Spring has Sprung Salads!


It's officially spring - the animals are waking up from their winter naps, the last snow is melting into jumping puddles, and your garden is ready to bloom!

So whether you are getting ready for bikini season or trying to up your intake of greeneries, here are some delicious spring salads to get into your daily mix.

Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette:
When I think of spring salads, my mom's strawberry salad always comes to mind. It's light and so easy to throw together, while allowing you to start using all those fresh strawberries making their way back in to store this time a year, or that you picked! The honey dressing also sounds delllllightful. Get the recipe here.

Image: Shelby Cady


Roasted Squash Salad with Warm Picked Dressing: 
It's not all about the greens, Katie Websters "no lettuce" salad series from theKitchn.com brings some color into your life in the form of squash, apples, cabbage and walnuts! Get the recipe here. 

Image: Katie Webster

Swiss Chard Salad Rolls: 
If you'd rather ditch the rabbit way and eat with your paws, roll-ups are the way to go! Get the recipe here.

Photo: Joanne Gerrard Young

Cauliflower Thai Rice. Was Oscar Worthy.



On a mission to try more clean eating and healthy recipes while on a 30 test pilot of a new lifestyle shake product. I've never done one before, so why not now while I have the time to really focus, meal prep, get myself into some good healthy life changes!

And while the Oscars could have put a serious dent in my plan, luckily I came across some really great and easy recipes that would delight my gluten and soy free friend and myself during the anticipation of the awards show! 

You can put Cauliflower Thai Rice on a lot and its about a 10-15 minute process! You can also mix in as many other veggies as you want to fill it up with flavor!

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 bag of Trader Joes cauliflower rice
  • 6 slices of mango
  • Dash of Himalayan salt
  • 1 cup of Kale
  • 2 tsp of Olive Oil
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1/2 small onion 

To start, put your coconut milk in a sauce pan and start just heading it up on low. If you are using the trader joe cauliflower rice, its already chopped for you. Otherwise, use a food processor to prep that first - so you can go ahead and put it right in the pan with the coconut milk. 

While that is simmering, start processing your other items such as the mango, kale, garlic and onions together. You can also do the mangos first to avoid mixing it with other items and then put them aside to use as a topping rather than in the rice itself. 


Once the rice looks like its absorbed a lot of the coconut milk, put in a small mixing bowl and add in your other ingredients!


You can really use this rice as a side, underneath some chicken or beaf, or how we did it with romaine leaves and mashed sweet potato spread! (its an amazing combination). Enjoy!





Life Lessons - Expectations



Lose your expectations of people. 

I think this might have been the biggest realization, and the hardest, I've had as of late. Sometimes you're meant to be some place at that time to meet some of the greatest friends you'll have in your adult life. People you can really count on and love you for you - which is pretty great considering your a more confident version of yourself when your older (for the most part) and don't always need more room for friends. So ya know, they like really actually like you. 

You'll also have people that you feel disappointed you too, that when times got tough, you felt disappeared in the night.  And those hurt, no matter what, are just such a bummer when you had expectations of those friendships or at least thought they were stronger than they were. 

The truth is, that as we get older, priorities change and people are busy as they enter their adult life. There are houses to be bought, there are babies to be made, and people to marry! And sometimes when you're single, like moi - its hard to feel like you might be the only one heading to see that new movie, grab a glass of wine at the local spot, or looking for a fun night out flirting with the waiter...for extra bread of course. The grass is always greener either way you look at it.  

So remember that as you get older it's important that keep your quality friends and remember fondly on those acquaintances gone by. Make time for those you love to have in your life, even if it's not the everyday. Even the smallest gesture makes someone feel loved, thought of, and less alone. I started sending cards more this year. Just out of the blue "I love you" cards or "you are my favorite betch" to friends and family - even friends in the same town I don't get to see often. It makes me feel like that even though I can't always see the people I'd like to see while I'm home or just haven't seen in a while that they are still important to me and I love them still all the same. 


Sometimes life just drifts you apart a little bit, but when someone means something to you, hold on to them with simple gestures and remember to find time to spend with them. And for those occasional acquaintances or friends you miss, you'll find the right place and time to see each other again and it will be damn delightful. 



Taco Tuesday



There's a first time for everything and I always like taking on new challenges...especially when it comes to baking. Even if it doesn't come out the best, its still fun to put your creativity into something and make someone happy. And today we did just that for Mijo's birthday! It was either a taco or a bean dip can...the taco seemed more visually appealing, so we went with that.

I have to say that this didn't turn out hard to pull off and anyone can do it! Yes, its easier with a KitchenAid Mixer for the fondant, but the rest - facilĂ­simo!

Here's what you'll need: 

  • Cake Mix {or make your own} 
  • Chocolate Frosting 
  • Chocolate Chips 
  • Marshmallow {large or small} 
  • Powered Sugar 
  • Water 
  • Candy Orange Slices {in variety kind for orange and red} 
  • Rip Cords {in apple} 
  • Orange Food Coloring While your cake is baking, you can get going on setting up the rest of your "condiments'. 

Your taco shell is really just fondant mixed with orange food coloring, rolled out, and shaped into a opal. The opal shape allows you to have some space for the cake underneath without taking away from your taco sides!

The Candy Orange Slices will be your tomatoes, so you'll want to cut those into cubes. I used the orange and red versions for a little more realistic coloring. For your lettuce, take the Rip Cord apple candies and pull on the individual pieces. For your cheese, simply use some of your extra fondant from your taco and slice thinly. And finally for your meat, mix the chocolate chips into your chocolate frosting!

Fondant:

  • 16 ounce (450g) bag of mini marshmallows 
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) water 
  • 2 pound (900g) bag of powdered sugar 

To Prepare:
  • Pour your marshmallows into a microwave safe bowl 
  • Pour 2 tbsp of water into the bowl and microwave for 1 minute 
  • Your Marshmallows will then be nice and gooey and poor them into your Kitchenaid mixer (if available) - Otherwise your mixin boo and gettin yourself an arm workout! 
  • Slowly add your powder sugar to the bowl as the consistency gets thicker. If the powdered sugar doesn't end up making it firm enough for you, I suggest added a bit of flour which has helped solidify it better. 
  • Once your fondant is solid enough, you can then shape it into anything! 
  • At this point you'll want to take your cake out and let it cool. 

Once your cake is ready to dress, begin to assemble your taco!

  • Take your taco shell opal and put on the plate you'll be serving on 
  • Put the cake in the taco shell and cover the cake only with chocolate frosting to help the fondant stick to the cake (not the meat frosting yet!) 
  • Then bring up the side of your taco shell - To better hold the sides onto the frosting, I used two skewer sticks I stuck through the cake so they didn't fall while in the fridge. 
  • Next, add your condiments! Meat first, then your lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese! And that's it! TACO CAKE! Enjoy!! 


Life's Lessons - Do YOU


 

You know what you will and will not tolerate - trust it.

Always, without a doubt, follow your gut, do what's right for you. As you get older these moments become easier to identify....like Bill Murray says "The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you."


As I just turned the ripe ole' age of 32, I'm realizing how much more I am less tolerant of things that are making a negative impact in my life and that I need to make decisions based on what helps define my happiness. It's helping me move towards the life I always knew I wanted.


I mean, I by no means have it all figure out yet. Yes, sticks and stones sometimes still bruise my bones, mistakes will continue, but I feel good that its a step in the right direction and more aware that the one thing I personally can never live with is wondering what might have been if I just did what felt right.


So if you're not happy where you are...its time for a change. It's not always the easiest thing to do, timing wise, but once you've identified what is stressing you out or holding you back from being happy most of your days, work out a plan to let it go. Then do just that....let it GO. 

Irish Healing


Happy St Patrick's day ya crazy Irish! While I would have loved to have celebrated with my fellow Irishmen today, I had a dental procedure yesterday that's left me riding the Vicodin high to kill the pain...all aboard party of 1, let's kick it!

So while I've been unable to speak, you're welcome....I've enjoyed some new and old loves while I dozed in and out of drug induced la la land. Enjoy!



Lord Huron -"The Night We Met"
Excited to see that these guys, lead by Michigan based Ben Schneider, are making their way to San Diego this May with "Family of the Year" (Boyhood track stuck in your head) with shake ups from their upcoming album "Strange Trails" being released on April 7th. If you're a fan of the Walkmen and Night Beds like I am, I think you'll like what you hear. Also check out "World Enderer" and "Fools in Love" now available when you pre-order their album on itunes.



Houndmouth - "Sedona"
Touring with the likes of "The Lumineers", Houndmouth brings you the same hoot and hollerin...but with a whole lotta country twang -such as in their track "15 years" and "Honey Slider" from their March 13th release "Little Neon Limelight". Sadly it seems there is only an east coast / mid west tour set up through June but hopefully they'll make their way to the best coast soon after that!




BORNS -"Electric Love"
Hailing from the heart of Michigan, Garrett Borns is bringing his electric glam vocals to the city of angels - and for all you dance lovers out there, we're sure glad he did. Electric Love is just a touch of great music coming from their newly released EP - Candy available on itunes.



Just a preview of my personal favorite "Past Lives"




Lennon & Maisy -"Boom Clap"
Just pure vocal talent from these lil ladies. 15 year old Lennon and 11 year old Maisy have been known for their covers of Robyn's "Call your Girlfriend" and Imogen Heaps "Headlock". With their new release of "Boom Clap" by Charlie XCX, these girls continue to show the world they have quite a bright future ahead of them.




These are a few of my favorite things: March 2015



1. Hard Candy Life - City Chic Poppin Pigments - Love when eyes pop with pigments
2. NYXcosmetics - Slim Lip Pencils "Mahogany" and "Soft Brown", perfect for day and night!
3. Glam up your brunch with Glitter Donuts! With just the look of these I am seriously considering a brunch wedding.
4. Color Luxe Fine Tip Gel Pens - I found these at Pigment in North Park and haven't written anything down in black ever since. Life's more fun in color :)
5. Instagram: moonlndjmpr - Slyoung Kim is a wonderfully talented artist with a great eye for details


Life Lessons: Keep Going


Obviously I've been working on a series of these post for a while - its now end of February 2015 and I started it in December. It needed to be right though, so sometimes its worth the wait. 

The last time I can remember feeling this anxious was back in 2011 when I was getting ready to make my trip out here to San Diego. I woke up that morning, kissed my parents goodbye, and sat in my driveway for 10 minutes before I turned on the ignition. Just breathing...and breathing...panicking.... and wondering if I should run in for one last round of hugs. I love hugs. 

I was terrified, out of my mind terrified. If it wasn't for the fact that I knew I was driving to pick up my brother to make the cross country trip with me, I think I would have turned around by Connecticut and tried again tomorrow. Only knowing a single person where your going is gawd damn scary and saying goodbye to loved friends and family is the worst, especially when you've been through a rough year that they helped pull you out of alive kicking and screaming. Sure I lived in New York City for years prior but that was close harbor, the 4 hour bus trip was still unbearable (hometown buffet anyone?)  and people actually came to visit (which reminds me....hello! I live in the land of sunshine now.  Take advantage of that!)

So in a promiscuous soft southern target-lady voice, I said "well let's get this show on the road sugah." I was off, teary-eyed and slow as molasses with a car so full my tires were 2 inches from the ground, but I had at least started the journey. 

To keep my mind busy, I popped in the "California Dreamin' - Volume 1" (out of 3) mix my sister made for me. The girls got some pretty friggin' accurate emotional timing on this playlist. All party in the front to keep me excited and motivated - I'm talkin 'Party in the USA' and my early 90's hip hop favorites like "Good Vibrations" (Marky Mark) and "My Pony" by Genuine. But, riggggght as I take the exit get to my brother....drop mic, tissues out, sunglasses on - you ratchet ass sister (said with love). "My Wish" comes on and I'm bawling my eyes out. I don't even like country!! Why did you do this to me Julie?!?! How eMMBAR-ASSINnggggg

That damn fluzzy knew what she was doing.  There was just something so perfect about that song at that time, I mean not for my brother who had to deal with my emotional ass, but because it sparked a whole new feeling into me that I knew only my close family and friends would understand. 

If your not familiar, it is a pretty sweet song lyrically and I felt like my sister was there cheering me on. I've always been happy to be a go-getter and always chasin' down the dream. I swear I watch too many movies and get myself lost in so much music I dream up 15 different lives I should be living. It's not entirely impossible, everyone needs a reset button every once a while. A time to reconnect with yourself, set new goals or modify others, put you on track to be the best you. But I think she just really knew that I felt like I was meant for something greater...I assume nothing to Beyonce's status. You do not steppp to the Queen B...mmmkay? 

Cut to 3 years of endless summer in Pacific Beach memories later, some reckless beach bum living, and celebrating everyday like its Friday, I'm back where I started. As Timmy from my all time favorite film, award winning and critically acclaimed Jurassic Park, would say, "We're back....In the car again".  This time, I'm not sure what the next step is and where I'll feel like I truly found the place where I see my life unfolding - LA? London? Portland? Still here in San Diego? With nothing holding me back, the possibilities are endless. But I do know I'm I'm not the girl sitting with the keys dangling ready to head back inside and call the whole thing off. I have conquered this baby twice, I can do it again!  My dad would remind me..."let us off and be doing, with the heart of any fate...".

So until that update, each week, I want to post lessons I've learned over the years that help me keep things in perspective and remind me its important to work on what you CAN improve to increase the quality of your happiness.




Life's Lessons: 
Well, whatever you take, I hope it makes you as happy as you were the other day teaching those kids. - Parenthood

Since I was a kid, music and film have been a big part of my imagination. Let's just say the day my parents took me to Strawberries and I got the St. Elmo's Fire soundtrack to hear David Fosters theme song, I cried like a baby....to a saxophone solo. I know! I KNOW!...I have to live with that! My friends and I used to pretend King Kong was coming over our neighbors hills to attack the house. We used to re-enact the famous kitchen scene from Jurassic Park and recite the scene line by line.  I've been taping the Grammy's and the Oscars for almost 25 years, watching some of my favorite actors and singers grow up and evolve - its a huge part of me.

I still need to see movies on opening weekend so I like it for myself, I still pretend I'm a guest on the Tonight Show while in the shower and yes Jimmy I will play a game with you, and I still find soundtracks the best way to focus while I'm at work (Lost, The Dark Knight, Hanz Zimmer - try it!). And truthfully, I still think I'm meant to do something big. There I said it. I think me and Mindy Kaling could conquer the world together (even though she's doing so on her own).

It's funny, even as a I get older, I realize I haven't entirely let those dreams go.  Over Christmas, my dad said to me while we sat waiting for our dinner order..."I don't know...I feel like you and your brother are always chasing something...and whatever it is, I hope you find it". It's the first time I heard that out loud from someone else...and he's right. I've always wondered what I am doing in my jobs, wondering if I should be so crazy as to just pick up and get out there.  But as I get older, those dreams feel harder to reach and sadly could be just my imagination...running away from me.

Truthfully, I don't know if I'll ever be fulfilled till I feel that moment where it just feels right. And maybe its not where I expect or how I imagined, but I hope to feel this soon and I hope I don't settle till I find it - that goes for you too. 

A Healthy Start to 2015


As a start to 2015, I've been doing a 30 day detox. Yep, you heard right - a dry January, free from any alcoholic bevvies. It's not a resolution as much as I'm trying to make a lifestyle change. If you know me well, you know I love a glass of vino with good company watching a beautiful Cali sunset any day. Anddddd while that may still be the case and a way I find myself winding down some days, I have been more & more inspired to be a healthier me, take good care of myself all around, and finding new ways to beat stress in the coming year. 

Now, before I continue, I have a confession to make. I am going to come clean that on day 15, I had somewhat of a cheat day - I like to call it an "Intermission". I know, I feel super guilty - if its any consolation, I learned that I'm way too old to have a Sunday completely knocked out by an awful headache. That's what I get for giving in! However, I am still equally proud I went through two weeks full of events - the Pats in the playoffs, The Bachelor premiere, the final episodes of Parenthood - we all know this show is therapeutic to my soul, Award Show season, dinners with friends and brunches people! I even had to ask waiters to bring me soda water and splash of OJ in a wine glass just to feel aliveeeee at happy hours! Which is now my new favorite go to non-alcoholic drink by the way...so refreshing!


I also learned that without those extra drinking calories, I wasn't even eating enough calories during the day to keep my metabolism going. Time to fill those empty calories with solid food choices and up the water intake!  So in preparation for some changes, I've been following a lot of gym videos and training programs on Instagram that have been teaching me about clean eating and great alternatives to that same boring gym routine. Couldn't be happier to see that even these trainers only incorporate 10-15 min of the stairmaster! 


Thankfully I can report that I'm also back on the dry January wagon and thinking about keeping it up through February, AFTER a weekend getaway with my sisters to Vegas at the end of the month. I'm pretty sure you don't survive Vegas unless you drink your way through it, right? But in the meantime, I've found myself making better decisions, going on daily hikes or nature walks, and trying new recipes for cooking up tasty new healthy meals thanks to these motivating insta's. Any step in the right direction is still heading in the right direction - so start small if you have to and you'll gradually make these changes an everyday part of your new life. 





@emilyskyefit
This Aussi knows how to keep it fit!  As a health & fitness expert, Emily has one of the best food and exercise programs to help you tone up and keep motivated...to look like her of course! Check out her programs on www.28dayshred.com.au



@shonda1020

Shonda had a lot of great home exercises and clean eating recipes. Not to mention she's a mother of 2 who incorporates her babes into her exercise routines! Genius for mommy's trying to find time to work out!




@skinnybunnytea

I haven't actually ordered this tea yet, I've been following them for more of their detox recipes and making my own homemade teas using green tea, kombucha, lemon, and cayanne pepper! You can find great info on the best ways to fight bloating, lose water weight, and gain more energy!



@home.exercises

This is pretty self explanatory - when you're not feeling your best to hit up the gym or in crunch for time, home.exercises has so many ways to get the most out of your fitness all within the comfort of your home. 



@squatguide

This account is great for learning how to properly do squats - all kinds of them! Let me count the ways to tone that booty!



@cleaneatz
There's a lot of ways to get the proper nutrients into your diet while still eating clean. Cleaneatz provides some of the best recipes to keep your diet delicious and nutritious while still incorporating some of your favorite foods. 

Z Gallerie


So...I know it's been a while, I shouldn't have left you, without a dope beat to step to....

It's so good to be writing again! Trying to get back into the blogging scene with all this new creativity stirring!

With new creativity comes new adventures to boutiques and antiques...so, I recently took a trip up to Encinitas only to discover a whole new place of wonder...Z Gallerie. It's a bit of Crate & Barrel meets Homegoods - and good indeed! From furniture to cute apartment trinkets, it was really hard for me to leave this store - especially where everything is actually pretty affordable. I fell in love with this Boston mural of the most well known streets of the city as well as the these pup bookends. I like that the store offers ideas in sets, but that everything really can work separately so you can make your own unique and comfortable setting.