Skinny Snack: Blueberry chia smoothie

chia seed smoothis

So I kinda have a confession to make about chia. About one year ago Paul and I were road-tripping to San Diego for a football game (that was surprisingly fun) when we were stuck in a horrendous traffic jam directly next to an AM/PM store. With little else to do, we decided to stop and stock up on some candy and drinks. Since I’m a HUGE sour candy fanatic, I figured I would balance my poor choice of “snack” with something a littler healthier to drink. I’d heard all about the chia craze but never really gave it a try. I picked the prettiest, pinkest bottle I could find and was going to be temporarily preoccupied with my candy and chia.

Upon my first sip, I was unpleasantly greeted with a mouthful of gooey, seedy, gelatin-y grossness that I immediately stuck my head out the window and spit it all over the car’s exterior. I would n e v e r  spit anything out (unless it’s undercooked meat or a bone is floating in my mouth), but there was no choice here. I was so nervous to turn my head to the left and see Paul’s reaction. I was envisioning anger, as I just spewed chia all over his car, but was happy to see he was nearly in tears laughing. Let’s just say I didn’t give chia a second chance for a veeeeeeeery long time.

Something else you should know about me is my memory is awful. So, on a pretty recent trip to the store I saw a cute lavender bag with little dry seeds in it and instantly had to have it. Didn’t know what it was for, or how I would use it, but figured for $1.99 I can afford a useless cute bag of seeds in my pantry. When I began making smoothies at the start of summer I would sprinkle the little seeds as garnish for my drinks, learning later that you should actually blend the drink WITH the seed. Chia seeds. To my horror, I was drinking (and not gaging) over chia seeds in my delicious smoothies. I can’t be the type of girl who later learns what’s in something and chooses to suddenly not to like it, so I have fully embraced chia into my life (smoothies) and can say they are a lot better in a thick liquid that hides most of the gooey-ness. Below is one of my favorite skinny snacks that is both healthy and easy.

skinny snack smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • A handful of blueberries
  • A couple ice cubes crushed
  • 3 tblspns almond milk
  • 2 tspns chia seed

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients & drink!
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Arugula Lemon Chicken

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I became infatuated with the arugula/fresh parmesan/lemon combo after eating at Bottega Louie’s restaurant last year. Typically when I fall in love with a dish, I immediately try to replicate it at home to spare me the obligatory trip to the same restaurant for the same dish. However, instead of doing that with the above combo, I simply dreamed about it and pinned about it until one day I accidentally made it. I was attempting to make a crispy balsamic baked chicken when I realized I was out of 2 major ingredients (ridiculous, right?). Forced to improvise, I busted out the lemon, honey, fresh parmesan, wine vinegar and got to work. The outcome: light, tasteful, delicious chicken with that same appeal as my beloved salad at Bottega Louie.

Ingredients:

  • A handful of arugula for each plate
  • Chicken breast cutlets
  • Fresh parmesan
  • Pine nuts
  • 2-3 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tblspn dijon mustard
  • 2-3 cups of panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • A tiny scoop of crushed garlic (jar from TJ’s)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tblspns White wine vinegar
  • 1 tspn honey
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400º
  2. Coat chicken in dijon mustard, then roll in panko until full covered.
  3. Place coated chicken onto a baking trey that has been drizzled with olive oil.
  4. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  5. In a small pan roast pine nuts on low with a drop of olive oil, careful that they do not burn. Once they begin to golden remove from heat.
  6. In a small bowl mix up the crushed garlic and a pinch of sea salt until it becomes paste-like.
  7. Add the vinegar, honey, lemon and stir.
  8. Add black pepper for taste.
  9. Once the chicken is done, place 2-3 pieces on each person’s plate and top with a small handful of arugula.
  10. Drizzle the lemon sauce over everything and sprinkle toasted nuts on top.

 

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Green Olive Chicken

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In some ways I’m your typical Jewish wife (in the making). I guess it was inevitable since I was raised partially in Israel, living off green olives, pita, hummus, falafel, tomato/cucumber salads, etc. I must say, Israelis and Mediterranean countries have such an array of delicious ingredients used in their foods that I will forever be partial to those flavors. Cumin, tumerick, paprika, zartar to list a few. Pretty much the more difficult to pronounce the better! This green olive chicken (recipe adapted from my mother) has quickly become a favorite in our household, as we are serious olive enthusiasts and I use A LOT of olives in my version. I’ve got quite a few Mediterranean recipes and Skinny Snacks coming your way!

Ingredients:

  • Chicken filets
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 tblspn minced garlic
  • 1 tspn paprika
  • 1 tspn tumerick
  • 1 tspn cumin
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tblspns olive juice
  • 1 can green olives

Instructions:

  1. Pat your chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and cook your chicken until lightly browned. Remove from heat on a plate and set aside (I leave mine in my turned OFF over so retain heat).
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add olive oil (2 tblspns), onions, garlic, black pepper (3/4 tspn), salt (1/4 tspn), cumin, paprika, and tumeric.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  5. Add your olives to the mixture and let sit for another 5 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to low/medium and add the chicken for the final 5 minutes.
  7. Serve over hot couscous with plenty of juice!

 

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Etiquette 101: On being a savvy Businesswoman

businesswoman

MUSE, my creative consulting firm, is coming up on it’s first birthday next month and Kelly (my business partner) and I have put together a list of business practices we believe are simple yet give the right impression to your current and prospective clients. In one short year we have learned so much about servicing our accounts and communication, we felt we would be doing a disservice to all the business ladies out there who might be wondering how to improve their practices. Do note that we are 2 girls who strive to foster a friendly relationship with our clients while maintaing a level of professionalism that is imperative to our productivity. Read on to see if you agree (or disagree) with us:

  • Manage client expectations. This little bit of advice was shared with us as we signed our very first client, and essentially what it means is be upfront and realistic with your client about what you can provide. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver.
  • Reply All. It takes no additional energy or thought–and typically right next to regular ‘ole Reply–and ensures that if someone was added to the email for a reason everyone will be in the loop. Since we work on all account together we both must be on the same page at all times.
  • Be decisive. When you work in a creative field it is crucial to know what you like and dislike. People are working with you for your expertise, and showing uncertainty is unnerving. You wouldn’t work with a lawyer who is unsure of the laws, would you?
  • Show gratitude. How nice is it when there is mutual appreciation between 2 people? Using the basic manners your mom taught you apply in business as well! Thank you, please, you’re welcome, hello!
  • Communication. Communication. Communication. In a world of emailing (and not so much phoning), it is so easy to misconstrue tones in an email. Be clear and concise, not ambiguous and overly-wordy. Although, we will take overly wordy over a one-worded email any day!
  • Trust is key. It can be the hardest part of enlisting someone else to handle a part of your business, but you have to trust the process. The “grace period,” or transition, will take a minute, but success isn’t achieved overnight. 
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Black Bean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Processed with VSCOcam with a8 presetI’ve kind of been in a cooking rut lately. It’s not like I don’t have a massive archive of recipe inspiration from Pinterest alone, it’s just that I haven’t been motivated to actually try something new. However, last Thursday as I was pinning up my weekly storm, I came across a stuffed pepper quinoa recipe that had me putting my shoes on and running to the door before I could even look up the recipe. I guess you could say that anything stuffed pepper related excites me. My mother makes an incredible Hungarian stuffed pepper dish that I just can’t get right and so this was my opportunity to perfect my own version. And I’ll let you in on a little secret that has seriously changed my life: Bulgarian Feta. It’s feta, only creamier. Enough said. Try my new recipe, and don’t forget the Bulgarian feta.

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What You Need:

  • 2-3 red peppers, but in half (the long way) and gutted
  • Quinoa (cook 1 cup according to the bag)
  • Bulgarian feta (Jon’s market, or any “ethnic” market carries it)
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1/2 a jalapeño, sliced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tblspn chili powder
  • 1/8 tspn black pepper
  • 1 tspn red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn olive oil
  • 1/2 tspn cumin
  • 1/2 tspn dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

What To Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400º
  2. In a saute pan heat olive oil and add garlic, onions, and jalapeños and stir for 4-5 minutes or until onion turns translucent
  3. Cook your quinoa while you are doing step 2
  4. Once your quinoa is cooked place into a bowl and add black beans, onion mixture, tomatoes, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
  5. Arrange your peppers on a baking trey and fill with quinoa mixture.
  6. Cover the trey with foil and cook in the over for 20 minutes. Remove, add Bulgarian feta to the top and put back into the over (uncovered) for another 5 minutes
  7. Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, lime, or all three!
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DIY Wedding Invitations

blush-wedding-invitations

When my wedding planning officially began my mom and I were shocked to find that the first stop we made to look for invitations was it. We just knew they were the ones–gold foil pressed, embossed, kraft-y, chalkboard-y perfection. It embodied everything my ‘I Do’ Pinterest board stands for. What I wasn’t so sure was it, was the price. Apparently you pay a company to essentially design the invitation suite itself, and then every added detail (that makes it so amazing) is extra, plus assembly, plus envelopes, plus postage. Kill. Me. Now.

With a $2500 quote later, I was already plotting with my mother how we would lie and say they were cheaper and we would pay the difference ourselves. It seemed like a fairly reasonable plan at the time until I shared this plan with a friend (come on, I had to tell someone!). I was quickly brought back to earth and aboard a whole different boat in a matter of 2 minutes of her lecturing me (thanks, Kelly!).

[Insert proud smile here]…today I am officially mailing out 110 DIY-ed invitations that were lovingly crafted by my amazing sisters, friends, and yours truly. With an incredible designer I found on Etsy, I was able to pay a mere $27 for the graphic design and then take this to my local printer (also a friend) to have printed at another ridiculously low price. Envelopes were purchased online here, custom stamps ordered from Zazzle, baker’s twine tied (from Amazon), home-made hang tags attached by hand, and 110 (x2 when you add in RSVP envelopes) hand addressed envelopes by moi! So, after months of researching less expensive options and finally realizing what good am I if I can’t even design my own (???!!!), I am happy to share that this entire project cost me a total of $528.00!

diy-wedding-invitations chalkboard-wedding-envelopes

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Back to Black

IMG_8140You know you’re getting older when fall suddenly becomes more appealing than summer. I had to explain this concept to one of my good friends the other day, as she was ready to end our friendship after I dissed our beloved season summer. See, I just don’t find summer that fun when I can barely squeeze in a handful of beach days [throughout the entire summer and I live in Southern California] and I’m literally watching my skin shed it’s vacation glow. Instead I’m chained to my desk, forced to scroll faster through my Instagram feed as everyone else apparently has the time to hit the beach Monday-Friday.

Buuuuut, before you think about feeling slightly sorry for me, don’t. October is actually my favorite month [is this now the 3rd or 4th time/year I've shared that?!], and means I get to bust out the chunky knits, booties, beanies, and black! Oh, how I love black. I just feel super gothic wearing it in the summer and to be honest, I don’t have a lot of color in my wardrobe, so summer has become a little tricky for me.

The other reason I love fall? Well, to make this quick, my fiancé likes to sneakily turn off the AC in our apartment so I roast all day and night and when he wants to cuddle on the couch I’m just too hot. However, when it’s fall and the temperatures are naturally cooler, we have a nice cold breeze continually– making it the perfect indoor conditions for cuddles, blankets, hot chocolate, scary movies, and the fireplace! Bring. On. Fall.

long-black-maxi-dress speckled-dress starlight dress open back black dress

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How To Plan A Wedding While Working

photo 1

Lately my desk looks like a “full on Monet!” [Clueless reference]. Meaning: from afar it looks pretty cute, but up close it’s a big ole mess! For someone who is pretty OCD, this has definitely given me some self-inflicted anxiety, but there is an added responsibility in my life right now that will exist until June 19th, 2015 [my wedding]. Until then, my desk will remain cluttered with invitations, RSVPs, to-do lists, contracts, etc. The challenge, if you didn’t already see one, is that this work space is also my office in which I do all my creative work. When things are hectic, messy, time-sensitive, and essentially just brimming with pressure, my well being/energy levels tend to get neglected. As you can imagine the work-wedding balance is quite difficult, but I am here to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT!

With a well planned timeline of events leading up to the big day, there is no reason why you cannot plan your “dream” wedding while also maintaining a 9-5 [or 7am-9pm for some...ahem, me!]. After all, that’s what lunch breaks were designed for, right? A solid hour of emailing vendors, planners, and agents to continuously follow up, check in, and finalize. It sounds nuts, but that’s how to get shit done!

Lastly, I get a little help from my friends. For me, those “friends” are the lovely people behind the Neuro drinks. With 4 solid purposes for each color, the green [daily immunity] keeps me going on those exceptionally long days; the blue [reduce stress] surprisingly calms my anxiety; the red [energy refreshed] allows me to attend yoga at ungodly hours; and the orange [sweet dreams] provides serenity when I would inevitably wake up at 4am dreaming about social media content I’m working on for clients. In other words, this line of non-jittery, healthy, vitamin-filled energy drinks are currently saving my life. And let’s be real, the lightly carbonated flavors are tasty [not sugary] and only 35 calories for the entire bottle. It works for me–and you know I’m a little on the nutty side!

For more info on Neuro, visit their site and discover which color(s) will work for you.

photo 2 IMG_8135

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Desert Solstice

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You may be wondering how I ended up in such a bizarre setting–desert, fur, wild hair, fabulous jewelry–but not to worry, this is just a glimpse of an incredible lookbook shoot I was lucky to be part of for jewelry designer Charme Silkiner. As a longtime lover of the brand it is always thrilling for me to collaborate with Charme and come up with new concepts each season. Her latest collection, Desert Solstice, is inspired by natural elements, moonstones, textures, winter whites…the list goes on. This week (through the weekend), she is generously giving 10% off any purchase on her site, including this amazing new collection. Shop my favorite picks below, and make sure to use promocode SIVANAYLA10 to get your discount at checkout!

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MTV

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My earliest memory of MTV was in a random hotel in a random country I can’t even recall (I was that young), and a pale man with a mustache was singing about being a “scat man.” I want to say I was in Turkey, traveling with my then-young parents, who were really into the MTV channel so we could listen to music while we packed. I had no clue what a “scat man” was–I thought it was something bad + scary–but I was intrigued that this channel was only singing and dancing (a music video), all. day. long. As I got older (teenage years) I watched the channel transform into a music slash reality show channel, but still found it somewhat nostalgic and continued to watch. Now, almost 10 years past being a “teenager,” I am so far removed from the music-less and all reality channel that I was pretty confused how I was attending an award show about music videos (did they still exist?). Regardless, I enjoyed dressing up for the VMAS and hitting some parties in my home city, Hollywoodland.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3I’m wearing: Junim dress // Strappy sandals // Coin necklace // Rebecca Minkoff bag

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