Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Favorite Granola Bars

So sometime earlier this month, I shared the 7 Rules to Snacking with you guys.
I started taking the rules about eating within every 5 hours quite seriously (of course!) 
and I went shopping for healthy snacks. I currently favor these 5 Granola Bars. Some remain all time favorites, and some are rotating.

From top to bottom:

Nature Valley: Canadian Maple Syrup
What's good: All Nature Valley Bars are full of granola, oats, & and all healthy stuff
What I love: It reminds me (and even tastes a little bit)
like pancakes with 'canadian maple syrup' YUM
+ [It gives you your sugar dosage within the right amount and in a better way!]

Waitrose Ginger Chocolate Oat Bar
What's good: Full of oats
What I love: The chocolate & the fusion of the chocolate and ginger. It's different and
unexpectedHowever, this one is definitely rotating because It's almost an 'acquired' taste. 
It can be strong and although good, not something I reach into the pantry for more 
than twice a week - I love the packaging though!
this might not be available all over the world because it's imported from the UK store 'Waitrose'

Almendro Cereal Bar
What's good: Oats and Granola with Dark Chocolate
What's I love: The chocolate pieces! I love that it incorporates generous amounts 
of dark chocolate pieces and still remains at 89 calories! Dark chocolate is a 
personal favorite, but also very healthy. Not a fan of dark choc.? 
The bar as a whole neutralizes the flavor but the Spanish brand also 
carries other versions

Nature Valley: Oats and Chocolate
What's good: Oats and Oats and Granola
What I love: Chocolate pieces incorporated - All NV packets contain two bars
 (total of 190 calories) so it feels you up and keeps you satisfied

WeightWatchers: Blackberry & Vanilla
What's good: It's by WeightWatchers so you already know that it is low
calorie and low fat, plus it's an oven baked wholesome exterior with 
blueberry filling -  i.e full of antioxidants and healthiness
What I love: The vanilla flavor and the mixture of the vanilla & blackberry

Personally, I have never like jam because of it's jelly-like texture and I am not the 
biggest fan of bars like Nutri-Grain cereal bars (even though they taste great) 
because of their jam-like fillings. So surprisingly I really like this bar. 
It was because of the vanilla flavor incorporated and the texture and taste 
of the cereal bar exterior. This one will be a rotation one on my list only 
because of the texture.

All bars are under 200 calories [as per one of the rules]

Most cereal bars are oven baked!

I often lean towards granola bars that have chocolate in them because I am a chocoholic and having it this way keeps me satisfied with my 'dosage' of chocolate - in the right amounts - and adds great tastes to the oats and granola which are both super good for you!

The best thing about being serious with your snacking habits and following those 7 rules is that you are keeping your metabolic rate on the go at all times, you are getting all healthy ingredients and fibres into your body, and you feel less hungry during your main meal times so you automatically are encouraged to have portion control at these meals. 
Honestly, all of the above works in your benefit, and I actually like it especially because every 3 - 4 hours I get excited and look forward to having a snack and eating something (especially since most of the time they include chocolate elements!)

What are you favorite granola bars?
 Share in the comments below

All images are by and belong to LVP.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mixing it up

Dining tables are often considered one of the focal points of the house because it's where the family comes together to have meals, where you sit to have your morning coffee and start your day, depending on your house's layout, where your guests gather to eat when you entertain, and really where all of your 'meal time' is usually spent. 

Making the room or area extra special and fun will make you appreciate the room more, and just enjoy it a whole lot better! One of my favorite ideas for dining rooms/tables are mixing up the chairs. 

I love dining tables that have a mixture of benches & chairs, or different kinds of chairs around the table. It really makes the space more interesting, I think it works really well!

It may sound complicated, but really all you have to do is stay within your theme and/or color palette, and just a simple bench replacing a couple chairs, takes your dining area to a whole new level

Or you could do all, different chairs, and benches. 
Remember that each room is different and you don't want to over do it and make it look like a clutter of leftover chairs!?! Make sure to keep it all within the same scheme

Even a simple change - like changing the two 
' head of the table ' chairs can be very effective

Or just change around the colors of the same kind of chair - whether it's the upholstery or 
the color of the material (e.g. having the same chairs in black, and white wood...)

Don't you love it?
My favorite version of mixing it up is by incorporating a bench into the look.
What's your favorite?

All photos via HouseBeautiful, tumblr, Elle Decor

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy "Black Friday" Weekend

Happy "black friday" weekend!
Have fun shopping!
See you back on Monday

image via the coveteur

Thanksgiving Fashion Inspiration

(right click, open in new tab, and click to enlarge)

Photos via net-a-porter.com, miu miu, equipment.fr, marc by marc jacobs & tumblr

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

What are you thankful for?

We take once a year to celebrate and give thanks, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't everyday. 
Be thankful for the little things in life. Look around you and see what you have that perhaps 90% of the world doesn't:

- Safety
- Food
- Family
- Water
- Basic things
- A functioning body
- The fact that you can move your legs, hands, neck
 - The fact that you can see and talk and hear
- Education
- The chance to travel
- Access to technology
- The fact that you wake up every morning 
- When you go grocery shopping, acknowledge that you can afford to buy what you choose
- The fact that you're here reading this
- Air Condition on hot day
- Hot chocolate and sweaters & jackets on a cold day
- A roof over your head
- Hot showers
- The fact that you can take a break and rest when you're tired
- The laughter you share with friends
- Your muscles
- Your closet

Remember happiness is a choice. Whatever you have, someone has it worse off. 
So what are you thankful for today?
Leave your comments below! 

Photo: via Pinterest

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving: Inspiration & Ideas for Entertaining this Thursday

Use foliage and local plants & flowers as decor. A simple addition of the foliage in the above setting, took the simple cutlery and napkin to a whole new 'hostess with the mostess' level

Invest in the season's hearty vegetables for robust and delicious recipes - The picture shows a Butternut squash carrot recipe via With Style and Grace

Go traditional and rustic by using baskets, and tin buckets for vases and décor elements.

Use floral décor that 1. are in season, so it can reflect the festivities accurately, and 2. in the color scheme of the season, e.g. sunflowers

Or, you can stay modern - in terms of décor style - and incorporate the season by it's colors, such as appropriately colored candle sticks (e.g. green, orange, yellow), and other decorative elements. A few well chosen items can go a long way and bring the whole look together! (especially if you already have brown furniture - for thanksgiving at least!)

Make your party a little bit more special by adding fancier elements such as tags for place settings and/or as thank you notes for a giveaway goodie as the guests leave.

Use what you have around, especially whatever reflects the current weather and festivities. Gather some acorns from around your house or at your local park. You can even use leaves or branches, which are more 'globally' available...Im not so sure it's that easy to find acorns here and there in Dubai!...and still very much reflect the season and thanksgiving

Here's another great idea that is so easy and something you most probably won't have to leave the house for: lentils. Use the lentils from your pantry, and spread it out as a 'background' or decorative element to place your place cards, or name cards for your dishes, or just put in some candle stands. You can play around with the idea and make it personal to your party. (Do not waste the lentils - gather them and reuse them another time, you can rinse them before using, and of course the cooking process will kill any dirt - if any)

Don't have lentils or don't want to use them, use the concept and change it up. Maybe spread out some seeds, or nuts. If you're using nuts, it can be interactive - depending on it's placement. The guests that stand closest to it to talk with other guests can dig in and keep them selves busy with the peanuts you spread out as décor. You can really personalize this idea, and the others too of course, to make it suitable for you!

Again, a little can go a long way. Make your food even more relevant that the traditional turkey, etc. etc. Make your party punch and orangey color. If you're not adding any natural orange-ish ingredients, add a few drops of food coloring.
- Use orange plastic spoons, napkins, straws. 
- As giveaway goodies, leave your guests with a sweet treat such as a mini pumpkin pie, or a mini cookie prep ingredient cookie jar.
- Don't have the time, or are on a tighter budget..that's fine, you can let your guests leave with a decorative thank you card, or even pack your local bakery's great tasting cookies in goodie bag or even just a simple last serving of pumpkin spice latté as an alternative to coffee.

Party Outfits - Plan ahead and keep the outfit aside. We love the above outfit...maybe not so much the shoes

For the Dubian readers - Candy corn is available at Candylicious in Dubai Mall. That's the only place I've found it so far. Have you guys found it anywhere else?

Overall, it's key to keep in mind the season, the celebration of the day that celebrates fall as a season and the bountiful harvest that comes along, as well as the colors - greens, browns, oranges and yellow primarily - and after that you can use what ever is around and stick to one to three concepts and create a great dinner party!

Quick Tip: Winter Nail Polishes Trend

The holidays are around the corner, and as the social schedule and calendar get busier, and the outfit planning gets more stressful or fun - or both - here's a quick review on the hottest nail trends this season to keep you styled-up no matter what your outfit is.

Dark Greens

Illamasqua Kink
Estee Lauder Wicked

Cranberries & Dark Reds

OPI Pepe's Purple Passion
OPI Kennebunk-Port
Butter London Knees Up


Essie Chinchilly
OPI French Quarter for your Thoughts
Essie Cocktail Bling


China Glaze Tinsel Town
Deborah Lippmann (So many to choose from - recommended: gold glitter)
Butter London The Black Night

Darks & Browns

Navy Blue - unknown
Essie Wicked (My fave go-to)
OPI Lincoln Park After Dark
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