Hope you all had a fabulous Valentine’s Day! Here’s a glimpse into my wonderful day ♥
The prettiest flowers in all the land…
Homemade V-day dinner with cardiff crack (burgundy tri-tip from Seaside Market in Cardiff…if you haven’t had it, you haven’t lived)! Not pictured, the biggest and tastiest Venezuelan shrimp I’ve ever had.
Beautiful Oceanside sunset on the pier.
Wine and bubble bath, not too bad!
Snickerdoodles are my boyfriend’s world’s favorite cookie and my dog thinks it’s unfair that he gets to eat them all. The only solution to this snickerdoodle injustice was to make a dog-friendly healthy version of the classic cookie for him to enjoy like his daddy!
Surprisingly, dog treats are extremely simple to make at home and also healthy for your dog. You can tailor the recipe towards your dog’s diet for any special diets or preferences. The most popular add-in ingredients for dogs are pumpkin, sweet potatoes and apples so don’t hesitate to throw any or all of those in in a puree form. The brown rice flour used in the doggy-doodles gives them their crunch, doesn’t contain gluten, is hypo-allergenic and aids in doggy digestion. Brown rice flour is also high in protein and vitamin B…as well as fiber and selenium which helps prevent cancer! A few key benefits of other popular homemade dog treat ingredients are as follows:
Pumpkin – Pumpkin has been known to improve digestion, urinary health and even assist in weight loss for pets. It’s high in Vitamin A, potassium and fiber and can help keep your dog’s immune system strong as well as remedy upset stomachs, constipation and diarrhea.
Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are as healthy for your dog as they are for you! They are packed with antioxidants that aid in cancer prevention, healing and anti-aging effects. They’re high in fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, beta carotene, manganese, copper and iron…a true superfood!
Apples – Apples contain Vitamin C, Vitamin A and plenty of fiber. They will make your dog’s coat shine with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, not to mention they are a naturally delicious sweet treat.
Natural Peanut Butter – Natural Peanut Butter contains Vitamin E, niacin, phosphorous, magnesium and fiber. It contains protein, carbohydrates and omega fatty acids that can even reduce bad cholesterol in dogs. Peanut butter is Harley’s all-time favorite…one lick from a spoon and he’s drooling for days.
Whole Grain Oats – Beta-glucans in whole grain oats can improve cholesterol which reduces risk of heart disease. They also contain a high level of fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, zinc, Vitamin B and selenium. Oats can assist in controlling blood sugar levels which is beneficial for any dog with diabetes.
Harley and I made these doggy-doodle treat packages to send to his buddies with a note saying “I made you these dog-friendly treats because I miss you and hope you can come play with me soon. I promise I won’t growl or attack you. Love, Harley”. They’re too tasty to not to share!
- 2 cups brown rice flour
- 2 cups oat flour
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2½ tsp cinnamon
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- dash of salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Mix the brown rice flour, oat flour, eggs, water, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
- Roll dough into small balls about 1 inch in diameter.
- Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, pressing slightly on each ball as you place it.
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
I’m not a fancy ritzy spa day girl. Not that I don’t enjoy the luxuries of pampering (I sure do), but it’s more about the ludicrous cost versus benefit for me. Disregarding the ambiance factor, I would gladly choose a $20 full body massage at an Asian “foot” massage parlor over a $200 massage at a fancy shmancy spa. Nevertheless, I had a certificate for Burke Williams so I happily made an appointment to see what the fuss was all about.
I started the day with an early morning run with Harley to get my cardio out of the way. He’s sticking his tongue out at the camera but he’s having fun and he loves to check out the waves. After we successfully avoided all dogs for Harley attack, I whipped up a batch of my paleo huevos rancheros style eggs and began the trek to LA.
I found my way easily to the spa and entered the lobby behind 3 other women before me. I only had to wait five minutes or so before I was given a key to a locker and led into the women’s spa. Of course, the first thing I noticed was a table with small tasters of a smoothie, beautiful bananas and apples and watermelon-lemon infused water. Delightful! I had a sample of each…a couple samples.
Inside my locker was a soft cotton robe with rubber slippers which I contently slipped into. I grabbed a complimentary aromatherapy towel and headed to the steam room. I will say that the combination of the aromatherapy towel over my face while lying in the hot steam was pretty amazing. Every breath felt refreshing, reviving, and cleansing. I could still smell and feel the aromatherapy essences well after I left the steam room. I headed to the (non-silent) Jacuzzi after drinking some infused water and soaked for a few minutes before I lost interest and headed back to the changing area to shower and prepare for the grand event. I was a fan of having any toiletry openly available for use at your disposable – razors, shaving cream, facial moisturizer, body lotion, hair mousse, hair spray, even hair straighteners and curling irons!
I put my robe back on, headed to the waiting room and sipped on some apple spiced green tea while I waited eagerly for my name to be called. Finally an older Swedish woman came into the room and announced that she was “looking for Melody”, me! She led me up the stairs to my massage room and asked me what I would like her to focus on and to which I responded “everything”. The room was nice and dimly lit and I snuck a few pumps of the lotion before I slipped under the blanket and onto the table. I reveled in every muscle she soothed and all of the knots she worked out. I tend to carry a lot of tension in my neck so it was much needed! It was the perfect pressure, with just enough so you don’t feel like you’re only getting lotion rubbed on your back yet not enough to feel like you’re getting murdered via table pounding.
I dreaded the final smooth down and towel pat but eventually all good things come to an end and I was left with the tingly calm sensation that they call relaxation. My massage was amazing and I enjoyed every second of it but I couldn’t help thinking about the fact that I could have gotten the same end result with paying 10% of the price. My mom takes me to these Asian foot massage spa parlors (found anywhere near large Asian populations – we hit the ones in San Gabriel) where you pay $20-$25 and the place you in large, plush recliners and give you a foot soak/massage then recline you flat for a full body massage for 1 hour…neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs, feet…the works! You won’t get the waterfall trickle and saunas that you’d find at a high-end spa but if you’re looking for a no-frills massage, this is the way to go. Depending where in LA I am, I tend to frequent these parlors (yes, I have a frequent customer punch card):
Southbay Foot Massage – 2421 190th Street, Redondo Beach, CA 90278; phone: (310) 379-3668
Lucky Foot Spa – 1039 E Valley Blvd, Ste B113, San Gabriel, CA 91776; phone (626) 572-0588
After showering with four shower heads and an unlimited supply of conditioner (and swiping a razor in my bag because that’s how I roll…and hey, I paid $200 for it), I headed to Venice to meet some girlfriends for brunch at the Sunny Spot, one of my favorite lunch spots with magical décor and a killer outdoor patio. This time I ordered the Diablo Shrimp and Grits (2 eggs any style, spicy rum sauce, garlic butter, herbs) which were good but didn’t quite meet my expectations. The grits and sauce were on the plain side and could have used more spice and flavor but I still managed to consume every last bite. Of course I also had to have a side of their delicious Yucca Fries with their banana basil ketchup which is to die for. I’ve had their Pork Belly Sandwich (garlic aioli, pickled cucumber, cilantro, pineapple, butter lettuce), Half Jerk Chicken (jerk sauce, grilled pineapple) and the MUH-F KN Mofongo and Eggs (2 eggs any style, mashed ripple plantains, applewood bacon, fennel, garlic, rum, cilantro, chili vinegar, ginger oil) which were all mind blowing. For all of you boozers, they also have a $15 bottomless mimosa, bloody mary or sunny rum punch offer until 4:00 pm with the purchase of any main plate!
I headed east with my full belly to pay a visit to the fam…and also learned the “Little Apple Dance” from my mom. Apparently it’s all the rage in Asia 😉