The Healthy Maven is about eating real and unprocessed food, getting creative in the kitchen and leading an active and balanced lifestyle. Many of the recipes you find on here gluten-free and dairy-free with some vegetarian, vegan and paleo recipes in there too.
I think this might be the wedding recap post I’m most excited to share. Our honeymoon to Sonoma and Napa! To be honest, we spent the months leading up to the wedding so stressed about details that we didn’t put any thought into the honeymoon. C and I love to travel, but the thought of planning a wedding and a honeymoon at the same time legit gave me heart palpitations. We had always planned to do a big destination honeymoon full of adventure travel and relaxation. And with New Zealand at the top of our bucket list, we assumed that was where we would go. But in our research pretty much everyone told us to only go to NZ between January and March, which meant waiting almost a year to go on our honeymoon. Given that we were pretty stressed already, this didn’t sound like a terrible idea.
So instead, we decided to spend the week after our wedding in our own backyard, Sonoma and Napa. At first we were calling it a “minimoon” because we didn’t feel like an hour drive to a destination should count as our honeymoon. We were wrong. You don’t have to travel far or do a whole extensive vacation for a honeymoon to count. And now that we’ve done it, we’re not feeling any kind of rush to fly halfway across the world to New Zealand. That’s not to say we won’t go, but it’s unlikely to happen next January…and I’m very okay with that!
Our week in Sonoma and Napa was truly a dream. We’re pretty familiar with wine country and try to spend as many weekends as possible there so getting to spend a whole week there doing the things we love in a place that is comforting and homey ended up being the honeymoon we never knew we needed. It was about as perfect as perfect can come!
So let’s chat about that week…
I knew that right after the wedding C and I would want to get away somewhere nearby where we could disconnect and process the madness. I immediately knew what that place would be. A few years ago C and I spent a night at Farmhouse Inn in Forestville (in Sonoma County) and it was truly magical. We knew we’d make it back at some point. So when we started thinking about what we’d do after the wedding I knew exactly where to book.
Farmhouse is nothing short of spectacular. The rooms are stunning and “farmhouse chic”, there’s a Michelin Star restaurant on property and you’re right in the heart of wine country. It’s the perfect place to hang out all day and relax or use as a launching point for local activities. We did a mixture of both.
They have homemade bath products on site so I took as many baths as I humanly could. C made great use of the pool and hot tub and we both enjoyed the daily wine tastings and local food. Whether it was dinner at the restaurant or breakfast in bed, there truly is nothing wrong with Farmhouse and it will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
Besides hanging out on property, we spent an afternoon hanging out in Sebastopol, antiquing in local towns and did a little bit of wine tasting. We had to stop at SHED in Healdsburg (one of my favorite places) and did the ranch tour at Medlock Ames, an organic winery in Geyserville. We also did a whole lot of nothing and completely checked out from the world. It was amazing.
I’m thinking about sharing a post on my favorite restaurants, shops and wineries in Sonoma so let me know if you’d like to see that!
We would have spent the rest of the week (or honestly, the rest of our lives) at Farmhouse but we would have gone broke, so after a few days we packed up our stuff and headed to Calistoga (in Napa) for a few more nights at Indian Springs.
Now, I’ll be honest, anything that was going to follow Farmhouse was not going to compare so even though it wasn’t Indian Spring’s fault, it was a slight let-down. Truly, the only thing that was a let-down was our room. As a heads up, if you stay at Indian Springs, do NOT book the lodge (well do if you want just okay accommodations). The photos you see online of the lodge are actually all the other rooms. The lodge is not nearly as nice as we expected and while it was totally fine, and clean and perfectly nice, there was nothing cute or romantic about it. I’m being a diva here but thought I’d keep things 100% honest.
Besides our room, our stay at Indian Springs was really nice. It’s a funky place with a huge communal hot spring pool that looks like it’s straight out of a 1950s Pepsi commercial. The spa is also beautiful and a really nice place to relax for the day. I did the mud baths which were a really interesting experience. To be honest, I would have preferred being in the mud bath for the entire hour (rather than the 15 minute start of the circuit), but if you’re looking for a really different spa experience, don’t skip out on it.
Calistoga itself is super cute. Even if you just go to visit for the day, you shouldn’t miss it. It’s small enough to conquer in a few hours although you may need longer if you enjoy antiquing. C and I got some amazing finds in local Calistoga stores and just loved the quaintness of the town. The wine there is, not surprisingly, delicious but we tend to prefer the more relaxed vibe of tasting in Sonoma. We ended up only tasting at one winery called Brian Arden and while the property is beautiful and the wine is great, the cost is just hard to justify. Especially when you can get equally delicious wines 30 minutes away in Sonoma. I think it’s pretty clear that we’re on #TeamSonoma.
At this point we had two more nights left in wine country before we had planned to go back to SF (aka when Bodhi was getting dropped off from summer camp) and we left those open to see how we were feeling. We knew there was a chance we’d want to go home, but there was also a chance we wanted to continue the honeymoon for just a bit longer. In the end we got a little bit of both.
We have close friends who have a house in Guerneville (also in Sonoma) who offered their place to us that week. We ended up taking them up on the offer and spent our last two nights there. It was so nice to have access to a house so we could cook and nest without feeling like we were fully back in society. We also finally got to explore Armstrong Woods, which we’d wanted to do for a long time but always had Bodhi in tow (you can’t have dogs on the trails). Also waking up every morning and picking up fresh biscuits from Big Bottom Market is a lifelong dream of mine that I’d like to make an everyday occasion…there’s a reason they’re Oprah’s favorite!
Otherwise we did a lot more antiquing (we are officially old), watched way too many TV shows and honestly, just rested our brains before heading back into reality. It was perfect.
Sunday morning we packed up our car and drove an hour back home. It’s the honeymoon we never knew we needed and beyond anything we could have hoped for. Feeling eternally grateful for my partner in crime and for the privilege we have to be able to explore these places and call them our backyard.
This is the last and final wedding recap post! I’m so happy to have been able to share this experience with you and know that I have this virtual diary to look back on in the years to come. I’m also happy to be closing this chapter and opening a new one. C and I are so grateful for everyone’s support as we’ve taken this next step…even though married life feels exactly the same! We cannot wait for what the future has to hold. Stay tuned!
Guess who’s baaaaack! Now that we’re almost 2 years into the podcast, it’s been fun to bring some return visitors back on the show to catch-up about life and what’s changed since we last spoke. Today’s guest is no exception and likely requires no introduction: Lee Hersh from Fit Foodie Finds. I’ve known Lee for 5 years now after meeting through the blogging space and we’ve chronicled our friendship online and in our last podcast episode together. Today’s episode is a bit different. We kept things conversational and open and I loved the result! A true reflection of our friendship but also some much necessary realness.
Lee reaches millions of visitors every month and has inspired so many with her recipes and body positive content. Today we’re chatting about what it’s really like behind the scenes of FFF and how things have changed recently.
Here are some other things we chatted about:
Lee’s recent trip and what she learned from going off the grid
Expanding her team and how Team Fit Foodie has changed
The term “influencer” and how she describes her business
Body image and why it’s a conversation we both don’t find ourselves having
Mental health and sharing your mental health struggles on the internet
Her relationship with Mark and how he’s helped to balance her out
What she’s looking forward to in the future and big projects she’s working on
The advice she wishes she’d gotten when she started out on this journey
I’ll be honest, when Southwest Idaho Travel Association (SWITA) reached out a few months ago about spending a few days in Southwest Idaho I wasn’t sure what to think. I’d been hearing a lot of buzz around Boise and the surrounding areas and how it’s an up and coming destination but I can’t say it was at the top of my bucket list. All of that changed after 4 days exploring Boise and beyond!
Boise, and just Idaho in general is so much more than anyone expects it to be. I think that’s what makes it so great. It feels like this undiscovered paradise. An underdog of sorts. Of course, most people know that if you a) like adventure or b) like potatoes than Idaho is your place. But it truly is more than just an adventure-junkie, potato-growing mecca. If you love wine, Southwest Idaho is for you. If you like farm-to-table food, Southwest Idaho is for you. If you like live music or theater, Southwest Idaho is for you. The list goes on…
If you want to see a behind-the-scenes look at our Boise, Idaho trip check out our travel vlog!
IDAHO TRAVEL DIARY - YouTube
I honestly never thought I’d see “What To Do In Boise, Idaho” and “Why You Need To Visit ASAP” in the same title, but here we are! Boise and Southwest Idaho truly blew me away. Here’s why…
Where To Stay In Boise, Idaho
Without question you MUST stay at the Inn at 500 Capitol. Besides the accommodations being top-notch, the location can’t be beat. It’s right in downtown but a block or two away so you’re not directly in the madness. If you’re not planning to rent a car and want to exclusively explore Boise than I recommend staying here as you can walk all of downtown.
Our room had a double balcony with a gorgeous view of the capitol building and the foothills to the right of it. Though my one complaint is that there wasn’t a bath (#bathjunkie) they made up for it with free snacks and a glass a wine upon check-in. Also they’re dog-friendly so you better bet we’re coming back with Bodhi!
What To Do In Boise, Idaho
Where do I even begin with this? There is so much to do. Some activities are right in Boise but others definitely require a car. If you want to get outside the city and explore the rapids, the foothills and local vineyards, I highly recommend renting a car. It was worth it!
1. Explore Downtown Boise
There are so many cute little shops and corners to explore. Stop in the Capitol building if you’re an architecture nerd like C or the art that is placed throughout the city. If you like records definitely stop in at Record World where C and I got a few great finds!
2. Go Rafting at Cascade Raft and Kayak
If you’re up for a short ride outside the city (just under an hour) than definitely go rafting at Cascade Raft and Kayak! Be smarter than I was and bring some water shoes but despite my poor footwear, I had the best time! Our guide, Tango was so much fun and totally made us feel safe as we sped over class 2 and 3 rapids. A great activity for families too!
3. Stop by the Farmer’s Market
By now you all know I’m incapable of visiting a city and not checking out their farmer’s market. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have high expectations of the Boise Farmer’s Market before our trip. I was wrong. It became clear immediately upon arriving that the farm-to-table scene is BIG in Boise. Naturally their Farmer’s Market was a reflection of this. They had everything all from local area farmers and it honestly put my local area Farmer’s Market to shame. It happens every Saturday morning so be sure to stop by!
4. Go Wine Tasting
Idaho and wine tasting?! No, I’m not kidding! This is perhaps the part that most surprised me and just about everyone I have told to visit Idaho. The wine scene outside Boise or more accurately, the Snake River AVA is about to explode in a big way. The wines coming out of this region will blow your mind and the landscape holds up to some of the nicest wineries and vineyards in Napa and Sonoma. Head out to Caldwell, Idaho (about 40 minutes outside Boise) for some wine tasting including must-make stops at Koenig Winery, Sawtooth Winery and Fujishin Family Cellars. All show-off different sides of the region but I especially recommend grabbing a to-go lunch from The Orchard House and driving around the corner to Koenig Winery to enjoy lunch on one of the terraces. It’s spectacular!
5. See a Play at The Idaho Shakespeare Festival
We had such a cool experience at The Idaho Shakespeare Festival! If we’d known better we would have brought a picnic dinner with us and eaten it at the venue, but we made do with beer and wine! They run plays all throughout the summer season which include Shakespeare but also plays and musicals. The venue is beautiful so be sure to walk around. We saw deer just 10 meters away from us drinking from the Barber Pond right behind the venue.
6. Try Some Local Brews
You MUST stop by Payette Brewing Company for some locally made and sourced beers. Their new facility is in an old gymnasium with the old pool as the tap room and the brewery in the former gymnastics studio. You can take yourself on a self-guided tour with the open track to view how the beer is made. Or if you just want to rest your feet after a long day post up in their taproom or hangout in the huge outdoor garden area.
Where To Eat In Boise, Idaho
If you’re not out doing some kind of activity in Boise, then you are most definitely eating some great food. I asked you guys on Instagram to give your best Boise food recommendations and they did not disappoint. We loved every single meal we ate and in addition to the wine tasting, would say that the food was a highlight for us!
a Boise classic and one of the most recommended restaurants. We loved our meal at Fork but especially the apps! Don’t miss the asparagus fries and the brussels sprouts. Accidentally filled up on both but we both still loved our Idaho trout and Short Ribs. They emphasize locally sourced ingredients and local Boise vendors.
We loved our meal here. It’s located at The Modern Hotel so be sure to snag a seat in their courtyard if you can. Another farm-to-table restaurant using interesting flavor combinations and ingredients. The cocktails are supposed to be amazing but we had just come from the brewery so we were tapped out.
We ended up going here twice! It’s a fast-casual restaurant right downtown cooking up healthy bowls, local ingredients and can accommodate pretty much every diet. We had breakfast here one morning that was amazing and then ended up going back for dinner that evening because yo’ girl needed some vegetables after a day of wine tasting!
If you’re not able to escape the city to check out the local vineyards, be sure to stop by Coiled Wine Bar to try some locally produced Idaho wines. Or you know…if you want a wine slushie! The wines are great and the atmosphere is awesome for a little happy hour wind down.
We went here every single morning because the coffee could not be topped. I’m told there’s a lot of great coffee shops in Boise but this one stole our heart on the first day and we couldn’t help but go back! Also their cherry croissants were unreal. Definitely grab one!
We’re officially on recap #4 of our wedding! I’ll be honest, I’m a bit relieved to be wrapping up these recaps. Not because I didn’t love our wedding but because I’m feeling ready to close this chapter and open a new one. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but after a year of planning I’m SO okay with moving on. That being said, I want to make sure that I a) capture the memories (I like looking back on these posts!) and b) know that I learned a lot along the way and would love to impart some of this knowledge onto you if you’re in this season of your life.
This is especially true as C and I enter our own round of wedding seasons and now have the honor and privilege in supporting our friends as they take this next step. If my excessive list-making and newfound discovery for DIY Wedding Details can be of service to someone else than I’ve done my job well!
But before we get into the DIY wedding details, let’s first recap the brunch. Now, as I mentioned in the welcome dinner post, because 120 of 135 guests were from out of town, our wedding was more than just a one-night affair. We welcomed everyone on Saturday night, the wedding was Sunday and then Monday morning of Memorial Day Weekend we hosted a brunch to say our farewells and thank everyone for coming.
So the morning after the wedding, C and I rallied ourselves to the Marriott Marquis for the Goodbye Brunch. At this point I need to credit Mama Maven for all of her hard work in putting together this event. The brunch was 100% her doing and would not have happened without her. One of the first things Mama Maven did when we confirmed our wedding was book off room blocks at a couple hotels in SF. Not everyone stayed at the hotels, but we wanted to ensure people had the option and Mama Maven being Mama Maven negotiated an insane deal (she’s the best!).
Given that most people were staying at the Marriott Marquis, we though hosting the brunch there would be ideal. It’s also a pretty central location so it was easy to access for everyone. If anyone has ever been to a Marriott breakfast buffet you know it’s really good. So we basically gave access to everyone to the buffet and then the Marriott blocked off the “Chill Lounge” (yes that’s the name…) for us. They set up tables and chairs, coffee and orange juice and made sure everyone was accommodated. We also reused the flowers from the wedding that Mama Maven dropped off the night before. #WIN.
Overall it was a perfect way to recap the weekend and say our goodbyes to everyone before they went home and we left on our honeymoon. HUGE thanks to Mama Maven for organizing!
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At this point I want to share some DIY wedding details with you guys in the hopes that I can be helpful to some of you as you plan your big day. We didn’t have a planner for the wedding and most definitely did not have a big budget so doing things ourselves was key. I like small DIY projects, but this was definitely way bigger than anything I had ever worked on before, but luckily I had a lot of help. To save money, here are the things we DIYed for the wedding:
I can’t even tell you how much money we saved by doing these things ourselves. Of course, they took a lot of time but saving thousands of dollars was definitely worth it!
Let’s start with a few tips before you DIY your wedding.
Pick a theme – even if it’s just colors, having a theme will help you reel in ideas. We kept it simple by doing green, white and gold.
Pinterest– pinterest is your best friend through the wedding process. I created a secret board where I pinned all the things that inspired me. I also stayed away from pinning anything inspirational and only included things that were within reason, our budget and our abilities.
Give yourself time– everything takes wayyyyy longer than you think so plan ahead
I made all the signs myself using photoshop. Because our theme was green, white, gold and greenery I kept to this theme when creating the signs. Here are the signs I created:
2 welcome signs (displayed at the two entrances)
1 reminder to sign guestbook
3 hashtag reminder signs
1 seating sign
14 table signs
signs we didn’t use: menu cards (didn’t have time!), gift sign (forgot to make this)
After designing each sign in photoshop, we went to Fedex and had them printed to the correct size ($100 total). We then put all of our signs with the exception of the welcome signs in these 5 x 7 Umbra frames. These frames were actually life-savers. They’re beautiful, went with our theme and kept things consistent. Umbra to the rescue for so many things!
For the welcome signs we also had them printed at Fedex and then pinned them onto two sheets of wood we purchased at home depot and stained. We spent $60 total on them when they were $80 each on Etsy. Felt good about this one!
Also the hashtag signs were displayed in these adorable picture holders from Umbra. Like I said, Umbra is a wedding mecca.
This was definitely the more daring DIY piece we undertook. Especially because it had to be done the day before the wedding. Luckily we were prepared for this and I came equipped with a group of women who had done wedding flowers before. C’s sister Lauren got married in Carmel a few years ago and they had done their flowers themselves so I definitely feel like I lucked out having this crew with me, but I also think anyone could do this if they put in enough preparation. So let’s talk flowers.
The San Francisco Flower Mart is a huge warehouse in SOMA where most flower vendors in the city come to purchase their flowers. After 10:00 AM they open to the public and you can go in and purchase as many flowers as you want. It has everything! The key is to go in with a plan AND an open mind.
We went in on Friday morning with the plan of putting together the flowers on Saturday morning before dropping them off at the venue on Sunday. We ordered all vases and buckets in advance so we knew exactly how many flowers we needed. That being said, you can’t know 100% what kind of flowers they will have in stock so we went in knowing my theme (green and white) but weren’t attached to any specific flower. I had pinned some pictured for inspiration but we interpreted them based on what we found at the flower mart.Pro tip! Buy big buckets from home depot to store the flowers in and then have the vendors add water to them so they stay fresh.
After we had purchased all of our flowers we squished them into the cars and stored them at Lauren’s house. The next morning I rallied the troops aka C’s cousins and we did an assembly line to put together all the flowers for the tables and the aisle buckets. It was a team effort putting together my bouquet and my niece’s and C’s mom did an amazing job making the boutonnieres with succulent clippings from Lauren’s garden. It definitely requires some courage and faith to do the flowers yourselves but honestly, these are some of my favorite memories of the weekend. Thank you to everyone who helped out <3
Not surprisingly, having a theme makes table design so much easier. A few things we thought about: height of the flowers (we wanted people to be able to talk with people across the table), a feeling of warmth (candles) and pulling the outside, inside (leaves on the table). I also didn’t want it to feel cluttered or wind up with a ton of stuff we’d never use again after the wedding.
The flowers were the centerpiece and we worked around those. I actually put together a mock-up of the table on photoshop because I’m such a visual person. The signs are as indicated above where I designed them on photoshop, had them printed at Fedex and then put them in these Umbra frames. We then ordered some candle holders from Amazon and used greenery from the Flower Mart to finish out the rest. It wasn’t anything over the top, but neither are we and we’re really happy with how it turned out.
I honestly shouldn’t be the person writing this portion because I had very little to do with the chuppah design. For those of you who don’t know, a chuppah is a traditional jewish wedding canopy. It represents the home you’re building together with open sides to remind everyone that the home is open and welcoming. C and his uncle built the Chuppah using douglas fir and that’s about all I know. I gave them pictures and they used their engineering/architect skills to make it happen. Given that there were hurricane-force winds and the thing didn’t blow over, I’d say that did a pretty epic job!
We covered the top with the tallit (jewish prayer shalls) from the women of my family and stood on top of a rug that C’s parents gave us from one of their trips to Pakistan. Somehow, C’s uncle was able to get the plants to stay on the chuppah despite the winds. That might be the most impressive piece. We kept the chuppah design pretty simple because we wanted the outdoor space to speak for itself.
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Weddings are a very individualized experience. There’s a good chance you’re looking at this recap and not liking any of our design. That’s totally fine! Everyone has different tastes and the point is not to create a wedding that pleases all these tastes…because that’s impossible. C and I are pretty classic. Even though I know I’ll probably look back on our wedding in 30 years and think everything was tacky, I did my very best to not include anything super trendy that I know I’ll hate in the future (I’m looking at you flower crowns…). But if mid-century modern, moody, flower crowns is your jam, by all means – DO IT. Your wedding should be a reflection of you right now, even if it makes you cringe 30 years from now.
We didn’t DIY the entire wedding (some things just weren’t worth doing ourselves) but I have no regrets on the parts that we did. They’re weren’t all perfect, but they made for some great memories that I’ll cherish for a lifetime. Also I’m a sucker for saving $$$ so I’m feeling good about that.
This is the final wedding recap, but hold tight because next week I’m sharing our honeymoon to Napa..
Ladies! Buckle up because today we’re chatting all about PERIODS. Yup, every woman’s favorite monthly gift. But in all seriousness, menstruation is a huge indicator of a woman’s overall health and when things are off, well the whole body is off. So I figured, let’s not tip toe around the subject and get down and deep into women’s menstrual health. Who better to bring on to talk about it than the author of Period Repair Manual and women’s health naturopath Lara Briden.
Over the course of the last 68 episodes we’ve had a lot of really important conversations, but for women I think this one might be the most important. We’ve had conversations around Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and PCOS and from those episodes I’ve heard from you about how helpful these conversations have been so I thought we would talk about some of the challenges with menstruation but also how it benefits us. And well, we get down and dirty into birth control…this is definitely a great conversation!
Here are some other things we chatted about:
Lara’s journey and how she became a naturopath
What is a naturopath and how is their approach different from conventional medicine?
What is a period and how can you benefit from it?
What are the types of reasons your period may not be normal
PCOS vs. HA and is it possible to have both?
The positive benefits of ovulation and menstruation and why you should be experiencing a cycle
Endometriosis and signs that you may have it
Why the birth control pill may actually be hindering menstruation
Alternative options to the pill and how they compare
Menstrual products and Lara’s recommendations for a healthy vaginal biome
Change up your breakfast game with this Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal. An easy, vegan, breakfast option that you can bake ahead of time for weekday breakfasts or fresh for a fancy weekend brunch.
I question I get asked all the time is “what do you eat for breakfast?” I assume I’m asked this because because are always looking for healthy breakfast options and are picking my brain for inspiration. But here’s the truth: I am always doing the exact same thing. Endlessly seeking breakfast inspo! I can get stuck in my winter oatmeal and summer smoothie bowl routine. And after I had the exact same smoothie bowl for 6 weeks in a row (it’s this Matcha Mint Smoothie FYI) I knew it was time to change it up.
I found myself digging through the breakfast archives on THM and managed to actually inspire myself in the process. I was reminded that life AND breakfast don’t have to be so binary. I can eat oatmeal in the summer and a smoothie in the winter. So while I won’t be whipping up this pumpkin spice latte overnight oats anytime over the next couple of weeks, I can in fact eat oatmeal in the summer and actually enjoy it!
I know that seems like such a basic idea to some but I’ve always been guilty of being a black and white thinker. So much so that I don’t even realize when I’ve been doing it. I’ll ask C for help making a decision between option A and option B and struggle with it only to be reminded that there’s always option C (no not option Curt but that works too!).
It’s a bad habit that I think a lot of us fall into the trap of. Its why for many years of my life I tried to fit into the various labels I put on myself. Life is easier to understand when there’s distinct boundaries so I think many of us unknowingly forget about the grey zone that exists between black and white. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s always a time and place for boundaries (big fan right here!) but breakfast is not one of them.
I’ve been working on different ways of thinking about my meals. The other day I ate a salad for breakfast and this Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal for dinner. Why? Because WHY NOT?! Why not change up what you eat and when you eat it? Why not experiment, have fun and actually enjoy your food? Why not reach for that new type of food and grab that Silk Coconutmilk instead of Almondmilk? We all get stuck in our ruts and don’t realize the habitual thinking patterns we’ve developed. I encourage you to rethink those “rules” you’ve set for yourself or others have set for you.
The other day while working out I saw a sign on the wall that said “put your hair up, let your hair down or do whatever you want with your hair.” This is me, reminding you to do whatever you want with your hair, or your breakfast or whatever area of your life you need to change up. And well, if this Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal gives you the superpowers you need to take those leaps, feel free to thank me later!
Want to see how easy this Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal is to make? Follow along as I team up with Silk Coconutmilk to share this delicious summer sidekick recipe!
Today we’re chatting about the reception aka the wild, sweaty dance party we threw for 135 of our closest friends and family. Truly, there are few other ways to describe it! But before we get to that part of the evening, let’s pick up where we left off.
C and I were officially married (!!!) and took some time to soak it all in, discuss all the hilarious imperfections and do several attempts at my bustle (thank you for your help D&D – I promise to do some practice in time for your weddings!).
Meanwhile our guests were enjoying a cocktail hour with champagne and lots of food. Luckily someone from the staff brought us a plate of appetizers and I wolfed down 3 of the sourdough grilled cheeses and as many tuna poke crisps as I could. We also had crab cakes and a huge charcuterie table. A piece of me is sad that we missed this part but I also so appreciated having some time to breathe between the craziness.
After an hour (I think?) our DJ called us in and we went right into the Hora. This was another Jewish tradition that we wanted to incorporate and it was so fun to be able to introduce C’s family and our non-Jewish friends to this piece of the celebration. Thank you to all of the guys who stepped up and lifted four rounds of people. You’re champs!
Truthfully, the night from here on out is a bit of a blur. I had to text Mama Maven to ask her what went down because it’s all kind of fuzzy (for many reasons).
While planning the wedding we knew what our priorities were: full open bar and epic dancing. C and I are total homebodies but we’ll take any opportunity to dance. The first night we met, we danced the night away. Our time in NYC was spent bustin’ a move and C is known to start dancing with me in very random places (one time in a department store he was twirling me and a lady asked if we were newlyweds…this was 4 years ago!). So yeah, dancing was our #1 priority and anything that took away from it was not.
After the hora we all sat down for speeches. Because we didn’t have a wedding party this really simplified this piece. My parents spoke, C’s Mom spoke and C’s sister Lauren spoke. C said some quick thank yous at the end. I honestly didn’t think much about the speeches beforehand other than to cap everyone at 5 minutes, but in the end they ended up being one of my favorite parts. All of the speeches were so beautiful and heartfelt and made me really grateful to have such a supportive network surrounding us as we enter into the next phase of our relationship. It was also so special to have C’s Mom read from a speech his Dad had started before he passed. It was SO Frank and made me smile and laugh and cry and miss him all at the same time.
Pretty sure my Dad is roasting me here!
After speeches dinner was served. Unfortunately we don’t have any pictures but it was delicious! Our venue catered the food and honestly everything was so so good. Like I said, dancing was our #1 priority so while we wanted to make sure the food was really good, we didn’t want it to be so memorable because no one danced! We got our wish…
If I’m being totally honest, I don’t even remember the food. The salad was a waldorf salad with pears and Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese. The options were filet mignon, a seasonal fish (anyone at the wedding remember?!) and risotto for veg. I loved all of the food when we tasted it, but like I said I wanted the food to be good but not the most memorable part of the evening. They focus on local, seasonal and organic so I knew I was in good hands!
We opted not to do cake (not our style) so we did a huge cookie platter later in the evening with fruit on the side. I was told by people that they loved the cookies but I don’t even remember seeing it…so there’s that! But the cookies were from our favorite bakery in SF called Marla Bakery. Their chocolate chip cookies are life-changing and addictive.
Okay let’s get to the dancing! We kicked it off with our first dance, which my best friend Erica sang. I’ve known Erica since I was 8 years old where we met at summer camp. We both live in SF and it’s been amazing having her so close by the past few years. Our song was “Sunday Kind of Love” by Etta James. C and I love this song for no other reason than the fact that the words speak to us. Finding my other half who loves chilling on the couch, with our dog, eating pancakes on a Sunday morning is probably my life’s greatest achievement (I think C would agree). Erica sang it beautifully although I wish I’d been able to watch her more since we were a little preoccupied with each other. Luckily a few people captured videos.
We immediately followed with the father-daughter and mother-son dance. We danced to “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” but a slower acoustic cover. We had 7 father-daughter dances under our belts so we had this thing down…
These two on the other hand were having a party of their own!
I’m not sure what to say about this part of the night other than the fact that it got rowdy, and sweaty and many tequila shots were had. We danced for 3.5 hours and I’m pretty sure we continued to dance even when the lights came on and the music stopped. My dream of the ultimate dance party really did come true! These pictures sum it up…
At some point in the night we snuck away with Sierra and took some golden hour shots which easily are my favorite. At this point we were just so relieved that all the hard work was done and it was happening and we were finally married!! You can definitely see this in the pictures.
And then we danced…and danced…and danced some more. Huge props to my 8 year old nephew who was tearing it up on the dance floor and definitely set the tone for the night. An afterparty was has which we did not attend. Pretty sure they went to a bar in the Richmond and fun ensued. What happens at the afterparty stays at the afterparty….
C and I went back to the JW Marriott and called it a night. We had a brunch to show face at in the morning. More on that in the next post!
It’s been a long time coming getting this beautiful human on the show today. Some of you may know Bettina Bogar, but many of you may not even know that you know her. Bettina is an insanely talented photographer and behind pretty image every image you’ve seen on THM (with the exception of the one’s C takes for me!). Just look around this entire website – I have B to thank for all these images! So today I’m getting her out from behind the camera and putting her in the hot seat to answer all of my burning questions.
Bettina and I have known each other for several years now and besides being THM’s official photographer, she’s also one of my dear friends. I am eternally grateful to have her wisdom, work ethic and inspiration in my life. So it was due time I get to pick her brain and share all that wisdom with you. Since B and I know each other super well this episode is an especially fun one since it’s a lot more relaxed and well, you’ll also get to know me better too.
Here are some other things we chatted about:
Bettina’s childhood and growing up in Budapest, Hungary
When she started to learn photography and how she knew she wanted to pursue it as a career
What prompted her move to Canada
Starting a creative business in a foreign country and building it from scratch
How she built her client base and her best tips for networking
What happened when her Instagram got taken down and what she learned from it
Why she doesn’t work for exposure and neither should you
How she’s working on self-care and finding balance between work and life
A childhood classic made-over using healthy, vegan double chocolate cookies and non-diary frozen dessert as the filling. These Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches are the perfect afternoon summer treat or filling vegan dessert!
We all have those classic childhood desserts. The ones that bring you back to summer evenings where the days seem to last forever and only end with a little dirt under your fingernails. I know I find myself nostalgic for those days all too often.
To be fair, life is good. Really good. But I can’t help but miss those humid summer days where I did dumb things like rollerblade down a hill with only one rollerblade on (I have the scar on my knee to prove it) and jump 12 feet out of a treehouse (fortunately don’t have any scars to prove this one). There were lemonade stands where I attempted to sell chives from Mama Maven’s garden for 5 cents a pop and blisters on my hands from too many attempts at the monkey bars. There was a smell too. It was the smell of sweat and fun and clothes that were undoubtedly covered in mud. Those were the days!
Nowadays I’m pretty sure I’d be mortified to go out in public with that same smell and well, my daredevil days are unfortunately (or fortunately) behind us. Those humid days are long gone here in San Francisco, but I still live for those long summer nights.
A few weeks ago we gathered for family dinner in Alamo Square to celebrate the summer solstice. I love C’s family not only because they’re 100% committed to weekly family dinner, but also because they legitimately celebrate the solstice. C even calls our Christmas tree a “Winter Solstice Tree”. We came, we gathered, we ate delicious falafel from The Mill and we finished the evening with dessert.
To be fair, by the time the sun went down at 9:00 PM it was freezing (typical SF problems…) so ice cream wasn’t in the books but as I sat watching the sun go down my mind was immediately brought back to those times sitting in our backyard eating ice cream sandwiches.
These days my ice cream sandwiches look more like these vegan ice cream sandwiches made with a gluten-free double chocolate cookie and Open Nature® Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert but the premise is still the same! Potentially more delicious…but shhhhh don’t tell my 8 year old self that!
Open Nature® Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert is a great non-dairy alternative to traditional ice cream and is made with almondmilk or cashewmilk. To be honest, it’s delicious straight out of the pint but if you’re feeling extra nostalgic I highly suggest sandwiching it between two cookies. I buy my Open Nature products at my local Safeway here in San Francisco, and you can also find them exclusively at all of the Albertsons Companies family of stores in your area (search for one here). If non-dairy isn’t your thing they also carry their Signature Reserve and the Open Nature Scandal-Less Light Ice Cream. You can easily sub either of these in for the ice cream center.
I love that food has the ability to bring back powerful memories. Food is more than just nourishment. It’s more than sustenance. It’s more than survival. It’s joy. And memories. And a knowing that no matter where you are, how old you are or who you’re with it has the power to bring you back to exactly where you need to be.
1/4 cup good quality chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
For the Center:
1 pint of Open Nature® Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert in CashewMilk Vanilla Bean (feel free to swap for one of their other flavors!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl combine almond butter and almond milk until fully incorporated.
Stir in flax, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, baking soda and sea salt until it all comes together.
Stir in chocolate chips
If mixture is a little wet (this will depend on your almond butter), place batter in fridge for 30 mins to set.
Divide dough into 12 balls and roll and flatten with palm directly onto the cookie sheet.
Bake for 13-15 mins or until edges are brown. Remove from oven and let cool on sheet for 10 mins before removing from sheet. This step is important, do not attempt to remove them from the sheet before 10 minutes is up.
Remove from sheet and allow to cool completely or place in freezer to speed up process. Cookies should not be hot or warm when making sandwiches.
Place a scoop (about a 1/4 cup) of Open Nature® Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert in center of one cookie and top with another. You may need to re-shape cookie slightly, but be gentle.
Smooth down sides with a knife, if desired.
Store in freezer until ready to serve.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons Companies . The opinions and text are all mine.
Do you have a meal or ingredient that makes you nostalgic? What are your favorite summer night memories?