Aug 29, 2013

VLOG! You Asked, We Answered: Part 2

It only took us 6 months, but here it is folks...a new VLOG for ya! The more and more we do these, the more fun and easier they get. This vlog is only a smidge shorter than the last one, but I hope you'll watch it all the way through anyway. Maybe your question got answered?! There's your incentive. ;) Oh, and in case you're new to the blog and missed our last vlog...you can watch it here. Now, on to the show!

DISCLAIMERS:
1| Forgive any words/names that I may have butchered during the vlog. I am my mother's daughter. What can I say?
2| The backlighting is AWFUL. Sorry. That's what happens when you try to vlog during the late afternoon here.
3| In addition, the lighting made us both look like we have weird dents in our heads. D wanted to re-vlog the whole thing because he looked like a crater-head. Naturally, I told him to get over it.
4| There is more to that Poland story. Remind me to tell you about it one day.
5| Also, how cute is my husband? I lub him.



VLOG! You Asked, We Answered: Part 2 from Casedilla1016 on Vimeo.


And a little blog housekeeping before I go...
There will be NO FRESH FACE FRIDAY BLOG HOP or FEATURES tomorrow! D and I are off to Liechtenstein and a few spots in Bavaria for the long Labor Day weekend, so I'm taking Friday off to enjoy traveling with my favorite travel buddy. If you aren't already, make sure you follow me on Instagram to keep up with our adventures in Europe! I'm positive I'll be posting lots of fun photos from our trip. :)

And lastly...TODAY ONLY you can grab a FRESH FACE ad spot at 30% OFF! Use code VLOGGINGROCKS and join my Fresh Faces for September! Click here to get on board!

Hope everyone has a lovely Labor Day weekend!!

Aug 28, 2013

Chocolate Chip Black Bean Brownies


Up until about 4 years ago, I hated beans. Don't put them in my burrito, don't add them to my soup, and sure as heck don't throw some on top of my salad. Barf. The only dish that I'd eat with beans in it was chili. And that's only because chili isn't chili unless there are beans in it, right? Ok, so hot dog chili is chili, but of a whole different breed (and also really, really gross). Needless to say, beans and I weren't friends. It wasn't until around the time when D left for his first deployment that I thought, "Hey, I should make something with beans!," and slowly but surely I began to allow beans into my life. At first, it was just casual. Refried beans alongside my chimichanga? We're dating. And I happily called D after every Mexican meal I ate to tell him I ate beans. After years of watching me turn up my nose, he was proud. Then things started getting serious when I went to Jason's Deli one day (dear Lord, I miss Jason's Deli) and put gobs of garbanzo's on my spinach salad. There was no turning back then. I was having a full on love affair with beans and I didn't care who knew it. These days, we're having beans in some way, shape, or form at least 2 times a week. And now...we're having beans for dessert. Yes siree.


In a continuous effort to find healthier dessert alternatives (and keeping my love for beans alive, mind you), I read in a forever old issue of the Food Network Mag, my guilty pleasure magazine, about using beans in brownies. The first time I skimmed that issue, my bean-hating self probably cringed and kept on flipping pages, but recently, with my new diet (which is going really well, in case you're wondering), I've opened myself up to using other ingredients in baking. Black beans in a chocolate brownie? YES, PLEASE! These bad boys are not only gluten-free, but they're flour-free, egg-free, oil-free, and refined sugar-free! For a low 114 calories per 2" x 2" brownie square, this dessert is a no-brainer. D tried them last night and had no flippin' clue they were made with black beans. But I will warn you...like with any bean-based food, they may cause flatulence. Which I discovered thanks to my darling husband post-brownie indulgence. Annnd we're back to gagging at beans. Super.


Chocolate Chip Black Bean Brownies
Yields: 9 brownies

Ingredients:
1- 15oz. can of reduced-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed throughly
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup old-fashioned quick-cooking oats
2 packets (roughly 2 tsp.) of Stevia (or any Stevia-based sweetener like Truvia)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup organic pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 8x8 pan. Combine all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, into the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth (you may still see flakes of oats, but that's ok!). Fold in 3 Tbsp. of the chocolate chips and set aside the remaining Tbsp. Pour batter into the greased pan and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top of the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean in the toothpick test. Allow brownies to cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Serving size: 1- 2"x 2" brownie
Nutritional Breakdown: 114 calories, 2.5g fat, 1g sat fat, 22g carbs, 9g sugar, 3g fiber, 4g protein, 200mg potassium, 142mg sodium


[Nutrition facts were calulated using MyFitnessPal]

Aug 27, 2013

Athens: An Intro


Freshman year of college I took an art history class. For at least 2 weeks out of that 16-week course, we talked about Greek architecture...and more specifically, about the ancient Acropolis in Athens. I remember sitting on the second row of that classroom, wide eyed and completely enthralled by ionic columns, stories of Greek gods & goddesses, and the overall creativity of the Hellenic people. It was there, amidst the lines of my mid-term blue book that I fell in love with Greece and its fascinating history and architecture. I made a promise to myself that if given the chance, I'd visit Athens and see the wonders of the Greek world with my own eyes someday. Happily (and just 7 short years later), that someday came while we were sailing on our first Mediterranean cruise. Guys, it was everything I'd thought it be...and more.

We started our day bright and early docking in at the port a short 20-minute drive from Athens. We booked an 8-hour tour of the Athens, the Acropolis, and Cape Sounion through Nikos at Private Greece Tours and tour shared with two wonderful families I found on Cruise Critic. Let me tell you, friends, if you want an authentic, culturally-rich tour of any city you visit on a cruise, never book one of the tours offered by the ship. There are so many excellent private tours and guides out there that can give you smaller touring groups and personalized attention. Don't waste your money sight-seeing with insanely large groups of people and hurried touring. With the limited time you have in each port, you want to get the best bang for your buck...and private touring is the way to go.

So, our driver, Billy (who was FABULOUS), picked the 8 of us up at the port and began our tour of bustling Athens. Of course, it was another rainy, cloudy day (what's up with that, Mediterranean?!), but we didn't let that get in the way of our time exploring. We first made a stop at the Temple of Olympian Zeus (as seen in the temple photos midway through above) and Hadrian's Arch. It was a quick stop seeing as this one temple stands alone, in ruins, just a thousand feet below the Acropolis. From there, we made another quick photo stop at the Panathenaic Stadium just a few stoplights away. This stadium, built entirely of white marble in 329 BC, held the first modern Olympic games in Athens in 1896. What I think was most fascinating to me upon the start of our time jetting around Athens was the juxtaposition of modern Athens to ancient Athens. Ruins seemed to pop up randomly amongst even the densest of modern city areas. It was surreal to see a metro line pass right by the remains of temple. I absolutely love that past-meets-present vibe, and Athens was chock full of it.

More from the Acropolis, coming soon!

[Linking up for Travel Tuesday with Belinda & Bonnie!]

Aug 25, 2013

Dressed to Impress: Formal Night with eShakti

[This is a sponsored post for eShakti. Dress is c/o eShakti. All views and opinions are my own.]


I'm a girl. A girl who is a self-proclaimed shopaholic with an unwavering love of stylish, well-fitting dresses. Plain and simple. My closet consists of about 60% dresses and the rest...ho-hum everyday wear. Why so many dresses? I just can't help myself. What girl doesn't want to get dolled up, throw on a sick dress and show off her gams all around town? Not any girl I know. That's why when eShakti contacted me and asked me if I'd like to pick a dress...any dress...to take on my fabulous Mediterranean cruise, I jumped at the chance!

The dress I chose was nothing too out of the ordinary. It was my favorite color, had a sassy one shoulder overlay, and was the perfect length...not too short, not too long (eShakti dresses are customizable!). But what I hadn't expected when I picked this particular dress out for formal night on our cruise was that it would be so comfortable and fit so perfectly! The fabric was forgiving, so I wasn't tugging and pulling on it all night, especially after stuffing myself with a surf & turf dinner. It was also so unbelievably comfy. I told D the next morning that I could have slept in it. Not something I could say about most dresses in my wardrobe. Needless to say, I was wowed by eShakti and their attention to the female figure and frame of mind. Their customer service is pretty stellar, too! Just based on the slurry of compliments I got on the dress from perfect strangers on our cruise ship, I will definitely be pulling this little outfit out for a number of events to come. If you haven't given eShakti a try yet, you don't know what you're missing! And if you sign up with them today, you can score yourself a $25 coupon, good for your first purchase! They're also running a pretty sweet buy 2, get 1 free promotion. Go forth and shop, ladies!

Aug 23, 2013

FRESH FACE FRIDAY [& Blog Hop]: Meet Jay & Jenna

Lookin' good, Friday! Welcome back! Hope your weekend is starting out on a good note out there in blog land. This weekend, D and are deep cleaning our apartment. Yay, right? Our landlord stopped by last night to give us a heads up that he was going to be bringing a potential buyer by to take a look at our apartment on Monday morning. So, of course, that means we've got to get our place sparkling like diamond. Don't worry, we're not moving yet. Our landlords are building a giant new house somewhere across town and are selling this one 2 Christmases from now. Not sure why they're house showing so dang early, but I just chalk it up to yet another thing I don't understand about Germany. Maybe you'll see a pros & cons about it someday. But probably not.

 In addition to scrubbing the flat, I've also convinced D that we're LONG overdue for another duo VLOG! I still have that bowl of questions you guys submitted FOREVER ago, but somehow time slipped away from us and we haven't been able to answer them. Well, wait no more! Saturday is the day! Of course D gave me crap about participating (not surprising), but then I reminded him how much he loved the last one (couldn't get enough of watching himself on the computer...it was insanely cute), and that we could drink all the way through it again, so he happily obliged. And if I remember correctly, he said ON VIDEO that he'd do another one with me. You all saw it. He can't get out of it now! SO, look out for a new vlog from Team Coté next week!

As for today, I hope you'll take some time out and meet my last two August Fresh Faces and link-up your blog to the blog hop! It's clinically proven to be the best way to start your weekend. But don't quote me on that. Just do it. Happy weekending, dears!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I can't quite remember how I met Jay out in blog land, but what I do remember is being intrigued by her fascinating expat life in Gabon and drawn to her smooth writing style. Jay, now experiencing expat life in Norway, writes over at the travel & lifestyle blog From There to Here. This Canadian born traveler often shares about her life in Stavanger, her travels around Europe and Africa, and has keen eye for photography...as is evident from beautifully composed posts like this. I love hopping over to Jay's blog to see what new adventures she's been getting into lately! She's also quite the book worm and has some great suggestions for good reads on quite a variety of subjects. If you love expats and travel as much as I do, Jay's a great gal to get acquainted with!

Jay's Favorite Posts:

My Favorite Posts:


I've got another fabulous expat to show off to you today! Friends, this is Jenna, author of the blog A Home Away From Home, expat, and grad student living the beautiful country of South Africa. Color me jealous! Over on Jenna's blog, you'll find lots of fun posts about living in Johannesburg, traveling all over Africa with her fiancé Jurgen (they're so cute!), and navigating life as a grad student abroad. Jenna's also quite the cook. You can check out some of her scrumptious recipes here. Head on over and say hi to this fun-loving girl, I'm sure you'll stick around forever!

Jenna's Favorite Posts:

My Favorite Posts:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Welcome to the
FRESH FACE FRIDAY BLOG HOP!
No prompt, just fun!

Hosted by: Casey @ We Took the Road Less Traveled

Rules for hopping:
1| Follow your host & co-hosts (first 3 links), pretty please! 
2| Link up your blog's homepage or Bloglovin' page.
3| Hop around, meet new bloggers, and leave them love!
4| Have fun? Spread the word and share this blog hop with your friends!
5| Want to be a co-host? Click here for more info! 

Grab a button and share the blog hop love!
We Took the Road Less Traveled
Tweet about this blog hop!

Aug 22, 2013

Mentionables

Hey there, friends! Hope each of you are having a lovely Thursday. Not much going on around my neck of the woods today. So much so that I really don't even have a great blog post planned. I thought about editing more travel photos, but I just don't wanna. Then I thought about sharing my cauliflower pizza crust recipe that I nailed first time 'round the other night, but the photos I took are total crap. So, that's out (but I'll share it soon, promise!). Then I thought maybe I should write something profound and thought-provoking today. Then I remembered I rarely have anything profound and thought-provoking to say. So, today you get more of the weird and interesting stuff I've found on the internets over the last few weeks. I bookmark these things to share when I've got nothing to share from my own brain. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. OH! And make sure you come back tomorrow and link-up to the Fresh Face Friday Blog Hop! Purty, please? See you then!


^^This is my life.^^


I am utterly shocked and dismayed that my Glamour Shots didn't make this list. SHOCKED. I mean, I'm rockin' the feather boa, the studded jacket, the hat, AND some bouffant hair. The Glamour Shot quadruple threat, if you will. Buzzfeed really missed the mark on this one. Also, this is the second time these photos have appeared on my blog. Consider yourselves some lucky individuals. Oh, and you're welcome Amanda Marshall.



Oh my gosh...you guys. If you've never watched videos of Maymo the dog before...you're in for an adorable treat. I found this too-cute-for-words pup on YouTube a long time ago, but have watched almost all of his videos at least 10 times over. He's kind of my go-to when I'm having a crappy day. Cheers me up instantly. I cannot get over how he just sits and stares and lets his owner do just about anything to him. And his new puppy friend? Cuteness overload. Maymo is pretty much the coolest dog in the entire world...next to my Tucker dog, of course. The video above is my favorite, but here and here are a few runners-up that I can't stop watching. Maymo, you've stollen my heart.


via
This mom is a friggin' genius...and also somehow has too much time on her hands.


via
Humans of New York. I've been scanning photos and reading these blurbs for a little while now. Some of them are sad, some funny, some are downright strange...but all of them are real, honest, and just so darn refreshing. It's a fascinating world full of fascinating people we live in. I just had no idea most of them lived in NYC.


Also...
Should I buy this?
I'm thinking yes.

Make sure you check out today's Google doodle. It's a winner.
Any cool viral vids or articles you've found lately? Share the wealth!

Aug 21, 2013

Wiesbaden Rheingau Wine Festival


Ahhh the wine festival. If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram you're probably sick of me talking about it. If so, just skip this post. Otherwise, indulge me and feast your eyes on the 10 greatest days of festivaling in the world...the Rheinegauer Weinwoche Wiesbaden. This wine festival is unlike any wine festival I've ever experienced and is very different from the kinds of wine festivals that occur in the states. Not only is it 10 entire days long (from 11am to midnight every day), but it's also the 2nd largest wine festival in Germany next to Wurstmarkt in Bad Durkheim. Let me run this down for you: at most wine festivals in the states (or at least the handful that I've attended), you pay $25-$40 flat fee to get into the festival and get handed a small tasting glass. You then have to wander around to maybe 30 or 40 tents, stand in in lines with dozens of other sweaty drunk people, and wrestle your glass to the server for a mere sip of wine. Do that like 12 times and you're tired, irritated, wine-covered, and barely buzzed. No bueno.

At the Rheingau Wine Fest there is no entry fee...so, you get to hop around to over 100 different winery tents and order yourself a small glass of wine (served in beautifully etched wine glasses unique to each vintner) for a few euros (plus a small 'pfand' or glass fee-but you get that back upon returning your glass). Of course, you can taste the wine before you purchase a glass of wine, but having to go up and pay for a small glass drastically reduces the lines and crowds clambering around the tents. You order (and/or taste) what you want, find a table, and RELAX! Fest tables are around every tent as well as about 2 dozen different food vendors serving cheese platters, brats, flammkuchen, crepes, and pretzels bigger than your head. After drinking a few glasses (rather than sips) of delicious Rhine Region Riesling (the greatest Riesling in the entire world, mind you), those giant pretzels really come in handy. In addition to more wine tents than anyone could ever visit in 10 days (believe me, we've tried), the fest also boasts some pretty stellar entertainment from local bands. 80's cover bands are alive and well in Germany, folks. So are some super sweet dance moves, as noted in the video below. I absolutely love people watching at festivals here.

Don't worry, it was barely 2 minutes after I finished recording this video before D and I got out there and cut a rug with them. So. Much. Fun. Out of the 10 days that the festival was up and running this year, D and I made it down for 6 days...on point with our visits to the fest last year. I literally never tire of that festival. In fact, walking home on our very last night there, possibly ever, I got a bit teary eyed. The Rheingau Wine Fest was the very first festival we attended upon moving to Germany and holds some pretty special memories we've shared with many of our friends (from home and abroad). Not to mention, it's just a few minutes walk down the street from our house in the most beautiful area of Wiesbaden. Everything about it makes my heart sing, so you can see why I had a bit of trouble saying goodbye to it. Fingers crossed our last time at this festival won't truly be our last time. One can only hope!
I'm telling you, friends, get yourself to Germany and check out one of these amazing festivals...preferably this one! And if you have an extra plane ticket come wine fest time next year, I'm coming with you. ;)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...