Sunday, May 29, 2011

What did I wear today?

Sorry for the extreme lack of posts! We have friends visiting from New York right now AND finals start next week. Needless to say, it's way crazy around here right now.

Tunic - From a small boutique on Carnaby Street in London.
Socks - The Gap
Boots - DSW
Necklace - Modcloth
Cardigan - Express

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Top 5 Favorite Things From Trader Joe's

Did you know I play soccer? An unhealthy amount of soccer. I've played since I was 5 and am pretty obsessed with making sure I always have somewhere to play. I didn't play last fall because I wanted to allow myself time to transition into school and California life. So when Spring seasons came around I went a little nuts and joined 3 different leagues. I'd like to say I will not be doing this again, but that could be a lie.

Saturday night my soccer game got called early due to a player tearing one of the ligaments in her knee (a soccer player's worst nightmare). I did my best to bring order to the chaos on the field as we stabilized her knee and got her into a car for one of her teammates to drive her to the hospital. I felt so bad for her as she's a really talented player. Depending on what it is, you go from 8 months+ recovery to career ending. Such a shame.

Because I was done an hour early and I got a text from a friend inviting us over to a potluck dinner the following night, I ended up doing some major food shopping (we're also having guests this coming week, so I had to get our regular stuff, special stuff for many special meals, and things for the smoked gouda mac and cheese that I brought as my dish to the pot luck). I went to Whole Foods (or as we've started calling it, Whole Paycheck) and Trader Joe's.

I actually don't go to Trader Joe's that often. Partly because Nick and I rarely spend money on real food (ie. things that are not peanut butter, bread, milk, bananas, and plain pasta...yes we lead the exciting culinary life of college students), and partly because I love Trader Joe's and the day I am allowed to shop there and not budget myself will be the first time I spend over $200 at a supermarket.

Maybe it was because I was a little but freaked out over the way my game ended, maybe it was because we went to a cooking class on Friday night (got a great deal through Group-on) so I was in the mood to cook, or maybe it was because I really wanted to spend some quiet time with Nick that didn't involve watching TV, but I decided to not be so strict with our food budget and bought a few things to make a nice meal for us. It was really hard to make a decision because everything is so good there. I think I spent a good 30 minutes there, and I only bought 5 or 6 things. But on the upside, trolling through aisles of Trader Joe's gave me the idea for this entry!

So here are my top favorite things from Trader Joe's:

Frozen Gnocchi - in particular the sweet potato in a butter and sage sauce and Gorgonzola sauce varieties. Both are so easy to make (just put them in a pan and cook until warm), and they will make anyone who tries them think you did it from scratch. We've gone through periods before where we have one of them once a week. This is very dangerous because I always try to add extra things (like smoked salmon and asparagus to the Gorgonzola one) to make them last more than one meal, but I end up eating it all in one sitting.

Milk Chocolate Macadamia nut Lace Cookies - Walking through the frozen food section, you cannot help but be distracted by all the cookies and chocolates TJs sells. Mini peanut butter cups, chocolate covered blueberries and pretzels, it's a dieter's worst nightmare. Recently when trying to pick one of these yummies out, we discovered these lace cookies and have vowed never to buy them again. They are just too good. A mixture between a lace cookie and toffee, if I sit down to eat one, the whole box will disappear. I now consider it my crack.

Wine - Our TJ's has a halfway decent wine section, and after recently being turn on to an Italian red wine variety called montepulciano, I grabbed a random bottle off the shelf the last time we were there and tried it. The wine was Incanto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and for a $10 bottle it was really good. I generally am not a red wine fan, but this is smoother, lighter, and sweeter than heavier varieties. Needless to say the red wine drinker in the family (Nick) is super happy whenever I bring it home.

Frozen Pizzas and Flat Breads - When we were living in NJ once every other month we'd stock up our freezer with different things in case I didn't feel like cooking or we had nothing for lunch in a pinch. 90% of those thing were from TJs and 50% of those things were from the pizza section. I really hate frozen pizza because I don't like red sauce and frozen red sauce is particularly bad, and pizzas always end up being disappointing when you are used to NY pizza and you have to settle for not that. But I like Trader Joe's pizza because they have different kinds of toppings and you're eating it for that more than just wanting pizza. Our favorites are the roasted veggie (which unfortunately I think they may have stopped making), truffled wild mushroom, and caramelized onion and ham varieties.

Vanilla Almond Granola - Back in college when we first discovered Trader Joe's, this was the first thing I ever made my mom buy me. It tastes like cake batter ice cream from Coldstone (but with waaaaaaay less calories). Still addicted.

Honorable mentions go to their extremely cheap section of Trader Joe's Cheese (goat cheese mozzarella? smoked gouda? drool.) and corn bread stuffing, but since I've already talked about those in past entries I didn't want to repeat myself. I also love their butternut squash ravioli which is just as good as any of the fancier brands, but a 1/3 of the price and the frozen smoked salmon crepes and the frozen breaded eggplant...maybe this should have been a top 10 entry?

And for those of you who were curious, here's the meal I ended up making for us:

From Trader Joe's:
Sweet Potato Gnocchi (I also added some onions and crimini mushrooms to it)
Incanto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

From Whole Foods:
2 Steaks (I soaked them in the wine with garlic and rosemary)
Sweet Corn on the Cob
A Giant Cream Puff for two from the bakery

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Guest Blogger: Lynsey

So as I said a few days ago, it is just about finals week around here. I expect this quarter to be especially brutal. 4 finals, plus a paper. And then when all of that is said and done, we have 2 major end of the year Comp exams (essentially they test us in two different core areas to see if we are competent enough to move on to the next part of the program). This is all spread out over 3 weeks, which is a lot nicer sounding than it actually is.

Sometimes I talk to my friends and I have to remind them, this isn't like normal college (which is hard enough as it is). Psychology is a lot like med school. We may not be cutting into people's bodies, but we are playing with lives and sick people. So they expect us to really know our stuff inside and out. It ain't easy. And of course other areas of my life suffer because of it. I stop eating real food, and when I do I reach for the nearest cheesey thing. Nick forgets what his wife looks like, and I wish I didn't have a life and could run away to the nearest 5 star hotel. No, not to relax, but to study uninterrupted. And of course, the blog gets lonely.

I've decided that I may have to make a yearly celebration out of my hell month and invite guest bloggers to post. This way you all can have something to read by some really diversely talented bloggers. A call was put out far and wide on the internet this past week and I got lots of responses, so I have some very good reads for you that have been slowly trickling in. They will be dispersed with some of mine when I actually have 2 minutes to post something. Hope you enjoy them!

First up is an entry from Lynsey.


Thank you for popping my guest blogging cherry :-D . After days of serious writers block, I’ve decided to simply give you a really good cookie recipe.

One of my favorite cookie recipes (and my husband’s) is “Melt In your Mouth PB Cookies” from a book called One Smart Cookie. This recipe is super duper easy, delicious, & gluten-free. Bestcookieever. Promise.

The good stuff:

1 1/2 cups reduced-calorie peanut butter or regular peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg white


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar and egg white until completely blended.

Roll dough into 1"-1 1/2" balls and place about 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press down on each cookie once or twice (crisscrossed) with the back of a fork.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until pale golden and set around the edges.

Gently transfer to a wire rack to cool. If they are too crumbly to move, let cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet first.

Makes 2 dozen cookies (or less depends on how big your balls are).

Variations – you can add some mini chocolate chips, white chocolate chips or smashed peanut butter cups (about ½ c or more depending on your liking); you can try to dip part of the baked cookie in chocolate and let that set.

What did I wear today?

Cardigan: Sample JCrew from Jeremy's
Shoes: DSW
Tank Top: The Gap
Skirt: Thrifted for $2
Belt: Replaced my favorite ever that died recently. :( Urban Outfitters
Jade Bracelet: Swapped

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What did I wear today?

Finals are quickly approaching so I apologize ahead of time for the lack of variety in entries, and the future lack of entries in general. School comes first!

Dress: Vintage from Salvation Army for $3!!
Cardigan: Express
Ring: Birthday Present from Nick from Banana Republic
Shoes: Lauren by Ralph Lauren (last year)
Necklace: Forever 21
Leggings: H&M

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Call for Guest Bloggers!

Anyone with a blog like to do a guest post? I'm looking for some writers to come up with ideas ASAP! Leave a comment with your email and I will contact you. Thanks!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What did I wear today?

Gah I make some of the worst faces ever!

Shoes: Modcloth
Pants: BDG
Tank Top: The Gap
Vest: H&M circa 2006
Cardigan: Forever 21
Necklace: Made by my Mommy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weight Watchers for free

Last year when I was getting ready to do my B-pics for Nick, one of my co-workers went on Weight Watchers. She was already skinny, but wanted to slim down for her wedding. So for 2 months she was pretty strict with the system and lost about 20 pounds. It's amazing sometimes how you look at someone and think they look great, and then they diet, and still look great, but your jaw drops when you realize how much extra weight they had to play around with and lose.

I did a lot of research about how to do it for free (because I wasn't about to pay for something I wanted to do for a month tops), but ended up not doing it because I really hate the word "diet." Just the thought of it makes me want to eat a doughnut...I wonder how I'm not 300 pounds...My co-worker said it was really easy, she was never hungry, she just ate smarter. The system is based on points. Each product you eat is worth a certain amount. You're allowed a certain amount per day based on your current and goal weights, height, gender, and activity level. You also get some extra wiggle room for those days you wanna splurge.

Now that we're getting precariously close to bikini season I know a lot of people will be watching what they eat and will be thinking about dieting. Weight Watchers is one of the most healthy alternatives (given that you eat healthy and stay active) as you're allowed to eat real food, and don't have to cut anything out to do it. Here's some tips about how to do it for free.

1. Calculate your points: There's lots of calculators that exist out there. This one will calculate how many points you're allowed per day (there's also an explanation of how the points work. This one will calculate the number of points for packaged food.

2. Get some recipes: There are tons of websites dedicated to point counts and recipes for Weight Watchers. All you have to do is Google them. This blog has a lot of really great healthy recipes that have point counts and this website has tons of generic foods like fruits, nuts, etc. and their point counts. This website has a whole list of 0 point foods.

3. Exercise: You get extra points back for adding activities to your day.

4. Get a group: If you need help, bring some friends together for your own informal meetings. Part of the reason WW works is because people meet once a week to support each other. If you need the encouragement, find some friends and lose weight together. Or you can always find a weight loss forum like this one.

Good luck!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Online Garage Sale - Phase 13

Items will be listed with their price and details, when it is sold "SOLD" will be listed underneath. Shipping will vary based on size and weight of the item ($1-15) Everything will be shipped via USPS. You can pay via PayPal or credit card. If interested leave a comment and I will email you an invoice and information on how to pay. If you really want an item and it's a bit out of your price range, leave a comment with your email and we can discuss it. You have 72 hours to respond/pay otherwise the item will be up for grabs again.

Thanks and happy shopping!

Grey and Brown striped dress - $15.00
Size 2 - Excellent Condition

$10 - Vintage LS Blouse
No Size Tags, probably a size 6-8

$20 - Banana Republic Dark Rinse Mid Rise Bootcut Jeans
Size 0
Worn Once

$7 - Gap Black Halter
Size Small

$10 - Ralph Lauren Polo Beach Cover Up
Size Small

What did I wear today? My Birthday Outfit (Belated)

For my birthday this year I practically begged for a dress from Modcloth, and success! Nick listened! Here's the outfit I wore on the big day, right before we went out to dinner with some friends.

Dress: Modcloth
Cardigan: The Limited, circa 2008
Purse: Coach, Gift from Nick, circa 2007
Ring: H&M

You can really see our farm in the last picture. They are all so attached to their Mommy. It's a wonder more WDIWT pictures aren't full of them considering they're all usually watching/following me around.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


How did you spend your Mother's Day? Hope whatever it was it was fun. Personally I did not spend it with my mom (a 3,000 mile distance had a lot to do with it), so unfortunately all I could do was call her. My activities were spent making an awesome brunch for Nick and some of his friends post-guys night out in San Francisco, and then mainly doing homework for the day. Then I drove an hour North to put myself through an amazing amount of pain for this:

It's Batman and Lulu! As you know, those kitties are super in love, so I wanted to celebrate my insane obsession with their cuteness. Mix in a crazy old cat lady in the making, and the desire to mark this time in my life with a permanent reminder of not only 1. how awesome it is and how happy I am, but 2. remind myself of how far I've come on this journey, I'd say it was pain worth suffering through. Good kitties, good friends, good times, a career milestone, and most importantly the kitties will always remind me of being early and happy in my relationship with Nick.

I've been talking with my friend Brandi about getting the tattoo for about 2 months now, so it was extremely exciting to get to go with her and my other good friend Michael. I was a little bummed Nick couldn't come, but my appointment was late and after his busy week and going out the night before, he needed to get some sleep. But when I came home he got out of bed to see it. Not sure if he approves (it is obviously a little girly), but if he did he didn't say anything because I was too happy and excited about it.

Aubrey from Zebra Tattoo in Walnut Creek did the work. She was so nice and really laid back. It was a great overall experience, and in huge part to how awesome she was. I'm so happy with how it turned out.

True Love.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What did I wear today?

Ok, this is why I need to hire a photographer to take my pictures. More practicing with the auto-take-whatever you call it on the camera, and more failing. These are seriously the best out of about 20 attempts. Haha. Maybe one day I'll get the hang out of it!

Dress: Sway, last Fall
Shoes: DSW, circa 2008

Maybe one day I'll also master the art of getting Charlie to not block the shoes.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Not just for guys Burgers and fries

I seem to be on a huge summertime/crappy food kick lately! That's pretty rare for me. Normally my body is very much in tune with its evolutionary seasonal changes. During the winter I want lots of comfort food and to pack on the pounds to hibernate, and during the summer I want sushi and fruit to feel lighter and less hot. For some reason, lately, though, all I want is pizza and burgers. Very weird.

Anywhoo, when I can't be lazy and go to The Counter for a burger that's just the way I like it, I make my own sliders and fries. Here's my recipe:


You need:
- 1 lb ground beef or bison beef
- smoked gouda cheese
- a handful of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- Smoked Maple Chipotle Sauce from Bittersweet Herb Farm
- olive oil (only if you're not grilling)
- mini ciabatta rolls

1. Make sure the meat is room temperature. Turn on the skillet you'll be cooking in and add a little bit of olive oil.
2. Add the egg, bread crumbs, and meat all in a bowl. Then add cheese (it should be grated, you can add as much as you want, I usually do about 1/3 of a cup. And 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce.
3. Mix together, do not over mix or the burgers will dry out. If you need some more bread crumbs you can add a little bit, but again not too many because the burgers will dry out.
4. Separate into slider sized patties (should be 5-7 depending on the size you want). Do not mush them down with anything, again, you'll dry them out.
5. Add to pan, don't over crowd it. Cook a few minutes on each side until they start to brown up or blood comes through the other side. If you want them well done, keep flipping ever couple of minutes to make sure they don't burn. You can also cover the pan as well.
6. Toast your buns if you are so inclined!
7. Depending on the cheese you want to put on top, during the last minute or so of cooking add the cheese on top of the burger to get it melty. I think these burgers taste best with more smoked gouda (which requires some melting) or blue cheese (which does not). With both of these cheeses, adding some caramelized onions or sweet onion marmalade makes the perfect burger in my opinion.

French Fries

You need:
- Potatoes (I really like fingerling or medium/large sized Yukon Gold)
- Oil
- Salt
- Slotted spoon
- Paper towels

1. If you don't have a fryer heat oil in a large and deep pot.
2. While the oil is heating up, wash and slide potatoes into fry sized pieces.
3. When the oil is moving around you'll know it's hot enough. Add the potatoes and cook until they just brown a bit on the edges.
4. Now here is the key step! Take out the potatoes and let them cool off for 15-20 minutes on some paper towels. Salt generously.
5. Start reheating the oil. When it's hot enough again (and it should be screaming hot), add the potatoes back in and cook until they are brown enough for your liking.
6. Salt again if you'd like when they're done.

The double fry method lets the potatoes cook a bit the first time so that it's thoroughly cooked, and then just cooks the outside the second time. If done right (and this largely depends on the potato you use and the size you cut it into) you get a nice crunchy outside and a softer inside.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The perfect Summertime Date: Pizza & Ice Cream

Recently I've been totally obsessed with Fleetwood Mac's album Rumors. And then when I thought I had finally gotten over it, this past week it was featured in an episode of Glee. I guess of all the albums to play on repeat, that's a good one to be stuck with.

On a totally unrelated note, it's been super hot here in the South Bay lately. Normally anything above 75 starts to make me a little uncomfortable. I don't like to feel hot, and I especially hate to sweat when I'm not *supposed* to be. But for some reason, and I think the promise of a summer "vacation" has something to do with it, I'm pretty pumped about the warm weather. Lots of shorts and tank-tops, sandals, and getting tan. I've been having fun walking around without tights or leggings on. Windows open. Sandals and sunglasses on. It's been pretty awesome.

When Nick and I were living in New Jersey one of our favorite things to do during the warmer months was walk into town and go out on a date. We'd pick out a restaurant to eat at, then get dessert (sometimes at the restaurant, sometimes at one of the many ice cream places), and walk around. We lived in a really safe town, so we liked to wander the streets looking at store fronts and houses to burn off some calories before heading back to the apartment.

A few weeks ago one of my friends from college, Taryn, was in town and we went into the Mission area of San Francisco to have some very late lunch. It reminded me of going out with Nick, except I had Charlie and 4 other lovely ladies with me instead.

We went out for pizza at Delfina with a few of her other girlfriends. It's been really hard to find good pizza here, but I have to say that Delfina's was amazing. Not New York style, not Chicago style, but definitely Italian style. We had some of the specialty pies and the regular one. All were good and put me in the mood to have pizza for like a week after wards. Unfortunately there aren't any good places close by to us.

After that we walked up the block to Bi-rite Creamery, a neighborhood ice cream shop. Affiliated with a small market across the street, Creamery makes their own ice cream, baked goods (like an amazing banana peanut butter cupcake we all tried), and candies. Flavors change daily, but when I was there I ordered two scoops; one of Earl Grey and one of Honey Lavender--considering they are two of my favorite things ever I LOVED them. I also got to try the Ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodles) and Brown Sugar with Ginger Caramel Swirl flavors. Both were also very good. And all were, wine, and ice am I not 1,000 pounds?

So good even the pup wants a bite.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Counter, ie. my new favorite burger joint of all time

Sometimes I honestly think I have the stomach of a guy. I cannot even begin to describe to you of my love for a good burger enough. Top it with just about any kind of cheese and I'm in heaven. But alas, I'm not a guy. I'm a girl. And therefore I have a girly palate. I want sweet and savory at the same time, and I don't want my meat pink in the middle or dry and burnt to a crisp. And the fries better be good too. Can I also get a sweet sauce with that? So many demands! That solves it, I'm definitely a woman. Recently I've discovered The Counter, a small burger chain, and have become completely obsessed. With locations all over the country (but most in California), you can get your specialty burger fix wherever you are.

The menu itself is as simplistic as the decor. You're given a checklist to build your own burger with about 50 different options. Several different kinds of meat (all are ethically raised, yada yada) and meatless patties, toppings, cheeses, sauces, and buns to choose from. My personal favorite is a beef 1/3 pounder (that's AFTER cooking) with blue cheese, grilled onions, cranberries, and apricot sauce on a honey wheat bun. It sounds a little weird, but it is so good. My need for sweet and savory flavors are met. There's also some pre-chosen burger options to choose from too if all the options on the checklist are too much for you. Add a side of some REALLY good fries (plain, cheese, or sweet potato) or amazing onion rings and you're good to go.

Oh yeah, and don't forget the milk shakes and build your own drink menu.

Definitely looks like a great place to go to with a bunch of friends.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What did I wear today? A remix

I wore this same outfit almost two months ago but remixed the accessories to be a little bit more Spring Timey. I definitely felt ready for the nice weather that was waiting for me outside.

Shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction circa 2006
Necklace: Vintage, a gift from my Granny

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Sales - One time use code: 20% off your next purchase MRBXGV7N4. Good through 5/8. - ENDS TODAY. 50% off gift certificates with the code FRESH. Also buy 2 $100 gift cards get a $50 gift card free.
NY & CO - BOGO everything through 5/9.
Bath and Body Works - While supplies last, enter SPRINGTOTE11 for a $20 tote bag with goodies inside with a $40 purchase. Use the code CHIC50 to get free shipping on all orders over $50.
Artistic - Get a free box of checks with the code AWF1095 through 5/4. (This is a really great website, you can have your own images printed on checks. We did this with wedding pictures and they turned out great.)
Lord and Taylor - ENDS TODAY. 20% off regular and sale priced items with the code MOM. Certain designers are also having extra sales.
Steve Madden - 20% off orders of $75 (SUNNY25A) and 30% off orders of $125 (SUNNY30A)
Macy's - ENDS TODAY. 10-25% off orders plus free shipping when you spend $99 with the code: MACYSFF
Avenue - 20% off everything through the end of the month with the code: AV111094

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Top 5 Things You can Never have too much of at a BBQ

The first day of May is practically the unofficial start to BBQ-ing season. So to celebrate, a Top 5 of Entertaining entry all about the summertime art.

Meat - What is the central part of a BBQ but the main course? People will always be hungry and willing to eat. Remember, you can always put it in the freezer but making a run to the store midway through the party is no fun. Especially on big holiday weekends.

Ice - Somehow this always seems to be the thing people forget to buy. No one likes a BBQ with warm drinks. So don't forget to stock up!

Beer - See meat. Except insert that people will always be willing to relax with a cold one.

Bug Spray - Not only for yourself but for the yard. If you're outside there will be bugs. And sometimes those candles and any other voodoo charm you're hanging around doesn't cut it. My dad is a firm believer in Raid Yard Guard. Before each outdoor party he sprays just about one can around the perimeter of our backyard. There is definitely a huge difference on the amount of mosquito bites and gnats flying around out food compared to when he doesn't spray. And for those of us who are a mosquito's favorite dinner buffet, don't forget to spray some Off on yourself. Make sure it has Deet!

Suntan lotion - The chances of getting skin cancer are higher if you have 2 serious burns before the age of 18, but that doesn't mean you can't continue to protect yourself as you age. Wear at least spf 15 (or higher if you're fair skinned) and make sure you cover every spot including face, eats, between fingers, toes, etc. It's those spots that are overlooked that are most likely to have cancer sprout. And don't forge to reapply after trips into the pool and throughout the course of the day. Just because you can last 10 hours outside doesn't mean your suntan lotion can!

And of course, don't forget the most important thing you need for any successful BBQ. Something fun to do to keep you cool! Pool, sprinkler, slip and slides are always the go to. But if you don't have them you can make your own. We've used garbage bags (that we wore---not that that is safe AT ALL) and Twister mats for slip and slides. And you can be pretty creative with a hose when you need to be. So put on some Beach Boys, Don Henley and Bryan Adams and get partying!
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