to-do list and bird grandparents

Last week was insanely busy (hence the radio silence on the blog) but this coming week I'm only working (interning) one day so you'll be hearing a lot from me. Last week I had my first paid assistant styling gig which went incredibly well plus it was nice to see that my hard work had finally paid off! Unfortunately, the nature of fashion styling is that it is freelance which is why I will be hitting the job search big time tomorrow!!

This will be the first time since I first moved to Los Angeles that I'll actually have some time off. Here are some of the things I want to accomplish:

  • go to the Post Office to mail a couple things I've been meaning to
  • run, run, run!
  • exercise that is not running (weights, spinning, yoga, etc)
  • cook in the crockpot
  • bake something new (I'm thinking oatmeal cookies!)
In case you were wondering, the birds came back and rebuilt their nest. There's two eggs in the nest as of a couple days ago and the momma and poppa birds take shifts keeping them warm. I like to tell the boyfriend that we're going to be grandparents because it bugs him and bugging the boyfriend is my favorite activity. It's true! 



Our zucchini plant has flowers!! Although, after looking at these pictures, I'm a little concerned by the look of the leaves that we may have bugs :/ Hopefully we'll have fresh zucchinis to eat soon!


slow cooker surprise

You can take the girl out of Miami but you can't take the Miami out of the girl! Never mind that I made my awesomely delicious flan de queso just the other week. This week I broke in my new slow cooker by making lechon aka shredded pork in mojo aka citrus/garlic marinade. I apologize in advance if the pictures offend any vegetarian/vegan blog readers! I myself am slowly becoming a quasitarian and felt horrifically barbarian pulling the meat apart with my own hands. However, the pork came out EXACTLY like my dad makes it and reminded me tremendously of home!

It took all of yesterday to cook so I had it for lunch today with some Trader Joe's Cuban-style black beans which were surprisingly good/authentic tasting and a side salad of arugula, edamame and balsamic dressing (not in keeping with the Cuban theme but I wanted to get some veggies in).


and here's a picture of it last night in the crockpot:


Using the crockpot was amazingly simple! I just rubbed the pork shoulder with salt and cooked it on low for, basically, forever (8-10 hours), added mojo (which I made from scratch as well) and cooked on high for 2-3 more hours. Delish!

Bird Update: Yesterday my boyfriend, fearing we would somehow harm the birds, disassembled their nest so they could go elsewhere. The birds came back this morning with a stronger nest! They clearly want to nest in the herb garden so we decided it was fate and they should stay. I plan to leave them be and just observe from afar. It would break my heart to disassemble the nest again not knowing if they'd have time to build another one.

This is what it looked like during lunch today:



chocolate chip cookies


Today I made these chocolate chip cookies because they got a very high rating and I had all of the ingredients (yes, sometimes I do judge what I should bake on that!) As per the boyfriend's request (he's getting very spoiled), I put mini Trader Joe's peanut butter cups (noticing a trend here??) in half of them and semisweet chocolate chips in the other half. I used the same tablespoon to measure out all of my cookies so I'm not quite sure why the ones with TJ mini peanut butter cups came out larger and flatter.


*chocolate chip on the left, peanut butter cup on the right

My personal preference:


Just plain ole chocolate chip! Sometimes a cookie doesn't HAVE to be fancy. The texture of these were perfect (there's really no other word)! The edges of the cookie were slightly crunchy and the middle was nice and moist.

Bird update: The birds are gone!! I haven't seen them all afternoon but here's what they left behind in my herb garden...


The string and twigs were definitely not there before and I know nobody bothered them since we were out all day. I wonder if this means they are in the process of gathering nest-building material or if they're gone for good.

my cilantro is for the birds - update


This morning, my boyfriend and I woke up to a bird sitting in the corner of our herb garden, right next to the cilantro. After eating breakfast, we went to a golf tent sale where he bought a new set and when we came back, she was still there plus another birdie visitor. I don't yet know if she's injured or hatching an egg in our herb garden but her visitor comes often and even snuggles with her. The boyfriend says that their presence will probably kill the cilantro to which I responded that we can always buy more cilantro, this is her nest (?) now.

Sadly, I have not had the best luck with birds. My mom and I tried nursing a baby bird to health and ended up overfeeding and killing it. I also found a dead bird while swimming in my pool in Miami. This time I'm not going to interfere and just watch nature take its course. The most I can do is give her space and sacrifice my cilantro.


P.S. How great does my basil (far right) look???

Update: When I got home from my run, the bird was on the ground then flew off! I'm glad to know she's not injured. I went on the balcony to inspect the herb garden which was well nestled into and there were bits of twine and a couple other small items so I definitely think the two are building a nest!!! I feel oddly honored that they chose my cilantro :)


ranchero style

On Sunday, Matt and I decided to make some burritos ranchero style. This is one of our favorite meals to make; it's amazingly simple and actually tastes like it should be served at a restaurant! Not to toot my own horn, hehe.


Our "semi-homemade" burritos included:
  • tortillas
  • instant rice 
  • cilantro from our herb garden
  • pre-marinated carne asada
  • shredded cheddar
  • canned pinto beans
  • sour cream
  • salsa
While Matt cooked the carne asada on the grill, I made the instant rice adding fresh cilantro to it, rinsed and microwaved a can of pinto beans and preheated the broiler to high. All that was left to do was assemble our burritos to our own liking, wrap, douse in tomatillo salsa and cheese and place in the oven. The cheese on top will brown VERY quickly so all ingredients should already be hot before the burrito goes in the oven and for goodness sake, keep a close eye! This was a filling and delicious meal. I've also made a healthier version before using brown rice, black beans and smashed avocado which was, in my opinion, equally tasty :)





quinoa muffins


Last night I made Martha's quinoa muffins. Before I tell you how they came out, let's talk about quinoa. Quinoa (keen-wah) is a complete protein in that it includes all nine essential amino acids. It is also a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus and may be beneficial to people with migraines, diabetes and atherosclerosis. Full list of health benefits here. Now imagine my shock when the boyfriend couldn't find it at our local Ralph's! And they say California is green and health conscious... Of course, I was able to get my quinoa at another local grocery store.

I love finding ways to cook or bake healthy foods in new/interesting ways so, of course, I bookmarked this recipe when I came across it. Before I list my rants and raves about the quinoa muffins, let me explain how I changed the recipe: I omitted the raisins, substituted milk for almond milk and I cooked the quinoa as per the packets instructions, not Martha's (for some reason that's what I thought she meant). And now, my thoughts:

  • The muffins didn't rise very much
  • The muffins came out very moist (not in a good way), almost as if they weren't fully cooked (they were!)
  • The muffins went perfectly with my new sweet potato butter
  • I ate one of these puppies at 11 AM today and it held me over for a surprisingly long time till I ate lunch at 2:30 PM



I even added some Trader Joe's dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds to the last three.


The pomegranate seeds were a wonderful addition! At first they tasted like chocolate chip muffins but the chocolateyness (not a real word) slowly gives way to a tart fruitiness (a real word) and the actual seeds add a good crunch!

P.S. Matt and I did not go to the gym BUT I did go for a 3.62 mile run (yay, me!) after work followed by a fresh juice of 3 carrots, 1 apple, 1/2 lemon, 1/2 orange and a small piece of ginger. Lesson learned: When juicing ginger, a little goes a LONG way!

a bloody mess

I admit it's a tad dorky but I was so excited yesterday to finally juice a beet in my juicer. Cutting the beet was quite gory. For a split second the knife slipped ever so slightly and I thought I had cut myself yet again! Luckily it was just beet juice that had me so freaked out. Oh boy did that look like a bloody mess! I was tempted to leave my juicing mess to wash later since I was on my lunch break but the juice was so deeply tinted I was worried it would stain everything. In my juice was 2 carrots, 1 beet, 1 tomato, 1 apple, 1/2 lemon.



The juice was rather refreshing albeit earthy. That's my euphemism for "it tasted a bit like dirt". I definitely washed my beet well but just by the look of it I can tell that it grows in the ground. Perhaps I should invest in a vegetable brush? Or do I need to peel my beets before juicing them? Or is it supposed to taste like that? Either way I drank the whole glass and, other than the "earthy" taste, it was actually quite good. I have this theory that my insides must be a tie-die of bright colors between the yerba mate tea (which has a green stain to it), the carrot juice and the beet juice I've been drinking. I mean that in the best possible way of course.

Today was supposed to be my day to start running again. Well it's 9:15 AM and I'm still lying in bed (I have to be at work at 10). The boyfriend says we'll go to the gym before dinner; we're always so tired when we get out of work (why I work out in the morning) but I hope that we do end up going. Either way, I have the slightest bit of sniffles today so maybe it's best I take it easy. But tomorrow I'm going to set my alarm a half hour earlier (7 AM) so I have more time to convince myself to get out of bed, hehe. The other day I purchased Zensah Compression Sleeves for my shins. I don't consider myself hardcore by any means but getting shin splints really sent me off track. Probably the right thing to do is to get fitted for new running shoes but I'm still on an intern's salary (not making any money!) so that will have to wait.


i got you covered

got you covered

I love summer! Today was a chilly day in Southern California but overall the weather has been gearing towards hot beach days. This coming weekend the boyfriend and I have plans to go hiking which should be lots of fun but I really can't wait till the weather is right for playing in the sand and water. Due to my excitement, I've been thinking about the best outfits to throw on over my favorite bikini; be it an oversized men's shirt, a colorful dress or a flirty nautical romper. Of course wedges, sandles and boat shoes are at the top of my list to pair along with my beach cover-up. Here are some of my favorite selections:

1. TopShop - Bonded Military Shirt - $55
2. Charles by Charles David - Braid Wedge - $125
3. Dolce Vita - Ivory Sandal - $125
4. TopShop - Pastel Check Ladder Sundress - $70
5. TopShop - Stripe Frill Playsuit - $55
6. Sperry Topsider - Authentic Original Boat Shoe - $85

I have a pair of Sperry Topsider brown patent leather penny loafers and I practically live in them! They're the perfect balance of stylish and comfortable which is great on long shoot days. I would love to get my hands on a fun colorful pair of boat shoes like the above. However, I got my Topsiders on Ruelala for $40 and have seen them on various sample sale websites so I definitely would not purchase them full price.

On an unrelated note, when I realized I had an $8 credit on eBay I immediately purchased the cookbook Ice Cream Galore (which ended up costing me a whopping $.99!) I'm so excited to try lots of new flavors!

flan de queso



Last night I made flan de queso as per the boyfriend's request. This is an old family recipe (not the one I'm making in the slow cooker) passed down from my grandmother to my mother to me. Unfortunately, I can't post this recipe on the internet (you know, family secret!) but I can tell you some interesting facts about making flan:
  1. The flan you are probably used to eating at restaurants is "flan de huevo" or flan made with eggs. My family recipe is "flan de queso" which means flan made with cheese.
  2. The cheese in the recipe yields a rich and creamy texture similar to that of a cheesecake. It's almost a "flan de huevo"/cheesecake hybrid, if you can imagine that!
  3. You have to melt a cup of sugar to coat the pan (how you get that golden brown, drippy caramel on top) which scares the bejeezus out of me! Hot sugar is far more frightening than hot oil. 
  4. Flan is cooked in "baƱo de Maria" or water bath (similar to cheesecakes and custards) to ensure slow, even cooking. 
  5. Flan, like cheesecake, needs to cool overnight (or until completely chilled) before eating which is why my boyfriend and I shared a slice this morning for breakfast, hehe. 
If you don't like flan de huevo, do NOT discount flan de queso! The texture is completely different, it's almost an entirely different dessert. Also, if you want to make flan for a dinner party and don't have time to make it a night in advance, I suggest making little individual flans in ramekins or a cupcake pan. The smaller surface area will lead to a shorter cooking and cooling time (plus everyone loves individual desserts!)


not so lazy sunday

I had just about the laziest Saturday ever (not sure I left the apartment other than for brunch) which was good because it allowed me to rest up and feel better. Today (Sunday) was panning out to be just as relaxed until Matt told me I needed to get out. He was right. I felt much better and there was no reason to stay cooped up and in bed. Either way, we had groceries to buy! A little known fact about me: I take grocery shopping VERY seriously!! I spend all week composing a list and relish going down each and every aisle. It's probably one of my more annoying/endearing traits.

For this week, I had two missions:
  1. eat my veggies
  2. use my slow cooker

Consider Mission One accomplished! And since I don't yet have a bowl to put my produce in, I'm temporarily putting it in my slow cooker. I purchased oranges, lemons, tomatoes, beets and ginger for juicing, bananas for smoothie making and garlic for the slow cooker meal my boyfriend requested I make. In the fridge is a fresh-cut stir-fry mix and extra large bag of carrots.

As for Mission Two, well that's a surprise! I will blog later in the week about it but for now I can tell you it is a family recipe and requires lots (two entire bulbs) of garlic.

My friend Allen who recently moved to Canada sent me some pictures of the foods of his new/old land: Smarties, coffee crisp and ketchup chips




These pictures are very nice and all but when do I get to try these foods?? Hopefully Allen will come visit soon with samples I can try and review for you.

officially an angeleno

I forgot to tell you...


I'm officially an Angeleno!!

I went to the DMV on May 4th and passed my written California driver's license test (by the skin of my teeth!) Here's my new driver's license which came in the mail a few days ago. Isn't it wonderful? I can't wait to get carded now!

All personal information was removed using the photo editor.

will cure what ails you

Maybe it's the Zicam or maybe it's the fresh fruit/veggie juice I've been drinking but I feel like a different person today! Of course juicing hasn't helped with my mangled fingers but my cold is about 95% gone. I may even be able to run to the gym tomorrow morning! Either way, my elixir of health contains 1/2 orange, 1/2 lemon, 2 small apples, 3 large carrots.


Yes, I wash my lemons too because any harmful bacteria on them can be transfered when you cut into them. I used the second half of the orange that did my left middle finger in which I already washed yesterday.


I would hate to reinforce bad habits on my blog (and in real life) so please note the new method of peeling my oranges which I am implementing starting today. I cut the half into two big slices and then cut the rinds off. You can leave the rinds on when juicing (I do so for my lemons because they're small) but I find leaving the orange rind makes the juice too bitter.



I absolutely love the color you get when juicing carrots and am very excited to try juicing beets! I will admit that when I first started juicing vegetables I had to choke the juice down. Over time I have grown to love juicing and have also come to realize which juicing combinations I like. For instance, celery juice is an absolute no-go for me! I also like to juice a fruit/veggie mix and always throw an apple or two in the mix since they go with everything. There are still so many juices I have yet to explore! On my to-juice list are: beets, ginger, lime (for now) but please send any juice suggestions you have.

Also, cleaning a juicer is NOT for the faint of heart.


Try doing that with two fingers out of commission!


food porn - guinness chocolate pudding

Here's some This is Why You're Fat food porn:


Guinness Chocolate Pudding! Yum yum yum, this looks tasty!!

what a week

Well, this has officially been one of the more painful weeks for me. I hate complaining on my blog because I'd rather you rejoice in my accomplishments then wallow in my misfortunes (if you even care that much, hahah). But I'm going to start from the beginning and then be DONE with the negativity in my life. Two weeks ago I was eating right, running distances further than I had ever run and just being positive overall. Well, I may have overdone it with the running, my left shin was feeling sore after runs. I decided to take a week off of running but instead of going to the gym to do the bicycle or elyptical I just did no physical activity at all. My shin healed completely and last weekend I went for a five mile run. Things were looking positive but I was on set all of last week which meant early mornings and tiring days. I would get home as the sun was going down with no will left in me to run or go to the gym. I , as mentioned earlier, sliced my right finger open at the knuckle on Monday which made basic everyday tasks difficult and time consuming. Friday, I woke up with a sore throat and the sniffles. Could things get any worse? Well I finally got back to juicing in an effort to get healthy and feel better overall and today, as my boyfriend told me time and time again I was GOING to do, I cut my left middle finger while cutting the peel off of an orange! All I could think was the big "I told you so" I'd get later. So, today I am at a physical and emotional rock bottom with two mangled (ok, not mangled) hands and a minor cold. Yes, I know it could be much MUCH worse but I am not used to feeling sick and injured.

Okay, now that I've complained and been a big baby, I am making a massive mental 180. As soon as I get over this cold (soon?) I will get back on track and rebuild all of the positive healthy momentum I had built up. Mentally, I am already on track. Now I just need to rest up and get myself back on track physically!

Either way, here's a dinner the boyfriend and I made a few days ago...



This entire meal was prepared outside on the grill. The boyfriend cooked the steak and the corn which he peeled, buttered and sprinkled with salt and pepper, rewrapped in the husks and then aluminum foil. I prepared myself a side of broccoli which I tossed with italian dressing and wrapped in aluminum foil. The entire meal was utter perfection!


special muffins


I finally put my ripe avocado to good use and made the muffin recipe I mentioned in this post! Why did you think they were green? You can use half avocado, half butter or just go with avocado (the healthier choice). I also used almond milk instead of milk. The taste of the muffins was alright, not my favorite or least favorite by far but the texture was superb. I definitely need to tweak the recipe more. I tend to like my muffins a bit sweeter and I'm not sure I love the texture of the almond slices in them. I do, however, love the concept of baking with avocado instead of butter and am dying to try baking beans into cookies next. As much as I love making (and the boyfriend loves eating) baked goodies the way they're traditionally made with tons of butter and sugar, my niche just may be healthy baking. I really do love finding new and delicious ways to make desserts better for you! All in all, I highly suggest trying avocado in your baking but don't try this particular recipe until I fudge around with it a bit more. Instead, just sub out half or all of the butter from a recipe you already love.

These muffins were not a hit at my apartment with anyone other than me (I think they scared the boyfriend) but I brought them on set with me and they were gone within a day!






foodie goodie bag

Did I tell you that yesterday I came home to a large package from Miami?? Well, inside was none other than...


My new crockpot!! I am so excited to cook things slowly :) And inside the slow cooker...


A bunch of goodies from my parents' trip to the South! They packed sweet potato butter, a spicy jelly, Paula Deen chocolate marsh mud cookies and Paula Deen seasoning. They said the Paula Deen restaurant was just "Okay" but oh boy am I excited to try her cookies! But most of all, I'm excited to add a new kitchen appliance to my already extensive collection.

Thank you, Mom, for sending this foodie goodie bag!!


all the dishes rattle in the cupboard when the elephants arrive





tank top, Urban Outfitters; jeans, Paige denim; vest, Morphine Generation; shoes, Michael Kors; bangles, Amrita Singh and AV Max; necklace, Melrose TradingPost

I love this new elephant necklace I got at the Melrose Trading Post last weekend. There were so many good finds; I can't wait to go back and really look. Also this is my favorite (and only) vest I own. Memo to self: buy more vests! I am, however, not happy that I didn't steam this tank before photographing it. Steaming clothing has been ingrained in my mind over and over again the past few months. In fact, I spent the better part of this morning steaming away for a photo shoot I was on. As for my hair, this is my solution to messy unkempt hair: blow dry bangs and throw the rest up in a high bun. It's a good quick-fix. 

Yesterday, on the morning of a big photo shoot, I sliced my right ring finger open at the knuckle loading garment bags into a car trunk. The cut went completely through my skin and blood ran down my hand. I freaked out, I cried in front of my bosses, I decided I needed stitches, I had my boyfriend pick me up, I spoke with my mom who finally calmed me down, I went to CVS, they said I probably didn't need stitches, I bought stuff to clean and bandage my cut properly, I cleaned and bandaged it properly and I went back to work. I'm glad I was able to go back to the photo shoot although I couldn't bend my finger all day and it was extremely sore. Today it looks worlds better but I'm still bandaging it and wrapping it with medical tape. I hope to have more mobility of it tomorrow; there's nothing worse than feeling sick or injured. 

These pictures were (obviously) taken this past weekend (pre finger incident). 


happy mother's day


Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not.
-James Joyce

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.

No gift to your mother could ever equal her gift to you - life. 

Children are a great comfort in your old age - and they help you reach it faster, too.  
-Lionel Kauffman

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers.
-Jewish proverb

A very happy Mother's day to my mother and all of the wonderful moms the world over! I love you!! 


chocolate chip chocolate pudding cookies

Yesterday I ate incredibly healthy. So when my body desperately craved comfort food today, I gave in. I woke up this morning as the boyfriend was getting ready for golf. He brought me a Clif bar and my plan was to wait 30 minutes to digest and then run to the gym, work out and run back. Instead, as soon as he left I promptly fell back to sleep. I woke up hours later only to realize it was 1:30 and I was ravenous! I made myself not one but two grilled cheese sandwiches with pesto, mozzarella and goat cheese. Delish! Then I was too full to run. Then the boyfriend came home. It was certainly a day of excuses but vegging out felt so good!

Later on, I made this Lovin From the Oven recipe for chocolate chip pudding cookies. However, I swapped out the vanilla instant pudding with chocolate instant pudding for an extra chocolatey experience.


The cookies are truly amazing and unbelievably moist! They yielded just under four dozen small cookies (44) of which the boyfriend ate about a dozen fresh out of the oven, which promptly put him to sleep. They may possibly be better than the Oreo chocolate chip cookies I made a week ago, and those were gone in three days flat!! Recipe follows:
  • 1 cup Butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups AP Flour
  • 1 Chocolate Pudding (3.4oz) Mix by Jello (I used most of a big box)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 3/4 cup Chocolate Chips
preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Cream the butter and sugars together, about three minutes. Next add the eggs and the vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl combine the flour, dry pudding mix, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet mixture and mix until combined.
3. Add the chocolate chips and combine again.
4. Scoop out tablespoon sized scoops and roll in a ball, having at least 1.5 inch space between each cookie.
5. Bake 11 minutes and remove from the oven. Let cool on the baking sheet 2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.




I knew I wanted to try a chocolate chip cookie recipe with instant pudding as an ingredient since a friend of mine made extremely moist and delicious cookies using such a recipe a few weeks back. When I saw this recipe on Lovin From the Oven I instantly put it on my to-bake list. I would like to remix this recipe again by swapping chocolate pudding for banana pudding and chocolate chips for pecans. I feel like that would be a great combination but not as big a hit with Matt.

I feel that after the peanut butter cup cake and these chocolate chip chocolate pudding cookies, my next batch of baked goodies will be something healthy(ish). Right now I'm debating between Martha's quinoa muffins (swapping raisins for Trader Joe's dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds) or these avocado muffins. I happen to have a very ripe avocado in my possession and the idea of subbing out butter for avocado in baking intrigues me.

Other possible uses for my avocado: freeze it for smoothies (sounds weird, tastes great) or slice and place in a wrap with brown rice, black beans and cheese.