Make 2019 Your Year

January brings with it this rush of optimism and motivation. That “new year, new me” mentality. Whatever we let fall to the wayside last year and the year before that and the year before that (working out and nutrition being top of most lists) we resolve to be better at this year.

But it’s this repetitive pattern that happens every, single, year. (Don’t tell me it doesn’t - the gyms and fitness studios are packed until about January 21. You can’t find a riced vegetable or spiralized noodle at Trader Joe’s until at least February. Then it’s like there’s this surplus of cauliflower rice and open treadmills.) And don’t even get me started on the apparent lack of celery everywhere because someone on Instagram said juicing straight celery will make you skinny. (It won’t, and also, gross. Just eat a piece of celery, it feels much easier. Dip it in hummus for me too pls.)

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You go into it with the best of intentions. The best possible intentions. You’re going to be your fittest, healthiest, glow-iest, happiest self this year.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. 21 days of repeating the same behavior until it feels like it begins to stick.

21 days is actually a long time.

That’s 3 straight weeks of being ‘on the wagon’, and in January, on the wagon seems like it is incredibly restrictive for most people, with a lot of rules and regulations. What I’m getting at is, you make it so strict that you make one wrong turn, and you’re f*cked. We’re setting ourselves up to fail.

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So be done with all that.

No rules. No restrictions. No black and white. Live in the gray. Or is it grey? Or is it Meredith Grey?

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3 Ways to Make 2019 Your Year

  • Don’t try to force fit anything, especially nutrition. I went vegan leading up to the wedding. It worked for me… until it didn’t. I had every intention of keeping it to the short term. Fish was never off the table (I live for it) and I love eggs and avocado toast and grilled chicken and oh yeah, the occasional filet and burger. There are days I crave more plants and there are days I crave a straight up steak. Be cool with both. I try to eat better more times a week than I indulge. That feels like a balance I can maintain.

  • Own your sh*t and stop making excuses. If you know that you’re not a morning person and that getting up to workout first thing is hard for you, you probably shouldn’t try to reinvent your mornings or yourself just because it’s January of a new year. Exercise after work or at lunchtime if you have a spare hour. If you’re someone that likes to go to bed at 9:30pm (oh, hello), and would rather have a glass of wine or unwind at home in the evenings, don’t think you’re suddenly going to become a regular at a 7pm bootcamp class. So don’t make excuses for why you can’t find 30 minutes to exercise. Just make it work for you and your life. Need to switch it up? Bay Club has a whole new line-up of classes. Pure Cardio and Harder Core Abs are already a favorite. Join me? (Seriously.)

  • Don’t live in extremes. Sober January? If that works for you, awesome. It doesn’t for me. I love good wine (I have absurdly expensive taste, sue me) and I love a cocktail. Telling myself I can’t have something for 31 days only makes me want it that much more. Health is a lifestyle. Meaning there is no room for restriction and deprivation that feels like punishment and is only going to work in the short-term. So you went a little overboard on booze, sweets and heavy food over the holidays. Spoiler: WE ALL DID, it’s the holidays. ‘Tis the season’ is a phrase for a reason. So in January, rather than cut everything but leafy greens out of your diet completely, just tone it down. Or ramp back up. Didn’t exercise once in December? You don’t need to workout 2x a day in January to make up for it, I promise it will make no difference except to completely burn you out for the rest of the year. Aim for what you can actually accomplish - 4-5 workouts a week of varying exercise feels like a good number - and if you exceed it? Even better.

So here’s what I’m committing to:

  • 1x run per week (5 miles or 45 minutes, whichever comes first)

  • Long walks + hikes on the weekends. I’m someone that needs to move daily.

How will you make 2019 work for you?

Oh, hello 2019.

Well, it’s here. Or it’s, been here for a solid week now.

What’s up 2019.

If you look at your social feeds or any digital publication, it appears that 2018 was either 1) terrific or 2) horrible for… just about everyone.

We all ‘can’t wait for 2019’ so we can ‘change everything about ourselves and our lives’.

HA. Screw that.

In any span of 365 days, there are bound to be really high highs, and very low lows.

Good things happen, but bad things happen too.

It’s this thing called life.

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2018 was a helluva year in this neck of the woods - Hubs got his Masters Degree in Business Analytics (while working - it was terrible for both of us, 1/10, don’t recommend), I started a new job at an amazing company working in Brand Publishing, we planned our dream wedding and got MARRIED then immediately spent 14 glorious days in Hawaii, and we started house-hunting for a home in San Francisco or Marin (which is less than fun).

See? In one paragraph, the best (Wedding! Honeymoon! New job!) and worst (Masters degree while working full time! House hunting in the most expensive real estate market in the county!) parts of the year.

Honestly though, I wouldn’t change a thing. (Well, maybe the total Type-A psychopath I turned into for 48 hours pre-wedding. Logistics and details man. They’re a b*tch.)

That said, a new year is a fresh start. So rather than change everything, here are things I resolve to do.

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There’s not much I’d like to change (except for the WE ARE CURRENTLY DOG-LESS part), but rather things I’d like to maintain and keep going.

  1. Maintain My Walking + Yoga Practice. I walked A LOT in 2018, My goal for 2019 is to keep walking all year long but also add in 1-2x runs a week in the interest of time on weekdays and also to challenge my cardiovascular endurance and hit that runner’s high. Leading up to the wedding, I practiced yoga a couple times a week and it helped me calm the f*ck down, destress, and get some of my crazy out. I’m a (very) tightly wound individual and a bit of a perfectionist (by bit I mean TOTAL) and a hot, sweaty yoga class 2x a week helps me chill. I have a very hard time sitting still, so if I can move, while finding stillness? All the better.

  2. Close On A New Home. We started house/flat/condo hunting at the end of 2018 and put in an offer (at asking) on a ridiculous condo we fell in love with, only to have it shopped around, countered, and then rejected when we wouldn’t budge on a parking spot (um, sorry it’s a non-negotiable). To more inventory, absurdly high prices, and finally closing on a home in 2019!

  3. Get. Dog. Does this need an explanation? The second we close on a home, we pick up the pooch.

  4. Travel + Explore. Hubs and I love to travel, and we’re lucky to work for a company that allows us unlimited vacation and two company wide shutdowns a year. I want to keep traveling to new (and return) destinations, and keep exploring California as much as we can with vacations, weekend jaunts or spontaneous day trips.

  5. Keep It Simple. When it comes to everything. I’ve gotten better at not overcomplicating every last thing, simplifying my food/recipes, my wardrobe, and our apartment (total purge recently and it feels so good). Rather than set lofty goals that aren’t realistic for example, we’ve resolved to cook one new recipe a week. It feels attainable and bonus, that means leftovers the next night. Done and done.

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***Bonus Resolutions: Drink the good wine, light the pricey candles, wear the fancy clothes. Because life’s too short to save things for special occasions.

What are you resolving to do this year?





Excuse me while I cry watching Fixer Upper.

In life, we apparently hit milestones.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes trying to buy a flat or house in the obscenely expensive Bay Area . Yes, this is all before the baby in the baby carriage. Because if you don’t, you have no where to put said tiny human.

If you aren’t familiar with the Bay Area housing market (specifically San Francisco and Marin County), let me fill you in:

  • SF is the most expensive housing market in the country (yep, more than NYC)

  • Median rent in SF is $3,475

  • Median house price is $1,500,000 (12% year-over-year increase)

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WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE (and house hunting).

Hubs and I have (luckily) lived in a very rent-controlled apartment, in (in my opinion), one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city for the last 8 years. We’re a block from the water, and the Golden Gate Bridge is essentially our “backyard”. (You get what I’m saying).

It’s something I entirely take for granted while constantly bitching about how tiny our actual home is.

Seriously - we’ve shared 600 square-feet of space for almost a decade.

SANS DISHWASHER AND WASHER/DRYER IN UNIT.

I’ll accept our prize for couple-of-the-year(s) now please. Thx.

Recently, we’ve started planning to start a family. Only you can’t fit a large stuffed animal in 600-square feet of space with two adults and all the shit that comes with them… much less a baby and all the shit that comes with them.

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Just when you feel like you’re making good money and are actual adults, you get knocked upside the head with a 1200-square foot condo listing that’s going for OVER A MILLION AND A HALF DOLLARS.

But yet, the hunt is on. I also cannot BELIEVE I’m saying this but I’ve recently come to the realization that it’s not so much San Francisco I detest, but rather the impossibly small amount of space we live in. So we’re looking in both the city and Marin County. In very specific, and highly desirable areas that make this hunt even more (read: less) fun.

Sometimes we watch Fixer Upper after an afternoon of open houses. Most times I over-dramatically weep. Every time I ask how Chip and Joanna finagle a bathroom renovation for $3K. THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE.

(Also if you’re reading this Chip and JoJo and want to do a fixer-upper in the Bay Area, we’re available entirely on your schedule/timeframe. Slide into my DMs.)

Something I’ve learned re: house hunting? Aside from EVERYTHING? That it’s really fun to scour Zillow. It’s less fun when you read the disclosures and realize there is literally no perfect home, or that HOA’s are approx $1K a month or the house’s foundation is sliding down a hill in Mill Valley or that a flat in SF hasn’t been seismically retrofitted.

SUPER FUN ADULT THINGS. Yay.

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House Hunters is a lie. Open floor-plans with large back yards for <$1M are a lie.

Even more fun is the whole mortgage/lender thing. When you have to pull together every financial document from the past couple of years to get pre-approved for a mortgage and then go through under-writing so you can waive all your contingencies just to submit an offer when some 23-year-old techie will likely roll in with a briefcase full of cash and swipe your dream house that you can “totally see yourselves hosting Christmas and Thanksgiving in” right from under you and you realize you’re probably going to have to move to somewhere winter exists to be able to actually close on a house.

HONESTLY THAT’S NOT EVEN ME BEING (THAT) DRAMATIC.

But I promise we’re having fun with it. It’s also been a real eye-opener thinking about the reality of increasing our monthly expenses x3 and actually sticking to a budget.

(Which, for a house, I will cut ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING/EXPENSES FOR SO HELP ME GOD).

What ya think - rent, buy, squat?

5 Ways To Make Wedding Planning Actually Enjoyable

When it comes to wedding planning… well it can easily turn into a total shitshow.

Seriously.

There’s a billion things to keep track of and then a billion people have a billion opinions and pieces of advice for you until it feels like your brain is going to explode into a billion pieces.

Aside from feeling like an actual insane person for about 72 hours pre-wedding, every single thing about our weekend went perfectly. (I can say that now that there is no risk of jinxing it.)

SERIOUSLY.

We started early, surrounded ourselves with the very best and beyond capable team of professionals, and at the end of the day knew that as long as there was booze, food and music it was all going to end up just fine.

5 Ways To Make Wedding Planning Actually Enjoyable

  1. Do the heavy lifting way, way in advance. We got engaged right before Christmas and had a Google Doc started of a tentative guest list, list of venues + costs, potential photographers, planners and florists by December 26. Seriously. By New Year’s Day we’d booked our venue(s). It takes the stress out of the BIG decisions.

  2. Build an army of superior professionals to handle everything. My parents will, to this day, say that our wedding planner Camille from Dream A Little Dream Events was the best thing to ever happen to our wedding. She was (is!) spectacular. She handled everything, reminded us constantly of the things we didn’t know and frankly the entire reason the day was so successful is because of her. Add to that an amazing photographer in Claire from Tia and Claire Studio, floral designer Susan Barton of Fantasy Florals and Notorious as our band and we really didn’t have to worry about… much of anything.

3. It’s OK to not have the most Pinterest-worthy wedding stationary ever. Something you learn planning a wedding? That paper is f*cking expensive. And you order a lot of paper related things - Save the Dates, Invites, Table Numbers, Escort Cards, Menu Cards, Thank You Notes, Rehearsal Dinner Invites. Planners often have promo codes to use (which we took full advantage of) and I was just fine with the fact that that we didn’t have hand-written calligraphy on an envelope most people toss in the trash the second it arrives. Also Minted.com arrives REAL QUICK. Pro Tip: Spend the extra $$ to have your envelopes pre-addressed. Save yourselves the hand cramps and potential carpal tunnel.

4. Do what you want. With something as ‘traditional’ as a wedding, everyone has an opinion on the way ‘etiquette states’ you should do things. Screw that. It’s your day. It’s your wedding. Do things exactly as you want to do them. Want to walk down the aisle with your mom and dad? I did. Don’t want the traditional processional music? Play the Beatles, ‘Here Comes the Sun’ instead. Make it meaningful and personal to you and your spouse-to-be.

5. EAT THE FOOD AND THE CAKE. No one wants a sloppy drunk bride. Take a few bites of food in between ripping tequila shots or delicately sipping champagne. Another thing that costs an obscene amount? WEDDING CAKES. I don’t even like cake. But our wedding cake from Branching Out Cakes was terrific. Vanilla Bean Cake with chocolate mousse and a vanilla buttercream. I had two slices. And I’m so happy I did. (We absolutely did not freeze a slice to eat on our Anniversary. I do not want a year-old dessert thank you very much.)

BONUS: Enjoy every single solitary second. Soak it ALL in. It’s the one time in your life that everyone who matters most to you (save for those who sent regrets and couldn’t attend - we still love you) are in one place FOR YOU. Hug everyone. Take as much time at table visits as you want. Dance your freaking face off. Make sure you take time to check in with your new spouse and take moments together - we were together most of the wedding and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Best and worst parts of wedding planning? TELL ME.

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On Marriage

Hey folks, been a while. In the spirit of full transparency the last month or two has been a total whirlwind.

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We got married.

We went on a two-week honeymoon to Hawaii.

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We got back. Re-entered reality/society/work.

And now I feel like things are finally slowing down (a little/temporarily before the holidays).

I want to post more - and just kind of ramble and babble on.

Kind of like an online journal? A couple times a week. That cool? Guess what, if it’s not, just click that cute little red circle at the top left corner of your browser. This is my website. I am the captain now.

We’ve been married about 6ish weeks. But prior to the big day, had been together for 10+ years. It’s funny because everyone tells you, “Nothing changes, but everything changes.” I had my own views on that (read: I disagreed that anything would change at all), but then the wedding and the wedding weekend happened.

And I totally get it now.

It’s like nothing tangible changes.

Life goes on as usual.

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We still live in the world’s tiniest (but rent-controlled!) apartment.

We still go about our routines.

I still wake up absurdly early to walk every day.

We still hand wash dishes every single night (and morning and afternoon…)

We aren’t Lottery or PowerBall winners.

We still don’t have a dog.

But there’s this ‘feeling’ that changed.

It’s hard to describe it and I didn’t fully understand it until we went through it last month.

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It’s this feeling of contentment, of being “in it” together that I don’t think I fully grasped until we said our vows in front of all of our closest family and friends. It’s this notion of solidity. It’s this feeling of longevity that even dating for 10+ years didn’t afford us. It’s the mutual decision to enter into that lifelong commitment that changes things. For the (way, way, way) better.

Like I look at him and it’s like this entire future opens up. Family, house, dog, adventures, LIFE.

Well, wow. That got deep.

TL/DR? Marriage is awesome. I’ve loved every second of every day of it and I’m looking forward to the next 100 years of it (since you know we’re living to 130+ years old.)

And I’m also pretty darn happy to never have to use the word fiancé again! (SO SNOOTY!)

What I've Learned as a (Sakara Life) Vegan for 30 Days

Well folks, this 'mostly' vegan/plant-based thing has officially grown legs and taken on a life of it's own. Honestly it's ALL thanks to Sakara. I cannot say enough good things. (Also if you're interested click here to browse next week's menu). The end of this post has a discount code for you on your first order.

I honest-to-goodness never thought this would be a 'thing', and never imaged just how good I would feel (and frankly, LOOK).

I started eating 'mostly' vegan the last week of July. Over my Bachelorette weekend the first weekend in August, I had animal protein Friday and Saturday. Since then, I've had fish (tacos) exactly twice. It's been plants, grains, beans, nuts and seeds ever since.

A few things started happening when I shifted to a mostly vegan, and even more predominantly whole-food based diet.

The last 5-8 lbs? MELTED OFF. I didn't even realized I had them to lose. I was hovering at a certain weight all summer (still down ~12 lbs from my starting weight in early April) and was kind of like huh, I guess this is where my bod wants to be. Bless up, I'm good with it.

Then I swapped out land animals. And it literally just disappeared.

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My belly is flatter than it's ever been. My hips are narrow. My bum is lifted and tight. I can walk 4 miles in an hour. I've never felt stronger in yoga. I actually ENJOY yoga. 

I know. WHO THE F HAVE I BECOME?

It's to the point that even after two glasses of wine (also going vegan makes you even more of a lightweight so bless up for being a cheap date and having the justification to order the most expensive 2 glasses of wine on the menu) I still order the vegan option. Seriously, I was 2 glasses of Oregon Pinot in the other night and for my entree? Quinoa, arugula, avocado, pepita salad. Appetizer? Crudites and hummus. DIDN'T EVEN FLINCH.

It's tough to explain without sounding all hippy-dippy but I just feel LIGHTER all over. I don't bloat. I don't have gas. My skin freaking glows. They've had it right all along.

But my biggest take-aways? Glad you asked. 

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Got 'em.

1) You can be a good vegan or a bad vegan

I tried the whole vegan lifestyle a few years back and I felt... awful. Literally night-and-day to the way I've felt the last month on Sakara. Why? I was doing it all wrong. Pasta, chips, breads, crackers, "vegan" cookies. French fries are vegan! This time around I've focused on whole, plant based foods,  gluten-free grains, wraps and bread, and plenty of healthy fats to keep my energy up. The difference is absolutely astounding - mentally and physically.

I also love that Sakara varies the food and nutrients and superfoods they serve. In any given week, you’re getting the full array of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. (No more boring AF kale and quinoa salads). Every color veggie reflects a different set of phytonutrients, so by eating them all, you’re actually ensuring that you’re getting all different types. I.E red plants like tomatoes, watermelon and strawberries tend to contain phytonutrients like lycopene, Vitamin C and anthocyanin. Yellow produce has beta carotene, Vitamin A and alpha carotene. And green plants contain phytonutrients like chlorophyll, iron, magnesium and Vitamin K. HOT BOD TIME.

2) You don't need to feel "OMG so full" every time you eat

Sakara doesn't count calories. Why? A few reasons actually.

  • Your microbiome (that 6 pounds of bacteria living in your gut!) is a huge determining factor as to how many calories you will absorb from your food. Want it to be healthy? Eat a lot of plants. They're nutrient dense but not calorically.
  • Restricting calories is a stressor. When your body is stressed and believes it is starving, it wants to hold on to fat. By eating more of the right foods, you tell your body it’s okay to burn fat.
  • Nutrient dense foods are often sacrificed when people restrict calories. Their salad dressings are some of the highest nutrient content of any food. They’re also high in calories. WE NEED CALORIES TO STAY ALIVE. Without proper nutrients, your body won’t efficiently burn fat or build muscle. It’s food quality and composition that matter, not volume

I love to eat. So, so much. That said, I routinely over-served myself and would leave meals feeling so full and just, tired. Then I read The Beauty Detox Solution (literally because I read a magazine while getting a manicure and Kate Mara said it inspired her to go full-on vegan. I also love to read.) I learned that the reason we feel exhausted after a big meal is because our bodies are literally expending that much more energy trying to breakdown and digest heavy animal proteins, or inflammatory causing foods. Think about it - you eat a salad and you have energy for days. You eat Thanksgiving dinner and you take a nap. Not a coincidence. I've learned to eat until I feel satisfied, not stuffed.

3) It's OK to be hungry

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The body is incredibly intelligent and intuitive. It knows when it needs more or less of certain nutrients, it knows how to tell you when it’s thirsty, hungry or sleepy. It’s in tune with every action and reaction from a cellular level all the way up to the mechanical level. Body intelligence is about building a body you can listen to.

Historically (until like a month ago let's be real), every time I had a hunger pang, I'd pop an RX Bar or start munching on chips, crackers, etc. It's okay for your body to feel a little hungry. Between dinner and breakfast you should actually allow 12 full hours for your body to optimally detoxify and fully digest. The body uses a lot of energy to detoxify, but it also uses a lot energy to digest food. When your body is not busy digesting food, it can focus its energy on eliminating toxins and healing.

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4) You don't have to kill yourself at the gym or in class to see results.

I walk an hour a day. No exceptions. I feel fantastic, I get outside, I listen to an audio book or music, or spend time catching up with a friend or on the phone with my mom. I also do Hot Power Yoga 2x a week to sweat, detoxify, stretch, and workout my mind. Weird, I'm incredibly high-strung and try as I might to resist it, yoga actually helps me. 

When I was doubling at spin class or going all-out at bootcamp, I was starving all the time and eating way more than I needed to, stressed out mentally and physically, tired constantly, and not seeing near the aesthetic results I am now. Not to mention it's EXPENSIVE.

But so is health. Sakara isn't cheap but it's full of organic, great-for-you ingredients and foods that also aren't inexpensive to source. It's also portioned out, thoughtfully prepared, and delivered straight to your door 3x a week. CONVENIENCE, no decision fatigue AND abs that miraculously show up out of no where? 

The (mostly) vegans had it right all along.

Click here to shop Sakara. Use REF_KRISTINE15 for 15% off your first order.

The Ultimate Bachelorette - Wine Country

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Recently, my girlfriends planned the ULTIMATE weekend - my Bachelorette. (In case you're wondering we get married in exactly 31 days.)

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They asked me what I wanted and I instantly replied with, "Good food, wine, sunshine, rounding it out with time at the spa and the pool." 

Wine country was a no brainer. We live ~90 minutes from some of the best wineries, restaurants and spas... basically ever.

I should also mention I run with a crowd that knows a thing or two about where to eat, where to taste, and what to do basically wherever they go. The standard is set very high and they never disappoint. 

So without further ado, I bring to you, How to Wine Country Like a GD Queen.

Accommodations

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There's a ton of options. Hotels, AirBnBs, Resort & Spas, etc. We opted for my favorite spot in Calistoga - we had a two-bedroom cottage and it was perfect.

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Indian Springs Resort and Spa - natural hot springs pool, mud baths (not for the faint of heart but dang I was into it), a great restaurant for food and a patio for cocktails, and walking distance to downtown Calistoga.

Alternatively...

Solage - one of my favorites. The casitas are adorable, the spa treatments are amazing and SolBar (their restaurant) has some of my favorite food, wine and cocktails. Bonus: the frosé they serve poolside is TO DIE FOR.

Wineries

Skip the touristy spots and go straight to the good wine.

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Frank FamilyOne of my favorite wines. I love their reds (their Reserve Cab is only available at the winery) and I LOVE their tastings. The patio is stunning, so relaxing and Bristol, the resident Chocolate Lab is very friendly.

Rombauer - My favorite Chard of ALL TIME. Their reds are also excellent. Frankly so is the Sauv B.

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Turnbull - Hadn't ever been and now it's the only place I want to go. Mostly reds but with a winery so gorgeous it looks like Restoration Hardware exploded. High, high ceiling, floor-to-ceiling windows and a gorgeous backyard/patio area with couches, tables, and plenty of space for lounging with several of your favorite tastes. Or bottles. Get the Black Label and lie it down for 5 years to age.

Paraduxx - Part of the Duckhorn family and one of my favorite spots to taste. The outdoor area is beautiful, the cheese/charcuterie plates are amazing, and I love their wines, Goldeneye Pinot and Migration Chards. 

Schramsberg Sparkling Cave Tour + TastingI'm not the biggest fan of bubbles but you get a LOT at this tasting (read: you're loaded by the end) and the tour is really, really informative and interesting. They have several million bottles of bubbly in their caves. 

Restaurants

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There are a million restaurants in Napa Valley and the surrounding areas. And they're (mostly) all terrific. Here are some favorites.

Farmsteadmy first time there and OMG it didn't disappoint. Besides being the absolute cutest spot (at Long Meadow Ranch), the cocktails and food are to-die-for. Starting with the Cheddar Biscuits and Honey Butter. The salads were fantastic. The Beef Tartare was amazing. Everything.

Mustard'sOne of my favorite spots to eat. It's classic, consistent, the food is great, and like the menu says, there are way, way too many wines.

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Oakville Grocery - The best for grab-and-go sandwiches to take with you to picnic at wineries, chips, snacks, and to-DIE-for pesto pasta 'salad'

SolbarAt Solage, great 'date' spot for dinner but also a great spot for poolside drinks, snacks, apps, and frosé

Sam's Social Club - At Indian Springs; they have a great bar and patio for cocktails, and a great brunch, lunch and dinner.

There are a TON of options in wine country, but if you want to narrow it down to Calistoga/St. Helena area, you can't go wrong here. 

Enjoy!

I tried Sakara Life for 2-days and I'm basically a Victoria's Secret model now

I've long been fascinated with Sakara Life. Their branding and aesthetic is beautiful, and the food always looks appealing. I love to eat plants. It's absurdly expensive. *All* the Victoria's Secret models do it. 

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I HAD TO TRY IT.

I'm on this major health kick pre-wedding, I've lost 11 lbs and several inches, and TBH I go through phases where meat totally grosses me out. (Never gonna give it up forever, hence the 'phase') Also I have a very expensive wedding dress I want to look hot AF in. And then 2 weeks in a bikini on our honeymoon.

So I went for it.

Wait, back up, what is Sakara?

The Sakara Life organic meal delivery program is based on a whole-food, plant-rich diet that includes fresh, nutrient-dense, and delicious ingredients.

TL/DR (but you're gonna wanna read it all): I was blown away. I've tried just about every meal delivery in the book and the food is typically underwhelming. Sakara was excellent. The greens were crisp, the portions were perfect, the sauces were delicious and the MUFFIN. OMG THE MUFFIN. I almost cried actual tears when that breakfast ended.

Their difference? 

IT'S FRESH. Within 48 hours of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients arriving at their kitchens, your meals are on their way to you, packed in eco-friendly cooler bags. (We use ours all the time)

CLEAN INGREDIENTS. Sakara sources all of their ingredients from trusted suppliers and organic farms that use healthy, sustainable agriculture practices.

MENUS MATTER. The meals are inspired by everything from the latest microbiome research to Michelin-starred restaurants in NYC, and combine expert nutritional design with sophisticated culinary technique. Literally I had an artichoke heart/coconut 'ceviche' that was better than most restaurants.

Before we jump into the (vegan) meat of it, it's worth your while to understand Sakara's 9 Pillars of Nutrition

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The Deal:

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You can choose how many days you're looking for (3 or 5) and all programs come ready-to-eat and include Detox Tea and Beauty + Detox Water Concentrates. I'm not a tea drinker and I was actually really into the Detox Tea. The chocolates are also a nice little dessert/treat. I obviously ate all of mine in one sitting. It's fine.

The Food:

The food is packed with flavor - I was never hungry. Some of my favorites?

Yoga Bunny Breakfast - it was this carrot, raisin and walnut 'muffin' with this insane turmeric pumpkin butter and some blueberries (I added extra blueberries because I am extra.) I heated mine up in a skillet and I loved every single bite. I SAVORED IT.

Youth and Beaty Salad  - so fresh, so much flavor. I was actually really into the lemony/citrusy dressing and the amount of 'crunch' (hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds) to sprinkle on top. The pomegranate seeds gave it a great amount of sweetness and the thinly sliced beets and carrots and cucumbers made it incredibly refreshing (this is coming from someone who hates beets and still ate them). 

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The Sakara Burger - yes it's your typical plant-based beet/grain burger but it was excellent. It was on this dense bread that heated up really well and came with a side salad. I reluctantly gave my mom a bite (I do not share food well) and she LOVED it. So being daughter-of-the-year, I gave her half. #favoritechild

Cooling Cashew Vermicelli w/ Pink Probiotic Dressing - This was absurd. I've never had kelp noodles before (spoiler: they're really good for you) and I heated this up like a stir-fry. It had veggies, this delicious creamy sauce, nuts, greens, and 'noodles'. LOVED.

Results:

This is what they promise you:

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All of the above is true. I understand our bodies fluctuate in weight quite a bit, but I also understand that in two days I lost 2.2 lbs (water weight, whatever, the number still went down on the scale), I had no bloat, I was very, ahem, 'regular', and combined with my Tata Harper skincare regimen and my summer tan, my skin was freaking GLOWING. 

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I also had no problem completing my daily power walks or my thrice-weekly Bar Method classes. And I'm an eater. This is a big deal. I actually posted this photo ON THE INTERNET after completing my Sakara two-day bender.

Do you know what it's like putting a photo of yourself, in a bathing suit on the internet? 

It's something you only do after a glass of Sauv B by the pool. (Which is exactly how this transpired.)

My key-takeaways?

Yes it's expensive. But so is organic food and high quality superfood supplements. You're also paying for convenience. But to do this every now and again is worth it. It instills a mindset and resets you. Or if you have a stressful period in your life coming up and you don't want to think about food (hello wedding planning + new job), it's a great way to take the work out of what you're eating for a few days.

Want a discount?

Check out Sakara's menu here. Use code REF_KRISTINE15

 

 

[The Wedding Bod] Part 2 - Diet

Need to catch up?

Check out Part 1, here.

It's all about exercise and the simple and low-intensity approach I'm taking to get wedding ready... and beyond. Pro tips too.

But it's never just one thing, right?

You've heard it before...

"You can't out-run a bad diet."

"Abs are made in the kitchen." 

"It's 80% diet, 20% exercise and genetics."

What's most annoying? IT'S ALL TRUE. Ugh.

I've experimented with it all.

Paleo. Gluten-free. Vegan. Dairy-free. All that horsesh*t.

In the spirit of full transparency, I was constantly bloated, eating too much of everything, spending too much money on everything, and believing every f*cking thing I read on the internet.

GAH. TO BE YOUNG.

And then you know what I *finally* did?

I LISTENED TO MY MOTHER.

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She told me to keep an eye on portions, and to eat any and everything I want. Including booze. (Drink responsibly kids.) Nix the crazy workouts that had me on the brink of exhaustion and building LOTS of unwanted muscle (sorry, not what I want aesthetically) and go for a head-clearing yet metabolism boosting walk complemented with barre or pilates to lengthen and stretch the muscle I do have while maintaining a healthy tone.

What a concept. What a cost-saver. What a SANITY CHECK.

It's been 10 weeks of this.

I started eating bread, cheese, pasta, wine, you name it on just about a daily basis. 

I've lost 11 POUNDS.

And I'll be incredibly real with you, the walking/barre helps, but it's ALL DIET.

Calories in, calories out friends.

You need to create a 3,500 calorie deficit to lose ONE POUND. That's a lot of excess calories. 

So how to get started?

Write down exactly what you eat, for a couple days. The serving sizes too.

Like me, you likely don't need to be eating that much. EVEN the 'good for you' stuff.

Actually weigh yourself.  We've never owned a scale. We got one.

The human body fluctuates like 4-5 lbs throughout the day. I think it's incredibly interesting to see how my weight can fluctuate (water, wine, salt, time of the month, etc) in a matter of hours and also how men can drop like 8 lbs overnight. (SERIOUSLY HOW?) 

It's an accountability tool and frankly, I geek out over the metrics and data.

Reality check?

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you don't need to eat an entire avocado with your scrambled eggs. 1/4 does the trick.

A serving size of peanut butter is 2T. That is a pathetic amount, I KNOW. Pretty sure I was dumping on double that any time I had my favorite food in the world.

Also, your favorite 200+ calorie protein bar? Again, if you're looking to lose weight, you don't need it while you sit at your desk all afternoon. Nosh on a hard-boiled egg or a few almonds instead. 

Watch your portions and your serving sizes (I don't when it comes to lean proteins, legumes, fruits or veggies as an FYI.)

A day in the life

Truth be told, my meals are pretty simple these days, and incredibly consistent. Once a week we go out for what I've dubbed, a 'sanity meal'. Or ANYTHING I DAMN WELL PLEASE. Like a burger, fries, a couple glasses of wine and some dessert. It's so freaking satisfying.

I made a joke on Instagram about how I eat the same breakfast every single weekday, and honestly, it's true. But it works. All those little "add-ons" truly do "add-on" excess calories that, for me to reach my aesthetic goals, I don't need.

So what's it look like?

Pre-workout:

[If needed] 1/2 Banana, 1t PB (just to break the fast and give me a little energy)

Breakfast:

WEEKDAYS: 0% Fage Greek Yogurt, 1c berries, 1/4c granola, cinnamon, drizzle of honey 

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WEEKENDS: Soft scrambled eggs, avocado toast with sea salt and red chili pepper flakes (bonus if it's on farmer's market sourdough bread which is my new thing to get), everything but the bagel seasoning

Lunch:

SALAD: 1/2c quinoa or rice, greens, lean protein, mix of veggies, 1/4 avocado + EVOO/red wine vinegar

OR

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SANDWICH: Turkey, spicy mustard, greens, Dubliner cheddar, avocado on a wrap, whole wheat bread or sourdough; always toasted or grilled! (If we have any veggies that need to be used up I'll add 'em too)

Apple

Snack:

Rice cake with 1T peanut butter and 1/2 banana

Dinner:

Sometimes a glass of wine.

Salmon Burgers with Jalapeno Peach Salsa

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Roasted Veggie, Protein, Grain Bowls

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Pizzas (with this insane homemade dough)

Spaghetti and Meatballs (with whole wheat pasta and freshly grated parmigiana)

Blackened Fish Tacos

Dessert:

Dark chocolate, always. We buy 100% cacao that is mixed only with vanilla bean and love it.

Post-Dinner:

Air popped popcorn, every night

That's really it. It's not super fancy, but it works frankly. I want to be my best self at our wedding and on our honeymoon. 

It's not cutting our food groups or over-emphasizing a particular macro-nutrient. It's not spending a fortune on boutique fitness classes.

It's creating a caloric deficit. It's moving my body every day for 45-60 minutes and toning 3x a week. 

3 months until I do.