Blender Happy!

Summer is a fantastic time to kick your blender into high gear for some green and delicious smoothies!  Smoothies are a great way to pack vitamins and minerals into a very palatable format (for you, your kids or significant other).  For me, smoothies are better when they are high in greens and veggies, with enough fruit to provide good flavor.  It can be really easy to over do the fruit and knock yourself into a sugar coma…  Here are some items to consider before you blend:

The key to making a delicious green smoothie is the fresh [organic] ingredients!  As we roll into spring and summer fresh veggies and greens should be readily available at the supermarket, farmers market or in a CSA Box.  I try to use a variety for my smoothies – my two favorites are kale and spinach.  There are so many varieties of kale and chard it’s easy to keep mixing things up.
I try to stay at a 2:1 veggie to fruit ratio to make sure I’m getting plenty of vitamins and limiting sugar.  The use of tropical fruit, such as mango and pineapple allows for good flavor without too much fruit required.  Fruits like pears and apples are great for their fiber content, but can easily be overwhelmed.  So it is best to use these as a minor addition to the fruits for flavor.  Something many people forget is that carrots are a “sweet” veggie, and can assist in livening up a green smoothie.
Bananas are a fantastic base fruit as they allow for a creamier texture.  Also, try some raspberries, blueberries and strawberries when they are in season (or bagged in the freezer section).
For liquid I tend to stick to coconut milk or almond milk, to get a strong dose of healthy fats and to avoid soy milk.  With so much soy creeping into the American diet, I figure I can do without adding more (this is especially true for men unless you are into moobs and have no problem with him wearing a “bro”).
Need some extra protein?  You could go with an organic whey protein or egg protein mix.  But you vegans should consider nut butter (I prefer fresh ground almond butter).
Get creative, there are endless combinations to experiment with! Don’t forget yummy additions such as Chia seeds, hemp, flax, and nuts.
Happy blending!
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Standup for the Cure

This past Saturday, May 4th was this year’s Stand Up for the Cure at Newport’s Back Bay.  Their vision is to become SUP’s version of Race for the Cure…They have a ways to go, but put on what was, overall, a great event.  Approximately 650 Paddlers showed up decked out in all shades of pink, some in crazy costumes.  There was a good showing of elite racers, junior pros, average joes and complete beginners.

The only negative about the event was a moderately confusing schedule (done in Microsoft excel) and poorly worded registration.  It wasn’t completely clear based on what I registered for (Adult Fun Event) what time I would start (Elite Race at 9:45, Pink Fleet and Intermediate Races were shown as sometime between 10:00 and 11:00).  Once on-site the event organizer cleared things up, but as someone who likes to know the plan and be prepared for events it made for a bit of a tense morning (especially because we got a late start after a forgotten bag at home).
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I did the 5k paddle.  Audrey and Andy came to watch.  The beach event had a fantastic exhibition area which included free melanoma and breast cancer screening.  Additionally vendors of SUP clothing, products, outdoor gear and health food livened things up while spectators waited for the paddlers.  There was also a super cool silent Auction with opportunities to score sweet gear from the sponsors.
Overall, this is the perfect event if you are new to SUPing or SUP racing.  There was definite competition among the pro and intermediate riders, but there was also a very laid back feel to the event which allowed riders to turn around at any point on the course.  The flat water is perfect for those new to SUP or those who may not be super adventurous. Make sure to keep an eye out for next year’s event, or Check out their Facebook page, Standup for the Cure
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Swim Season

I did a triathlon this past year, and really enjoyed it, but the open water swim made me nervous!  So, in order to review a couple of upcoming events, but avoid some hyperventilation, I have recruited my husband to try a couple open water swimming events this summer.  My husband is no Michael Phelps, but he probably won’t drown!  His past includes growing up in Minnesota, where lake swimming is a part of life and he completed a half iron man about 6 years ago when he was in a lot better shape than he is now.

The best part about open water swimming is that it allows for athletes to get out of their comfort zone and into the natural environment (this is also the scary part!).  There are numerous open water swim classes in Southern California for open-water novices.  Swim Velocity, in Orange County, puts on one of the highest rated classes based on a review of Triathlon and Open Water Swim Message Boards: http://www.swimvelocity.com/Open_Water_Swimming.html.  The best part is that it allows for repeated group swim and refresher classes for those who may take a little extra time to get comfortable in the water.
Another great resource is the OC Open Water Swims google group.  They coordinate informal meetups for weekly swims at the state beaches around Orange County, there is a wealth of knowledge and some fantastic swimmers who attend.
My husband has decided to train for two events in June.  The first is a 1/2 mile “Lap Around the Pier” in Huntington Beach on June 8th. The great part about these swims is that the registration fee is reasonable (unlike many of the Triathlon races in Orange County) only $25, including a t-shirt.  A word of warning, wetsuits are not permitted!
The second is La Jolla’s Pier to Cove swim.  This is a 1.5 mile swim from La Jolla Shores (the Pier) to La Jolla Cove.  This is a challenging but beautiful swim that navigates some of the best nautical preserves in Southern California.  Wildlife is abundant (including sea lions, tuna, dolphins and sometimes whales).  What is interesting about La Jolla is it is home to the largest population of sting-rays in Southern California as well as several (harmless) species of small shark!
If you are feeling brave and are a confident swimmer, you may want to consider these as an enjoyable alternative to the local triathlon races. I’ll keep you posted on how my husband’s training and races go!
-K
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CicLAvia!

Don’t worry! If you missed last Sunday’s CicLAvia (like my family did) you only have to wait 60 days until the next event.  The last CicLAvia allowed participants to ride, walk or skate from Downtown LA all the way to Santa Monica on closed streets…Next up, is the iconic Wilshire Boulevard.  Wilshire will be shut down from One Wilshire Plaza in Downtown LA all the way to Fairfax (the heart of Museum Row).  The iconic Wilshire Boulevard shut down is a partnership with Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. This collaboration, initiated by the Getty, brings together several local arts institutions for a wide-ranging look at the postwar built environment of the city as a whole, from its famous residential architecture to its vast freeway network, revealing the city’s development and ongoing impact in new ways. Major support for CicLAvia – Iconic Wilshire Boulevard has been provided by the Getty Foundation.

From CicLAvia’s website: “CicLAvia makes the streets  safe for people to walk, skate, play and ride a bike. There are activities along the route. Shop owners and restaurants are encouraged to open their doors to people along the CicLAvia. Connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. The health benefits are immense. Ciclovías bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space. In Los Angeles we need CicLAvia more than ever. Our streets are congested with traffic, our air is polluted with toxic fumes, our children suffer from obesity and other health conditions caused by the scarcity of public space and safe, healthy transportation options. CicLAvia creates a temporary park for free, simply by removing cars from city streets. It creates a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun. We can’t wait to see you at CicLAvia!”
Come out and enjoy the event…meander slowly down Wilshire, show up early and get a run in with a perspective you don’t often get, dust off the cruisers and pedal till you have a smile on your face.  While you’re there take time to stop at the Museums and marvel at the architecture we normally just speed past.
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Earth Day is April 22

Earth Day comes on April 22 each year; it’s a day to celebrate our planet and support environmental protection. In my opinion, Earth Day should be 365 days a year.  Whatever your opinion, its still an opportunity to celebrate our planet, which is so often taken for granted.  The weather is suppose to be amazing in our SoCal 10 day forecast and I plan to take full advantage of catching some much needed Vitamin D!

There are some great events and activities happening within the next week,

Ragnar Relay Series: April 19-20

It kicked off in Huntington Beach this morning and ends 200+ miles away in San Diego (Embarcadero Marina Park South). Teams of 11 runners (or an Ultra Team of 5) alternate running the 200+ mile distance over a 24-hour period. What I love about this race is that, although seemingly daunting, it’s actually realistic for all classes of runners. Each participant runs three separate legs throughout the race and only ranges from about 3-8 miles! Gather your 10 closest friends and prep yourself for next year. Until then, check out a leg of the race and the colorful costumes and upbeat participants will surely entertain you. Runners love to run!

http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/southerncalifornia/

 

BDR Earth Day Family Fun Run, April 22

Bolsa Chica State Beach

With late morning start time, this race is great for those of us that may not be early birds, want to eat a casual breakfast, or just have a wild toddler to chase and attempt to clothe.

http://www.active.com/5k-race/huntington-beach-ca-ca/bdr-earth-day-family-fun-run-2012

Orangeman Salt Creek Half Marathon 10k/5k

Salt Creek

There’s nothing better than to run with a nice ocean view. This race runs along the Salt Creek Regional Corridor Trail and will surely satisfy your need for a great work out while enjoying mother natures true beauty.

http://goforwardracing.com/salt-creek-half-marathon-5k10k-1k-kids-run

Wine Festival April 19-20

Tickets can be purchased at the site below. Beginning in Laguna Beach this evening, be wined and dined with rare wines and others that are no longer in distribution. Move onto a full afternoon at Doheny State Park on Saturday.

http://www.californiawinefestival.com/eventschedule.html

Citrus Fair La Habra, April 18-21

This fair will surely have something for every member of the family; stage performances, contests, food, and activities for the kiddos.

http://www.citrusfair.com

Pet Expo OC Fair and Event Center, April 19-21

Check out this giant expo for your pet and pet products. They have a great variety of activities scheduled, sure to entertain the whole family. Please, leave fiddo (and all other pets) at home. There will be plenty of animal interaction, and lovely pets available for adoption at the expo!

http://www.petexpooc.com

Plant & Garden Show, Fullerton Arboretum April 20-21

A perfect opportunity to kick-start spring and beautify your garden! Maybe add a new variety, or learn about organic gardening. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there’s something for everyone.

http://fullertonarboretum.org/event_green.php

Door Open to public, 10:00am-4:00pm

Day at Pretend City, April 22

Ok, not technically out side, but it’ll be a great learning experience for the kiddos!

http://anaheimoc.org/calendar-of-events/155404/earth-day-pretend-city

Volunteer, Anywhere, Everywhere, Anytime

http://www.oneoc.org/get-involved/days-of-service/earth-day/

Check out this website, it has a great list of multiple volunteer opportunities.

Check out more events all over Southern California:

http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/PublicEd/EarthDay/Events/#LosAngeles

I hope that at least on of these events inspires you to get outdoors, enjoy some exercise and time with the family this weekend and don’t forget celebrate our planet!

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