Mary’s Secret Garden Review plus an Instagram Weekend

Alan and I were in Ventura over the weekend. We got home kind of late on Sunday and I was in no mood to open up my computer. So I apologize that I don’t have a new recipe for Meatless Monday today. However, I’m still linking up with Tina and Deborah today because we visited one of the most popular vegan restaurants in Southern California on Saturday, so I’m sharing pictures and my review.

Mary’s Secret Garden

Marys Secret Garden Review. One of the most popular vegan restaurants in So. Cal, this little gem is tucked away in Ventura, a few blocks from Main St.

Mary’s Secret Garden is a tiny, funky little restaurant tucked away on Fir Street, a few blocks from downtown Ventura. With a beaded entry to the kitchen, messages printed on the ceiling, and a casual atmosphere, it almost feels like stepping back in time. The music, selections from the 60s, helped cement that impression.

Marys Secret Garden 6

Marys Secret Garden 3

We had called ahead to make a reservation, but it really wasn’t necessary. There were many open tables, though most of them filled up as the evening went on. Our server was quick and friendly, and introduced the specials briefly before she went to fill our drink orders. I had a glass of chardonnay, Alan tried the homemade ginger ale. I had to give it a taste, and I’ll say that it was different than any other ginger ale I’ve ever tasted. It actually tasted of ginger, something you rarely get notice in the canned version.

Alan and I decided to share an appetizer and an entree. Because of our almost four hour drive, lunch had been a little late, so we weren’t super hungry. For the appetizer we chose the Cheeze Trio ($15). It is served with three raw vegan nut cheeses: Macadamia Chive, Chipotle Cashew cheeze, and Curried Almond cheeze, along with cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and raw gluten free crackers.

Marys Secret Garden 2All three were excellent. The curried cashew cheeze was deliciously flavorful, with a bite of curry, smoothed out with other seasonings. The chipotle also had a little spicy bite, and the macadamia chive (my favorite) was creamy and was probably the one that tasted the most like real cheese. The crackers were good too, and they went quickly. Our order for a second serving of the raw crackers was $4.

For our entry we chose to share the Cilantro Chycken Sandwich ($14). It came with grilled veggie chycken, chipotle cashew cheeze, cilantro pistachio pesto, avocado, red onion, grilled jalapeno peppers, and tomatoes on a whole grain bun. We chose to add the Fakin Bakin ($2). It was served with a choice of soup or salad. I selected the Coconut Broccoli Lemongrass, which was the soup of the day.

Marys Secret Garden 4First, the soup. I love lemongrass soup, and this was no exception. It was very flavorful, with just the right amount of lemongrass. Alan, who does not care for broccoli, enjoyed the soup too, even though there were a few pieces of the vegetable in our bowl.

The sandwich was very good. The chycken had a good flavor and texture, and it was made even tastier with the chipotle cashew cheeze and pesto. It was served cut in half, so it was easy to share. It was quite large, so a half was just perfect for the two of us.

Of course, we had saved room for dessert (a bonus for sharing our entree). Mary’s has a Jumbo Cupcake du Jour ($8), and the offering that day was Chocolate Peanut Mousse. Our server suggested we try the vanilla coconut milk ice cream. I’m not sure of the price as an add on, but a serving of the ice cream alone is $8.

Marys Secret Garden 5I loved the presentation. And both the cupcake and ice cream lived up to it. The cupcake was moist and chocolatey, and the peanut mousse was delicious and oh, so rich. The coconut milk ice cream was light and creamy, and a great complement for the cupcake.

Mary’s, as always, came through with a great, healthy meal. Yes, it is a little pricy, but all of the food is natural, organic, much of it raw and gluten free, and made on the premises. The service was friendly and the atmosphere is comfortable. Whether or not you are a vegan, Mary’s Secret Garden is a great option in Ventura.

Mary’s Secret Garden Organic Vegan Bistro
100 S. Fir St.
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 641-3663
Reservations not required but suggested

Meatless Monday

My Marvelous Weekend (the Instagram version)

Other than that, Alan and I had a marvelous weekend in Ventura. While the desert sizzled at around 107 on Sunday, we were a little chilly in the overcast, cloudy weather on the coast. Still, it was good to get home and see the pups. I’m even glad it’s Monday, which is why I’m linking up with Katie for MIMM!

MiMMWe were in Ventura because Alan was announcing the Father’s Day 5k and 10k. At the last minute I decided to run the 10k. I have not really been training, just running, so I had no expectations. I though it would be a good tempo run, plus, the weather you know, how could I not enjoy that?

Here are some Instagram photos from the weekend (do you follow me?), that pretty much tell all about our Marvelous weekend.

VenturaSome would call it gloomy and cold. We called it wonderfully cool and a great change from the desert.

WineWe stopped and bought a few things for the morning before the race, plus I bought a bottle of wine. It wasn’t until we got back to the hotel room (or rather motel..Motel 6 that is. Ah, the glamorous life of a race announcer!), that I realize that I forgot to bring a wine opener. I have a lot of these. I seem to buy them every time we travel, then forget to bring it along the next.

RaceWe got to the race venue early. Before the race director actually. Alan likes to be prompt. That meant I had a few hours to wait around until the race actually started. There was a nap involved.

Race 2The race was fun. I had no real goals, but as I got going I decided I’d like to finish under an hour. It had been about 13 years since I’d run a 10k. In the last one I ran 44:04, was first woman and fourth person overall. I also won my 40-44 division (oh, and I was 44). I think four was my lucky number that year.

Race 4This year I accomplished my goal of coming in under an hour by about 45 seconds, 59:14. I was also second in my age group (the first woman in my age group was second woman overall!), and eight woman overall. Yes, it was a small race. It was also flat and cool, basically out and back on the bike path. Very well organized. Oh, and they had a great announcer too.

Race 3As part of the Father’s Day theme, there were team divisions: Father/Son, Father/Daughter, Grandfather/Grandson, and Grandfather/Granddaughter. The winners of each team division took home a cruiser bike! I passed this little cutie above on the way back. She did the whole 5k with her dad! When I passed her I gave her a thumbs up and said something like “great job!” She smiled and said “thank you very much!” Adorable.

They also gave out four cruiser bikes to random bib numbers. Sadly, I did not win.

NatashaThis is Natasha, not from over the weekend but earlier last week. For those of you who have asked: She’s doing just fine. She is 17 years old (so is her “brother,” Boris). She’s in great health, but lately she has been losing a lot of weight. We found out that she is hyperthyroid, a common condition in older cats. She also has a little UT infection. She is on medication for both and is doing much better. She should start to gain some of that weight back now, though she will be on the thyroid medication for the rest of her life. Happy ending!

Whew! Got a little wordy on this one didn’t I? Well, for those of you who stuck with me I hope that you had a marvelous weekend as well. Any events, delicious food, or other fun stuff? Do please share!

Perfect Pasta Salad for #MeatlessMonday

The Perfect Pasta Salad: Gluten free, vegan, and delicious. It has a great combo of sweet and tart flavors with apple, grapefruit, and raisins.

Weekend Snapshots

Let’s play a little catch up before the recipe, shall we? I’ve been laid off for over a week now. Ask me how much I’ve accomplished. Go ahead, ask. The answer is, sadly, in spite of big plans to use this time to take some of the tips I learned at Bloggy Boot Camp, set up regular work hours, and really work on improving this little ol’ blog, I haven’t even started. Which is why I’m sitting down at 5:30 on a Sunday evening to write my Monday post.

I’m not really worried about it, though. I have, unfortunately, plenty of time until the weather cools down and my clients return. And I (we) did accomplish a few things. Like this:

DishwasherWe purchased a new dishwasher and garbage disposal and installed them ourselves (with plenty of help from our pack). It took a good part of the day, and we questioned our choice a few times, but we did it and we now have an operating dishwasher for the first time is a long time. When we ran it last night for the first time I kept checking for leaks every time the water ran. It’s been that that long since I’ve heard one!

We took a break about halfway through to pick up a couple of parts that we needed and somehow ended up at Dick’s Sporting Goods where I let Alan reward me with this:

Love these really cute shorts from Calia by Carrie. Find them at Fred's Sportting Goods!I adore these running shorts by Calia by Carrie. They’re very flattering, fit nicely, and I love the tropical pattern. And I’m loving the tropical right now because:

That's us, finishing my first ever marathon, the Honolulu Marathon. So exciting to be going back for my 37th marathon in December!Alan had my 30th Annual Honolulu Marathon watch fixed! That was from 2002, the last year we were there. As you know, it was also my first marathon in 1996. And now, on December 13, it will be my 37th (and will be celebrating its 43rd year)!

Almost as exciting as the watch was this:

Airline Tickets

We purchases our tickets to Hawaii! Now it’s real. We also made arrangements for a house on Kauai for the week after the race. We always stay in Hanalei, one of my favorite places in the world. This is one of those times that I’m happy that time flies because I can’t wait!

I’ve also been running. In fact I’ve had to remind myself that just because I’m off work right now doesn’t mean I should run every day!

Run

So what picture do you think looks better?

Jump CollageI love this picture because it looks like I’m jumping so high, but I didn’t like the truck in the background. So I decided to eliminate it! I did this using PicMonkey. I think it looks okay. Not as good as Photoshop of course, but I’m a little challenged in that department.

Let’s get down to talking about some vegan food, shall we? First off, I found two new products this week that I’d never heard of:

Daiya MacThese Daiya Mac and Cheeze products were at Ralphs (Krogers to you east-coasters). We tried the Alfredo style. I added a little vegan chicken to it and it was good. Not great, but good. I’m looking forward to trying the other one (very soon). By the way, both pastas are gluten and soy free too.

GardeinI saw these little pocket sandwiches while shopping today and I just had to have them! I haven’t tried them, but I’ve been assured on Instagram (<—follow me!) that they were really good. They are not gluten free, but they are vegan (even though the label just says vegetarian). Lunch tomorrow, I think.

Tempeh SaladOn Saturday, during our dishwasher installation break, Alan and I had lunch at Luscious Lorraine’s, a little lunch counter inside a health food store in Palm Desert. This is a tempeh sandwich and it was really good. It also gave me an idea for a tempeh salad, which I hope to work on this week. Stay tuned.

I’m linking up with Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots.

Meatless Monday

Still with me? On to the recipe! I’m also linking up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday. Hop on over to their blogs to see what fabulous recipes they and the other bloggers have planned for you.

Meatless Monday

The Perfect Pasta Salad: Vegan and Gluten Free

Why is this the perfect pasta salad? Well, for one thing, it’s full of flavorful vegetables and fruits. For another, it is vegan and gluten free. And for another, I needed to call it something because to call it rotini with onions, olives, raisins, apples, etc., seemed a little long. Seriously, I love the different tastes and textures in this salad, from the sweet apples and raisins, to the tart grapefruit, from the crunch of the radishes to the creamy white beans.

The Perfect Pasta Salad, it has a tasty combination of sweet and tart, with apples, grapefruit, raisins, and onions. Great for a BBQ!It’s also one those salads that you can add or take away ingredients. Don’t like black olives? Skip them or use green. Have some corn or celery you’d like to use? Go ahead and toss them in. I do suggest keeping the apples, raisins, and grapefruit, because those are the flavors that make this salad so good perfect.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Perfect Pasta Salad. Gluten Free and Vegan
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Salad
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces gluten free/vegan rotini
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅛ cup white wine vinegar
  • ⅛ cup grapefruit juice (about the juice of one half grapefruit)
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 6 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
  • ½ cup radishes, chopped
  • ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved if they're large
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped (squeeze a little grapefruit juice on them to keep from discoloring)
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a measuring cup, combine olive oil, vinegar, grapefruit juice, pepper, and salt. Allow some pulp when you're squeezing the grapefruit. Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions. When it's done, rinse under cold water.
  3. Combine pasta, raisins, olives, radishes, tomatoes, onions, apples, and beans.
  4. Add the olive oil mixture and toss lightly.
  5. Add the parsley and toss again to combine.
  6. Add more pepper to taste.

This gluten free and vegan pasta salad has a great flavor combination of sweet and tart with grapefruit, apples, and raisins. Perfect as a one-dish-meal or for a BBQ side dish.

That’s it! It takes only about a half hour and you have a perfect pasta salad that will work for a main dish or that you can bring along to that Independence Day barbecue.

Have you ever installed a dishwasher or garbage disposal? Would you do it again?

 

Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

So, I’ve been lying to you. Well, just a little. (Which begs the question, is there really such thing as a little lie?) Anyway, I haven’t told you the whole truth. Which starts with, I didn’t run the SLO Marathon yesterday.

SLO Recap

Before I get to that though, I want to congratulate Tina Muir, who ran the London Marathon on Sunday. She sweetly emailed me on Saturday to wish me luck, commenting that we have both worked so hard for this. While this is true, I have to laugh because Tina, who ran 2:41:19 (!!!!), was so kind as to think of me, who would have been about two hours behind her.

Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

Back to my story. I pretty much knew by last Wednesday that I wasn’t going to be able to run the SLO Marathon. I was in denial though. I really had worked hard for this. While I’d had a hard time getting my total mileage up where I wanted it, I had done the workouts. My long runs had gone well for the most part, at least until a couple weeks ago when I’d developed some exercise induced asthma issues. I did my tempo runs, marathon pace runs, and even hill workouts. I’m in good shape.

The asthma had given me some doubts though. After the incident two weeks ago it took me most of the day to recover! What would I do if it happened during the marathon? I’ve pushed through in the past, but do I have it in me to do it still? Do I even want to? Strike one.

Then Alan and I made the decision that I would go alone. I’ve told you before about Goldie, our handicapped dog. We really don’t want to leave her in the care of a dog sitter. We just don’t trust anyone enough to clean her, change her diaper, and to be there in case anything happens. Heck, sometimes she gets stuck in the dog door when we’re home, though we release her quickly. What if the sitter wasn’t there for a couple hours? We are both resigned to the idea that, for the rest of Goldie’s life our travel will be limited.

Anyway, that meant that I would have to drive to San Luis Obispo by myself, run a marathon, then drive home afterward. Um, that’s about five hours in each direction. Strike two.

I still didn’t want to let go of the dream though. There must be some way, right? I even would have invited Christina, my running partner and neighbor, but she was out of town at a wedding for the weekend.

Then last Wednesday I ran five miles, moderate pace, with a couple bursts of marathon pace. About halfway through my run I felt a weird pain in my mid-back that actually made me stop for a moment. It went away when I stopped but returned when I ran again. I made it home, but through the rest of the day I had twinges, now in my low back and right hip.

When I woke up on Thursday morning I knew right away that my marathon probably wasn’t going to happen. The pain was still in my low back and hip, with occasional random spasms just to keep me on my toes. I could hardly walk, let alone think about running 26.2 miles!

Strike three and I’m out.

I still held on until Friday morning to make the decision. My back was a little better, so I gave myself a little hope, but my wiser side took over. Back pain + 5 hour drive + marathon = Bad idea.

So, I stayed home, wished my follow SLO Marathon Ambassadors good luck, and didn’t run a step all weekend. I did, however, get to spend some time with this guy:

Samuel

Yes! If anything could make me feel better about staying home and missing my marathon it was having Samuel and his parents visit us! I took tons of pictures, but since he’s in action all the time most of them were blurry! Here are a few when he was still for a moment.

Samuel 6I don’t think Samuel realizes how honored he should be to get Coco kisses. She usually delivers them to Alan and me in the middle of the night.

Samuel 4It’s hard to explain to a two year old about handicapped dogs, but Samuel seemed to have a connection with Goldie. We just had to make sure that he didn’t sit on her.

Samuel 2Penny is obviously a good sport. She’s not used to kids but was very patient with Samuel. He is used to Chloe, their young Australian Shepherd, who puts up with all his antics.

Samuel 3Grandpa was happy that someone finally wanted to play with the finger lights he bought at Christmas!

Samuel 5Since both his parents wear glasses, Samuel thinks they’re pretty cool (the glasses, not sure about the parents). So when he found an old pair of readers lying around he thought that he was pretty cool too.

Samuel 7Nathan and Sarah just purchased a brand new Ford Fusion. On a recent trip to Orange County my son got over 90 mph! It’s a nice looking car too.

Samuel 8We went to lunch at PF Changs. I ordered the Vegetable Lettuce Wraps and Alan wanted the Buddha’s Feast, at least until he saw all the broccoli that it came with. So we traded dishes and I got my broccoli ration for the week.

Samuel 10Grandson selfie!

Samuel 9I was sad that this picture turned out a little blurry thanks to trying to hold Samuel still with one hand and take a picture with the other. Still, they look awfully cute, don’t they? Their daughter (my granddaughter!!!) Emma Marie is due on September 2.

We had a great time and I was able to forget my failure missing the marathon for a while. And the good news is, my back is feeling much better. I’ll probably try a little run on Tuesday. I’d like to hold onto some of this fitness I have right now. I might convince Christina that a semi-local half marathon might be just the thing for May!

In other adventures, did you see my Instagram post the other day? The consensus was that this is a king snake. What do you think?

 

Anybody know what kind of snake this is? Not dangerous I hope! #snake #snakes #snakesofinstagram

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

Thank you to all of you who wished me well, supported me and had faith in my efforts. I’m sorry that I couldn’t live up to your (or my) expectations. I promise to share the links to some of the SLO Marathon recaps so we can all see what I missed. And don’t miss Tina’s recap. She was really happy and excited about her experience and I can’t wait to read all about it.

How was your weekend? Any races, events, or family adventures? Let’s hear about it!

Marathon Training, Yoga Challenges, and Grandsons: Just a little recap

Busy weekend = mostly pictures. That and the Westminster Dog Show is distracting me. So, a little recap with a lot of pictures.

Marathon Training

What should be the biggest part of my recap is, well, not so much. I’m having schedule clashes, with clients who want to work out at 7:00 in the morning, and while I’m willing to get out there early, I’m hesitant to get out there too much in advance of the sunrise. That’s a long excuse for only two runs this week.

Running 2I did get out early on Wednesday, finishing my four miles by 6:00.

RunningAnd I did a 14 mile long run on Sunday (Saturday we had family stuff). I ran the first 5 miles with Alan and our neighbor, then took off on my own for the rest. The fire station is my perfect water stop. They have an ice machine, plus, well, firemen (though there weren’t any about on Sunday).

Total mileage only 18 miles! That should improve in the coming week. My work schedule is a little better and I have a cut back on the long run next weekend.

Yoga Challenge

Ironically, I’ve done much better with the Take the Leap 30 Days of Yoga Challenge with prAna and Sweat Pink that I did with running. I’ve managed at least a short practice every day since the beginning, and since I’m doing the Bringing Yoga Back challenge too (which fortunately work really well together), I’m really happy with my yoga efforts. I didn’t make it to a “real” class this week, but I practiced at home, both in and outdoors. Take a peek:

Week 2A little doggy-assisted yoga, my favorite kind.

Week 2_2While Alan worked the PS Half Marathon, I took a little run, the did a little posing.

Week 2_3Not only do I get help from my dogs, I get a lot of interest from the cats in the neighborhood.

Week 2_4I spread out my mat on the driveway to stretch after my Wednesday run.

Week 2_5I think I did a pretty good lizard pose variation, don’t you?

Week 2_6Back in the house, a 20 minute balance flow, and amazingly the dogs stayed clear (they were probably afraid I’d fall on them, my balance was that bad).

Week 2_8We traveled to Huntington Beach on Saturday for our twin grandsons’ 10th birthday party. While they played basketball, I posed.

Week 2_7I dragged Alan out for this one. Up in the trails behind our house, he took so many great pictures of my downward facing dog that I couldn’t choose just one.

Phew, week two in the books. I’m am so ready for week three!

Grandsons

As I mentioned, our grandsons turned 10 on Saturday (yes, they’re Valentine’s Day boys). It was a basketball themed party, so Alan and I had a chance to throw the ball around a little bit too. It had been 20 years a long time since I played basketball, and I was playing in flip flops, but I still managed a couple free throws (it seems much farther away than it did when I was younger!), and more than a few lay ups. From my Instagram:

Yes, we did. #basketball

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

And this:

BirthdayThey asked to do this. #10yearoldboys

Valentine’s Day

We’re not big Valentine’s celebrators. We try to show our love daily, so it’s just not a big deal. We did, however, take the opportunity to stop for dinner at Native Foods on our way home from Huntington Beach on Saturday. It’s not exactly romantic, but it is our favorite restaurant. As I told one of our smartypants Facebook friends, it feels more romantic to us than candlelight and steaks!

Native Foods 3Native Foods 2Alan ordered three(!) cupcakes, so we had ALL the chocolate! I was really well fueled for my long run on Sunday. And fortunately not too sore from the basketball.

So, that was my week in training and life. What’s happening in yours? Any races, events, family fun?

Workouts, Vegan Eats, & Christmas (and Blendtec)!

Yes, I’m jamming it all into one post. To keep the wordiness down, the Christmas recap will be mostly pictures. But, first, a couple announcements and my training recap.

A Blendtec Kind of Holiday

So much exciting stuff going on. First off, if you remember my what I want for Christmas post, I mentioned at the top of my list needing/wanting a new blender. Well, Santa skipped that one, but Fitfluential did not! I actually won a Blendtec Designer 725! Yes, I did! I haven’t received it yet, but here’s the proof:

WinnerYep, that’s me!

Small town, BIG RACE

As you know, Alan and I are training for the SLO Marathon on April 26. Our training program officially starts with the new year, so it’s time to get race plans in place. We’d love to have you join us, so remember that the prices will be going up December 31. You can still save $10 with the code WOODAMB, so hurry up and sign up!

SLO Marathon

As for my own training, I think the term “holiday training” pretty much sums it up. Yes, I ran, a little. Yes, I did practice yoga, twice, once at home, once at the studio. But, all things considered, I’m okay with that. Here are my workouts from last week:

Monday: Since it was looking to be a busy day, I did an at-home yoga class with Yoga 30 (taught by my friend April of Yoga Central) early in the morning, followed by a three mile run (because that’s all I had left).

Yoga 30
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Alan and I planned to run in Huntington Beach while visiting the family, but I ended up with a migraine, so that didn’t happen. Put a damper on the whole day.
Thursday: Christmas day Alan and I took a little three mile trail run. After being sick the day before it felt good just to be out and running.

Christmas Run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: In keeping with the holiday run thing, we ran about 5.5 miles on the trails.

Trail Run
Sunday: Run with the dogs day. Okay, that didn’t happen. Here’s why:

Weather

The poor dogs didn’t even get a walk. I did make it to a 90 minute yoga class though.

So, not a whole lot accomplished, but with holidays, shopping, family, travel, not to mention migraines, I’m okay with my training. Back on track in the coming week, though. I’m not quite where I wanted to be by the end of December since official training starts next week, but it is what it is. I’m also thinking about joining the January yoga challenge that Yoga Central is doing this month. That should help me stay on yoga-track (there are prizes!).

Vegan Eats

Of course all of my eats are vegan, but we did get a couple chances to get out to eat. For our second visit to the Tap In Room at Whole Foods, we tried the Artisanal Vegan Cheese plate, and, Oh My God! It was good. It was actually served by the “Cheese Man,” who explained each cheese. We also had the Jackfruit Crab Cakes again, and they were good too. We couldn’t finish it all, so we took home the leftover cheese and I had it for lunch the next day. It was even better, probably because I didn’t have the gustatory distraction of the spicy sauce on the jackfruit cakes. I was happy to find out that they sell it in the store (I’d never even visited the cheese section), and I can’t wait to pick some up.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods 2We also had a chance to introduce some friends to Native Food. I tried a new menu item, the Crispy Chicken and Avocado Club, forgoing my favorites, either the Bistro Steak Sandwich or the Greek Gyro Bowl. It was okay, but I’ll return to my faves on my next visit. Our friends enjoyed their meal too, which always makes me happy. I love when non-vegans learn how delicious cruelty-free can be!

Native FoodsAnd Finally…Christmas

Alan and I actually had three Christmas celebrations, one with each side of the family, then our own on Christmas morning. But, as promised, I won’t get too wordy. Just a lot of pictures (and maybe a little explanation here and there).

MinervaWe took the same friends for their first visit to Minerva Street, the desert’s version of Candy Cane Lane. Even though the youngest “child” was 18, they all loved it! So did I!

DebbieOur very nice neighbors brought us a huge gift basket. Obviously they don’t know us very well (yet), but it was a great bring-along to our family Christmas.

Gift BasketOur first Christmas, in Huntington Beach with Alan’s son and his family. The grandsons scored!

Watkins

Watkins 2

ElvisWe traveled home on Christmas Eve. My migraine finally cleared enough so that I could at least decorate the tree. We didn’t actually put any presents under it though, what with our little terror, er, terrier, Johnny B. Goode, being such a chewer. At least he didn’t eat the tree. Maybe because it was blessed by Elvis.

Alan_LilyJust because Santa didn’t bring a blender doesn’t mean I didn’t get exactly what I wanted. Now I’ll have to have some fancy adventures on the run that are GoPro-worthy.

Go Pro

NathanMy son Nathan and my beautiful daughter-in-law Sarah. I’d even say she was glowing…

ChristmasMy youngest son David and his girlfriend Melissa. Awake and smiling here but both were recovering a bit from a Christmas Eve celebration the night before.

DavidMy niece Brynne, who was there with her boyfriend Eric and his son Zach.

Brynne

SarahThere was some fancy underwear.

SamuelI guess Samuel doesn’t quite know what to do with his yet.

Samuel 2I distinctly heard Samuel, son of Paleo parents, say “yum” after he took a bite of the vegan turkey roast. He looks pretty handsome in his new robe, doesn’t he?

So that was my week. Got it done in less than 1,000 words. How was your holiday?

Favorites: Yoga, Candles, Vegan Wellington & Turkey Trotting!

Wow! It’s Friday again! The weeks are flying by, the holidays are looming, and I haven’t prepared my Holiday Wishlist Gift List. Remember when you were a kid and the last weeks before Christmas seemed to last forever? Not anymore!  While I never have been one of those people who have their shopping done in November, I’m hoping to at least get my list done soon. I don’t want to be always be running around at the last minute.  In the meantime, I compiled a list of some of my favorites that I want to share with you.

Old Town La Quinta Turkey Trot

Delray_turkey_trot_logo 2There is no better way to start off Thanksgiving Day than with a Turkey Trot 5k. My husband is the director of our local race, the Old Town La Quinta Turkey Trot, which is celebrating its 16th anniversary. If you’re visiting or live nearby, we’d love to see you out there. If you can’t make it to our race, I’m sure you can find one closer to your home.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Thanksgiving Wellington

WellingtonSpeaking of Thanksgiving, there is still time to order your Thanksgiving Wellington from Native Foods! I always choose to give turkeys something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving, and this delicious, plant-based puff pastry filled with seasoned seitan, yams, stuffing, and kale will make everyone happy.

 

 

 

 

Yoga Central is going Global!

Yoga CentralEven though I’m not the most consistent yogi, one thing has never changed: my love for my favorite yoga studio, Yoga Central in La Quinta. It is owned by my friend April, and she, along with her staff, are the most amazing instructors! Now, the classes at Yoga Central are available 24 hours a day in the comfort of your own home through Yoga30!  Here’s how you can get access to my favorite studio and teacher: Got to Yoga30 and select either Yoga Central as your referring studio or April Jones as your referring teacher. By doing this you are affiliating yourself with Yoga Central, but you are free to choose any class or teacher on the site.

Prices:
$5 Day Pass
$14 Monthly Unlimited (costs less than one drop-in fee at any studio!)
$71 Six Month Unlimited Pass
$134 Annual Unlimited Pass
There is a 7-day free trial offer available on the Yoga30 site. Because this is so new, there are currently three classes available from Yoga Central, but more are coming soon, including an all-level Vinyasa, Gentle Flow, and a Hips/Hamstrings mini class.

 

Old Factory Candles

Old Factory CandlesI recently received a gift set of Old Factory Candles to try out and review. These candles are sold exclusively on Amazon.com. They are all hand-poured in the US with natural soy wax, hand trimmed cotton wicks, and premium fragrance oils. Each gift set comes with three themed scented candles that burn 20 hours. I chose to try Spa Day because I love the scents of lemongrass, cucumber, and green tea.

I love these candles. They smell so good and last forever. I can close my eyes and feel like I’m really in a spa (aside from my dogs barking at every movement). There are a lot of scents to choose from including Fall Harvest, with Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry and Autumn Leaves, Vacation which comes with Sea Breeze, Hawaiian Lei, and Awapuhi, and many others. A gift pack of three 20-hour candles costs $25 and they are eligible for Amazon Prime.

 

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Will you run a turkey trot? What is your favorite candle scent?