Influenster J'adore Vox Box Unboxing!

It's Vox Box time! In this video, I open my J'adore Vox Box from Influenster and give you  my first reactions to all of the goodies inside. [x_video type="16:9, 5:3, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2" m4v="" ogv="" poster="" hide_controls="" autoplay="" embed='' no_container="true"]

If you'd like a chance to get your own Vox Box, you can sign up on the Influenster website.

Disclaimer: I received these items for free from Influenster to review.

Influenster Violet Vox Box

I'm excited to say that I qualified for a recent Influenster Vox Box! If you're not familiar with Influenster, they are a company that sends free products to members for testing purposes. Influenster selects members for boxes depending on their demographic info and interests. Influenster Violet Vox Box Other companies can send their products to Influenster to get targeted feedback via surveys. I received everything in this box totally free from Influenster. Here's an overview of everything that was included in the box.

Influenster Violet Vox Box

First up is a dry shampoo from Not My Mother's. I typically use a homemade dry shampoo, but this might be nice to have on hand in a pinch.

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo

Going along with the hair theme, I also got this head band from Goody. It's supposed to keep your hair back while you exercise and wick away moisture (aka sweat) from your hair. It has a Velcro back so it's adjustable for a better fit and less risk of headaches. Goody Headband Goody Headband

I also got a SoyJoy bar. I don't typically go for these just because the ingredients aren't my favorite. Plus, the ones I have tried haven't tasted the best. Jasen thought it was ok, but I spit it out in the trash. SoyJoy Banana Flavor

Next up is a face mask from Red Earth Clay Spa. I have super sensitive skin, so this will be a pass for me as well. Red Earth Clay Spa Mask Last, is a nail polish! This is from the new Sally Hansen Triple Shine line and is in the color Blow Bubbles. The Triple Shine line is 5-free, which makes me very happy. :) I've got some different swatches of it below, all taken in natural light. Sally Hansen Triple Shine Blow Bubbles Sally Hansen Triple Shine Blow Bubbles

Sally Hansen Triple Shine Blow Bubbles Swatch

Sally Hansen Triple Shine Blow Bubble Swatch

That's everything I got in my box! To see me unbox the Violet Vox Box , watch the video below!


Week 12: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

The end is here! Here's the schedule for the final week: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution Weeks 11 and 12

This last week went really well. While none of the workouts were easy by any means, I could definitely tell that they were much more doable than they were last week. It's crazy how fast your body can improve and adapt and it's great to feel strong and capable while doing the most difficult workouts in the program.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this set for anyone who is looking for an intense and effective at home fitness program. It takes all the great things about Jillian's stand-alone DVDs (limited equipment required, 30 minute workouts, modifiable depending on individual ability) and puts them into a plan that gives you the most effective workout schedule. Each time I've done Body Revolution, I've seen changes in my strength and muscle definition much faster than when I'm doing her other DVDs in a random mix. I think this program would benefit you no matter if you're totally unfit or more experienced because you can always modify to make things easier or harder. If you are starting out a little more fit you might choose to skip the first two weeks as they are pretty beginner. On the other hand, if you find the first two weeks to be super challenging, you always have the option to stick with them for another week or two before moving on.

Price wise, it's comparable to other similar programs at around $120.

Any other questions about my experience with the program? Check out my weekly posts from Week 1, or ask in the comments below!

Week 11: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

This week marks the beginning of the end for me and this round of Body Revolution! Here's the schedule: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution Weeks 11 and 12

I honestly don't have too much to say about these workouts other than that they are really hard. Luckily, Jillian gives lots of modification options if you need to take it down a little or even amp it up. That's one thing that I think makes this set so valuable, is that you could do it several times through and still benefit because you can always make things more difficult by adding extra resistance or upping the tempo.

As far are the exercises this week, two of the most difficult for me involve upper body strength (not my best area). The first is a scorpion push-up. You start in a regular push-up position, but, as you lower your body, you lift one leg, bend it up, and reach your heel across your back towards the opposite elbow. In the other, you get into a bridge/wheel position and then do a push-up from there, lowering your head the ground. Tough, but once you can do them it makes you feel super legit.

I'm not gonna lie, I'm glad that I only have one more of these posts because I don't always have that much to tell you guys anymore! Make sure to check back next week for my final post and complete review!

Week 12: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Week 10: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

I'm happy to report that I was able to get back on track with my workouts this week. Here's the schedule for week 10: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution Schedule Weeks 9 and 10

My back pain from last week wasn't totally gone, but I decided to jump in and see how it went. I was prepared to stop if things got worse. Luckily, my back didn't pose any problems during the workouts and I was able to do everything just fine. I was a little worried that it would be tough since I took last week off from intense exercise, but I actually felt energized on the first day, which was a nice surprise. The rest of the week my workouts were more of a struggle. I still did them, but it wasn't easy. I was feeling kind of "off" in general, which I think is probably just the ickiness that comes with the temperature changing. Unfortunately, my back is still achy in that one spot. Not sure what that's about. Exercise doesn't seem to affect it at all. My knees were also hurting after a week of no foam-rolling. I'm still sticking with the 5-days a week routine (skipping the Saturday cardio) to give them a little bit of a break.

As far as the workouts themselves, the major difference between now and the workouts in the beginning of the program is how the exercises are arranged. Early on, different muscle groups were incorporated into each circuit. This gave the muscles some time to rest while the others were working. Now, it's the opposite. Instead of exercises for each muscle being distributed throughout, they are clumped together into one circuit. Also, most of the jumping moves are done with weights in hand.

Now I'm on to the last two weeks. Wish me luck!

Are the changing seasons affecting your workouts? If so, how? Share in the comments below!

Week 11: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Week 9: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

This week, I started my third and final month of Body Revolution! Here's the schedule: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution Schedule Weeks 9 and 10

With the start of this final month, things got intense. Of course it always gets harder with each new set of workouts, but the last month of this program is serious business. I've done it twice before, but it still surprises me every time. Despite how challenging the workouts are, if you've been sticking to the program and pushing yourself all the way, you'll be ready for it. I think a good illustration of just how hard it gets is that exercises that were part of the main workout in previous weeks become the warm-up moves for these workouts. Jillian don't play.

As far as how I did, this week went great! My knees are noticeably better from my consistent foam rolling after each workout which makes me so so happy! I didn't want my knee issues to get in the way of completing the program. I skipped Saturday's cardio, giving me 5 days of exercise and 2 of rest. Also, I thought that since the exercises get more interesting as you progress through the program, I would share some that I like.

One of my favorites for this set is actually pretty basic. In the last circuit of the Strength 10 DVD, after your legs are feeling like jello, you do half-moon pose from yoga with a weight standing in as a block if you need it. The reason I love this so much is mostly because of it's placement in the workout. It's nice to have a calmer, but still difficult pose after such an intense and dynamic workout. It challenges your muscles and your mind in a different way and requires you to keep your focus strong at the end when you might feel like giving up.

If you guys would like to see pics of me doing some of the exercises in these next few weeks, just let me know. It scares me a little bit, but I'll do it for you guys. :)

Oh, and we got another cat. No pics yet as it's a bit skiddish, but maybe some soon!

What are some of your favorite exercises? Share in the comments below!

Week 10: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Week 8: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

It's hard to believe, but this week is the end of month two of the program! I'm happy to be two-thirds of the way done. Here's the schedule for the last week of "Phase 2." Body Revolution Schedule

I started the week off strong with my strength workouts on Monday and Tuesday, but my knees still weren't liking it. I ended up completing all of my strength workouts this week and chose to skip the cardio sessions to give my knees a break. I was good about foam rolling after each workout, but it was painful! I like to think that it helped, but I honestly can't tell. My knees still hurt, but maybe they would have been worse if I hadn't done it? I'm just trying to do my best to manage the situation while keeping up with the program. I know it's only going to get harder as I move on to the next set of workouts, so if y'all have any ideas I'd love to hear it!

On Saturday, we went to the Fall Festival in our town, and I did a ton of walking. It was nice to stay moving, but keep it low impact. Now, anyone who knows me well probably also knows that Fall Festival is one of my most favorite things in the world. However, something was able to top it this week. On Tuesday, we got a precious little kitten! Her name is Moxie and she is itty bitty and soooo cute! I should get an award just for sticking to my workouts this week with this baby running around to distract me. I had to lock her in the bathroom while I exercised and it was pitiful to listen to her crying on the other side of the door. She still loves me though. In fact, she's snuggled up with me right now. :)

She is so excited to meet all of you!

cute kitten

If you want to see more kitty cuteness and her actics, be sure to follow me on Instagram!

Do you guys have any ideas for dealing with my knee pain? Share in the comments below!

Week 9: Jillian Mihcaels Body Revolution

Week 7: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Well, after a not-so-successful week 6, this week was much better! A new set of workouts and determination to get back on track seriously paid off. Here's the schedule: Body Revolution Schedule

After all of my lack of motivation last week, I had a hard week ahead of me. Not only did I have a new set of workouts, but I was about to take on 7 days of exercise with no rest day. Bleck. On Monday, I finished my last workout from week 6, which put me on track to start week 7 on Tuesday. I'm happy to report that I was able to complete all of my workouts this week, except for dropping the last cardio to rest on Sunday. 8 days in a row was not happening, especially with how much my knees were hurting. I've had tendinitis issues in my knees since high school from all of the dancing I was doing. I started doing ballet one day a week at 3 years old and from there the number of classes I was taking kept increasing. As a teen, I found myself in class 2-2.5 hrs each night Monday-Thursday and then at the studio on Fridays something like 4-10 PM teaching and taking classes. I also taught class on Saturday mornings for a couple years and near performance time we were there all day Saturday for rehearsals. I loved it, but my knees definitely didn't. Any time I get to working out really hard it starts to flare up, and it got really bad last week. I'm all for pushing myself, but not for hurting myself.

As far as the workouts this week, they were harder (obviously) and strangely exciting. It's fun to see the progress I'm making each time I graduate to the next set of workouts. I'm not someone who loves the actual event of exercise, but I can definitely appreciate the results. All of my muscles are visibly leaner and more toned and my body just feels tighter. You know that feeling you get when you're exercising consistently? I love it!

As I'm looking towards next week, I'm hoping the day off will help and I'm going to try to get in the habit of icing my knees at night and doing more foam rolling to loosen up my quads a bit. Keep your fingers crossed that all of that will help.

Do you have any injuries that get in the way of your exercise routine? How do you deal with it? Share in the comments below!

Week 8: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Week 6: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

This week was rough as far as exercise was concerned. Definitely the worst week yet. Here's what the schedule was supposed to be (I didn't stick to it very well): Wk5and6

I don't know what was up this week. After last week being so crazy and requiring so much dedication to get my workouts in, this week was just the opposite. We were getting back to normal life after a busy few weeks and there wasn't anything to get in the way of my workouts. However, I was exhausted and just not feeling it. I skipped on Monday with the idea to just push everything back a day. I was tired, my knees hurt, I needed a break. But then Tuesday came and I was considering skipping again. Thank goodness for Jasen encouraging me to get my pump on because it meant I went though with my workouts on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. He even joined me once. We also went for a few evening walks to enjoy the fall weather. At this point, as long as I did my workouts on Friday and Saturday, I would have made it through the week with only the last cardio session missed. But that's not what I did. Friday I skipped. I could just exercise on Saturday and Sunday. Then Saturday got busy and I didn't work out that day either. Ugh. Why could I not get my butt in gear?

With only 1 day left in the week and 2 workouts to do, I came up with this plan: finish up week 6 on Sunday and Monday, and start week 7 on Tuesday with no days off. That way I could still get all of my workouts in and get back to a normal schedule for week 8. Well I did get my Sunday workout in before church and I'm going to do today's workout once this post goes up. Starting off good! Now I just have to keep up with it...

Lesson learned this week: don't put off things for tomorrow that you can do today.

Do you ever have weeks where exercise is the last thing you want to do? How do you deal with it? Share in the comments below!

Week 7: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Week 5: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Hope you all had a great weekend! Today I'm talking about Week 5 of Body Revolution, which brought on new strength DVDs as well as a new cardio workout. Here's the schedule: Wk5and6

The week started off on the wrong foot. I woke up on Monday with a huge cramp in my neck. I used heat, stretching, and some massage, but it was not budging. I hoped that it might get better over the course of the day, but that didn't happen either. Result: no workout on Monday. I decided not being able to move my head up and down or side to side probably wasn't that best thing to push. It was frustrating. I hate starting the week behind like that.

Tuesday I was still stiff, but much better, so I started my workouts for the week. Seeing how challenging it was with the residual tightness made me confident that I made the right decision in not exercising the day before. This new set of DVDs was definitely challenging, but it also showed me how much my strength has increased over the past month.

Jasen and I had a 9 hour drive to Tennessee for a wedding this weekend which gave me an extra challenge to deal with. We left on Thursday evening and stayed with some family at the half-way point. Then we got up early Friday morning and headed the rest of the way.


We stayed in Knoxville with one of my roommates from college, Randa. I still had to get Friday's workout in, so I exercised that afternoon before getting ready to go to the rehearsal dinner. We had a full day ahead on Saturday between seeing the city and the wedding itself, so I got up early and did my workout before the day got started. That's definitely my favorite way to do things. While I'm certainly NOT a morning person, getting my workout out of the way first thing always feels great. I hate having it hanging over my head all day long.

On Saturday we did lots of fun food things! First we went to brunch at a restaurant called Tupelo Honey. Our meal started off with biscuits and a blueberry spread. Delicious.


Randa got a breakfast bowl with goat cheese grits and eggs,


Jasen opted for fried chicken (his favorite) and biscuits,


and I got a cup of tomato soup, a fired egg BLT, and home fries.



Needless to say, after all of that, we were stuffed. We headed off to the market and Randa introduced us to her favorite farmers that she gets her CSA box from each week. I went a little crazy, because they had tons of tomatoes and other summer veggies that we just can't get at home anymore. I LOVE tomatoes! They also had the best corn I've ever tasted (Randa made some for lunch the day before) and super sweet grapes. I loaded up.


Next, we stopped by an olive oil and vinegar shop and tried some of the different varieties, then we headed back to the car. Randa drove us through the UT campus, but it was rainy so we didn't venture out. We also went to a Trader Joe's and an Earth Fare because I'd never been to either before. Normal people visit grocery stores for fun right?

Then it was back to the house for a little rest and getting ready for the wedding. The rain stopped for the festivities and everything was beautiful!


On Sunday morning we got up early, packed up, and got on the road for the 9 hour drive back. I didn't do the cardio this day. With as tired as we were and a full day of driving ahead, it just wasn't happening.

Overall, exercise this week was a challenge, but I'm proud that I got in 5 workouts despite it all. It really proved to me that exercise isn't about finding the time, but making the time.

What did y'all do for exercise this week? Share in the comments below!

Week 6: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Week 4: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Just as I was starting to get back into the swing of things as far as my exercise is concerned, this week brought about a new challenge: vacation! Jasen's side of the fam planned a last hurrah for summer at the beach. I was excited, but not looking forward to finding time for my workouts. Jasen and I went down Tuesday evening and stayed through Sunday. This is what my workout schedule looked like for the week:


Our late departure meant I was able to get Strength 3 and 4 in before we even left, which made things a bit easier. Now, while I don't think vacation needs to be a vacation from physical activity, that doesn't mean it's easy to get your butt in gear either. Thank goodness these workouts are only 30 minutes long! I mean, who wants to be cooped up inside when outside looks like this:


Normally I probably would have ditched the DVDs and pushed myself back a week in favor for being active in my locale, but I made a promise to you guys and I'm sticking to it! I ended up completing all of my strength workouts and forgoing the cardio for being active at the beach. I always feel like the strength is non-negotiable because it's so specific in the muscles it targets, but the cardio is just to get an extra burn while giving your muscles a little bit of a break. I figured with daily walks through the sand and running around with the wee ones, it was a fair trade.


On the last day, Jasen and I got up early to watch the sunrise. Then we headed in and I had an egg on a whole wheat biscuit with a side of veggies for breakfast. Yum!


I must say I'm pretty proud that I stuck to the plan and got my workouts in. I even lost some weight which is always a win when you're on vacation.

Do you still exercise on vacation? How do you get a workout in? Let us know in the comments below!

Week 5: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Week 3: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Back again for my weekly JM Body Revolution update! This week I started a new set of strength DVDs. Here's the schedule: Wk3and4

I wasn't sure how the first jump to harder workouts would go, but it really hasn't been too bad at all. Strength 1 and 2 were definitely easier, but I felt ready for the increase in intensity. There are two main differences between weeks 1 + 2 and weeks 3 + 4.

  1. In the first two weeks there aren't any jumping moves because the program is designed to be appropriate for people who are starting from zero as far as fitness is concerned and also have a good bit of weight to lose.
  2. The first two weeks don't have any combo moves so that a beginner can learn the form for basic exercises. For example, in weeks one and two, you would do sumo squats and overhead tricep extensions separately. In weeks 3 and 4, you do them together.

I'm happy to report that I did all six workouts this week! I did end up moving the second cardio session to Sunday because Saturday was BUSY, but I'm fine with that. The amount of dread I feel is decreasing, which must mean my body and mind are both getting back into the routine of exercise. Also, I can definitely tell that my strength is coming back and my body just feels more toned over-all.

Here I am after my workout on Sunday. Sweaty, but still smiling!


What did you guys do for exercise this past week? Let me know in the comments below!

Week 4: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Week 2: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Hope you guys are having a great Labor Day! Week 2 is in the books and I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. This week's schedule was the same as the previous week. Wk1and2

This past week was pretty rough in the stress department. With all of my studying and freaking out about the RD exam (thank goodness I passed), exercise did not sound like a good time. However, I still did it and it was a big help. Using up all of those stress hormones and getting my sweat on really helped reduce my anxiety and clear my head.  It was so nice to take 30 minutes to focus on me and be able to push all of that other stuff out of my brain.

I did veer from the schedule a bit. Thursday was exam day, and after a long day on the road and taking my exam, I was exhausted. So, I made the executive decision to take a rest day on Thursday and shift everything else forward one day. On Sunday, we went to the pool, so I counted that as my cardio.

I'm happy to report that things were a lot easier this week. It's amazing how quickly you can lose your strength, but also how fast you can get it back. Gotta love that.

I thought y'all might like to see my set up. One of the great things about these workouts is you don't need a ton of equipment or space. All you need is

  1. A mat, if you're working out on a hard surface.
  2. A resistance band (comes with the program).
  3. Hand weights. I have sets of 3 lb, 5 lb, and 8 lb weights.


As you can see, I don't have a ton of space, but i's enough to get the job done!


This week starts a new set of DVDs, so that will be fun! Something new to work at.

Did you guys do any fun food stuff this holiday weekend? Do you use exercise as a stress reliever? Let me know in comments below!

Week 3: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Week 1: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

As I promised last week, I started week 1 of Jillian Michaels Body Revolution on Monday. First off, I have to thank you guys. There were more days than not where my inner dialogue went something like this: I really don't want to do this today.

You have to. You have to put it on the blog.

Ugh. Alright then. Stupid blog...

This was a bit of a surprise to me. I mean, this was only the first week and I haven't worked out in a couple months since I hurt my back. I should be ready to go! Fresh and excited! However, that simply wasn't the case. Maybe it's because I've gotten out of the routine. What was a part of my every day a few months ago is now like an added hassle. Here's to hoping that changes over the next few months.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with how the program works.

Each two weeks you use 2 strength DVDs and 1 cardio DVD. The strength DVDs change every 2 weeks and the cardio changes every 4 weeks. The first two weeks look like this.


On Mondays and Thursdays, you work out chest, shoulders, triceps, and quads. On Tuesdays and Fridays, it's back, biceps, and hamstrings. The purpose of this, with the cardio mixed in, is to give your muscles 2 days off in between for maximum recovery. Also, even if you're sore, the theory goes, you should still be able to exercise since you won't be actively targeting those muscles.

And let me tell you, I was SORE! Much more than I expected. You see, I was on week 12 of this thing right before my wedding back in May. I knew it had been a while, but I was in for a rude awakening. I was sore after Monday's workout and on Tuesday I had the conversation with myself from above. It really wasn't too hard though since I wasn't using the same muscles. By the time Wednesday got here however, it hurt to walk. And sit. And stand. And pretty much any other movement. I opted to skip the cardio on Wednesday and instead did some foam rolling to work out the kinks. I know this won't be a big problem in the weeks to come, just the nature of waking my muscles up after such a long rest, so I figured it was ok to skip. We're not aiming for perfection here people. Thursday and Friday were much better and I was able to do the cardio on Saturday. As I type this on my rest day, I can safely say that I'm not groaning every time I have to get up to go potty. That's always nice. :)

I'm already feeling stronger from this first week, so I'm excited to see how my strength and endurance improve in the weeks to come.

Week 2: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

How do you guys deal with sore muscles? Let me know in the comments below!

All About Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

bodyrevolution13 105500 PMToday, I'm happy to announce a new blog series! I haven't talked too much about fitness on here, if at all, but being physically fit is obviously an important component of healthy living. One of my favorite genres of exercise is the recent surge in at-home fitness. With a variety of titles and fitness personalities, there really is something for everyone. I've been a huge fan of Jillian Michaels DVDs since I was first introduced to them my sophomore year of college. They're short, intense, and effective and, with new titles every year, there's no risk of boredom. However, the one down-side to these DVDs is that they are each a one-shot, total body workout which isn't the most effective way to exercise.  Also, it can get in the way if you're super sore all over the next day and can barely walk, much less get your pump on. This is where Body Revolution comes in. It is a 12 week program, so is more strategic and specific in the way the workouts are put together, meaning faster results. Plus, it's nice to have something already planned out for you. I'm starting the program today and will be posting every Monday with updates from the week before. I've done the program a couple times in the past, so it isn't new to me, but I hope that my experience can give you a little insight into what the program is like.

What is your experience with at-home fitness? Share in the comments below!

Week 1: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Recipe: Memorial Day Edition! Yogurt Marinated Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs

I'm happy to say that grilling season is officially here! The sun is shining, the pools are open, and everyone wants to do some outdoor cooking. One of my favorite things to make on the grill are kabobs. Not only do they cook quickly, but they are quite versatile and make it easy to create a large spread with something to please every palate. I like to make mine using a product called the Fire Wire. The long wire allows you to pack lots of food on to one skewer and they have a handle at the end that you can grab with your hand (burn-free) when it's time to flip. They are also nice if you have a round grill because you can snake them around, giving you a much more efficient use of the cooking space. I find they work better with meats than veggies, as the vegetables tend to spin around when it's time to flip, but it's still doable.

Now for the food! I cooked chicken, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell peppers, red onion, and pineapple. The pineapple was cubed and grilled au naturale. For the veggies, I brushed them with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Both simple and simply delicious. The chicken was cubed and marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices which gave it lots of moisture and great flavor. Try this out at your next cook-out or for dinner with the family and you won't be disappointed. I know I"ll be making it all summer long!

Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kabobs

serves 2-4 people


1.25 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (thighs would also work, if you prefer)

1/2 cup organic, plain yogurt

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste



1. Combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl or measuring cup and mix thoroughly.

2. Place chicken in a shallow dish or large plastic bag and add yogurt mixture. Mix well to ensure the marinade is completely incorporated. Cover (or close the bag) and refrigerate for 3-6 hours.

3. Prepare your grill and heat on medium-low. When chicken is done marinating, remove from refrigerator and put on your favorite skewers. If using wooden skewers be sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes before adding the chicken and fill them completely, limiting the amount of exposed wood. This will help prevent a flaming skewer or the skewer burning and breaking into pieces.

4. Place chicken skewers on hot grill and cook, flipping once. A good rule of thumb it not to flip the meat until it pulls away from the grill freely. Don't be the person that moves the food around constantly. Place it on the grill and be patient. The results will be much better, I assure you.

5. When chicken is cooked, remove from grill and serve with grilled vegetables.

What is you favorite food to grill in the Summer? Tell me in the comments below! : )

Post Graduation Update!

I am happy to say that I am officially a college graduate!

The weekend was a bit of a whirlwind, but it all turned out great (despite the rain) and my mom got lots of pictures with her new camera.

To begin the celebration, my family all came in on Friday and we went out for a pre-graduation dinner. We had to wait for over an hour (party of 12!), but that was fine with me because it gave us more time to chat and catch up. My cousin Allison and I talked extensively about our favorite nail polish brands and colors. We're both addicted and, let me tell you, our conversation only fueled my obsession.

The next morning, I got up bright and early to get photo-ready for graduation day! Then, the rain came. At first, I was irritated and a little upset. However, after I sat in the rain for a couple of hours I realized that the weather didn't matter at all. It didn't make my day any less special and, frankly, probably made the whole thing a lot more memorable.

Once the ceremony was over, it was back to my place for the potluck! As I told y'all in my last post, we used the website to organize our event. This website was an awesome tool and the party turned out great. I was so worried we wouldn't have enough food for our 50+ guests, but we ended up with plenty to spare. It was a great experience and I would definitely recommend this site to everyone.

Now, I'm back at home and preparing for the next step: my Dietetic Internship at Virginia Tech and planning my and Jasen's wedding! I'm so excited for the new adventures that lie ahead!

Moosewood Restaurant New Classics Cookbook Review

As promised, I've been cooking up a storm and have my first cookbook review for y'all! This one is for the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook, one of many published by this vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca, New York.

The Pros

This cookbook offers a wide variety of recipes (350 total) from the basic to the exotic as well as many international-inspired dishes. It's a great resource for anyone who is vegetarian, enjoys meatless recipes, or is interested in exploring this way of cooking. All of the recipes I tried were quite tasty and I'll keep many of them in regular rotation from now on.

The Cons

Many of the recipes are quite involved and require a lot of prep work. For me, as someone who enjoys cooking, this isn't a problem. But, it's definitely not a quick, 30 minutes or under kind of cookbook. You'll want to save these recipes for when you have a little more time.  Also, most recipes that call for flour use white flour and even the whole wheat recipes use some white flour too. In my opinion, this is completely unnecessary as whole wheat flour can easily be substituted for white. Lastly, most of the recipes dirty a lot of dishes, making clean-up (my least-favorite part), a pain.

Overall, this is a great vegetarian cookbook with a wide range of recipes that I will turn to again and again. However, it's not the best for quick, no fuss recipes and they use white flour when whole wheat could easily be swapped in.

Eco-Emi February 2012

Hi everyone! I made this video to introduce y'all to a new product I'm in love with. Also, let me know if you like the video format and if you'd like to see more videos in the future, or just stick to the written word. On that note, if you like the idea of videos, what kind of stuff would you like to see?




New Cookbooks!

I love a good cookbook. Besides being full of delicious recipes, they can also provide inspiration and promote the addition of new techniques and skills to one's repertoire. With that said, I received some wonderful cookbooks (along with lots of other foodie gifts) as Christmas and birthday presents. Below I've listed three that I think would be good additions to anyone's shelf, but also fill niches that can be difficult to address. I'm going to post a review of each after I get a chance to cook through them a bit. I'll try to work though one at a time, but they all look so amazing I might have to skip around just a little bit.

1. Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

This is one of twelve cookbooks from the Moosewood restaurant, located in Ithaca, New York.  Established in 1973, they have been leaders in vegetarian cuisine, taking inspiration from familiar favorites as well as international dishes. With a menu that is always changing, they have an extensive collection of recipes at their finger tips. The recipes in each book are tested not only in their kitchens, but in the restaurant itself, ensuring only the best make the cut. Whether you are a strict vegetarian or just looking for new nutritious and delicious recipes, this book is for you.

2. Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson

Heidi Swanson is the author of one of the most popular food blogs, 101 Cookbooks  (a great recipe resource). In this, her second cookbook, she presents some of her favorite recipes that she uses again and again in her everyday life. Besides being vegetarian, her recipes emphasize a natural, whole-foods approach with delectable results. If you want a little taste, the book's website includes a sample of 6 recipes from the book that you can download for free (just click the picture above).

3. The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson

Ever since going to a local Ethiopian restaurant I've been on the hunt for a good Ethiopian/African cookbook. I'm hoping this will be the one. Written by Marcus Samuelsson, a revered chef of Ethiopian descent, this cookbook not only features authentic and African-inspired recipes, but also includes beautiful photos of food and people. It could seriously sit on your coffee table with no questions asked.

Do any of these sound like the cookbook you've been looking for? Is there a favorite cookbook you turn to again and again? Let me know in the comments below!