I’m in the ‘Before’ Fitness Stage


One of the things I’ve been doing to improve myself is focusing on my fitness and food/water intake. I know, some of you are thinking ‘what the heck do you have to worry about? You’re skinny!’. Well feast your eyes on these pics I took the other day and see for yourself! I’m in that ‘before’ fitness stage where you can see what I ‘looked’ like before I started my fitness routine.

Elleword-my-fitness-before-pics-October-2018-1Elleword-my-fitness-before-pics-October-2018-3Elleword-my-fitness-before-pics-October-2018-2

My biggest goal is to get rid of the fat on my back. Seeing that weight has snuck up behind me, I was pretty shocked. At the same time, it was the jolt I needed to be realistic about my physical state. I’m not as in shape as I used to be but that doesn’t have to be permanent! Secondly, I want to tone up my thighs. I didn’t show my bare legs but the other day I discovered cellulite on my thighs. Talk about adding insult to injury! WTH man!

Lastly, I want to flatten my stomach and shrink my overall waistline so I can get a more curvy silhouette. I’ve never had a curvy figure but I figure with toning up and adding some weights into the picture, I can build my dream body, one I can put into a bikini without having flesh hanging over the straps! I’ve seen lots of ladies online showing off their well deserved figures and I want to be one of them. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not obsessed with building a bigger butt via squat mania. But if my gluten end up getting built up I won’t complain, LOL.

As apart of my fitness plan, yesterday I started tracking my water intake, my meals and how I felt before and after eating to keep myself motivated. Part of my problem is eating/drinking too much sugar. So my first initiative is to find replacements for all the sugary things I’ve been drinking and eating so I can still feel satisfied without jeopardizing my fitness routine. It may sound kinda weird, but writing about how I felt emotionally and physically before eating really helps me understand my meal decisions. You guys should try it sometime.

Anyone out there working on some fitness goals? How are you planning to build your ideal body? Got any before/after photos I can look at? Leave me a comment or question below.

Have courage,
Elle

Thirsty Thursday


In case you were wondering, I’m thirsty for more out of life haha. My phone died midday so I hardly captured any moments from the day, sorry. But I did manage to get a few before the battery bit the dust. First, here’s my OOTD.

Elleword - My gifted sweater from New York & Company paired with a thrifted vintage denim skirt and Bean Pole bag. I love these gold coach shoes!
This skirt is so comfy!

 

To get the day started, I hit the library and the library in search of some language books to help me study up on my Japanese and French. Yea, I’m learning a few languages all at once, trying to jump start my brain, hahah. I feel it’s working. I’ve linked up with some language exchange partners who will help me practice what I’ve learned on Skype and FaceTime. Until I get a decent grasp on the languages, I’m mostly helping them with English right now hahah.

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I also scored an intern recently! Her name is Sakura. She’s a friend of mine and talented makeup artist trying to find out what direction she wants to take with her career. I’m hoping that spending time with me will help her learn a few things and find the inspiration she needs. We went out and captured a mixed use space to help the owners start a photography residency program. It’s so open and bright and empty. Perfect for a photographer or videographer who needs a simple spot to work a few hours a week without paying an arm and a leg in studio fees. Once we finished working, we grabbed some food. These sandwiches were delicious!

The pulled chicken sandwiches we had for lunch at XO Coffee in Plano, TX

That’s all for today,

Have courage,
Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

Dallas Chocolate Festival Media Preview


A few days after returning home from my month long photo assignment at KAA, I received an invitation to attend the Dallas Chocolate Festival Media Preview event. Andi, owner and managing editor of FunCityStuff.com and all around awesome gal has invited me to other fun local events in the past so I was excited to be working with her again. Plus, who doesn’t like free chocolate? In celebration of National Thrift Shopping day, I put on a cute combination of thrifted pink and black items and chocolate themed makeup. Brandon, my sweet and supportive husband, dropped me off at Whole Foods in Addison a few hours later and I quickly climbed the stairs that lead to the event space.

I was instantly greeted by the sights and smells of artisan chocolates. My first stop was at a table sponsored by Whole Foods that featured wine pairings with decadent morsels of Guittard, Divine and SRSLY chocolate bars. Hands down, my favorite wine was the Cava Mistinguette sparkling white. It was sweet and perfect for dessert or mimosas. After chatting with the Whole Foods rep, I spotted the confectionary display on the Isabelly’s Chocolate and Sweet Treats table. Isabelly’s won the Dallas Market Center 2016 “Best Chocolate/Candy” award this year.  I scooped up four red velvet cake balls, Brandon’s favorite flavor, and then tried one of their chile de arbor dry peppers covered in caramel and dipped in Belgium chocolate. The closer I got to the stem, the spicier and more savory it became.

Next up was Dr. Sue’s Chocolate table where Dr. Sue herself was serving attendees. Dr. Sue’s goal is to fight obesity-related disease by offering all natural chocolate with healthy ingredients mixed in. That night, she was giving away Rosemary Olive Oil Melt Aways and Texas Mendiants. The melt aways had such a unique flavor. I could smell the rosemary and tastes hints of sea salt as it melted in my mouth. You’ve got to give it a try! After trying a candied jalepeno topped Mendiant, I moved on to Yelibelly Chocolates. Yeli has been studying bellydance since 1999 and making her own chocolates since 2007. After securing her first chocolatey partnership with a dance studio, the name Yelibelly Chocolates was born! Yeli gave out Expresso Rum chocolates, Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Ganache and Habanero truffles that intensified in spicy flavor the longer you hold them in your mouth. She also had these adorable Chocolate Covered Oreos, each of them decorated with a pattern or design. Yeli was very kind and her candy was as fun to look at as it was to eat.

The next table belonged to Eileen’s Pralines. Eileen Scheib, Chief Executive Baker, and her business savvy husband Jack served up coffee, oatmeal and mocha treats. I love the fact that, together, the Scheibs bake, package, sell and market their treats side by side. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that her cookies are light and crunchy, thanks to her graham cracker base, instead of thick and chewy like other pralines. She also sells praline bars with cayenne and chipotle flavors at her shop in Dallas. My mom loves pralines so I took a sample of each flavor for her to try before walking over to the table belonging to Wackym’s Kitchen. Paul Wackym has been selling his sweet and crunchy cookies since 2008. That night Paul was wearing one of his many decked out hats, a tradition he started during his first year in business.  He had several cookies out including his Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Snickerdoodles and Dark Chocolate Orange cookie which will be offered at Central Market starting this fall. My favorite is definitely the Salted Caramel!

To wrap things up, I tried the Chocolate Pot de Creme french desserts provided by Haute Sweet Patisserie. Chef Gianni Santin, one of the founders of Haute, showed us all how to make this dessert during his cooking demonstration. His passion for cooking showed as he artfully prepared each ingredient and topped them with whipped cream and handmade chocolate toppers. I’m especially a fan of the crunchy chocolate pearls. Haute’s retail space is in Old Lake Highlands where they offer coffee alonside their yummy cakes and pastries. They also offer gluten free and paleo items.

I had such a good time at the event but keep in mind, that was only a preview of the full Dallas Chocolate Festival taking place on Saturday, September 10 at the Addison Conference Centre. This year’s sponsors include Callebaut, Cocoatown, D Magazine, Guittard Chocolate Company, Perfect Temper Kitchen, Solbeso, TCF Sales and Whole Foods. Ticket are $30 for adults, $5 for children under 12, and $75 for VIP tickets. Thanks to the host, DallasChocolate.org, I’ve got a discount code for you! Use the code: CHOCOLATEFUN to get $5 off admission to the festival or the festival’s Movie Night, a new addition to the event.

For Movie Night on Friday September 9th at 7pm, the DCF will be showing “Bean to Bar: A Film About Artisan Chocolate” and then hosting a Q&A with director Bob Ridgely, chocolate makers Art Pollard from Amano Chocolate and Rob Anderson from Fresco Chocolate. Attendees can expect cocktails, chocolate (naturally) and finger foods to be served. Movie night admission is  $60 for individuals and $100 for two tickets. The DCF is offering three classes on Sunday, September 11 at Perfect Temper Kitchen in Plano for those who want a hands on experience. Each class is $60 per person or you can attend all three for $150. Seats are limited so reserve your seat quickly by visiting DallasChocolate.org!

Have courage,
Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

Summer Vibes in July


I’ve been doing lots of thinking around ways to make passive income so I can enjoy all that summer has to offer. Aside from posting our vacation in Vegas video and talking about why I shave my head on my Youtube channel, I’ve decided to work on new videos everyday to build my audience and start making money from ads.

Our truck bit the dust last month and I’ve once again embraced the commuter lifestyle. To get to church, we take two buses and then ride our bikes the rest of the way. While waiting on our second bus, we found this little donut shop and decided to step in for breakfast. After church let out, we hitched a ride with my mom back to our place.

The next day was the fourth. Instead of jumping into an event or barbecue, we took a long walk with Justice (woof) and relaxed at home. The next day was my birthday! Brandon had to work but surprised me with lunch at Ojedas, my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant. I ate the Carmel special and had two celebratory frozen margaritas. So good! Brandon had to head back to work but Nae (my twin sis) and my brother-in-love Danio joined me for round two.

More summer fun is on the way and I can’t wait to indulge! I’ll keep you updated via blogs and vlogs to keep you in the loop.

Have courage,

Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

Chef Trainee Gerry Roland presents at the Cordon Bleu

Elleword - My nephew Gerry is studying the culinary arts at the Cordon Bleu in Dallas, TX

My nephew, Gerry, is studying to become a chef.

A year or so ago, my nephew moved in with my twin sister and her husband to pursue the next step in his formal education. Thus far, the Cordon Bleu has exposed him to several regional dishes, sauces and desserts. Gerry sometimes brings these meals home for my sister and brother-in-love to try but he’s usually tied up with his job at a restaurant near their townhouse. Every semester, Gerry and his fellow chefs in training put on a sample show where they share the dishes they’ve been working on with the public. I wasn’t able to attend one of these demonstrations in the past (day job woes). Gerry invited me to come and enjoy some yummy foods that he and other budding cuisiniers had prepared a few weeks after I left the corporate world. Naturally I accepted!

Aside from the fact that there’d be free food, I wanted to take a look around. I hadn’t been to a culinary school before and after watching Julie & Julia 100 times, I was excited to see a real chef’s kitchen. When the day came, I got wrapped up in a writing assignment. Thankfully my sister (Gerry’s mom) Youlanda checked in with me via text to find out if I was still coming. Realizing that I didn’t have adequate time to put on a decent outfit, I settled for a pair of jeans, the neon pink t-shirt I was already wearing and my thrifted purple Nike zip up jacket. I crossed my fingers, hoping that I wouldn’t be the only casually dressed attendee as I kissed Brandon and ran out the door.

Eating at the Cordon Bleu School in Dallas

After driving (and sweating since our AC is out) for half an hour, I came upon a retail complex. The three suites on the end housed the Cordon Bleu of Dallas. I dabbed my face and neck and started towards the door. Youlanda came out to meet me. She was this brightly colored aztec print dress that we’d found on our latest shopping trip at Thrift City. Mom was waiting inside, also decked out in bright spring attire. Now I really felt underdressed! The lobby area was packed with guests of all ages. Though there was no food in sight, the aromas from the other room wafted in and made my stomach growl. An older gentleman dressed in a white culinary uniform came out to greet the group. The chef, who turned out to be one of the instructors, informed us that the students had all been working very hard on these dishes and were challenged to create their own recipes. Then he lead us around the corner into a modest dining hall full of eager student chefs stationed at covered dishes along the walls.

The instructor sat the guests at round tables covered by white and royal blue table clothes. In the center of the table were flowers, a bread basket, fancy butter and Mother’s Day themed menus. The three of us sat near the beverage area next to a friendly man whom we later learned supplied fresh produce to businesses and was married to one of the chefs in training. Feeling like one of those moms at elementary school plays, I hopped up and took a picture of Gerry at his food station. He looked so pristine in his uniform! Shortly after, everyone got up and started loading their plates with food. The students served us, sharing the details of their chosen dish and how to best enjoy it. There were savory foods like turkey pot pie, pot stickers, ceviche, milk bread, mussels and roast duck (Gerry’s main course). I had never eaten duck before so that was the first thing I tried. It was so delicious that I got seconds! For dessert we had poached pears. Once everyone was served, Gerry came to join us at our table. Gerry informed us that he’d planned on serving mochi dessert but it hadn’t turned out the way he planned and was left in the freezer. We raved at how good everything tasted and that we were sure he’d be able to succeed the next time he tried making the Japanese dessert.

After lunch, Gerry gave us a tour of the facility. After turning several corners and passing a group of large preparation areas, we walked into the large kitchen where Gerry and his classmates learned how to make traditional foods while experimenting with their own dishes. I’d never seen so many pots and utensils in one room. Just beneath one of the counters stood four large containers of flour, each a different kind, used for specific purposes. The shelves on the wall held enough seasonings to last a few years if stored in my cabinets at home. All of the appliances and table tops were stainless steel and brimming with cooking supplies.

There is a display case in the hallway honoring the late Chef Jean Lafont. Having been born in France and later moving to the U.S., Chef Lafont was known for his great ability to teach aspiring chefs and help them find employment after graduation. People called him the Diamond of Dallas Fine Dining.

Elleword - We had a great time at the Cordon Bleu in Dallas, TX!

Overall, we had an awesome time. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with for his next presentation. I’ve been inspired to cook a bit more creatively at home and add some variety to our menu. I’ll let you know what I come up with! When was the last time you cooked and what was the occasion? Let me know in the comments.

Have courage,

Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle

One Tasty Date in Addison, TX


This Saturday, my husband and I went to the Taste of Addison event. One of my awesome writing clients hooked me up with two free tickets in exchange for images and a blog post! Naturally I jumped on the chance and asked Brandon to come along for some fun in the park. Before we left the apartment, he seemed a little doubtful that we’d have much fun but I think the promise of food was enough to get him rolling. I’m glad because as soon as we got there, the smells of food made our mouths water!

After we hopped from booth to booth, snacking and chatting away, he started to really enjoy himself. He even got some footage for Periscope! We are both going to need to get in a few extra workouts to make up for all the calories we consumed! After spending three hours in the park, we jumped on the ferris wheel to get a view of the carnival that takes up a large part of the park. It was a little scary up there, but mostly romantic. By the end of the night, Brandon and I were all smiles. A chill started to settle in the air on our walk back to the truck. My feet were hurting from standing most of the day so Brandon carried me on his back for most of the walk back as I cheered him on.

Elleword - Elle and Brandon hanging out at the Taste of AddisonTime for a shameless plug: if you want someone to cover a local event in the Dallas metroplex, feel free to contact me! I love new experiences and strive to take lots of pics whenever I go out and about. I’ll write up a post to go along with the images and have it back to you within a few days. Contact me today to with your ideas.

Have courage,

Elle | Elleword  | Tweets  |  InstaElle