of The Confidence Code, explains that self-esteem is the value you see yourself having in the world, while confidence is related to action and is a belief that you can succeed at something. There IS a difference. And, of course, both are important."

You see. I am a confident person, but there have been many times in my life when I have lacked self-esteem. And never before reading this blog post had I ever recognized the difference. I have "The Confidence Code" on my "to read" list since I love a good self-help book.

Libby wrote another powerful blog post called "Letting Go of Should." Here is an excerpt from that post that I also highly suggest you read in its entirety.

If there's one thing I took away from those three years and thousands of dollars, it's this: Connect with what you genuinely desire. Or, as Watts says, connect with “what makes you itch.” Get rid of “should” and make room for the intelligence of your own intuition. Tap into passion and purpose. Believe that you have what it takes (because you do) and trust that, when you take the leap, it will work out.

I'm saving these blog posts, and someday when the Mini Fashionista is old enough and the time is appropriate, I will have her read them.