Monday Motivation: Transitioning Back to Reality

It’s Monday! This is likely one of the most difficult Mondays of the year, as we get over the long Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend. Our bellies full and our wallets empty, it’s time to get back to work, and back to the daily grind.

drink coffee

Image via Pinterest

I personally have thrown routine out the window lately, and after a long-weekend vacation in Montreal followed by the long holiday weekend, I am ready to reintroduce things like the gym, smoothies, and a normal sleep schedule back into my life.

Here are some links from around the web that are helping motivate me – from jumping back on the treadmill to getting the ball rolling on my holiday shopping:

healthy oatmeal smoothie

Image via marthastewart.com

  • I had this healthy smoothie for breakfast this morning. Did you know that yogurt plus oatmeal equals a complete protein? Mine was a little too thick, but still oh so good.
  • Looking for creative ways to finish up those turkey day leftovers? The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond has you covered with some inspiring leftover turkey recipes 
  • Self magazine always has my back when I’m feeling less than motivated at the gym. I think they read my mind when they pinned these 10 boredom-busting treadmill workouts on Pinterest yesterday
skinny cranberry bliss bars

Image via skinnytaste.com

  • And JUST in time for the holidays, Gina Homolka of skinnytaste.com has a recipe for Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars that I must try. These were my favorite holiday treat back when I worked at Starbucks, many eons ago

In conclusion, this Cyber Monday I am keeping the coffee flowing, and I have my gym bag packed and ready for tonight. I am motivated! How about you?

Awkward & Awesome Thursday: The Late Edition

AWKWARD

  • “Earth to Christina!” I take the bus to work when I’m too lazy to walk, and today I guess I was also too lazy to get off near my office because I wound up staying on for one extra stop. The truth is I was completely engrossed in my daily dose of Instagram.
  • I’ve been eating a vegetarian diet since Tuesday, and I am STARVING 24/7. How do you herbivores do it? I’m sure my stomach will shrink down to vegetarian size eventually, but for now I’m chowing carrot sticks like nobody’s business.
  • How is this for awkward – my boyfriend Jamie thinks he is getting me a Nespresso machine for my birthday next month. When I told him I didn’t want one at all, let alone for my birthday, he told me I could choose between that or six months of a cleaning service for our apartment. My Romeo…
  • I’m an awful blogger and have not posted any photos from my trip except for my street art photos from Berlin. I will get to it, I promise! Here is one taken in Lucerne, Switzerland to hold you over:

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AWESOME

  • I’m jumping on the bandwagon and making a 101 in 1001 list on the Day Zero Project. My list, so far, can be found here. I’ve slowed down in actually making the list because I want to think it through. When it’s full I will post it on here! For those who don’t know, 101 in 1001 is a challenge where you create a list to complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days. Creating goals and achieving them is fulfilling enough, but being able to physically cross them off a list? Icing on the cake. Boyfriend made fun of item number six, because I put making a list on my list of things to do [AWKWARD].
  • Before the holiday, Influenster sent me a big, beautiful golden gift of Ferrero Rocher® chocolates. I put most of them out to share with my office, and reserved a tiny emergency stash for myself. The shared chocolates were gone in less than 20 minutes, the last of my secret stash was eaten today.

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Michelle snagging a treat

Michelle snagging a treat

Chanelle after a heated discussion on the best way to eat Ferrero Rocher

Chanelle after a heated discussion on the best way to eat Ferrero Rocher

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Who else does this? Chanelle (pictured) and I eat our FRs layer by layer

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…And then there were none

  • Jamie says the last awesome thing for this post should be that I’m hanging out with him. I’m out of “Awesomes” for the list, so I’m calling it a night. To make it a little more interesting, here is an awesome (OK, maybe a little awkward) picture of Jamie and his sister’s dog, Bunny. Cue the ooos and ahhhs:
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Foodie Friday: Tri-Color Cookies (a.k.a. Venetians)

After a long week of shopping, wrapping, shopping, working, eating, drinking, and SHOPPING, I am finally sitting on my couch. This is a big deal, people! I don’t think I’ve seen this couch all week, and this is where my best blogging is done.

I do feel bad for neglecting the blog, but I’m sure you’ve all been just as busy, with very little time to read. I owe you a Foodie post. What better recipe to share right before the holidays than my favorite Christmas cookies?

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Venetians—also called tri-color cookies or rainbow cookies—are a family tradition, and no one in this world makes them better than my grandmother, Mary. They are not too difficult, but definitely time consuming. So if you’re interested in trying to make these at home, make sure you carve out a good half-day. Take your time and have fun!

Ingredients

  • 1 can almond paste
  • 3 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Food coloring : red, green, yellow
  • 12 oz. jar apricot preserves + 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 large bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  1. Grease  three 13×9 pans (cookie sheets)
  2. Line with wax paper & grease again
  3. Break up almond paste in large bowl, add butter, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract
  4. Beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy – 5 minutes
  5. Beat in flower and salt
  6. Beat egg whites until peaks form in a small bowl.
  7. With wooden spoon stir in almond mixture
  8. Divide into 3  bowls, add food coloring to each bowl: one red, green and yellow
  9. Add more food coloring for a brighter color
  10. Spread in to pans, bake 15 minutes, or until edges are golden
  11. Allow to cool, heat apricot preserves, strain & spread ½ of the warm preserves over green layer, spread to the edges. Put yellow layer on top and spread with remaining preserves. Put red layer on top of yellow
  12. Melt chocolate over hot water, add 2 drops of almond extract a few drops of water to desired consistency, should be on watery side, not thick, so that it’s easy to spread
  13. Spread on top using half of chocolate. Refrigerate. When chocolate is hard, turn upside down and spread remaining chocolate on top. Let dry 30 minutes in refrigerator

Cut into one-inch pieces, and enjoy!

 

Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection #Holiday24

Fun news! Target and Neiman Marcus are teaming up to offer more than 50 products by 24 of today’s top designers of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), including Tory Burch, Tracy Reese,  rag & bone, Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs – just to name a few, in honor of the CFDA’s 50th anniversary.

Here are my favorites from the collection, which can be previewed on Target and Neiman Marcus‘ websites.

Images courtesy of Target

At the top of my wish list is the Lela Rose top, and I know we have more than enough barware already, but I would love to get the Altuzarra bar set.

Beginning December 1, there will be three ways to shop the collection: in stores at Target and Neiman Marcus, and online.

And since it is the season to be giving, both Neiman Marcus and Target will make a joint donation of $1 million to the CFDA, in support of the American design community.

Check out the hashtag #Holiday24 on twitter to follow news of the upcoming collection, and be part of the conversation.

What do you think of the collection? Any must haves? 

Happy shopping!