A blog about happiness and healthy living...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Things that have been making me happy...

Life is all about the little happy things that make your days brighter. So without further ado, here are a few things that have been making my days brighter recently…

The Half Way Café
This little restaurant is in downtown Maynard, MA (if anyone is familiar with the area?) and I cannot get over how delicious every single thing on the menu is. I honestly don’t feel the need to ever go to any other restaurant so long as this place is open. Every month they rotate the menu and an entre is only 8 bucks. Seriously? Seriously. And its all made fresh. Here are my three favorites, all on one plate of deliciousness: Apple Smoked Wings, Nachos, and Fried Pickles.

Christmas Pig
I cannot stand how much I love this pig. It always puts a smile on my face when I see her all lit up at night time outside.
This Guy
For assembling my Christmas pig (amongst other things)
Italian Soda
Michael and I drink these things constantly. I always try the crazy flavors… he just gets cherry every time. My most recent favorite is peppermint.
Wooden iPhone Case
Is this not the classiest iPhone case you have ever seen? It’s all inlaid wood and lined with get this… velvet. I picked this up at HomeGoods for only ten bucks and have been loving it.

Being done with my Business Plan!
I had to write up a business plan for school and finally finished that thing… phew… I have been working on it since September so it is a big relief to see all 23 pages neatly clipped together under the nice pretty cover page. I am passing it in this afternoon and can’t wait to get it off my hands.

Hope everyone is having their own happy end-of-November

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Inside-out Turkey Burgers

Gosh. I have been so bad with my eating and working out since Thanksgiving. I ate out far more than I’d care to admit and abandoned the gym for about five days.
Last night I decided it was time to get back to being better again so I cooked up some inside out turkey sliders (inspired by a similar recipe in the cook book The Best of Clean Eating 2. These cook books are a great gift idea. There are lots of great ideas in them for EASY healthy meals.) and then I went for a solid work out at the gym.  
But first, meet my new favorite thing, my Christmas pig! Pigs might just be my favorite thing in the world and when I saw this thing at Kmart, I needed to get it. I couldn’t stop laughing while Michael set it up. Just figured I’d share J
Laughing SO hard. It even has its own little red scarf

Now… onto turkey burgers.
Preheat the oven to 425.
Cut some cheddar cheese into cubes.
I used one pound of lean ground turkey and added some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Divide the turkey into eight pieces and then make a divot in each ball to put in a cube of cheese. Don’t do too much cheese or it will spill out of the burger while it cooks. Then ball them up like the one in the bottom right corner.
Cook them for about 6 minutes and then flip them over and cook for another five minutes or so.
Now this is where my dinner turns into kind of a fail. I had wanted to make a honey mustard sauce, but realized there was no mustard in the fridge. Instead I mixed some BBQ sauce and raw honey to make honey BBQ instead.
I would have put on a tomato and a leaf of lettuce or spinach but oops… don’t have any of that in my fridge either…
So these went with just a drizzle of sauce on a potato roll. And I am now planning my next trip to the grocery store.
Since I had no vegetables to speak of I ultimately served this with some fresh fruit instead.
Thanksgiving seriously put me in a funk didn’t it…
The burgers were delicious though. Cooking them with the cheese inside made them incredibly moist.
At the end of the night I hit the gym. I was really energetic which surprised me. I ran faster than I can remember ever running in a while which thrilled me. I also did some weight machines and I must have worked myself hard because I have a nice sore bum this morning. I was thrilled to see fresh rasperries in the fridge when I got home. Those made for a perfect night time snack.
I hope everyone is doing well and getting back into the groove of things after Thanksgiving J
And I also hope you are excited about it being the holiday season now!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve and A Roasted Pepper Bruschetta Recipe!

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!
I figured I’d give a quick wrap up of what I was up to for the holiday as well as an easy recipe that my boyfriend and I whipped together to be part of the Thanksgiving spread.

The night before Michael and I decided to go out and have a fun little "Thanksgiving Eve" date of sorts. I forgot to take photos of dinner, but we went to our favorite gourmet pizza place for, get this, clam pizza and bacon buffalo pizza. And yes, it was delicious.
Afterwards we drove over to downtown Concord, MA if anyone is familiar with the area. The Mainstreet Café has live music every night and makes really REALLY good Italian sodas in crazy flavors like pumpkin spice and chocolate so it is always a fun stop to make at night. I got a hazelnut Italian soda which I actually quite liked at first, but it got a tad bit too sweet for me over time.

Before we left we bought some ENORMOUS cupcakes to bring home with us. Because who doesn’t love cupcakes at midnight?

My red velvet one was delish J
So now on to Thanksgiving, Michael and I were responsible for bringing an appetizer. We found a jar of roasted peppers in the cupboard and decided that we’d make some bruschetta with them. It was incredibly yummy and simple simple simple to whip up.

We sliced a baguette into ¼ inch slices and then laid them out on a baking sheet.

Strain and slice up the entire jar of peppers. Yes, they look a little less than appetizing like this haha.

Put some peppers onto each slice of baguette then sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the peppers.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts at 350 in the oven.
These were surprisingly fantastic for such an easy rendition of bruschetta. We will be making them again I think.
(I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of the finished cooked appetizers because everyone already ate them up before I remember)
Once again, I hope everyone had a great holiday and ate to their heart’s desire.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Taco Sandwich Wrap

I don’t know about you guys, but I pretty much eat the same old thing for lunch each day I have to pack myself one. My lunch of choice: turkey and provolone sandwich with a bottle of water and some sort of snacky something. This morning I was finally feeling creative enough while making my lunch to come up with something new.
A taco sandwich wrap of course!
It actually turned out quite tasty and was a welcome change for lunch this afternoon.

I layered onto a wrap sliced turkey, my favorite salsa of the moment (peach. Yum), shredded cheese, and light sour cream. I would have added some lettuce but I didn’t have any.

I couldn’t help but laugh at myself as I popped this bad boy into my lunch box, but it is good to have a bit of fun sometimes.
Speaking of fun snacks, this is a total side thought but has anyone ever tried Oreos with peanut butter? Well, I never had until recently and man is it good. I seriously have to contain myself every time I pass the box of Oreos because otherwise I WILL eat twenty of them in the course of a day. It tastes like those Peanut Butter Patty cookies from when I was a Girl Scout which were always my favorite.

If you haven’t tried it, you MUST.
That’s all for today. I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Keeping my Purse Organized

The biggest thing that gets in the way of my personal ability to have a stress-free, happy day is clutter. I don’t know why, but any sort of mass of “stuff” makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs.

Hmmm… I’m a woman… hmmm… what do I carry with me every single day every place I go that always seems to somehow turn into a mass of clutter… Hmmmmm

I HATE having a cluttered up purse. Who doesn’t really? But let’s face it, no matter what we do, our purses always turn into a bottomless abyss of gum wrappers, receipts, Chapstick, hair ties, headphones and who knows what else.

Here is how I organize my purse to at least slow the process of having it turn into a hot mess.

First things first, I love big bags. The problem is, the deeper they get the more and more difficult it gets to keep that sucker organized. I was psyched when I found the purse I have right now because it is nice and roomy, but the bottom is shallow enough that I can easily see everything inside when I open it up because nothing piles on top of each other.

I always always always carry around my lovely day planner. I am a mess without having a place to keep track of all my homework assignments, appointments, events, etc.

A main rule that I try and live by is keeping everything in some sort of smaller container within my bag because having loose things floating around in your purse is a sure fire way to end up with a disaster.

I keep all my chapstick, lip stick, bobby pins, hand cream, and that type of stuff in my little makeup bag. I also LIMIT myself to what can fit into the tiny pouch. Otherwise, I will INDEED get carried away.

I also have a little tiny pencil case that I fit all my writing utensils in. Emphasis on TINY. Like the makeup bag, I otherwise WILL get carried away.

Yes, my wallet is kinda massive. But I keep quite a bit of stuff in that sucker. I have a special spot for ALL gift cards and a special spot for ALL coupons on top of just a cash and card slot. I am much more likely to use a coupon or gift card if I know that I have all of mine on my person because it makes me think to look for them when I am at a store.
I keep my keys on my blue looped key chain. I like this one because 1.) It is long and bright blue so I can always find my keys in my purse. 2.) I can loop it onto my wrist if my hands are full.
My boyfriend is an artist and owns an artisan gift store which is where I picked up this particular key chain, but I have seen this type of thing all over the place.  
Annnnnnnnnnnnddddd my phone just goes right in the inside pocket in my purse.

Tah Dah!

That's how I avoid acquiring a crazy mess of a purse and hopefully this helps you out with getting some ideas.

What do you do to keep your purse organized?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

MORE Healthy Date Ideas!

Hike Up a Mountain
You get a great workout and a wonderful sense of accomplishment at the end. Accomplishing something with someone makes you that much closer to them.

Walk a Downtown
I personally love getting a taste of a community’s unique personality. You get to check out the quaint and quirky stores, and try out some new restaurants. What’s not to love?

Fly a Kite
You get the exercise of running around, and it is just such a “happy” thing to do on a nice day. Perfect for a date in my opinion, even if it is a bit cliché.

Take a Pottery Class
Or any sort of art class. It is good to get a bit creative sometimes, and learn to laugh even if you aren’t perfect at it. Trying something new together is always a great thing.

Go to the Gym
My boyfriend does not like the gym at all, but if you and your partner both enjoy going, why not go together! I saw a couple at my gym the other day and they were having a great time.

Here is a link to my last list of healthy date ideas:

Hope you enjoyed!


links to all photos:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Balsamic Vegetable Crepes

I have never made crepes before in my life. I love them to death but had never tried to make them myself. I guess I just figured that they’d be super tricky or something?

 In any case, I tried my hand at it this afternoon for lunch and woah were they good.


1 Cup flour
2 Eggs
½ Cup milk
½ Cup Water
¼ Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Margarine

Mix all the ingredients really well. Try and get all the clumps out.

Heat up a pan or griddle to medium heat. Make sure you oil the pan first to keep the pancakes from sticking because they will be quite thin.

Poor your batter onto the pan and use your utensil to spread it out thin.

Let it cook for a minute or to. The top side of the pancake will get a bit darker as it cooks. When the whole top has changed, it is time to flip.

Cook the other side for a minute and then it is done.


Dressing (I didn’t really measure any of these ingredients…)
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper

I used a frozen mix of veggies from the grocery store for time’s sake. I heated them up in the microwave and then tossed them in the dressing.

I laid a slice of provolone cheese onto the crepe first and then the veggies and left the pancakes on the stove top to help melt the cheese.

And there you go! I can’t wait to try this with different fillings or maybe doing some sweet dessert crepes.

Hope everyone is having a nice holiday weekend J


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Stressed Lately? How to fix it.

Is it just me or is the approach of the holiday season for some reason incredibly stressful?
Well, I can at least speak for myself and say that my stress has been through the roof lately and it is not so much fun. Who knows, maybe I'm crazy.
I think that knowing healthy methods of stress management is such an important life skill to have. I figured I’d share some things that work for me when it comes to stress management.

Make A To-Do List.

More times than not, you don’t actually have as much to do as you thought once you can see it visually lined up. Better yet, you get satisfaction of crossing things off and making things slowly even less overwhelming.

Go To The Gym
For me, the gym is my “me space.” I go for myself and love the feeling of finishing a really good workout and having sweat drip off my forehead. That sense of accomplishment is the best form of stress relief for me.

Light A Candle
When I am doing school work, or need to focus on anything for that matter, candles are a huge help for me. I don’t know why, but my goodness my attention span sky rockets when I have a lit candle near me. Try it out, I swear that there is something to it.

Treat Yourself to Some Spa Time
Give yourself a quick pedicure or face mask (check out my post to see how you can make your own masks here: http://beingvivacious.blogspot.com/2012/11/homemade-face-masks.html ). Pampering yourself is the perfect way to remind yourself that you matter and also makes it that much easier to take a deep breath.

Take A Shower
I am reminded of my final exam week my sophomore year of high school. I have never been more stressed out in. my. life. I can only laugh looking back at how silly it was, but that being said, the only thing that calmed me down was taking hot showers. I took about three or four a day for the entire week. A bit excessive for sure, but I find that a hot shower or bath is still something that helps melt my stress away.

Sing a Song
This is going to be the dorkiest admission ever. Go onto Youtube and search for a karaoke version of your favorite song, and belt it out. Anything by Taylor Swift is always a great option. It’s the perfect way to fit four minutes of pure, unadulterated FUN into your day.

Those are pretty much all of my go-to things when I am feeling stressed out.
What works for you?