I'm Melting...

I tried to do a thirty day cleanse. I gave up after about ten days and two blogger events. I'm going to file my attempt under What the Heck Was I Thinking? I had hoped to get going on some serious working out, but an injury that I thought was just a pulled muscle that needed a little time is actually something a little more serious. Some days, it actually hurts to walk. After some stretching and pulling and more stretching, I'm better, but still not back to normal. But the walks have been paying off, both physically and mentally.

Going with the good old-fashioned notion of "Calories in, calories out," I began eating greener, low calorie meals. I thought I was going to be *bummed* about not eating all the rich foods I had become accustomed to. Truth is, my body seemed to rejoice in my return to kale and kidney beans. I've had a clearer head and happier heart.

So now I'm back down a full inch on my hiney. It's the only area I'm measuring regularly because it's the best indicator (for me) of losing weight. I have two more inches before I get back down to my pre-Austin-BBQ-binge. Staying active and keeping my calories down will get me there...

but I know I'll still have that little pooch.

I have an area of flibbity flab right above my c-section scar. The scar is practically invisible, but the pooch above it is not. Even at my best, that little area of flabbiness sticks around. It's always a bummer slipping into a sexy little dress and seeing that area just... there.

So once I lose the final pounds and firm my hiney back up, I'm considering melting the flabby belly leftovers with Cool Sculpting by Zeltiq. Check out this news story on the first doctor to do the procedure.

Now I want a popsicle.

Anyway...

On average, people who have undergone treatment see a 20% reduction of fat in the treated area after one visit. You can lose even more with additional appointments, if you and your doctor deem necessary. Where does the frozen fat go? The fat cells "melt" and are naturally eliminated from your body over the following few months. It’s totally non-invasive, FDA-cleared, and there’s usually no downtime whatsoever — unless you count reading a book or checking email during your appointment as downtime.

How cool is that?

For a chance to win a treatment from Cool Sculpting by Zeltiq, check out the contest that's up on the Cool Sculpting page on Facebook.

*This is a sponsored post*

Bye Bye Puffy Eyes

This is no secret... I love my lash extensions!! But sometimes, they are eclipsed by my puffy eyes. Luckily, the same company that makes my lash extensions also makes a great product to take care of the puffiness. Xtreme Lashes has a full line of eye products, including my newest favorite product for the peepers, the Hydrating Under Eye Gel Patches. How well do these patches work? Check out these pictures from the other morning:

Here I am, bright and early. Ain't I a beauty?

Clearly, I have no shame.

Anyway...

These soft patches are self-adhesive and fit comfortably under the eyes. They don't lift, so once they are on, you can go about the rest of your morning routine. This particular morning, I put my hydrating under eye gel pads on and drove to meet a friend for coffee.

By the time I got to the cafe thirty minutes later, I had avoided many strange looks from people in other cars stopped at red lights next to me, AND... my eyes looked like this:

MUCH better!

Thanks to the lovely team at @XtremeLashes for providing my breakfast guests in Austin with these Hydrating Under Eye Gel Pads as part of our SxSW Survival Kit. They were much appreciated!

The Lash Boutique

Congratulations to my good friend, Jana, aka The Brow Whisperer! Last week, we celebrated the Grand Opening of her new digs, The Lash Boutique. Jana is an aesthetician that specializes in brow and lash treatments. Under her skillful hand, unruly brows and barely there lashes come back to life.

When I first met Jana, she kindly informed me that she would be taking care of my brows and for me to stop plucking them. Apparently, my personal grooming of my brows had greatly offended her aesthetic. I thought I was doing a decent job, but figured she knew better than I. After two weeks of letting them grow back in (and looking like a distant cousin of Chubaca), I visited her for my first brow consultation. Later, she applied permanent brows (inking) and then came the lash extensions.

I have never looked back.

I love waking up and leaving the house without needing to do  more than apply a moisturizer with SPF and a little gloss. I also like not having my makeup run when I go swimming in the ocean. Yes, I'm vain... but I'm also lazy pressed for time.

From her new location at The Lash Boutique in San Diego, Jana will continue to do her magic, and will now begin training technicians to create luscious lashes for others. Besides the Brow Whispering and Lashings, Jana has a full menu of services from massages to microdermabrasion. She's good at what she does, but more than that, she is just a wonderful person to be around. A visit to her lair always includes chats about life, love, and the messes in between. She is as wise as she is talented.

Congratulations on the new venture, Jana!!

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Here are some pictures of the Grand Opening. There were demonstrations, mini seminars, and munchies and wine, of course. Everyone had a great time, learned a bit, and had their fill of delectable treats. It was a wonderful way to celebrate a new beginning.

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Fresh from the Garden

One of the fabulous experiences we had at Rancho La Puerta was to enjoy a hands-on cooking class at La Cocina que Canta (The Kitchen That Sings) with visiting chef, Robin Asbell. Under Robin's watchful eye and with the help of the staff of La Cocina, our group prepared a wonderful pescetarian meal. (Pescatarian = vegetarian with some fish added in for those of us that are too chicken *pun intended* to go full veggie.)

The veggies were straight from the organic garden behind La Cocina. In it are vegetables that grow according to seasons and without any pesticides. Flowers bloom throughout to attract bugs and pests away from the veggies.

Lead by Salvador, the Guardian of the Garden, we picked all the veggies and herbs we needed for our lunch.

I was so proud of the leek I pulled. I'm a dork. Sue me.

We also got to sample some jujubees fresh from the tree. Didn't even know there were jujubees!

The salmon we served was wild, not farm raised. No, we did not go to Alaska and fish it out ourselves.

Once inside, we set about to chopping, shredding, cutting, slicing, boiling, whisking, stirring... and singing! We had lively music playing the whole time we prepared our meal, and with our group, it wasn't long before we were belting out Besame Mucho! It is the Kitchen That Sings, after all!

Kari and Nancy chopping away.

Kale, kale, we all love kale... right?

Caron giving an onion chopping lesson.

We all had our own stations. Some people made dessert. Others made the soup. There were a few salads and a goat cheese gnocchi that I am still dreaming about. (Oh my GOD, that gnocchi was good!!!)

The part of the meal that I prepared was really a meal in itself. Most of the time was spent in the preparation and making of the dressing, believe it or not. The rest was done in just minutes.

Looks good, right? Well, I can't just show you the deliciousness and not share. Here's the recipe, care of chef Robin Asbell:

Light Tuscan Bean and Kale Salad with Broiled Salmon and Gorgonzola Bruschetta

SALAD:

Light, flavorful balsamic dressing is made low-fat by using vegetable stock as a base in this recipe. Just a touch of flavorful olive oil and crunchy kale give these creamy beans all the flavor of Tuscany.

3/4 cup Vegetable Stock 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt to taste 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1/4 balsamic vinegar 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 bunch kale, stems removed 1 15oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1 15oz can navy beans, rinsed and drained 1 large beefsteak tomato, diced

SALMON:

1 lb salmon fillet, skinned and boned 1 large lemon, zested 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil Coarse salt and cracked black pepper

BRUSCHETTA:

Baguette bread, sliced in 1/2" pieces 1/2 cup fresh basil 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 1 pinch kosher salt 1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola

1: Put large pot of water on to boil and add the kale. 2. In a small saucepan, combine stock, cornstarch, sugar, salt, rosemary, and garlic. Stirring CONSTANTLY, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently until thickened. Add vinegar, pepper flakes, and oil. Simmer briefly and remove. Place in fridge to cool. 3. Remove kale when done. Drain and spread on clean dish towel. Roll dish towel and squeeze to remove excess water from the leaves. Remove and then coarsely chop the kale. 4. Rinse and drain beans, then place them on a clean dish towel to dry thoroughly. Put beans in a bowl and gently toss with the kale and dressing. Set aside and get to work on salmon and bruschetta. 5. Preheat the broiler to 350. 6. For salmon, cut into four portions, rub with oil, and sprinkle with lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Broil until cooked, 3-6 minutes depending on thickness. 7. For bruschetta, place slices on sheet pan. Chop basil finely and mix with olive oil in a small bowl. On each slice of bread, portion basil and gorgonzola on top. Broil for just a minute, watching carefully to just melt the cheese.

Next time you come over, I am totally making this for you!!

Buy Robin's book, The New Vegetarian. I did!!

Thanks again to Rancho La Puerta for hosting me for a memorable week in the Garden of Eden just south of the border. I will never forget it!!

Thanks to Vixen for making my fun apron!! She has lots more where that one came from. Check out her on-line shop, Apron Frenzy. (Yes, I paid for the apron.)

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