If only I had started working out sooner - like, 10 years ago - I would totally copy this for a cowgirl Halloween costume this year:

Maybe with some modifications?

The Kind Diet

Still one of my favorite pick-me-up movies. But this post is about eating, not shopping.

I've been feeling the need to really get healthy - mind, body and soul - and feel good. On that note, I've been considering vegetarianism a bit, and picked up Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet to give me the little push that I knew I needed to commit to it. I like that in her book the focus is on kindness to your body, and also to animals. Because if I'm being honest, I've been in denial about the animal cruelty going on in our meat processing. I've been carefully avoiding seeing it or thinking about it too much (of course, sometimes it was unavoidable).
I don't care whether humans are meant to eat meat. I don't care (too much) whether the act of ingesting meat is cruel. I don't even need to begin to figure all that out yet, because I know that I do care that (part of) my dollars have been directly supporting animal cruelty. The state of most chickens, cows, pigs, raised for food, even if the worst of what you see and hear isn't true, is heinous. I would without a doubt not support it if it were happening to dogs or cats at an animal shelter. It would be a no-brainer. I was avoiding making the leap, and that's where reading this book, or watching a documentary, or visiting PETA's website is handy.
I have some stuff left in the house that I will not waste: a few hamburger patties and chicken breasts in the freezer, butter and sour cream in the fridge, and chicken broth in my pantry. But once it's gone, I'm will not be buying any more.
I love Alicia Silverstone, always have, so I was really biased towards The Kind Diet. I appreciated her tone, and it was informative on some counts, but mainly encouraging. The one huge point I took from the book: buying eggs and dairy is no different than buying meat. It also has a great section with descriptions of vegan foods, and recipes. (Although as a first food/diet book, my money is still on In Defense of Food.)

That's my big change, and along with it comes eating more healthily - more veggies and fruit, taking vitamins (watched Food Matters on netflix...), committing to going organic at least always for "the dirty dozen" and next comes exercise, cutting back on alcohol (and other vices), and whatever else needed to feel truly thrilled inside and out.

cat and mouse

Spot has been rediscovering his old toys, like this little gray mouse with pink ears.

oriental salad

Another great spinach salad that I made before we went to Cali... that was already being eaten when I thought to take a picture. The traditional meal-time Skip-bo game was well underway (I lost).

This one was oriental-themed with Cardini's Asian Sesame Salad Dressing, matchstick carrots, sliced blanched almonds, mandarin orange segments, dried cranberries, crispy noodles (only for the boys, not for my salad, above), and the secret ingredient - a tip from my sister - wasabi peas! I also threw in some cherry tomatoes, but only because I had to use them up. Quick, fresh, and delicious.

Park Inn

I like motels for several reasons:

Your door opens straight outside, making it more like a tiny one-room apartment than a hotel room.

Free wireless. I don't understand how the charge for normal amenities such as internet and coffee increases with the price of the hotel. Shouldn't it be the opposite?

Usually comes with a mini-fridge so that you can keep the necessities - which for us is beer, milk, and berries! - on hand and not have to order room service if you feel like a bowl of cereal.

I think I say this every time I fly

I woke up at 4:00 am, ya'll!
An airplane is like a tiny capsule of the spectrum of human personalities. You see, and are trapped in a small space with, many people, all with different lives, and different reasons for being there, from business to pleasure. Everyone's a little stressed, probably tired, and in a hurry, and a little out of their normal routine, surrounded by strangers. I think it must be like being drunk, flying distills your true personality and allows it to become really obvious. It's always sad to me that the people who are just completely rude and selfish completely outnumber the people with normal social consciousness.
Hubs and I watched season 7 of Entourage on my laptop, which greatly helped to pass the time. (I love our headphone splitter!)
Anyway, Menlo Park is a bit different than LA, or even the rest of San Francisco. It's sort of a place to work, I guess, rather than a place to live or visit. There is a Tesla dealership:
(I saw a Tesla on the road once, in Palo Alto. I only noticed because people were taking pictures of it.)

It had bacon, ham (you need both!), avocado, tomato, cheese, and three eggs, on an English Muffin, served open-faced, also sour cream (which I scraped off, yuk.) and chives. I wondered briefly when reading the description how three scrambled eggs would fit on an English Muffin. Now I know. If I were to recreate this at home, I would choose either the ham or bacon (probably the bacon, let's be real), half the eggs, and leave out the cheese, sour cream and chives.
I did not take a photo, but since you can find anything on the internet, apparently, including the breakfast sandwich you forgot to take a photo of, here it is:
Photo by/from Less of Mimi blog, somehow she made it look much smaller than it actually was.
Also, I love the weather here! If I lived here, I would spend all my time riding around with the windows down. Or standing in the shade and marveling at how cool it is compared to in the sun.


Unlikely inspiration in black and white, from the September 2011 US Glamour magazine:

Rihanna is not someone I ever thought I'd look to for style inspiration, but she looks totally glamourous and sophisticated in the spread. This is my favorite photo:

And although Selena Gomez is always adorable, I am particularly loving her sweet, but modern, '60s look with the white cat eye glasses, messy hair, and hot pink lips:

I hadn't looked at Glamour in a while, but I flipped through this issue at the hair salon and loved it so much that I may have to buy it.

southwest salad

So, the summer's officially gone, although not at all in practice:

and it's time to start a new routine, including for us getting back into eating reasonably and healthily. Enter salads, specifically this delicious southwestern spinach salad that I made the other day, complete with homemade dressing and tortilla strips.

Baby spinach with southwest dressing (sour cream and white wine vinegar watered down and mixed with a touch of olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper), roasted corn and black beans (not really roasted since I just opened cans of each and sauted them in olive oil for a few minutes, sprinked with cumin and chili powder), shrimp (sauted in olive oil, seasoned with garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper), sliced avocado, cherry tomatos, and grated cheddar cheese, and whole wheat tortilla strips (cut up whole wheat tortillas baked at 350 for 10-15 minutes)... this was so simple to make, but looking at the finished plate totally made me feel like a professional chef.

last week

I finally got down to visit my family.

There was book-reading:

(I really wanted to like this, because it was highly recommended by my sister, but I just didn't.)

and cat-petting:

(how do they have less cat hair in a house with five, than I do with only one?)

and snow-ball-eating:

(mine was Irish cream with condensed milk, and my niece had half cotton-candy, half chocolate with gummy bears. I spent a long time trying to decide on a flavor, but honestly, I hardly matters as there is no bad snow-balls.)

and sushi-picking-up:

(I could eat a seaweed salad every day and be happy.)

and birthday-partying:

(which included filling a bunch of water balloons. Seriously, my sister bought 500 balloons!)

and magazine-reading:

(I really want - need! - this dress if I ever have a ball to attend or red carpet to walk...)

and finally, home-returning:

(my own sweet cat was very happy to see me.)


I've been trying my best to accessorize more, now that I've gotten pretty used to wearing bracelets, it's time to move on to rings! Megan Fox has a way with simple jewelry that I love. Most recently, I've been inspired to hunt for a black onyx prism cut ring similar to, but smaller than, the one she's wearing here:

I even tried on this David Yurman version, but did not like it enough to justify:

So, yesterday when we stopped by Erica Jewelry, I was thrilled to find this awesome, handcrafted version:

It's perfect! We try to stop by that little shop every time we are in Houston, because she always has some good finds. I picked up this purple one too just for fun, and I love it too:

My jewelry hook man needed a hat:

Now, I have the fun cheap stuff out of the way, and the investment pieces left on the list, like this Chanel Camilia ring as worn by Leigh Lezark:

I love that on here, although truthfully, I have my eye on Kristen Stewart's version with the tiny flower and diamond leaf:

And then Mila Kunis' Cartier LOVE bracelet, in platinum of course:

I want!

new (old) shoes

I bought these shoes ages ago, very much on sale and very much too small. While they technically fit on my feet, the high heel and narrow toes combined with too small made them pretty impossible to wear for more than a few minutes at a time.

Hubby saved the day by taking them to get stretched. After a couple days with the stretcher in, the toes are loose enough to actually wear. They won't ever be that comfortable, but they are definitely cute enough for a little bit of pain!

i want

I want this dress to wear now:

And this one to wear in the fall with short boots:

and in the winter with tights and high boots:

(Photos of photos in the Neiman Marcus catalog from a month or so ago.)

fall vs. summer

It's 104 degrees here and I cooked chili and pumpkin bread for dinner last night. And our air conditioning is broken. Don't ask me. It was good, though.

I had exactly 4 eggs about to expire, so I searched for a recipe for pumpkin bread using 4 eggs and whole wheat flour, and omitting honey and juice. This is what I found. It turned out dry (no big surprise from looking at the ingredients, and reading the reviews) but really good! I followed the recipe, but added a bunch of junk which no doubt made it better: 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips, 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 1 c. walnuts. Next time, I would use two cans of pumpkin puree to help reduce the dryness. I didn't have loaf pans, so I used 2 silicon round cake pans instead, and it still took 45 minutes to cook thoroughly.

Also, don't slice your bread/cake in a silicon pan because you'll cut right through the pan. And, yes, I know I shouldn't have had to learn that from experience.

This chili is maybe my favorite thing to cook and is the first thing I really learned how to cook, even though it's really just opening a bunch of cans and stirring for a few hours. But you do have to chop an onion so I totally count it. I found it by searching google for "Wendy's chili recipe", and if you like Wendy's chili, you'll love it.

Encino Man

One of the best things about kids is that you can make them watch movies that you watched when you were young. (Even though they say, This movie was made in 1992? It's so old!)

We watched Encino Man last night and I have three things to say: 1) it is by far Brendan Fraser's best movie, 2) I still miss the '90s, 3) is high school in real life ever like the movies? Is high school in California like in the movies?

I never though I would find Pauly Shore endearing. Life is unpredictable, isn't it?

This summer has been an old movie fest, but since the kids are boys we had to stick to mainly manly ones. Kindergarten Cop and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines were the biggest hits with the kids, and Rain Man and Howard the Duck were the biggest misses.

Howard the Duck

Robin Hood: Men in Tights

The Stand

Harry and the Hendersons (Again. This one is a big hit.)

Kindegarten Cop (another big hit!)


Blast from the Past (I love this one!)

Rain Man

Terminators 1-4 (fast-forwarding over the rated R scenes, of course)