Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Clean Eating Thursday Recipe Linkup – Holiday Drink Recipes

Clean Eating Thursday Recipe Linkup - New Years Drink Recipes

It’s time to celebrate the new year! But not everybody wants to indulge in alcohol.

I know, I know, most of you do. But I wanted to offer up an option for non-alcoholic beverages you (and the… Read more →

from The Gracious Pantry

Red & Green Eats & Merry Christmas

I have a red and green day to share with you!

Breakfast: a green-ish smoothie made with banana, spinach, Vega, and milk. And buttery toast.

Lunch: leftover lasagna with frozen broccoli made with parmesan and butter.

Dinner: Cook Smarts Tofu Sriracha Ramen Salad (made with soba noodles). This was SO GOOD and even better for lunch the next day!

We are spending time with our loved ones and wish you all a very Merry Christmas!! Be back next week!

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The Year Of Rose


Let’s get cozy and have some tea. Sleepytime is my go-to, but I’ll take a good mint tea any day. Or my mom’s famous Lipton with sugar and milk. What’s your favorite? Do you swear by loose leaf or are you as efficient as possible and plop in a teabag and call it a day ( <– that’s me, no surprise, although I do agree that loose leaf is better!)

I am reading the book Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, and should have read it years ago! During the first few chapters I was nodding my head yes in agreement, and can say with confidence that Mazen is a spirited child. “Normal but more,” as she calls them. I am only halfway through the book and am really eager to put some of her tips into place when it comes to minimizing the resistance and battles and maximizing all the wonderful things about Mazen’s personality.


After my visit to Neroli spa, Alyssa sent me home with this gentle rose exfoliator. As my mom would say, “It ain’t cheap,” but I really like that it isn’t super scratchy or rough. There are little beads inside that “polish” the face. And….all the smells!


Speaking of rosey things, I have been using this rose shampoo which arrived in a package from Target featuring brands that are #madetomatter. You guys would recognize a ton of them as being environmentally friendly, organic and the like. This shampoo is natural, organic, sustainable and best of all – smells amazing!! ‘Tis the year of the rose.

Holy warm coat Batman!! Guess who is going to freak when this shows up under the tree?!?


A friend told me about Sensationail products that are at Target. It’s a whole line of gel nail products for home use, and the kits look really awesome and is really affordable. I wish I had known about this line before buying my kit, but I will give them a test run to see how they do. You can guess which color I’ll be buying ; )


Have you seen this hilarious Facebook channel by JP Sears? I just love his super dry sarcasm.

And this video from Billy On The Street with Will Ferrell was produced by my cousin Anna!! Also hilarious. Elf IS the best movie ever!


^^This was the prettiest Birchbox! I love the gold foil sparkle. (This post features a ton of the boxes I have kept!) And that evo Root Canal volumizing spray is awesome!


This was our sky the other morning. #rosegold (sorry I had to!)


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Evolving Motherhood


Good morning!! Now that was a nice little breakfast : ) Coffee, toast, berries & eggs!

A topic I have been meaning to write about for a while is the realization that the lifestyle of motherhood is ever-changing. When Mazen was a newborn and in the baby years after that, my mom’s group would meet up almost every afternoon. We would talk and breastfeed and hold our babies while they slept. We shared tips and supported one another. As an extrovert, those days with my friends saved me from long hours without adult interaction. We had such a glorious time, and it never crossed my mind that we were in a temporary phase of motherhood that would come to an end.

When our children started to crawl and walk (and second babies were born), the frequency of playdates started to wane. As much as we tried to keep the crumbs off the floor and the toy fights at bay, it just became a big commitment for someone to open their home to 10 wild kids. Things got broken and stained, and before we knew it we just stopped going to playdates at each other’s homes.

The kids kept getting bigger, needing more space so we moved the playdates outside to yards and parks or the Discovery Museum or the pool so the kids could have space to roam. Our time together became focused on chasing our little ones and keeping them out of trouble, and while it was still great to see each other, we often felt like we hadn’t really been able to catch up because we were so busy with the kids. And it was challenging to always plan playdates out in public around the weather and around our kids’ schedules, especially when the second generation of babies started to become mobile as well.

So for a while I really longed for the days when Mazen was a baby. I was sad that I didn’t realize how much I would miss those days until they were gone. But like most parts of motherhood, things evolved again.


Recently I decided to do a reunion playdate at my house and had maybe 10-15 kids there. We created a “no shoes and no snacks outside of the kitchen” rule to keep the white carpets from getting destroyed. Now that the older kids are 4-5 years old we noticed that they played together nicely, and tears were at an all-time low. The play date went really well! I am hopeful that we will find a happy medium to connect with our friends (notice they are “our” friends – both Mazen’s and mine – now!) as they continue to grow up.

Lunch mix: hot tea, leftover kale, chicken and mac, and a Siggi’s for dessert.


And for dinner – a meal from Plated with beef, kale, noodles, and mushrooms. Yum!!


I’m curious as to whether any of you experienced what we did regarding the social aspects of motherhood?

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The Snowball Effect


Recently I spent a morning working at my desk and was ready for a break. I had planned a run outside that day, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I had a few options:

  1. Force myself to run
  2. Stay inside and keep working
  3. Walk instead

I love walking, and you can always convince me to take a walk. There is something so pleasant about walking, so I decided that a walk was better than nothing and a good compromise. Plus I really didn’t want to keep working ; ) So, I put on my workout clothes, queued up a podcast, and set out the door.

Guess what happened? About 10 minutes in, I decided I felt like running after all. I ran the rest of the way and ended my workout feeling great.

What happened that day was a typical snowball effect. You start out small with something and as you see or feel results, you gain the momentum and motivation to push harder. I had NO intention of running when I set out, but after 10 minutes of waking up my legs and feeling good about the choice to go outside, the craving to run buzzed in.

Had I just walked, that would have been OK too. Because something is always better than nothing. And you never know when a healthy snowball is going to hit you in the face!


The same thing happened to me when I graduated from college. I started cooking on my own and didn’t have the temptation of midnight quesadillas anymore, and a few pounds melted off of me. I was so excited to see the change that I continued to focus on healthy habits, cooking and exercising. I tell people all the time that when I lost the weight after college it really was fairly effortless because my snowball effect was so strong (and because I had a lot of weight to lose…).

The hard part is packing that first loose snow into something you can see and feel. How do you make those first few good choices that get the ball rolling?

First, you remind yourself that there are CHOICES. You get to decide how you spend your time. Think of the hours in your day like money you can spend, and you are buying yourself a good mood and a healthier body, and investing in a longer, more active life.

Second, the next time your brain says “I’d rather sit on the couch and drink this bottle of wine, thankyouverymuch” tell yourself you only have to do the minimum. A walk. A ten minute YouTube bootcamp. Only 30 minutes at the gym instead of your usual hour. Some days that might be all you can handle and THAT IS OK! But other days getting that first snow packed might push you in the right direction. Sometimes I just need to put on my sports bra and I suddenly get the urge to workout! Know thyself.


And finally, set yourself up for success by making the healthy choice the easy choice. I have always loved reading magazines at the gym and now I am totally hooked on a handful of podcasts. Lately I have been looking at my workouts as “podcast time” more than “exercise time” and I look forward to that podcast so much I forget that I am out of breath or have walked an extra lap around the block so I can finish it up before going inside. Find something that makes you enjoy exercise and start with a sport that supports that joy: trashy TV, reading novels, home magazines, audio books, music, podcasts, chatting with friends.

Pretty soon your snowball will turn into a boss lady snow woman ; )

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Twas The Weekend Before Christmas


And all through the house, the M&M bowl was empty. Could it be a mouse?


^^The best/worst thing I did this holiday season was fill a little bowl with Christmas M&Ms. I guess it’s a good thing that I am still on the first and only bag!

Our weekend started with Mazen’s last day of school before break. The kiddos sang us some carols at pick-up time, and Rudolph was my favorite!


I took the Sayas to Sarah’s house, and she had this delicious pesto salmon salad ready for me.


Friday evening we went to a friend’s house and had this amazing Steak Chinoise, the same recipe from C&O Restaurant. It was fantastic! The sauce!!


We had cheese from Albemarle Baking for dessert : )

Saturday morning we played around in our jammies for a while. Mazen pretended these beads were spaghetti!


Breakfast sammie with bacon, egg and melted cheese!


We went to the gym where I did a workout on the elliptical, and then sat in the sauna for a bit.

Late lunch – a big salad preparing for a holiday party. (Following my own advice!) The salad had some deli ham, spinach and a homemade dressing.


I went for a walk date downtown for tea in the afternoon.


And then picked Mazen up from Matt’s where he’d been for the afternoon. He LOVED meeting this Star Wars Christmas crew!


Saturday night we went to a rockin’ Christmas party at our friends’ house! Best gals!



Had a blast!






Mazen requested pancakes for breakfast yesterday, so I mixed together flour, egg, baking powder, a little applesauce and maple syrup until I had a battery consistency, and they actually turned out quite well with some chocolate chips sprinkled throughout!


I went to the gym again on Sunday (I miss soccer season!) and did a combo of the stairmaster, walking, and the hot tub! Ironic since it was 60 degrees here yesterday. No hot tub really necessary.

Sunday was otherwise relaxing. My Fantasy team made it to the semifinals and then lost horribly yesterday. Like embarrassingly bad. Such a bummer to end the season under 100 points, but I can’t wait to play again next year!

Hope you guys had a good weekend!

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Cupcakes With Mrs Claus

Merry & Bright


Top of the morning to ya! I have been loving grapefruit now that summer berries are gone for the year. I used to take the time to slice, sweeten and eat with a grapefruit spoon, but most of the time I just eat them like an orange! So much faster.

I have been taking this guy for some walks and runs, and he is loving it. Clearly! I think it has given me more excuses to go for walks and runs outside too, so I can see how pets are good motivators for people to get moving!


Lunch was sardines over a salad with Red, Hot, Blues and aged cheddar. Gotta get in those sardines!!


Mazen had his theater class performance last week, and he was a shepherd in the Christmas story. This day is always my favorite preschool day of the year! The show was so cute.


But M wanted nothing to do with taking a photo with me this year. Guess he’s too cool now that he’s a “senior.” That face! That hair! (I tried REALLY hard to wet-comb it in the morning.)


This flavor. How can the raspberry be SO GOOD and this one be SO BAD! But really the watermelon is the worst.


Dinner from Plated! Chicken with a fennel and apple arugula salad. A good one!


And finally, I LOVE my new ring I bought from Ellen! Now that I am no longer wearing rings on my left hand, my hands feel very empty. Right hand rings have been my jewelry of the year! I really loved this one when trying it on at her open house too.


See y’all!

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The Gift Of Serenity // Neroli Spa


A few weeks ago I received a text from my friend Alyssa to say that she was working at a new spa, Neroli Spa & Beauty Lounge. I have treated myself to several of Alyssa’s facials in the past, and she is the best in town! She invited me to see the new space, and had me act as her face model while she learned a new product. A few weeks later, Alyssa and Suzanne, the owner, invited me in for a morning of pampering to share the experience with you guys.

That’s it guys, I am giving up all other jobs and am starting a new career as a face model and professional spa reviewer! Inquiries can be sent to me at katheats at : ) : )

I can also review massages, hot tubs, nap pods, infinity pools, hotel penthouses, floating salt pools, and clouds. I am a woman of many talents, cloud reviews being one of my best. Just ring me up!! Haha.

I do have a special deal to share with any of you in Cville, so check the end of this post for the details! 


Neroli Spa moved from its previous location at Barracks Road Shopping Center over to this gorgeous new airy loft on West Main Street behind Oak Hart Social. The new space is perfect for bridal parties, girls gatherings, bachelorettes, or just those seeking relaxation.

My day started at home with a chocolate Vega smoothie made with peanut butter, banana, and spinach, and coffee.


Upon arrival, I put on a robe and spent some time relaxing in the lounge before I was called for my first treatment.



In the warmer months, there will be furniture on the patio garden so guests can step outside between sessions.


I was called for my first treatment, which was a sampling of several of the Neroli Spa body treatments beginning with hot stone massage.


I was also given a few minutes of the ELEMIS Poultice Powered Muscle Release, where the therapist pressed these poultice packs filled with a blend of herbs and amber into my shoulders and back. I loved the element of surprise throughout the hour!


Neroli Spa uses the ELEMIS line of products, and the aching muscle body balm that my therapist massaged into my sore legs felt so good. Unlike products with a ton of menthol, this had warming eucalyptus and didn’t leave me freezing.


I was able to take a hot shower in between treatments to rinse off, and that was a nice touch!

Next I had a facial with Alyssa!


She gave me the Superfood Pro-Radiance Facial, appropriate for Kath Eats Real Food : ) My favorite product was the Papaya Enzyme Peel, which smelled SO GOOD! Like the tropics in a bottle. Alyssa’s facials are the best because she has the most gentle touch, including the transitions between products, cloths, and massage. The every minute of the treatment is soothing. My favorite part was when she painted on a thick mask and then peeled it off in one swoop when it had dried.


After I got my glow on, I headed back upstairs for the Ultimate Pedicure.


The pedicure includes more than just trimming and polishing: hot stones, the papaya enzyme treatment on the legs, and a parafin dip. I loved the cute warm booties!

Red sparkle for the holidays:


Finally the girls surprised me with a little make-up to send me out the door. Neroli Spa offers full-service make-up as well, including bridal and special occasions.


I snacked on some of that yummy trail mix since we were into lunch time!




And now for a treat for any of you locals!!

Neroli is offering 20% off of all services to KERF readers through January 31! Just mention Katheats when you call or visit.


I can’t think of a single woman who wouldn’t love a spa gift card for Christmas. Mention this post to receive a $25 bonus on any $100 gift card purchase.


Thanks to Alyssa and the team for the wonderful morning of serenity! Visit Neroli Spa’s website for more info on all the services they offer.

neroli spa

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