Vlog City Life: September 2018: Hello Autumn + Summer Table Setting + Hauls + Yoga and Fitness + Gluten Free & Keto Home Cooked Meals


The month started out in a whirlwind as usual. With twenty something days to go until Summer was officially over I realized I had slept most of August away with insomnia. Finally, it broke and I was able to start out the month strong with four full days of events around Tampa. That is great foreboding for the month because I knew it would be super busy. My husband took this photo of me at the Summer Rum Festival in this marigold dress and it was instantly may favorite. I look sunny and I love that!

First Autumn Sunset- taken with two different camera settings


Fashionweek Tampa Bay


This months new dresses for the babies from Sphynx Swag. I was trying to get my hands on a dress made of this same material last year, but the black sold out on the Just Fab website. I am going to try and find something elsewhere so we can all match because yea, I am a crazy cat lady.






FITNESS, HEALTH & AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES:  It actually just occurred to me that I went the entire month of September without taking a workout photo. I did workout, but hubs wasn't around to take pictures and I am not even going to try doing yoga while handling a camera on a self timer! I did however, feel really vindicated. I did an entire 95 days of belly blast which is my workout that I put together to target belly fat. No, I didn't work out every single day, but I did work out more than usual; something like three days a week Vrs one day. Towards the end of the Summer I started to see the difference. It will be hard to tell here on my blog because all of my photos got moved all around based on priority unfortunately.

This month was also my 3rd year anniversary of doing yoga. I absolutely abhorred yoga at first, but it took a lot of time and dedication and I am just glad I never gave up. I really hope in October I can get some updated photos and share some Fall workout gear. Due to a lot of stress I actually ate a lot more Pescatarian and veg in September (no weight loss because that was not my goal). Living with Autoimmune diseases and Rheumatoid Arthritis a lot of days it is much easier for me to eat vegetarian or as I say flexitarian because it is easier on my stomach and body. I have to have the occasional steak because I am unfortunately severely Anemic; and I do enjoy steak!

To be very clear, I have never eaten a lot of bread, pasta, dairy, and about 5 years ago I really cut down on rice. I don't eat a lot of foods that would irritate my stomach or trigger an autoimmune response in general so when it happens I know its because of what I ate- a great example of this is brown rice.

 For me, eating clean meals with more veggies than meat works and if I need extra protein I usually turn to broths, eggs, or Greek yogurt. I have been living like this for a while now and it hasn't been easy to get to a point where I felt like I was keeping in all of the nutrients and vitamins I was putting in. I do drink wine, I know its not a great choice, but its my choice right now.

I got to go back and look at a lot of my older yoga photos and I can say without a doubt I am so much stronger and more confident and I love that. I can't wait to yoga all around this Autumn and Winter and share my world with you all!



This brand of wine has quickly become one of my favorites in red and white.
Since the Summer rose tasting at Ocean Prime I have become a sparkling rose fan. I am not picky on the brand since I am just starting to drink rose. The only thing I do know from that tasting is that I am not a fan of non sparkling rose.


This is the Summer table setting I have had up since June. I have had no time to post it so I wanted to share it before I move on to my Autumn Table. I got these floral chargers as a gift for my birthday and wanted to use them. I usually go for a more bold color for Summer and this would be more for Spring, so I added elements of the beach such as my shells. Alas, my table was too small so I had to choose between the shell center piece or the candles and the candles won. Everything I have here I already owned so I did not have to come out of pocket to do this table.






This months Rocksbox purchase. I love the new line that is out for Kate Spade and I was on the fence about buying another pair of pricey fur earrings. These were just too cute pass on as well as the matching ring.





IN THE CITY: As surprising as it is, I spent a lot of September going around Tampa alone which I rarely do because I don't like driving. My husband was on many business trips and I just felt like I couldn't wait for him to be here to hold my hand so I went out and pounded the streets a little bit. My first trip was actually this visit to the 9/11 Memorial in Ybor City. I went to college down there so I know the area well and in general am pretty comfortable. Ybor City is one of my most favorite things about Tampa, but I stray away from there because one: the night life is reckless teens and two: I can't have a Cuban Sandwich anymore so its just torture. But Ybor will always be my stomping ground because had I not gone to school down there I feel like I would have remained very sheltered.

The second part of my month was events. I went to so many events and that is one of the reasons why I didn't even notice that I had no yoga photos. And the third part was trying to make time to be with my husband since he essentially was away a lot since we returned from Cuba. I am looking forward to the slower pace of Fall (not so much Winter, but heck yes to Christmas and New Years).








Champagne brunch at Elevage




Cask Social




Gluten found in my collard greens that were supposed to be gluten free.





Timpano Tampa





C House

The C House Seminole Heights





Roccos Tacos- lunch with brothers
Sunday Champagne & Crab leg brunch at Rusty Pelican





Labor Day brunch at Boca Tampa


Elevage at the Epicuiran Hotel- New menu is here!



Roccos Tacos 



Green Lemon




CANDLE REVIEWS


Tiki beach: vanilla musk, orchids, toasted coconut, with essential oils
Fiji white sands: fresh cut sugarcane, white nectarine, sandalwood.
rainforest garen
all three candles from the same line were almost undetectable in my condo which is a shame. It seemed like money down the drain and I lit them several times and made sure to cut the wicks. I could not smell them.

Seventh Ave Apothecary candle haul


In general I loved all of the scents that I got, they are just kind of pricey compared to its counterpart Bath and Body Works. Even with a discount these candles were almost 100.00 and I could have gotten about twice the amount. When doing the math, I did come to the conclusion it is more cost efficient to purchase the large candle in the glass because it has more burn time and you get a drinking glass out of it. I am currently a candle of the month member which is about 38.00 for one candle with delivery. I am going to let that ride and see if I enjoy it for a while. Septembers candle of the month was an Orange Spice which I surprisingly loved.

shown: Lotus Flower + Kelp (my favorite)
Tobacco + Vanilla Bourbon (I could not smell this one and neither could my husband)
Cranberry + Winter Squash (the small tins are great for the bathrooms and the scent gets concentrated)
Eucalyptus + Ginseng (it was enjoyable)


Black garlic noodles with shrimp and sautéed veggies
I started by  pouring 3 tablespoons of sesame oil in my cast iron (the smallest one Lodge makes its about six ounces) and rough chopping some garlic. Hubby usually does my chopping and I like to add that because his skills with cutting food and vegetables are way better than mine by far. I usually just tell him how I need things cut and he does it. So, I let the oil and garlic cook on medium in my cast iron for ten to 15 minutes and it will turn black. It's very fragrant and it will fill your space with good smells.

While that is cooking I put some broccolini, the white part of green onions, and thin sliced white onions in my other pan and let that cook with half a tablespoon of butter on medium. I will let those cook until I have six minutes left and then add the shrimp and some of my black garlic oil. You don't want to cover your pan and sweat these out because they all need to be crispy. I also drizzled my black garlic oil on the veggies and shrimp.

Next, I am boiling his egg, I put green onions and the black garlic oil on his egg while it boiled for seven minutes. Unfortunately, this one cracked, but that helped the black garlic oil get into the egg better. Next, I took that same pot and drained the water, but tried to keep the green onions and garlic and I added half a tablespoon of oil and lightly fried his zoodles on six (electric stove).

While I did this I cooked my brown rice Pho noodles and also added a tiny spoon of black garlic oil to them while they boiled. Once everything was done I plated it. I added salt to taste and a tiny drizzle of chili oil on my noodles. This insn't a soup, it's not a stir fry, it's just lightly sautéed. I did not use a recipe I was just experimenting with the black garlic oil.




keto friendly

Gluten free

Myer lemon roast chicken 
I have posted the full recipe for this in past City Life Updates. It has been so long since I made roast chicken since hubby was trying a Pescatarian diet for four or five months.





gluten free version- pan seared shrimp, baked snapper, quinoa, lentil, basmati rice blend that I made and sautéed asparagus.
A lot of our dinners look more like this lately which is a veggie, a protein, and a carb. For me that is... for hubs I make a keto version which I why I have two plates for most meals now. His plate looks a but lean, but I honestly eat half of my food and give the rest to him almost every time. If he still needs more I load up more protein or give him an avocado.


keto version



Meat over rice

Meat over rice is a meal that I grew up eating. I did not grow up with a lot of money in my family and my parents worked pretty hard to put food on the table. This is a meal that is so so simple and inexpensive and it will feed you and your family for the work week and deliver on flavor. I have also noticed there are similar Spanish and Cuban versions and I have made those before (also good) but this is a staple childhood meal that always makes me think of home. If you are like me and don't eat a lot of meat you can also use half the amount of beef for a more veggie heavy dinner.

Meat Over Rice
- 1lb of ground beef
-1 white onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 3 cups chicken broth or beef broth
- 2 cups water
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 2-3 cans of diced stewed tomatoes
- salt to tast
- black pepper
- garlic powder

First, start off browning your ground beef in the pan. You can use a different pan or do it in the same sauce pan you will cook your sauce in. Once the beef is browned add all the ingredients and let simmer for 60 minutes stirring occasionally. Once it is done serve with white rice.




Parmagiano reggiano pasta w shrimp
I have made this before and posted it, bt with chicken. I decided to post it again because I did the keto friendly version with zoodles. I also used Key West Pink Shrimp which were quite enjoyable they just are very small.


Keto version has pan seared zoodles



Oven roasted lemon pepper chicken thighs with sautéed cabbage and black eyed peas



Keto stir fry

I wanted to make a stir fry that would accommodate his diet and it was pretty simple. I looked at a few Keto Stir Fry recipes and just came to the conclusion that all I needed to do was omit the rice or noodles so I replaced that with Cauliflower rice.
keto version

gluten free

  • half a pound of shrimp, I used Key West pink shrimp
  • veggies:
  • 2 carrots 
  • 6 white mushrooms
  • 4 sliced broccolini bunches
  • Half of a white onion

  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • a drizzle of gluten free Tamari (soy sauce)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 scallions, in slices
  • 1 tsp chili flakes or chili oil to finish with flakes in it
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil or stir fry oil
When I cooked my stir fry I specifically used a wok on medium. Let the oil get hot and add the carrots, onions, and garlic first. I let that cook for 10 minutes covered so it gets soft. Then start adding in the other ingredients leaving the shrimp to add last because this only takes about 20 minutes to cook.

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