Friday, May 17, 2013

Watermelon Salad

Recently we had a delicious watermelon salad at one of our favorite restaurants and attempted to create a similar version ourselves tonight. It turned out delicious and was a great accompaniment to the grilled brats.

 Chop the watermelon (preferably seedless) into bite sized chunks

Roughly chop the fresh basil 
Mix the watermelon, basil & cheese and drizzle with vinaigrette. Salt and pepper to taste!

 Bon appetit!

1/2 Small watermelon diced into chunks
10 Fresh Basil leaves roughly chopped
1/3 cup fresh feta crumbled (a salty ricotta salata would work great as well)
Balsamic vinaigrette make up of 2 parts olive oil and 1 part balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Thursday, May 16, 2013

shower me in fancy

shower me in fancy
1. Sabon Coconut Vanilla Body scrub - this all natural salt scrub is amazing! My husband stumbled upon this gem one Valentines day and I've been hooked ever since. You'll think you've died and gone to the spa.
2. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser - This wash is pretty pricey but I keep going back to it because I can't find anything that begins to compare. It removes ALL traces of makeup and does not dry or irritate my sensitive skin.
3. Clarisonic Mia 2 - everything you've heard is true.  I can't be without it (period)
4. L'Occitane Cleansing and Softening Shower Oil - this can be used as a cleaner, moisturizer and shaving cream. It smells fantastic and make an otherwise boring shower feel special. 
5. Redken Hair Cleansing Cream - this is a great clarifying shampoo. As a bonus it also does an excellent job at cleaning your makeup brushes...even further proof that it's ridding your hair of build up.
6. Pureology Hydrawhip - For those extra special days, use this! It makes your hair so silky smooth and full of body you'll feel like you just walked out of the salon. 

What's your favorite product to indulge in the shower?

xo Ellen

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pining for Peplum

jcrew top (here)/Gap jeans (old) - similar (here)/Blush boutique necklace/h&m Wedges (old) - similar (here)/D&G Sunglasses (old)/Kate Spade Travel Wallet - similar (here)
I love the peplum trend and lucky for me it's not going away anytime soon. When worn correctly the right peplum top defines your waist perfectly and can minimize hips. I've been on the hunt for a great peplum top for a while now so when I spotted this one here from Jcrew I knew I had to have it. Online the top is backordered until July so I was thrilled when a store in Dallas had my size in stock and shipped it to me. This one's a keeper!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Body after Baby

After having recently endured 9 months of a high risk pregnancy (a.k.a goodbye gym) and 35 pounds gained (and lost) I feel somewhat comfortable talking about getting back your body after baby.

Now, as a disclaimer I do have good "body after baby" genes as my mother birthed five children with nary a stretch mark, and to my great fortune, and credibility my mother is also a registered dietitian, my sister is a personal trainer and I, myself, have a bachelor's degree in exercise science. I know, disgusting.

Now, having said that, if you still want to listen, here are my tips for getting back your body after baby:

Nutrition advice from the daughter of a dietitian:

Start listening to your body now. Many of us have been trained to eat as a response to time or emotion. With the exception of breakfast, which you should always strive to eat, start trying to eat only when you are hungry (and while you are hungry), but don't wait until you are starving. While your body demands more calories while you are pregnant, it is not an excuse to gorge on whatever you want. If you're a numbers person, during the second and third trimester you need roughly an extra 300 calories a day (Gain Weight Safely During Your Pregnancy. (n.d.). Retrieved from
There are quite a few new changes and sensations taking place in your body right now - pay attention to to them and listen to them. If you feel hungry - eat - but make healthy choices, eat slowly and watch portions. If you are having a craving - satisfy it - eat slowly and (again) listen to your body carefully and when the craving is fulfilled, stop eating. Typically a craving is for a specific taste and not an amount.
For many of us, the first trimester can be pretty rough - you're feeling more exhausted than you ever knew possible (just holding your head up takes extra energy) and on top of that you want to throw up every second of everyday. Fortunately, for me, eating provided some relief to that raw feeling in my stomach. Unfortunately, for me, this meant I gained most of my weight in the first trimester when the baby was only the size of a blueberry at best. My best advice here is to pick healthy snack options and remind yourself that pregnancy is not an excuse to gorge on whatever you want - it is, however, an excuse to gorge on saltines if it makes you feel a little better than utterly miserable.

Every woman is different but the recommended weight gain for a woman at a healthy weight pre-pregnancy is around 25-35 lbs (Gain Weight Safely During Your Pregnancy. (n.d.). Retrieved from The rate a which you gain it can vary greatly but focus on listening to your body. While a few extra pounds both look and feel good while your pregnant, this does not hold true post-partum (unless you were underweight to begin with and those new few extra pounds are filling out your old blue jeans in all the right places.)

Exercise advice from someone with a bachelor's in exercise science and a sister who's a personal trainer:

The following cardio exercises will give you the most bang for your buck (after you consult with your physician if you don't currently partake) Aim for 35-45 minutes 5 times a week.

Spinning - 533 cal/hr*
Running - 600 cal/hr*
Stair master - 657 cal/hr*
Hiking - 438 cal/hr*
Fast walking (3.5+ mph) - 315 cal/hr* and can be done with a baby in tow for added calories burned (bonus!)

*Numbers are from the Mayo Clinic's estimates for a 160 pound person (

The following exercises with weights and/or body weight will give you the most bang for your buck. Go for higher resistance and fewer reps - Twice a week I pick 6 exercises and do 2 sets of 8-10 reps. It takes me about 15 minutes in addition to the 40-45 minutes of cardio.

Push ups (on a bench or the ground)
incline bench press (yes, even girls can do this - start with the bar or dumbbells if you're not ready for the bar)
Bench/chair dips (with or without a weight in your lap)
Bicep curls
Overhead press with dumbbells
Reverse lunges
Single leg dead lifts

Except for the bench press, all of these weight exercises can be done at home with a set of dumbbells. If you're new to these exercises, don't be shy. Ask a personal trainer or gym attendant to help you the first couple times until you get the hang of it.

Real Life advice from a mom of a 2 year old and 4 month old:

As a mom of 2 young children, I get it, time is valuable and very limited. However, I also get that young children can provoke anxiety and worry you never knew was possible. Exercise helps! Invest in a good jogging stroller - 2 good ones are Kool Stride and Bob - now get out and walk or run - whatever you can do is better than none at all.

I sympathize with you - all sleep deprived and exhausted. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and suck it up. Get outside if it's nice - the fresh air will perk you right up. Get yourself dressed and go outside or to the gym and then do some physical activity - even if it's just 10 minutes.  Put the laundry aside, leave the dirty dishes and toys - they'll be there when you return, unless you're lucky enough to have a fairy mother who comes while you're out and does your dishes for you. Put on your walking shoes. Take the baby with you in that nice jogging stroller you bought! If the weather is not cooperating go walk the mall.

If you're lucky enough to have family or a babysitter to watch the kids for a hour so you can go to the gym - take it!

A healthy happy mom who takes a little time to herself each day to exercise and better herself physically and mentally is better off than a stressed out, unhappy mom with poor self esteem who devotes 100% of her time and energy to her kids and none to herself.

Monday, May 13, 2013

floral & lace

black house white market skirt - love this one (here)/piperlime blouse (here)/Aldo shoes (old) /Deux Lux clutch/Michele watch/Mont Blanc bracelet/Essie California Coral nails
This past Saturday was "date night" and I decided to step away from the blue jeans for a night and go with a skirt since the weather is warming up.  I kept the colors black and white but mixed it up with a bold(ish) floral print and lace top.

xo Ellen