CCCC’s: Colleen’s Cocoa Coconut Cookies

The challenge is going well so far, folks!

I’ve been eating a lot of salads, hard boiled eggs, chicken, avocados, fruit (particularly bananas with cinnamon, and clementines), Chex cereal, and gluten-free waffles. Those have been my staples thus far.

Here are a few gluten-free, dairy-free food highlights from the weekend:

Friday afternoon Maggie and I met Megan and the boys at Orange Leaf for some frozen yogurt. I thought I would be sh*t out of luck because I figured all frozen yogurt had dairy in it. But, no! Both the orange and pineapple flavors were dairy-free, so I went with pineapple. I added coconut shreds, walnuts, and strawberries on top. It was good, very refreshing.

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I made pizza on Friday night with gluten-free dough from Whole Foods, red sauce that we had in the freezer (shout out to my lovely mother in law Nancy for making it!), and Daiya mozzarella style shredded cheese (http://us.daiyafoods.com/products/dairy-free-cheese-shreds/mozzarella-style-shreds). It was delicious! Not as great as regular pizza to me (what is?), but quite good.

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Saturday, Megan and I went to look at two gyms in the area and found one we really liked and think we’re going to join. We brought Maggie and Brian along for the ride (pictured below). It was fun having everyone in the same car together! Usually we can’t do that because of the car seat situation, but Meg just put Brian’s seat in my car, and we were good to go.

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Later in the day, Colin, Maggie, and I took a trip to Home Depot. Maggie was not impressed…

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Before Home Depot, Colin and I went to Heavenly Donuts for a coffee. I thought they had almond milk at the location we went to, but they didn’t! I was disappointed, but chose their lactose-free milk option instead. I didn’t really think about it much at the moment that I ordered the coffee, but after I took a sip of it, I said to Colin, “lactose-free milk is still considered dairy isn’t it?” It is, unfortunately, which is not part of the plan. But, it was an honest mistake, so I went with it and enjoyed my coffee.

For dinner, we had steak and salad. Forgot a picture! Don’t worry, it was good. After dinner, I was in DESPERATE need of a sweet treat. I decided to throw together some ingredients and make cookies. Turns out, my gluten-free, dairy-free cookie experiment turned out great. I was pleasantly surprised. Colin (the gluten, dairy lover) even said they were good!

So, without further ado, here are the ingredients for the CCCC’s Colleen’s Cocoa Coconut Cookies (so creative):

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1 mashed banana

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (I thought I had vegetable but only had canola so just used that)

I mixed everything together and baked them for twenty minutes. Boom! Easy, delicious cookies.

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Today was so beautiful out! We took a ride to Newburyport for some walking and sunshine. We stopped into the Revitalive Cafe (http://www.revitalive.com/about-the-cafe/), and I got a green juice (cucumber, apple, spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, lemon, and ginger) and a dairy-free, gluten-free brownie. It was a nice afternoon snack. I ended up saving half of my brownie for dessert tonight (which was a good call).

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Dinner tonight was chicken on the grill, along with kale and broccoli.

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Thirty minute exercises for the weekend were:

Friday, two barre videos that I did in the kitchen.

Saturday, pushing Maggie up and down the aisles of Home Depot (this counts, people!!).

Today, walked around downtown Newburyport for about forty-five minutes.

I’m relaxing for the rest of the night, and then going to bed soon. Goodnight, y’all!

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Date night: Donavon Frankenreiter concert

This summer is a busy one. Since we’re getting hitched in September, June through August involves lots of fun pre-wedding activities and to-do’s — so we set aside various weekends for this reason. We also like to get in some family time, which requires a few trips to Long Island and Vermont here and there — so we were sure to block off a few weekends for retirement parties, weddings, vacation, birthdays, etc. We truthfully only have a couple of weekends plan-free, and wanted to make sure they stayed that way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it. Summer to me means busy weekends with family, friends, beach, food, drinks, laughing, etc. I enjoy having plans on the calendar. I do however, also enjoy having a little downtime. We all need it now and then. Since we’re so focused on our wedding (in only two months!), I want to make sure Colin and I are getting enough time to ourselves to prepare for our big day — to make sure we’re staying connected amidst the craziness that is summer.

Since this past weekend was one of our ‘downtime weekends’ we enjoyed a lovely little date night on Saturday at the Donavon Frankenreiter concert at the Blue Ocean Music Hall (Salisbury, MA). We went last year and had a blast, so decided to go again this year. The Blue Ocean Music Hall is a great place to see a concert if you’ve never been.

We started out with dinner at Not Your Average Joe’s in Newburyport, then stopped into Dolce Freddo Gelato across the street for a treat. After dinner we headed to the concert, enjoyed a great show, and then stopped into Joe’s Playland for some arcade games. We had a blast!

Check it out:

A lovely dinner at Not Your Average Joes in Newburyport

A lovely dinner at Not Your Average Joes in Newburyport

Pit stop for gelato after dinner

Pit stop for gelato after dinner

Show time!

Show time!

Mr. Donavon Frankenreiter

Mr. Donavon Frankenreiter

Sing it, boy

Sing it, boy

My favorite part of the concert came at the end when Donavon sang Tom Petty’s, ‘American Girl':

What's a trip to Salisbury without a visit to the arcade?

What’s a trip to Salisbury without a visit to the arcade?

Colin killing it at the bball game

Colin killing it at the bball game

Crushing the lanes

Crushing the lanes

I hope you enjoyed your weekend also. :)

PS: Only a couple more weeks for me to annoy you! If you don’t mind, please take a second to vote for me in the Real Simple essay contest. THANKS EVERYONE!

Newburyport House Tour (And 100 Days of Kindness, Days 40, 41 and 42)

Saturday, Colin and I joined Meg, Mrs. O and Kerry for the Holiday House Tour event in Newburyport. Basically you drive from one beautiful house to the next and you get to see their amazing homes decorated to the nines for the holidays!

It might possibly sound a little strange to go into other people’s homes and creep around while looking at their things. However, it was very cool – I got a lot of great ideas for the day when I get to decorate my home for the holidays. It also got us all in the Christmas spirit. :)

Here are some photos from the tour:

Sorry I’ve been MIA with my kindness posts – I don’t have internet in my apartment (if I did I would probably stay up all night every night) so I usually come down to Meg and Matt’s to borrow their internet (interesting choice for a ‘blogger’, huh?). The past few days have been tough because I’ve been busy enjoying the weekend!

Friday’s kindness:

Because I get migraines my doctor wants me to get a brain MRI done just to make sure nothing’s going on. I thought I could do it. I left work a little early on Friday to get to my appointment. I got there – the butterflies started, I tried to calm myself down. I laid in the little bed thing that goes into the tube and they showed me how the {scary} cage would go over my head. Started crying. They slid me into the tube without the cage on to show me what that would be like. Panicked. I literally couldn’t do it.

Not my idea of fun on a Friday night.

Needless to say the women were very nice and didn’t make me feel like the weenie that I am! I thanked them for being so kind to me because I really did appreciate it. Will have to try this MRI thing again at some point, wish me luck…

Saturday’s kindness:

Saturday morning Meg and I got up bright and early to head over to Lawrence for our team’s first basketball game of the season! We’re coaching the fifth grade boys team at Bellesini Academy (the school Meg works at) – it was both highly entertaining and a lot of fun.

Look at Coach O'Neill go!

Sunday’s kindness:

A few little things. I went to church and prayed for a few people I know who need it. I also tweeted about an awesome giveaway on Meghan’s blog (check it out if you haven’t yet – winner chosen tonight!) Now, I am currently making Christmas cookies with Meg which I will then share.

Enjoy your Sunday night. :)

Is there anyone out there who WASN’T born in May?

First and foremost – HAPPY (belated, only on the blog though!) BIRTHDAY to my AMAZING older sister, Meg!!! I love you so much. I have and always will look up to you because you have always been the perfect role model. I hope you had a great day.

Back in our youth

I love you!

Meg’s birthday was this past Monday, May 10th. We celebrated Sunday night with Matt and his family in NH – we had a lovely dinner and a delicious cake! Monday morning I didn’t have to go into work until 10am (started the new job!) so I took Meg to breakfast at the Lantern Diner in Andover. It’s a really cute, little place – you truly feel like you’re in someone’s kitchen.

I got Meg a turquoise sun dress with a gold necklace + bracelet + sandals to tie it all together as well as a really cute green + white striped bikini with gold embellishments. All to be put away and saved for Meg and Matt’s honeymoon in Greece! So excited for them. :)

Now, tomorrow is my wonderful Father, Kevin’s birthday! So HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPS! I love him so much and could never even begin to thank him for all that he does for me and continues to do for me. I truly am a lucky lady.

Dad and I dancing at Catie and Chris' wedding!

Mom, Dad, Molly and her BFF (and Mescall favorite) Meghan are coming up to MA tomorrow to celebrate both Meg as well as Dad’s birthdays and to attend Meg’s NH wedding shower on Saturday. Tomorrow night we’re going out to dinner somewhere in Andover and Saturday we’ll be going to dinner somewhere in Newburyport (where my parents are staying…) Should have some excellent food to talk about over the weekend! I’m hoping to try something new!

So I must apologize for 150% slacking on the blog. I have been having such a tough time balancing everything. I often feel as though there are not enough hours in the day. Then I feel guilty because there are people working who have children and a house to take care of, or there are people legitimately saving the world and here I am complaining because I work, I have to buy some gifts or run some errands and then I don’t have the energy to blog. Well, enough is enough! I really enjoy blogging and I’m gonna make it happen. I’m putting together some sort of schedule. I need to please the people! (Are there any ‘people’ out there I am aiming to please?)

Sometimes I get a little carried away (‘Carried away’ reminds me of SATC which reminds me HOW EXCITED I AM FOR THE MOVIE fyi) with how much I write for each blog post, so this is my warning to my fabulous readers: posts will probably be shorter. I am going for quality not quantity I guess. Something like that. Why? Because I am the boss of this blog. And.I.Say.So.

PS. I started my new job on Monday. I felt like it was the first day of school. It has been amazing so far and I truly am loving it. Everyone is friendly, helpful and easy-going. It seems like a great atmosphere. I am excited and extremely interested in the work I am doing. I feel as though I definitely made the right decision. I also feel like I finally have some direction in my life (at least career-wise!) It’s taken some time, but I feel as though I’m on to something… I like this feeling…

Don’t have plans this weekend?

Must go to the SOWA Vintage Market. It opens this weekend and will run most weekends into October.

http://sowavintagemarket.com/

It sounds amaaaaazing and all their info is listed on their website. Check it out!

Great article from www.cnn.com -

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/wayoflife/05/03/o.well.lived.life.key/index.html

We all need to lighten up on ourselves!

Goodnight xo

A VS model isn’t happy with her body? Seriously?

I often see this woman on both the commuter rail as well as the shuttle I take from North Station to Kendall Square in the mornings. She seems very nice and is always friendly towards everyone. This morning I overheard her talking to someone about how ‘they’ were looking for a house in Newburyport. Isn’t it funny when you learn something about someone you don’t really know but you see everyday? I wanted to interrupt her conversation and say, ‘Wow, congratulations! I didn’t know you were looking for a house in Newburyport!’ Most likely she would have thought I was a weirdo… Anyway, not only did I see her on the train this morning, I saw her on the train this evening as well. After she got off, I saw that her husband was waiting for her. When he saw her his eyes lit up! She hurried over to him excitedly – both with big smiles – and grabbed onto each others hand. He started chatting right away, catching her up on all of today’s events. I heard them laughing and thought how wonderful this was to watch. I don’t know for a fact or anything, but my guess is that they’ve been married for a long time. They know each other like the back of their hand, and they still can’t wait to see each other after a long day at work. They still have so much to talk about and not only that, but their love for one another is still so evident, even a stranger can see it.

In other news…

No need to feel guilty for drinking too much coffee! Apparently there are plenty of benefits that come along with your morning cup, your mid-morning cup, your afternoon cup, your pre-commute home cup, etc. etc. etc.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2VINwp/www.bz9.com/benefits-of-coffee//r:t

Cafenation is the hot spot in Brighton to go for some coffee and crepes. Try it out -

http://ow.ly/1uHk2      http://cafenation.com/

A Victoria’s Secret model is not happy enough with her body? Is that a joke?

http://www.allure.com/beauty/blogs/reporter/2010/04/is-anyone-happy-with-their-bod.html

Come on? On one hand it’s like – how can she even say she wants ‘more of a booty’ that she’d be happy with that? She has a perfect body – she shouldn’t want more or less of anything! On the other hand, maybe she has a fast metabolism, is naturally thin and after losing baby weight had no shot of having curves. Maybe now she misses them and wants them back? Doubt she’ll go as far as gaining extra weight in order to get those curves back! I wanted to post this, because it truly goes to show you that you can be 5’10, 120lbs and still not be satisfied with your body. You can be 5’5 and 155lbs, or 4’11 130lbs, 5’8 185lbs, and you’re not happy with your body – you want to be skinnier, you want bigger boobs, you want a smaller waist, longer legs, more junk in your trunk and so forth. Wish for what you will, but remember, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Whether you’re happy with your body or not, setting a goal to run a race (be it a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, marathon) will definitely make you feel good about your body. You’ll feel strong and proud. Consider it…

And if you do consider it, remember that it’s not all about what your body can do, it’s also about what your mind can do. Here are a few pointers from MORE magazine that will help you keep your mental focus in tact during the race.

http://www.more.com/2029/4337-training-tip–sharpening-your-mental?sssdmh=dm17.440999&esrc=halfmarathon_Wk7&email=2450190409

And with that, I’ll leave you with this:

Remember my friends and I went to Shecky’s Girl’s Night Out? Well, my beautiful, trend setting friend Christine (X) made their website in her awesome red coat! Check her out -

http://www.sheckys.com/fashion/slideshow/boston_trend_report_7886-4.asp#read_article

It’s been a long one – time for bed! Goodnight :)