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!