This post is titled part deux because on Friday I wrote about my plan for the weekend and I am pleased to report that indeed relaxation and lounging (well most of the time) were the names of these two days that went by, oh so fast.  But I tried to make the most of it.  I was actually very intentional about doing nothing but stuff I like.  

I started my morning with a visit to a coffee shop in Kansas City.  I could have made it at home but there is something special to me about a barista actually taking the time to make a very delicious cup of coffee.  For the record, the photos I found online because my camera was MIA, which was too bad because I had big plans for Saturday in Kansas City taking photos. 

Instead after my coffee and wandering around the farmer's market, I went back home and spent a leisurely rest of the morning checking out a new cookbook I received in the mail from chef Amy Thielen titled The New Midwestern Table.  I found out about her through the Food Network and it is easily the best show in the channel right now.  After reading most of the book and glossing over the recipes, I cannot wait to cook from this book.

The rest of the day I spent it relaxing in my bed with my laptop and catching up on some of my favorite blogs.  If you are looking for new blogs to read here is a list of some of the ones I am liking right now.  You may find something you like.  Anyhow, on Saturday afternoon I drove to Weston and took crazy to the doggie park (you can read more about our triumph there here) and afterwards I finally watched The Monuments Men and loved it!  As someone who loves art history, this is a movie that I am going to end up buying for my collection.  

Sunday could have been a gloomy day because it was the 2nd anniversary of my former commander's death and then today is the 2nd anniversary of my Snoopy's death.  Snoopy was my 15 yr. old Cocker Spaniel who passed away the day after my boss.  So instead of having a sad day, I decided to celebrate life.  I keep thanking God that He spared my life during the incident.  

I went for a nice little run and then enjoyed a nice breakfast.  Then spent the rest of the morning just catching up on the news and a few magazines.  Around lunchtime I threw myself a solo little celebration with some goodies I got in Kansas City.
I opened a bottle of a rose that I had chilling since Saturday and prepared myself a cheese platter using the Woolly Rind cheese-- a delicious cheese made by Green Dirt Farm, a local farm in Weston, MO.  The cheese is similar to a Camembert and so yummy.  This was so good and the perfect way to start winding down for the day.  The rest of the afternoon was spent making a light dinner and watching It's Complicated for what must be the 25th time or so.  It is the bakery scenes people.  I simply love her bakery.  And that was how my weekend went: relaxed, funny... and lovely.  

How was your weekend?

Mingle MondayMonday Morning Gossip


This is not just another "look at how cute my dog is" type of post but rather a proud momma type of post about Jack.  When I rescued Jack in August of 2013, I did so because rarely do older dogs get adopted and to be honest as soon as I saw his photo I was in love.  He made the perfect companion for my other Wheaten at the time, Rummer.  

But then a few months later he started showing aggression towards Rummer and becoming possessive whenever she was around.  Unbeknown to me, the reason he was put for adoption was because of aggression issues with another dog and possessiveness towards his previous owner's baby.  The rescue never mentioned this.  So along with a trainer and awesome advise from the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Owners Facebook page, I started working with him.  Then right before the holidays when the polar vortex hit he was in so much pain (I could not tell at the time) that he tried to bite me when i touched him.  I contacted the rescue who told me to put him down.  And I went into freak out mode.  But I had to put my fears aside and worked with him.  So along with a trainer I have been working with him on his aggression.  And he has come a long way.

I mention this because I have been wanting to take Jack to a doggie park but have been too afraid that he is going to act out with other dogs.  But as the trainer said "you'll never know until you go".  And so we did.  The doggie park is new and it has two runs of about one mile of open fenced field.  At first I had Jack in the leash and he was not interested in the dogs... just peeing around the fence.  lol.  There were a few other owners and their dogs and I explained to them my situation and they were so awesome.  So finally let Jack of the leash.  And I almost cried tears of joy for my baby.

He did so good!  There was a lot of sniffing at first but no growling or anything.  Jack seemed to take a fancy of the one black dog below, and he followed her around the whole time.  He tried to mount her once but a quick finger snap from me and he was off her.  He has no concept of personal space :)

Find the Wheaten! Hint: look for the nubby tail :)
In all it was such a pleasant experience that we can now repeat in the future.  It has been a lot of work with Jack.  I am glad I did not put him down as the rescue suggested and when I was overwhelmed.  Dog aggression was a new territory for me, after three dogs, and I was so sad and disheartened.  We now know that he is best as an only dog in a home.  So I will not be getting another dog in a while.  But I am glad that in a social setting like this he is so outgoing and can have a good time like any other dog.  For the next few times I am sure I will be super cautious and have to continue to work on making sure he does not pick up on my "worry vibe".  But this I can work on too.  While this is something simple to many, to mean it means so much.  And today I am one proud momma.  But before I go, y'all know it's "selfie sunday" and I know you love Jack photos and come to expect his selfie once in a while, so here we are today goofing around.  Jack... not so entertained by the

Happy Sunday!!


photo via
Ahhhh.... the weekend is finally here.  I am ready for some relaxation and just lounging around in the morning catching up on my favorite readings.  I am not the lounging type but once in a while I do like to just drift through the day of a weekend and take the day as it goes. 
Usually on days like this I catch up on my magazines, newspaper, blogs that I have been meaning to read and of course, a book that has caught my interest. And this weekend will be no exception. Here are some of the blogs and magazines I'll be reading this weekend.
The Sweet Season, Elephantine and Natty Michelle for pretty things and inspiration.
Green Wedding Shoes, Magnolia Rouge and Utterly Engaged for wedding inspiration and ideas.

Emily Henderson for interior design ideas and House of Turquoise for coastal design inspiration.

Pretty Fluffy for all things doggie.
Katie Kukulka, Catherine Goron and A Note on Design for beautiful photography.

A Beach Cottage and Coastal Style for my island and beach fix.

And I still have to catch up on the last two months of Travel + Leisure, Coastal Living and Saveur magazines.

Before I leave.  If you visit during the weekend and notice some changes is because The Good Life is getting a new summer look.  You know me and blog looks.  Just like changing wardrobes depending on the season, I also like to do with my blog.  I am not OCD; I simply love a blog that reflects the season. 

Have a wonderful weekend, dolls! 

island girl favorite: ralph lauren's point dume collection

I rarely talk about decorations in this blog but I do love a simple yet classic decor with simple lines, uncluttered design that feels organic.  And my friends, this is exactly what my favorite designer of all times-- Ralph Lauren, is gracing us with in his new summer collection, Point Dume
My island girl senses are completely swoon over this collection which pays homage to Mr. Lauren's seaside love.  A simple and striking breezy palette, clean architectural furniture lines and rich bamboo furniture come together to create a deisgn that can be best described as understated coastal opulence, which in many ways is associated with the initials RL.  It all feels modern but warm and organic at the same time.  This is how island and seaside living was meant to be lived and I for once adore this collection.  Take a look and judge for yourself.

I do not do knick knacks but I always have a few items to tie a decor together.  Which is why I appreciate this collection.  Uncluttered and airy, the few decoration details presented are used to bring a lived-in feel without feeling like you are drowning in stuff. 


I love that the same indoor design elements are brought outdoors. This "cabana" style arrangement is beautiful and the perfect way to enjoy a day at the beach with a good book and the sound of the crashing waves lulling you into relaxation.  I can feel myself relaxing just by typing about it. Mmm... the perfect thought to have as we start the weekend, don't you think?
What do you think of this collection? Hit or Miss?
Joining these fabulous ladies! Nicole, Darci, April, Christina, and Natasha.

wedding wednesday {a dress conondrum}

Hello, loves!  Well, the official wedding planning has commenced!  I am 360 days away from becoming Mrs. Baer! {Oh Boy, I have become THAT}.  I have been gathering ideas but have not done any official planning because my mom was not back in the States yet but she is now!  I could not do this planning without her.  Not ever!  Especially picking out a wedding dress. 

I am a person who loves simple, classic and stylish but with a modern twist.  I like comfort.  So it is no surprise that when it came time to start looking at magazines for wedding dresses ideas, I was immediately drawn to dresses like this...

and this...

and this.

They are sleek and modern but still femenine and romantic.  I was sure this is the type of wedding dress I want to wear on my wedding day. 


I saw this dress by Australian designer Suzanna Blazevic and suddenly I want to look like a princess on my wedding day. 

(photos courtesy of Suzanna Blazevic)
And this is a different dress with the same feel... LOVE IT!
I took one look and the word that came to mind was DREAMY.  Seriously, all of those layers of tulle really spoke to me and I am very surprised that I like this love this look because it is not something that I am normally drawn to.
You know how I know I love it? Because I have been looking at this photo every day since I saw it.
Not sure if I have not thought of a ball gown because in my mind I consider myself sporty 6'1" female who looks more like an Amazon than a delicate princess.  But all I know is that now I am looking at ball gowns.  Can you tell that this is going to be a hard decision to make? 
So my question to you all is:
did you feel the search for the wedding dress was overwhelming? 
Any advise for this bride-to-be?

home workouts: barefeet, kettlebells and loving it!

I love going to the gym but sometimes I just do not feel like being around people and I decide to work at home.  I do not have a lot of equipment-- just the necessities and one of my favorites is the kettlebell.  You will notice that I have no shoes in these photos and is just because I love to walk around the house barefooted.  It is the island girl in me.  Anyhow, one of the my favorite kettlebell workout is shoulder workouts that require only one kettlebell-- because that is all I have at the time. :-)   This is my favorite routine because not only does it targets the shoulders but also other muscle groups. 

 1-arm kbell swing

Targets: Shoulders, back, hips, glutes, legs.  Do 12-15 reps.  For more advanced people, add more sets.

bend-over row

Targets: shoulders, back, triceps.  Do 2-3 set of 10-12 reps.

goblet squat

Targets: legs, glutes, back.  Do 2-3 set of 10-12 reps.

overhead squats

Targets: Shoulders, arms, back, hips, glutes, legs.  Do 2-3 set of 10-12 reps.

kettlebell swing

Targets: Shoulders, back, hips, glutes, legs. Do 12-15 reps. For more advanced people, add more sets.  Watch your back when swinging the kettlebell; you swing as you thrust from the hip.
I really like this workout because it allows me maximum effort in a shorter period of time... plus I can do it at home.  Kettlebells can be cumbersome at first but once you get used to handling them, they will become your new favorite workout tool. 
Do you have or like kettlebells?  Any favorite exercise?

the kind kitchen: dealing with heartburn through diet & a recipe {cauliflower "rice" + paleo beef stew}

Food... my favorite thing in the world.  I love to eat.  I am not even going to lie.  Food makes me happy... sometimes a little bit too happy.  There is a reason that one of the things I am looking forward to the most during my wedding planning is sampling food and cakes (so is David by the way).

But sometimes food can cause a major number in my stomach and lately that thing is heartburn.  I am talking major heartburn (even kombusha would give me heartburn) to the point that I had to see my doctor and get a prescription for Nexium. 

Quick story: a few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night choking.  Could not breath because of the pressure in my throat.  I felt like I had to burp and suddenly, the pressure escaped my body... through my ears.  This hot gas that felt like acid came out of my ears and it was so painful that I felt like I was going to pass out.  It was the scariest and weirdest thing to ever happen to me.   The doc diagnosed me with GERD and so in addition to meds the doctor recommended I eat food with low acidity.  And so I have been working on that since I want to avoid taking meds if at all possible.  Here is an example of food to avoid when you suffer from heartburn.

Did I mention how hard it has become to eat something that does not causes me heartburn?  I haven't always been like this but two winters ago after my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I was so stressed and internalizing everything and on top of that I got food poisoning from chicken wings that tore me up.  Since then my stomach has not been the same.   As you can see what I eat has become very important and making sure they are low acidity is even more essential.  Enter cauliflower.

I never was a fan of cauliflower and as a hypothyroid, it is one of those food that it is in the no-no list in its raw stage because of goitrogens (which are naturally occurring substances which inhibit the body's absorption of the thyroid medicines).  Luckily cooking the cauliflowers destroys most of the goitrogens and I can eat it. 
There are many ways to prepare cooked cauliflower and one of my favorites is cauliflower "rice".  It is basically raw cauliflower which is shredded in a food processor (I use my blender) to a consistency that resembles rice.  I really enjoy it and this is something huge because you know we Puerto Ricans love our rice.  And because it is almost tasteless, it is easy to flavor and versatile which makes it a perfect side dish.  In this case I made to accompany another low-acidity dish: beef stew. 
I am a huge stew fan BUT some recipes tend to call for tons of condiments, wine, and other ingredients which can trigger my heartburn.  However, this recipe I am sharing is fairly clean and the ingredients I used kept this dish's acidity very low. 
 This is the recipe I used and as you can tell it is really very simple.

One quick note.  For the rice, all I did was put the cauliflower florets in the blender and pulse until it has a rice consistency.  Then I placed in a bowl and microwaved for 4 minutes or until cooked.  That's it!

This recipe is really delicious and so comforting.  I can eat stew anytime of the year and this one I had for three nights straights (did I mention it makes great leftovers?) and I did not get tired of eating. 

The meat comes out tender and even though there is balsamic vinegar the slow cooking gets rid of the acidity and makes a delicious stew with a very complex flavor.  The cauliflower rice makes for the perfect light side dish and it does not make you super full, like rice can.  And best of all? I do not get heartburn when I make it! So yes, this is definitely one of my go to recipe when I want something comforting to eat.  Happy eatings!

I may share this recipe with Tuned-In Tuesday. Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Blog Hop. Fitness Friday. The Fitness Friday Linkup. Strange But Good . Recipe Friday. Foodie Friday. Food-tastic Friday. Friday Favorites. Foodie Friday. Weekend Potluck. Aloha Friday Blog Hop. Full Plate Thursday. Fantastic Friday. Homestead Barn Blog Hop. Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Farmgirl Friday. Backyard Farming Hop. From The Farm Blog Hop. A Favorite Thing Saturday. Down Home Blog Hop. Foodie Friday. Foodie Friends. Brag About It. Tuesdays At Our Home. A Return to Loveliness. Homemaking Link-Up. Wonderful Food Wednesday. Heart & Soul Blog Hop. Seasonal Sundays.

the first weekend of summer: little parks, fountains & dogs

Happy summer, friends!  I hope you are enjoying the first weekend of summer.  I am not sure which part of the country you are but here in Kansas, thee temperatures gloriously welcome summer with 90+ degree weather.  I am not complaining after the brutal winter we had but just goes to show that the rest of the summer is probably going to be blistering. 
While many people celebrated the first day of summer with parties and get togethers, I celebrated it by staying home and going to bed really early.  And I must have been exhausted because today I woke up at 10:00 AM!  I was kind of out of it when I woke up and not wanting to waste the day, I packed the pup and went out for a drive.  While out I came across this little neighborhood park and what a delightful little gem! 

I have a thing with fountains and architectural details.  There are so many details to this fountain that my phone camera cannot do it justice.  I loved the base; it has these beautiful cranes all around and they are covered with this beautiful patina created by time and water.  And the top finial has these animal heads that remind me of lions but I do not think they are.  The point is that I do love when an artist takes time to create a beautiful piece indeed. 
It was so nice to sit under the shade of the trees, listening to the water while Jack did some exploring within leash distance.  I loved this little park so much and would be awesome if it had a nice iron fence like the ones you see on Gramercy Park.  But then again, that would probably make it private and I would not be able to enjoy it.  So for now Jack stays on the leash.

I love little surprises and I think I need to get out more in the small town I currently live and explore more because I took some streets that went along gorgeous old home.  But for now I am so delighted I found this little spot.  I can see it as a place where I can sit on a Saturday morning with my coffee and croissant and maybe reading a paper.  What do you think?  How is your weekend so far?

island flower power: amapola sunset smooothie {recipe redux}

Hello everyone!  Remember my previous post about participating in The Recipe Redux?  Well, this is my first participation and I could not be more happy especially because this month's theme is very near and dear to this island girl's heart:  floral flavors.  While flowers in salads and dips is not my thing, I do love a beautiful floral bouquet in a drink. 
From previous posts you know I am missing island living and this smoothie I am sharing with you today is reminiscing of the island flavors I so love.  It is one of the simplest yet most flavorful concoctions thrown together in my blender: the amapola sunset smoothie.  
I love a frosty smoothie.  Perfect for a hot summer day.
The term amapola is Spanish for hibiscus and this is the main ingredient here: dried hibiscus flowers.  This delicious libation combines everything I love about island flavors: bright and fresh flavors, a thirst quencher and easy to make.  The main ingredient in this smoothie is hibiscus tea made from dried hibiscus petals collected before they bloom.  Hibiscus are big in Puerto Rico and I remember growing up with them around the house.  I used to even eat the stems because they are so sweet and full of nectar.  I wish I knew then about the benefits of this tea,  Hibiscus tea is used to  treat loss of appetite, colds, heart and nerve diseases, upper respiratory tract pain and swelling (inflammation), fluid retention, stomach irritation, and disorders of circulation; as a gentle laxative and as a diuretic. (reference).  Yes, I went there. :)

But truly what I love is the peculiar flavor which makes this tea the perfect base to build from.  It is tangy and has a floral flavor that complements many fruit.  I used a fruit that would not compete with the hibiscus floral notes and blackberries did the trick.  Adding too many things to my smoothies for sweetness is not my things, so instead I added some seedless watermelon which brought a touch of sweetness without making it too sweet.  However, if you like it a bit more sweet, raw honey would be a perfect addition to this drink. 
The final result is delicious and refreshing with that flavor of hibiscus and the subtle notes of blackberries, with a hint of pomegranate, plum and something tropical that you quite can't put your finger in it.  I love the alchemy of combining flavors!  It's pretty exciting!  The fact that this smoothie is made out of nothing but fruits and tea makes it a delicious addition any healthy diet especially during the hot summer months when you may not feel like having a full meal.  It is so yummy that it makes me think of a hot summer day sitting by the beach; it seriously does.  Give it a try and let me know how you like it! 
***If you are into counting calories or macros, here is what you are looking at for 3 servings (which is what this recipe makes) sans the raw honey because I did not use it this time:

what's in your bag wednesday

Hi guys!  Today I am guest posting at Your Fit Trip for What's In Your Bag Wednesday.  I am talking about packing for a trip. fit tips while on the read and traveling tips especially when traveling with dogs.  Come check it out (clink on the logo below).

weekend summer fun: here comes the sun

Hello, lovelies!  Happy Monday!  I hope y'all had a wonderful weekend!  Mine was welcomed and relaxed.  This week everyone is my office is gone and I am the "ship's captain" until next week.  So yes, I was very happy when the weekend arrived.  For the most part I spent it doing stuff I like.  On Saturday I went to Kansas City, walked around downtown and then went shopping in the shopping area called Zona Rosa.  While there, they had an outdoor concert by this band that played U2 songs and they were fantastic.  The day was gorgeous and perfect for music outdoors.  My handsome boy also got a spiffy new haircut and he looks so handsome.

Sunday woke up cloudy and truth be told, I was in a cloudy mood myself.  Just being Father's Day without my dad had me in a sad funk.  I was going through the "this is so not fair! I want my daddy back now!" mode.  I am not even going to lie.  I know this will eventually get easier (or so I am told) but this second Father's Day without him was as hard as the first. 

But I have some good friends and once the sun came out, they brought me out too because the day was jus so gorgeous!  We went to play beach volleyball at English Landing in Parkville and had so much fun.  It was good to do something I really enjoy and it has been a long time since I played... like high school long.  My first year in high school I was going through the akward stages of getting used to being 6'1" and the only sport I liked aside from track and field was beach volleyball.  I ended up loving it.

The rest of  Sunday I spent it at home trying to work on even out my tan.  Because of tank tops I have a mess of tan lines on my back and need to get that taken care of before I go wedding dress shopping. :)  Maybe I am better going to a tanning salon.  Of course, I had to bring in Jack for a selfie... after all it was Selfie Sunday and he is so cute!  This photo just makes me smile.
How about you?  How was your weekend?

my favorite things on friday

Hey dolls!  It's Friday and I am all ready for the weekend.  I have a few places to visit in  Kansas City this weekend and the weather promises to be beautiful!  Today I decided to join the Friday Favorites because I have not joined in a while.  And here are my favs.

1. Girls Run Fast Ambassador.  Guess who is one of their newest ambassadors?!  Me!  I found out about this group from a friend and I love what they stand for.

So who are GirlsRunFast™ ambassadors?
  • We are lovers of all things healthy. We love running, dancing, yoga swimming and more!
  • We love to exercise and make a point to make it a part of every day.
  • We have a passion for the good things in life like food, fun and friends!
  • We do not believe that you need to live to the extreme to meet a goal.
  • We teach and don't preach!
  • We RUN!
This seems like my perfect fit for all  the right reasons!
2. Recipe Redux.  A few days ago I found out that I will be part of the Recipe Redux group!  I am so excited because I love nothing better than taking a recipe and making it healthier.  With an amazing group of people already part of the group, I feel very honored to be part also!

2.  My new Roxy iPhone case!  I love, love, love Roxy and this iPhone case screams summer days with its surfboard and water design!  And the fact that I got it on sale is even better! 

4.  Crossfit try #2.  Ok I refuse to believe that Crossfit is the bad experience I had when I tried it last summer.  I had an instructor that was not really instructing and I felt worried that I would get injured.  I just never got a warm and fuzzy about the movements I was doing.  I was not being a baby but I hate it when instructors do not realize that a 6'1" person has a different center of gravity than someone shorter and I always felt awkward doing the movements.  So a friend recommended NCK Crossfit in Kansas City.  In July they start a 12-class fundamentals program and enrolled in it.  Here is the beauty.  The program is $100+ but thanks to Groupon I got it for $39.  Even better!  So here is to my second try at Crossfit!

5.  Eric Cantor is OUT!  I do not talk about politics in this blog but I am a Conservative YET when it come to worthless politicians I am all for removing them from office even if they are Republicans.  A few days ago the House Majority leader lost his re-election to a virtual unknown professor and I could not be happier.  It could not have happened to a more deserving person.  When politicians forget who they work for and just sit in their cushy jobs while the rest of Americans go through hardships, it is time for a reset. 
Joining these fabulous ladies! NicoleDarciAprilChristina, and Natasha

lessons learned from my track coach: running in the grass for strength & stability

Some of the greatest lessons in my life I learned from my high school track and field coach.  To us he was not only a coach but our father figure away from home.  When it came to our personal lives we could always count on him to listen to us advise us or give us a swift kick in the butt if necessary.  As a coach, the main lesson we learned was the important of the basics and finding what worked for us especially when it came to drills and techniques to improve our strength.  And one of his favorite workouts was doing interval training in the grass.

I remember the first time we did intervals in the grass.  We were all baffled because our times were so much slower.  It was just annoying.  But as he explained there is a reason for that.  When you run on a track or pavement you have a stable surface which combined with your footing, allows your foot to push off the surface.  This according to him was the key to fast times. 
However, in the grass you find yourself with a slower and sometimes uneven surface which will require you to work hard, spend more energy, thus resulting in slower times.  The occasional grass workout will make your body work harder thus improving your cardio. 

But there are so many other benefits to running in the grass like:
  • Less impact on joints because of the softer surface.
  • Cardiovascular improvement
  • Stronger stabilizer muscles because your body is force to use them due to the unstable surface grass provides.
  • I especially love grass when I am coming back from shin splints because it provides a softer surface thus reducing injuries.
  • It just makes me happy.  There is something about running in the grass that just brings out the child in me and I tend to have the biggest smiles when I run on the grass. 
The one warning I will give you is to start slow especially if running in grass is new to you.  As you run on an uneven surface your body will have to constantly adjust its footing pressure which may cause wobbliness when you run. 
There are many grass drills and workouts that you can do but one of my favorites is either a 20-25 minutes tempo run or a ladder type workout like this:
Up Ladder:
  • 2 x 2 minutes (hard effort)
  • 2 x 3 minutes
  • 1 x 4 minutes
  • 1 x 5 minutes
 Down Ladder:  
  • 1 x 5 minutes
  • 1 x 4 minutes
  • 2 x 3 minutes
  • 2 x 2 minutes (after this one, I like to do a 30 second burst just to finish with some burn)
With some planning and a good grassy area, you will be able to have a great workout that is challenging but also a bit different.  For me this is a great workout to have in my back pocket when I want to not only work on my leg strength but also indulge in my inner child-like delight of running in the grass.  It is a win-win situation.
Do you do grass drills? 
Any favorite grass running workout?
Joining Workout WednesdayWell That's Fantastic!  Fitness Friday