Monday, January 31, 2011

Beef, It's What's For Dinner

Did you hear about the recent lawsuit against Taco Bell? They're getting sued for advertising their meat as "beef" - the lawsuit claims that it is actually less than 35% meat!!!! Isn't that crazy?! I always knew and expected that they didn't buy high-grade beef, however, I didn't realize that it pretty much (allegedly) isn't beef at all. Here is an article about it on Slashfood.

I actually go to Taco Bell about 1% as much as I used to when I lived in Michigan and DC. I think it's because there is Mexican food everywhere here. I never thought I would say I was sick of Mexican food but I actually have gotten to that point since I've been living in Southern California. Even a lot of the bars here have a menu of only Mexican food instead of what you would think of as traditional "bar food." I guess if I do go to Taco Bell, I'm going to have to order chicken. But how am I going to give up Double Decker Taco Supremes? Now I'm going to have to make them at home to make sure I get actual beef. Sounds like a project!

Incidentally, I didn't know about the Slashfood blog until I searched for the Taco Bell story (after my sister posted something about it on Facebook), and now I am glad I found it! It seems pretty awesome! I really like the "News" section.

I have to say that I felt nothing short of disgust at a lot of the food industry after reading a lot of the articles on Slashfood (fake blueberries in the cereal! c'mon!). How can these companies sleep at night? Mislabeling and false advertising seems so immoral. I guess it just proves how important it is to be a smart consumer - and how important it is to actually read food labels to make sure you know exactly what you are putting into your body.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Smart XX Brains - Answers!

Answers to the quiz from Tuesday! The items in PURPLE were invented by women.
  1. Electric Stove - Llyod Copeman
  2. Windshield Wiper - Mary Anderson
  3. Scotch Tape - Richard Drew
  4. Disposable Cell Phone - Randice Altschul
  5. Cordless Phone - Jerome Lemelson
  6. Computer Mouse - Douglas Engelbart
  7. Barbie Doll - Ruth Handler
  8. Dishwasher - Josephine Cochran
  9. White Out - Bette Nesmith Graham
  10. Fax Machine - Jerome Lemelson
  11. Chocolate Chip Cookie - Ruth Wakefield
  12. Kevlar - Stephanie Kwolek
  13. Graham Crackers - Sylvester Graham
  14. Diabetes Test - Helen Free
  15. Haberman Feeder - Mandy Haberman
  16. Hydrometer - Hypatia of Alexandria
  17. Nylon - Wallace Carothers
  18. Band Aid - Earle Dickson

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wedding Wednesday :-D
Dum Dum Da-Dum

This is a toughie...how to choose the song that will play while we all walk down the aisle? I wanted something different, something you don't hear at every wedding...and I'm really liking this version of Just Like Heaven by the Cure. This cover is by Katie Melua and is from the movie Just Like Heaven.



Hmmm the problem may be finding an artist that can learn the song. Maybe I should start looking now!

I also love Claire de Lune...and since it is more common and well known it'll probably be easier to find someone to play it. Maybe on a harp?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Smart XX Brains

Which items below were invented by women?

  1. Electric Stove
  2. Windshield Wiper
  3. Scotch Tape
  4. Disposable Cell Phone
  5. Cordless Phone
  6. Computer Mouse
  7. Barbie Doll
  8. Dishwasher
  9. White Out
  10. Fax Machine
  11. Chocolate Chip Cookie
  12. Kevlar
  13. Graham Crackers
  14. Diabetes Test
  15. Haberman Feeder
  16. Hydrometer
  17. Nylon
  18. Band Aid
Check back for the answers on Thursday! No cheating! :-D

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Schmonday

It's Monday. Think happy thoughts!


Ha ha isn't this picture so funny? That's what I'm going to do to all my stuff in my refrigerator!

Things that are making me happy today:

1. I have a refrigerator full of healthy and yummy food! Smiley faces to come soon! :-)
2. I had a great weekend! I got to spend time with my good friend Dorothy!
3. It's restaurant week in Los Angeles! I'm going to eat at a fancy restaurant with a bunch of friends this week!
4. I baked cheesecake cupcakes and brought some of them in for my co-workers!
5.. It's gorgeous outside and it's JANUARY! Hallelujah, I love California!


Gorgeous sunset from last night @ Venice Beach! :-D

What's making you happy today?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Weekend Yummy
Missy's Favorite Cheesecake Cupcakes!

16 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
18 vanilla wafers
1 large can of cherry pie filling
1 large container of cool whip
1 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Place a paper cupcake holder in each cup of a cupcake pan. Place a vanilla wafer in each cupcake holder. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on top of the vanilla wafer. Bake 18-20 minutes.

Let cupcakes cool for about 20 minutes.

Put cherry pie filling on top of each cupcake. Top with cool whip and sprinkle chopped nuts on top. Refrigerate until firm.

I promise these will be the best cheesecake cupcakes you'll ever eat! My neighbor used to make them for us when we were kids and I swear I could eat all 18 of them myself. :-D

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Discussion
Unbearable Lightness

One word for this book: Intense

This book was absolutely jaw-dropping and crazy to read. It is by Portia De Rossi, (soon to be known as Portia DeGeneres) and describes her life growing up as a model, her quest to become an actor, her anguish over being gay, and her struggle with anorexia and bulimia. I originally downloaded this book as a sample and was going to read it at some point....then I saw her interview on Oprah and I immediately downloaded the entire book the next day. Once I started reading it, I was hooked.

I felt admiration for Portia for writing this book. I think writing this book was an incredible act of bravery on her part and it amazed me how candid she was about all of the struggles that she experienced with all of the topics she discussed (she did not hold back). If anything I think this book could really help a lot of people - it will make you really stop and think about how you choose to live your life and what you value. Do you value having perfectly flawless abs or going out and enjoying Mexican food and margaritas with your best friend?

To hear her discuss her disgust with every single part of her body - it was seriously astonishing to read. One thing that really struck me was her discussion about her obsession with having thin thighs. She wanted thin thighs so badly that she didn't care that the rest of her body was emaciated in order to get them. It really makes you ask yourself if you have unrealistic expectations or negative feelings about your body. This book made me think really hard about the reasons behind my fitness goals and what will really, truly make me happy in life. Also, when I think of all the people that I value in my life, the reason I value them is not because they have perfect bodies or a perfect trait in any way. 

A long time ago I read a topic on the Operation Beautiful website that said "the thin ideal vs. the healthy ideal." I have been trying to think for months about what to write about that topic. I think Portia discussed this in a round about way in her book. She kept saying how over and over her body would return to a weight of 130 pounds. It took massive heroics of extreme exercise and deprivation (300 calories a day!) to be below that. In her mind, "thin ideal" was far below 130 pounds, but her body kept trying to tell her that her "healthy ideal" was 130 pounds. What is your "thin ideal" and what is your "healthy ideal"?

This book really does get the message across that life is way too short to obsess about achieving some unrealistic image of perfection. Live life, love your friends and family, do things that make you happy, and be healthy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wedding Wednesday :-D
Centerpieces!

When it comes to centerpieces, I really love those that are very simple and elegant. Right now I'm thinking of a simple potted pink orchid (maybe with one stalk of bamboo with it...), or a simple vase with hydrangeas.

I love these simple hydrangea centerpieces...



Since I'm choosing something really simple no matter what I go with, I am pretty sure I am going to make my centerpieces myself. Regardless of the flower I choose, I'm thinking a simple vase, maybe with a white, champagne, or Tiffany Blue ribbon wrapped around it. It's a good thing Jessi offered to help me with DIY things for my wedding! I'm definitely going to take her up on that offer! :-D

Do you think I said the word "simple" enough times in this post?! LOL

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thinking Outside the Box

Since I am living in an itsy-bitsy apartment, Zach's litterbox is right there for all to see! I do not have a good place for the thing! Talk about disgusting - seeing it every single time I walk down the hallway. SICK.

Then I saw this product and decided to give it a shot! It is the answer to anyone's litterbox-hiding needs! It looks lovely in my apartment hallway and I turned the door/hole toward the back of the hallway, so it really does look just like a cute little table! Zach was jumping in it before I even had a chance to get it all the way put together. He was as excited as I was! LOL. It took only me about 45 minutes to put this together.

Not Hideous!!!
This is what I had before: 

Hideous!!

Before and after pics! OMG - so much better!
Hideous!

Not Hideous!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Discussion: Room

One word for this book: Yikes

It will be really hard for me to discuss this book too much without giving things away...so beware of spoiler details to follow!

This book was pretty thought provoking. The premise of the story is like the story of Jaycee Dugard. A woman was abducted and held captive in a backyard shed for years. How do I put this delicately about her captor....well, they had a baby together (actually two babies; the first was stillborn). The entire story is narrated by the child, Jack, who is five years old. The first part of the story depicts their life within Room. It's a shed in Old Nick's backyard. It's padded and sound proofed and has an electronic lock/alarm on the door. There is a fence that extends below the ground and around the shed so they cannot dig their way out. The only window is a skylight. Can you imagine what sort of a sicko puts that much time into creating a shed like that with all this in mind?! Yikes.

The second part of the book is about their daring escape - this is where the book starts to get good. I am not joking or exaggerating when I say my heart was literally pounding out of my chest while I was reading this portion of the book!!! Yikes. LOL.

The third part of the book is about their life after escaping from Room. This was so crazy to read. It amazed me how much Jack was affected developmentally by spending his entire life up to that point in the same room! For example, he thought that Room was the only thing that existed. He thought that everything on TV was made up and that "outside" did not exist. He had no spatial relation abilities because he was used to things always being in the same place. Wearing shoes were incredibly uncomfortable because he had never worn them. And he got sunburned by the slightest amount of sun because he'd never been out in it before.

I really enjoyed this book once I got through the first third of the story. I loved that it was told from Jack's perspective. It really made you think about how things look to little children. It also made you think about the mother, the choices she made when it came to Jack, and how sometimes you have to make choices that are difficult for the sake of your child, and do what you think is best even if there aren't any great choices available. Maybe I should have had two words for this book: thought provoking!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wedding Wednesday :-D
Say Cheese!!!

As you can probably tell by all the photos I am always posting, I LOVE PHOTOS! I have framed pictures all over my house and my refrigerator is covered in them. I thought choosing a photographer for my wedding was going to be difficult since it is so important to me, but it turns out my friends have done the work for me and I have two great photographers in mind already! Check out these photos!

My Sydney Bear at here 2 year photo shoot! Isn't she getting huge!?

I love this photo of two of my favorite girls in the world - my BFF Jackie and her beautiful daughter.

This photo cracks me up! I think it's fun.

Beautiful!

Love <3

So cute!

The bottom four photos are from Bliss Photography. The photos are of my friend Shauna and her husband Joey on their wedding day (obviously). I adore these pics! The second I saw them on Facebook...I knew I had found the photographer for me. I love her style and I love non-traditional poses for photos. Aren't they gorgeous?

The top two photos are from Julie Marie Portraits and are from Sydney's 2 year photo shoot (I can't believe she is 2 already). I love them! I am keeping this photographer in mind as another option (just in case)...she did such a great job with Sydney's photos!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Puppy Love

I love this puppy!!!! It was so much fun to play with Roxie while I was home visiting with my family! Isn't she the cutest little thing!? 
Puppy Hugs

Rock-a-bye Roxie...on the tree top.
I <3 her! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Babyyyyyyyy!!!!

One of my close girlfriends from DC has been blessed to bring a little girl into this world and I just had to share this adorable picture below!!!!

Julie and Simone
Isn't this absolutely adorable!? I love-love-love the onesie - Late Night Drinking Buddy!!! LOL I cracked up when I received this and I think it is just the cutest thing ever.

I am going to DC for a visit soon and I can't wait to meet Simone!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

December Workouts :-)

Here are my December workouts!!! :-) 


I have finally made progress on Operation No More Muffin Top. Yay. :-) My pants are finally starting to fit again. I wore a pair yesterday and today that I haven't worn in months! Hallelujah! And, since I started doing Weight Watchers online, it really reminded me about how I used to always eat! I don't know how I managed to get so off track. It boggles my mind. Maybe it was laziness. I don't know. But now I'm eating an insane amount of fruit and veggies and it's awesome! This exercise is essentially re-teaching me how to eat extremely healthfully. My sister was totally right - you really, really don't realize how much junk you're eating until you start keeping track of it! 

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Gift of Engrish

Among the many thoughtful and lovely Christmas gifts that I received this year...I had to share this hilarious one that my bff Jade sent to me! She went to Japan not too long ago and she bought me some ENGRISH!!!! Have you ever gone to the Engrish website/blog? It is so incredibly funny. If you want a good laugh, you should check it out. Here is my new notebook from Japan, complete with Engrish on the cover:

ENGRISH!
The cover of the notebook reads:
Ruled line notebook. No 60.
A Moderate Request.
An important point: in composing.
The one that insist on novel conception with reserve.
It is an exposure of quiet intellect.

Amen to that! LOL. I died laughing when I opened this.

She also got me a really cute little fabric bag that has sumo wrestlers on it...which she got at a sumo wrestling match!!! Isn't that fun and funny?


And finally, here is a photo of my Sydney bear that I had to share because I think it is so completely adorable. She looks so grown up and is like a little fashionista! 

Monday, January 03, 2011

Welcome Back :-)

Welcome back from Christmas and NYE break! I went to Michigan and it was CRAZY BUSY! I feel like I was so busy I didn't even have time to sleep the entire time I was there, I ate enough for an entire army, and I only exercised once. It was fun but I am so happy to be back in my healthy routines!

Monday we went to see that venue for the wedding in Ann Arbor...and we LOVED IT!!!! Our date is going to be 6/9/12!!!!! I am so glad things are finally coming together and even though my Granny tells me not to wish my life away...I hope the next year flies by and Robbie is here - and 6 months later we'll be married! :-)

Thankfully, Zach was still happy to see me even though I left him alone for a week (with pet sitter visits).


p.s. My mom cried when she opened the calendar that I made for her. :-) Yay.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!


This is when I first adopted Zach!
See? He was tortured from a young age. LOL

He was my Christmas present from my mom in 2004!
Cripes...looking at this old pics makes me realize how far my apartment has come since being just out of college!!! LOL. Also...I think I need to get rid of that fleece. I might still have it. HA!