Saturday, February 27, 2010


Look at this fortune cookie pendant!

It is cute, unique, I heart it!

Find it here.

And don't forget to enter in my giveaway!

Hope you are having a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


image from photobucket

I've been wanting to keep this blog light hearted and fun, but man o man what a day I've had.

Yesterday I had to come home early because I was getting sick, and today it was on.  I didn't get out of bed until some vague afternoon hour.  I thought some chicken soup would be in order so I chopped up some veggies, threw them in a pot with some broth and a little spice and let it be to simmer for a while.

Then I had an afternoon tea with my good friends Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte.  After all of season 5 disc 2 had run it's course, I found myself stumbling down to the mailbox, kind of like a Russian spy darting behind the tree and somersaulting up to it less my neighbors see my horrible bedhead and crumply clothes.

And then the day decided to take itself a severe left towards the worse.

There in the mailbox, sitting quietly and calmly in the back was a small thin envelope, one that I've been running out to the box daily waiting for.

I got rejected from grad school.  I was at the very least hoping to get on the wait list but this was a flat out rejection.  It hit me like a sock to the gut.

Last year, preparing to apply, it was a rough year.  Between working full time, a good solid course load in school, stressing over the gre, having a new home we were renovating, being a newlywed, getting my new was a heavy stressful year.  A year I was so relieved to get behind me.  Only now?  It's right back in front of my face. 

I feel at a crossroads.  Everyone has something they are good at, everyone seems to have direction.  Do what you love, the money will follow.  All these cliched things, but I am still struggling to find out what my purpose is.  I'm trying to do a little soul searching to find out if I'm on the right path and just need to patiently wait another year and reapply, or am I on the wrong path altogether?

And so I sit, melancholy, dejected, wondering what to do next.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Giveaway!!

Guess what friends, I have a giveaway and I'm super excited about it!

As you may or may not know, I am an Avon representative.

Yoooo Hoooo, it's your A-VoooooN Laaaady! 

But let me tell you why.  I started getting interested in makeup around the 6th grade.  My Mommala (holla to the Mommala!) used to order Avon, and I would put a little on before heading to school.  I had to learn to be discreet because I didn't want her to know I was pilfering, which you know, in a way was a good thing because I learned the "natural" look.  I have asked her if she ever knew and just ignored it or never noticed, no response yet.

It's ok to admit to these things 20 years later.  Forgiveness comes easier, right Mommala?

A-nyway, I always put on just a little bit of makeup, a lil mascara maybe some blush, UNTIL. (Dun dun duuuuun)  I became a flight attendant.  While in training I got spoken to every day because my lipstick wasn't RED enough.  "Red promotes confidence" they told me.  Is this true?  Would you listen to me asking you to please fasten your seatbelt faster if I was wearing darker lipstick?  When I say I got spoken to every day I mean EVERY DAY!  It was crazy, and difficult on a girl who is not used to RED lips ya know? 

Well. I didn't go completely red those years as a flight attendant, but I did boost up the color a little bit.  Besides that, I really fell for makeup, and I fell hard friends, you hear? I loooove makeup, in particular new makeup.

This is why I started selling Avon.  And you know what surprised me?  I didn't know about all the other fun stuff they sold, like fragrances, purses, shoes, even clothes!  All my favorite things!

Back to the giveaway bit:

Avon's newest fragrance, Eternal Magic, the fragrance of none other than Zoe Saldana (I mean, who didn't love Avatar?) is coming out in April.

I just happened to get me some a month early!!  Hello! Who doesn't love to wear something exclusive?

Besides being exclusive?  It smells reeeaaally great!
"As enchanting and memorable as the woman
who wears it.  An ethereal portrait of
velvety rose and orris reveals
a sensuous trail of soft
vanilla and fluffy woods."


Who doesn't adore fluffy woods?

In fact, nothing makes me cringe like flat woods.

Oh you want to go for a walk in that forest?  The trees are a little flat dontcha think?  I mean, I think they could stand for a little fluffing.

Here's what I have to giveaway:

Full size bottles of
*Eau de toilette spray
*body lotion
*shower gel

Layering is the best way for fragrance to last, dontcha know?

To enter:
1) Be a follower
2) Leave a comment below and please tell me, do you wear one signature fragrance or do you like to switch hit depending on your mood or occasion?

I'll pick a winner at random on Monday evening!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Szechwan Shrimp

Who can pronounce szechwan anyway?  I like to pronounce it "Schhhpicshaywam" (Shhpi-shhay-wan)

But that's just me.

Here's something for you when you're feeling a little spicy.  I took pictures along the way so I will post it P-Dubya style.

Szechwan Shrimp

Let's get mise en place first, so you aren't running around the kitchen at inopportune times, eh?

Here's whatcha need:

1 1/4 lbs fresh or frozen medium shrimp
4 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp dry sherry or water
1 Tbsp Oriental chili sauce with garlic (schhhhpicy!)
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/8 tsp salt
salt and pepper for seasoning
1 1/2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp cornstarch
4 tsp canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups fresh pea pods,. trimmed
6 cups shredded Chinese (Napa) cabbage
2 Tbsp sliced green onions

Let's go Sound of Music for a minute, for no other reason than it's in my head:

Let's start at the very beginning!
A very good place to start..
When you sing you begin with
" Do-Re-Mi"
When you cook, you begin with
"Make the sauce"

(ALL)  "Make the sauce!"

Thanks for humoring a girl.

Onward with the szechwan shrimp!

1.  Peel and devein shrimp.  Rinse shrimp, pat dry with paper towels.  For sauce, in a small bowl combine the 4 tsp soy sauce, the ginger, sherry or water, Oriental chili sauce, 1 tsp cornstarch, sesame oil, and 1/8 tsp salt.  Set aside.

2.  Place shrimp in a medium bowl, sprinkle lightly with additional salt and pepper.  Stir in the 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce and the 1/2 tsp cornstarch, set aside.

3.  In a wok or 12 in. skillet, heat 2 tsp of the oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic; stir fry for 30 seconds.  Add mushrooms; stir fry for 3 minutes.  Add bell pepper; stir fry for 1 minute. (I used green pepper because le Piggly Wiggly had no red pepper!)  Add pea pods; stir fry for 2 minutes.  Remove vegetables from wok.

4.  Add remaining 2 tsp oil to skillet.  Add shrimp mixture; stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque.  Stir sauce, add it to skillet.  Cook and stir until boiling; cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

5.  Add mushroom mixture and cabbage.  Toss to coat.

To serve, sprinkle with chopped onion.

And enjoy!  Best served with plenty of water for the "Holy Moses that's HOT" moments.  This was another recipe brought to you by the good people of the Sonoma Diet.  This book I have is from 2005, so anyone interested in buying it, fabulous delightful recipes and all, look at amazon where you can buy it used for 16 lil cents.  No kidding!  I see they also have a cookbook used for $6 and I am all over that!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Whine and cheese

image from web

Do you know those gorgeous spring days, when after a whole 2 MONTHS of freezing your patooty off, having to sleep with a blanket in addition to your sheet, and wear a hearty jacket when you leave the house, you one day look outside and the sun is bright and shining in a clear blue sky?

Then you run outside and breathe in the spring air, fresh and clean, air that just can't quite be captured in a candle?  You shed your jacket and feel the sun's light but refreshing rays bathe your face and all of a sudden you are just inspired!

Today is one of those days.  It's 68 degrees, sunny and mild.  Where am I today? 

I am not running in fields of green or playing in meadows of spring lillies.

Nor am I taking an invigorating spring walk over the bridge.

I'm not throwing the tennis ball to my pup or cleaning the yard.

I'm not opening all the windows in the house to let the fresh air sweep out the stale heat's-been-on air.

Nay, I am sitting in a windowless hole that is work.  When I leave, the sun will have already said it's good night, taking with it the warmth and refreshing glow it bestowed upon all the lucky folks who are currently enjoying a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper on their porches deciding what to make of this beautiful day.

(Cue the violin playing a sad sad tune)

But don't you feel sad for me?

I do enjoy a nice fresh ball of mozzarella, or why not some podolico cheese to accompany my WHINE.

And a little sympathy wouldn't hurt. 

Tomorrow I'm off and guess what?


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicken en Papillote with Vegetables

Chicken en Papillote with Vegetables

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
10 oz fresh asparagus, cut into 2 in. pieces
1 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup sliced green onions

Cut chicken breasts crosswise into 1/2 inch slices.  In a medium bowl combine oil, oregano, thyme, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Add chicken and toss to coat.  Let stand while preparing veggies.

In a large bowl combine asparagus, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and parsley.  Tear four 20x2 in. pieces of parchment paper; fold in half crosswise and crease.  Open up again.  On half of one parchment sheet, arrange 1/4 of the veggies, top with chicken pieces.  Top with 1/4 of the green onion.  To make packet, fold parchment paper over chicken and vegetables.  Crimp and fold edges to seal, twist corners.  Repeat to make 4 packets.

Place 2 packets on each of 2 baking sheets.  Bake on separate racks in a 400 degree oven about 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

There are 5 million and two diet cookbooks out there, just rounding, and I buy a good lot of them.  Do I read them?  I have good intentions!  But no, sadly, these little guides to my health and fabulous body lie in waiting on a shelf.  It has been declared (ahem **not by me but by another person who lives in residence in our humble abode**) Where was I?  Yes, it has been declared we will be eating sugar and carb free until we are belly free.  So I pulled out this old book, The Sonoma Diet, and looked for a quick recipe. This is what I found and MAN, where has this book been all my life! This was so good, a definite new addition to the regular pile o recipes.  Now, I can't tell you what the Sonoma Diet is.. but it just may be worth looking into!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A quick trip to New York

We took a quick trip to New York this weekend. 

We drove 12 hours, overnight. 
Correction:  Hubs droved 12 hours overnight.

It was so cold...

Even our car seemed surprised.

After a whirlwind barrage of visits with family friends, and a stop at my favorite roach coach..

We did another 12 hours home under the cover of night. 

Now it's back to reality - school, studying, P90X, diet, work, etc, etc, etc!

And the P90?  We are bringing it today, bringing it back to Day 1 because we missed too much of it and had just been starting anyway.. Today is chest and back.

I'm soo tired of the pudge..the journey ahead seems so long, the light at the end of the tunnel so far, it is barely a pinpoint.  It's exhausting just thinking about it! 

Here I go, again. 

Twenty Ten shape up, Take 2.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

For Hubs

For my hubs, I finally made some of Bakerella's cake balls, plate by Target.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I haven't been blogging since the Superbowl - so YAY SAINTS!  We watched the game at a friend's house, so my husband put a limit on how much I could make.  I didn't even take photos I'm sorry to say.  I made a buffalo chicken dip - recipe here. (Highly recommended!)  And then I made a fellow blogger recipe, Spicy Sweet Pretzel Party Mix, recipe and blog here. (Also really good, it didn't even make it to the party!)

My dip, as good as it was, barely got touched.  Why, you demand to know?  I'll tell you!  Little did I know, these folks were cooking!  I mean, cooking! Down home hispanic food.  Had I known this friends, see, I would have made brownies as I originally wanted.  Hubby put the kabosh on the brownies because of my weight loss endeavors, which is noble, but really.  The Superbowl is kin to Thanksgiving.  How do you not have dessert, which is, you know, my favorite thing to make anyway?

Hubs, he really loves that Hispanic cooking. Also West Indian type food.  His mom gave me a cookbook of Haitian food, of which I haven't attempted yet.  At the Superbowl I was really thinking, I need to learn to cook like this.  Another type of cooking I've been longing to learn is Italian, real honest to goodness Italian cooking, and I've been having great fun looking at blogs people have started based of their ancestors' authentic recipes.

Then today I had a startling revelation.  Why in the world am I trying to cook like everyone else?  I do have my own heritage, which does include some great recipes, which I do just so happen to be in possession of.  Tonight, armed with a glass of zinfandel, I made Golumpki from a recipe I found in my Gramp's collection (Who is Polish by the way).  He must have wrote the recipe for himself and not novices such as myself, because some steps were not given.  I'm going to play around with the recipe a bit before posting.  Here's a picture of dinner:

It tasted really good but I need to tweak it a little.  Every Tuesday is like Top Chef for me.  Hubs works at 6pm, so I have to have dinner ready by 5:30 at the latest.  I usually don't plan ahead and at 4:30 find myself flying out of my seat, inevitably I am sitting, and rush to the fridge to see what I can throw together.  It must be plated in 1 hour max - a quickfire challenge!  I would fail on Top Chef miserably, not to mention the fact that I fail hubs continuously, because this time limit doesn't turn out too well for me.  Tonight's dinner?  Ready at 5:50, and there we have it, one lonely Polish dinner.

I mean, sorry Onyx, a lonely dinner with just me and my drooling stinky butt pup.

Yeah, I'm talking about you my dear stinky punk.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chicken Soup with Gnocci

Recipe Adapted from Taste of Home Prize Winning Recipes 2010

1 medium zucchini, diced
4 large carrots, cut into 1/2 in slices
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 green onions, chopped
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 package (16 oz) whole wheat potato gnocci
Hot pepper sauce, optional

Place veggies in a 5 qt slow cooker.  Top with the chicken; sprinkle with the sage, salt, and pepper.  Add broth and water.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Remove chicken and shred; return to slow cooker.

Mix cornstarch and water until smooth, stir into stew.  Add gnocci.  Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until gravy is thickened.  Season with hot pepper sauce if desired.

This was so good, we both loved it!

Hangin on a Tuesday

I get several cooking magazines~ subscribe to a few,  sometimes can't put one down at Barnes and Noble so I buy it, others I think are going to be good judging by the cover and end up disappointing.  BUT there is one magazine, by far my favorite of the year, it comes out once a year, and I've bought it for the past 5 years.  Except for last year when I don't think they released one.  Every single recipe I've made has been fabulous.  Want to know what it is?!

YES - Prize winning recipes!  Every single recipe fabulous in it's own way.  It was a happy happy day yesterday when I found it for sale at the Home Depot.  Even better, I was so excited to find a soups/stews and light baking categories!  Hubby just happens to be sick so I made the top prize winning soup which was awesome!!

Once again life has happened and I missed a few days of the P90X.  I am not by any means giving up - I got on the scale this morning and was down 8 pounds total so far for the year!  It's hard to give up when you're seeing results.  This afternoon I will be back at it again, today is chest/back/ab day - hello boys and girls can you say one million push ups?  

I also happened upon some old high school pictures which is also a great motivator. **  It just so happens I had the willpower of an athlete back in the day.  I remember my weight had to be 125.  If it started to creep to 130, I got my booty on that bike and spun till that 5 lbs was gone.  When I was eating, I would eat not to get full but just to no longer be hungry.  I had a motto that I had found in a magazine - "Immediate gratification is for babies."  Where did I get that willpower and where has it gone??  Alright well.  If I did it once for sure I can do it again. 

**All of a sudden I forgot how to spell and had to google "motivator."  When I did, the site for demotivations came up and I discovered you can create your own.  Ooh.  This one is going to require some thought but I can't wait!!  Here's one they had ready made:

I don't know if you can read it but it says "BLOGGING - Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few."


Monday, February 1, 2010


It's February, already! January (aka the "Monday") of the year has gone in the blink of an eye, no?

For me, it's been crazy hectic but good.  For the year, I have 2 sets of goals: Those to be met by June and those to be met by December.  Along the way, I've come up with some new goals already too.  I've been thinking about my resolution to finish what I start and what I've come to realize is, my problem isn't exactly that I don't finish things, it's that I take on more than I can handle.  If I didn't need sleep, I could do it all, but unfortunately I run best on 8-10 hours.  Seriously.  Maybe that will change when I lose weight?  Right now if I'm running on 7 hours of sleep, I am pretty much useless all day unless I can take a nap.

"When you're tired you take a napa, you don't move to napa" ~Never can resist a SATC quote!

Right now at church we are in the "Dream series" - inspiring people to discover the dream in their heart and stepping out of the comfort zone to reach it.  I've always struggled with knowing what my dream was, I read books, try out new things, meditate on it, but have had a hard time realizing what am I meant to do ~ for crying out loud, I'm 31!  Now that I'm back in school I do believe I'm on the right track, BUT.

The other morning, after having to wake after only 5 hours of sleep, I was sitting at the kitchen table falling asleep into eating my wheat chex, when an idea hit me so hard it was like a meteor crashing into my skull.  I can't fathom taking something else on right now but this feels like a force greater than myself, something I'm compelled to do.  I'm trying not to be impulsive about this, because it is HUGE.  There is a lot of research involved and it may take years.  I know you are skipping past all this for me to get to the point waiting on the edge of your chairs for me to reveal what it is.  I am almost hesitant since I still have so much to learn.  What the heck.  Here goes..

Drumroll please.

I am taking on the world! country, one person in need at a time.  Sounds vague and anticlimactic but here's the thing.  I realized how many people complain about nothing being done in our country to help those in need.  People are waiting for a celebrity or the government to step in.  I say, we don't need them.  I really feel like it takes one person with a goal and passion to start a spark to build a flame and eventually an inferno.  My hope is that the people that complain about nothing being done will give.  And that people who have hope will give.  Give to what you ask?  I'm still working out the details, but first I think I'm going to tackle homelessness.  These are the details I have to work out.  The big picture is, to quote Ghandi:  Let's be the change we wish to see in this country, instead of waiting for someone else to do it!

I've started a separate blog about this endeavor, find it HERE.  Yes my dream and goal is a lofty one.  Maybe slightly crazy too.  But I have faith and hope in this dream.

Faith isn't the ability to believe long and far into the misty future.
It's simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.
- Joni Erickson Tada