Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BYOB

Today marked a victory for the environment in California.  Governor Jerry Brown signed the ban on plastic bags into law.  I'm excited about this as I have been using plastic bags ever since a fateful day back in 2009.  Let me tell you the tale.

I remember it well.  I had a Blackberry with no camera so I was unable to take pictures.  At the time I was in a horrible relationship and we fought on a daily basis.  We had a huge blowout and I decided I would drive to Venice Beach and walk to the end of the pier and cry.  It was right in the middle of a rain spell and my mood matched the dark and cloudy sky.  I held my tears until the end of the pier because I wanted to relish the final release of my sadness.  Once I reached the edge my body began to shake with sobbing and I looked out into the water, hoping to look out into eternity and I saw something sadder than my own state of affairs.  I saw plastic bags, styrofoam cups, tampon applicators and more plastic bags.  The Los Angeles river drains into the ocean so after a big rain, the river, that was given a concrete makeover, spills everything it has collected into the sea.  From my teary eyes I witnessed a moment that would change my life forever.  I knew, right then and there, that I could no longer be dependent on plastics and vowed to change any way I knew how. 

I won't bother you with any personal sacrifices I made but will tell you simply about the plastic bags.  I began buying a bag each time I went to the store.  Then I was able to phase out one use bags completely and only use my reusable bags.  I have heard the argument that they get dirty and therefore have to be thrown away.  I think this may be a pride argument and to show you that washing them is possible I took photos of how I maintain my bags.

1.  Load them in the washing machine.


2.  Choose the delicate cold cycle.


3.  Wash them.

  4.  Load them into the dryer.

 
5.  Choose the delicate dry cycle.


6.  Then store them all together and use them when you need them!


It's easy to maintain and you will no longer have that mountain of annoying bags jumping out from drawers or snaking out from below the sink.  You can still buy biodegradable plastic to pick up dog turds if you live in the city and to use in your smaller trash cans.  If we start doing this now and stop using plastics not only will we see our coastlines and countryside clean up, we will also save ourselves the future misunderstanding at the bafflement of future scientists who wonder why we cherished our dog's shit so much we preserved it in mass so that it would never break down into the Earth.  In fact, scientists could possibly one day see our current dogs as deities for this reason.  

BYOB, bring your own bags.  If you don't live in a place where they are outlawed, give it a shot.  Groceries are easier to carry and you have much less to deal with in the long run and if you live in a place where they are banned, don't fight it, just get used to it and here's a simple how to on washing!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Senses of Fall

Throughout different parts of the country fall is obvious.  Where I live it is a bit more subtle, perhaps the only thing in Los Angeles that is subtle.  Fall gently eases its way in here.  This week, as I have ventured into this idea of fall I have let go of my previous expectations and cherished the memories of times past.

What I have learned this week is to accept where I am right now.  I don't want to long for red leaves, pumpkins and the smell of a fall Oklahoma evening.  Admittedly, it is one of my favorite seasons where I grew up.  The air has a chill in it and people are just beginning to burn fires in their stoves and fireplaces, you can smell the wood as it burns and the seasonal dishes delight the olfactory senses as they dance out windows and into my nose.  

Today, Brian and I took Cora to Malibu.  It was fun because she is just now becoming aware of her surroundings.  This will be our new fall tradition, just as it we plan on many other traditions in the seasons to come.

I want to walk you through my five senses with photos.



Touch - Today we felt the sand in our fingers and laid on the soft ground, connecting to each other as a family.  



Taste - We sat by the water eating sandwiches and occasionally the mist from the water would blow up while we munched away.





Smell - there is nothing better than the smell of saltwater air while holding a baby.

video

Sound - the sound of the waves and the wind lulled me to sleep. 


Sight - perhaps the easiest to convey through photos.  This is Point Dume beach in Malibu.  If you have followed my blog then you know this is where we got married, barefoot in the sand, with a view in every direction that will take your breath away.



I love the sight of a smile on my husband's face.  We haven't known each other much longer than before our daughter came into our lives so we are all growing as a family together.  


I'm going to add a sixth sense and that is the feeling of hope.  As Cora and I gaze at the sea I can't help but wonder how what I teach her and show her will shape her life.  I hope I can teach her to love the land, be cognizant of the past and hold hope for the future.  The future is a deep unknown but I hope to shape her life into one that will have her looking back thankful for her time spent with us and solid in the knowledge that she is loved.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

10 Reasons I am Thankful

Thanksgiving is approaching but first we do get to be gluttons on Halloween playing dress up and eating candy.  I have been challenged to think about 10 things I am thankful for and I'm excited to do this now because in just a little over 2 years my life has changed dramatically. 

1.  My health.  In May 2012 I had reached a point in my life where I had more or less quit.  Physically I looked the part, but emotionally I was done.  I was in a bad relationship and I would sit on my couch until work and binge watch Netflix before that was a thing.  I was basically waiting to die and knew this had to change but had no idea how to make that happen.

2.  My Parent's Woods.  This is where I healed.




3.  My parents.  They offered their home as a refuge for me and I will forever be grateful.  They loved me unconditionally, even when I felt I didn't deserve it.

4.  My husband.  I met him as I was beginning to heal.  I had never known anyone so sweet and we married less than a year after we met.



5.  Cora.  She is the greatest gift I can ever imagine.  At one time in my life I was the girl who said, I won't get married and I refuse to have children!  I have learned to never say never.  She makes my day brighter when we wake up.  Her morning giggles have changed my life.



6.  The ocean and the fact it is 20 minutes from my home.



7.  Goals.  Without them, what's the point?

8.  My entire extended family.  They come together for the smallest and biggest things.  Support each other and love each other and our bond is strong regardless of where we are located geographically.

9.  Netflix.  I mentioned it kept me company in great depression and it also kept me company as I healed from a very difficult delivery.  It's continues to be great because, as a new mom I don't get to watch anything until months after they happen anyway!

10.  Bailey.  She is no longer in my life but taught me lessons on how to be patient, how to love and how to be a better person.  She is no longer with us physically but she will always be in my heart.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

First Fall Photos

Part of the blogging challenge I have undertaken with The SITS Girls week long challenge is to take a photo of fall.  Either from the past or the present.  I decided to take a few from the present because fall in the suburbs of Los Angeles is...

Lavender

Crape Myrtle

 Palm Trees

 Wild Strawberries

 Snail amongst fallen leaves.

 Upside down baby and mommy on a bench.

Cora and Brian.

 Cloudy morning in Malibu.

 Morning fall mist over the Santa Monica mountains.

alcohol disclaimer do not publish

Disclaimer:  By trade I am a bartender.  I am not an advocate of over consumption of alcohol.  I do not have a problem with drinking and believe everything, including alcohol and chocolate treats, can be enjoyed in moderation.  It is when we over consume anything that danger presents itself. 

Chocolate Snakebite - Cocktail Recipe

Now that fall is upon us, I am inspired to make cocktails for the season!  Although, today in Woodland Hills it is a brisk 97 degrees.  Okay, not exactly cuddly fall weather, but here's a fun recipe!

The Ingredients


Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout
Mike's Hard Smashed Apple Ale
A pint glass
A spoon

Begin by filling a pint glass halfway with Apple Ale or Cider

Next, pour chocolate stout over a spoon.

Have a toast and enjoy!

Disclaimer:  By trade I am a bartender.  I am not an advocate of over consumption of alcohol.  I do not have a problem with drinking and believe everything, including alcohol and chocolate treats, can be enjoyed in moderation.  It is when we over consume anything that danger presents itself. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spinach and Mushroom Risotto


I will admit, when it's summer, I'm a blob of nothing who doesn't cook, clean, decorate or do much of anything.  I'm blah.  I could stare at a space on the wall for hours just to avoid stepping out in the 107 degree heat.  Ahhh, but now it's Fall and I'm back on my grind.  Today I welcomed the idea of fall and whipped up a little Risotto.  It was the type of meal that had my husband scratching his head and asking why I was cool with his spaghetti, fried rice or veggie burgers on rotation all summer when I had a trick like this up my sleeve.

He says it's the best thing I've ever made.  He says that every time I introduce a new meal.  Try the recipe and let me know how it works out for you. 


Here's the list of ingredients:
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 

Heat the broth in a small saucepan.

Heat the butter in the same skillet you will make the risotto in.

Saute the onion and garlic in the butter until soft.

Add rice and stir for 2-3 minutes or until the rice begins to appear clear.


Add 1/2 cup dry white wine.  Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc works well.  Simmer rapidly until the wine has evaporated.

Begin to ladle in the broth.  At this point you must pay attention to the process.  Add more broth only after the rice has absorbed almost all off the broth previously added.  This should be a 25 minute process.

 Time to add more broth.

Let the broth absorb.

Once you are nearly finished ladling in the broth, in a separate pan, begin to heat the mushrooms.  Stir fry until golden.

Reduce heat then add the spinach and let it wilt for a few seconds. 

Add it to your cooked risotto.

Next add the grated Parmesan.

Once all your ingredients are combined, serve immediately!

It pairs well with the wine I used!


Back to School Memories ~ Bullies

Now that summer is over and Autumn is upon us, I can't help but remember the days of my youth.  I grew up in Broken Arrow, OK and I'm a product of the 90s.  I remember when I started high school the most important thing was popularity, wardrobe and my hair.  I was a recovering competitive gymnast and the way I dealt with my flipping addiction was to turn cheerleader.

I walked into my first day of 9th grade feeling like the invisible girl I had always been.  I was uncertain, small, smart but unfocused and unbelievably happy.  My nickname was smiles.  I believe I wore that grin because freedom from gymnastics felt so good.  As soon as some of the girls found out I was a cheerleader I was automatically in.  I remember I met a girl named Jessica.  She was pretty, popular and wore all the best clothes from a store called Renbergs, I shopped there too, okay, my mom did, but that's how I knew.  Jessica was also a first class mean girl...she was a bitch.

This memory stands out in my head because I think it was the defining moment in which I should have realized I'm a bit of a loner or just not one to go along with the crowd.  Jessica was acting really mean that day.  She was insulting people, making fun of their clothes, their hair, their nerdiness, whatever, she hated everyone.  Her friends were laughing and going along with it and I remember distinctly, quietly picking up my lunch tray and sitting alone.  I had been the girl who was bullied a year before and I couldn't stand to be in the crowd that does the bullying.  I think I must have liked being the scrappy underdog who would stand up to them and I knew for a fact that I never wanted to be them.

None of my real friends had lunch the same time as me and I eventually found some geeks to befriend who actually turned out to be just as mean as the cool kids.  In reflection I think most of us were just trying to figure it out and I most certainly don't hold any grudges.  In fact, I'm friends with one of my bullies now and could care less about those days as they are so long ago.  When I think of the cyber bullies now and the differences our children face.  I wonder how I will educate Cora on how to deal with these trolls.  Until then, I will cherish the fact that she's a baby and I get to keep her safe from harms way for the next few years. 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Anti-Aging Serum

In modern day marketing women have been hit with anti-aging creams, serums and marketing campaigns telling us it isn't ok to age or look old. We listen to celebrities give feedback on a brand they are promoting and promising unrealistic results, results that rarely happen without fillers or botox. So, let's all stop pretending any of these products are going to reverse the aging process and start looking at what they actually do or what your reasons should be before you purchase.

Before I buy anything I like to read about what the product doesn't do. 
Do they test on animals? 
Do they have parabens and sulfates?
Harmful chemicals? 
GMOs?
Synthetic dye or fragrance?

These are my non-negotiables. If all these don'ts are met then I'm willing to give it a go. I also like to look for natural ingredients like seaweed extract for example. 

Recently I stumbled upon a great serum to add to my routine. It's called Sobo Age Smoothing and Protectant Serum. I use it after hydrating toner and before moisturizing. It leaves my smooth feeling velvety and soft and feels so luxurious as I smooth it on. 

I'm back in Oklahoma visiting family now and I'm so glad I brought my skincare routine with me. It's important to take care of your skin, it's the one outfit you can't replace. 


To purchase Sobo Serum or any of their other amazing products visit their website at www.soboskincare.com
Use my discount for 25% off. The discount code is TRYSOBO


This is a Sobo sponsored post. 

My Bucket List for Fall 2014

I live in a suburb of Los Angeles, Woodland Hills to be exact.  It is quite possibly the hottest part of the San Fernando Valley.  So fall for me has to be more of a state of mind than anything.  As a first time/new mommy to baby Cora, I am going to seek out new traditions.  Here is my bucket list!

1.  Make a fall wreath.  I want to incorporate fall colors I would find in my parents woods.  I found this one from Cardstore Blog.




2.  Have a fall beach days with family.  Pack a picnic with fun fall veggies and enjoy the outdoors.
3.  Find a friend and force them to go to a haunted Halloween since my daughter is still too young.
4.  Go to Lake Shrine in the Pacific Palisades and look at their fall garden with Cora and Brian.
Old Fall Photo from Lake Shrine

5.  Learn how to make more things with squash and pumpkins.  Squash risotto, pumpkin soup and squash casserole always taste good in the fall and this fall I will make more than just baked squash with butter and brown sugar!