Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sunbutter Yoga Cookies

In the Davis home, we have a poor kitchen manners. We take swigs from the orange juice container neglecting a glass and you will frequently find us eating out of the fridge... Obviously we always clean up our acts when company is present lol!

This may be why a lot of snacks in our home are made to be bite-sized. I've shared a couple of energy bites recipes on here because they are my go-to pre-workout snack. I also like to call them "cookies" because they trick my mind into thinking I'm indulging, but I'm really not (unless I eat 5 ;)

I found the original recipe from Emily at the The Daily Garnish and added chocolate chips, because who doesn't love to add chocolate whenever they can?! They are full of healthy ingredients; a nice dose of healthy fats, loads of fiber and no added sugar. I named them "yoga cookies" because that is what we have been referring to them as around here. I always seem to grab these before and after I endure hot yoga-and they put me in perfect balance before every exercise.

I also find myself standing front of an open fridge eating these for every other occasion as well ;)

I bet these would be awesome for little ones and anyone who have a nut allergy as they call for sunflower seed butter.

 Great things do come in small packages eh? :D

Sunbutter Yoga Cookies

by Whitney Davis
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: snack vegan vegetarian
Ingredients (serves 25)
  • 2 cup dry old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup light shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
  • 6 to 8 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sunbutter (add more if the mixture is too dry)
  • 1/2 cup dark semi sweet chocolate chips
Add all dry ingredients to a food processor and pulse for about 45 seconds or just until the oats and coconut form a flour
Add the dates, water, melted coconut oil and sunbutter, and pulse for another minute or so. The mixture will still seem pretty dry and crumbly — scrape the sides a couple times. Patience is key ;)
Once it is all mixed together well, transfer mixture into a mixing bowl with the chocolate chips and mix around.
Scoop a little bit of the mixture out at a time and form into round balls. I find that the best method is to wet my hands before I form each ball. This has proved to keep the bites together all week!
Keep refrigerated. 
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A New Adventure

Sometimes life just feels like a big washing machine. I feel like I'm being jumbled around without any control over it. Odd analogy right?

The past month has been full of familial struggles that I don't feel the need to get into on the world wide web. It is a common human experience to struggle to remain calm and steady in the midst of chaos. I find myself overwhelmed by things I have no control over and sometimes I have to let go of things that I cannot change and rather remain fluid, moving with the waves and adapting and aiming to come out wiser and kinder.

I'm by no means complaining, but rather just stating that life gets messy and there are issues that we can't fix and we have to let go. I have frequently struggled with what is my purpose on this big beautiful earth and I too fall victim to comparing my journey to others. I have frequently talked about my deep love for yoga, but I always find that I get "too busy" or "too tired" to focus on my practice. Well one of my goals this year was to add more yoga to my life, especially dealing with my running injuries (they have healed by the way! :)

Within the last month of all of the drama unfolding in my family, I have found myself seeking out my mat more and more often, almost addictively.  I am blessed to have an amazing local studio that I have been making sure I carve out enough in our weekly budget to go twice a week. My experience has been transformational. I feel like an onion being peeled of the layers-each one revealing my best self.

There have been moments when I'm holding a difficult pose and I almost find myself brought to tears, because the stress and negative energies just leave me and I leave the class with a deeper connection to God and wonderful sense of peace flooding every part of me. Yoga doesn't change my situations, but it helps change how I see the world around me. I find myself more present. I'm a better wife, better daughter and happier person. I know it sounds all "hippyish" but I cannot tell you how much adding a daily home practice and my practice at the studio has changed my outlook and it has drastically decreased my anxiety. Who knew that stretching, breathing and exercising was just the medicine that I needed! :)

I have always found myself drawn to helping all people and creatures. It was just something that always brought me the most joy. I was always the "can I can keep em'?" when it came to little critters in need. Maybe I was just born more sensitive? It is what drew me to working in social work. However, I always felt there was always something missing. I felt like I was putting out fires instead of igniting them for good. I saw a field that had these ground-breaking therapies, but there was a huge part of it missing that I couldn't give my clients which was true healthy living. I have been struggling ever since I left that profession trying to discover where God wanted me. I questioned "maybe there is nothing for me...maybe there is no purpose and I'll just be lost forever!" or I would think "this is not what my 5-year plan looked like! I don't make enough money!" and the negativity and the sense of no direction just sent me into so many moments of fear...fear of losing control and a fear of living.

Then a couple weeks ago I had that "Aha! moment" and it happened in my hot yoga class during my savasana (final resting pose). I always find myself in prayer during the final pose. Usually my prayers are "God help me find my purpose" and I finally realized that I already did. That my passion for helping and fitness were finally converging. I wanted to teach yoga and I knew that one day I did not want it just for the stereotypical white rich Lululemon-wearing moms (which by the way, don't judge! those women need yoga too!) but I wanted it for everybody. I wanted to share my gift. One day I want to teach yoga to everyone and help them heal. Big picture-I want to one day provide yoga classes to single-moms looking for holistic stress relief and not have to worry about day care. I want men and women living in prisons to rehabilitate with the help of yoga. Veterans or men and women dealing with eating disorders to find what I did when I found yoga and that was help to heal. My studies in social work have never left me and one of the greatest observations I made in my studies was that nothing is more empowering than finding our clarity and purpose on our own.

I know not everyone loves yoga but I know that I found so much clarity in the midst of chaos through yoga. It is for everyone, of every religion and every socioeconomic status to heal physically and emotionally. So as fate would have it, my studio is offering a yoga teacher training that begins in May and goes until December. It is a big commitment, but I'm ready. I'm ready for what will unfold and to dive into my journey. I'm scared "what if I suck at teaching? What if  I can't find a position to teach? They don't make a lot of money, training is expensive!" Then I remember this quote from Emily Dickinson-"If your nerve deny you-go above your nerve."

Find what you love and you're passionate about and run after it with everything you have. Usually are greatest journeys are the ones we do not plan for.


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Disney Princess Half Marathon!

This weekend I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon! It was one of the best experiences I have ever had and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun race! 

The truth is, the journey leading up to this race was not fact I barely trained since my last half-marathon in November...I only clocked in two long runs and barely any short runs...Matt and I dealt with shin splints and horribe IT band syndrome all the way up until the race! I'm a type-A crazy planner so I was so nervous to run a half without training that I was still debating about running it all the way up until the day before! I have ALWAYS wanted to run the Disney Princess and to be honest, we invested a lot in the registration...I was so torn about running it because I didn't want to hurt myself further and it made me really uncomfortable to run without preparation..I honestly just didn't think I could do it...
We decided to pick up our packets just in case we were going to do it so on Saturday we drove over to Disney World and picked up our race packets. The energy at the Expo was contagious! Men and women everywhere already dressed up and every single vendor was there! Thank God I didn't bring in my credit card because I would have bought every Minnie item in  there haha! I just got this huge rush of excitement about running the race. I knew at that moment that I wanted to give it my all to run through Magic Kingdom and run through Cinderella's Castle, so I decided that no matter what I was going to suck it up, put on my tutu and give it everything I had! 

Thankfully, Matt and I only live 40 minutes away from Disney World so we were able to stay at our apartment instead of booking a hotel in Orlando. We ate a hearty dinner, relaxed on the couch, set our alarm for 2AM (I early) and went to bed around 8. I was so nervous and anxious that I barely got any sleep, but I woke up and ate a bagel with peanut butter and transformed myself into Minnie Mouse. I had been rolling out the week prior and wearing my compression sleeves to alleviate any pain in my calves and IT band. I also decided to tape up my legs which really helped! You know that old saying "nothing new for race day" well I did everything new for race day lol and I'm glad we did because it all really worked out for us. I decided to listen to music during this half, because lets be honest, I needed every push I could get!
I packed up a cooler full of ice wraps, water bottles and snacks for after the race and we were on our way at around 3AM. The traffic leading into Disney was pretty hectic so I was so glad to leave as painfully early as we did because the starting line is SUPER far away. After our porto-potty stops we were basically power walking to the start line. 
One tip if you run a Disney race-always submit proof of time because there were over 20k runners and if you don't submit time-you're in the back with the walkers and the weaving in and out of people was bad and I was in the G corral and I was tending to pass people in the C and D corrals! Crazy!
The starting line was so exciting! They had characters releasing the corrals, fire works, a massive screen with Jeff Galloway and 1000s of adorable women (and men lol) in tutus! Matt was such a trooper and matched me! Although he didn't wear a tutu like a lot of guys hilariously did, he still wanted to make me happy and match :) he even allowed a lady spraying everyone's hair with sparkles to spray his! He was such a good sport ;)
Corrals are released in waves so although the race started at 5:30, we were not released until 6AM (that should tell you how many people were there!) By that time my adrenaline was pumping. I was nervous and unsure that I would make it, but the atmosphere was just so exciting. 1000s of women running and celebrating women-it was just amazing to be apart of! 
Mile 1-4 was a breeze for me. Matt began getting a blister around mile 3 so I think most of the race was really uncomfortable for him but he never gave up! At about mile 5 we ate our first Clif block. My knees were starting to ache and my IT band was around mile 6 we came up on Main Street in Magic Kingdom which was lined with spectators cheering us on with awesome signs! I began to get a little teary and giddy and the even Matt flashed a giggly smile when we ran by! It was really a magical moment! At that point I didn't even feel my legs because it just gave me a push to keep going.  

Then at mile 7 I began to get aggravated...I just wanted it to be over and that was when I began to get negative and started to throw myself a pity party. I then began to talk positive to myself. I cranked up my music and told myself "not dead, don't quit!"

Remember when I said how I did some new stuff? Well I never trained with a sports drink during my runs and I decided to switch between water and Powerade and holy crap Powerade is the elixir from God during a long distance race!! It kept me hydrated and all I wanted to do was hang out around the Powerade stations lol! 

We ate our second Clif block at mile 10 and it gave me the jolt I needed to keep going...I felt like my legs were getting heavy and I felt like I was slowing way down....At mile 11 we went up the over pass bridge and they had all of these encouraging signs about the Children's Miracle Network which is the charity that was the recipient from the race. I don't know if it was the mixture of my music or my sheer exhaustion, but I got really emotional and I just felt so encouraged! I always get really emotional in long runs. Maybe its a break through for me? I have a hard time believing in myself and when I prove that I can do something it becomes a life lesson for me...or maybe I was just tired who knows lol
By mile 12 Matt was in excruciating pain and he was beginning to get probably wasn't helping that I kept telling him to smile and pose for every photographer as we ran by lol! 
At about 12.6 all I wanted was for the race to be over and I just kept thinking "how do people run a full marathon?!?! This is horrible!" in that mile we made our way into Epcot and it was exciting! We ran by Space Ship earth and I became so happy because I realized that I had basically finished! I was almost there! I was in so much pain, but I knew that I was going to be in pain whether I'm upset or happy, so why not just be happy and be excited that I was actually running around Epcot! That I just ran through Cinderella's castle as Elsa and Anna waved and cheered from above; that I was actually able to have this opportunity! That was when I decided to be happy and excited and not mad and angry. I sucked it up tried to take my mind off the pain and decided that I was going to get that medal and I was going to push with everything in me to get to the end. 
Then all of sudden we wound the bend and there was the big pink Princess finish line! There were bleachers of spectators cheering and me and tons of other ladies in tutus sprinted ahead and crossed the line while I raised my hands in the air with a big smile! I HAD DONE IT! I FINSIHED! I looked behind me and there was Matt smiling but I knew he was in pain so immediately we made our way to the medical tent and all I could think about was icing my knees. It felt incredible when the ice hit my IT band, I never wanted to get off that bench haha! Matt and I just sat back icing our knees and basking in our victory. We had made it. We defied and exceeded all of our is one of the most amazing feelings. 

Disney did an AMAZING job with organization, we were given everything we needed to recover. I really recommend running a race with them, because it was sooo fun and organized! They had characters every other mile that people could stand in a line to get pictures with and and they did not skimp on water stations. They were every other mile and there was a Biofreeze and Clif shot station around mile 9 so you really didn't have to worry about much. 
After the race we headed to our car and got our shoes off and devoured ate the contents of our snack boxes. I ate a Luna bar and I gave Matt my tortilla chips. I thought it was a fair trade since he decided to wake up at 2AM, have glitter sprayed in his hair and run 13.1 miles with 1000s of women in tutus ;)
I went into that race with little to no running training, I was injured and overall really negative about the whole thing but I still committed and gave it my all and I ended up running the whole race! Granted, I still went to spin classes every week and cross-trained. Matt and I are pretty committed to a healthy lifestyle so we had a pretty solid fitness base to risk it. I would not have not trained for that long of a distance in regular circumstances. There were several people picked up because they could not keep the pace requirement so overall I don't think it is a great idea to run a half-marathon without training for it unless you're physically active. 
After the race we treated ourselves to pizza beer and a nap! I really focused on hydrating and icing my legs because I knew it would help me get out of bed the next morning. I plan on introducing exercise back in with yoga on Wednesday or Thursday and start doing more circuits and spin in the coming months so I can really focus on healing my injuries. 
What I really learned from this experience is that sometimes you have to push yourself past your comfort zone and when you do-you have no idea what you are capable of. If I would not have run that race and played it safe, I would have regretted it. It is always really hard to believe in myself, but if anything, running has taught me that I can make it. I can defy my expectations and succeed.  

Here are some tips that I learned from running a Disney race: 
  • If you like money and hate crowds-don't sign up for this one. It was so hectic and crowded! I was so glad that I had a half-marathon under my belt because I got a little anxious at how many people were in the race. The cost of Disney races are also super high! But I really think your moneys worth. 
  • SUBMIT PROOF OF TIME! If you plan on running and not walking a Disney half marathon then you seriously should submit a time. They accept 10k and Half-Marathon times and I was thanking God that I did not have to weave in and out of the walkers. When we were getting into our car and leaving (30 minutes after we finished) there were still 1000s of walkers still at mile 10! So submit your proof of time ;) 
  • Get on the road early! Traffic is a b**** and you will be stuck in it along with everybody else but stay calm! They do a great job at directing it since they deal with crowds like that everyday. 
  • Get in a porto-potty line EARLY. I waited like 20 minutes for a bathroom and it almost made me late for my corral. 
  • Don't stay in the parks resorts. We are lucky to live so close to Disney World and we have annual passes to boot. The hotels sky rocket on these popular weekends and the buses from the resorts get stuck in the same traffic as everyone else. 
  • Walk through the water stations! You will cramp up if you don't. 
  • Bring some energy shots like Clif blocks or stingers. They only have 1 station and that is not enough to keep you from bonking. I like to consume blocks 15 minutes before the race, at mile 5 and mile 10 to get me to the end. Don't wait until you bonk out to do that!
  • Foam roll and stretch a week before and after the race. That foam roller is your BFF when it comes to running. It really helped decrease soreness and got me ready for race day. 
  • Dress up! You will be in the minority if you don't dress up. It was so fun to wear a tutu and run around Disney. So have fun and be creative :D
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Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Coffee Amateur's Chemex Tutorial

Have you heard of Chemex coffee? I know it looks weird and seems like the new "Hipster" fad, but it is officially my new favorite way to brew coffee. I never thought any style of brewing would beat my beloved French Press, but I think after a few weeks with the Chemex-I'm completely won over!

As you probably can tell if you follow me on Instagram, I am a total coffee addict. One of my favorite parts of my day is when I take that first sip of coffee. Coffee calms me down in some weird way and yet wakes me up? Its a delightful balance :)

I usually take my coffee with soy milk and some coconut sugar, but with the Chemex the flavor is so good that I have completely cut out sugar and I just add a touch of soy milk to my morning cup. I even find myself turning my nose up to my Keurig at work lol #coffeesnob ha!

I had heard through the blogsphere about Chemex as the new "it" kitchen appliance, but this beaker looking thing has been around for awhile and was creating by a Chemist who was trying to achieve the perfect cup of coffee. I stopped into a local coffee shop when I was in Tampa a couple of weeks ago and the Barista was raving about how the Chemex is everything that is good about the French Press and leaves out all of the bad like the sludge like coffee at the bottom of your mug. He told me that the coffee produces a really clean taste which is also something Matt really prefers to the strong coffee taste of French Press.

I'm no Barista, but after watching countless youtube tutorials, I think I kind of have the hang of it. I may not be doing everything right because I don't have all the fancy shmancy tools, but I've found ways to brew the coffee with all of my stuff on hand-like a regular tea kettle, my coffee grinder and a chopstick? I know just keep reading ;)

So first things first you really need whole beans ground in a medium-course grind. I have a grinder but if you don't, then I, unlike most coffee connoisseurs will say-its fine if you grind it at the grocery store or ask the coffee shop you buy it from to grind it. Again, most coffee pros would be aghast by that but not all of us have grinders so we do what we got to do! :)

Next you want to use a special Chemex filter that you can purchase with your Chemex. Yes, you need these filters (trust me I asked). These filters are really thick and are the main reason the coffee comes out the way that it does. You can buy 100 of them off Amazon for like $11. I bought the square ones and you just pull apart one piece and make it into a cone then place it into the opening. I'm sorry I didn't snap a detailed picture of that part but when you buy the Chemex filters you will see it on the box. You can wash out the filter to get out any of the grittiness in the filter, but I'm lazy and usually skip that step lol.

You add the grounds to the opening in the center of the filter and using a chop stick make a little divot in the center of the grounds to make like a little hole. This is kind of like a science experiment, because once you add the water the coffee "blooms." How much the coffee blooms up will tell you how fresh your coffee is :)

Then with your tea kettle, boil the appropriate amount of water for the coffee that you ground. I'm still kind of figuring out the water thing. I just wait until the tea kettle whistles but apparently you're supposed to be checking the exact temperature of the water? I told you coffee making is serious business! haha

once the water boils, you slowly add it to the grounds adding the water slowly around the edges of the grounds moving your hand in a circle and back and forth to cover all of the grounds evenly. Add water to the center very last.

Then you just allow the coffee to brew and drain down into the pot, discard the filter and grounds and voila! You have made a delicious cup of coffee :)

(Isn't that mug so cute!?!? I finally got a mug with my initial on it! I bought it for $8 at Anthropologie.)

This coffee really loves up to the hype. I even find myself choosing this over Satrbucks! It is really easy to clean too as you just discard the filter and wash it out. I also find it looks chic on m counters :)
I bought the 8 cup pot for about $39 and I have seen it for a similar amount across the internet. Again, I'm not pro at this stuff, I just know that I was really puzzled when I was seeing these pots all across social media and I know all of the extras they sell with these things can make it overwhelming so I thought I would give you the amateur's everyday tutorial that has worked out nicely for me :D

What is your favorite way to brew coffee?

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Four Months Until Paris!

Hello Lovelies :)

I was having a little technical difficulties with my site but thank God for my hubs who was able to solve the issue so now we're back and running :D

We spent the weekend hanging out and relaxing while I re-watched Friends. I swear this show has taken over my life again and it has been off for 11 years! How was your weekend?

I told you guys a few weeks ago that we finally booked our dream trip to Paris and I've just been so excited! Yesterday marked 4 months until we leave! I've been planning forever but I'm just so overwhelmed with everything! There is so much to do there and while I have my heart set on a few activities I know that people who have been there have the scoop on what to do. This is the itinerary I have set up so far and I would love your advice :)

June 4th
Arrive in Paris
Seine River Cruise

June 5th 
Eiffel Tower
Arc de Triomphe
Champ Elysees
Place de la concorde
Pont Alexandre III
Musee Rodin (Just to see "The Thinker")
Back to the hotel

June 6th
Photo shoot in front of the Eiffel (eeeek!!!)
Louvre tour
Le Care Richelieu Angelina's for Lunch
Notre Dame tour
Holy Chapel
Love Locks Bridge
Wine Tasting at O' Chateau

June 7th 
Bike tour through Versailles gardens and tour of the Palace (All day)

June 8th 
National Opera
Musee de l' Organgerie
Musee D' Orsay

June 9th 
Explore the Latin Quarter
Picnic in the Luxemberg gardens
Saint Germain des Pres
The Army Museum

June 10th-Fly home

Please forgive me if I spelled anything wrong, I was just pulling from my personal itinerary. 

Am I missing anything? I would love to know about any other fun things to do! I'm a planner as you can tell lol...I just really wanted to have each day planned out and I did my best at keeping everything for each day in the same areas. I have already began favoriting restaurants that look appealing but now that we are with T-Mobile I will get free international data so we can explore whatever is around us. I'm not worrying about my diet for Paris because I just don't care, I want to experience the city the same way I did with Rome. I walked everywhere, drank wine everyday and ate pizza every chance I got! I didn't gain weight and my clothes still fit at the end of it so I'm not going to be worried about that now :) I'm going to eat macaroons try French champagne and live it up! You only live once right?? :)

We also have free international wifi calling so that will be awesome for staying in contact with our families and checking in on my little fur balls..side note: to all the kitty mamas-I'm seriously already panicking about leaving them :( if you have any tips on how to make leaving them less stressful on m me them that would be amazing :)

I mentioned above in my itinerary that we are doing a photo shoot in front of the Eiffel tower and basically we are hiring a photographer in Paris to take photos of Matt and I! I have always wanted that iconic ultra romantic photo in front of the Eiffel tower, so I did everything I can to save up for that. I know we will have that forever to show our kids and grandkids :)

With that being said, I'm obsessing over what I will wear and I'm on the hunt for great makeup for photos. I was thinking Smashbox or Nars? Any advice from you Beauty Mavens would be awesome :)

I'm thinking of a tulle midi skirt with bold top for the What do you guys think? 

I'm trying to obviously keep the packing down so I may have my carry on and then Matt would carry a garment bag as his carry on and we would share a larger checked bag. I know I'll want to shop while I'm there, but I'm not really one to buy tons of clothes on travel. Especially considering how pricey some of the department stores can get in Paris (I'm not a big high end name brand kind of gal).

I'm also kind of afraid of flying...I did okay on the way to Italy for our honeymoon, but I'm kind of freaking out more now. Maybe all of these recent commercial airline crashes have kind of freaked me out? I'm trying to remain rational and work through those fears. I also get anxious about traveling in general so I usually overpack...I really wish I was a carefree light traveler like my husband, but I'm not...what would you recommend to pack for Paris in June? I'm from Florida so I know their definition of "warm" maybe actually chilly to a Florida girl lol! I'm already getting a list together for my carry on beauty products and simply just to survive the boredom of an 8 hour flight. 

Any tips would be absolutely wonderful!

On a another note, I was going to post a recipe last weekend but I just didn't have the time with my mom visiting. I will probably post a recipe soon, or maybe about other lifestyle things that are happening lately :D

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