Nov 30, 2010

Christmas Lights, Candles & Tea

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal
I know I have played them before but this song fits the post so well

Just a quick post to show you all my holiday decorations in my room. I strung christmas lights in my room and I absolutely love it. I am about to curl up with a book and some tea. Just wanted to share my cozy little nook with you all. Hope everyone had a great Tuesday!


Nov 29, 2010

Adventures in Cooking and Radical Self Love

Well, my dear followers, I have been experimenting a bit in the world of cooking and have really been making an effort to fix fresh meals. Over the past month or so, I have really become aware of what I put into my body and how that affects me.

I have also really been trying to focus on living in the moment and really eenjoying what life has to offer us. I now spend much more of my time looking at recipes online, doing arts and crafts, grocery shopping, cooking, reading, etc. I hate wasting my time in front of the television and find my days so much more fulfilled when I fill them with things that fill my soul with joy. (Not to mention I also have school and final exams to keep me busy!)

I can't wait to continue on these new cooking adventures and develop my skills. I cannot wait to one day be able to cook for someone else, cook for a family. For now though, I don't mind taking on the burden of eating this yummy food.

I stayed home from work today because of this stupid allergic reaction I have been having so I had a lot of time on my hands.
So without further ado, my day went a little something like this.....

I spent the morning with Mr. Bagira, did some yoga while listening to Pandora radio online (Madeleine Peyroux station) and did week 3 of my 100 push ups challenge. Check it out here (I am determined to develop some guns by the end of this program)

I then made myself some breakfast while listening to music. On today's menu was french toast topped with cooked apples and nonfat french vanilla yogurt with blueberries and cooked apples. I used egg beaters egg whites for the french toast because they are so much lower in cholesterol and in calories yet taste the same! To make the cooked apples I peeled a granny smith apple and chopped it up, put it in a pot and covered it slightly with water and brought it to a boil. I added some stevia and cinnamon. The breakfast was delicious....

I then decided to peruse the internet for yummy, healthy meals. I saved a ton of tabs in my bookmark menu. I think I will be doing a post very soon with some of my favorite saved recipes.

My next adventure involved grocery shopping. I am ashamed to admit it, but I have never bought meat/fish at the grocery. You see I am pescetarian (I eat fish but no other types of meat). I was kind of intimidated but eventually got over it and went up to the seafood counter and ordered some shrimp and some white cod fillets. Next was to the organic veggies department to pick up some essentials. I could spend hours in the grocery store. I spent nearly an hour there, roaming the isles for random necessities like lemon juice, turmeric, broth and more. Once home, I embarked on making shrimp paella. The website said that it would take a total of 35 minutes to prepare. That time is evidently for experienced cooks, because it took me about double that time. I didn't mind though, it was fun figuring it all out while listening to a little mood music (the Gypsy Kings). You can check them out below:

Press here for some music to accompany the pictures!

So good! and only 180 calories for 1 cup. click here for the recipe! I made so much and I even cut the recipe in half. I have tons of leftovers to last me.

Anyways, I hope you lovelies had a great weekend and a great start to the week. Remember to practice some radical self love and do things that make you happy. They can help to make the most mundane days seem rather extraordinary :)


Nov 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

We went to my aunt's house out in the country for Thanksgiving. I ate tons of yummy food and everyone loved my homemade from-scratch pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I am back to healthy eating now, but man, was that some delicious food! I'll leave you all with some pictures. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

On the way. With my mom (left) and great aunt (right). yes, I did say great aunt. I can only hope that I get these genes :)
my adorable cousins (left) and my lovely sister (right)

the doggies!

could not get enough of my cousin's new puppy Kairi. So freaking cute.

Nov 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving/This Week in Pictures!

Astrud Gilberto- The Girl From Ipanema

Happy Thanksgiving Loves!
I just wanted ot share with you some photos from the last week or so. I think this will be my new method of posting for the most part. Sometimes I have so many individual posts that I want to do and I never get to do them because I post them individually and run out of time. I have been a busy bee and I probably will only get to posting once or twice a week. So you can keep an eye out for these little gems every once in a while. They are kind of like a summary of my life :)

I have decided to be more productive with my time and do things that I adore, like creating. I realize that way too often I tune out when I get home from classes and just watch t.v. But it is becoming apparent to me that this life we have is so fragile and so brief, that I don't want to waste my time by tuning out to the t.v. Now, that is not to say that I will be missing my Grey's Anatomy and America's Next Top Model, but I do plan on being more productive with my time.

So, I started working on crafts!

I painted this little humpback whale a while ago with pen and water colors. He reminds me of my love for the west coast. I found this old frame in my room that wasn't really getting used for anything, so I decided to frame him. I like it. I think it's funny it seems like such a fancy-shmancey frame for such a simple painting. Love him.

I also made my own papier mache (boil 5 parts water to 1 part flour for 3-5 minutes) and made mason jar lanterns. for the paper part, I just used an old Spanish Civilization book from one of my classes that I was never able to sell back. I hated that class and the book, so I am glad I found a use for it. I added rice to the bottom of the jars to hold the candles. I rather like them :)

For Thanksgiving I decided I wanted to bake something for the family. Being that I am not the most skilled baker ever, and that my grandma is in fact one of the best bakers ever, I decided to go over to her house to spend some quality time while she helped me bake. I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from scratch and they were amazing. You can find the recipe here and the pictures below. I have realized that I really want to spend time with my grandma and learn all the things she can teach me. I wasn't really raised learning how to cook or to be in touch with any of that. That is definitely something I want to change when I have a family some day. I want to be in touch with gardening and fresh cooking. I want to find joy in creating and being in touch with that side of myself. I think that I can learn so much from my grandma.

mixing the ingredients
haha my nana looks mad here. I promise she wasn't. She didn't know I was taking her picture. She doesn't like her picture taken. I don't know why, I think she is beautiful. I only hope I inherit her aging genes!
Eating the cookies! If you look closely at my upper lip on the left, you can see where it is beginning to swell which you can read about below!

Finally, but definitely not the most exciting, I woke up yesterday with a bit of a swollen upper lip. Well, throughout the day I noticed that it started to get worse and that I had hives on my neck. By the time I went to bed it was pretty bad and to make sure that my throat wasn't going to swell in my sleep (yikes) I went to the ER. 2 hours in the ER and one giant shot in the ass later and I was on my way. Evidently I have developed an allergy to mangos. I am so sad. mangos are one of my favorite fruits. They told me never again can I eat anything with mangos in it because the next time, the reaction will probably be worse. Why couldn't it have been radishes or mushrooms??! I would have been totally fine with never being able to eat those again! This morning I still have a little bit of the Angelina Jolie look going on but they aren't too bad. I'm thinking with a bit of lip stain and makeup we will be good.

Anyways, I just want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for all of the people in my life who make me smile and encourage me to stay true to myself. I am thankful for this new stage in my life where I am focusing on embracing life, living life, staying in the present and "drinking the wild air" (if you don't know already, Emerson is my favorite writers).

Plans for today include going to my aunt's house in the country. She has a barn with horses and we will probably go riding, eat lots of veggies (no turkey for me, unless it's tofurkey) and lot's of pumpkin pie and pumpkin cookies. Mmmmm.
What are your plans for the holiday??

Nov 22, 2010


Madeleine Peyroux-Half the Perfect World

My lovely friend Isa has been back in town for the past couple weeks and as soon as she was here it seems she has gone again. Back off on her free spirited adventures. As always, she seems to inspire me whenever I am around her. She inspires me to listen to my inner being.

I have told her that I don't even know if I have a soul, she insists that I do. She said it is something personal to each person and that it cannot be defined. That it is a feeling. I guess I have been rather out of touch with this " inner me". She advised me to really start working on mindfulness and being in the present moment. She was passionately emphasizing to me how beautiful the world can be when you forget everything else, the past, the future and just focus on the present. After all, the present becomes the past and determines the future. As she was speaking to me it hit me how true her words were. This resonated with me. It is still up for debate on whether I have a soul, but I feel that if I start focusing on the present and listen to my senses as much as a listen to my mind, that I might start to discover new aspects about myself which I did not know existed.

I find my mind constantly in other places. Thinking about embarrassing moments or sad moments or happy moments, but always in the past or the future. I then freak out about this life we have here on earth and how short and fragile it seems to be. But the one thing that we are in control of it staying in the present and experiencing what it right in front of us. How many opportunities and experiences have I missed out on because my mind was somewhere else. I need to open up my heart to experiencing the now. This, my friends is easier said than done.

Right now I am trying to track my patterns of thinking and am just trying to notice when my mind begins to wander, and then try and bring it back to the present. This is going to take a lot of practice and is not something that I expect to grasp anytime soon. Especially for someone like myself who is constantly somewhere else in my mind but the present.

As I was driving home last night in my car after my talk with Isa, I really focused on being in the present. I watched the trees pass as I drove down the highway, the moon shining above and I just soaked in all that was there for me to experience. I got the biggest smile on my face, to the point where I almost started laughing. If driving could bring me such joy by being in the present, then imagine the joys and experiences that could come my way by consciously being present in my own life! Like I said, this is a major work in progress.

I am so trained to feel the necessity for distractions in my life. I can't eat a meal without turning on the t.v. or surfing the internet. I am constantly distracting myself from the present and it is going to take a while to deprogram myself, but it is something that I know is worth investing my time in. I have been doing some reading, taking advice from such literary masterpieces as "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhism." I have also started reading "Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life" by world renown zen master Thich Nhat Hahn and am going to go pick up "Enso: Zen circles of Enlightenment" by Audrey Yoshiko Seo from the library on my lunch break today.

The Enso is the Japanese calligraphy symbol for staying in the present. In Zen Buddhist painting, the enso symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create. That is my ultimate goal and this little symbol will be my reminder of the never ending journey of mine to be in the present and to experience what the world has to show me.

I by no means plan on becoming Buddhist, or Zen or putting a title on this journey of mine. I think that, as much as that can work for so many people, it does not really work for me. I am a person who likes to have a title for things. I used to feel the need to have a title for my beliefs but I have realized that this has ultimately turned me away from investigating my beliefs further. So, this is me, embracing the now, embracing beauty in everything around me, experiencing the good, the bad and the ugly, but either way, fully experiencing it.

I will keep you all filled in on this journey of mine as I read more, develop my own opinions and experience new things on this journey of mine. If you have made it to this point in the text, I applaud you. Take a breather, stretch out a but. I realize this is a lot longer than my normal posts, but I want to be authentic with my blog. As much as I like posting inspirational photos and quotes; life isn't all pretty pictures and words....