Friday, January 31, 2014

Now, this is how you enjoy a salad!

Ever since I cut out fried foods, most junk foods (I still make room for my sweets) and meat (with the exception of the occasional piece of chicken or sausage) from my diet, I've started eating salads quite frequently. And, since a little lettuce & tomato won't even come close to filling you up, not to mention is a completely sad excuse for a meal, I've had to get creative. 

Beans and tuna are my new best friends.  <3

Now, this is how you enjoy a salad...
Spinach, tomato, red onion, garbanzos, mozzarella cheese.
Dressing: Oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper. 

Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, yellow onion, black olives, tuna, cheese.
Dressing: Oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper.
While I often switch up my salad fix-ins, my dressing always stays the same. We don't have the same selection of salad dressings here (or really any selection at all) as they do in the US. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise. Some of my other favorite salad add-ons include: hard-boiled egg, walnuts, cannellini beans, lentils, corn, red pepper and boiled potato.

I also love a good pasta salad, especially in the summer time. Tomas and I made a pretty amazing pasta salad last weekend, but it wasn't quite perfect. I can't wait to perfect it this weekend and then share the recipe with you guys!


Do any of you have a signature salad? I'm always open to expanding my salad horizons!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday Travel Shot

Complete disconnect, peace & serenity...



Cerro Catedral
Bariloche, Argentina.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Do you care...for you hair?


I've really been enjoying my short hair this summer! It's very easy to maintain, and feels so healthy! Although, now I'm trying to decide whether this is a look I want to sport year-round. I find myself missing the ability to make a french braid in my hair or have a long, classic ponytail. With that said, I've been taking extra good care of my hair so that it grows back fast, long & healthy.


It's been about 3 years now since I discovered biotin. Well, I didn't "discover" it, but rather my hair stylist in Scottsdale told me about it. And I swear the stuff works!  Not only is biotin good for your hair, but it is also good for your skin & nails too! 

I take one biotin pill a day, and every other day, I shampoo & condition my hair with Andalou Naturals Full Volume products, which are infused with biotin & lavender.  The shampoo & conditioner are also free of parabens and sulfates. Ever since I read about how bad sulfates and sodium are for you hair, I try to only buy products without one or the other. If I can find a product without sulfates AND sodium, even better. The only con about the Andalou Naturals shampoo is that it does contain sodium. 



While it can be difficult to find sulfate & sodium free shampoos, they do exist. After Andalou Naturals, another favorite shampoo & conditioner line of mine is Organix. Many of their products are sulfate and/or sodium free. In the past, they would print on the front of every bottle whether the product was sulfate or sodium free, but it seems that they have stopped doing that. This just means you need to refer to the back of the bottle for ingredient details. (Sulfates and sodiums are always listed at the top of the ingredient list). Another pro about Organix is that they have an amazing array of scents to choose from.

Another major change that I've made to my hair care routine over the past few years is that I've cut out almost all blow drying. When I moved to Argentina, I basically stopped blow drying my hair. I'm not really sure there was any reason for this (other than I was lazy?), but I know it has helped my hair drastically. I would say I blow dry my hair maybe about 4-6 times A YEAR now.


What hair products do you use? Are you a fan of sulfate & sodium free products as well? And finally, do you plan on joining me on the biotin bandwagon?


**Andalou Naturals products & Country Life biotin can be found at Whole Foods.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Breathtaking

I know, I know..... It seems like all I do is post pictures of sunsets in Arizona. But with good reason, no? In my opinion, every sunset in Arizona is beautiful, but the sunset on this particular evening was ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING.

See for yourself!

















I could look at these photos over and over again (and probably will). I mean look at those colors!!!

Also, it's incredible to see how the light changes through the sequence of photos. No two photos are exactly alike!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Soft Pretzels at Home!



A few months ago my Mom sent me the Auntie Anne's At-Home Baking Kit (They have since changed the name to "Pretzels & More Homemade Baking Mix") and for some reason I didn't make it immediately, which was a huge mistake on my part, because I had no idea what I was missing out on. I've always been a huge fan of Auntie Anne's pretzels. Who isn't? They top the list of my favorite soft pretzels, with the homemade pretzels from the Amish market in Flemington coming in a close second. Anyway, for some reason or another I didn't make them until recently. Maybe I thought that the boxed version couldn't be nearly as good as the real version, but I was wrong. These pretzels were SO GOOD. Tomas and I each ate quite a few straight out of the oven, alternating between the original salt pretzels and the cinnamon sugar ones. I mean we really had no choice, since these pretzels need to be fresh & hot out of the oven to be enjoyed in all their glory.

While following the directions in the kit was easy, making these pretzels was a bit time consuming. Obviously, it was all worth it in the end. You do need to have quite a bit of counter space to make the traditional size Auntie Anne pretzels, so if you live in an apartment with limited kitchen space (Welcome to city living!), you're going to have to make the pretzels a bit smaller. I was able to make about 10 to 12 medium-sized pretzels.

Now, feast your eyes on these!


After you form the pretzels, you have to dip them in a mixture of baking soda and water,
 and dry them on a towel before you bake them.
Who knew?!






See them glistening?
That's the melted butter glaze.


Slightly crisp on the outside,
 soft & chewy on the inside.



I'm not sure where my Mom picked up this baking kit, but I did some research and you can find them at any one of these stores.

Now, who's planning on going out immediately and picking up a package?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday Travel Shot

Peek-a-boo view of The Grand Canyon...


Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

It's been almost a month since we visited The Grand Canyon and I have yet to go through all of my photos. The couple hundred photos I took is a bit overwhelming to sort through, but a complete Grand Canyon post is coming soon, I promise!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Can't Travel Without...


Every time Tomas and I take a trip we always forget some sort of travel essential. This time around, I thought that I would type out a list of things I forgot so that I won't forget them in the future. Obviously, depending on your destination and how you're traveling, your travel essentials will vary.

Things I forgot:

-CDs, and lots of them
If you are traveling by car, good music is essential for the car because you can't always depend on the radio. Either the stations play the same music, OR if you are traveling to a remote location, you won't even be able to get radio signal. This trip I only had time to make two CDs, but I wish I had made more, plus brought along my Florida Georgia Line CD because listening to country in the car is a very enjoyable experience.

-Thermos & Yerba Mate
There's nothing better than having a refreshing mate under the shade of a tree, so if your trip involves relaxing outside, you should remember to bring your thermos and your mate.



-Sunglasses! 
Without fail, I always forget to wear/bring sunglasses with me. I really don't like wearing sunglasses which is why I find it easy to forget them, but sometimes the blaring sun in summer time just gets to be too much. Plus, I'm 26 now...wrinkles are on my horizon, I'm sure.

-Assortment of medicines
I don't go anywhere without bringing headache or stomach medicine, but I never think to bring common cold medicine. Since you never know when a cold will just creep up on you out of nowhere, it's good to have something on hand. In our case, we were staying in a small town this past weekend which means basically everything is closed on Saturday & Sunday besides gas stations and restaurants. I'm sure if we really searched we could have found one open pharmacy, but the odds really aren't in your favor in these small towns.

-Bug spray
Living in the city it's easy to forget that outside in nature there are bugs and animals. I somehow dodged a bullet this weekend and managed to return back home bug-bite free. Tomas, on the other hand, didn't have such good luck.

-Dog food & flea medicine
I know you guys are thinking this is pretty random, and probably wondering why one of my travel essentials is dog food and flea medicine. Well, once you leave the city and travel through the province (which includes small towns as well as countryside) you find yourself crossing paths with lots of street dogs. As much as I would love to load them all up in the car and bring them back home, it's just not possible. On the hotel grounds there was a skinny mixed breed Boxer wandering around. She looked like she had just had puppies, but there were no puppies anywhere in sight. Anyway, she kept trying to go around the people probably looking for some food, water or affection. Most people are indifferent to the homeless animals, while some will even swat them away. This little sweet pea hung around us for most of the day, and slept in the shade underneath our lounge chairs. I gave her almost all of the water in our 2 liter bottle, and felt a little better knowing that at least she would be hydrated on that very hot day. At the same time I was wishing I had dog food and flea medicine in the car to help her even more, because it just breaks my heart to see those cases. From now on, I'm adding those two things to our travel essentials.

-Phone charger (for Tomas' phone)
Kind of an important one to forget, right? My only explanation for forgetting to pack Tomas' charger is that I don't use my cell phone and I only have to charge it about once or twice a week, so I forget that other people use cell phones and need chargers. (Do you buy that excuse?)


Things I remembered to bring:

If you've ever had the joy of living with me, you know how incredibly knotty my hair is, especially when it is wet. My hair getting out of the shower is quite a sight to be seen. Since we spent most of our time at the pool this weekend, this brush (I own the compact travel size) was a lifesaver.



-Q-tips, cotton pads, hair ties, bobby pins, nail clipper, tweezers
All of the small beauty essentials that normally I manage to forget. I've recycled a Sephora plastic case (which once was home to makeup sponges) and store most of the items mentioned above in there and just transfer the case from bag to bag depending on where I'm going/what I'm doing. I've found this storage method to be really handy. 



-A good book
While I didn't end up reading anything this weekend, it's always nice to have a good book (or two) on hand. This weekend I brought Mockingjay from the The Hunger Games series (Yes, I know. I'm reading The Hunger Games about two years after everyone else) and The Paris Wife.

-Snacks for the road
The day before leaving for our trip I had made a blueberry cake, and since I knew that it would go bad left at home, I brought it with us. I'm actually really proud of myself for that one. I'm usually very bad at remembering to stock the fridge with food or bring snacks on trips.


...And, as usual, I packed WAY too many clothes and shoes. 

What are your travel essentials? I'd love to know if there is anything else I should be packing with me!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekend in San Nicolas

On Friday afternoon, Tomas and I packed our suitcase and headed up to San Nicolas for a weekend escape/belated anniversary trip. The ride up was pretty long because we hit a lot of traffic. I seem to keep forgetting that it's January and everyone is trying to escape the smoldering city of Buenos Aires.

It was probably just as hot in San Nicolas as it was in Buenos Aires, but we had a light breeze and a cool pool on our side, so it made the weekend MUCH more bearable. We spent a good portion of the weekend sleeping and relaxing by the pool. I love the pool. I could stay in the pool all day long. I feel like I've said the word "pool" so many times now in this post that it's lost all meaning.

Anywho, it was nice to have a mini vacation and  recharge our batteries. Although, I have to say that I am sick now. I could feel myself getting sick before we left for the weekend, but now this cold is here in full force. Maybe my body also knows that it's Monday and is exaggerating the cold. That's probably more likely (haha). I still can't understand why I have a cold in the middle of summer. Oh well, it was a wonderful weekend nonetheless! I'm already trying to plan our next weekend vacation ;)

Here are some photos from our weekend:







I found this peacock feather and felt the need to take several photos.
And there are even more on my camera that I didn't include.




There were some interesting animals there, which explains why I found a peacock feather on the ground.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the peacock up close and personal.