Friday, June 15, 2018

Date Your Spouse: Live Theatre Featuring Intrepid Theatre Labs and Music Circus

Hi friends!  Hope you're all having a great summer!  I find the in summer it's harder to squeeze in date nights but they are even more important since having the kids on break all day every day can be tiring.  Today, we are going to talk about going to see plays at the theatre.

I know that I said we are trying to get away from the whole dinner and a movie rut but I think the theatre is actually a really different experience that a movie.  There's something about a live show.  The energy is infectious.  It's similar to the difference of watching a band perform on TV or in person.  

I was given press passes to see these shows, as always all opinions are my own.

Right now, Sacramento theatre is in full swing!  There are options all over Sacramento to see live theatre.  From huge Broadway productions to sweet little kids in theatre groups putting on amazing shows.  There's literally something for every single price point so do not let price keep you away from the theatre!



For our date night, my hubby and I got to see the first show put on by Intrepid Theatre Lab (ITL) in Sacramento.  ITL's mission is to bring classic and contemporary awareness and appreciate to people of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.  They want to create works that is accessible and relevant to modern audiences.

We got to see Baltimore by Kristen Greenidge at The Guild Theatre in Oak Park.  Here is the description: "When a racially-charged incident divides her first-year students, reluctant resident advisor Shelby finds herself in the middle of a conversation she does not want to have. As pressure to address the controversy mounts from residents, the new dean, and even her best friend, Shelby must decide if she will enter the fray or watch her community come apart at the seams. Sharp, funny, and searing, Baltimore explores the complexities of racism from the perspective of eight culturally diverse college students."

The play was thought provoking and emotional.  I really enjoyed hearing the perspectives of the different college students about the same issue.  It was definitely written with a young, hip audience in mind while being relevant to any person.  It was deep and thought provoking.  My husband and I really enjoyed it.

Photo by Yarcenia Garcia

This was also our first time at The Guild Theatre and it was awesome!  It's a smaller theatre and there's not a bad seat in the house.  The seats were comfortable.  I hope to see a show there again soon!

 

If more classical theatre is more your style, I also got to check out Music Circus for the first show of this season which is Singin' in the Rain.  It was a magical night of musical theatre!  The Wells Fargo Pavilion is circular so the stage is round.  The actors come up and down the aisles to get to the stage giving it a very immersive feel.  If you love musicals, you have to check out Music Circus.  It is at a higher price point so this might be more of a splurge date.  



No matter what your style, I encourage you to go out and check out Sacramento's amazing theatre scene!  I've seen tickets for as low as $8 so if price is stopping you from seeing theatre, check out your community theatre companies!  It doesn't always have to be a huge show (says me who wants to go to Hamilton every year.)  There's tons of amazing performing arts in Sacramento and the surrounding cities!  

Do you have ideas for more dates?  Please let me know in the comments!  



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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

3 Raw Honey Recipes to Fight Allergies With Sola Bee Farms

This year the seasonal allergies seem to be especially bad.  My friends and I have been complaining about it for weeks.  I have tried so many different things to help allergies.  One of the things that has been working for me is adding raw local honey to my diet, my favorite is Sola Bee Farms.  Today, I'm sharing 3 each recipes to help add more raw honey to your diet.

*** This post is a collaboration with Sola Bee Farm.  They provided product that I love and I'm providing the recipes and photos.***

I've written a post about Sola Bee Farm before.  I absolutely love their products, their commitment to sustainability and helping bees, and of course the amazing people!  The taste of the honey is amazing and it's a great bonus that it helps your allergies!  Just keep in mind that it is better to keep the raw honey in its raw state when you are trying to relieve your allergy symptoms.  If I don't feel like making recipes, I will just eat a spoonful of their honey to help with my allergies.  However, making some fun recipes is a great way to eat more honey too!


Acai Smoothie Bowl

An acai smoothie bowl is a fun and delicious breakfast or snack.  My kids love this and it's nice to get all that extra fruit into them.  Plus with the weather getting so warm, this is a nice way to cool off.  I can find frozen acai packets in my local grocery stores.  The most inexpensive place I've found is Trader Joe's.  Another weird tip, I have a freezer bag of frozen bananas.  When bananas start to get old and I don't think they'll be used, I will break them in half and freeze them for recipes.


Ingredients:

1 packet frozen acai puree
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 a frozen banana
A splash of milk of your choice (I use unsweetened Almond) or water or juice
1 TBSP of Sola Bee Farms Honey
Toppings of your choice (fruit, nuts, granola, chia seeds, etc...)

Directions:

1. Break up your acai packet and place in food processor with frozen strawberries and banana.  If you have a really nice blender, you can use that.  If you have a cheap blender like me, use your food processor.  It works great for this!
2. Add enough liquid so you can mix all the ingredients together.  Blend/pulse until your desire consistency.  We like ours thick.
3. Pour into bowl and top with toppings of your choice.


Yogurt Parfait

A yogurt parfait is such a classic treat!  Using Greek Yogurt amps up the protein.  This is the perfect way to use up fruit before it goes bad because your kids can't see if your blueberries are starting to wrinkle or that you cut brown spots off the banana.  


Ingredients:
1 container PLAIN Greek Yogurt
1 TBSP Sola Bee Farm Honey
1/2 cup of fruit of your choice 

Directions:
1. Find a pretty cup or jar and layer yogurt, honey, and fruit.
Optional: for crunch, top with nuts or granola 


Asian Chicken Salad 

This is my take on LaBou's Chinese Chicken Salad.  You can leave off the chicken to make this vegetarian or add tofu or chickpeas.  You can also leave off the nuts to make this nut free.  I like to make a big batch, keeping the salad, chicken, nuts, and dressing in separate containers until I'm ready to serve.  Then I just put a bit of each on a plate and I'm ready for lunch.  


Ingredients:

Dressing:
1 1/2 TBSP Sola Bee Farms Honey
1/4 cup of Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar 
2 TBSP Olive Oil

Directions: Combine all ingredients and stir or shake.

Salad:
Lettuce Mix of Your Choice
2 stalks of Celery, cut into bite sized pieces
Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
Honey Roasted Peanuts 

Directions: In a bowl or plate, add salad, chicken, celery and top with peanuts.  Dress to your liking and enjoy!  


I hope you enjoy these recipes using raw honey!  Be sure to check out my friends at Sola Bee Farms!    And I REALLY hope that if you need relief from seasonal allergies that these help you!  What's your favorite way to use raw honey?  


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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Date Your Spouse: California State Escape

Hello!  Are you ready for another Date Your Spouse post?  I sure hope so because that's what I'm writing today.  (Really awkward if you weren't ready.)  Today, for our most intellectually challenging date yet we tried out California State Escape which is escape room games.

*** We were given comp tickets in exchange for an honest review.  Opinions are always 100% mine and 100% honest.***


If you haven't heard of escape rooms, they are like a live action puzzle game that you solve.  You go to their location and they have rooms set up with themes and storylines.  You usually have 60 minutes to try to solve all the puzzles and "escape" the room.  (In the state of California, due to fire safety laws, they cannot actually lock you in so usually the door you enter through is open.  If you get overwhelmed or need a water or potty break, you can just walk right out.)  There are a huge variety of different rooms.  There are rooms that are family friendly where people bring their kids or rooms that are super scary.



California State Escape (CSE) is one of the more immersive experiences I've had.  I've been to escape rooms that were super simply decorated like an office.  California State Escape is more like walking into a movie set.  Everything is highly detail oriented and you definitely feel like you are in the scenario.  Also, they do not pair you with strangers at CSE.  You do the room with only the people who you came with.  This is nice because it can be really awkward to work with people you don't know.  You also have a host who will give you clues if you want.  The host watches and listens to you from another room to see where you are in the puzzle.

We decided to try their puzzle called Space Sector which is considered to be one of the less difficult puzzles.  They usually suggest that you have at least 5 people for this room so it's perfect for a group date.  We were only able to find one friend to go with us on this day and we did fine.


What makes an escape room a really great date is that it's very interactive!  You have to communicate well and work together to solve the puzzles.  In fact, sometimes you physically have to have multiple people on a puzzle to get it to work.  It's also really interesting to see how your date responds in certain situations.  Who is adventurous enough to climb into crawl spaces?  Who gets frustrated and takes all the puzzle pieces from people?  (Spoiler alert, the last one is me.)

We had a GREAT time at California State Escape!  We were able to escape our room with about 6.5 minutes to spare.  We were challenged the whole time but never to the point of frustration.  There were definitely moments when I thought we wouldn't make it out on time which I think it part of the fun.  Our host Brandon was attentive and gave good clues without ever giving away too much.  An escape room is a great experience to have before dinner so you have something fresh to talk about over your meal.


Overall, I can't wait to go back to California State Escape!  The whole experience from booking to checking in to leaving with photos was great!  Everyone is really friendly.  The detail laden rooms, immersive experience, and complex puzzles justify the cost.  This would also be great for work places to have team building events.  They are currently working on a new room which I've heard will be WIZARDLY and I am super excited for that one to open!

Have you tried an escape room?  What are your thoughts?  Also, do you have ideas for a date?  Please leave them in a comment below!

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Date Your Spouse: Chef's Dinner at Zocalo Sacramento

Hi friends!  I hope you're doing well!  I have to tell you that "research" for the Date Your Spouse series has been super fun!  We are really pushing ourselves out of our usual routine and it's a been a great time!  This next date is a location we've been to before but an event we had never attended.

Every month, usually on the first Monday, Zocalo Midtown offers a Chef's Dinner event.  (For May, they are having the dinner on April 30 to kick off a week of Cinco de Mayo celebrations.)  The Chef's Dinner is a 3 course meal where each course is paired with a drink all for only $30 a person!  The drink is usually a cocktail, wine, or beer.  This is a steal!  Usually an entree alone would cost over half that amount not to mention drinks!  (I was given tickets to this event for review.  As always, all the opinions are mine and 100% honest.)


Zocalo transforms their restaurant for the Chef's Dinner.  They block off about half their restaurant for the event.  (The other half is for regular dinner service.)  They set beautiful tables with place settings and floral arrangements.  Menu cards are printed out for each guest.  It's really nice attention to detail.  The restaurant itself is already beautiful and always decorated tastefully but they go a step beyond for the Chef's Dinner.



We got to attend the April 1 dinner and the theme was SPRING!  Oh how I love spring menus!  I love the fresh vegetables and how we start to see fruit again!  This menu was phenomenal!  They even started us with an extra little bite and champagne bellini in addition to the 3 courses.   We were also served chips, salsa, and the house bean dip.



This menu featured an asparagus salad which was so delicious!  We got big but tender stalks of asparagus that was perfectly grilled, topped with arugula salad on top of a poblano puree.  I loved every single bite of this dish!  This was paired with a Heretic Lager since Heretic Brewery was their partner for this month's dinner.


The main course was a lamb in red chile broth with beans, rice, and tortillas.  This was paired with Heretic Evil Twin which is a red IPA.  The lamb was great!  It was really flavorful.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the green rice at Zocalo, it's one of my favorite things about the restaurant.  Their hot tortillas that are a hybrid of corn and flour tortilla are TO DIE FOR.  Needless to say, I cleaned my plate.


The dessert was a strawberry shortcake done "dulce de leche" style paired with a Fresca Sting which was like a spicy strawberry margarita.  Personally, I do not prefer "soaked" cakes.  The texture is not my jam.  I did eat the drier parts of the cake and I really enjoyed it.  I ate all the strawberries and whipped cream.  Other people around me LOVED the cake!


Overall, the whole experience was amazing!  The value was incredible!  I could easily spend well over $60 on an evening of food and drinks and not even get dessert or appetizers.  This dinner is probably one of the best values in Sacramento!  Plus it is a lovely event full of happy people and delicious food!  I will definitely be returning to the monthly Chef's Dinner!        
        


I think a Chef's Dinner is probably a date that suits me best.  What kinds of dates suit you?  Do you have a date idea for me?  Please leave me a comment and let me know!


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Thursday, April 19, 2018

I Feel Pretty: An Important Movie with a Crucial Message

Last night I attended a media preview of the film I Feel Pretty that will release April 20.  I joined a large group of women for a happy hour then we went to see the movie.  My friend Emily went with me and I thought it would just be a fun night with a chick flick.  After the movie, my friend and I had the most heart wrenching conversation about the issues of self confidence and body positivity.  This is a conversation that needs to be had so I'm going to add my little bit to it today.


In I Feel Pretty, the main character Rene is played by Amy Schumer.  (I'm going to try not to spoil anything.)  Rene struggles with self confidence in the beginning of the movie.  Then she has an accident at Soul Cycle, bumps her head, and wakes up seeing herself as beautiful.  While the film has its' flaws, my take away was the theme that nothing needs to change about you other than your perspective and attitude.

This is HUGE for me.  I didn't lose weight or all the sudden become beautiful one day.  I changed my perspective through what I call "Exposure Therapy."  I posted a photo of myself a day everyday for Dressember (which is such an important campaign.)  By the end of the month, I started to be ok with the way I looked in photos. This then translated to being ok with the way I look in real life.

Another important point is that I have a daughter and like it or not, I'm her role model.  In the movie, Rene says talks about how being a little girl, we have ALL this confidence and then over time with people's comments or perceptions, that fades away.  I find this thought TERRIFYING.  I have the most spectacular, smart, funny, and beautiful daughter in the world.  She has ALL of the confidence.  You CAN'T TELL HER NOTHING.  And I fear the day that some person makes a comment about her body or her outfit that crashes through her shield of confidence and hits her heart.

Because of this, I've cut the negative self talk out from myself (at least out loud.)  If I'm trying on outfits, I try to say "I don't feel like wearing this dress today" instead of "this makes me look fat."  I will say "My skin is bothering me this week" and not "I have horrible skin, I hate it."  This shift shows my daughter that these things are temporary and don't rule my life.  But they used to.  I used to stand in front of the mirror and detest my fat rolls, my acne marked skin, my unruly eyebrows, my widow's peak, my everything.

The thing is, I still have a lot things I used to hate about myself.  Probably more so now.  But I decided that my body and more importantly my soul couldn't thrive if all I did was sit there all day and tell myself how much I HATED my flaws.  I switched to trying to be kind to myself.  I switched to giving myself grace.  I switched to saying "my hair is rocking" and "this dress looks awesome on me."  And it literally changed my life.

What I loved about I Feel Pretty is that Rene did not "body swap" or lose weight or have a makeover, she shifted her perspective and her whole life changed.  And I just wanted to echo that message to you.  CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE.  When I finally decided that I was WORTH something, the world decided I was worth something too.  I'm not saying it was easy.  I'm just saying you can do it and you are SO incredibly worth fighting for yourself.

Huge thank you to STX Entertainment and Katie from the Wake Up Call for inviting me to this event!  Please go see this movie and have the conversation about how confidence can change your life.



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