DIY Zumba Top + Goji Berry Banana Smoothie


Nothing like dancing in the morning to put you in a happy mood for the rest of the day, right?


I have some new songs I’d like to learn how to lead, so I try to practice them every once in awhile when I have a free moment. I thought going over one this morning to wake up and get my blood flowing was a good idea. I think it was! I’m doing Break Your Heart by Taio Cruz. ;)


We need to do some serious grocery shopping, produce-wise. With a shortage of fruits in the house, I decided to make some energy bite oatmeal using an Energy Bite I had stowed away in the freezer.


Coffee + oatmeal



Other ingredients: 1/2 milk, 1/2 water, chia seeds, sliced almonds, flaxseed meal and Galaxy Granola (*).


So cozy, so perfect in the morning!

I got to WFH today, which means better than normal eats.




I made me and hubby Goji Berry Banana smoothies (2 frozen bananas, small handful dried goji berries, milk till consistency was to liking).


His was prettier because I added some green-colored Vega Health Optimizer in vanilla chai to mine.

Mine tasted darn good, though! I thought it tasted like frosting!!!!


I cooked up some tofu for lunch. Nasoya cubed – so you don’t have to press it.


I chopped up my marinated kale from yesterday (still too much marinade!) and set it on a paper towel to soak up some of that extra marinade.


I topped it with some steamed broccoli.


And I hoped the bland broccoli would help balance the overly flavored kale. It worked out pretty good, but I still prefer my broccoli with just some melted butter.



Lunch was pretty fab, though it was on the light side.


I carbed up with a couple handfuls of pretzels…


…a piece of orange marmalade toast…


…and a piece of Barney Butter toast with chia seeds. Yea…I like toast. A lot! :) It helps when you’re short on time and need groceries. :lol:


I also got to finish my Honest Tea today – this stuff is yum-o!




I got a cool sample in the mail today: Lighter Living Probiotic Bars (*). Neat-o! I like how these seem to be a non-dairy source of probiotics. I mean, Id need to look at the ingredient list again (I think they have a yogurt topping), because they might contain some dairy, but it’s not like you have to eat a cup of yogurt for the beneficial probiotics. The ingredient list is almost (if not) all organic and looks to have some good stuff, including dates as the first ingredient. I love dates!


I got 3 different flavors: Chocolate, Lemon Poppyseed, Apricot Coconut. They all sound amazing – I can’t wait to dig in!

DIY De-Constructed Zumba Top

I took a cue from my Z Life Magazine and decided to go a la Tanya and cut up a tank top. Since this would be my first cutting experiment, I decided to test out something on the cheaper side. Unfortunately, the cheapest thing I could find was an $8 tank top from Target…too much money to throw away in the event my cutting experiment failed, but it turned out okay. Woohoo!


I gathered my materials – tank top, scissors, rotary cutter, chalk pencil, mat, guide.

I actually put on my tank top so I could see how far up the side to start making cuts and where in the front to do the diagonal cuts. I eyeballed some marks with my chalk and figured I’d clean them up once I could use a straight line.


First, I cut some slits down the side. I made 5 cuts, each measured 1 inch apart.



I decided to convert the tank top to a halter top. You can check out this tutorial (click) to see how I did this. I basically went straight along the top of the back.


I did the diagonal cuts – drawing the lines, then making the cuts. I spaced these by an inch also. It seemed to be good spacing for the cut lines.

I did 2 rows of the diagonal cuts – a lower section of 3 and an upper section of 3.



Guess I should have gotten some photos in class, eh? Oh well, these will have to do.

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Drink Mix


I tested out my other Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer today. This one was the same as the other, but a different flavor – Acai Berry.

I actually have a really fun experiment/case study/test planned with this stuff…details soon!

Here are some photos of the packaging for the curious:




I swear this stuff really works! I think I need to buy a jug! Can’t wait to see how my experiment with this product works out.

Oh and I definitely prefer the Acai Berry flavor to the Lemon Lime. The Acai was less grassy and more berry-licious!



Hubby and I went out after my workout to see my friend Dana. I wore too-tall heels when I should have worn flip flops or something. I have more fun when I can walk easier. :lol: Though we didn’t stay out long, it was good to get out and see our friends!

Hmm…now…what to eat for tomorrow morning? Is it sad that I’m already thinking about what yummy things I can eat for breakfast? I think not! ;)

Reader Question: Are you more concerned with how you look or how comfortable you are when you go out (with friends, for dinner, etc)? Which is more important – fashion or comfort?

Bonus reader question: Do you have any de-constructed DIY tops like my cut-up zumba top? Send me your photos! thechiclife at gmail dot com. The cutting bug has caught me and I’m itching to snip up another top soon…I need inspiration!

Vega Sport Performance Optimizer Review + Breakup Recovery Week


Waste not, want not!



I had half a leftover Flying Biscuit pancake this morning with more yummy peach topping, a fried cage-free egg and nice, hot coffee.



I celebrated Starbucks Monday with a grande vanilla soy latte. I had to re-charge my card…using my Starbucks card gets me discounts on the syrup and soy upgrades. Actually, they’re free with the card! :)



For lunch #1, I had a turkey sandwich on Great Harvest WW with romaine and dijon mustard. I planned to eat my sandwich first strategically. The reason? As I learned recently, meat and gluten are hard for your body to digest. Your body uses energy to digest food…this energy could be energy your body could put towards other things like exercise, and I wanted all the energy I could have for my post-work workout.

Plus yerba mate tea.



Lunch #2 was easier on the body to digest – a strawberry salad: romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, SC strawberries, almonds, and Trader Joe’s poppyseed dressing.



Odwalla Strawberry Pomegranate Odwalla bar.

Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer

Post work, I had a wonderful workout planned – ZUMBA!


But, before my workout, I had an exciting experiment to kick-off – sampling one of the Vega Sport Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer packets (*)!! I decided to try out the lemon lime flavor first.

According to, this optimizer has many features & benefits:

  • Immediate and sustaining energy
  • Increases endurance, aerobic and anaerobic capacity
  • Enhances mental focus and motor performance
  • Reduces stress and enhances immune system function
  • Replenishes electrolytes lost during exercise
  • Reduces inflammation, joint and muscle pain
  • Improves body composition and reduces body fat
  • Supports healthy weight management

I often start feeling tired during my zumba classes. I’ve tried everything to give myself more energy:

  • stay hydrated
  • hydrate well the day before
  • eat a good pre-workout snack
  • avoiding heavy meals beforehand

Some days these things work (I think they’re good to do anyways), but often times I still find myself tired! Very frustrating!

So, today, I was extra happy to be testing out this energy boosting pre-workout drink.

The package even matched my zumba pants!! :lol:


Nutrition – only 70 calories.

IMG_2788.jpg IMG_2789.jpg


Add the dry mix to water, shake, and enjoy! The mix looked a lot like the health optimizer stuff I’ve been enjoying, but it tasted totally different – more tangy. I sort of expected it to taste like gatorade…not sure why. It didn’t. I won’t say I loved the flavor, but I I think it may have been because I was expecting something different. I can see myself growing to love it, though. It’s not too sweet and is smooth (not gritty).


Bottoms up!

The gym where we had our work-out was MUGGGGGGYYYY from all the rain we had today. Did I mention the gym doesn’t have AC? Yep…the environment conditions themselves made the workout hard…let alone being tired from working a 9 hour day.

The Result: I was surprised at how effective the drink was. I’m sure a lot of things factor into energy levels beyond just energy drinks. I had hydrated well all day. I had eaten healthy meals earlier and given my body plenty of time to digest the food. But I was feeling a bit drained from work and from the heat and humidity in the air. Still, I had a steady stream of energy throughout class. Some days I start feeling tired during class and I wonder if it’s almost over. Today, I just enjoyed every minute and put my attention towards dancing and having FUN! It was awesome.

I have another sport performance optimizer packet to sample, so I can’t wait to see if the results are the same. I sure hope they are!


I whipped up a quick dinner at home – lemon garlic sauteed shrimp, steamed broccoli and that 3 grain blend TJ’s pilaf I picked up Saturday. That pilaf is good stuff! I loved the chewy textures of the different grains and the box made a TON. We have lots of leftovers, so I’m hoping to use them later in the week. Yum Yum!

Hubby and I enjoyed dinner whilst watching Twilight – New Moon and as I finished up some projects. Can you believe I waited this long to see that movie? It seems like everyone raved about it when it came out. I thought it was pretty good, though a little teenager-y-sappy.

Breakup Recovery Week

I have a friend, who will remain anonymous, who is recovering from a recent break-up. So, to help them out, I’ve decided to post some breakup recovery tips that you guys send in. I’ll be posting your tips all week. So far, I’ve received a few via twitter and some others via email. If you have a breakup recovery tip to share, please leave it in the comment section and I’ll try to blog it later this week.

Here are today’s tips:

  • @Zoziku – Plan a vacation to look forward to. And do something she’s always wanted to do to her hair :)
  • @healthyashley – Get a pedicure! Write down a list of all you want in a future partner.
  • @possiblymaybe – I would take this opportunity to assess what you really want out of a partner. Then spoil yourself silly with a massage, facial, pedicure and a fun evening out with your girl friends.
  • @karathon – Your poor friend :( surrounding yourself w/ tons of supportive friends is my best recommendation! Also ice cream helps :)

If you tweeted or emailed me tips and you don’t see them, I’m probably saving them for tomorrow!!

If you have some breakup recovery tips to share, please, I encourage you to leave them in the comments section and I’ll add them to blog posts throughout the week.


Check out this interesting article I stumbled upon by WSJ on gardens saving people money.

I read about a neat house-organization trick in my Real Simple the other day – Game 29 or “29 Pickup” as I like to call it. The concept – pick up 29 things every day. 29 should be subbed out for your age if you want to play along. I’m hoping to incorporate this little game into my every day life to help me get things together. I played 29 Pickup last night and it was surprisingly simple and effective.

Good night everyone! :D

Be sure to leave your break-up recovery tips in the comments (or submit them via the Contact page).

Girls Mid-Week Dinner Out


Happy Humpday!

This week has been blowing by, which I’m pretty excited about because it means that warm weather is almost here. :) I can’t wait to start wearing some of my warm weather clothes! The skirts, the flip flops, the shorts, the bathing suits! I’ve been enjoying the occasional warm day here and there, but I’m ready for warm weather all the time. Who’s with me?


Breakfast in my beautiful Anthropologie bowl!


Fresh Market Spring Blend…yum yum!




Date and almond oatmeal with flaxseed meal and chia seeds. Yum!


I prepped lunch this morning while my oatmeal cooked away on the stove


Seedy AB+J (Almond Butter + Jelly) Sammie

It’s sort of like Power Toast in sandwich form, with sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. Also Barney Butter and Earthfare Organic pomegranate jelly.


Toasted Seedy AB+J Sandwich with semi-steamed organic broccoli.


I prepped the organic broccoli last night (rinsed and chopped) and then added about 1 tbsp water to the container and microwaved for about 1.5 minutes. I like my broccoli both raw and steamed and this was somewhere in between.


I just added a little salt to the broccoli.


I toasted my sandwich…


…and cut it into a triangle b/c they’re more fun to eat that way.


Yerba Mate tea #1 (a bit of cream and sugar)


Yerba Mate tea #2 (sugar)



Next up, we headed out for a bloggie get-together at Cafe Central.


Kath, Michelle, Kelsey, Lauren, and Kate (not pictured yet) met up for a ladies mid-week dinner.





Kath sampled 2 wines and and I went with her choice – Pure Chardonnay.






Michelle took my picture – thanks hun!


Some people at the table ordered the sweet potato springs rolls – the same kind Kelsey and I shared last time I was here (click).


For my eats, I went with a side salad with white balsamic vinaigrette…


Plus a grilled cheese sandwich with fries. I can’t wait till Lent is over because this place has some amazing looking burgers!




Two cheeses! I loved the combo of cheeses, but no bread compares to Great Harvest!!


Group shot!

So great seeing friends mid-week! It’s like a lil boost to get you through the work-week.

I’m hoping to WFH tomorrow but I’m supposed to be getting an email upgrade tonight, so I hope it works! Eek! Wish me luck or I’ll be going to the office after all! lol

Project Hydrate Day #17

I did ok today. I really think about 5 cups of water and 2 cups of hot tea are about all I’m good for during the work day. I forgot to do my morning cup of water, so I’m one cup less than yesterday. Doh!


  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups hot tea
  • 1 glass wine (ok this doesn’t count…whatever!)

How are you doing with Project Hydrate?


The discussion board on my Facebook page is really getting good – check it out and voice in on the conversation.

I’ve started a FAQ page. It’s actually been up for a couple days, but you may not have noticed it. I’m collecting my most popular questions and have more to add, but until then – feel free to ask some more on my Formspring page.

Be sure to check out my Recipe page, too!

Reader Question: Do you see your friends mid-week or only on the weekends?

Tuesday Goodies


I woke up to a nice surprise…


…hubby prepped the coffee maker last night so instead of waking up and having to brew coffee, it was waiting for me! How nice?




i whipped up some chocolate-date oatmeal (the dates were my only sweetener) with ground flaxseed meal and sliced almonds.

Lunch was pretty basic – leftovers from Sunday’s Prep Day soup, plus a freshly cracked box of Kashi crackers and some almonds later.


A surprise from hubby was the highlight of my workday – a Great Harvest mini cinnamon roll. Yum! I always love seeing hubby in the middle of the day…and a sweet treat isn’t bad either.



I came home to find hubby had purchased a new goodie – a new vacuum cleaner! We had a mini one we thought would be enough (since we don’t have any carpet, just rugs), but turns out we need a full size one.


Hubby also picked up some Great Harvest Honey Whole Wheat bread.


While I was home, we even got a package…


My TofuXpress Tofu Press!! I won this from @Nasoya on Twitter. Thank you Nasoya!!


I even got some recipes, recipe cards, and coupons!


Here’s a better shot of the press. I can’t wait to use this! I feel like I have a new toy. :lol:


I prepped tonight’s veggies – organic broccoli. I had enough to pack up for tomorrow, plus some to steam for tonight.


Annie’s Mac and Cheese.




I have a lot to do tonight, so I kept dinner quick and simple: Trader Joe’s breaded halibut (just toss it in the oven and let it cook away), steamed broccoli (with a light drizzle of melted organic butter), and Annie’s Mac and cheese.


Hubby picked up some two-bite cinnamon rolls from Earthfare. They weren’t much when I first opened them – cold, hard little rolls.


I freshened them up by warming them in the microwave where they were transformed into sweet little bites of heaven! I managed to only eat one of these and hubby had the other 2.



I think I was able to restrain myself since I had an Earthfare whole wheat vegan chocolate chip cookie waiting for me.

I had/have a whole other work day after my real work day tonight:

  • a jewelry order (have to make the necklace, package, and prepare for shipment)
  • helping a friend with their web site (it’s a toughie! they used real graphic designers and they put all kinds of really cool looking things that are really difficult to program. lol)
  • blog
  • email

Project Hydrate Day #16

Check out yesterday’s recap for some more Project Hydrate tips.

My cup first thing is really improving my water intake. Otherwise, I’m consuming about the same amount while I’m at work.

Consumed today:

  • 1 cup water in the morning
  • pink bottle ~4 cups
  • 1/2 turquoise bottle ~1.5 cups
  • 2 cups hot tea

Not too shabby.


One year ago today, I was blogging about the fabulous dinner in San Fran, including San Francisco’s best hot chocolate (and yes, it was pretty awesome! you should see the pictures!)

Did I mention I have some big announcements and giveaways in the works? I think I did…I can’t help it…I’m just so excited! :mrgreen:

Also, you guys are really starting to get talkative on The Chic Life blog Facebook page and I love it! I love to hear from you guys! Remember, you can contact me any time at thechiclife at gmail dot com, via my Contact page, by asking me something anonymously on my Formspring page, or by dropping me some comments here on the blog of my Facebook page. Need some advice? Want my opinion? Just ask. I don’t bite. ;)

Have a great week everyone!

Oatmeal Snack (It’s Not Just for Breakfast)


You guys know I love oatmeal. I love it especially for breakfast, but I’ve also eaten it for lunch, dinner, and dessert.

And, today, I enjoyed some oatmeal as a….


A pre-work-out snack that is.

After a pretty awesome day of eats, I wanted a really good afternoon snack.


What to look for in a pre-workout snack: I always try to fuel up for a workout by eating a little extra food to give me energy and make up for some of my soon-to-be-burned calories. I look for carbs with a little protein. I shoot for between 100-250 calories for my exercise fuel, depending on what else I ate that day. If I already had a snack earlier in the day or a large breakfast/lunch, I stay to the lower end and visa versa.


When to eat a pre-workout snack: I try to eat my snack about an hour to an hour and a half before my work out.


I usually go for a meal bar, but mostly because they’re convenient and I can keep them at my desk at work.

Today, since I was WFH, I decided to make…OATMEAL! :) Oatmeal is great for breakfast but also makes for a great pre-workut snack.

I went for AB+J (almond butter and jelly) Oatmeal. I think I would have been better off using dried fruit as my sweetener instead of jelly. I don’t think (though I’m not exactly sure) that jelly gives you energy (maybe a sugar high if anything?) but dried fruit gives you a good energy boost from what I understand. Today, I was more worried about getting some good carbs for energy.

AB+J Oatmeal

To the pot:

  • 1/4 cup organic skim milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp flaxseeds
  • (no sweetener)

Cooked stove top till thickened.


  • Barney Butter (about or just under 1 tbsp)
  • Earthfare Organic pomegranate jelly (about 1 tbsp – this was my sweetener)
  • Chopped raw almonds (about 2 – I mean, I already had plenty in the Barney Butter!)


Not sure if it was the oatmeal or my good job with Project Hydrate today, but I had an awesome workout and plenty of energy! Yay!

1 amazing hour of dance fitness…I love starting my weekend out with a good exercise!

We worked on more of my choreography tonight: Meet Me Halfway (as a warm up song). We just need to polish that one off and finish Bad Romance. Oh yea! I love choreographing songs. Perhaps I should have been a figure skating instructor or something?



Check out my friend Megan rocking out a song at class tonight. Get it Megan! :)

Reader question: Have you eaten oatmeal any time other than breakfast?

Chic Energy Bites – Cheerful Cherry


I have so many ideas for Chic Energy Bite flavors to share with you love The Chic Life readers, but for now I have the second one I’ve attempted. First I brought you the Currant Crave flavor, now I bring you…


Chic Energy Bites – Cheerful Cherry


  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup almonds (I used raw, whole)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (ok to omit)


  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor.
  2. Process mixture until ingredients are chopped into tiny bits and the mixture starts to stick together. (At first the mixture will appear very dry. As you keep going, the mixture will become more sticky, though it won’t come together like a ball of dough). Start/stop and use the pulse as you go. Check it often if you’re unsure about consistency. Also, before you start forming discs, you can make a mini ball to test the mixture holds together ok. Mine was ready after about 2 1/2 – 3 minutes worth of processing in 30 second intervals, stopping to check consistency each time.
  3. Carefully remove blade from food processor.
  4. Pick up about 1tbsp worth of mixture, press/squeeze firmly together (this one was more crumbly than the currant version) into a ball and flatten slightly to a disc shape.
  5. Enjoy!

NOTE: Makes about 20 bites. Store in an airtight container.


Materials gathered.


Raw almonds.


Dried cherries.


All in.


Not processed enough – nuts and dried fruits are too large. Keep processing!

Tip: This mixture turned out a lot more crumbly than the currant flavor. For the currant bites, I was able to roll them into balls and then flatten to discs…these needed to be pressed and squeezed firmly together, but they still held up together once they were formed. I had to press the edges a little extra as they tended to want to crumble or break up a bit, but I worked them together nicely.






Bite meet mouth. Nom nom nom…

The combination of fruit and nuts make these great for a pre-workout or general energy boost snack.

To enjoy:

  • Eat them straight up (for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert)
  • Use them as an oatmeal topping
  • Chop them up over Power Toast
  • Make a dried fruit and nut sammie by placing on a whole wheat dinner roll

Like currants? Try my other flavor – Currant Crave.

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