Monday, December 23, 2013

Seattle Washington Vol.1 | Travel

Happy Monday everyone!! I'm only 4 days into my Christmas trip to Seattle and I'm loving every minute of it! Today we decided to keep it chill since it's right before Christmas. I'm writing this from a Tully's Coffee. Similar to Starbucks but a little more mom and pop, which I appreciate. I'm not really sure what the rest of the day has in store for us but I know it will be great - even the sun came out today! I've already had some delicious food, even salmon! If you know me, you are probably stunned. I hate any type of seafood, but it's everywhere here so I thought why not have some where it is fresh and great quality.
Each day has been jam packed with stuff. Trips to the piers, the market, friends houses and the evening is spent unwinding eating a good home cooked meal and watching some of the best movies of our time. Everyone in my family loves movies just as much as I do, so it makes it easy to convince everyone to watch one. So far we have watched You've Got Mail (I have such a huge man crush on Tom Hanks), Casablanca and Grease. I believe tonight we are watching The Godfather. I've never seen it, so I'm really excited! Before and after dinner and movies we play backgammon. Switching off by the next person playing winner. It's dreadfully obvious that I'm out of practice. Hopefully after my trip I will be back to my usual double rolling self. I can't believe that I didn't even mention that it snowed!! My uncle has lived here over 6 years and this is only the second or third time that he has seen snow. In Seattle it's rare but move east into the mountains and you will wonder into feet of the fresh powder. It was about an inch and lasted all of about 7 hours. Then the slush melted away as the evening rain came in. It was so beautiful and a wonderful treat as we woke on our first morning.
I'm already planning my next post - FOOD! I've been able to have try so many delicious things already and we haven't even gone to all of the best places yet. Saturday evening will be spent at The Space Needle for dinner before the symphony. I'm not quite sure what our Christmas plans are, my uncle likes to keep everything a surprise so who knows what this evening could hold. Maybe he doesn't know yet but that reminds me of a quote from Casablanca "Will I see you tonight?" to which Rick replied "I don't plan that far ahead."


 This is the famous gum wall. I couldn't blow a bubble...

                                                               xo, Erica

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What Three Things | Lifestyle

Happy Tuesday everyone! I'm sorry that I've been MIA. It's been so crazy busy for me this last week and things aren't about to slow down. I've been completely booked with hair and nail appointments, Christmas gatherings for work, roommates and family. Then buying Christmas gifts and wrapping them. Even though I told myself I wouldn't buy any new clothes for my trip that's all I've been buying. I mean how can you say no to your size on SALE?! This last weekend I spent with my roommates & pulled off a surprise engagement!! I was so nervous for her and wanted to make sure everything was perfect. Let's just say then entire day was so fun and I was so happy to be included in the entire thing!

While on our way to The City (OKC not NYC) the question "What 3 things should you possess that make you feel like an adult?" I'm sure there are a thousand things that can be in the place of those three answers. I thought about it and after a while I had my answer: 1. A Savings Account - that actually stays positive and doesn't act like a secondary checking account. 2. A Nice Set of Luggage - for all of the trips we take to escape our responsibilities. 3. That Perfect Shade of Lipstick - No explanation needed. We all exchanged comments over each others choices and after 2 coffee spills decided a Tide To Go pen was also something that every woman should have. Since we didn't we chose to just head to the Gap outlet and buy a new shirt. Then proceeded to J.Crew to add some jewelry to the look.

I took this challenge literally so immediately started looking for some luggage. Lipstick makes me nervous so that will be a trip to MAC or Sephora with my girls to test some shades. Make sure to bring chap stick - your lips feel like sand paper after 2 colors! What are some of your favorite brands and colors for Winter and the upcoming Spring season?

                                                      xo, Erica

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Work For It | Healthy & Fit

Happy Wednesday!! Like most of America, last night I was watching the Victoria's Secret Runway Show! I mean did you see those legs? Those abs? Those smiles :) I've really been pushing myself during my workouts and I can honestly say that I never regret it. I look for inspiration daily on instagram and pinterest before my workout to focus on why I'm getting healthy in the first place. If you are a regular to my blog you know I'm a huge TONE IT UP fan. I love getting their emails and I can't wait to watch their show on Bravo in January! I came across the email they posted yesterday and wanted to share it with all of you. I really could have used this last week but I'm glad I have this for future reference. When it's too cold to go outside and your bootcamp sessions are cancelled due to bad weather, lock up the dog and hit the gym. You get to be your personal trainer today. Below is the email Karena & Katrina sent out to help on days like this. Enjoy :)
We know it’s cold outside, so today, we’re bringing you a full body toning routine you can perform at the gym! A lot of you have been requesting this :) It’s your new Toned Up Interval Routine! We named it in honor of our NEW Bravo Show airing January 2nd! Plan your viewing party today and let us know where you’ll be…we’re going to be live tweeting, hosting commercial break workouts and surprising YOU! Learn more about it here! Now, it’s time to get TONED UP! The intervals below will keep your heart rate up for an effective fat burning workout that also defines and sculpts those sexy muscles! This set is one of our favorite routines to go through at the gym. Complete this entire set 1 time through…and get ready for an AMAZING workout!  After you complete this workout, Hashtag #TonedUp to show us and BravoTV your workout!!!

Download your PRINTABLE HERE! Just “Right Click” and select “SAVE AS LINK…”
                                                            xo, Erica

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Le Bistro | Lifestyle

At this point of my life I'm still not quite sure what I want to be or what I want to do. I have fun ideas that I always go back to but I've never really set out with a plan of action. Mostly I think about small towns and fun things that I would like to create and pass down through the family. The main couple of things I think about are starting a Bed & Breakfast and starting a Bistro. I love the thought of cooking and welcoming them in to relax and have a fun evening or weekend. I've probably put way too much thought into it all but maybe that means I have the passion behind it to make it happen one day. I think it's important to have dreams like these, something that will always be in the back of your mind. Then when given the opportunity to make it happen you can leap forward into action. I will share the B&B for another post and stick with my cute little bistro for now.
Growing up I was always the one in the kitchen cooking the meals and feasts on Holidays. It always seemed like a pain but I enjoyed it. Now looking back, I'm so thankful that I stuck with it and have continued to nurture my love of cooking. At any given time you can catch me watching the Food Network and being so envious of Guy Fieri and his show "Diners, Drive-in's & Dives." I mean who doesn't want to drive around the country in a classic car eating the countries best dishes?! Since I've started my new healthy lifestyle, I've been cooking a lot more and it excites me. Most days as I'm leaving work thinking of all of the things I have at home to cook. I'm not really sure where I would want my little bistro to be but I know just about everything else.

The top two pictures to me represent a classic bistro. Open high ceilings with exposed wood and brick, very rustic with classic touches and finishing's. I love the modern chic but classic wrap around bench that would look amazing up against a wall that has exposed stone and brick with plaster. The last picture of the simple logo on the window is lovely. It catches your eye and invites you in to spend the day or evening sampling everything and catching up with friends and family. I am seriously falling in love with this all over again as I write this. The next most important thing is the food, get ready - this might be too much. 

During the week I would like to just serve dinner and on Saturday & Sunday serve brunch and dinner. As you can see everything would be pretty savory with my main focuses being soups, sandwiches, pastas and all kinds of baked goods. You really can't tell me that none of this looks good. Tell me, would you love a place like this? I really would like to open one in Oklahoma or Colorado then possibly an northeast coast and northwest coast location. This really is something that I will make happen - I wouldn't even mind starting it once I'm in my 50's. The thought of spending time here melts my heart. It will become real, I know it. (All pictures are from my Pinterest boards Le Menu & Le Bistro )
                                                           xo, Erica

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Climbing | Lifestyle

A few months back I reached out to my friend Allie that lives in Colorado about a goal that I set for myself. If you missed the post here is a little catch up ---> I created a dream board and I decided to accomplish dream #1 in June of 2014. I'm going to Colorado for a week or so & I'm going to climb a peak!! I tried once when I was about 13 while I was at summer camp but it was mid May and the top of the mountain was still covered in ice. So naturally I made it part of my dream board and I can't wait to accomplish it! I reached out to Allie since she climbs a lot (and totally kicks ass when it comes to skiing) and can give me advice since she has climbed most of her life. I am so glad I did, I really had no idea what to expect and how to go about choosing one. So far I've done a tone of research and I haven't chose one just yet. I haven't really started training either. Come January I should have a more open schedule and spend some weekends hiking though the mountains around my neck of the woods.. Okay so now to the advice!

You are smart to train for it, I think it is paramount to feel like you trust your body to carry you up a mountain but when it comes down to brass-tax the process of climbing a mountain comes down to patience and mental stamina. The physical training is good especially if you are planning on doing something with an aggressive vertical that takes you into altitude.  I think cross training and doing interval work is HUGE, that is the best way to get in shape whether its swimming and doing a 2 minute “jog” and 1 minute sprint, or the interval trainer setting on an elliptical, that stuff trains your heart rate to skyrocket then recover fast J 

I’ll give you some insight into where this perspective comes from… so you remember how crazy out-doorsy my family was growing up; Mark and Amy LOVED doing big hikes and of course the worst part for Tommy and I was getting up early on a Saturday and standing at the base of a daunting mountain, almost mocking you as you try and grapple with the sprawling, winding path ahead of you.  Once I got back from college and started doing them for fun by myself it became an outlet for my inherently competitive spirit.  I would keep time, aim to pack different packs of climbers in the distance but would inevitably tire myself out much too early because my perspective was always  hundreds of yards in front of me...  So one weekend I decided to wake up at 2 am and do a “moonlight” hike up Longs peak with the end goal of watching the sunrise from the summit.  I armed myself with water, an iPod and a headlamp for the pitch black ascent…. Erica, I have never climbed such a hard peak so fast in my life.  My perspective was completely altered; I had the illuminated 4 feet in front of me silenced by a wilderness of surrounding darkness.  The only thing I could gauge was the one step I had beyond the last one I took, I didn’t have a point of reference to challenge myself to reach in a certain amount of time… it was eye opening in the most existential way. 

 ogistically its best to start as early as possible.  I would research the trail, the weather during the week leading up to the day of my planned climb, and get on the trail EARLY.  Most 14ners (if that’s what you are planning on doing) take anywhere from 4-12 hours depending on the trail and the peak! The early you are on the trail the more likely you are to avoid the afternoon storms.
It is going to be one of the greatest moments next year when I stand at the top and look around and just take in what I just accomplished. I will keep you all updated on my training and other info about it. Reach out to me and let me know if you have any questions or advice for me!
                                                    xo, Erica

Monday, December 2, 2013

Lauren Parks | Interview

Lauren Parks
Instagram: lauren_parks_

P+P: I can definitely say that you are one of the most adventurous people I know. Is there a certain trip you went on that you decided you wanted to see and experience more?
LP: There hasn’t been 1 distinct trip that has defined my love for adventuring. My family started traveling when I was a young and the more experiences I encountered in my youth, the more it drove me to become an adventure-seeking individual when I got to my college years. After expanding my adventures to other countries the past few years, I’ve realized that there is a really diverse world out there and I want to see and experience it ALL!

P+P: Have you ever visited a place that felt like home? If so, have you gone back?
LP: Honestly, so many places I have visited feel like home to me. Every place that I travel to that places me in a natural setting feels like home.  Whether I am snowboarding the mountains of Colorado, riding mopeds on the beaches of Mexico, cliff jumping and wakeboarding the lakes of Oklahoma, hiking the canyons of Utah, or surfing the waves of Florida or California, I feel at home at all those places because I get to experience the beauty and magnificent of God’s ultimate canvas, nature. I visit those places over and over again just because I get to experience the rawness and simplicity of being outdoors. 

P+P: Has there been a trip that has really challenged you?
LP: I went on a 5-week trip to South Africa two summers ago that brought me to my knees. I volunteered in many of the impoverished areas and it brought true perspective to my life. That trip made me realize how fortunate I am to have the resources and the support that I do have and it challenged me to find contentment in the little things in life. These people that I was serving had so little, but yet had so much joy in their hearts all the time. At the beginning of the trip I felt sorry for them, but by the end of my time in South Africa, I honestly envied them. I envied how content and happy they were with the simple things in life. That trip challenged my perspective of true personal contentment.

P+P:I first met you on a spring break trip in Winter Park and I see that you snowboard quite a lot. Have you ever considered going pro?
LP: I have not. Since I did not live in an area that I could snowboard more than a couple weeks a year, going pro was never a realistic dream of mine. I just enjoy snowboarding with friends and family as a hobby.

P+P:What would you say is one of your favorite things to do while on a trip?
LP: Oh my goodness, that’s a tough question. :) I enjoy so many aspects of traveling, but I guess the thing I love the most is meeting people. I have gone so many places with people I have hardly known and have also met so many diverse people at the destinations I have traveled to. Many of those people I still keep in touch with and get to see on return trips. Traveling is fun. But traveling with friends and/or making knew friends who enjoy the same hobbies as you do is the cherry on top. 

P+P:Do you have a favorite group of people that you like to travel with?
LP: Traveling with my best friends is always a blast. I also love traveling with my family. My parents and my three brothers are all very adventures and we all love adventuring together as a family!

P+P:What is something that you have always wanted to do but haven't yet?
LP: I’ve always wanted to go Heli-boarding (Being dropped off at the peak of a remote mountain from a helicopter to snowboard) in Alaska or Chile.

P+P: Do you see it happening in the near future?
LP: I hope to accomplish that bucket list item within the next 5 years (sometime after I’ve graduated college and before I have kids).

P+P: What's your definition of adventure?
LP: Traveling to an unknown territory & engaging in an exciting, and often hazardous, activity.

P+P: What is the best advice you've ever been given?
LP: My mom always told me… “If you think you can, you will. And if you think you can’t, you won’t.”  This has always challenged me to think optimistically, dream big, and to work hard in everything that I do.

P+P: Living in Tulsa there isn't always a lot to do. What are your top 5 things you would do with someone that has never been here?
LP: 1. Bike riverside or mountain bike turkey hill and then take them for
some local grub. 2. Go to a concert at the BOK, Cain’s ballroom, Brady theatre, or the Brady square downtown. 3. Take them boating on one of the many great lakes around here in the summer. Or camping, campfire, & cookout in the winter. 4. Take them 4 wheeling in broken arrow. 5. Hike the Arkansas river south of Bixby.

P+P: Having attended many ORU women's soccer games, I know you are a great defensive soccer player. How has this year been since you no longer play?
LP: It’s been rough not being able to compete with my team because that was such huge part of my college experience. But I have realized that there is much more to life than being a soccer player. With the extra free time I have, I get to spend that time engaging in many other hobbies with my friends and family on my free weekends.

P+P: Have you always been attracted to sports and athletic activities?
LP: Yes, my dad and mom were both colligate athletes so I think athletics is in my blood. My parents said I’ve been a natural competitor since I could walk and talk playing with any baseball, soccer ball, tennis ball, basketball, or golf ball that I could get a hold of. :)

P+P: What would your advice be to someone that wanted to experience and travel more?
LP: I would tell them that you can always make more money, but you can never make more time. Don’t spend so much time making a living that you forget to make a life. Most people have 2 excuses for not living out their traveling dreams. 1. No money. 2. No opportunity. If you don’t have much money, learn to budget and find ways to save money while still being able to travel. I’ve sleep in cars and hammocks on the side of the rode multiple nights in a row and ate peanut butter and jelly three meals a day to save money. Needless to say, if you want it bad enough, you’ll do what it takes. You usually won’t find convenient opportunities; you have to make them yourself. If you sit around and wait for opportunity to knock at your door, you will most likely never leave your house. If you want to experience all that life has to offer then… GO GET IT. Nobody is stopping you but yourself.

Have a great week!

                                                         xo, Erica

Friday, November 29, 2013

Rev It Up | Healthy & Fit

Happy Black Friday!! I just returned home from a two hour shopping trip. I set out to buy some cute black boots and Christmas gifts and ended up just buying a new pair of tennis shoes for myself. Here they are!!! Mine are turquoise (DUH) and pink! It was something I needed but It was not what I left my cozy, warm house for. When I got back, I realized that I still hadn't made my trip to the store to get groceries so I decided on a slice of homemade coconut cream pie and an extra tall glass of water. I mean, It's the day after Thanksgiving - left overs are expected. Right after I ate the pie I realized that I really should do something active today, so I will be dragging a roommate around the neighborhood later for a walk. I've been taking mental notes for the last couple of weeks about my next healthy & fit post. I have a lot to tell you, so get comfy!

First off, you can't get discouraged from the holidays. If anything now is the time to push yourself even harder. I was reading in Fitness Magazine last week and came across an article that I connected with. The article was about getting back into the swing of things and climbing out of your rut. So many times I've given in on eating healthy and working out because I wasn't seeing immediate results and I was sulking in a rut. Everyone I'm sure has been there before. As I read through the rest of the article I realized that I really did know people that were also having similar problems. So here are some of the ones that really stuck out.

You feel stuck. Your to do lists of laundry, chores and obligations are taking over and you have to force yourself to do your workout. RECHARGE!!

You've hit a weight-loss plateau --> Once you drop pounds, your body becomes more efficient at burning calories, which can make losing weight more difficult. #TurnUpTheBurn go faster, not longer! A high-intensity session zaps more calories after you stop working out. Adding strength or weight training can also help with weight loss.

Your social life has stalled --> Nurture your relationships. Life is always changing: people find new jobs, get married, have kids and move. To forge better connections, try other ways of spending time together. Invite friends to join you in a new workout class or try cooking classes, brunch or a movie night. You can even volunteer somewhere or join a book club you like and be more apt to find people that you click with.

You used to look forward to your workout, but now you can barely drag yourself to the gym --> If you've been doing the same exercise routine for a while, you've probably hit the wall. Your brain is simply crying out to be challenged. Take a class or try an activity you've never done before. When you're learning a new skill, your muscles - including your mental ones - will get a better workout that they did from your old sweat session because they haven't yet adapted. Feeling the exercise working will invigorate you.
Now find some motivation, some healthy recipes and quick at home workouts that you can throw into the mix. One of my favorite websites is TONE IT UP! There site is full of everything you need and come January you can watch them on BRAVO. I'm going to have to clean out my tevo list to make room! You can also follow them on twitter @toneitup & on instagram @karenakatrina to stay up to date on everything. I really recommend signing up for their email newsletter too! You always get yummy recipes, new workouts and get updates before its on the website.

 Have a great weekend! See you in December :)
                                              xo, Erica

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

totes love tees | Fashion


So I saw that this post was still getting a ton of hits so I figured I would updated it!

I grew up in t-shirts. Some were from Limited Too, others had the face of the current pop star. My absolute favorite's were t-shirts that weren't even mine. You could always find me in my grandparents closet pulling out a huge t-shirt to run around in. I didn't care what it said, I just wanted that big, comfortable t-shirt. I'm sure I looked like a little ragamuffin prancing around the house with extreme bed head. Give me a break - what else is a 7 year old supposed to do? It was the 90's after all, big & baggie was in. As I got older they turned from dresses to normal fitting t-shirts. All throughout middle school and high school you would constantly find me wearing blue jeans, flip flops and t-shirts. You could say it was my signature look. Recently cute classic t-shirt are back in style, especially with college kids. I've been waiting for Christmas to splurge on some favs of mine so I figured I would share and let you all know where you can get them. I'm sure over the next couple of weeks there will be a sale so keep your eyes and ears open!!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Not Your Average Thursday | Thanksgiving

It's just a few days away! I couldn't be more excited to gather the family and spend the day watching football, eating some delicious food and spending time with those I'm thankful for. This year I decided that I wanted to bring a side dish and a dessert to Thanksgiving. I do seem to think I'm some masterful chef that could beat any competitor on Iron Chef or Chopped. Whenever it's on I just get sucked in and start thinking of what I would cook. I've been doing it for years and still haven't lost. Joking but not really. When I realized that I had less than a week to decide what I wanted to bring I went straight to my trusty pinterest board. Where I found exactly what I needed to narrow my options down. As of now - I'm still not completely sure but I have a final three. So here they are the dishes that I've deemed worthy of our table this year. Lets be honest, I will probably end up making all of them. I found this assortment by Better Homes and Gardens of their Top 30 Thanksgiving Side Dishes. As any chef would do, um yeah - chef, I started browsing and was a little too intimidated to try and create some but found these three that I'm sure will turn out perfectly. I realize that these really aren't healthy at all but I mean Thursday is going to be my cheat day. I'm sure that most of America will be having their cheat day this coming Thursday. So don't feel bad, we all sleep it off a couple hours later right? Right. Then we go back for more :)
Here are my final three:
I really want to make all three but I have a feeling that my grandma will not be okay with me making two of the main staple dishes. I will however be making that dessert. Oh Lord the calories. That's what bootcamp's for right?! I hope you are all having a great weekend :)
                                                                       xo, Erica

Friday, November 22, 2013

Winter Threads | Fashion

As my Christmas trip gets closer and closer I find it harder and harder to not give into all of the INSANE online deals. Since I'm on my 6 Week Challenge & still losing weight I don't want to buy a lot of new clothes for my Christmas trip because I plan on continuing with my weight loss after the holidays. So why would I buy a ton of new clothes that won't fit in a couple more months anyways. I have already bought a few main staples and elastic waistbands are my go to! I know that Pinterest is overloaded with winter clothes right now so I wanted to clear everything out of the way and show you my must haves. All of these items are off of my THREADS board on pinterest. Check it out - follow me and shop away my little elves! (You can click the item and follow the link to purchase!),default,pd.html?dwvar_2K0266_color=39&start=7&cgid=Womens-Fleece-Outerwear
Do you think there is anything that I've missed?! I know I left out the jewels but I will go over that soon enough. Probably next week once things slow down for me. Until then I leave you with love!
                                                                xo, Erica

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

BUMP DAY | Celebrate this week Kelly Clarkson announced that she was expecting her first child. Even though I don't personally know Kelly, I couldn't help but be happy for her. Since her days on American Idol she has come a long way. This fall she got married - DID YOU SEE HER WEDDING PICTURES?! She was gorgeous!!! I had heard somewhere that they were wanting to get pregnant by Christmas, so cheers to her and her new hubby. I can't think of a better announcement around the holidays.

I've come to the decision that the marriage and baby bug is in the air. Since June 3 people that I know have gotten married and are expecting - all with honeymoon babies! Crazy right?! I'm so extremely happy for all of them, they are all great friends and I can't wait to meet the beautiful little angels come spring/summer for their arrival. I have been emailing back and forth with a few of them discussing nursery ideas, names and fun festivities so I have all things baby on my brain. I have loved discovering all of the new things that are in the world today for babies and new moms. It's a completely different world compared to my diaper days. Here are some really cute ideas I've found for the baby shower.

Both are from my pinterest board DUKES & DOLLS.
Here is a picture that I took of my lovely friend and P+P contributor Rachel. I had a few ideas and we didn't have very much time so she remained in the same outfit as we changed locations. The first location was a stable just down the street from her house that is framed by a darling white fence. I was hoping to have some horses grazing in the back but they were all in a different area. The second location was their backyard underneath the pergola that her and her husband were married under.
I hope you all are having a great week!! Happy BUMP day :)
                                                                       xo, Erica