March 2014 Snapshots

Lyra, take 2 | Hey Love: Life

Hi Friends!

March was definitely an interesting month. Between starting my new job and starting to enjoy remnants of spring starting (let’s not talk about a certain four letter weather condition that just would not quit), I was out and about more with my friends.

Salted Cashew Butter Rice Crispy Treats | Hey Love: Life

 

On my first day of my new job, it fucking snowed. To cure my depression about starting my new life path (and because I had nothing else in my home to eat) I decided to make rice crispy treats, but with cashew butter and a little bit of sea salt. It was perfect for bribing new friends at the office the next day!

I love my new note pad from Rifle Paper Co  | Hey Love: Life

I absolutely love my note pad from Paper Source! Buy it here.

The Wine Bar at Whole Foods is the best!  | Hey Love: Life

I’m a big Whole Foods fan (especially the humongous Fair Lakes location) and I’m a wine fan. So how did it take me forever to try out their wine bar? It’s so lovely! You load up a card with money, stick the card in one of these contraptions, and choose just a taste, a small glass, or a whole serving. For me it was a great way to try some different wines for just a few bucks.

Great girls' night out with my students! | Hey Love: Life

I absolutely love all of my students. Especially when they love each other too! Every session we make it a point to get together at the end to just celebrate how far we’ve come and to get to know each other better outside of class.
My 1st StitchFix Box! | Hey Love: Life

I signed up for my first StitchFix box! Find out all the details here.

Lyra, take 2 | Hey Love: Life

Lyra, take 2 | Hey Love: Life

I tried lyra for the first time last year. It hurt and it was hard. I decided to give it another go a few weeks ago. It still hurt and it was still difficult. But it’s such a great workout and so beautiful. I’d love to keep up with it more regularly, but the costs add up. If you ever get the chance to try aerial hoop, you should jump at it! You’re barely off of the ground.

New favorite shirt. | Hey Love: Life

Frenchie kisses at the Super Pet Expo | Hey Love: Life

Every year AJ and I go to the Super Pet Expo at the Dulles Expo Center. It’s fun to just dive into all things pets. I usually leave Nico at home but this year, since I was barely home all week to spend time with him, I thought I’d attempt bring it along. The trip itself was pretty hilarious and he kept trying to find his way out of there, but I think he still enjoyed himself. I left with the “I love you more than bacon” shirt above, and no frenchie kisses, despite the adorable display and the adorable Frenchie. I’m determined that this will be my next dog.

Pretty parasol ceiling at Sushi Prince | Hey Love: Life

Dragon taco at Sushi Prince | Hey Love: Life

Geisha roll at Sushi Prince | Hey Love: Life

I think I may have a brand new favorite sushi joint. Sushi Prince! Their sushi is of such great quality and it feels like it just melts in my mouth. They also have really creative rolls and the place is so adorable!

Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson World Immortal Tour at The Patriot Center | Hey Love: Life

When I heard that the Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson World Immortal Tour was not only coming to town but literally in MY city, I was SO excited! Tickets ended up costing more than I had budgeted for, but I’m so glad I splurged anyways! Like all Cirque shows, it had its odd moments (like Mimey McPopnLock as the “ring leader”) but all of the acts were so amazing and I sang every single song I knew. The highlights of the show were the pole dancing act (which got such great response!) and the one-legged acrobat that showed us that he capable of doing all sorts of things.

Delicious Brunch at Twisted Vines | Hey Love: Life

Despite taking a pay cut, there will always be room for brunch!

My coworker and I are pretty lucky! | Hey Love: Life

Part of the new job is attending a lot of events to network and learn. My coworker and I both lucked out and won 2 of the raffle prizes!

Any highlights from your March?

 

February 2014 Snapshots

Wild Night of Calligraphy | Hey Love: Life

 

Maybe it was because February was a short month (or I was a little preoccupied making a huge life change), but I didn’t take a ton of photos. But I still want to share them!

Valentine's Hearts | Hey Love: Life

I hosted a Valentine’s Day card exchange so of course I had to DIY at least some of my cards! It was fun using glitter paper and heart punches.

The Winery at Bull Run | Hey Love: Life

I’m lucky enough to live in Virginia where wineries are aplenty. I try to plan a visit every month with friends and in February we picked The Winery at Bull Run due to the proximity. A winery only 15 minutes away from my home? Score!

The wine was good, the space was beautiful, and the company was great. I look forward to returning when the weather is warm!

Bun Thit Nuong from Four Sisters | Hey Love: Life

 

I think my all time favorite Vietnamese dish is bún thịt nướng. It is basically grilled pork on vermicelli rice noodles. This dish screams home to me, mostly because my mom makes it, and it’s hella good! One day, Kaoru and I met up at Four Sisters for lunch and there was no question – I get what I always get. Though this time I added an egg roll. SO GOOD!

Wild Night of Calligraphy | Hey Love: Life

 

Remember when a crazy night involved going to the hottest bar and getting hammered with your friends? I’ll always enjoy those experiences but my crazy nights now mainly consist of some sort of craft and catching up on my DVR. One night I decided to play with calligraphy, including pink ink! Go call the po-lice. Go call the guv-uh-nuh! I bring the trouble… with calligraphy.

Happy Birthday, Alicia! | Hey Love: Life

I had the pleasure of being invited to Alicia’s birthday dinner. Her close friends and I got to feast on her homemade bo ssäm (basically yummy sweet pork in steamed buns). It was even more awesome because it was such a great group! It felt like a mini twitter reunion. What an awesome group.

Soy Latte at Dolcezza in the Park | Hey Love: Life

 

 

If you live near Fairfax, Mosaic District is one of my favorite new spots. An even newer spot is Dolcezza in the Park! Across the street from Dolcezza Gelato, there’s a pop-up coffee shop in a standalone glass building. It used to be empty so I was tickled pink when I saw that Dolcezza expanded into the park. I don’t know if there’s still coffee in the gelato shop, but the new “park” location is solely a cafe. It’s so bright since it’s almost entirely glass and you really can’t deny how awesome the marquee light “COFFEE” sign is. This is a great telework spot.

Sweetgreen | Hey Love: Life

 

And another gem of Mosaic District – sweetgreen! I love their fresh salads and you can even customize your own.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Tunes: New Job Playlist

Hey, Love | Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes | Hey, Love

Hi Friends,

Another freakin’ snow storm delayed my first day of work, so yea, I’m a little bit bitter about it! I know, it’s winter. It snows. And I know we were spoiled the last few years with no snow, but it is not typical for this area to get slammed by snow storms one right after the other. And I’ve always claimed to be a warm weather gal, so winter is certainly not my favorite season. I’m over it!

But despite the snow dumps I’m trying to focus on the positive. New job! New career path! I made this playlist a few weeks ago and I thought it was time to share it with you. Whether you have a new job, new life path, newly free from a bad relationship, etc., this playlist is great for starting anew.

Here’s the link to my playlist on Spotify. What would you add to this list?

I Think I’ll Try Defying Gravity

Trapeze | Hey, Love

Trapeze | Hey, Love

It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

I have a confession. I can’t listen to “Defying Gravity” without crying. The song isn’t new to me, and it’s never made me emotional before these last couple of weeks.

Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity

Want to know why? I’m making a huge life change. Today I leave the company that I’ve been at for 9 1/2 years. I’m leaving the corporate world to go down a more creative path. I will be doing marketing and event planning for a small home construction and design company.

Everything kind of came together really fast. The opportunity presented itself and I just could not pass it up. Those who know me well know how much I truly deserve to have a job that allows me to be more creative. They know that I work hard and that this is the job that I deserve.

“Ev’ryone deserves the chance to fly!”

Sometimes I still can’t believe that this is actually happening. For so long I’ve tried to find more creative jobs but no one would give me the chance. Now I have the opportunity to do something different that is in line with my career goals and I’m leaping right in.

It’s also terrifying to leave something that has felt comfortable for so long. Now I get to do something completely different and I’m so scared of failing. I kept joking with my boss that I might come crying and running back to my old job but she’s confident I will be successful. I think everyone at work knows I wasn’t living up to my full potential.

So here I go. As I finish out my last day at Corporate Land, I’ll remember fondly of the great memories from nearly a decade of working there. I’ll miss the friends and colleagues the most but I am more than ready to start this new adventure.

Tuesday Tunes: Dear Bruno Mars, Please Keep Making Sexy Music

Hi Friends!

When Bruno Mars first arrived on the scene singing in “Billionaire” and “The Lazy Song” I wasn’t too impressed. I didn’t dislike him but I didn’t think he was all that. Over the years he really grew on me. I also realized his songs are not only catchy, but they’re kind of sexy too! His songs made great pole dancing songs and it was only a matter of time before I decided that I really like his music.

His “Gorilla” music video has pole dancers, y’all! He even invited one to perform alongside him during the European Music Awards. (Let’s just ignore the fact that we don’t really make love like gorillas. Oohh oooh ooh!)

When I heard he was going on tour and coming to my area, I jumped on it! His Superbowl halftime performance definitely sealed the deal:

I like that he blends Motown, reggae, pop, and R&B. His style is definitely unique and his tunes are catchy and fun. (Okay, some are depressing.) Woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo UH!

I made a playlist for class and it’s so fun that I wanted to share it with you. If you want to use this as a workout, the first 2 songs are warm up and the last 2 are cool down.

  • “Billionare” Travie McCoy ft. Bruno Mars
  • “Marry You”
  • “It Will Rain”
  • “Treasure”
  • “Show Me”
  • “Locked Out of Heaven”
  • “The Lazy Song”
  • “Money Make Her Smile”
  • “Grenade”
  • “Runaway Baby”
  • “Gorilla”
  • “Young Girls”
  • “Just the Way You Are”
  • “When I Was Your Man.”

Here’s the link to my Spotify playlist if you want to follow along.

January 2014 Snapshots

Nico is my shadow.

Hi Friends!

Here’s what I was snapping last month.

My BedroomI just bought a new duvet and comforter from IKEA and they perfectly tied together all the colors in my room. Dog sold separately. [Read more...]

Whole30 January 2014 – Done!

BOOM. Whole30 is done.

Whole30 Compliant Taco Salad | Hey Love: Life

Hi Friends!

I’m so excited to share that I’ve finished my second full Whole30 challenge. YAY! I first started this in November 2012 when my friend K suggested we try to really challenge ourselves and change our relationship with food. We cheated a bit (one of our besties got married!) and didn’t finish the 30 days since we were off to Vegas after week 3.

In January 2013 I did it again and completed it all the way through (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) – no cheats and I followed the rules to the T. I may have been a little too obsessed with living the true Whole30 life.

Whole30 Shrimp Curry with Cauliflower Rice | Hey Love: Life

After a few attempts to do Whole30 throughout the year, I decided to just make January my annual Whole30 tradition – it’s a great way to start the year and tons of people are making healthy strides, so it makes it easier to stick with my goals while friends and family are working on theirs.

In case you have no idea what Whole30 is, the quick summary is that it helps you focus on eating whole, fresh vegetables and meats and the occasional fruits, nuts, and healthy fats. Eat real things. Nothing processed, no alcohol, no legumes (including peanuts and soy), no sugar or any type of sweeteners, no grains, and most importantly no “paleo-fying” foods (so no paleo pancakes and ice cream). It sounds painful, but you find that you really don’t miss these things once you’re in your Whole30 groove.

Whole30 Compliant Spicy Tuna Rolls | Hey Love: Life

So back to this month’s challenge. It felt so great! It always feel forever long in the beginning, and sometimes you have dreams that you are cheating. Big time. But it’s amazing how much you can stay in your groove and not veer off path. As for post-Whole30 life, well I’m a little scared. I went a little bit off the rails last year and I am determined to not let that happen. In case you didn’t know, I deemed 2014 to be my best year yet. So far, I’m kicking ass with that goal.

Whole30 Bento Boxes

I also tried to do some things different this time:

  • Focus on more lean meats and less beef consumption.
    I don’t have issues with eating red meat but I have noticed that on past Whole30s, I relied heavily on them. Ground beef is cheap and eating steak once or twice a week made me feel better about eating plain. Not this time! I focused more on eating leaner meats and seafood (even chicken breasts, which I don’t favor – too dry!) and even nixed the skin on my eat. (Somewhere a caveman is crying.)
  • I did not have any coffee or bacon.
    Kind of weird that I paired those in one bullet, right? Even though I found an awesome cold brew coffee recipe that is gentle on my stomach, I just didn’t feel like putting forward that extra effort to make coffee in advance. I was already cooking up a storm. Why add one more thing to the list? I’m actually not even a huge coffee person. As for bacon, it’s really difficult to find nitrate-free, sugar-free bacon in grocery stores, so I just skipped it. I didn’t miss either of these things.
  • No stressing out.
    Whether you’re paleo, vegan, pescatarian, localvore, etc, I think the one thing we can all agree to ditch is stress. In my experience, stress causes me to eat more. While I do agree you should strive to follow the Whole30 100% in terms of what to eat and restrict, trying to be a paleo perfectionist will just make things harder for you. I tried not to sweat about things out of my control, for instance whether the aioli at Whole Foods was complaint or not.
  • I snacked heavy at first, and then barely at all.
    I’m a huge snacker so this transformation throughout the month was pretty cool to experience. At first I was making toasted coconut chips quite often. What can I say? I’m a chip gal. Nothing else I made could compare to that crisp crunch of “chips.” But then something happened. Not only did I find myself making coconut chips a lot less often, but I was snacking a lot less. My meals were doing their job and filling me up. Good job, body!
  • I pole danced like a beast. (Maybe a sexy beast?)
    Some background if you don’t know me: I teach pole fitness. This month I took on extra classes which means I was teaching 2 classes Thursday evenings, and teaching 2 classes every other Sunday. Basically, I could be teaching up to 4 in a week. I even made it a goal to go back to Pole Masters so I could end up at the studio at least 3 times a week. I joked that I’d be so ripped by the end of the month from all this working out, and while I am nowhere near “ripped” I do feel like I’m able to work out harder because of Whole30 and I’m feeling stronger and slimmity slim slim!
  • I didn’t log my food.
    Past experience has shown I’m terrible at food logging. It’s one of the many reasons why Weight Watchers didn’t work for me. I felt as long as I was eating whole, nutrient-dense food, I didn’t need to keep track of anything.

Slow Cooker Ghee | Hey Love: Life

So now that I’m done, now what? Well let’s talk about the benefits I have reaped from this Whole30:

  • I sleep like a champ (not that I really have issues).
  • I can definitely see my stomach slimming down.
  • My muscles are more defined (I’m a little obsessed with flexing in the mirror and liking what I see – in the privacy of my own home!)
  • My eating habits have improved my performance at the gym and the dance studio.
  • No bloating or gas (unless lady time presents herself).
  • can live without daily intake of junk food. In fact, I walked through the chip aisle at Whole Foods and nothing called my name. I’m a changed woman!
  • I can eat plain and simple every day at work.
  • And because everyone always wonders: I lost 7 pounds. After spending an entire year of not seeing the scale go down (just one form of measurement) it was nice to see it budge finally!

Whole30 Blackened Tilapia | Hey Love: Life

So now comes the challenge of life after Whole30. I feel like I am in such a great groove that I want this to keep going. Of course I also have 1-2 dinners or lunches out every week so now it’s time to navigate this with a plan. K suggested I have a monthly goal/challenge (Whole30 was January’s challenge) so I decided that given my crazy social schedule this month, I will only dine out with friends. So during the week when I don’t have friend dates, eat at home or brown bag it to work. And even while eating out, make the best choices possible. Though, I will splurge on an adult milkshake and homemade pop tart now that Ted’s Bulletin opened up near me!

BOOM. Whole30 is done.

Want to read more about my Whole30 experience? Read every single post I ever wrote, right here.

Here’s my pic from last January’s Whole30, just for funsies.

"I No Longer Let Food Control ME. (squee!)" | Hey, Love

All photos are taken with my iPhone. Whole30 logo is courtesy of the Whole30 website.

Tuesday Tunes: Lance, Madonna, Kylie, Colbie, and The Plain White T’s

Hey, Love | Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes | Hey, Love

Hi Friends!

I’m trying not to abandon this side of my blog so I’ve been trying to think of ways to revamp some of my “regular” posts. Tuesday Tunes is back! Instead of sharing my class playlists (after awhile they start sounding the same), I’ll just periodically post some of my current favorite songs, playlists, videos, etc. If there’s a theme, you bet I’m going to share that too!

Here are some of my favorites as of late:

LANCE IS BACK! You go, Lance Bass. Here’s to having more than a bass solo.

PS, this song is no longer on Spotify – boo! PPS, not sure why Snoop Dogg is missing from this version.

This song is not old, nor do I know if it was ever released. But when i randomly decided to watch Madonna’s MDNA World Tour on Amazon Prime (or was it Netflix Instant?), I loved everything about her concert. The songs. The dancing. The theatrics. I’d love to see Madge in concert one day. Here’s one of my favorites, mostly because it makes a great pole dancing song!

Skip to 4:40 for the beginning of the song.

“Timebomb” is another old but “new to me” song and I love how much fun it is to dance too. You really can’t ever go wrong when it comes to Kylie Minogue.

Now you’ll be singing “Whoop! D’ya wanna, wanna? Whoop! I wanna, wanna.” all the time like I do.

Here’s a song I’m not too late to. Colbie gives us a slightly dancier song with “Hold On.” This is great for a stretch sequence, starting out your morning, or a drive. Colbie has such an amazing voice, sounds even more amazing live, and writes such great songs.

Katy Perry is one of those artists that I greatly disliked when she first arrived on the scene. She was trying too hard to stand out with songs like “I Kissed a Girl” and with the whole cupcake boobs (bringing a new meaning to “sugar tits”) for the “California Gurls” video. But you know what? Her songs are so freaking addicting! I feel like she’s finally found her groove so thank goodness the awkward sexy phase is over. I actually really want to see her in concert now. “Dark Horse” is also a great pole dance song and the pace is great for lifting weights, abs, or stretching.

In case you didn’t know, “Rhythm of Love” is one of my all time favorite songs to listen to when I’m crushing on someone or just in a lovey mood. I already know it’s going to be a part of my wedding so it should come to no surprise that I fell in love with The Plain White T’s “The Giving Tree.” The song is actually the opposite of being crazy in love, but it has such a nice tune that I can’t help but sing along, even if it’s about your girlfriend leaving you for someone else.

And there you have it! What do you think of my current favorite songs? Have any to share with me? I love discovering new music.