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Random weekend shots

18 Sep

A lot of other bloggers do photo posts of their weekends, which is something I’ve never really gotten into. For one, I don’t take nearly as many pictures as they do, and — frankly — I don’t do a whole lot. That whole being broke-ish thing keeps us spending as little as possible most of the time. I do have a few random shots from the last few days that I wanted to share, though.

I attended a forum on Thursday that included a free lunch (yay!). They were boxed meals from Quiznos, including a sandwich, an apple, and a bag of chips. Apparently someone managed to design, get approval for, and print thousands of lunch boxes with this glaring typo:

Or maybe I’m being too harsh. Perhaps Quiznos is very philosophical about their food. “Who IS lunch?” It almost seems pro-vegetarian. Almost.

On Friday, I was driving home from Girls on the Run recruitment and saw this not-at-all-ominous cloud of smoke in the distance:

Fun California fact: Shit catches on fire here and stays on fire. This particular blaze was about 10 miles from my apartment, just east of the 405 near the Getty. Yikes.

On Saturday, we decided to beat the heat — 100° outside with no breeze = at least 10 billion° F inside my apartment — by heading to Venice Beach. It was significantly more bearable out there in the direct sun and surf than at home, so this was a big win. Mr. X didn’t want to be in my photo, so here was our view for the burning-our-pasty-skin portion of the afternoon:

The crowds were the perfect size. They were never overwhelming, and I liked being around a decent number of people. We spent a lot of time in the water, which was lots of fun. To the Pacific we sacrificed two pairs of sunglasses, a headband, a hair tie, and three bobby pins. It was worth it, though, even when we got knocked down by waves so hard that we scraped our backs on the rough bottom.

On Sunday, I picked up our CSA share and bought a dozen eggs from the market while I was there. At home, I made us a nice little brunch of Sourdough Pancakes and fried eggs:

I should have photographed X’s plate, since I gave him the prettier (and larger) serving, but by the time I plated mine, he had inhaled his. I used this recipe for the pancakes, but made the following tweaks:

  • Halved the recipe to serve two
  • Used a whole egg, so I reduced the oil by half again (so 1 egg and 1 tablespoon olive oil)
  • Cooked everything in my non-stick pan sprayed with a little oil. The recipe made seven pancakes that were about 1/4 cup of batter each.

For the spices, I dumped in a hefty amount of cinnamon (maybe 1/4 to a 1/2 teaspoon), 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder, and a dash of cayenne to make a Mayan chocolate-inspired dish. We topped them with some Kerrygold butter I found lurking in the fridge.

As you can see, my plate looks mangled. I took the first pan of the ‘cakes, which I did a poor job of flipping. I noted it took about a  minute and a half for the first side to cook and then another minute on the other, so the subsequent four pancakes looked much prettier. The eggs also look crazy because they were room temperature, so the whites spread A LOT in the hot pan. They still tasted great!

That’s a glimpse into my weekend. The beach — and seeing our great friends from Bakersfield, who I will mention again tomorrow — was definitely the highlight, especially since the heat was RELENTLESS until Sunday evening. I know I have talked a lot of crap on Angelenos who can’t handle the extreme temperatures, but 100° feels a lot different, even if it’s not humid, in an apartment without air-conditioning than it does in a home with central heat and air. I’m grateful to see highs in the 80s this week!

Appliance serial killer

16 Aug

I have declared my blender dead. I am sad, but it’s time to come to terms with the facts. The sooner I mourn, the sooner I can move on to a new blender.

It appears, however, that I may be to blame — not only that, but I may be out of control. This morning, the coffee pot at work decided not to function. I spent an hour troubleshooting to no avail, searched for the manual, and then texted a colleague who is out of the office today.

Ahhh! What if she’s right? What if I’m on a killing spree without even realizing it?! And I’m a vegetarian. :( So now I suspect I’m like the Wolfman, except that instead of, you know, turning into a wolf during the full moon and doing unspeakable acts I cannot remember, I am blacking out perhaps at night and destroying my favorite appliances with no memory. I MUST BE STOPPED.

Hide your food processors. Hide your toasters. I’m on the loose.

Recipe round-up

16 Jun

I read tons of food blogs, as the rest of you probably do, too. Due to several factors (mainly being crazy-busy and lazy in the evenings), I haven’t cooked as much lately, so my brain is stockpiling recipes from around the web that I’m dying to try. So, instead of spending the day in the kitchen, I’m sharing my list with all of you:

Indian-spiced Chickpea Cakes from the Fitnessista

OMG YES. This recipe has my lunch written all over it.

Chocolate Swirl Buns from Smitten Kitchen.

My mouth, it waters. This recipe would be a snap to veganize — plus it would give me a reason to bust out the KitchenAid stand mixer I got for the wedding.

(Can’t link to this picture.)
Key Lime Crumb Cake from Vanilla Sugar Blog.

I have a new co-worker who is allergic to chocolate and nuts (the horror!), so I had planned to make (a vegan, nut-free) version of these this week, but the best-laid plans sometimes fail. They will happen, however!

Hot Apple Pie Smoothies and Popsicles from Peas and Thank You. The recipe itself sounds lovely, but what really got my attention was the idea of turning a smoothie into popsicles. It’s ingenious! Why didn’t I ever think of that? Plus, it’s a much more diabetic-friendly way to give my hunny something sweet, especially as summer approaches.

Basil Pesto Pasta with Zucchini and Mint from Real Simple.

This recipe makes me even sadder not to have a food processor. I may still attempt this one using my immersion blender (I have already deeply failed at making pesto in my regular blender), but I think I’ll have to hold out for when I finally bite the bullet and make a purchase.

And this one is not recipe-related but it is big food-blogger news: Caitlin had her baby! I’m a huge fan of her blog and have enjoyed watching along with her pregnancy. Go send some good wishes to the proud parents.

What’s been on your to-make list lately?

Sunday thoughts

25 Mar

It is 10:30 in the morning, and my day is off to an exceptionally wonderful start. I hopped out of bed at 8:00 ready to run — literally — which is a good thing, since I have my second 5K in two weeks. By 8:30, I was out the door. Since I’ve been slacking off with training, I decided to enlist the help of my Couch to 5K app and did Week 4. I am not ashamed to admit that it totally kicked my butt. I am out of shape, but pushing myself this morning felt wonderful.

Afterward, I stopped by the apartment to grab my market bag, some moolah, and a warmer shirt and then headed back out on foot. I needed to make a detour to break a large bill, so I grabbed some lavender tea at Groundwork:

Groundwork is about half a mile from home, and it has sensational coffee, sandwiches, and looseleaf teas. However, I tend to find the service unfriendly at best. Today was a nice surprise, though. The guy was very nice and accommodating. Today was my first tango with their hot teas. They give you the hot water, and then you go scoop your own choice of a dozen or more looseleaf varieties into little bags. It was fun and oh so tasty. I almost mixed my lavender with Earl Grey, probably my favorite combo, but I plan to make coffee later, so I wanted to limit my caffeine. Next time, though!

After that, I headed straight to the Hollywood Farmers Market. Today is far from an example of a perfect, sunny SoCal day:

But there’s something about the moodiness in the sky that makes me feel happy, vibrant, and alive. It is just cool enough out for a bit of bite in the air, but not enough that I was uncomfortable in my running clothes. Plus, I love walking the longer-time Angelenos in their coats, scarves, and hats when I’m wearing crops and a tech shirt.

There is so much beauty around us every day, and it can be so hard to see it, but I can’t help but find the joy in little discoveries:

Yes, on the same street where these bloom, all full of fire and delicate strength, it’s normal to smell a little human urine. And yes, two blocks up is the hustle and bustle and weird commercialization that is Hollywood Boulevard. But today, today I feel centered on enjoying what is around me, even in the big, scary, dirty city.

Do you spy the sign in the distance? That’s the view from the end of my street.

Today I want to breathe in life and breathe out negativity. Today is a new beginning. Today I stop to smell the roses.

Today I celebrate a month of marriage with the greatest guy in the world. Happy Onemonthiversary, baby!

I’m not dieting for my wedding

16 Feb

By the time I get married next week (!!), I will have had a five-week engagement, which is very, very short, obviously. But, then, so am I, so it only makes sense.

Anyway, I quickly dove into the world of wedding planning sites (and quickly got overwhelmed, then scared). One theme I’ve noticed pretty strongly is that brides want to lose weight. Not only do they want to, but they expect to and go so far as to plan their attire around the new weight they expect to hit. I can understand the draw, especially with the strapless dresses most want to rock on their big days. If you’re overweight and your wedding day is the motivation you need to get into a healthy routine, then I applaud you.

However, the obsession with bridal body image frankly disturbs me. My wedding day is supposed to be a celebration of the love I share with my fiancé. It is an opportunity to gather our closest family in our new home for a happy occasion. It’s also a time to help us outfit our kitchen. (I tease on the last one.) It is not a time to scrutinize my arms or my hips. It’s not a time to be on display. It’s a time to laugh and cry and hug and make joyful new memories. Yes, there will be a photographer, but his lens will be focusing on our smiles and tears, not our saddlebags.

Fact: I am currently about five pounds heavier than normal, which is in turn five pounds heavier than my ideal weight. I want to lose that full 10 pounds by eating well and getting back to the gym.

That said, I have decided not to lose an ounce for my wedding. Why? For all the things I said about what a wedding is. A wedding isn’t a pageant. It isn’t a modeling competition. It is a celebration of love and happiness. It is the last day on which I should be worried about whether or not anyone is judging me. If they are, then they can take a hike (but leave the blender, please).

It’s also for my sanity. Theoretically, I could lose those five extra pounds in five weeks, but at what reward? There is no chance I won’t feel radiant on my wedding day. How could I not, when I’m surrounded by the people I love most in the world, including the man who is going to promise to love me for the rest of my life? Losing five pounds or 50 doesn’t increase or decrease the love in your life. Obsessing over weight loss (something at which, frankly, most people fail) will not make your wedding day better.

I spend so much of my daily life thinking and worrying about my weight that I want my wedding to be a break from it, a day on which I’m grateful to be exactly the way I am.

It goes without saying that this is all just my opinion, and maybe your experience is totally different, but I wanted to give voice to another perspective.

Ack!

13 Feb

I started to write a post about some recent eats, including today’s burger and some freebies during a training last week.

I thought about writing a post detailing the food I’m thinking of making for my upcoming reception/house-warming party.

I was even mulling a post about weddings and body image.

But then I saw the most horrifyingly disgusting thing ever to wander into my office and had the following exchange:

I apologize for the language, but can you blame me? The thing was three inches long, had scary wings, and I swear I saw him smoking a tiny cigar and twirling his mustache. Ew ew ew!

I’ll send some food action your way tomorrow, but today — today I can’t think about putting anything in my mouth. So how’s about I ask a question instead.

When you find an unwelcome disgusting vermin visitor in your home, what do you do? Kill it, release it outside, or pretend it isn’t there? I generally catch-and-release or put my fingers in my ears and go LA LA LA. However, I won’t lie: I hope this cockroach bites it. I just don’t want to be the person doing the slaughtering.

Naked Face Project

1 Feb


Starting today, Caitlin over at Healthy Tipping Point is embarking on a 60-day adventure she’s calling the Naked Face Project. Here’s what she said about it:

For the next 60 days, Molly and I will give up all traditional feminine Beauty Habits – including wearing any makeup, removing any body hair, altering our hair from its natural state (dying, curling, straightening), wearing uncomfortable feminine clothing (high heels, tight skirts), wearing jewelry (with the exception of wedding bands), painting our nails, using anti-wrinkle or anti-acne lotions, wearing deodorant, or styling or cutting our hair for reasons other than function.  We plan to blow dry our hair (because it’s the winter), brush our teeth, wear sunscreen, and dress appropriately – but comfortably – for the occasion.

Why?

Molly and I simply want to live in our own space of natural beauty and be more intentional in our actions.

I wanted to show my solidarity today by posting a picture of myself sans makeup and with my hair still wet. Here’s me at 8:15 yesterday morning:

While I didn’t heed Caitlin’s entire call — I am wearing my usual clothes, and I absentmindedly shaved my underarms this morning — in truth, going without makeup is the most difficult part of the routine to break, even though I really only wear concealer and mascara on a normal day. Mr. X can attest to the fact that I don’t exactly shave on a daily basis .

Is anyone else joining Caitlin and Molly in their experiment? How important are feminine grooming habits to you?

I tried years ago to eliminate a lot of the ones I think are truly sexist — shaving especially — but between new relationships and the work world, I’m pretty well settled back into my routine. While I don’t think it’s essential for me to quit using the razor or wearing uncomfortable shoes in order to be a true feminist, it is important to evaluate the reason we make the choices we do and be aware that they are, in fact, choices.

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