Sunday, March 24, 2013

Birds of a feather...

Have you ever seen the food that comes out of a bird feeder? Lots of small black speckles, browns and greys- maybe a touch of red all mixed inside that tiny tube of seeds. I like when my cupboard looks like a bird feeder. Mekenzie and I have nick named our seeds, nuts, grains- bird food. It’s the best kinds of add-in’s to oat meal and the perfect snack in the after noon. I love bird food more than any other human! And I can promise you that at any given time I will have a container full of nuts and seeds and at least 3 different kinds of super seeds. I'm growing more and more obsessed with these earthly supplements but I started to wonder, “Which one tastes best and is really best for me? ”
So here I am! Coming to you with the latest taste test experiment. Similar to my coconut water taste test, I picked a variety of seeds, grains and nuts- and included some information on how they taste and more importantly what they do for your body.

*Warning this could quite possibly turn you into a bird food addict.*
Chia Seeds: richest plant source of Omega-3 (more Omega-3 than salmon!), they absorb 10x their weight in water (or almond milk!) which helps aid in weight loss because you feel fuller faster and longer; high in fiber, calcium, phosphorus and manganese.
-Tasteless; adds little to no texture to food (maybe a slight crunch); easy to add to almost anything.
Flax Seed: 3 main healthy components- Omega-3s; Lignans- which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant components, about 800 more lignans than other plants foods; Fiber- both in soluble and insoluble types. 
-Wheaty flavor, best if ground so that it can be easily added without effecting the texture of the food you are topping it with. 
Hemp Seed: Highest protein seed, contains all 9 of the essential amino acids, great balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, contains a good amount of vitamin E. Richest know source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. 
-If you’re a vegetarian, this is a great source of protein because it is said to be easily digestible. 
-Rich and nutty in flavor. Unlike flax or chia, the small nuts are flavorful and creamy enough to eat on their own.
Petitas (pumpkin seeds): Abundance of nutrients! Amino Acids, unsaturated fatty acids, and the majority of vitamins and minerals. Rich in beta carotene to support eye health. One ounce contains 9 grams of protein; Anti-inflammatory seeds that supports liver health. 
-Light crunch, green in color and mild nut flavor. Does not have pumpkin flavor at all. 
-Great on salads, oat meal and trail mix. 
Pistachios: Lowest calorie nut, tied with almonds at 6g of protein per one ounce, great source of vitamin B6, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. It’s an antioxidant powerhouse and one serving contains about 12% of your daily recommended fiber. 
-Strong flavor, creamy in texture.
Farro: Oldest cultivated grain in the world. Very popular in biblical times.  Protein packed grain. 9g per serving. Loads of fiber. Helps maintain low blood pressure, and low blood sugar levels. 
-Wheaty flavor, easily takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with- spices, herbs or mixed with agave and cinnamon for a morning meal.
Moon Beets: Pre-packaged, organic snack from Whole Foods. Contains, sunflowers seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, carrots- all held together by beets, raw honey and some cinnamon. 
-Great flavor! Perfect post workout snack. Contains 10 g of protein and high in fiber. 
My body feels good just reading all the health benefits of the bird food that I am packing into my body. These nuts seeds and grains are so versatile that it is easy to introduce at least one of these into a meal or snack everyday. Try it, your body will thank you! 
This winter I worked at 6 am everyday, so I needed something healthy, but easy to take to work for breakfast. Below is my overnight oats recipe that I have eaten almost morning for the last, 4 months! I’m still not tired of it because it’s that delicious! And of course it contains lots of bird food add-ins. Enjoy my little bird. 

Over Night Oats:
1/2 c. Old Fashioned Oats (Quick Oats turn too soggy)
1 Tablespoon Chia Seed
1 Tablespoon Flax
1/2 Tablespoon Hemp Seed
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
1/2 c. Almond Milk (or Milk substitute, coconut milk, rice milk or soy)
Mix the above ingredients before you go to bed in a sealable container. 
In the morning, top with fruit (strawberries, blue berries, black berries, etc.)
This can be eaten cold, or hot- which is how I prefer it. 
Optional add-ins: shredded coconut, nut butter, pecans, walnuts, agave. 

~ Erin

Friday, March 22, 2013

Let's Face it!

Let's Face it!

Whether you are 18, 30, or 60; man or woman you care about having good looking skin! Healthy skin is not only beautiful to the eye but it is beneficial to the entire body. And as much as we would all like to own every product from Cindy Crawford's Meaningful Beauty skin line or even a facial cleanser from J.R. Watkins, let's face it... they are not always in the budget! So, we turn to nature to offer us an unparalleled skincare that is affordable and absolutely tasty! 

Why would we not use God given natural gifts to help maintain health to the bodies He created?.. well i'm off to the grocery store to stock up, hope you are too!

Gabrielle <3

Photo Credit to Julep Blog! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Break from Social Media

We are currently in the season of Lent, the Christian season in preparation of Easter in which many believers set aside time for the 40 days before Easter  for reflection on Jesus, his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. It is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.

Although I am not Catholic, I still like to observe Lent in some capacity in order to try to be more disciplined and re-focus my faith by giving something up. In years past I have done "easy" things, such as ice cream, coffee, desserts,etc. Things that were hard, but didn't necessarily challenge me.This year however, after speaking with my LA-actress-ridiculously-spiritually-wise friend Erin,  she challenged me to give up social media with her.My first reaction? No way. Not possible. How could I do that? Facebook and Instagram? Those were my 2 go-to time killers. At work, at home, out and about anywhere. They are my clutch. I would be SO disconnected. How would I know what was going on in the world?

An over-reaction? Maybe. But these reactions are exactly what made me realize I HAD to do this. I HAD to give up what was hard, what was becoming an all-too-time-consuming act. I HAD to let go of these things that I found myself going to daily for comparison, judgment, and self-affirmation. I was looking to these places for my self-worth, instead of to the One who I needed it from the most.

"Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." -1 Peter 3:4

 It was becoming unhealthy. And although all of this is hard to admit, I knew it had to be done. 40 days, thats it. How could it be that hard? Well, it was. And still is. It was harder at first to break my routine of instantly pulling up my Facebook when I got to my office. Checking my Instagram feed as soon as I plopped on the couch after a day of work. But now? Now I'm getting the hang of it. I don't instantly feel the need to see who's status' have changed, who's posted cute new pics on Instagram, or who 'liked' my pictures.


And I don't feel as out of the loop as I thought I would. I'm having more real conversations with my friends and husband. I have more time to get in the Word and pursue relationships. I'm not worried about getting the perfect picture and filter of the meal I just made, or how many people commented on it. Sure, I miss it. And yes, I will go back to it. But this time with a new set of eyes, and a new heart. Eyes that (hopefully) won't get so wrapped up in OTHER people's lives, but more able to look at my own and better it. A heart that won't be so sensitive to feeling less about myself because someone else posted a picture of a group of people hanging out without me, or thinking about how much better their life looks from the outside.

Believe me when I say I don't think there is anything wrong with these sites, I love them as much as the next person. But my heart needed to be checked. I needed to step away and re-evaluate myself and my motives. About halfway through Lent, I am encouraged. And I hope you are too should you ever choose to take a break from social media. I challenge you to try it sometime Take it from me, it can do wonders for you!


*Check out this amazing post by my Cali-friend Erin about Christianity and Hollywood here

Saturday, March 9, 2013

For the Love of the Game

There are not many sports that I haven’t played, swam, danced, tumbled, ran or jumped. I love sports. So so much! I love playing them for sure and I love watching them too. I am competitive to the core, which is why I get so much excitement and life out of a healthy competition. Of all the things I have done, volleyball is by far my favorite. I have been playing since I was 11 and haven’t ever looked back. I did every summer sports camp, open gym practice and was the first to put on my knee pads and spandex every year for team try outs. Some of my fondest high school memories are playing with my team. When it was time to go to college I decided that I would turn down the 2 small offers I got to play at D2 schools and went to a big university where I did not stand a chance of playing. But I wasn’t going to let the fact that I’m only 5’5’’ and have a vertical of a elephant stop me from playing. So, I competed in intramural volleyball all through college. In the summers, I coached high school girls volleyball at Kanakuk Christian Sports Kamp (yes, camp with a 'K'.) I loved coaching so I decided to pass down my love of the game to another team of girls and coached my first club season of 15 year old freshmen. It was a blast. I had moments where I got jealous of my girls because I remember how much I enjoyed playing Club and I wanted to be in their shoes again! (I might regret ever saying that I wish I was a 15 year old teenager again!) 
My high school days of play Libero 
Coaching Club volleyball for Colorado North Stars. They were an amazing group of girls. 

This year, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t get to play the game that I am so in love with. I wasn’t able to coach this year and I wasn’t in college so my options were limited as to where I can play. Thankfully, one of my girl friends from work loves the game just as much as I do, and offered for me to join her team! Without skipping a beat, I accepted the invitation and signed up with their recreation team. We had a blast playing- no doubt, but we weren’t very good! We did not win very much, but that’s not what it’s about. Playing volleyball for me is so much more than winning. It’s a way for me to use my skills, be a part of a team, play my passion, work out and have a ton of fun! We laughed just as much as we scored points, which in my mind is a successful season.
 (Don’t get me wrong, I want to win...but that comes second to having a good time!)

Serves You Right! That was our team name. 

I am excited to continue playing. It is for the love of the game because, man, I love the game. We are setting up are co-ed team for the summer season of sand volleyball right now and you better believe I will keep you posted with some pictures of us spiking the heck out of that volleyball. Do what you love. I love volleyball. 

~ Erin

Friday, March 8, 2013

Go Bananas.. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Go Bananas... B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

I know we've all heard the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Well what about a banana a day?? It's amazing how easily this common yellow fruit is overlooked. But I am here to let you in on a well kept secret, Bananas are SOOOOOOooooOoo good for you!!

Let's dig a little deeper into the health benefits of this fruit... Because bananas contain five times as much Vitamin A and iron, three times as much phosphorus as apples and are rich in potassium and natural sugars they are the perfect natural energy source. Eating two bananas will give you enough energy for an hour and a half workout! And when you're under that midday spell grab a banana and let it work its magic~
Now, we all know what tryptophan is but you may not be aware that tryptophan is found in bananas. This fancy amino acid is a natural mood booster; so next time you're feeling a little blue, consult a banana :) To piggyback the happiness factor, bananas are a great alternative to ibuprofen or midol during your un-welcomed monthly visitor since they help maintain and regulate blood glucose.
Just a few more benefits to share with you, otherwise this post will continue on to an undesirable length. Bananas are a stomach soother, so if you've come down with the flu, are a little hungover, or preggo, eating a banana will calm that unsettled tummy. Something you can try at home today: grab a banana, a mirror, a camera, and a chair!...bananas have been used to whiten teeth; you have to peel off a piece of the inside of the banana and rub it around your teeth for two minutes. The minerals in bananas {magnesium, manganese, and potassium} work into your teeth and whiten them!!

 So, go ahead.. Go BaNaNaS!

Gabrielle <3

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Remembering Through Flavors....

I was never a reader in college. EVER. Academic reading was about all I could handle not to mention the times people usually read is at night right before bed. Being a college student, there wasn't very much "reading time/down time" before bed, usually just a lot of crazy shenanigans like making peanut butter fruit dip at 10 at night, pushing mattresses together, having kitchen dance parties, Frozen Yogurt at 10:00 p.m. or other seemingly rather important activities to do be done. Reading? yeah no. There WAS one exception though, Shauana. Shauna Niequist is an  author I fell in love with in college. I am sure every girl says this, but it literally feels like Shauna speaks to every circumstance and emotion I go through and when I read her books I forget that I'm not actually having coffee with her, but really I'm just on my couch in my living room. She is THE BEST. She's completley authentic, hilarious, deep, unassuming, direct, engaging and so much more. Her writing is chalked full of life lessons, learning experiences, memories and her deepest darkest ugliest parts that most people are too scared to even acknowledge exist in them. I love her and her writing and if I had to choose between meeting my favorite celeb or Shuana, it would  absolutely be Shuana every time. Erin and I used to only allow ourselves once chapter of "Shauna" a day. Sometimes when we couldn't help ourselves we accidentally read two. We read her chapters out loud to each other. Cried just about every chapter and often read special chapters for special occasions. Occasions like Gaby's wedding day. We all sat in the bathroom, Gaby's hair in curlers and bridesmaids scattered painting nails and pinning curls and stopped to read "A Blessing For a Bride" from Shuana's 2nd book "Bittersweet." Its all about how wonderful getting married is, but the true richness and love that grows for your husband and for being a wife as time goes on. It speaks to the funny chaos of wedding planning and shares encouragement about how the best is yet to come.

Since I follow Shauna like a stalker I found out via her blog that bloggers like myself could have the opportunity to read her 3rd book "Bread & Wine" pre-release. It releases April 1st. The idea is that bloggers will share our thoughts and excitement about "Bread & Wine" with our community and oh my goodness was I all over that. "Bread & Wine" resonates with my heart on a deeper level than any of her other books because its all about food and the table and hosting and life and the spiritual implications of these things and how they feed our souls. Go ahead and just pre-order Bread & Wine on Amazon. Its incredible. You should also just pre-game with her other two books "Cold Tangerines" and "Bittersweet." Buy her up people!!! I am so excited to share my thoughts on "Bread & Wine", but I also am excited to share my own stories and what I learned and concluded about myself and my world while reading it. This might be a series of posts. This is your official warning.

"Remembering Through Flavors": Shauna says she "remembers through flavors." This is so the way I function. One of my favorite things about the 'core four' is that all of us love to cook/ eat out/ do happy hours/ host parities/ eat clean/ and gather around the table together. Its what we do. We don't spend money on movie tickets or concerts very much we just love to gather for food, make food, eat food. Shauna has a cooking club that meet once a month. The host picks a theme and every one else fills around the edges with appetizers, desserts, and side dishes. She talks about the functionality of the cooking club. Upon arrival its pure chaos greeting one another, shrugging coats, handling dishes, lifting babies out of car seats, bringing in bags of borrowed clothes and assembling dishes. This scene is virtually the same with the core minus the babies part. We freely rummage through cupboards and pour ourselves some wine as we catch up and put the meal together and when we all sit its "dial in time." encouargment, tears, joy, freak outs, fights, and so much more have happened around our table. Shauna says "the table is the life raft, the center point, the home base of who we are together." This is true of us. We go deep around the table, we talk about really hard things, we laugh till we cry, we pray together, we share in each others burdens and sorrows as much as we share in each others praises and mountain top seasons. I love this about us. The best memories with these core have been the ones around the table. I remember through flavors....

Creamy risotto with cherry tomatoes and cabbage makes me think of my "Root Down" patio date with Lauren... and the new last name Zeman. She had just gotten back from her honeymoon in Jamaica and she was a bronzed babe and all smiles. We met at Wash Park for a run and spent the rest of the evening talking honeymoon highlights on the patio of one of my favorite spots. We shared the risotto and a minty mojito and also had a plate of sweet potato fries with a curry lime dipping sauce. We didn't say no to dessert and ordered a gooey and perfect flour less chocolate cake. Risotto, fries, mojito, and cake were the flavors that marked my memory with Lauren. (And an $8 glass water bottle we got suckered into.)

Thick and dark mugs of coffee in Starbucks State mugs will always make me think of Gaby house for breakfast. My memories with Gaby can be marked by "Braverman Cups" (the perfect cup of coffee every time without fail) with hard boiled egg on crusty Udi's gluten free toast with a sprinkle of truffle salt on top. We always sit in the back yard and its always for hours, but one particular day was different. It was her wedding day. I woke up next to the bride that morning excited for my last cup of "Braverman coffee" with my soon to be "Lobdell bride babe." All the bridesmaids sat cozily in their pj's in the back yard taking the morning slow before the sure hustle of the wedding day. We had coffee and Hawaiian pineapple pancakes with eggs and fresh juice. Blankets covered the back yard with family and friends gathered to eat and share time together on such a significant day. There was no hurry in the yard that day. I escaped for a bit to work on my MOH speech only to return to the same backyard scene I left. I won't forget the flavors that marked that wedding morning and the memories with Gaby on that day.

Erin and I spontaneously booked a flight to Malibu to run in the Malibu International Half Marathon at probably the most crucial "friend need" times of my life during one of the hardest seasons of my life. I had moved away to Kansas and was in shambles in all sorts of ways. Breakfast is both Erin and my most favorite meal to eat out so we decided morning of vacation day 1 we would find a cool spot before we ventured to Malibu for packet pick up. Blue Plate hit the spot for us. We sat outside in the most perfectly sunny weather ordered coffee and beet juice and did that thing we do best. Chatted about the rough patch of life that we were both in, wondering how we would make it and how we would make it living in different spots. We made our own omlets with peppers, onions, spinach, tomato, goat cheese and avocado and crunched into toasty bread with a little side of fresh fruit and those were the flavors that marked my memory on the mini Malibu vacation with Erin.

I'm sure the core four and I have shared many wonderful memories that go beyond food, but when I think about the best memories with them its only the memories that include food that stick out so well to me. Like one time in college right before the girls graduated. We pulled two mattresses upstairs pushed them together in the living room and ate crackled french bread with warm brie cheese and juicy green grapes with a large bottle of wine. We ate and assembled Laurens wedding invitations and talked about what the future would hold for our "adult life" friendship and the sweetness of our college friendship.

I seriously could not be more thankful. Thankful for the Lords provision in both food and relationships as I remember so many memories through flavors.

~ Mekenzie

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Coffee In Bed

 There aren't a lot of things that top a cup of coffee in bed. Coffee in bed to me means lazy, coffee in bed means slow, coffee in bed means reading and journaling, coffee in bed means cozy bonus time. I think we should all commit to at least 1 "coffee in bed morning" every week. Life is full, full of workouts, full time jobs, errands, time with friends, cooking, boyfriend time and so many other things that bring us joy and and things that are done simply out of necessity. Because of busyness, often scheduling rest and relaxation is crucial.

Rest days are critical both physiologically and psychologically. If you workout, muscles need rest to repair, rebuild, and restrengthen. Building in rest days to your workout schedule is mandatory to reach fitness goals and keep your body in great shape. Disregarding rest days can lead to overtraining. psychologically, our bodies need time to catch up. My workouts are better, my relationships are better, and my energy levels are better when I make time for myself and for rest during the weekly hustle and bustle of life.

Resting may look different from person to person. For me, it means setting my alarm to allow for at least an hour in bed with my coffee (and often my breakfast...shhhh.) I like to read the bible, a book, flip through magazines, browse recipes on Pinterest, or journal. I hang out in my pj's. I watch the time go by. I sip slowly and I rest. For others, rest time might look like an early morning yoga practice, a mug of tea, a big batch of pancakes and a lazy breakfast.

This week, challenge yourself  to at least 1 "coffee in bed morning." Whatever that looks like for you. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Practice it. Do it.

Happy resting!

~ Mekenzie

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Welcome to our Blog Makeover!

We are so excited to reveal our new look! We loved our original name and layout, but we felt the ol' bloggy could use a little re-vamp and added girly factor.

We changed our name to "Serendipitous", which means a happy accident. This perfectly describes our friendship. We all met in college, having come from different places all over Colorado and truly believe our meeting was divinely planned. We were meant to be bests, and God brought the four of us together to journey through life. We all bring something different to the friendship, and we hope you can see that through our posts.

While we will continue to post about all things health and fitness, we are going to be adding in all kinds of fun lifestyle posts about life, love, relationships, fashion, and wherever else life takes us.

THANK YOU to our followers for sticking with us during this transition, and we hope you enjoy our new look!