What I Ate Wednesday

A trend here in BlogLand is writing themed posts for the day.

Some of my fave blogs have themes such as "It's OK Thursday" or "Speechless Sunday" or "Three Things Thursday", etc...

Today? I'm jumping on the bandwagon with "What I Ate Wednesday" and linking up with my girl Jenn on this one.

*And through her post, I found another blogger named Jenn from Peas and Crayons and linked up with her, as well!*

I usually don't do themed posts because my writing style is more "free spirited" so to speak- I have a hard time fitting my thoughts into certain criteria and usually end up saying "screw it" and write whatever I want anyway.

It's one of my fave things about blogging- I write about whatever I want, whenever I want! And of course try to make it interesting to my readers.  I'm all about engagement, yo!

Moving right along...

You remember these Pumpkin Pancakes?  Well, I had some left over pumpkin and left over Chobani 0% Vanilla Yogurt. And left over Cool Whip (hello! I wasn't about to let my husband eat the entire container!).

So I decided to make a dip! A co-worker of mine brought in a Pumpkin Dip the other week and hers was delish! She used cream cheese, powdered sugar, Cool Whip, pumpkin, and related spices.

I decided to try my hand at it and see if I can make a version that was GD healthy- meaning not so much sugar and sneak in a way to get some protein.

It was a match made in heaven using left over ingredients from those yummy pancakes!

I mixed the rest of the pumpkin (about half a can), 6oz of Chobani Vanilla Yogurt, 2tsp of cinnamon, 1tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp of cloves.  Honestly I think I put too much cloves because at first it was really overpowering, but my tastebuds adapted and it came out delish!

I also scooped in the rest of the Cool Whip Lite.  It's important to note that I "folded" the ingredients in so as to not break down the consistency of the yogurt.

The result? A tangy pumpkin dip- perfect with cinnamon sprinkled Wheat Thins.

pumpkin dip

I'm not sure about the nutrition information but I do know that when I ate this last night as part of my evening snack, I had perfect glucose numbers this morning! 

The sweetness on the Wheat Thins blended well with the yogurt in the dip.  I think next time I might make my own cinnamon toast pieces and spread this dip on top.  YUMMMM!

Feel free to link up your "What I Ate Wednesday" post so we can all join in on the fun!

Holiday Blog Challenge Day 3


Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

One of my biggest memories of Christmas growing up is my mom kicking me out of the house for a day while she decorated for Christmas.

This woman went all out! By the time I would come home in the evening, she had the tree up and decorated, all the kitchen towels switched out, her snow village set-up, the bathroom covered in Santa paraphernalia, and a 5ft stocking hanging on my bedroom door (my bedroom was the one place she was not allowed to decorate.  There had to be boundaries somewhere! So she decorated my door).

Now I know that for someone who has recently professed their undying love for all things Christmas, I sound like a Grinch.

But as I reflect on the reason why I didn't welcome my mom's decorating with open arms, I realize that it was because I was never involved!

Once I got my own place in college, I was so happy to finally be able to decorate the way I wanted to decorate.

Even if that meant just a tree...

My first tree was a small 4ft something tree.  It was real.  And we decorated it with whatever fit our budget at the time. 

There wasn't a theme or color scheme.  

It was simply decorated.

Since moving back to Hawaii, we have gotten our own tree (yes it's fake) to decorate year after year.  

Because we're budget conscious, we use the same decorations year after year.  However, this year our tree is looking kinda sparse. 


But I love it!  There may not be much to it, but there's an ornament on there that you can't really see (and of course I forgot to take a picture of it last night!).

It looks kind like this, but is all green w/ no hibiscus flower.

Latte Ornament

It is called a Latte Stone and is one of the major symbols on Guam.  Chamorros (natives on Guam) used to build their houses on these stones that sometimes could reach 7 feet tall! The husband and I got this ornament during our trip to Guam back in February.  

Latte Stone Park

This year we decided to start our own tradition.  We'll collect ornaments during our travels and to mark special occasions in our lives.  Our tree will probably never have a cohesive color scheme, but the theme will always be about US.

Just the way we like it.

What does your holiday decor look like?


Things to Note...

First things first.

I like to give credit where credit is due.  I mentioned in this post about my new Thanksgiving Tradition that I was inspired by other blogs.  What other blogs you ask?

Well, by the Gourmet Runner herself!

I knew she had posted somewhere about that yummy deliciousness but I couldn't find it! So I got in touch with her and she gave me the link to share with you all. So go check her out!

Have you seen my sidebar lately?

First thing you'll notice is my button.  What the heck is a button, you ask?

It's a great way to share some blog love! If you post my button on your blog, let me know and I'll return the favor! I currently have 2 buttons from other blogs that I really enjoy reading.  A button is a great way to connect your readers with other great blogs.  All you gotta do is enter the HTML code in the box within your blog and voila! Don't forget to email me if you do!

Also? I'm a member of 20 Something Bloggers. It's a great place for 20 somethings who blog to connect and support each other.  If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, check it out!

Other things to note? GIVEAWAYS!!

If you scroll down you'll see a list of links of current giveaways that I'm participating in.  I encourage you to check them out and enter for yourselves! It's a great and easy way to score some free loot =)

Scrolling down some more- you can "like" Isle Style Living on Facebook, Follow me on Pinterest, and connect with me through GFC (Google Friend Connect). Staying connected is a great way to get the latest details on my journey to a healthy lifestyle!  You can also find me on Twitter @IsleStyleLiving (I couldn't find a widget that would work properly so if you know of one, help me out!).

Holiday Blog Challenge Days 1 & 2

Neely at A Complete Waste of Makeup is hooking up with her girl Amber for the Holiday Blog Challenge!

Challenge Accepted!  Some you might remember the challenge I started earlier this year... and never finished (ahem).

Maybe I'll go back to that and finish it up- I hate loose ends and that challenge has been haunting me!

Anyway- I decided to take up this challenge because 1) It's only 10 days (versus 30 like the last one) and 2) it's about my favorite time of year!

Here's the complete list of topics, which I grabbed from here:

Monday November 28th: Fave gift received EVER
Tuesday November 29th:  Fave holiday tradition, new or old
Wednesday November 30th:  Holiday decorations/decor
Thursday December 1st:  Favorite Holiday movies/tv specials
Friday December 2nd: Ideal outfit for Christmas/NYE festivities
Monday December 5th:  Christmas dessert/treat recipe
Tuesday December 6th: How do you celebrate the holidays? Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, etc.
Wednesday December 7th: Christmas wish list
Thursday December 8th: 2012 goals/resolutions
Friday December 9th:  NYE memories/pictures

Do you want to join in on the fun? Here's what you do.  Add this button from A Complete Waste of Makeup, and link up your post below on my blog and at A Complete Waste of Makeup.  Don't forget to spread the word to your blog readers, Twitter followers, and Facebook friends!

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

OK- On to the CHALLENGE!

Thinking back to my 20+ Christmases, I can't really put a finger on my FAVORITE gift.  I've been really blessed and received some often gifts in my days. I remember bikes, dolls, games, and books from childhood.  As I got older I received beautiful jewelry from my parents and boyfriend (now husband <3).  I cherish all those gifts and at one point or another, each gift was a "favorite".

So I'm going to share my most memorable gifts.

First up?

Super Nintendo Entertainment System! I remember being sooooo excited when I opened this gift.

And also because my dad took FOREVER to set it up.  And then he decided to "test" it out to make sure it was working, while I sat on the couch and whined waited patiently for my turn.

The game that was included with the system was Super Mario Paint.  My best friend and I could spend HOURS on this game! There were "coloring pages", free style, a music composer (my personal fave), and a silly game where we had to swat at flying insects.

SNES Collage

And coming in at a close second....

Our first home computer- A Gateway 2000!

Gateway 2000

I remember this gift because my parents wrapped each part separately! So it looked like I had a bunch of gifts under the tree but once I opened them all they all connected to our very first computer! I must have been 11 or 12 years old.

I was able to type up my own research papers and using dial-up, connect to the internet.  I set up my very first email address using Hotmail (can't remember what it is now!) and even created an AOL screen name so I could chat with my friends after school.

I also remember getting in trouble because I was constantly tying up the phone line hehehehe.

What was your favorite gift ever?

Usually I spend Christmas with my family on Maui.  Christmas Eve is usually spent at my grandparents' house with all my cousins and aunts and uncles (dad's side).  There is a huge buffet spread (my grandpa, uncles, and dad are GREAT cooks!) and one of the uncles dresses up as Santa and hands out gifts to the little kids.  My family will play music and sing Christmas songs in the backyard (we live in Hawaii, remember?) and eat and eat and eat until we can eat no more!

Most of the family will just end up spending the night (any spot on the floor is up for grabs!). Because my parents are divorced, I usually will then spend Christmas Day with my mom.

This year? Well, I'm looking forward to starting our own traditions.  Our baby may be here by Christmas Day so we'll be busy getting adjusted to our new family.  Or baby may decided to bake a little more and you may just find me stuck on the couch watching Christmas movies.  Either way, this Christmas is sure to be a life changer for us and we couldn't be more excited!!

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Don't forget to add a link to your Holiday Challenge Blog Post:


New Thanksgiving Tradition- Pumpkin Pancakes!

Whooo hoooo! Christmas time is here! If you've read this post, you know that Christmas is my most favorite time of year.

Before jumping into all of that- I wanted to share a part of my Thanksgiving with you all!

One thing I look forward to during this Fall season is the food! I love love love anything pumpkin and when I saw a few bloggers posting about Pumpkin Pancakes, I knew I had to jump on the bandwagon!

The husband and I decided to have a real low key Thanksgiving this year.  With the baby on its way, we wanted to enjoy our time to ourselves and really soak in the final moments of "just the two of us".

I couldn't just let the day slip away without doing something special.  So I decided to try my hand at Pumpkin Pancakes.

I started out with this recipe from Chobani.

Then I made a few modifications.  The recipe calls for 12oz of Vanilla 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt.  I decided to swap 6oz of yogurt for 6oz of pumpkin.


I folded 6oz of yogurt with 6 oz of pumpkin (I folded versus beat/mix to keep the texture of the yogurt) and then added one egg (whisked) and 1/2 c. of milk. Then placed the mixture on the side.



I then added all dry ingredients (according to the recipe above), and added the pumpkin spices according to the recipe on the back of the can.  It called for 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, and 1/4 tsp. cloves. Now this is where you can take some liberty with the recipe.  When I mixed the dry ingredients together, I couldn't smell the spices.  I LOVE this mixture of spices so I added 1/2 more (1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/8 tsp. cloves).  With the added spice the aroma smelled just perfect!


I then added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and it was REALLY thick.  Maybe because I only used half of the yogurt?  Or because I used whole wheat flour?  I don't know.  It was more of a muffin dough than pancake batter.  So I improvised and ended up gradually adding about another 1 C. of milk, to get the desired consistency.


Once the consistency was at my desired point, I poured the batter into a pan on medium heat, waited until I saw consistent "bubbling" (technical term right there) and then flipped.

Topped the Pumpkin Pancakes with butter and a scoop of Cool Whip light.  Served with scrambled eggs (gotta have my protein!).


My critique on my specialty pancakes? There were OK.  Changes I'd make? I'd probably add more yogurt so that the batter isn't so initially dry- and instead of Cool Whip Lite I'd use real maple syrup.  I had to make some changes since I wasn't sure how this meal would affect my glucose levels.  The pancakes weren't light and fluffy but more moist and dense- I attribute this to the pumpkin.  Tasty (because I added more spice!) but not the consistency I was looking for.

Would I make this again? Absolutely! Now that I know what to expect and what changes to make to this recipe, it will be even better next year.

So how did this breakfast affect my glucose levels? It was high.  I mean really really high.  After one hour my glucose should be under 140- it was 153.  I tested an hour later and should have been under 120- it was 132.

The next morning we had some leftover batter so I made smaller portions and just had one instead of two.  It was still filling since the pancake was thick.  And it didn't spike my glucose numbers at all!

Lesson learned- Keep the portions in line and glucose levels will be just fine!

Hope all my U.S. readers enjoyed their Thanksgiving Holiday!


It's OK Thursday

Hi Friends!

So I picked up on another blog trend: a link up! A blogger writes a themed posts, encourages readers to write a similar post and then add a link to their themed post on the blogger's wall!

Sound kinda complicated? Well it's not, I promise!

Today's theme is It's OK Thursdays from A Complete Waste of Makeup. Go check it out and read her post.  Then notice all the links on the bottom? You might recognize a few of those blogs or some might be new to you.  It's a great way to find new blogs!

Its Ok Thursdays

Hey, It's OK...

...if you tell your husband the reason why you need a new bottle of perfume to last you the next year is so that the baby will recognize your scent.  If you stop using it or change scents, baby might get confused!

...if you don't want to let that jerk of a driver cut in front of you, after you saw him/her in your rear view mirror speed all the way to the front of the turn lane instead of waiting his/her turn like the rest of us.

...if you correct people when they make comments of how big you're getting with, "The baby is getting big."

...if when people say, "You look tired.", you respond with, "Thanks! YOU TOO!".

...if you're mourning the vacation that would have been.  I had planned to leave for a 2 week California vacay on Friday night.  But the trip has been postponed until the baby arrives.  Yes, I'm bummed about missing my trip and will probably be a grump all weekend.

...if someone asks you a question and you respond with, "Did you Google it?".

...if you're having breakfast for dinner not just because it's budget friendly, but because it's just GOOD!

So tell me, because today is "It's OK Thursday", what's OK with you? 

Feel free to leave a link to your own "It's OK Thursday" post!


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

There's no easy way to say this so I'm just going to come right out with it.

I'm one of those people.

You know, the type that thinks it's NEVER too early for Christmas!!

Yeah, I said it.  And I'll say it again.


I've seen comments all over Twitter and Facebook about how retailers are pushing Christmas too early, commercials for Christmas shopping are jumping the gun, and people who put up their Christmas tree before Thanksgiving are CRAZY.

Well call me CRAZY.  If I could put up the tree right now, I would.  But being 34 weeks pregnant makes it kinda difficult.  But trust me that I've thought about it!

Seems like the concern is that we're just glossing over Thanksgiving and heading straight to the commercial nightmare that has become Christmas.

Valid concern, for sure!

For me, putting up a tree and listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies doesn't mean I'm forgetting about Thanksgiving.  If anything, it's a way to PREPARE for the Holiday of Thanks.

As a Christian, Christmas and Easter are the top two most important holidays of the year.  Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, and Easter is when we celebrate His ultimate sacrifice- His death for our lives.

Christmas to me is more than just shopping for the best presents.  Take away the glitter, the lights, the parties, and the gifts- we can get to the heart of the holiday. 

Even though Thanksgiving isn't here yet, I love getting into the Christmas spirit because the Christmas season is truly a time of thanks, good tidings, and new beginnings.  I feel that Thanksgiving is more of an extension of Christmas.  Sort of like the pre-party.

Thanksgiving is a time where families come together, share love and laughter, and give thanks for the many blessings in their lives.  Why stop there?  Christmas is also a time where families come together and reflect on their blessings, shower each other with love.

I don't understand why there is a set timetable for these holidays.  In my opinion, November to January is an entire season to celebrate with thanks and love.  Why wait to get into the Christmas spirit? Is it sooooo bad to be spread Christmas cheer in November?

Why not set the mood for the Christmas spirit in November and have it carry on into the New Year?  What is the big deal? Trust me that I will celebrate Thanksgiving and reflect on all that I've been blessed with in my life.  I'm thankful for my family, my husband, our bundle of joy that will arrive soon, my job, being able to live in Paradise.

But that doesn't mean I can't listen to some Christmas tunes or put up my Christmas tree. 

Or watch Elf on repeat. 



Fitness Goals for 2012

As my pregnancy starts to enter the final stretch (about 6 weeks to go!) and 2011 begins to wind down, I'm thinking about my goals for next year.

Last month I revisited my goals (well, really only one) for 2011. I didn't reach my goal this year, but I will set my eyes on it for next year.

So my first goal in 2012 is to run a 5K under 30 minutes. My official time for my very first 5K was 38:51, about a 12:34 pace.  In order to reach my goal for 2012, I'd need to run faster than a 9:40 pace.  I need to shave about 3 minutes off my pace.

Is this doable? I think so. With proper training I should be able to hit this goal, right?

How I plan to accomplish this: Well, if baby arrives by its due date, and labor & delivery goes smoothly, I should be able to start a light exercise routine 6 weeks after birth, so early February.

I plan to take it very slowly so that I don't cause any injuries to myself.

I can't really predict how my body will feel at that time, but I think I'll start off with 30-45 minute walks.  Of course I'll listen to my body and stop if it's too painful, but I think that's a good foundation.

Once I'm able to work up to 45 minutes, I'll use the training plan I used earlier this year.

I'll walk for 4 minutes, run for 1, and repeat for 45 minutes.  I can slowly build to walking for 3/running for 2, walking for 2/running for 3, and so on.

Using this training plan I was able to go from not even running for a minute to running almost 2 miles, no stopping by the end of April (so about 3 months). That was HUGE for me! HUGE!

I'm also going to make some time for strength training and cross training.

I know runners that run more than triple my goal distance are usually involved with cross and strength training as a way to avoid injury and help the body become more efficient at running. Well, if it works for them at those longer distances, it should help me as a beginner runner with my short distance (short being relative to 10+ miles- 3.1 miles is still pretty tough for me!).

Basically I'm taking the same goal and strategy for 2011 and pushing forward in 2012.

Another Goal for 2012?  Sign up for a longer race! After my first 5K, I realized that I'm closer to my goal than I thought.  So if I reach my goal in the summer, then what? Do I just give up? NO WAY!

I call this my back up goal, for when I knock my first goal out of the park.

I'm going to run a longer race (so anything longer than a 5K) before the year ends.  No time goal- just finish.

I've been reading a lot of race recaps lately and I'm still unsure if I want to run my longer race here in Hawaii or travel.

I love to travel so if I can fit in a race with a vacation, I'd be a happy camper!

Have you started thinking of your goals for 2012?- I've been thinking about them, but only have 2 set in stone.  Both are fitness goals and I think I want to also have a blogging goal and a new mommy goal.  I still have time to come up with something!

How are you goals for 2011?- Well, as I wrote in a previous post, I did not reach my 2011 goal.  However, I revisited my goals in October and have been on track for a healthy pregnancy.  I've had a few spikes in my glucose levels but my doctors aren't too concerned.  So far, so good.


Frustrations with GD

One of the scariest moments of this pregnancy was being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (GD).

You can read about my related GD posts here.  My previous posts have covered my initial reactions, my fears, my plans, things I eat, and pretty much dealing in general.

Before I even took the Glucose Screening Test (GST, also known as "the 1-hour" test), I did a lot of research about what GD is, how is it diagnosed, and how is it treated.  I've touched a bit (ok, maybe closer to a lot) on GD before and you can check out some of the information on the Gestational Diabetes tab above.

What I want to get out in this post are some of the inconsistencies with diagnosing and treating GD.  I found during my internet research that many people feel that GD isn't even a real disease and that the diagnosis is so flawed that treating this "so-called" disease is actually dangerous.  The issue seems to stem from the fact that the guidelines for testing vary and the test results itself are questionable.

After being diagnosed with GD, I found an online support group of other moms to be, also due in December, and also battling with GD.

There are many threads posted within our group about meal plans, high numbers, strategies, work out plans, etc... that we quickly noticed that many of the women were being treated for GD differently.  Of course, every pregnancy (and every woman) is different so there is no cookie cutter treatment plan but the plans varied greatly enough where an abnormal test result for one woman is completely acceptable to another and vice versa.

I dug a little deeper because I was curious about other differences or inconsistencies that existed between our treatment plans.

Here is a brief summary of what I found:

Glucose Screening and Glucose Tolerance Tests ("1-hour" and "3-hour" tests, respectively)

We were given different instructions prior to taking our tests.  Wouldn't this affect our diagnosis? Before taking my 1 hour test, I was told to fast after midnight.  Some of the women in my group were told to eat normally, others were told to fast, others were given no instructions.  It seems to me that the difference in instruction could have greatly affected our results!

For the 3-hour test, I wasn't given any clear instructions.  I took it up on myself to fast since that is what my Google results told me.  (I should have just asked my doctor, I know, but too late now).  Again, women were told to fast, eat normally, and others were told to increase their carb intake.

Shouldn't the guidelines before the screening and tolerance tests be identical?  Wouldn't this be a type of control for the lab tests? I'm no science gal but I do not that basic instructions before a lab test should be consistent if we're going to use the results.

For a quick recap, during the 1-Hour exam a pregnant woman is told to drink 50g of glucose in this sweet syrupy drink.  An hour later blood is drawn and glucose levels are measured.  During the 3-Hour exam, a pregnant woman has her blood drawn first (called the fasting draw), then 100g of glucose is given in the form of a drink, and then later blood is drawn at 3 1-hour intervals.

During the 3-hour exam some women are not allowed to walk around or engage in physical activity.  They have to just sit there during the whole ordeal.  Other women are encouraged to walk around after drinking the glucose.

I now know that walking greatly decreases my glucose levels after a meal and can't help but wonder if I were allowed to walk around, would my numbers have been different?

Treatment of GD

After being diagnosed, most women are put on a GD friendly diet- low(er) carbs and more protein. Most attend a class with an RN and a Dietician.  We learn how to eat and how to test our glucose levels in the morning (fasting) and after meals. Granted, since each woman is different, our meal plans will differ to some degree. Some women can't have fruit or milk in the morning or before noon, some have no restrictions in the morning.

So where are the significant inconsistencies? They lie in testing our glucose and whether our levels are abnormal or normal.

I test my glucose levels 4 times a day: fasting, 1-hour after my first bite for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I also have 3 snacks in between meals. My fasting number needs to be below 95 while my number after meals need to be below 140.  Sometimes I can test 2 hours after my first bite if finishing my meal takes longer than 30 minutes (like at a restaurant).  If I test 2 hours after a meal, my number needs to be below 120.

Some of the women in my group test after 1 hour, others after 2. Some women need their glucose levels to be below 135 and some below 130 an hour after a meal. Others only test at 2 hours (their glucose limit is the same, 120).

So some of my glucose results that are above 130 would raise a flag for their doctor but is perfectly acceptable by mine.  *It's important to note that the levels of 95 and 140 were given to all the ladies in my diabetes education class, not just me*.

Same for the fasting number.  Mine needs to be below 95 but other women were given limits of 90 or 100.

So why does this all matter? 

If there were inconsistencies before, during, and after these tests- how do we know the test results are accurate?  There seems to be some vital controls missing.

There are also some groups of thought that feel the treatment of GD through a restricted carb diet does more harm than good.

Don't get me wrong- I am NOT saying that we should throw GD out the window and forget about it.  From what I've read, there are risks to the baby that result from insulin-dependent diabetes (pre-pregnancy).  It seems that the diagnosis and treatment of GD stems from that.

When GD is not controlled and glucose levels are extremely high, not only does mom have to create more insulin but so does baby.  Baby's pancreas goes to work overtime to deal with the high levels of glucose that cross the placenta.  And that's normal- when we ingest too many carbs, a healthy pancreas goes into overdrive to break down the glucose.  When the body no longer responds to the insulin or stops producing it that's when we have issues.

What's scary is that in uncontrolled glucose levels with baby's pancreas working overtime, once baby is out of that environment (high sugar in mom's blood), baby's blood sugar can dip dangerously low after birth.  And that is scary.

I understand the risks but wonder if maybe just maybe there is a better way to diagnose and treat GD.  Maybe something a bit more consistent??  I think I'd feel more confident in my treatment if I knew the diagnosis and treatment didn't vary so much from doctor to doctor.

There's not much I can do about it now though. So I'll keep trucking with my meal plan and exercise routines and trust that I'm doing the best for my baby.  That's all a parent can do right?

I have an ultrasound appointment in a few weeks to check up on baby's growth.  I'm praying all is normal and that my hard work is paying off!


Blog Housekeeping

First of all, I'd to extend a warm aloha to all my new followers!

Second of all, you may have noticed a few changes around here.

I changed my banner to include a picture.  This picture was taken by moi at Waimea Bay.  It's one of my favorite beaches in Hawaii!

During this time of year the waves get pretty big... so big you can feel the sand beneath you tremble when the wave crashes!


But during the summer? The ocean here is like a lake... calm, glassy, and so refreshing!

Also something new: MY BUTTON!

Using super easy tips from my girl @ Jenn's Adventures, I learned how to create my own blog button.

So what the heck is a blog button? It's a way to share some blog love!  

If you look at my side bar on the left (<----- that way) you'll see I posted one of Jenn's buttons for her Speechless Sunday series.  

And I'm all about returning favors (um, blog favors people!) so if you created a button and want to share, just let me know! I'll grab yours if you grab mine (oh goodness this is getting out of hand!). Just grab the code at the top of my sidebar =)


Also I wanted to give all my followers a head's up- I'm reaching my 100th post soon and would like to do another giveaway to my followers! 

The catch? You need to be a follower before I post #101.  So spread the word to share some of the giveaway fun!

Weekend Recap & Aloha Salads Review

Oh Monday- Back so soon, are we?

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Ours was pretty standard- ate, shopped, ate again, thrifted, ate some more, rearranged our apartment...

You know, pretty standard.

And yes, I now use "thrift" as a verb.

thrift (v)- To find a great deal, to shop with the intention of not paying even close to full price.  Also used as thrifting and thrifted. Derived from the adjective thrifty.

There you go.  Thrifted.

The highlights?

I found a $3.50 Banana Republic blazer at Goodwill.

Yes, you read that right- $3.50!! Originally marked for $7 (and can you believe I even debated that price?) but at the register it was 50% off!


We also found another gem this weekend, this time a food gem.

One day for lunch we ate at Aloha Salads.  

The hubbs and I have never ate there before.  Honestly, I wasn't in the mood for a salad but needed something healthy and with the right balance of carbs.  Most salads I know of are very low carb, which is OK most of the time, but I have a range I need to meet for my Gestational Diabetes.

From it's website:

Aloha Salads has expanded since 2003, opening stores in Kahala Mall Shopping Center and Kapolei Commons Shopping Center but its core mission remains the same—to serve healthy, fresh, locally grown food of the highest quality at affordable prices.  It remains dedicated to supporting local farmers and fishermen while providing its customers with the freshest, healthiest and most delicious ingredients available.  Our field greens come, not by boat from the mainland, but straight from the North Shore of Oahu.  Our tomatoes come ripened on the vine in Hau’ula, Hawai’i delivered by the farmer himself.  Our mangoes come from a farm in Mokuleia, Hawai’i, handpicked at the perfect ripeness.  Our ahi comes, always fresh, never previously frozen or injected with CO2 straight from Hawaiian waters. 
Aloha Salads deeply cares about its customers’ health.  To that end, its signature salad dressings are made without the use of hydrogenated oils or trans fats.  Instead, they are made with Canola or olive oils.  Even its breads are made without the use of such oils.  Their sandwich breads are made with extra virgin olive oil and nutrient powerhouses like flax seeds.  The pita bread is entirely fat and sugar free.

The husband ordered a Chicken Curry Wrap.  I couldn't find that item on their menu to give you all the great details but basically it's a curry chicken salad wrapped in pita bread with fresh veggies.

His verdict? It was REAL good!

I ordered the Kahuku Spinach Salad.  I saw that it came with pita bread so I was happy to get some of my carbs in there.  The salad included spinach, Kahuku Shrimp (grilled), avocado, egg, bacon, and tossed in their own papaya seed dressing.  The shrimp tasted like it was grilled FRESH- you know when shrimp is firm and still juicy? Yeah that was the sweet spot! The shrimp had really great seasoning- kinda spicy but went so well with the rest of the salad.  I thought about offering the hubbs a taste but used my better judgement!


The best part of the entire meal was knowing that all the ingredients were local!

It was a bit more than we expected for salads, but hey, when you're paying for such great quality, what's a couple extra bucks?

For my salad, hubby's wrap, and 2 drinks- total was around $23.

But we were so impressed we're definitely going back soon.

There are 4 locations on Oahu (again, from their website)

Downtown Honolulu, Kailua Shopping Center, Kahala Mall, and Kapolei Commons.

Hope you all had a GREAT WEEKEND!! 


Go Put On Some Clothes!

Yesterday I posted about a few of my healthy eating tips and tricks for the holiday season.

I know I sound pretty crazy, but really all my tricks are about bargaining with myself (yes, I talk to myself on a regular basis!).

For a quick recap:

1: Indulge in the GOOD stuff, don't waste an "indulgence" on a piece of candy or a cookie that is good but just doesn't do it for you.  In all honesty, your indulgence should be borderline orgasmic (Helllloooooo Pumpkin Creme Brulee!). Seriously.

2: Watch your portion sizes- have a piece of that cake, a slice of pie, 2-3 cookies.  That's it.  Don't eat the entire dessert or a dozen cookies! Enjoy your 1 serving and savor it.

3: Don't indulge the entire season- Thanksgiving is ONE DAY.  Christmas is ONE DAY.  New Years Eve is one party.  Don't indulge on all the days in between.

Now that we got the healthy eating tips down, what about exercise??

Honestly, I got only one trick up my sleeve.  I am no fitness guru or expert.  I read a lot and do my research and I'm into trying new things.  But I can't give running advice or Bikram Yoga tips (except don't come too close to me, I'm not good with spacial boundaries).  I experiment with running, strength training, yoga, and swimming (so far) and I know what works for me.

But one trick I do have is literally like gold to me.  I have no idea where I got this from but it works for me 100% of the time.


If you don't feel like working out, just get dressed (head to toe!).  If you still don't feel like working out after getting your gear on, go ahead and skip your workout.

WHAAAT? Permission to skip a workout? YES. But hear me out-

There have been times where I don't feel like completing my scheduled workout.  Going to the gym just seems annoying and all I want to do is cuddle up to some Ben & Jerry's and put on a few good chick flicks.

But before I get to the point of falling asleep in a pint of ice cream, the compromise is to get dressed.

I change into my workout clothes, lace up my shoes, put on my heart rate monitor.

If after all that, all I can think of are my boys (B&J), then fine. I sit back on the couch and that's it.

Want to know a secret? That has NEVER happened.

By the time I get dressed, even if I don't want to complete my workout that is scheduled, I'm usually up for walking around my apartment complex or taking an easy cardio routine on the elliptical.  Sometimes I surprise myself and continue my exercise routine as scheduled but sometimes I take on an easier workout.

Either way, I exercise.  I do something.  

And we all know doing something is better than nothing.


So even if all you do is take a walk or complete half your workout, you did something.

And trust me, you'll feel so much better than if you didn't just get dressed.


Surviving the Holiday Season- My tips and tricks.

I always feel like Halloween kicks off the "Holiday Season".

Once the Halloween candy is brought into the office, it becomes a non-stop parade of goodies for about 9-10 weeks (we celebrate after New Year's here!).

I've been on diets for as long as I can remember and only in college did I learn the difference between dieting and living a healthy lifestyle.

Dieting to me is synonymous with restriction, deprivation, struggle, difficult, and NO!

Living a healthy lifestyle to me rings more with balance, choices, forgiveness, and YES!

I've learned a few tricks along the way to make sure my new eating habits and workout routines were balanced properly in my life.  In fact, I like to use the word "harmonious" over "balance" because let's face it, sometimes not working out or indulging once in awhile will take the lead over healthy eating 100% of the time and consistent exercise.

My healthy living tricks:

1. If you're going to indulge, make it GOOD.  Make it WORTH IT.

Example: Because of my GD (gestational diabetes), I have to really watch not just how many carbs I ingest, but also keep a strong handle on my sugar intake.  My treats are already limited.  But after talking to my doctor and sharing my frustration of the timing of having GD during the holidays, she mentioned that a treat once in awhile isn't going to do damage.  It is constant elevated levels of high glucose that causes complications.

I know that a treat once in awhile is OK.  But with GD, my choices carry much more weight because the don't just affect me, they affect my baby as well.

So for this Holiday Season, I've made the choice to go ahead and have a treat on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (if baby is still inside my belly by then!).  How do I decide what treat I'm going to have?  Well, my favorite of all time is Pumpkin Pie.  I love anything pumpkin.  I'll stay away from the cupcakes and cookies and candies but give me a slice of that pumpkin pie! I may even pass over the pumpkin pie for a more unique dessert- like a pumpkin creme brulee (I've only had that once in my life and will gladly forfeit pumpkin pie this year if anyone has a recipe and wants to make me some!).

Another example? One of our fave restaurants has a chocolate souffle cake.  NOT a  chocolate souffle, but a flourless, dense chocolate cake that tasted like the outside of a souffle. Well, after trying it a few times we decided to not order it again. Why? Because there many really really good restaurants that offer chocolate souffles here in Hawaii that are about 10x better than the cake.  So why waste calories on something we just kinda like?  We'd rather skip the cake and have frozen yogurt instead.

2. It's all about portion sizes.

So now that you got your fave dessert in mind, it's also important to watch your portion sizes.

I know, I know, we hear that all the time! So what does that mean? Simple- have one cupcake not two, have a slice of pumpkin pie not the whole thing, maybe 2-3 cookies not a full dozen.  Simple math, right?

But how do you stop from just having one slice, one cupcake, 2 cookies? I bargain with myself.

That one slice of pumpkin pie is a freebie... anything else whether it's a cupcake or cookie or another slice of pie is an additional 30 minutes of exercise.  Sure 30 minutes may not be enough to burn off the extra calories but it's more than what I usually do.

3. Remember that a holiday is just that- one day.

I think it's so easy to get wrapped up in the "Holiday Season" that we tend to indulge all season long.  There are so many parties to go to and people to visit, be sure that when you indulge you 1) make it worth it and 2) stick to portion sizes.  And don't do it at every party and event you attend!

Love your grandma's cookies? Then have some.  Going to an office party the next day? Try to fill up on more veggies and lean protein and stay away from the sweet stuff. Don't keep using parties as an excuse to have your fill of sweets.  Pick a party that you know will have the good stuff and plan accordingly.

And guess what? If you indulge in two parties in a row, throw in some extra time in your workouts!

And if you really can't let go of the extra sweets, remember that these parties will come around again next year.  Give yourself permission to have it, just not now.

It's all about balance and harmony.  Find your middle ground without compromising your goals.

You are worth living a healthy lifestyle.  Don't throw it all away- have a battle plan!

Do you have any tips or tricks for sticking to a healthy lifestyle during the holidays?

What's your favorite dessert this season?


The Only Day Acceptable for Ugly Manicures

Are you a big fan of Halloween?

Do you pour your blood, sweat, and tears into your costume?

I've never been one to get all excited about Halloween.  I admire everyone else's elaborate costumes and I really think it's great when people come up with original ideas.

I, however, lack creativity in all sense of the word.  I can never come up with a great costume.  I don't know if I've ever put 100% effort into it, but it just never works for me.

I've been to a few Halloween parties but really the themes are not my cup of tea.  I don't do scary or icky. I'm not into the club scene either so really what I'm trying to say is that I'm a huge Halloween Party Pooper.

Ironically, I won a costume award on Monday.

Yup! You read that right...I won a freaking costume award for Halloween...whoo hoo!!!

On Monday we had a small party at work.  The invite said there'd be prizes for the Scariest, Funniest, and Most Original costumes.  Since I'm not a fan of dressing up and costumes in general, I ordered a shirt on line. I didn't want to be completely lame and not have any effort, so I wore my t-shirt and painted my nails.



I was voted as Funniest Costume (if you can't read the words, I'm a Pumpkin Smuggler!). I painted my nails orange (which I actually didn't mind and might have kept it on during November) and added Black Crackle nail polish on top.  This is what I thought it might look like (but w/ orange of course).


But here is what it turned out like:


Seriously the most ugly home manicure I've ever had.  I need to fire my nail lady- oh wait, that's me!

For real- people pay for this?? I'm sorry if you are drawn to this look but this is another trend that just isn't for me.  I usually put a lot of effort into making sure my nails don't  turn out this ugly.

But I still won, ugly nails and all.  I guess Halloween is the one day a year it's OK to be ugly on purpose.

My prize? A box of Fiber One bars, 2 boxes of Jell-O, and a mug filled with candy.  Way better than the prize for Scariest Costume who one clinical strength deodorant!!

And just for fun-

A NEW BELLY PIC (32 weeks!)


Just for comparison, the pic on the right is me at 27 weeks.  Looks like Baby has moved up and is squishing more of my organs- especially the lungs!


And of course I'm going to share the cutest picture I saw on Facebook- It was his first Halloween and he was Russel from the movie UP!


Do you dress up for Halloween?  Do you like to go to parties, throw your own, or stay low-key with the trick or treaters?


Blogging FYI- Awards/Buttons/GIVEAWAYS!!

I've always said that the best thing about blogging is the community it builds.

Sometimes I read a blog and think, "Hey! We could be friends in real life, fo' sho'!" (in a non stalker-ish way, of course).  It's really nice to connect with fellow bloggers whom you may have never had the chance to build a friendship, ever.

And that being said....

I would love to thank SUZ from COWS AND LASERS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN for honoring me with this:

The Liebster Blog Award!!!
No, not lobster. Liebster.  I'm guessing rhymes with Leapster.

Liebster means beloved German.  And this award gets me all warm and fuzzy inside because one of the main reasons I keep blogging is because of my readers and the immense amount of support that we're able to share through our blogs.

Here are the rules:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.

2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment at their blog.

3. Post the Award on your blog.

4. Enjoy the love of some of the most supportive people on the Internet!

My top 5 picks (oooo this is always so hard for me!)

Krista @ My Journey to a Healthy Berg is a weight loss success and a pharmacy student! She always has great healthy advice in nutrition and fitness.  So inspiring!

Kimberly @ Healthy Strides is also a weight loss success and new mommy! She keeps it real with her healthy lifestyle and honestly her pictures of her baby boy just melt my heart.

Katie @ KatieRunsThis is a soon to be mommy (4 days and counting!) and still keeps her running game.  She's a true inspiration to me to stay active during my pregnancy and beyond.

Sara @ Words to Run By is another inspiring blogger.  I feel like I can relate to her because she's come so far from those first steps of running (which is where I am) and makes me feel like I can accomplish my goals, too.

Tara @ Dashing in Pearls is one of the first bloggers I've followed since starting my blog.  She's a teacher and loves running, cupcakes, and "things that sparkle" (honestly, who doesn't?).


Have you seen Blog Buttons before?

I've seen them around, but have never understood what they were all about.  Why would I want another blogger's button on my blog? Well, duh- because bloggers SWAP buttons! 

I learned this through my girl at Jenn's Adventures.

She is always helping me out with my technological aspirations (or lack thereof) and her most recent post has inspired me to create my own button.

Just gotta figure out which pic I want to use and then I can swap buttons with all you fellow bloggers out there!


And now for more fun stuff: GIVEAWAYS!

Both Tara @ Dashing in Pearls and Savanah @ What Makes Savanah Smile are having fab giveaways!

You have two (2) chances to win this great prize by entering their giveaways:

A Dolce Gusto Piccolo Coffee Maker!!!!!

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