Fabulous Easter Dinner – Vegan/GF Style

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So, where did we leave off earlier?

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Ah yes, I was working on a top secret dessert involving mixed berries!

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Did you figure out my dessert? Add in a homemade tart shell…

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You guessed it! FRUIT TART! Not just any fruit tart – a vegan AND gluten free fruit tart.

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I found the recipe in Clean Food – it’s the Mixed Berry Tart.

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I definitely sampled the cider while I was baking and it was gooooo! Very, very sweet but great! I’m looking forward to drinking more of this later in the week, though I rarely drink juices.

Anywho, on to tonight!

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(couldn’t pick between the pictures, so I used both! hehe…don’t the girls look fabulous in their dresses?!)

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Hubby and I were invited over to Emily and Casey’s house to have Easter dinner with them and Kath and Matt!! :) So, after the dessert was ready, we headed over to meet our friends.

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Kath greeted me with a yummy Pom Mocktail.

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There were fresh flowers all over!

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We sipped mocktails…

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…cooked food…

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…chit-chatted…

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…and snacked on yummy food!

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Kath and Matt brought over handmade honey whole wheat baguette slices, toasted in the oven, with a yummy cilantro/pistachio dip.

Here’s the photo I took.

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And here’s what Kath and I look like taking our food photos! :lol: Thanks for the photo Emily!

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The table – all set and waiting for food and friends.

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Ta-da!

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Our centerpiece – an adorable bread bunny complete with Easter eggs! The bunny is really Great Harvest bread with Virginia rolls…mmm.

We had lots of yummy vegan and gluten-free eats on the menu for our fabulous Easter dinner.

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Asparagus + Chard Risotto with fresh herbs.

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Millet Salad with corn and tomato.

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Split pea soup.

Plus the bunny bread!!

Our friends…

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Casey + Emily

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Matt + Kath

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Me + Hubby (thanks for the photo Kath!)

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I got a little bit of everything – the split pea soup…

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…the risotto, the millet salad, and even a bread bunny leg. :lol:

Dinner was fabulous – filling but light. :) Everything was so tasty!! I’m so thankful for such talented foodie friends!

Then, it was on to dessert!

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My vegan + gluten-free fruit tart.

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Photographing dessert (thanks again for the photo Kath!)

I must say, I’ve never made this recipe before, so I was really worried I may just blow the whole thing! lol I was kind of upset that the topping bubbled up so much, but I was mostly worried that the crust may crumble apart or the topping may not taste good.

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Thankfully, the tart stayed together nicely. Phew!

And for the taste test….

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DEE-licious! Phew again!

The crust had an almost molasses taste to it from the teff flour. The berry topping was perfection – sweet but not too sweet. I loved it and would serve this to any one – vegan or GF or not. Total yummers!

After our most-awesome Easter dinner, hubby and I came home and took Bailey for a walk.

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I also decided to sample another Nicobella vegan truffle. Full review to come, but this flavor was an excellent pairing of fruit and chocolate. Yum!

Big thanks to Emily, Casey, Kath, and Matt for a wonderful evening with friends! Special thanks to Emily and Casey for hosting! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! :)

Such a fun weekend, even though I was a bit under the weather. First hubby’s beer brewing party with Matt (click), then soaking up the sun at lunch, and now tonight! Feeling very blessed right now. :D

Happy Easter Everyone!

Reader question: Did you do anything special for Easter dinner? If not, if you could pick any color for an Easter egg, what would it be?

Sunny Easter Sunday Lunch

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Happy Easter!!!

(to those celebrating)

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I did a quick pedi today – just painted my nails, really. I always love to wear BRIGHT colors when the warm weather hits. Bring on the sun!

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I put on one of my fave sundresses. Just a little something I found at a hippie store. They have the best dresses!

(Can you tell I got a hair cut last week? I meant to take photos but was too sicky-icky…lol).

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Hubby and I went out to get groceries. I found one of my fave cereals – Yogi Tea in Goji Berry on sale for only $2.99 at Earthfare. Score!

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I also purchased a new shaving cream. I’m trying to switch out my beauty products for more natural solutions. This is Kiss My Face Moisture Shave (recommended by the lady in the beauty section of Earthfare).

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We headed out to Brixx to enjoy lunch on their patio.

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We split a bruschetta…

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…a beer sampler (sierra nevada, victory falls pilsner, bell’s two hearted – Matt’s fave – it’s true check out the comments from the other day (click), and foothills hoppyyum)…

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Cheers!

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…and a BBQ Chicken pizza….now that we’re eating meat again.

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I had several pieces of bruschetta, quite a few sips of the beer, and two slices of pizza. The weather was perfect! Not too hot, not too cold. I felt so relaxed just enjoying the weather and the eats!

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I came back home to enjoy a cookie. :)

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And work on a project.

I’m having Easter dinner with Emily and Kath tonight! They put me in charge of dessert. Even though I have all the pictures of my dessert, I can’t share them! The girls will see!!!

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Here’s a hint! ;)

Did you go out for Easter brunch/lunch? What did you have?

Hubby’s Beer Brewing Party for Two

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Remember back in December when Matt put together a beer brewing kit for me to give to hubby for Christmas? Well, hubby and Matt finally scheduled a day to get together for Beer Brewing 101 at our house.

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After a wonderful breakfast of rice milk oatmeal, hubby and I got busy cleaning the house.

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Things don’t really look much like how I want them to look when we’re all “set up”, but at least having things semi-put-up is better than having things spilling out everywhere and needing sorting. Oh and the empty living room…yea, we need furniture but we need MONEY first! :lol:

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I’ve received a few requests for updates of the house and while we don’t have a lot, have I shown you guys our pantry? It’s all installed now and looking mighty fine.

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Matt came over bearing goods – fresh-baked Great Harvest rolls – Virginia rolls and honey whole wheat. Hells yes! I freakin LOVE these things. Thank you Matt!

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I immediately dug into a virginia roll. It was so soft and tender like butter! I ate it plain – no toppings required.

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The boys got set up on our back porch to have a full day of brewing…

Round 1 Eats – Pizza

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…while I made a semi-homemade pizza for the boys, topped simply with pizza seasonings, sliced roma tomatoes and fresh basil.

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What goes better with beer than pizza, right? Ok, a lot of things pair well with beer, but pizza seemed like a good option they could nosh on while they worked.

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I took the pizza outside where they were getting things started.

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I enjoyed a slice upstairs. My first dairy since I first got sick earlier in the week! It went down A-ok, but I decided to not press my luck with any more slices.

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Instead, I went for another Virginia roll, which I put in the oven for just a couple minutes to make it taste fresh-baked again. I drizzled it with some local honey. So simple – so good!

Round 2 Eats – Hummus + Spiced Pita Chips

I figured the boys would be pretty busy with the beer brewing, so I tried to make a lot of things they could casually snack on.

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When I was pondering what to make, I consulted two of my faves – Eat Drink and Be Vegan and Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave.

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Next on the agenda was hummus with spiced pita chips.

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I’ve made these spiced pita chips before at Kath and Matt’s cookout last year (fun time – click here to check it out) and they were a BIG HIT! I highly suggest them. The spiced pita chip recipe is available online here (click).

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Once they were ready, I brought the hummus and pita chips down for the boys. That’s right – I’m in my PJ’s! :lol:

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I kept some hummus/chips upstairs for moi but ended up snacking on the chips downstairs and hanging out a few mins here and there with the boys to soak up some of the bright sun.

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My beautiful new Anthropologie plates are great for eating a meal or serving company!

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I used an ED&BV recipe called “Kids’ Dynamo Hummus”, which included fun ingredients like cashews and nutritional yeast! Neat! I omitted the tahini because hubby didn’t find it at the store, but it still tasted pretty good without it.

Playtime

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For one part of the day, hubby tied Bailey up to a tree outside so he could hang out with them (no fence yet).

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Hubby and Matt decided to take a little playtime.

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They played frisbee…

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…and chased each other in circles. :lol:

Round 3 Eats – Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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The boys seemed pretty full, but I decided to make some of Dreena’s Homestyle Vegan Chocolate Chip cookies (click for recipe) because they’re just so darn easy to whip up.

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They are just too easy.

And Kate + Nate I so owe you a batch of these, but I figured you didn’t want cookies from someone who was just getting over being sick! :(

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Mmm…cooookies.

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I made some tea to enjoy with a cookie – Yogi Echinacea Immune Support with some local honey.

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I decided to enjoy my tea with a cookie outside. Yummers!

Finito!

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Signs of beer-brewing.

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Almost done!

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Hubby’s first batch – finito! Now we just have to wait about 4 weeks before we can taste the results!

FUN FUN Day for the boys!!!

Thank you sooooo much Matt for helping Dan with his first batch of beer! :)

Reader Question: What’s your favorite beer (brand, flavor or type of beer)?

PS Be sure to check out this post with some fabulous weight loss and diet tips!

PSS Hubby and I can eat meat again tomorrow!

Clean Food: Tuscan Bean Soup

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Laa-dee-daaaaaahhhh

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Oh, hello there! I didn’t see you.

Want to see my latest hobby?

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Bet you’ve never seen a dog do Zumba before, huh?

Ok, Ima go dance and let mommy take it away…

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I snacked on mini banana nut muffins all afternoon and sort of missed lunch. I also didn’t hydrate up quite like I should. Doh!

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To help my hydration efforts, I prepped a yerba mate latte to take with me when I went out to run errands.

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Bridesmaid dress…check!

I got some clothes shopping done, too. You can read about my clothes shopping over at my fashion blog – Shopaholics Anonymous. I don’t talk about it much, and I don’t update it as often as I used to, but it’s there. Some of you guys even already knew about it!

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After shopping, it was time to get groceries. Since I basically missed lunch, I decided to get a snack before shopping. Since I was already at a grocery store with food, Earthfare, I decided to hit up their food bars: mac and cheese, okra and tomatoes, a bite of pecan pie.

It was just enough to give me a boost to get my shopping done and keep me satisfied till I could get dinner cooked.

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As soon as I got home, I was ready to pick up another Prep Day Sunday. Hubby picked our recipe: Clean Food’s Tuscan Bean Soup.

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Ingredients assembled.

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Have you ever cooked with Kombu before?

According to The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden, Kombu is good for bean cooking because it can speed up the process and make the beans more easy to digest. Also, Kombu “contains potassium, calcium, vitamins A and C, and between 100 and 500 times the iodine of shellfish. According to natural-foods expert Rebecca Wood, kombu should not be eaten excessively during pregnancy.

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Kombu soaking.

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Basil

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I think I’ll use a bigger pot next time. :lol:

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Kale and kombu going into the pot.

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Such pretty colors going on in the soup!

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Olive-oil drizzled over bread, broiled.

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Dinner is served.

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Plenty of toasty, crusty bread. Carbs are the best, aren’t they?

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As for the soup, it was AWESOME! Hubby said it was one of the best soups he’s ever had, EVER! If you don’t have Clean Food yet, you should definitely get it. There are no meat recipes in there, but just try some of them – you won’t miss the meat!

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Hubby and I had our dinner portions and we had plenty leftover for the week. I think I may even pop one of these into the freezer for a rainy day. I actually prefer making enough so I can freeze some, but we’ve been eating our soups too fast!

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Oh and I also prepped some nuts and seeds for the freezer. I like to buy these in the bulk bins in small amounts and store them in the freezer. I feel like the large pre-packaged bags go bad on me too fast, plus buying in the bulk bin saves money on packaging and the packaging itself. Less packaging = less waste. Go Green!

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Q&A with The Chic Life

I’ve answered some more Formspring questions:

I love the turquoise you use in decorating. Any tips on how to add turquoise to a neutral (Beige) room?

Ooh, I think turquoise would look fab in a beige room! Beige is so neutral, it should be easy to add some turquoise accents. I would try to add turquoise via 3-4 accent items, for example pillows, curtains, vases, artwork, throw blanket, or lamps. You could get items that are patterned with turquoise in them or solid turquoise items. The latter will be stronger in effect, but a mix of patterned and non-patterned stuff would look great, too. Plus, by using a pattern, you can get another accent color by using one of the other colors from the pattern. Of course, if you want turquoise to be dominant, be sure to use more of that color.

If you really wanted to go all out, you could try painting one wall as a focal wall in turquoise.

How often do you work out each week and for how long??

I try to do cardio about 1-3 times a week, depending on my schedule. I don’t give myself a hard time for skipping a workout here or there. I also try to give my body a rest day after a workout day.

I’d like to add strength training to my workouts, but I haven’t put enough focus there yet. I’m hoping to do a fitness challenge in April to give myself an extra push. :)

PS I forgot to add to my Formspring answer – my cardio workouts are typically one hour long and I usually do about 5 minutes of warm up moves before hand and 5-10 minutes of stretching afterwards.

Being a Zumba teacher – Do you get offended if one of your students lets you know they don’t love a certain section of the class?

Not really b/c I know there are songs other instructors do that are not my favorites. There are so many different personalities and styles out there, I don’t think everyone will love everything you do. You just hope they like most of it enough to not mind the parts they don’t love.

Another Zumba question for you….I saw that you received your instructor certification. I am looking into doing the same thing, but have no other fitness related certifications. Was it worth it? Do you currently teach classes in your area?? Thanks!!

You don’t have to have any other certifications to get zumba certified, however a lot of gyms/facilities will ask you to get other certifications (certs. required will vary from gym to gym). I totally think it was worth it! Especially if you actually want to teach, though I think some people do the certification to improve their zumba skills. I’m not currently teaching. :( But, I hope to soon! :)

Where do you buy all your Tupperware containers? I don’t know anyone who sells it so I’ve been looking on Ebay.

Ah, someone else asked about Tupperware. Here’s what I said:

I like to buy them at craft shows or vendor events where there are lots of different people with tables set up with goodies. A lot of times they run specials at these shows and you can get the Tupperware at a discount. I’d also look into hosting a Tupperware party if you’re interested so you can get some of your Tupperware for FREE! :) You can use the Tupperware web site to locate a consultant near you: http://www.tupperware.com/coe/app/tup_party.consultant_finder. As far as I know, they are sort of like Mary Kay in that they run the business from their home and go to various events to sell their goods, but they also do in-home parties if you’re interested in hosting something.

Where do you buy the Tupperware containers you show often on your blog?

I like to buy them at craft shows or vendor events where there are lots of different people with tables set up with goodies. A lot of times they run specials at these shows and you can get the Tupperware at a discount. I’d also look into hosting a Tupperware party if you’re interested so you can get some of your Tupperware for FREE! :) You can use the Tupperware web site to locate a consultant near you: http://www.tupperware.com/coe/app/tup_party.consultant_finder. As far as I know, they are sort of like Mary Kay in that they run the business from their home and go to various events to sell their goods, but they also do in-home parties if you’re interested in hosting something.

As summer approaches and the weather is getting warmer, I’m craving a peach dessert, or perhaps a peach variation on your morning oats. Could you recommend and try out some new peach recipes?? :)

omg peach oatmeal is SUCH a good idea! It reminds me of one of those old-school Quaker packages but BETTER! I am a big fan of peaches myself (though hubby is not). I would LOVE to work up a peach recipe or two for you. I’ll be looking for the peaches at the farmers markets!

When you shop at a farmers market, do you have to pay cash?

At most farmers markets I’ve been to, yes, you have to pay cash. Some of the larger ones will accept other forms (checks, credit cards), but I highly recommend paying cash. Besides making the transaction easier, it will save the farmers money. Credit card processing companies charge fees to the farmers (typically monthly and per transaction), which are easier for a large corporation to pay than for a small farmer. :)

You are fabulous. Okay, that’s not a question. Just had to put it out there. LOVE YOU!!! xoxo Megan :)

Aww, thanks sweetie! You’re pretty awesome yourself! ;) love you too!! *hugs* Diana

you’re beautiful! What is your skincare regime?

Thank you! I’m so flattered! :) I made a post to answer your question: http://thechiclife.com/2010/03/my-fave-beauty-products-skincare-regime.html

Project Hydrate Day #14

Oops, I skipped Day #13. I didn’t do very well with Day #13.

Day #14 – I was so distracted baking mini muffins and blogging about my beauty products and skin regime that I forgot to drink water. Doh!

I drank 2 cups of water quickly in the afternoon to try to make-up for time. Then, I brewed up some hot tea to take with me to run errands – this helped me get another 1-2 cups easily.

Consumed:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup hot tea

Meh, not so hot today. Must be the weekends!

How are you doing with Project Hydrate?

Tidbits

Weigh in on restaurant portions on this post (click).

Take a look at some of the discussions going on on my Facebook page and be my friend while you’re there. If you have a Facebook page, would you consider making my page a favorite? :)

Check out my favorite beauty products and let me know what yours are.

Can you believe one year ago today I was blogging about my trip to Lombard St? I wanna go back to San Fran so badly!

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