Hi, friends! How was your week? Did you celebrate Christmas? Are you ready for the new year? What day is it right now in this strange between Christmas and New Years week? 🙂
Although I’ve been over on Instagram and Facebook checking in, since we last spoke here, I turned another year older and we celebrated Christmas — all of the festivities in a few short days. I know a lot of you are probably enjoying time off and may not be reading blogs, but I didn’t want to miss a chance to pop in to say hello and catch up in our usual Friday fashion! So you’re going to see a collection of favorites, which are mostly holiday related …
Brunch, spa and family fun
My birthday was such a nice day! Dave and Brady and I went out to brunch (which is something we never do for some reason), and I had a delicious veggie omelet with potatoes, sourdough toast, beet juice and a few bites of a pancake we split and shared with Brady too, all at American Kitchen in Lafayette (super cute and casual place).
After brunch, I dropped the boys off at home and went to downtown Walnut Creek to the Woodhouse Spa, a place I really love going.
Funny enough, Dave had originally made some appointments for me on my birthday as a surprise, and they mistakenly sent me an email confirmation directly a week in advance and ruined the surprise. After that, we actually ended up moving some things around, so I only did the one service on my actual birthday, and it was luxuriously relaxing.
(Here is the fuzzy top I’m wearing, which is well-priced and brand new.)
I spent a decent amount of time lounging in the quiet room of the spa after my service, which was also magical.
When I got home, Brady was just waking up from his nap, so we turned around and headed back out to the Tilden Park Steam Train. If you remember, a couple of weekends ago, we took Brady to the Tilden Park Merry-go-round, and so the steam train is just another cute attraction for families in the park we needed to try. You pay $3 a person (Brady is free) and ride on a real steam train around the mountain-ness-tree-covered park, with lots of Christmas decor, and even some vistas of the valley.
It was pretty chilly that day and it was misting (a common Bay Area term for light dewy moisture in your face in the air), so we bundled him up and his little nose got red instantly hehehe — also he seemed a little bit nervous, but also alert.
I really enjoyed riding on the train, and the ride was much longer than I expected too. It was also full, with lots of families with kids Brady’s age doing the same thing. I love that we have cute things like this to do nearby. And I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again — kid activities are way more entertaining than I would have thought.
That night, I opened some presents, the boys sang happy birthday to me (with candles in cheesecake — heheh just my style), and Dave made us grass-fed burgers and sweet potato fries after Brady went to sleep, and we played Scrabble and watched a Christmas movie. Perfection!
By the way, Dave blew up a ton of balloons for me, and Brady could hardly handle the fun of playing in them. It was so cute!
Warriors holiday party
We also got out to the Warriors annual holiday party last week before my birthday, and it was at the Emporium in San Francisco. It’s a cool venue with all sorts of arcade games. It was a trek to make it there (deep into the City) on a weeknight, but some of my girlfriends and I — who are also married to Warriors employees — rode the BART in together and met our dudes in the City.
I bought my entire outfit the day before at H&M for only $50 — I don’t love shopping there, but they had what I was looking for, and the price was right. My shiny pants aren’t available any longer, but here is my top. We had fun that night!
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Our holiday was pretty quiet, low-key and yet also special, as a family of four in our house for the first year. Last year, we spent Christmas as a family of four too, and it was quite different. Brady was less than 12-weeks-old and was world’s worst sleeper, and Dave and I were literally dead people walking during that time. We lived with a constant sore-throat-hungover-heavy-eyes-headache-whole-body-pain feeling for so many months. Wow. That sucked. Sometimes I think I’ve blacked that period out. But needless to say, we didn’t really have a Merry Christmas last year at all … so this year was better.
Anywho, it would have been nice to have been around more family, but we made a big trip for Thanksgiving to spend time with my family in Florida, and unfortunately, it didn’t work out for anyone to make the trip to come see us — so we did the holiday alone again. We’ve started a few small traditions that we continued, and it’s cool to start building that sort of thing for our family.
On Christmas Eve, we went to a family church service, and it was really festive and welcoming and just felt right. It was at 4:30 p.m. at a local church in Walnut Creek, and everyone had kids, so Brady sat with us in the pew and ate crackers and played with the program the whole time chatting to himself as we paid attention — nobody minded — and we sang a bunch of good songs and totally enjoyed ourselves soaking up the reason for the season. (I think we’ll go back to that church again actually.) That night, Dave made us some roasted chicken from our newlywed cookbook, which was fantastic, and we watched “Miracle on 34th Street.”
On Christmas Day, we made waffles, opened presents, then went to walk around the Lafayette Reservoir, with a million other East Bay families on such a beautiful day. We just hung out at home the rest of the day chilling, and that was it. Overall, I’m glad we didn’t have to pack up and get on a plane for Christmas this year, but I did miss seeing more fam for sure — missed them a lot!
Essential oil diffuser
This was on my Christmas list this year, and my sweet momma came through and gave it to me as a birthday gift. I’ve been wondering what the whole essential oil craze is about and decided I wanted to give it a try. I’m not at all educated in this space, but am starting to learn. So now I have a diffuser — this brand, which has some cute styles — and four oils to use.
I believe in the power of oils, I just don’t quite know how I plan to use them yet. Stay tuned as I figure it out. But I’ve been blasting the ones I do have since the second I opened this gift. Thanks, momma!
I have some bulky over-the-ear bluetooth headphones that I’ve been wearing to the gym for years, and Dave always makes fun of them. He’s given me a couple of pairs of smaller ones to try out, and they just never stay put in my ears, so I give them back. The only earphone that works in my ear is the Apple earphone with the cord. Well, you can’t work out or take dog walks with a cord, so now I have some fancy Apple AirPods, sans cord.
These were one of the things Dave got me for Christmas, and I’m really excited to have them. As most Apple products, the design is sleek and simple and they charge in a little magnetic case. And the best part? They actually stay in my ears! 🙂
Christmas Day pumpkin chocolate cream cheese dessert
I have no problem buying our dessert, and I always do. But I felt the urge to make something on Christmas Day. I found a few recipes that sounded good and put them all together for my own creation. And it is not healthy AT ALL, but was really easy and so tasty, so I recommend it and wanted to share it here. It’s a pumpkin chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, of course.
- 1 box vanilla cake mix (at least I used organic)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 2 cups dark chocolate chunks or chips
Mix all that together and pour it into a greased baking pan, then bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, until you can poke the center of the cake with a toothpick and it comes out dry.
Then for the frosting …
- 1 8-ounce tub of real cream cheese
- 3 cups of powdered sugar
- 3 cups of real melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix it all together (I did it by hand, but a mixer would have been quite helpful), and put it in the fridge until the cake has cooked and cooled. Then spread it on the cake and enjoy!
It was pretty darn tasty, and I continued eating it past Christmas. 🙂
Weekly workout recap
And now we’re into the fitness.
Here’s a look at my workouts from last week …
- Monday: 1-hour BODYPUMP class, 10 a.m.
- Tuesday: 30 minutes of BODYATTACK, 30-minute CXWORX class, 9:30 a.m.
- Wednesday: 25-minute full-body weights workout, 11 a.m.
- Thursday: Taught 1-hour Bootybarre class, 12 p.m.
- Friday: 1-hour yoga class, 11 a.m.
- Saturday: 1-hour BODYATTACK class, 9:30 a.m.
- Sunday: Rest day
This past week was pretty class heavy, but that just seems to be what I’m in the mood for lately. I didn’t lift weights three times, which is always my goal, but as I said a few weeks ago — I just haven’t been motivated for that third resistance session. The good news is that I did a gentle yoga class, and I also did BODYATTACK two times! Yes!
Here’s my solo weights workout …
Best stuff from around the web
- Beauty. Okay, if you’ve been waiting to try Beautycounter, now’s your chance to get some highly discounted products and sets. It’s currently the Winter Sale and some stuff is up to 60 percent off while supplies last. Check it out here!
- Healthy eating facts. I love the bite-sized interesting food and nutrition tips in this list of the top learnings about food from 2018. I need to try moringa, and apparently the microwave isn’t so bad after all.
- Books and shows. I must admit, I haven’t read or seen so many of the things on this list of must-read/watch, but they all sound great. Check it out if you need some inspo.
A Lady Goes West archives
- Morning routine. Morning routines are pretty important, but they don’t have to be long. Here’s mine … “This is my actual must-do healthy morning routine to start the day.”
- Wellness. You live and you learn. Can you relate to any of this? … “What I’ve learned about wellness since becoming a mom.”
I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I hope you start 2019 with good people and good food! Talk to you soon, my friends.
By the way, I have a few giveaways of my favorite things lined up for the new year on Instagram and the blog, so stay tuned!
Questions of the day
Do you have an oil diffuser? What’s your favorite oil?
What did you get for Christmas?
Do you have any New Year’s Eve plans?
Do you like to go out to brunch? Or lunch? Or dinner? What’s your choice?