The Park Vista Love Nest

Hello! Colby has been hogging up the computer for school work a lot lately, but I finally got my hands on it! It’s a beautiful Monday morning in Summerlin! 70 degrees and clear. In our new apartment we have sunshine coming in through the windows in the morning. It really gives me a positive outlook on the day when everything is bright and glowing. Colby and I spent the better part of Sunday napping, so I woke up super duper early today. I’m excited to finally show you a few iPhone snapshots of our new place!

First off, the kitchen:

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And the breakfast bar:

 

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Here’s a closer look at some art on the walls:

 

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This is our living room, featuring Colby Smile

 

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Check out the adorable balcony! We have a partial view of the Las Vegas strip:

 

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This is our bathroom:

 

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…and our bedroom!

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We love our new apartment! It’s still a work in progress, but it’s looking pretty good for only being lived in for about three weeks. Thanks for checking it out!

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The Five Love Languages

Colby and I shared our second ever Valentine’s Day together this year! I can’t believe we’ve been married for six months and this is only our second time celebrating this holiday as a couple. It feels like we’ve been together for much longer. Last year, Colby took me out to a (terrible) Italian restaurant at Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson. I remember I had some overpriced chicken that looked like roadkill and tasted about as dry as roadkill probably is. I swear, it was just a flattened chicken with tread marks on it. The dessert was almost unmentionably phallic. Picture it: a chocolate lump, dragging behind it a streak of red raspberry sauce, with some stewed cherries hanging out at the end like testicles. Yum?

This year’s Valentine’s Day was much better! We spent it at Green Valley Ranch again, but this time got a room for the night at the resort. I wanted to show Colby how much I love him, so I got inspired by Gary Chapman’s five love languages. The love languages are the primary ways in which different people receive love. Different people feel loved through different ‘languages.’ I decided to play it safe by using ALL FIVE!

#1- Gifts:

Colby’s gifts were DELICIOUS homemade baked goods from our fundraiser bake sale at work. Check out the goodies!

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This only represents a small fraction of the treats my co-workers brought in. Colby actually baked some very tasty cookies for the bake sale too. Here’s the recipe; definitely make these if you can decipher it:

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Colby’s hershey kiss cookies were SO good, I ended up buying back all the leftovers Smile I guess I sortof gifted him the cookies he made… does that mean I re-gifted? He also got one of everything else at the bake sale; I couldn’t resist!

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Does it surprise you at all that I ended up eating all of these treats besides the snickerdoodle? I should have known I wouldn’t be able to control myself! Colby is the kind of guy who snacks on grape tomatoes at night. What kind of guy is that? An adorably healthy one, says the dietitian with a killer sweet tooth Winking smile As for me, I really loved the tiramisu, marble cake, s’mores cupcake, peanut butter cup cupcake, cheesecake… sigh… Stay tuned for a post about “binge control.”

#2 Affirmation

I wrote Colby a love letter to remind him that he’s awesome. I think he knows he is, but I wanted to be sure!

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#3 Acts of Service

Colby got two acts of service: I returned the stupid overdue DVD from Blockbuster Express that he had rented 3 days before. We never even watched the movie he rented, Puncture. Returning the DVD was a huge pain because the Blockbuster box ended up being broken, so I had to call customer service. Oh the things we do for people we love…

The second act of service was cooking a surprise dinner for him. It was lots of fun to put together! I bought a Valentine’s Day Pizza Kit from Sammy’s Woodfired pizza, Colby’s favorite pizzeria.

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Inside, I found instructions for making a tasty love pizza:

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…And all the basic ingredients needed in perfect portions for a hungry husband:

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I added some extra ingredients of my own to recreate Colby’s favorite BBQ chicken pizza…

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Delicious!! I made a spinach salad to keep myself from attacking HIS dinner.

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It was actually pretty satisfying… I guess.

#4 Quality Time

After dinner, we were excited to get to the Green Valley Ranch to check into our stay-cation room! Colby skipped all of his classes on Wednesday and I had the day off from work, so we got to fully enjoy our time together. The next morning, we hurried down to the fitness center and spa. The Green Valley Ranch spa is rated among the top 3 in Las Vegas! I wasn’t surprised after experiencing a long morning there.

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Colby swam in the heated lap pool while I took a relaxing yoga class. We had a bit of time apart when we were each enjoying the amenities in the men’s and women’s spa areas: sauna, steam room, waterfall showers… Aside from that, we spent almost every minute of the day together, enjoying mimosas, brunch, and each other’s company.

#5 Physical Touch

Don’t worry, I won’t get graphic here. I was actually very sick with a sinus infection on Valentine’s Day this year, so coming in physical contact with Colby was a bad idea. I’ve been so contagious that probably even high-fiving him would have gotten him sick. Sigh. I was super lame and fell asleep as soon as we got to our very spacious and luxurious room. Of course, slipping into a Nyquil-induced coma was not the plan for a romantic Valentine’s Day evening, but it was a necessary sacrifice to enjoy a full day of activities the next morning.

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I think Colby really enjoyed all of the love languages! See how happy he looks?

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Awww… and he got all dressed up, thinking we were going to go out for dinner! What are your top love languages? Do you prefer to be loved with gifts, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, or physical touch? I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s day with someone sweet!

Date Night!

I love sleeping in on weekends, but I hate feeling like half the day is wasted. It was a beautiful day in Las Vegas! Colby and I took advantage of the nice weather at the last minute by going out for a sunset hike on the East Anthem Trail. It’s an easy walk uphill with a beautiful view of the strip from the top. I think the trail goes on for at least 10 miles, but I’ve never gone more than a couple miles in. Nice desert landscape, right?

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The temp dropped about 10 degrees when the sun went down, so we headed to Starbucks to warm up. I usually get a skinny caramel macchiato  at SB, but I decided to try the skinny mocha this time to satisfy my chocolate craving. Colby loves Arnold Palmers (iced tea + lemonade), so he enjoyed the passion iced tea lemonade I suggested. We headed over to Barnes and Noble to enjoy the rest of our date night reading books. Isn’t the SB Valentine’s day cup adorable?

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I got cozy with a stack of diet and nutrition books.

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Meanwhile, Colby sat down to learn some history. We’re so different!

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I really enjoyed Jillian Michael’s’ Master your Metabolism. It features a great overview of various hormones involved in metabolism, including insulin, thyroid hormones, leptin, ghrelin, cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and others. The book focuses on ridding your diet of processed foods and replacing them with foods from 10 “power nutrient” groups. They include:

  1. Legumes (peas and beans)
  2. Alliums (onions, leeks, shallots)
  3. Berries
  4. Meat and eggs (this group also includes fatty fish like salmon)
  5. Colorful fruits and vegetables
  6. Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower)
  7. Dark green, leafy veggies
  8. Nuts and seeds
  9. Organic, low-fat dairy
  10. Whole grains

I’m glad I already like all these foods! Micheals offers the following tips to get your metabolism right:

  • Eat every four hours. Eat three meals and a snack daily, nothing after 9 p.m., and no carbs before bed.
  • Eat until you are full, not stuffed.
  • Include protein, carbs, and fat with every meal and snack. (30%, 30%, 40% ideally)

She also emphasized the importance of getting enough sleep and exercising HARD for only 4-5 hours a week. Jillian Michaels is a beast! It would be awesome to be in as great of shape as she is. Hopefully pushing myself in my morning workouts will finally earn me six-pack abs this year!

I’m usually not a big fan of following diet book meal plans, so I skipped past the recipe section and moved onto the next book, The New Sonoma Diet. I love that the premise of this diet book is learning to truly enjoy your food. I agree that mindful eating is key to maintaining a healthy weight. Some of the “power foods” emphasized in the Sonoma Diet plan overlapped with the 10 Jillian suggested.

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The Sonoma Diet sounds awesome! It even advocates drinking a glass of wine with dinner to truly enjoy the meal! Score! I’m all for picking a diet/meal plan you can live with. Deprivation will only lead to overeating forbidden foods in the end.

I actually bought The New Sonoma Diet book after seeing some of the delicious recipes listed in the book. I can’t wait to make some of them!

What are some foods you like to include in your meals frequently? What genre of books do you prefer reading?

My favorite workday breakfast

Good morning! Five days a week, my alarm goes off at 5am… And again at 5:30… And a final time at 5:39… I roll out of bed and into my workout clothes for my morning workout at the torture chamber, RAW fitness:

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Luckily it only takes 10 minutes to drive to the 6 am class, so I’m able to show up before my body is fully awake and aware of what’s about to happen. The workouts are super tough, but I love them! It’s a great way to get some high intensity exercise squeezed into my schedule. Nothing wakes me up quite like a ruthless session of 8 Tabata rounds:

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We did each exercise for 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off. We went through the left side of the board 4 times and then the right side 4 times. Ouch! After a killer like that, I’m ready to head home to get some protein in my body. For maximum muscle gains, you should get some protein in you within 30 minutes.

Fortunately, one of my all time favorite breakfasts is protein and veggie loaded and takes only 10 minutes to prepare! Check it out- here’s how to make easy scrambled eggs with spinach, turkey, and salsa

You’ll need:
1-2 slices of low sodium turkey breast
A handful of raw baby spinach
1 medium egg
1/3 cup of egg whites (2 egg equivalent)
1-2 tbs salsa

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Start by heating some torn up turkey pieces over high heat on a pan lightly coated with cooking spray. Toss the spinach on when it starts to sizzle.

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Move the spinach around for about 30 seconds; it should start to wilt quickly.

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Next, crack an egg in there and add the egg whites.

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Scramble it all up!

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Scoop the eggs into a bowl and top with your favorite salsa. You’re ready to dig in!

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After my eggs, I take a shower and get ready for work. It doesn’t take too long since I have this awesome $6 haircut thanks to Great Clips :)

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There’s no better way to start the day than a SECOND breakfast to look forward to! I whip up some oatmeal and coffee for work on my way out the door. My favorite oatmeal is coaches oats with brown sugar Splenda blend and sliced almonds.

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It’s easy to make, too. Just put 1/3 cups of dry oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and microwave for 4 mins at 70% power. Top with a sprinkle of almonds and brown sugar.

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I usually bring this along with me to work with a cup of coffee brewed at home.

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Yum! I love a nice medium roast or breakfast blend. To make it extra special, I add a teaspoon of Almond Rocha Splenda based coffee syrup (from Cost Plus) and a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk. It’s like having a fancy latte every morning for a fraction of the cost and fewer than 40 calories!!

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My two breakfasts come out to about 150 calories in the scramble and 200 in the oatmeal and coffee. It’s the best 350 calorie breakfast you could hope for! It’s got it all- protein, whole grains, veggies, and some healthy fats from the almonds.

What’s your favorite weekday breakfast? Do you drink coffee or tea?