Friday, September 23, 2011

Too Much

This is how I feel right now. A little stressed. A little overwhelmed. A little like I want to just cover my face and hide somewhere. Too much is going on but I promise to be back with more posts soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hands All Over

Sorry, no time to post. I have been extremely busy but here is the album I am listening to at the moment. It's Maroon 5's new album Hands All Over. I love Adam Levine's voice. It's so soulful. It puts me in a really good place, so I have been listening to it when I'm working out and trying to get stuff done around the house. Hands All Over helps me when I feel like I need some extra hands to get everything done. I hope you enjoy it if you haven't already heard the whole album.

Play me and Put me Away

For whatever reason "Moves Like Jagger" isn't included in the last link so here is that track. Have fun!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back in Action!

Sorry, for the delay in posting. It has been a very hectic couple of days. But I'm back and ready to post!

I realize that before my hiatus, I had taken on the VegPledge. I was able to do it successfully for the entire 60 days, but at the end I was very burnt out. It had been hard constantly planning dinners for myself around what the rest of my family was eating, when I already have a busy schedule with little down time. Since the VegPledge, I have been eating meat again. As always, it isn't everyday and it's always small in portion. At first, I felt bad about eating meat. I felt like I was letting myself down because I know that meat is hard on our environment and my body. The fact that I had started eating meat again contributed a lot to my hiatus because I knew that I had taken a step backwards. I have realized since then that although I would like to become a full vegetarian at some point, it will have to be on my own time, when I have my own apartment where I can choose what is in my refrigerator.

I have since decided that I can't let eating meat be a set back and stop me from remembering why I write this blog. I have realized that if you see everything you do as not enough, you will ultimately only be left feeling discouraged. I know now that I need to see all the steps I'm taking as progress and as a positive. If you don't let yourself win the small battles, you will give up the war.

I have decided to make a new pledge, though. The new pledge is, since I plan to continue eating meat, now I am only going to eat Grass-fed Beef. For any that don't know, this is apposed to corn-fed beef. I decided to do this after watching King Corn, a documentary about two men who move to Iowa in the hopes of growing one acre of corn. Once their corn is grown, they attempt to discover where their corn crop will go and what will be produced from it. What they learn is that much of the corn we produce is inedible, other then for cow feed and corn syrup, both of which contribute to our countries problems with obesity. After watching this documentary, I remembered how bad the beef we consume is; not only for our environment but for our bodies. Corn feed is bad for cow's stomachs and the meat their bodies produce is mostly saturated fat because of it. I have decided that I am pledging to only eat Grass-fed beef and I am going to stop drinking soda everyday. I'm going to cut way, way back.

Here is a clip from the movie, which you can watch for free on Hulu and Youtube. I highly recommend it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Inspiration Strikes!

Remember awhile back when I posted a picture of one little, lone tomato? Well, he was the beginning of my adventures in organic gardening but a lot has happened since then! The garden has really started to take shape and I've had a lot of success. That one little tomato turned into lots and LOTS of tomatoes. My cup runneth over...with tomatoes.

As you can see, these are my Tomato Children and there are many of them! The big, green guy in the front, I like to call him Morty. I know I am sounding ridiculous right now, which is my intention, but it's funny the attachment that you get to something when you watch it grow and mature slowly before your eyes each day. Oh, Motherhood!!

Anywho, enough silliness. I am currently enrolled in a Jazz class and we have been doing a lot of talking about the history of Jazz the last two weeks. All this talk of jazz, the South, and New Orleans has really inspired me. Inspired me not to take up jazz or even listen to jazz, but rather... to make JAMBALAYA! So, that's exactly what I did. I used some Zatarains® and a few of the tomatoes I had laying around (literally) and had it for dinner tonight. I thought I would share this very, very humble recipe.


1 box of Zatarains® Jambalaya Mix
4 medium organic tomatoes, diced
4 stalks organic celery, chopped
1/2 organic white onion, chopped
1 lean pork sausage link, sliced into 1/4 inch slivers
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
A little extra Creole seasoning (optional)

This recipe is so easy that one of my Tomato Children could do it!

1. Cook sausage slices in a pan on low heat. When one side gets nice and cooked to your liking, flip. Once sausage is finished, remove from heat.

2. Chop and dice all veggies and set aside.

3. Follow the instructions on the Zatarains® box, which will instruct you to let the water boil and then dump in the contents of the rice packet. From there, add veggies so they will cook down, sausage and sausage juice from pan (for flavor).
4. Let the goodies start to boil again, then stir, turn to low heat, and cover with a lid. Stir occasionally, then about 25 minutes later.. WAM-BAM you've got JAMBALAYA!
5. Stir the rice to stop it from sticking to the bottom. Add in the extra spices if you feel you need them, let sit another 5 minutes, fluff again, and then EAT! Eating experience may also be greatly improved if done while listening to jazz music ;)


Sorry about the photo. I tried to get a good one but the lighting was off and the only one I even remotely liked was this one.. with the potato making a guest appearance. Oh well. A little more silliness never hurt anyone. Also, let me know if in the picture you see THE FACE...

I know this recipe is definitely not "from scratch" like I like my recipes to be, but sometimes you're just too damn tired to not get a little help from Zatarains®. I post this mostly because I really enjoyed this humble meal that was brought on by a little inspiration. My only hope is that you will see this and think, "Okay, I don't want to make that but that does make me want to make my great recipe for....". Whatever that recipe may be, let yourself be inspired, and if you are, feel free to pass your recipe along to me so that I can be inspired by you in return.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The Weepies have a new video! The video is for "Be my Honeypie" off of their newest album Be My Thrill. I really love this song. I had the chance to hear it live at The Troubadour and it was truly amazing. Steve Tannen wrote this song for Deb Talan, and knowing that, the lyrics of this song mean even more to me when I hear them. I wish the two of them were in this video but unfortunately they're never present in their videos. Ever. Still, this video is wonderful and I'm grateful for any videos from the Weepies, since they have so few. It's just sort of silly and puts a smile to my face, so I hope you'll like it.

I have been listening to the solo records that Deb Talan and Steve Tannen created before becoming The Weepies. Deb Talan had three albums and Steve Tannen had two. All five are really wonderful and carry their signature sound. Since these albums are a little harder to find, but are still absolutely worth listening to, I will post one from each of them. Steve Tannen and Deb Talan are able to write lyrics that feel so at home to me. I feel like they have written these lyrics just for me, like they have read my inner thoughts and wrote a song about it. I only feel that way about their music so here are two albums of theirs that mean a lot to me.

"I hold your heart like the sky holds the moon"

"Well she, she gave me the big 'See ya Later' but I, I don't think I will"

"No longer young and not that pretty, How will he ever find me?"

PS. If you can't open the RAR file for Deb's album, use the link given in my Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. post
"The city lights are dancing for you"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Putting on my Face

In my attempts to take a little bit better care of my body and the Earth, I have been trying to switch out my cosmetics for ones that are better for the environment. I have been using up my old cosmetics, and as they run out, I have been switching them for products that are chemical-free, vegan, and cruelty-free. So far, I have been really successful. I have found two new brands that I really like and plan to switch to permanently.

After looking up a few brands on EWG, I decided to start using ZuZu Luxe® mascara and liquid eyeliner. I had been using L'Oreal® mascara for a long time, and although it is cheaper than the Zuzu® brand, it doesn't have all the same benefits. The Zuzu® mascara doesn't smudge, it fairly water resistant, and looks just about the same as my old brand, so I'd say its been a good switch. I haven't been using liquid eyeliner very long, since I'm make-up challenged most days, so I was only using the E.L.F.® brand before. I had opted for that one in the past since it was only a buck, but when it runs out, I plan to switch to the Zuzu® brand since I had such success with the mascara.

The second brand that I have fallen in love with is Honeybee Gardens®. This brand is really fantastic. The ingredients in their products are organic and chemical-free. The prices are reasonable and they were able to make me a believer in eyeliner pencil again! I had been using an eyeliner by Almay® that I was really, really sad to part with since it wasn't pencil and was easy to use, but the Honeybee Gardens® eyeliner is wonderful too. I am also curious to try the Honeybee mascara once my Zuzu® mascara runs out, since the Honeybee is a little cheaper.. well, actually a lot cheaper. I will keep you posted on that when it happens.
Until then, I would recommend both of these brands highly! I hope you will make the switch to cosmetic products that are better for your body as well as the environment. If you have any other brands you would like to suggest, please let me know!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

I've just started listening to this band lately, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., and I really love their sound. When I say, "Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.", I'm talking about these guys...

Not this guy.

The band is made up of Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein, two dudes from Detroit who came together to make a really great indie-pop sound. They have two albums, Horse Power EP and It's a Corporate World. I downloaded both but the full length album has all the songs that the EP has, with the exception of their cover of the song "God Only Knows", by The Beach Boys.

I'm completely in love with their song "We Almost Lost Detroit", which is a cover/rework of the original song done by Gil Scott Heron, but the entire album is worth listening to. Here is the video for that song, and if you like it, download their album from the link below and then go see them at The Troubadour this Friday! Only $16.30 with tax! Be there, buddy!

☊ It's a Corporate World!
Oh and if you have a Mac®, you'll need to download this first...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Israeli Couscous and Corn Salad


After two long, relaxing Summer months, I am finally ready to start blogging again. I will start off slow, but hopefully I can just keep a steady flow of posts coming. Today I will start with a post that is delicious, as well as vegetarian and vegan friendly! Enjoy and tell me how you like it

3 c. Israeli couscous
3 c. vegetable broth
3 ears of corn, shucked, kernels cut off
1/2 c. pine nuts, toasted
1/2 bunch of cilantro, leaves chopped finely

For dressing:
3/4 c. fresh lime juice
1/8 c. virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

1. In a medium sauce pan, bring the veggie stock to a boil. Add the couscous and turn the heat down to low. Cover the couscous for about 15 minutes, stirring it occasionally. When finished steaming, you may want to add salt and/or pepper to the couscous.
2. If your pine nuts are not pre-toasted, toast them in a non-stick pan until lightly toasted. In the same pan, remove the pine nuts and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add your corn kernels and let them cook about 3 minutes on low, or until they are as crispy and as charred as desired.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together your fresh lime juice, olive oil, and salt/pepper. Then set aside.
4. In a larger bowl, combine your couscous, pine nuts, corn, and chopped cilantro. Slowly, add about half of your dressing mixture to the couscous salad. Mix until the dressing is well incorporated. Taste the salad and add more dressing as you feel necessary. How much dressing the salad needs will be based on your preference, as well as how tart the limes were.
5. This salad can be enjoyed warm, or chilled which I prefer. If you are having it warm, serve immediately. If you are having the salad chilled, cover bowl and place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. When removed from the refrigerator, stir and add another tablespoon or so of dressing if the couscous has become dry.

Sorry that there is no picture with this post :(

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Hello All! I have been on a temporary hiatus but I will be back with posts as soon as possible!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Film Review: Blue Valentine

This morning, I finally got a chance to see Blue Valentine. It had been recommended to me by a friend who had seen it in theatres but by the time I heard about, it was in it's last week in the theatre in my town. I ran out of time to go see it and figured I would just have to rent it. I had been warned by said friend that the movie was a little sad but after watching the trailer, I had determined that:
1. It didn't look that sad, and
2. I had no idea what this movie was about, other than love (duh).

I promise that in this review I will not spoil the movie if you choose to watch it, but I have to say that I really don't give it my recommendation. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, at all. I can't think of a single person who I think should see this movie. The movie was just really, really sad. I love sad movies, I really do, but only when they're sad-moving or sad with a message about life that gives you a sort of wake up call to live better. This movie just left me really confused and depressed about life. It made me feel that the message I was supposed to get was that sometimes, you can be in a relationship with someone and even if you give it everything you have, that doesn't mean that it will be a healthy relationship and that doesn't mean that you will be happy. I already knew this, but this movie just shoves the concept that "LOVE IS A BITCH" right into your face for about a hour and thirty minutes of the hour and fifty minute long movie. After the finishing the movie, I mostly just felt like my spirits were deflated and that I have very little to look forward to as I get older. A lovely way to start the day today.

Regardless of the fact that this movie did not play out the way I would have liked, the movie did make me respect Ryan Gosling as an actor, even more than I already did. Ryan Gosling is a fabulous actor. The characters he plays, generally, are the kind of men that I am looking to marry. He continually plays characters, like Dean in Blue Valentine, who are romantic, completely giving of themselves, funny, and not afraid to lay it all on the line for the women that they love. Like Blue Valentine, in Lars and the Real Girl and The Notebook, Ryan Gosling's character cries. I don't know about you but I don't watch a lot of movies where the male lead is crying, and crying over a woman that he loves. I really respect his ability to evoke emotions in front of a camera that are so real and so touching every time. Ryan Gosling is not only delicious but he's a damn good actor. Every time. He has my respect and he has me as a loyal audience because I will watch any movie that he makes. Even if the storyline isn't always what I want it to be, I know that his acting, and good looks, will be captivating. I like to imagine that he likes to play the kind of characters that he most relates to, and that therefore he is as wonderful as many of the characters he plays. The only downside is that you never meet men in real life that are as perfect as characters that Gosling chooses to play...

My recommendation is listen to the main song from the movie, "You and Me" by Penny & the Quarters, but skip the rest of Blue Valentine because it will, truly, only depress you. I would watch Lars and the Real Girl instead, if you are feeling like watching a heart-warming Gosling fim. Lars will leave you feeling anxious and optimistic for what's ahead, which is a little more inspiring than the story that is presented in Blue Valentine, but that's just my humble opinion.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It Ain't Easy Bein' Cheesy Part 3

Once again, aluminum-free deodorants and I just can't seem to live in harmony. All of the deodorants I have tried so far have been a total disaster. The first burned, the second stank, and the last one that I tried, Jason® Fragrance-free, had it's own set of problems.

I should probably back up and explain a little further what happened with the very first deodorant, Tom's of Maine®. Not only was it not keeping me dry, but it did sting a lot of the time when I put it on. It wasn't just burning when I put it on after shaving, but burning a lot in general. It left a red mark in my armpit (I know you're loving hearing about this, but this is the real deal) that did not go away even as I was switching deodorants. The Jason® deodorant hadn't been burning but it was making my armpit, in the region where I apply deodorant, sort of darker in color and more brown. I am pretty fair-skinned so this new coloring is pretty obvious and not attractive at all. I really don't know what is causing it. I read the labels of both of the deodorants and I shouldn't be allergic to anything in them. It is very, very strange but it led me switching deodorants again, for a fourth time.

This time, I chose Crystal® Essence Pomegranate. I have used Crystal® before. The last time I bought it was years ago when I used the mineral rock and I found that no matter how much I dampened the rock-crystal-thingy, I never felt like it was really taking to my skin. So then, I was still smelly, like I never even bothered to put anything on. Despite that incident, I thought that I would try this "essence" kind since it is a spray, meaning that I will know that something is actually being applied when I use it. I picked it mostly because there are only three ingredients: water, mineral salts, and pomegranate scent. Easy-peasy Lemon-squeezy.

I'm really hoping that if I take a few days and use this new deodorant, my armpits will go back to their normal color and I can stop dreading sleeveless tops. It's Summer dammit, and I want my sleeveless tops!! So far, this Crystal® deodorant has been working pretty well. I feel dry and clean for the most part but this time, I'm maintaining skeptical about it until I know for sure that it's not trying to sabotage me like the last deodorants. Hopefully I will be cheesy no-longer pretty soon. If the coloring doesn't go away soon I will see a doctor, but lets hope it doesn't have to come to that. Fingers crossed!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Not Barfing is Always Good


I buckled down the other day and bought some rice shreds, imitation cheese, so that I can get a true taste of what part of my life will be like if I become a vegan. I honestly can't fully fathom what it's going to be like to not eat cheese. I eat cheese daily and I can say without any hesitation that I find it comforting and delicious every time. It is going to hurt to have to give up cheese, so I was really looking for a potential subsitute that would make feel equally comforted. While at the Co-op in Santa Monica, I decided on Galaxy® Cheddar Rice Shreds. I made a grilled cheese on honey wheat bread when I got home and I have to say, I was really skeptical. It seemed like this cheese must be pretty processed to look and taste like cheddar cheese but I had my doubts that it really would taste and melt like normal cheese. Regardless, I took the first bite and, to my surprise, no barfing ensued. To my even greater surprise, the grilled cheese tasted great!! It was creamy, real cheese-tasting, and it did not have any grossly-funky qualities! I would classify it as a success. It makes me hopeful and a little more positive about my potential vegan fututre. I look forward to whipping up some more rice shred meals! Next time, I will document my eatings with pictures. This time the grilled cheese just went down too easily and I didn't make it in time to take any photos. I definitely think that these rice shreds are worth trying, so if you haven't yet, go pick yourself up a bag! Then, let me know if you have any tasty, rice shred adventures.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 22

I am still in Yuma but I thought I should throw a quick post up since I have some free time. I am craving meat terribly! It has been twenty-two days and thus far, I have done really well. I haven't felt like meat up until today when I was with my aunt, walking down the grocery store aisles. In the frozen food section, I just kept seeing frozen pepperoni pizza, orange chicken, and corn dogs. All looked delicious. I didn't buy any, naturally, but it did make me believe, momentarily that I am missing out on some really tasty food and that maybe I won't be able to keep this up after my 60 days are up. Nonetheless, today was a meat-free day and I will abstain from meat at least until the VegPledge is over. I'm really trying to keep the faith, keep my head up and remember that what I'm doing is really what is right. Maybe not right for everyone, but right for me.

On a much happier note, I have to profess my deep, new love for COCONUT OIL!! It is amazing.

I came to learn about coconut oil through some very strange and alarming circumstances, which I will not go into, but when I did first try it, I noticed how soft it made my skin feel. My skin felt refreshed and less dried out than it sometimes does after using regular skin lotions. I had been using Nivea® Happy Sensation lotion but I used EWG and noticed what an alarmingly high chemical content it had, so I felt really compelled to switch. Now, I've been using coconut oil made by Spectrum Naturals® and I love that it's all natural so when I put it on my skin, my skin isn't coming into contact with harmful chemicals and when I wash it down the drain during my shower, it isn't washing anymore chemicals into our water supply. I feel good about using it. It can be used for so many things, which surprised and intrigued me. You can cook with it, use it for your skin, and hair. I use it to treat small blemishes, as conditioner, and hair gel, but mostly I have been using it as sunblock. It does leave my skin feeling greasier while down at the beach but it ultimately protects my skin better and is chemical-free! You can't beat that. I highly recommend it to anyone. Although it may seem a little pricey to pay $8-$10 on a tub of coconut oil, when you consider all its practical uses and that it is less harmful to the environment, the price doesn't seem as steep. You should definitely check it out! Go nuts, COCONUTS, and cook with it, treat your skin and hair with it, and get frisky with it; it can be used as lubricant I've been told!! What can't this stuff do?!

I have yet to try cooking or baking with the coconut oil but when I do, I will write about it and let you know if it was a success! If you have any coconut oil recipes you would like to share with me, please feel free to do so

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hello Again!

I'm sorry I haven't posted in so long! I have lots of music, recipes, and green livin' stuff that I will post as soon as I find some more time! I am off to Yuma, Arizona today but I will do some serious postin' either when I'm there or when I get back! Keep checking in!!

In the meantime, feel free to download the other albums I've posted on here and you should definitely listen to the song "Crazy Girl" by Eli Young Band. I don't like the video (I hate to even post it) but the song is great so just close your eyes, forget the video, and relax with some Eli Young Band. I hope you all are having a pleasant start to your summer! I know I am!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Weepies

As of last week, I am officially going to The Weepies concert on August 17th at the Troubadour! It is an all-acoustic show and I could not be more excited! I have seen The Weepies twice before, once at Lilith Fair and again at the El Rey Theatre, but I have never heard them play an all-acoustic set! I know it is going to be the best show of theirs that I have gone to because the Lilith performance was almost acoustic and it was amazing; much more intimate than the El Rey show that I went to. Although, both were phenomenal!

If you don't know who The Weepies are, you should definitely check them out. The band is comprised of Deb Talan and Steve Tannen, husband and wife super-duo. They both had solo careers before collaborating, falling in love, and eventually getting married. They are by far the cutest, most talented, Indie-Folk band that I listen to. I am so captivted by their music and by the love for each other that they share, which is so completely evident when you watch them perform. If I didn't have to make some sort of small living and go to college, I would become a groupie. I didn't understand why anyone would want to follow a band around to all of their shows until I saw The Weepies live. I cried...BOTH TIMES! I am sure I will cry at the Troubadour show as well; I will weep for The Weepies. I hope my friend, George, who is accompanying me to the show can handle it. It is going to be an amazing night!

You will notice, as time progresses, that although The Weepies are my favorite band EVER, I will never post albums of theirs for you to download. It's just not right. I am in full support of supporting The Weepies. I want all of you to buy their albums, go to their shows, and buy their merchandise! They are grossly under-rated and I want to make sure that I don't do anything to hinder their success, like post their music for free. The Weepies' music is the best, most beautiful, and honest music you can listen to, so I hope that you will take the time and purchase some of their music. It will change your life.

And this is my The Weepies' new single "Same Changes". I'm in love with it, and I think you will be too

Day 14 - Chili Cookin'

Hello! Sorry I have not posted in a few days, I have been swamped with work and finals. I am just now finding some down time. Today marks my 14th day of not consuming any meat! So far, I've gotten through this VegPledge by trying to make the foods I eat as interesting and flavorful as possible. This is a recipe of mine that I think will help you spice up your meat-free life! I hope you love it ❤ Just a heads up...I really, really, REALLY like Cilantro!
Camille's Vegetarian Chili

1 c. chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 c. orange bell pepper
2 tb. olive oil
35 oz. stewed tomatoes
15 oz. kidney beans
8 oz. drained pinto beans
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 chopped celery stalk
1/3 c. cilantro (told ya...)
1/4 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tb. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 adobo chili
shredded cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)

1. In a saucepan, saute bell pepper and onion in 2 tb. olive oil for 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, celery, tomato paste, stock, beans, salt, pepper, oregano, and adobo chili.
3. Bring mixture to a simmer for 10 minutes, then add cilantro. Cook for another 10-50 minutes.
4. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and sprinkle with cilantro!!
*Warning: Pretty spicyyyy*

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 9

I have successfully made it through an entire week without meat! And it feels damn good. It has been easy and it has made me feel lighter, fitter, and like I am making a difference! I am very happy that I have made it this far. I have 51 days left of my pledge but I don't think that I will be able to go back to my old meat-eatin' lifestyle. I just don't feel like I can continue to eat meat when I know how hard it is on the environment and animals. I definitely want to make a trip out to visit Animal Acres once my VegPledge is done. I think that will continue to deepen my understanding of what I am doing and propel me towards continuing to be a vegetarian, and eventually, a vegan.

In all honesty, I have been tempted by meat. More than once. Often, actually. I work around meat four days a week and it's in my home everyday. Not being able to eat what my co-workers and family are eating has been hard on me, but it has also fueled my creativity. I do get tired of eating veggies all the time, which has spawned some of my own meat substitutes. For instance, at work, I have created my own version of the Veggie Burger. It's higher in calories than a traditional, frozen veggie burger, but it's also way more delicious and still meat-free. I know that I am not giving up meat for weightloss, but instead, to lessen my dependence on products that are harmful to the environment. Therefore, I find it perfectly acceptable to create my own, more fattening meat subs. I hope you will give this little recipe of mine a try! It's simple and will definitely make you forget about beef patties forever!

Cami's Potato-Patty Veggie Burger

1 whole-wheat hamburger bun
2 slices of cheddar cheese (optional)
1/2 c. french fries (frozen or purchased from a restaurant)
tomato (sliced)
pickles (optional)
4 mushrooms (optional, but definitely should be mandatory ☺)
ketchup and thousand island dressing (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 400°. On a sheet of aluminum foil, place your french fries down in a cluster, roughly the shape of a circle, that will fit on your hamburger bun. Place your sliced cheese on top of the french fries. Place foil into the oven, not covered, and bake until cheese is melted.
2. On your stove-top, place your mushrooms in a pan. Press down on the mushrooms with a grill weight, or smash the mushrooms before placing them in the pan. Let them brown on either side and then set aside. While your mushrooms are browning, toast your hamburger bun either on your stove top or in a conventional toaster oven until both sides are lightly brown.
3. Take your toasted buns and apply ketchup, thousand island dressing, and/or the condiments of your choice. Then, lay down pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms and/or any veggies that you enjoy (ie, avocado, onions, beets, zucchini).
4. Remove your cheddar cheese fry-patty from the oven. Using a spatula, remove the "patty" and all its cheesy goodness onto your burger bun!
5. Dig in and enjoy every single bite! That's what I do ☺

I would have liked to show you pictures of the entire process but I was making this at work and customers interrupted my photo shoot. Sorry, but enjoy the photo of the finished product!

Hearty Snacking

It's official. I'm in love with LaraBars®! They are so delicious. I have had LaraBars® before but very rarely. I used to only have them once a year when I did the Revlon Walk for Women's Diseases® and got a snack bag once crossing the finish line. Recently though, I've been eating them often. I did the Brentwood 5k last week and I received a bunch of free LaraBars®. I've been keeping them in my car and just eating them here and there, but I definitely love them and want to buy a bunch when I go to the Co-Op tomorrow.

I love how honest they are. They are just simple fruit and nut bars. They are all brown, meaing no food coloring. LaraBar® understands that just because something tastes like "Apple" or "Cherry", that doesn't mean it has to be green or red. All the bars look the same and I like that. The ingredients will tell you just how simple they are. For instance, my favorite bar is the "Peanut Butter Cookie" and the ingredients read, "Dates, Peanuts, Salt". It doesn't get much simpler than that! It really makes you want to stop and think about the last time you bought a packaged food that had less than 10 ingredients, 6 of which you couldn't pronounce! Larabar® is a company that I can respect and trust to give me a tasty and nutritious product.

They proclaim proudly on the packaging, "Gluten Free. Dairy Free. Soy Free. Non-GMO. Vegan. Kosher". Even the bars with chocolate are Fair-Trade! LaraBar®...why can't everything I eat be like you?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It Ain't Easy Bein' Cheesy Part 2

If you read my earlier "cheesy" post, then you know about all the deodorant changes I've been making. I was using Tom's of Maine® Apricot deodorant because I want to use an aluminum free, organic deodorant but I had to stop using it almost immediately because it was so horrible. It claimed it lasted 24-hours but didn't last even four hours, not to mention that it made me smell like cheese and it burned!! That's right, it burned. Whenever I put it on after getting out of the shower, if I had shaved, then it really, really hurt when I applied the deodorant. I had wanted to use the entire deodorant instead of just throwing it away and creating waste, but it was just too awful. I decided that I couldn't allow myself to stink and be inflicted with pain every morning. It had to go.

Next, I turned to Alba® deodorant and that was equally bad. It essentially had the same problems. I bought a travel size, so that I didn't spend more a on large size of something that I might not like, but that also had some down-sides. The travel size doesn't come in unscented so I was forced to buy the Lavender scent. I thought that getting the Lavender would at least give me an idea of how long the product lasted, and maybe it wouldn't smell so bad. I was wrong. It smelled awful. Really, really awful, and likewise, it didn't last very long. So, once again, I was in search of a good deodorant.

Now, I am using Jason® deodorant. I really like it. Jason® doesn't make travel size so I ended up getting a regular size of the Unscented. So far it has been working really well. It doesn't make me smell gross, it lasts all day, and it doesn't burn at all, ever. Most importantly though, it is organic, made in the U.S.A., and it's aluminum free! I think the quest for a perfect deodorant may be over. I'm finally cheese-free and happy. I highly recommend switching to Jason® deodorant!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Organic Gardening

A few weeks back my mom and I started our gardening for the summer. We planted several tomato plants from heirloom seeds that my aunt gave us. We got our first little tomato yesterday! I think it's pretty adorable!

More garden shots to come :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

I decided, as one of my many efforts to live green, that I would do a little shopping at a local thrift store. I was looking for a bundt pan since I don't have one and I've been dying to make coffee cake! I'm always so tempted by the coffee cake at Starbucks®, but it's a total, un-organic rip-off. Home-made coffee cake always tastes better and it has the added benefit of leaving your house with an amazing cinnamon-y smell while it bakes. Yum!
Anywho, as I was perusing the aisles I got really excited. Shopping at thrift stores is like going on a treasure hunt; you never know what might turn up! It definitely makes up that metal detector that I always wanted, from TV infomercials, as a kid that my mom would never buy for me!
While shopping, I managed to find a really cute, PINK, aluminum bundt pan for only $1.49! Whatta' steal! I had to grab it. I could not have been happier with my new pan (well, new to ME!) and the used copy of To Kill A Mockinbird that I got for only a quarter. Being green has definitely been an adventure that has ultimately kept my wallet fat.

Finally, a post about cookin' it up!! Tonight, I made coffee cake as good as Starbucks®, if not better! It was cheaper, that's for sure. Take that, STARBUCKS®!! Here is the recipe in case you want to give it a try :) Make it at home and make it as organic as you can! Your tummy and your heart will feel better afterwards!

Cinnamon-Swirl Bundt Coffee Cake

1 1/8 c. sour cream
3/4 c. butter
1 ½ c. sugar
2 ½ c. organic flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 tb. cinnamon
1/4 c. brown sugar
chopped organic pecans or walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl. Lightly grease the bunt pan (preferably with butter, since PAM® sprays are bad for the environment…) and dust the pan with the a small amount of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add the eggs, one at time, while mixing and then add vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
3. Add the sour cream and the flour mixture alternately to the butter/sugar mixture. You should begin with the flour mixture and alternate, ending with the flour mixture.
4. Pour half of the batter into your greased bundt pan. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture generously on top of the batter. Add more cinnamon-sugar if necessary. Cover the cinnamon-sugar layer with the remaining cake batter.
5. Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes. For a moist cake, be sure not to over-bake your cake. Check it often using a toothpick.
6. Add pecans or walnuts to the top of the cake once it is finished if desired. You may also add nuts to the inner cinnamon-sugar mixture if you like. Bon Appetit!

Ta-da! All done and still warm

Lemonade: Cafe Review

Today, after getting a pedicure with my friend, Michele, at Bellacures in Los Angeles, we decided to investigate what good food was in the area. We ended up stopping at a little cafe called Lemonade and I have to say, I was really impressed.

When you walk in, you feel like you've walked into a summer scrapbook; the room is filled with flowers, colorful lights, and picnic-esque chairs. You get in a line, which may be long considering the popularity of this little place, and grab a colorful cafeteria tray. Behind the counter are about a dozen different kinds of very eclectic sounding salads. The salads are bright, colorful, and fresh looking, which was right up my alley since I couldn't get any of their tasty sounding sandwiches or any chicken tortilla soup :( Oh well. You, then, get to order a "portion" of salad and in that portion you can mix salads! They also have about six different kinds of lemonade on hand and they're really nice about letting you sample them. I got to try cucumber-mint lemonade and watermelon rosemary, which were definitely a new experience. Their dessert options are also really, really tempting!

I ended up ordering a orecchiette shell pasta salad that included asparagus and mozzarella tossed in a really mild but flavorful vinaigrette and an Israeli couscous salad with mushrooms and parmesan cheese. To complete my lunch I ordered a blood orange-lemonade and a carrot cupcake. It was a staggering amount of food and it only cost 9 bucks! Michele ordered a mushroom soup, which included a bread stick, as well as a sweet potato-pistachio salad and a Thai noodle style salad. We shared a little bit of everything and really got a taste of what this humble, little place had to offer. With good food and good prices, I would definitely describe our trip as "Good Times"!

Overall, I really enjoyed Lemonade. The orecchiette salad was delicious which made up for the fact that the couscous salad wasn't what I expected. It had a really strong truffle oil and stinky cheese taste that didn't leave me wanting more. Even the disappointing couscous couldn't ruin the experience though because the lemonade was refreshing, the customer service was on point, and the decor of Lemonade makes you feel so relaxed and youthful that it's hard to have a bad experience there. I don't give the couscous my recommendation but Lemonade in general is definitely worth a visit to. They have more than one locations! I know that I definitely want to go back and try all the salads that I missed out on today. Lemonade definitely has a repeat customer now. I think Michele had a good time too

RATING: ★★★★★

Saturday, May 28, 2011

An Afternoon of Culture

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to finally get a chance to see my aunt's art show. It opened at the Christopher Grimes Gallery in Santa Monica a few weeks ago, but I hadn't gotten a chance to go before yesterday afternoon. The work up at this show is part of her soup collection and was really beautiful, as always. I went with my friend, Aure, and we both enjoyed the art we saw. My aunt's work is there along with work by Ingrid Calame and Scott Short and will be up until July, in case you are in the neighborhood and want to check it out. It's always nice to take some time, relax, and lose yourself momentarily in something beautiful created with someone's two hands. I highly recommend going to anyone and everyone. If you do stop by, let me know how you like it!

Wall featuring (from left to right) De Nada, Untitled (yellow), and Red, Purple, Brown by my aunt, Ginny Bishton

(from top to bottom) Untitled (red) by Scott Short,
Aure standing next to Untitled (white) by Scott Short

For a larger photo of De Nada, click click click here :)

Film Review: The Idiot Cycle

Thursday, Santa Monica College presented the documentary The Idiot Cycle. I went to see it with my Zimride buddy and it was a really amazing and thought provoking film. To make a very long and frustrating story short, the movie is about GMOs and how, ultimately, our government hasn't got our backs when it comes to the chemicals in our food, body products, air, and water. The movie, because of insurance reasons, isn't really allowed to be screened but the website lists all the viewings of the film that are happening world wide. Try to find a screening of it near you because if you get any chance to see it, you should. It will definitely make you want to take some action against our government and change the way you eat, think, and live.

Regardless of whether or not you get a chance to see this life changing film, I really hope that everyone will start to become informed about the food they're ingesting and will consider switching their body products. Start looking at your shampoo, deodorant, cosmetics, and shave gels! Use EWG to check the chemical content of the products you're already using and then make the switch to products that are organic, aluminum free, vegan, and all-natural! Do it for your health, for the environment, and to stop putting your money into Big Corporation's pocket. We have all the power as consumers so we need to make choices that are better for our lives, for our families lives, and for our nation as a whole. It takes all of us to change how the world works.
"When you are through changing, you are through"
-Bruce Barton

RATING: ★★★★★

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day Two

Day two of my Vegetarian lifestyle went fabulously. I successfully avoided all meats and I did not once feel like I was missing out on anything worthwhile. It's hard to miss meat when you understand all the chemicals that go into producing it. Not to mention all the water that it takes just to produce one pound of meat. I continually feel good about my choice. I also think that I am starting to have an affect on my mom. I would love to turn her into a vegetarian while I'm at it! I hope you all are having a lovely week and that you are feeling continually motivated to live as green as you can, while still enjoying your lives to the fullest!

Although I will not be partaking in any Oscar Meyers®, it was still fun to see the Wiener-Mobile as I was leaving my bank yesterday! Oh, the simple pleasures of spotting the Wiener-Mobile...

It Ain't Easy Bein' Cheesy

Recently, I've been trying to switch all my products (as I finish them, of course) to ones that are better for me and the environment. Using EWG, I learned about how many scary toxins and chemicals are in the products I use everyday. It's safe to say that I wasn't thrilled. Anyway, I've been switching my products as they run out and the first one I ended up having to switch was my deodorant. I was not very happy about this, mostly because I really, really loved the Secret Truth or Pear® deodorant I had been using. It smelled wonderful all day long so I never had to worry about stinking. Unfortunately, it had a high chemical count when I looked online so switching was necessary. I switched to Tom's of Maine Apricot® deodorant and sadly, I do not love it. At all. I got apricot scent, against my better judgement, because after using Truth or Pear® for so long, I thought that scented deodorants could be trusted, but sadly I was mistaken. I used to always use unscented before and I guess that has to be my policy once again. The Tom's of Maine Apricot® deodorant just does not last 24 hours like the label says. I have to reapply more than once a day and the apricot starts to get a weird cheesy smell throughout the day. It's super unpleasant.

Altogether, this is really discouraging because Tom's of Maine® has failed me and the other aluminum free deodorant that I tried a few years back, Crystal®, didn't work so well either. I'm not sure where to go from here. I will probably try Alba® deodorant next but if that doesn't work out I will have to keep searching. All I know for sure is that I would rather smell a little cheesy, and therefore have to give people less hugs, if that is what it takes to take the best care of my body. I'm done supporting the company's that are willing to put dangerous chemicals in my body. Cheese-smell is better than adding to my risk of cancer. I will keep you posted on this and let me know if you have any good, low chemical deodorant suggestions! They would be very much appreciated. Smelling like cheese is no fun...

On a much lighter note, I have found a green change that I love! I used to use Burt's Bees® chapstick as my go-to but I have decided to switch to a vegan chapstick instead. I've been using Booda Butter® and I love it!! It's certified vegan, as well as soy, gluten, and BEE FREE! Also, I am obsessed with the shape of the tube. It's not circular, it's more oval, which is more similar to the shape of your lips so it goes on much easier than a regular chapstick. That sounds weird, but trust me, you gotta try it! It feels great on your lips and has a scent that will definitely surprise you, in a good way! Check it out and let me know what you think!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I am definitely sick. What I thought were allergies is actually full blown cold/flu. This is very unfortunate considering I am nearing finals. Oh well. I take solace in the fact that my trip plans are finally coming together and it is official: I am going to Ireland AND ENGLAND in April! I am very, very excited. I just have to get through this cold, get through finals, and get through Fall semester. Then I'm there, baby! In honor of England, here is some Mumford & Sons for you to listen to and enjoy! Hope you love it.

1. Sigh No More
2. The Cave
3. Winter Winds
4. Roll Away Your Stone
5. White Blank Page
6. I Gave You All
7. Little Lion Man
8. Timshel
9. Thistle and Weeds
10. Awake My Soul
11. Dustbowl Dance
12. After the Storm
Viva La England

Day One


I'm taking a 60 Day pledge to abstain from all meats! No beef, no chicken, no pork, and no fish. For now, I'm going to be an Octo-Lacto Vegetarian-ish, meaning no meat and no gelatin, but I will be eating dairy products and I will be using eggs occasionally when I bake. I am doing this for so many reasons, namely animal cruelty and the water that has to be used just to produce meat and dairy. I think that this is such an important change, although I understand that it's not for everyone. I think this change will really help me to transition into becoming a vegan. I am definitely going to try being a vegan. It sounds so impossible at the moment, but I am sure going to try! Becoming a vegan will definitely be something that will take slow transitioning since currently I am a bacon lover and cheese connoisseur! Nevertheless, it means enough to me to at least consider the life change.

I will keep you up to date on how my pledge goes as the days pass. Let me know if you decide that the VegPledge is for you!

I'm doing this for you, little guy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Missing You Always

In Loving Memory of Tania Maea Hurd
August 27, 1961 - May 24th, 2008
For three years I've missed you daily.
You are the whisk.
You are in my heart forever.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Grass Is Greener

Recently, I've been extra motivated to try and live more sustainably, as well as make my lifestyle as green as I can. I've been learning how to do this gradually through the help of Sustainable Works and thus far I have had a lot of really amazing successes. I have been able to make so many small changes that only keep me more motivated and willing to keep changing. The only real downside I've found to the changes I've been making have been the people around me. I feel like people, even in this day and age, are so misguided about making your life more sustainable. When you tell people you are trying to live a little greener, some people really cringe and act like you're either pompous or a nutcase. I am neither of those things. I feel like living a little greener and doing what I can for the environment is so simple; I don't see why everyone doesn't try a little harder. You don't have to do anything crazy, at least not at first, so I say why not give it a try! People act like being green means that to save trees we should stop putting down toilet seat covers, to save water we shouldn't wash our hands after using the restroom, and for us girls.. we should just stop shaving our armpits to save the plastic and metal used for disposable razors. WRONG, FALSE, DISGUST! You don't have to do anything like either of those three things and still, people are apprehensive. It puzzles me.

There is so much good that can be done by even the smallest actions. For instance, yesterday I decided that I was really in need of a new notebook. I went to my local drug store and was hoping to spend about a dollar on something small and preferably cute. Although the selection was limited, the store did have what I had hoped to find. As I was walking down the aisle though, just before I hit the check-out, I saw another notebook with a paper attached to the front proclaiming, "100% Recycled. This notebook is made from 100% Recycled Paper Fiber, including 30% Post-Consumer Waste." It's made by Mead®, in the U.S., so I put down the other notebook and bought the recycled one. Yes, it was $4, which was more than I intended to spend, but we have to be wise consumers. My purchase, in the long run, will show that people do care about things made in America, from recycled materials, and that we are willing to spend more for a good product. It's as easy as that. I still got a cute green notebook and I felt really good about my purchase. No buyer's remorse!

I got this little guy in GREEN

One small step towards living greener: Check! Some other small green changes I've made that you might be able to enjoy and implement are: Putting a bucket in the shower to collect what water would be wasted while I let the water warm up, eat meat only once a week, switch to vegan cosmetics, AND my newest change... start posting These Come From Trees stickers on public paper towel dispensers as a form of silent protest! More on that to follow!

I hope reading this may have inspired you, even if it was just a little bit. I know that trying to be Green can have its hiccups and may not always be easy, but I think it will start getting easier when we all start working together!