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!

My cup runneth over

Today I was extremely fortunate to be able to participate in the Venice Art Walk & Auctions, which is put on by Venice Family Clinics, in Venice. Aside from helping people park their gas-guzzlers and fold lawn chairs, I was able to see some truly beautiful artwork. So many pieces, all ranging from $100-$3000+, got sold today. There were a lot of pieces that I could clearly look at and understand why someone would want to own them... others not so much. Regardless, it was amazing to see people willing to shell out the big bucks to support local artists, doing what they love. That has to make you stop and be inspired. I was definitely inspired by a lot of what I saw today and I was even inspired by what I didn't like because it forced me to realize that people can find beauty in things that I can't. That thought alone gives me a small shred of hope for the world. I know that small shred will continue to grow the more I stop and appreciate the good around me. I am so grateful for today and everything it has done to enrich my life, even if it is only in a small way.

but we have so much in common by Mara Lonner
(Ain't it the truth? Good title. One of my favorite pieces today)

AND because I am feeling EXTRA generous and want to share some more of the beauty that I have in my life, Here is the new album by Eisley, The Valley. My gift to you. You should definitely help them out and buy the extra three DELUXE tracks off of iTunes. Help 'em out like I did ;) You will not regret it! "Watch It Die" and "Smarter (Acoustic)" are my favorite tracks on this album so definitely give them a listen! Good night and pleasant dreams.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Safe to say I didn't get Raptured

Seems no one got raptured! Or at least I haven't noticed anyone missing that I care about! I thought I would post this album by Matt Pond PA because I am absolutely in love with it. I find it impossible to be in a bad mood when I have it on. It always cures the Mean Reds. I hope you enjoy it. Every song is beautiful but the bolded songs are my personal favorites.

Track List:
1. Starting
2. Running Wild
3. Specks

4. Remains
5. Sparrow
6. Brooklyn Fawn
7. Ruins
8. Winter Fawn
9. The Dark Leaves Theme
10. First Song
Open Your Heart

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Narrative

On Sunday, I was able to FINALLY see The Narrative and Eisley, live at the Troubadour, after months of waiting! I thankfully had waited very patiently, so patiently in fact thta I totally forgot that The Narrative was playing! When I remembered, I just about lost my marbles. The one marble I had remaining..gone! They were amazing. I had only had their six song EP and had not even known that they had a CD out, so being able to listen to their music, LIVE, for the first time ever, was quite an experience. I'm really in love with this new album, especially the track "Don't Want to Fall". I hope you will give this album a listen and that you enjoy it just as much as I do!


Humble Beginnings

Hello! If you're reading this, you have probably ended up here totally by accident and are wondering what's the fastest way to get the heck out! Yes, you have stumbled upon my blog, where I will be writing whatever little oddities enter my mind and keeping track of my life, in a very casual way. I want this new blog because my last got a little outdated and didn't represent who I feel that I am now. I hope I will do a better job of keeping this blog up-to-date with everything I'm up to. But for now, this is my blogs humble beginning; its fresh start. I hope you enjoy whatever trouble I start to stir up.