8.31.2011

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Twitter...again
I had fallen off the Twitter train for awhile. It was hard managing a personal account and the blog's account, so now they are combined. Find me tweeting away here.

2. Fruits & Veggies
I was on an icky junk food kick for a little bit. Sure, it tasted good, but I felt sluggish and the scale wasn't happy when I stepped on it. Kickin' the burger and fries habit, I bought some yummy zucchini, lettuce, bananas, and berries. It tastes so much better, and makes me feel so much better.

3. Good Women Project
A friend recommended the website, Good Women Project. After checking it out, I was truly inspired! It's full of stories and advice for women of all ages. It's an amazing community of support and comfort. I even emailed a submission. Crossing my fingers it gets posted!

8.30.2011

fallin' for fall

It's still in the hundreds here in Arizona, which means I'm still wearing my favorite cut-offs and I'm still wiping sweat from my brow. Sigh. While the autumn month of September is quickly approaching, there won't really be many signs of fall. The leaves don't change color or drift off the trees, but the weather eventually cools down to a lower temperature. It's one of my favorite times of year. The weather is perfect, the holidays are fun, and there seems to be this sense of crisp, new possibility in the air. It's when I  spend my days outdoors. It's also when I wiggle my toes in my boots, wear tights, and layer, layer, layer! There are a ton of more options I can do with my wardrobe.

I have the essentials, but I have been drooling over some pieces that are just itching to make their way into my closet...


1. Lil Ukita Satchel by Marc by Marc Jacobs
2. Bracelet by H&M
3. Two-Tone Sock by ASOS
4. Genteel V-Neck Tunic by Free People
5. Archduchess Platform by Faryl Robin
6. Scarf by Cooperative Status

8.29.2011

coconut - fried mango

Here is the tasty, and unique recipe as promised in my final "me-hee-co" post. My dad cooked up this dessert and it had my taste buds going every which way, in a good way!

You will need...
2 cups fresh orange juice
2 cups water, plus 1 1/2 cup of ice water
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons amber rum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 firm, ripe mangoes - pitted, peeled, and quartered lengthwise
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, plus some for dusting
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup packed sweetened shredded coconut (2 1/2 ounces)
Vegetable oil for frying
Crème fraiche (optional. My dad replaced this with coconut icecream. Delicious!)


What you do...
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the orange juice with the 2 cups of water, the granulated sugar and rum and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 30 minutes. Add the cinnamon and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Pour the sauce into a heatproof bowl or pitcher.
  2. Pat the mangoes dry with paper towels. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar, the cornstarch and the 1 1/2 cups of ice water until smooth. Whisk in the coconut.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat 1 inch of oil to 375°. Dip 4 pieces of mango in the batter and add them to the hot oil. Fry, turning once, until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Drain the mango fritters on paper towels and repeat with the remaining mango. Transfer the fritters to a warmed platter and dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve with the sauce and crème fraîche alongside.

Enjoy!

va-va-vma's

I spent my Sunday evening relaxing and watching something actually music related on MTV. The 2011 Video Music Awards brought together artists from all genres. I mostly watch for the fashion and the performances. I have to say that Adele's "Someone Like You" was absolutely breathtaking. That song breaks my little heart. Also, kudos to MTV for having Young the Giant perform. It's about time they get some mainstream attention!

As for the fashion, there were definitely some wacky outfits. I miss the good ol' days when artists would skip the gimmicks and just wear pretty things. Thankfully, some celebrities still do. There weren't a ton that I was over the moon for, but here are my favorites...

Beyonce
Louise Roe
Demi Lovato
And for the wacky...

Deena Cortese

Katy Perry 
Nicki Minaj
And for the slightly creepy...
Lady? Gaga

[images courtesy of MTV]

8.28.2011

sunday spark

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”

-William S. Burroughs

8.25.2011

me-hee-co pt. five

I felt a bit under the weather today, which was upsetting because it was my last day of vacation. I slept as much as I could and dad took good care of me with peppermint tea and Advil. He even made a yummy and
unique dessert, fried mango with coconut ice cream. I will post the recipe later, but here are a few photos...

Later on in the evening we went up to dad´s little studio to paint. He had a blank canvas, tons of brushes, and oil paints. We wanted to paint one together, so I started it and he will finish it. I can´t wait to see how it turns out. It was a fun painting project to do together. My dad is the one who got me into art and painting.

Tomorrow I head back home. I am excited to see my friends and my little Charlie, but I will definitely miss  this place. I will especially miss my pops and Chloe. This vacation was definitely needed.  

three wise monkeys

I mentioned how I like to paint daily reminders for my life in my "on letting go" post. I think it's important to send out positive messages, especially the ones I hold close to my heart. I choose to send mine out through art. I've had an incomplete painting propped up on my easel for months and months. While I can't figure out what to add to it, its message stays the same. "Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil." I switched up the order of the proverb, due to the importance I give each meaning.

Speak no evil. I believe speaking well of others also speaks well of yourself. People are going to disappoint you, but spreading a harsh opinion isn't going to change them. They have their own karma coming to them with or without gossip. If you can't say anything positive, then don't say anything at all.

I also believe that speaking well of yourself is loving yourself. Speaking of yourself in a negative way will only grind that message into your mind and other people's minds. So stop telling your friends that your butts too big, you're under-qualified for a job, or that you're never going to get a date. Speak positively, and reap the positive.


Hear no evil. Not everyone follows lesson one. People are going to talk, and they will talk negatively. Just remember that the words they are saying are only reflections of themselves. Don't let their harsh words or opinions affect you. Just be you. If we listen to or believe every backstabbing thing someone says about us, we would be severely unhappy and think we'd have to change who we are. That's the mistake. Words are only words, so block out the harsh ones and let in the fabulous ones.

See no evil. It's impossible to be blind to the bad in life. Turn on the news, you see natural disasters. Drive down the road, you see homeless people. Open up your wallet, you see the downfall of the economy. I don't think this is saying to turn your back on the bad, I think it's meant to turn the bad into something good. Volunteer, donate, try your hardest to get that job. Get motivated. See evil as something you can change.

Looking back on this, perhaps the painting is finished. The message is simple, so maybe the painting should be too. While it might not be so simple to follow, it's worth trying in your every day life.

8.24.2011

me-hee-co pt. four

We took the jeep on a bumpy ride out to the estuary. For those who don´t know what an estuary is, it is an enclosed body of water that is connected to the ocean and a few fresh water streams. Dad unloaded the kayak because my weakling arms couldn´t do much lifting, although I tried. We hopped aboard and paddled through the peaceful body of water. There was a ton of lush greenery and a bunch of big birds. The weather was perfect because it was overcast and cool, due to last night´s storm.

After our little adventure I took a long nap. I think I have been missing precious hours of sleep back home because I have slept so much on this vacation. It was definitely time to play catch up. Dad made a yummy dinner consisting of slow-cooked ribs, shrimp, ripe avocado, and more perogies. For dessert we had cherry pie, while I caught up on some trends. Glamour is a perfect vacay read.

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. The beach
The weather is hot, but beautiful here in San Carlos. Splashing around in the water certainly helps with the heat. I've been soaking up the sun, playing in the sand, and listening to the waves. Perfect.

2. Red
I have been lovin' pops of red lately. Red sunglasses, red lips, red shoes, red nails. It's a fun, bold color that's sure to grab some attention. Are you bold enough to wear it?

3. Instagram
I have been obsessing over this photo app ever since I got my iPhone. It turns your simplest snapshots into the prettiest ones. I follow my photographin' friends and love seeing tidbits of their everyday lives. Here are some of my favorite shots...


8.23.2011

me-hee-co pt. three

Today dad and I took the boat out to Martini Cove for some snorkeling. Chloe came along too! She loves boat rides. We saw lots of pretty fishies and fed them some bread. I always look over my shoulder for sharks. I have a paranoia and it is all my dad´s fault! He exposed me to Jaws when I was way too young. 

After snorkeling we snacked on some cheese, crackers, and dragon fruit. We first had it in Thailand a couple years ago, and it became one of my favorite fruits. I was so excited to see my dad packed it in the cooler. After snacking we rode out to where the caves are. I really want to kayak through them. 

We got some sun by the pool at one of the hotels. Maybe a little too much sun. My shoulders are toasty! It will make for a nice tan though. We sipped on some margaritas and Chloe floated around. I swear, she is so spoiled. I suppose I am too. Hee hee.

I took a nice catnap back at the house. I needed some rest before the neighbor´s shindig. There were so many nice, genuine people to chat with. I got to brush up on my Spanish skills. There was also tons of delicious steak, shrimp, and fish. I am so full right now.

mmm mexican

I've been chowing down on delicious Mexican food. Chilaquiles, guacamole, chorizo, tacos, and ceviche. I figure it's my vacation, so I'm going to indulge in my favorite food. I will befriend the gym upon my return to the states. Ugh. I will push that thought out of my head for right now as I stuff tortilla chip goodness into my mouth.

There is a way to indulge in the yumminess of Mexican without feeling the guilt I'm currently feeling. Cooking Light has tons of recipes that look scrumptious for all you fajita-and-frijole-lovin' fools. Try these recipes out...

Chicken Breasts with Avocado, Tomato, and Cucumber Salsa

Ingredients:
Cooking spray

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped seeded peeled cucumber (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup prechopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled avocado
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

Preparation:
1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder evenly over chicken; add chicken to pan. Cook for 6 minutes on each side or until done, and remove from heat.

  • 2. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, tossing well. Serve with chicken.

Calories? 243 calories per serving. Yields 4 servings (1 chicken breast and 3/4 cup salsa)


Tex-Mex Beef Tacos

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • to 3 drained canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 10 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas

Preparation:
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, garlic, and beef; cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble beef. Stir in corn and next 6 ingredients (corn through chiles). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 1/2 cup beef mixture into each tortilla.

Calories? 266 calories per serving. Yields 10 servings (1 taco per serving).

Border Style Shrimp

Ingredients:
Cooking spray

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped white onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • Lime wedges (optional)

Preparation:
Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, shrimp, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and add butter, salt, and hot sauce. Stir until the butter melts. Stir in juice and green onions. Garnish with the lime wedges, if desired

Calories? 266 calories per serving. Yields 4 servings (about 1 cup of shrimp).

Vegetarian Chipotle Nachos

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • (12-ounce) package meatless fat-free crumbles (such as Lightlife Smart Ground)
  • (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 cups baked corn tortilla chips (6 ounces)
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup diced peeled avocado (about 1 medium)
  • 3/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 tablespoons fat-free sour cream

Preparation:

  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add bell pepper, chopped onion, and crumbles; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove 1 chile and 1 tablespoon sauce from can; reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Chop chile; add chile, sauce, beans, and tomatoes to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro. Arrange 1 1/3 cups chips on each of 6 plates. Top each serving with 1 cup bean mixture, 1/3 cup lettuce, about 2 1/2 tablespoons avocado, 2 tablespoons onion, 2 tablespoons cheese, and 1 tablespoon sour cream.
  • Calories? 408 calories.
Double-Bean Burritos

Ingredients:

  • (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag brown rice
  • 1 cup chunky bottled salsa
  • (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 6 tablespoons bean dip (such as Frito Lay)
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
  • peeled avocado, cut into 6 slices
  • 12 cilantro sprigs
  • lime wedges (optional)

Preparation:

  • Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
  • While rice cooks, combine salsa and black beans in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stack tortillas; wrap stack in damp paper towels. Microwave at high 25 seconds or until warm.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon bean dip over each tortilla; top each tortilla with 1/4 cup rice, 1/3 cup black bean mixture, 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 avocado slice, and 2 cilantro sprigs; roll up. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
Calories? 508 calories per serving. Yields 6 servings (1 burrito per serving).

Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema

Ingredients:

  • Crema:
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • garlic clove, minced
  • Tacos:
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds red snapper fillets
  • Cooking spray
  • (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • To prepare crema, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
  • To prepare tacos, combine cumin and next 5 ingredients (through garlic powder) in a small bowl; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of fish. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Place fish in a bowl; break into pieces with a fork. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish evenly among tortillas; top each with 1/4 cup cabbage and 1 tablespoon crema.
Calories? 394 calories per serving. Yields 4 servings (2 tacos per serving).

[all images courtesy of Cooking Light]

8.22.2011

me-hee-co pt. two

I apologize ahead of time for the amount of food that will be featured on the blog during this vacay. I am soaking it all in, since diet and exercise will be taking over my life upon my return. Hopefully the pictures won´t get your tummies grumbling too much.

It felt wonderful to sleep in, with Chloe snuggling right by my side. Even better, dad brought me breakfast in bed while I caught up on some blogging. He made blueberry pancakes, chorizo-filled perogies, and bacon. My belly was happy, and the view outside didn´t hurt either. I admit that I was a bit spoiled this morning.

In the afternoon we headed down to the beach to go kayaking. Chloe came along for the ride too! She loves feeling the sea breeze and the splashes of water. I tried paddling for a little bit, but my arm muscles are definitely lacking, so dad did most of the work. We docked on a little cove and put on our snorkeling gear. It was time to feed the fishies! They love rice and all swarm around to get a nibble. Normally I am quite terrified of the slimy little fish, but I was at ease today. Although, Chloe scared me silly when she swam over my back. I thought it was a shark! After snorkeling, we took a little trek on the pebbly beach, found some driftwood, and cooled off with some delicious Coca Cola.

Around sunset we went for appetizers and wine at the beachside restaurant, Bonifacio´s. We had spinach crepes that were stuffed with shrimp and drizzled with a yummy salsa. We also had cheesy shrimp, served over rice, with a fruity salsa. If only the wine we drank was that good. It was a little difficult to get down, since it tasted pretty darn tart. After our little munchies we walked the beach to admire the colorful sunset.

We ended the evening at our favorite Italian spot, Piccolo´s. We have been going there for years because the food is so yummy. We started out with their sauteed mushrooms and red chili. It is so scrumptious and a must  when dining there. I ordered steak with a creamy dijon mustard sauce and dad ordered spinach-stuffed chicken parmesan. We left with extremely full bellies. We are definitely going to sleep well tonight!

love letters

I am a big fan of Post Secret posts. They are like little pieces of art holding the biggest secrets. Some are humorous, some are sad, some are happy, and some are eery. Everyone has secrets and there is some pleasure in sharing them anonymously. You're safe, but it's as if you got it off your chest.

When I found the book, Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You were Never Meant to See in Urban Outfitters, I had to have it. It's similar to Post Secret, but contains letters professing love, ending relationships, and remorseful apologies. I have written numerous letters with no intention of ever sending them. They are stacked in a pile safely tucked away. The reason I wrote these 'Dear Johns' is because I felt...I felt confused, in love, apologetic, betrayed, angry, reminiscent, etc. All the jumbled emotions that come with relationships. The letters were a way of expressing my feelings without the eyes and judgment from the reader. They were a way of letting go.

The letters in Other People's Love Letters were never intended to be read by an audience. Perhaps they were written solely to let go, or perhaps they were written only for the eyes of a lover. They are all so beautiful, and I'm so happy they were bound together in a hardcover book. In it lies honesty. In the end, isn't that what we want out of love?

Here are some of them (#2 breaks my heart)...



8.21.2011

me-hee-co

After almost missing my flight this morning, due to writing and not paying attention to the announcements, I arrived safely in Mexico. The plane was tinier than I remember, which was a little freaky, but thankfully there was a kind gentleman who talked me through the takeoff, turbulence, and landing. Poor guy. 

After getting through airport customs, I finally saw my pops. He had a big smile, hug, and a flower for me. We immediately got lunch at Charlie´s Rock. We ate guacamole and shrimp ceviche. The perfect meal to begin my vacay. 

We got back to the house and it felt just as homey as I had left it a couple years ago. Chloe was so excited to see me, as was I. We all headed down to the beach and took a dip in the water. Chloe is such a good swimmer. She loves doggy paddling. I ate the juiciest, sweetest mango and worked on my tan.

Next stop was the Soppy Peso, a beachside bar with delicious margaritas and crab tostadas. We chit-chatted with some of my dad´s friends and watched the pretty sunset. Next up was a delicious steak dinner at Blackie´s. I am telling you, this trip is going to make my belly grow. All the food is so tasty. 

It´s wonderful to be back here with my dad and Chloe. My batteries definitely needed a recharge.

sunday spark

"Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality."
-Earl Nightingale

[click on image for source]

8.20.2011

beachin' it

I'm leaving tomorrow morning for a getaway to Mexico. It's the perfect time to get out of town, away from the stresses of working, looking for more work, and the responsibilities that weigh heavy on my poor little brain. It's life. It tires me, but I'm appreciative for every second of it. Once in a great while a gal just needs an escape.

I chose to escape to Mexico. It's there where my dad, Chloe (my Beagle), the beach, and delicious food waits for me. I'm only taking a carry-on because I want to pack light. I want simplicity all the way, but there are a few essentials for a beach vacay. Here are mine...

Camera. The beach provides tons of snapshots...drawing in the sand, sand castles, Chloe runnin' around, the waves, etc.

Book. Nothing beats breathing in the ocean air, listening to seagulls, digging my toes in the sand, and reading a good book. I will probably bring two, Valley of the Dolls and Manifesting Change. Hey, I read a wide assortment!

Bikini. You can't go on a beach vacation without a bikini. Helloooo, tan.

Sunglasses. My Ray-Bans will be accompanying me outdoors. They're cute, comfy, and protect my eyes. They also let me look at handsome fellas without getting caught.

iPod. I can't live without music. I need tunes. This will come in handy on the plane and on the beach. I need to make some playlists...

8.17.2011

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. True Blood
I finally caught up on the third season of True Blood last night. It's hard to keep on top of it when I can't afford HBO. Luckily Stephanie invites me up to her place and re-watches all the episodes with me! I'm now up-to-date and this season is absolutely crazy. So many handsome werewolves, vampires, and shape shifters to drool over.

2. Messy buns
Lately I've wanted to give my hair a break from the heat. No blow-drying or straightening. I also don't want to put the time into styling it. It's grown long enough to put into a tiny, messy bun atop my head. Easy, fun, and it keeps me cool. Call me lazy, but at least my ends will be happy.

3. d'lish
Everyone has been raving about this tiny kitchen and coffee house, d'lish. I finally went and now see what the big deal is. It offers 'fast food' without the unhealthy parts of it. Fresh, local produce and products go into each yummy creation. I had the 'man salad,' which was amazing. It's a tuna-stuffed avocado on greens with chicken, bacon, feta, tomato, blue corn tortilla chips, and a side of lite cucumber bleu cheese dressing. YUM! 

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