Posted on October 31, 2017
Category : Lifestyle

Since several neighborhoods in Pasadena go all-out for Halloween, I wanted to share pictures of some super creative and festive houses with all of you. It’s a highlight every year to see these decorations go up because they are so well done. Sometimes the decor looks a little too real! When we moved here in 2014, I remember going on a run right after work in early-October and getting spooked by a life-size skeleton wearing a cape hanging from a branch right above me. Now, I look forward to my first skeleton (or zombie) encounter of the season and still get a little scared! Tomorrow night, these houses will be lit up and the streets filled with excited trick-or-treaters. Michael and I will join the fun and are planning to cook our traditional stuffed dinner in a pumpkin, which is a holiday stew that is baked inside a real pumpkin. We love making this recipe every year! As for my costume, I haven’t decided yet – eek! I’ll either be a pumpkin or a flapper. Both costumes are ready-to-go. Michael will be a soccer player! Thank you for reading, wishing you a safe and fun Halloween!









Healthy Fall Breakfast Ideas


Posted on September 25, 2017
Category : Recipes

Starting the day with a light, yet delicious breakfast always makes me feel energized, collected, and vibrant. About a decade ago, I considered breakfast to be the least important meal of the day, but in hindsight, not getting enough nutrition in the morning made me less productive and ravenous by lunchtime. On days where my appetite does not “wake-up” as early as I do, I still make sure to prepare breakfast so that it’s ready by the time I actually get hungry. Trust me, by 10 o’clock, I always want something to nibble on and am thankful I planned in advance. The following three breakfast recipes are too good to not share and range from savory to sweet. The best part is they will power you up all morning and are made from all-natural ingredients. They are super flavorful too; just thinking about them makes me wish it was time for breakfast. Let’s get started making Avocado Toast, Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats, and a Breakfast Banana Split.



Avocado toast truly stole my heart in August and I haven’t looked back. I traveled to NYC for a business trip and was introduced to the best avocado toast when I was staying at this charming hotel. It was pretty divine. By the time I got home, I whipped up the recipe and whala, the version from my very own kitchen exceeded my expectations. I’m excited to share it with you!


1 egg
2 tsp coconut oil
1 slice of gluten-free bread
½ avocado
1/8 tsp chia seeds
1/4 cup cherry tomato slices
Sprig of cilantro
Optional: 1/8 tsp Pink Himalayan sea salt


Pop a slice of bread in the toaster.

Head over to the stove and heat two teaspoons of coconut oil over med-high heat until hot. Break the egg and slip it into the oil on your pan. Reduce heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. When the whites begin to set and yoke thickens, flip the egg to cook on the other side. Remove from heat after a few minutes.

Cut the avocado in half and scoop out the contents into a small bowl. Mash up using a fork and add chia seeds as well as sea salt to the mix.

Spread avocado mixture on your toast, covering the entire area and add the fried egg. Add a dollop of extra guacamole, a sprig of cilantro, and a few tomato slices to the top. Enjoy eating with your hands or a fork – your pick!




Fall is the very best time of year and I revel in everything about it. I love the changing leaves, cooler temperatures, and seasonal scents with warm cinnamon notes. Plain overnight oats have been a go-to breakfast option for me for a couple of years now, but there’s nothing like jazzing it up with a little pumpkin spice! It’s incredible.


½ cup plain dairy-free yogurt
½ cup rolled gluten-free oats
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ cup plain pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Pour all ingredients in the wide-mouth mason jar and stir. Cover with lid and refrigerate for four hours or overnight.




Michael and I love riding our bikes to Downtown South Pasadena and stopping in at the classic Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain because they make the most decadent desserts. Their banana splits, in particular, look absolutely amazing. Since traditional banana splits have a lot of sugar and dairy, I decided to make a really tasty breakfast-version made of natural ingredients that we would love eating at home. This recipe is a favorite in our house because it’s fun to make and eat.


1 large banana
¼ cup plain dairy-free yogurt
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoons cocoa nibs
¼ cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon maple syrup


Peel banana and slice in half lengthwise. Arrange slices on plate so that it looks like a butterfly (personal preference!), top with yogurt.

Sprinkle chia seeds and cocoa nibs on top of yogurt.

In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, water, and maple syrup.

Drizzle this sauce over the split. Finish with fresh raspberries and serve.

Please enjoy making these recipes and you can download the recipe cards featured here! I would love to hear if you tried making any of these dishes. If you do, leave a comment below. Use  #modernvida if you post on social media so I can celebrate your beautiful breakfast with you too.




Posted on September 11, 2017
Category : Recipes

A smoothie bowl makes for an amazingly delicious and nutrient rich breakfast, lunch, or post-workout snack any day of the week. They are so tasty and always pop with gorgeous natural colors. The consistency is thick like soft-serve ice cream and is even denser than a traditional smoothie, which makes them perfect for eating from a bowl with a spoon. Decorating the top with a variety of vibrant, delicious toppings (that all have amazing health benefits) is the best part. Even if you think you don’t have a creative side, I promise it will come out when you are tossing on a myriad of pretty toppings.  Since there are so many different variations of smoothie bowls, I wanted to share my top four favorite bowls that that give me a boost of energy, quickly satisfy my cravings, and are frequently made in my kitchen. Let’s get started creating the Mango Tango, Coconut Latte, Carrot Cake, and Pink Dragon Bowls!



This bowl somehow teleports you to the tropics with its super sweet mango flavor and creamy thickness (special thanks to the cooked cauliflower). The color is ultra lavish as a result of adding turmeric, which is also a strong antioxidant that has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.


6 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk (Trader Joe’s)

1-pitted date (Food to Live)

½ cup chilled cooked cauliflower

1 ½ cups frozen mango chunks (Earthbound Farm)

¼ tsp ground turmeric

2 tbsp coconut oil (La Tourangelle)


1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut (Bob’s Red Mill)

1/4 cup blueberries (Earthbound Farm)

1/4 cup raspberries (Earthbound Farms)

1 tbsp chia seeds (Navitas Naturals)

1 tbsp pecans (Jansal Valley)


Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and decorate with toppings.




It’s totally ok to say, “I love you a latte” to this bowl. Seriously, it’s so satisfying and has the consistency of a milkshake. If you are trying to limit your caffeine intake but want an amazing replacement that has a bold and rich coffee flavor use the grain substitute recommended below.The ingredients practically have a party together and make for a well-deserved treat.


¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk (Trader Joe’s)

2-pitted dates (Food to Live)

4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (Swanson Organics)

2 tbsp raw peanut butter (MaraNatha)

1-½ tsp instant coffee granules or caffeine-free coffee substitute (Inka Instant Grain Beverage)

6 oz firm tofu (House Foods)

½ tsp pure vanilla extract (Simply Organic)

½ cup ice


1-banana sliced

1 tbsp toasted chopped unsalted hazelnuts (Food to Live)

¾ tsp chia seeds (Navitas Naturals)

Dash of ground cinnamon and nutmeg


Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and decorate with toppings.




Carrot cake in any shape or form is delicious, but honestly this carrot cake smoothie bowl is even better. I love it because it’s super hydrating and packed with flavors you would expect from an indulgent cake without the guilt.


¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk (Trader Joe’s)

1-frozen banana

1/3 cup frozen pineapple chunks (Earthbound Farms)

½ cup cooked, cooled oatmeal (Bob’s Red Mill)

¾ tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup steamed, cooled carrots


1 tbsp cashews (Thrive Market)

1 tbsp pecans (Jansal Valley)

1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut (Bob’s Red Mill)

1 tbsp plain whole milk yogurt or sheep’s yogurt (Bellwether Farms)

1-pitted date (Food to Live)


Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and decorate with toppings.




This smoothie bowl is all about empowerment. It’s naturally bold, beautiful, and a superstar in health benefits. The pink pitaya (aka dragon fruit) has a surprising number of phytonutrients and since they are rich in antioxidants, they contain Vitamin C and several B vitamins. Sprinkling on bee pollen is double the fun since it’s sweet and is considered to be one of nature’s most nourishing foods. This bowl is striking and a definite beauty food that will make you radiate too.


¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk (Trader Joe’s)

1-frozen banana

½ cup frozen blueberries (Earthbound Farm)

1-3.5 oz frozen pitaya packet (Pitaya Plus Smoothie Packs)


¼ cup all natural granola (Mamachia)

1 tbsp oats (Bob’s Red Mill)

Several blueberries

½ tsp bee pollen (Y.S. Organic Bee Farm)


Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and decorate with toppings.

Happy blending and enjoy making your very own smoothie bowl art. If you want to download the recipe cards for the smoothies featured in this post please click here! Let know in the comments what some of your favorite smoothie bowls are, and if you snap a picture of your bowl use #modernvida on social media. I would love to see all your beautiful creations. XO!

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Posted on June 01, 2017
Category : Outfits

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Without a doubt, I’m a minimalist when it comes to jewelry and my philosophy is that a little goes a long way. I believe that jewelry lifts a look, and therefore knowing the line between just enough and too much is key. Next to my wedding ring, I typically choose one other accessory to make a statement and add a little oomph to my wardrobe.

In today’s look that was featured on Instagram, I stacked a few different bangles (here, here) and absolutely loved how the gold, teal and pink looked together. The colors are better together than by themselves. While my earrings didn’t make the shot, I wore simple gold studs (here) that coordinated with the bangles and looked feminine especially since my hair was pulled back in a bun.

Apart from bracelets, I naturally gravitate towards earrings and necklaces with extra pizzazz and character. Right now, I can’t get enough of tassels, tasteful bling, geometric edge, and mixed-media, as you will see above. I’m also finding that it’s easy and beautiful to wear pieces with silver, gold, and rose gold since they are complimentary, and believe multi-colored pieces look best on a monochromatic look because it allows them to truly shine.

Rings add the final touch to any outfit. It’s easy to fall for stackable styles as well as gob-stoppers.

What is your favorite piece of jewelry to wear? Mine is currently this one (here) from Madewell, it’s been a repeat winner.

Looking for more inspiration and bling? Preview the MVJewelry Board that includes a full look-book of the pieces I am drawn to.


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