Thursday, May 28, 2015

Foods That Help Combat PMS

"What can I eat?" We've all had that thought at some point, right? Fridge open, eyes scanning the contents, finding nothing to satisfy our cravings or alleviate mood swings.

I've scanned some of the literature and compiled a list of foods that are supposed to help combat PMS, so the next time nature gets the best of us we're one step ahead with something healthy in our pantry. *Note: I am not a healthcare provider. You should always consult your doctor before making changes in your diet.

Repeat foods are in bold. I've categorized them based on what types of nutrients or vitamins they are supposed to provide.

For Fiber: (source, source)
Broccoli (calcium, vitamins A, C, B6 and E, too!)
Brussels Sprouts

For Complex Carbs: (source)
Wheat Berry

For Omega-3s: (source)
Salmon (and Vitamin D)
Chia Seeds

Melatonin: (source)

For Vitamin B12 and Protein: (source)
Lean Beef

For Vitamin A: (source)

For Vitamin D: (source)
Wild Salmon
Vitamin D Fortified Milk

For Magnesium: (source, source)
Pumpkin Seeds
Sweet Potatoes

For Calcium: (source, source,

For Vitamin B6: (source, source)
Fortified Whole Grain Cereal
Lean Meats
Bananas (and potassium)
Hummus (chick peas)
Wild Salmon (see above)
Eggs (and Vitamin E)

For Manganese: (source, source)
Pumpkin Seeds (not to mention iron, fiber, zinc and omega-3s)
Wheat Germ
Brown Rice

For Relaxation: (source, source)
Chamomile Tea

For Zinc: (source)
Pumpkin Seeds
Fortified Whole Grain Cereal

This list is not all encompassing, but it's a start! (Umm, where's the list with chocolate and wine on it?!) I hope this helps :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How to Cut a Watermelon Like a Pro

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! We enjoyed a BBQ with friends, quite a few movies, and some quality r & r. One of my favorite things about summer is that watermelon is in season!! Ever wondered how to cut watermelon like a pro? Check out the photos below for a play by play of what to do to easily slice your watermelon into bite sized cubes. 

Cut your watermelon in half.

Halve the half.

Halve each half again.

Hold the left side still with your hand. Make sure that your fingers are never in the path of the blade (including the back of the watermelon in case you accidentally cut through it!) Begin slicing the right side. Ensure the blade end reaches, but does not cut all the way through, the white part of the rind toward the back. You will make four or five cuts like this spaced evenly down the face of the watermelon.

 It should start to look something like this.

Do the same thing on the opposite side spacing four or five cuts down the face of the watermelon.

 It should look like this.

Once you have sliced long ways, slice the top of the watermelon to form small cubes. Space cuts throughout the entire spine of the watermelon until it is fully cubed.

Notice how the cuts go into the white part of the rind, but not all the way through into green. (Every cut you make should be like this throughout the entire procedure.)

Tip the watermelon over a large bowl and voila! The cubes will start to fall.

Cut out any stragglers and you're done!

Enjoy! For the best taste, pop it in the fridge!

As with any chopping or cutting in the kitchen, make sure to take the appropriate safety precautions. If you don't get this right the first time, keep trying :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Black + White

Hello lovely readers! Happy Wednesday. Today I'm teaming up with my friend Caroline over at Little Bitty City One to bring you an East Coast vs. West Coast interpretation of the black and white trend! You've probably noticed that along with overalls, gingham, and florals (because, hi, it's spring,) black and white EVERYTHING has been hitting the streets! Since Caroline hails from DC and I'm in LA, we figured we'd have two different takes on the same trend. And we did!

                                     Caroline!                                                                  Yep, me.

Check out her adorable outfit post on her blog here. (Loving the belted dress and metallic sandals!)

Since it's been rainy and cold in LA for the past couple of days, I've been wearing lots of pants and sweaters. My friend Angela and I had an adventure on Saturday and went to Grand Central Market and the LA Flower Market to scope out flowers for her friend's bridal shower. 

I wore black skinnies and a flowy top that subtly whispers boho princess without the bell bottoms and and tie dye, am I right?? There's pretty little details on the blouse which I just love. 

 I'm actually an ad for Valle Wholesale! ...Kidding

 Skinnies: Joe's Jeans | Top: Anthropologie | Bag: Michael Kors | Necklace: Gorjana | Bracelets: J. Crew, Alex and Ani | Ring: David Yurman and Tiffany | Flats: Sam Edelman

What's your favorite spring trend? What do you think of our takes on black + white? I hope you have a lovely day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

DIY Chalkboard Frame: < $10

What you'll need:
- dollar store frame
- chalkboard paint
- foam brush

- remove glass from frame
- paint glass with one coat of blackboard paint with foam brush
- allow time to dry (at least one hour)
- apply second coat
- allow time to dry (at least one hour)
- put glass back in frame and voila!

Over the weekend I decided to create a DIY chalkboard out of a dollar store frame. I went to the local Dollar Tree and bought a $1 frame. Then I went to Jo Ann Fabrics and bought Plaid Chalkboard Paint (it looks like this). It was the last bottle they had in stock and it was actually slightly cracked open, (it looked like someone got curious and took a peek but didn't use any of it.) Because it was a damaged product, they gave me 50% off, so it ended up being like $4. (Yay!) So for me this project cost about $5. But the paint can run between $6-$8 so normally it would be a $10 and under craft :)

DIY chalkboard frame. Super easy. Takes about 2 hours (including drying time.) A fun, easy and cheap way to spruce up any home! Place on your counter or hang on your wall to leave cute messages!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Oatmeal Squares - ready in 45 minutes

This weekend I made oatmeal squares from a recipe I found on I halved the recipe because I only had 1/2 cup of butter, and didn't feel like going to the store! SH thought they were still a little too salty, so next time I make them I will probably reduce the amount of salt.

For the original recipe, please click here. See below for my halved version of the recipe (originally called Milly's Oatmeal Brownies.)

What you'll need:
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until thoroughly mixed and creamy. Beat in the egg, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract until well mixed, and mix in salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour, rolled oats, and chocolate chips. Mix well to moisten all ingredients, and spread into the prepared baking pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes (I baked mine for 22 minutes and that was perfect - I think any longer and they may have burned!) Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before cutting into bars.

I feel healthy when I eat these because, well, they're made out of oats! ;)


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sloppy Joes - ready in 45 minutes

For my third recipe of the week I chose Ree Drummond's Sloppy Joes which I found here on the (You probably know Ree as The Pioneer Woman!) My coworker randomly mentioned Sloppy Joes today and I realized I had not thought about Sloppy Joes in YEARS and I actually really like them! So I thought I'd try making them from scratch. I'm really happy with how they turned out (they are just so MESSY so I ended up eating mine with a spoon as well as by trying to pick it up.) This recipe is again, really easy. Anyone could breeze through it! :) Also I honestly don't think this took 45 minutes, but that's partially because I was preparing/dicing as the meat was cooking. It probably took closer to 35-40?

The recipe below includes some modifications I made, so for the original recipe, please go here!

What you'll need:
2 lbs of ground beef (original recipe calls for 2 1/2)
1 large green bell pepper, diced (I used about 2/3 of 1 large pepper)
1/2 large onion, diced
1 1/2 cups of ketchup
4 cloves of garlic, minced (original recipe calls for 5)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder (or more as needed)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
8 kaiser rolls (I just used a potato hamburger bun because those are my favorite! And then packed up the other 7 servings of this recipe in the fridge for later, lol)
*(the original recipe also calls for red pepper flakes, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, which I did not use)


Start by browning the ground beef in a large pot over medium-high heat. (I used a spatula to separate the meat.) Drain off the fat.

Add in the green peppers and onions. Stir, and then add 1 cup water, the ketchup and garlic. Stir it around to combine, and then add the brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard (red pepper flakes, and hot sauce, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste if you decide to use those. I thought my SJ was spicey and delicious enough without it.)  Stir to combine, and then cover and simmer over medium-low heat, about 20 minutes.

Original recipe has you butter the rolls and brown them, but I just put my potato bun in the microwave to thaw it (it was frozen). You could also pop it in the toaster.

Spoon a good amount of the SJ mixture onto the bottom roll and then top with the other half and you're done!!

See how quick and easy that is? I'm really happy with how this recipe (with my modifications) turned out. This is the perfect summer party or barbeque food. I was concerned that they might not turn out right because I messed with the portions ( 2 1/2 lbs of meat is just a LOT) but it turned out fine, they weren't too runny or anything.

If you make them, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Parmesan Brussels Sprouts - Ready in 20 minutes

I have been on a cooking kick this week (I'm trying to tackle side dishes,) and found another deliciously simple recipe for Parmesan Brussels Sprouts on (which apparently is my favorite website?) 

I have been opposed to brussels sprouts for pretty much the last 25 years but my taste buds have recently changed! I can hardly believe it... all of a sudden I like red wine and brussels sprouts... but I'm not complaining :) (PS did you know brussels is supposed to have an "s" on the end? I've thought it was "brussel sprouts" my whole life!)

For the original recipe, please visit this page. I've made a few notes and modifications below.

What you'll need: 
1 tablespoon of butter
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon of butter
6 brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (I bought mine already halved and ready at Trader Joe's)
1 tablespoon of butter (*here the recipe calls for a third tablespoon of butter, but for the sake of calories and not clogging my arteries I opted out)
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese or more to taste (I did not use 2 tablespoons, I just sprinkled it as I saw fit)
salt and ground pepper to taste 

1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat until hot, 3 minutes. Melt 1 tablespoon butter; cook and stir garlic until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon butter and brussels sprouts, cut-side down; cover and cook until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. 

2. Flip brussels sprouts; add 1 tablespoon butter* (this is where I opted out of the third tablespoon of butter and my dish turned out delicious!) Cover and cook until other side is browned, about 3 more minutes. Transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper. 

I found that the garlic got a little burned toward the end of cooking the second side, but don't be discouraged - the brussels sprouts still taste great. Sprinkle on some parmesan cheese or leave some on the table for guests to sprinkle on themselves and you are good to go! 

I think I'm going to make this AND cream corn for our Memorial Day party in a few weekends! Do you have any family favorite side dishes? 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cream Corn Recipe - Ready in 15 minutes

I have a good friend who seems to be capable of doing anything domestic. She's southern, so these talents appear to come naturally to her, or at least are the product of a wholesome southern upbringing. She can knit, quilt, crochet, bake, cook, sew... you name it.

At every party or gathering, she never fails to bring something she's made, be it a dessert, side dish, or main course. I admire this in her. I think it's pretty cool.

I decided I'm going to try to be more like this - someone who is able to "whip up" something and bring it to a party. Tonight I made cream corn for the first time and I was amazed at how EASY it is!!!

I found this amazingly delicious recipe on (I just love that site) and I want to share it with you here. For the original recipe, please visit this page.

The recipe that's posted is by Diana Yockey and is called "Cream Corn Like No Other." I've made a few notes and modifications below.

What you'll need:
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen corn kernels, thawed (I microwaved them in a bowl to thaw)
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (I used brown sugar and it worked just fine)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I didn't measure this, I just poured some on my individual serving to taste at the end)

In a skillet over medium heat, combine the corn, cream, salt, sugar, pepper and butter. Whisk together the milk and flour and stir into the corn mixture. Cook stirring over medium heat until the mixture is thickened, and corn is cooked through. Remove from heat, and stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted. Serve hot.

Seriously you guys, this recipe is delicious and SO easy. I never knew whipping up a yummy side dish could be so simple and quick! This took less than 20 minutes and could easily be brought to a party for everyone to enjoy or eaten at home on a regular evening after work.

I'd love to know, what are your favorite 20 minute and under side dish recipes?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Favorite Podcast Episodes

I listen to a lot of podcasts.

My commute is at least an hour each way to work Monday through Friday, so when I'm not listening to my Eminem or Flo Rida Pandora stations, I'm listening to podcasts.

There are three main podcasts I listen to, which I've mentioned on here a few times previously.
They are:

- Serial
- This American Life
- The Ted Radio Hour

I like these podcasts because they're educational without being dry. I always learn something new. In fact, I started to listen to podcast episodes a second time, because I'll catch something new that I missed the first time around. (Also because new episodes don't come out fast enough.)

I recently listened to the episode of The Ted Radio Hour called "Champions." Part of the episode told the story of Diana Nyad, who at age 64, swam from Cuba to Florida after spending 53 hours in the water. The kicker? She attempted and failed four times before she made it on her fifth attempt. Read her incredible story here and listen to the podcast here. I also suggest going to the site linked in the initial article because it tells her story further- about trauma and her relationship with her parents. She is a truly remarkable woman.

Another favorite episode of mine is "Not It!" from This American Life. I couldn't believe this story about homeless men from Puerto Rico in the Chicago area being shipped to the US from their home country (Puerto Rico). They were promised access to rehab, treatment, and a facility with a pool. What they find once they get to Chicago is much, much different. Listen to this strange and unsettling story here. (This story is just one part of the podcast.)

This American Life episode "Call For Help" is another odd and juicy one, although with a bit of a happier twist. In act two, reporter Anna Sale tells of the call she got one fateful day from Senator Alan Simpson. He wanted to have a chat with her about her love life. Listen to it here.

Other Ted Radio Hour episodes I like:
"In Search Of" - Act two talks about finding the Giant Squid  (it's FASCINATING. I had to google the pictures as soon as I got home, this thing is massive!!!)

"Success" - does how we define success set up false expectations? Listen here.

Okay and last but not least, Serial. I cannot WAIT for Season 2!!! Catch Season 1 here. Prepare to go back in time to Baltimore, 1999, and try to piece together a murder that was supposedly committed in a very specific time frame after school. I'd love to know what you think.

Do you have any favorite podcasts? Any you recommend? I'd love to know! Also if you want to talk Serial, send me an email because I can talk about this case and its inconsistencies all day!

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Under $25

Last call for Mother's Day shopping! Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 10th. My favorite thing about Mother's Day is spending time with my family and just enjoying being together. This year I have two small presents for my mom (I can't share them here because it will spoil the surprise!) But here are some ideas that are all under $25, in case you still need to pick something up for your mom or mother figure in your life :) Personally, I love the glass sailboat tea lights. If you're looking for a gift, you can definitely find something sweet and cute that's still affordable. Don't sweat over the gift too much. Think about what your mom likes and let that guide you. Does she like cocktails? Personalized anything? Books? Tea towels? Think about your mom, not what's currently in stores or what other people are buying. I hope these gifts inspire you to find the item that's just right! If you're looking to spend a little more than $25, see my $50 and under gift guide here. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thoughts on Being in Your Twenties

"How do you balance taking action with taking care of yourself?"

A poignant question posed by one of my oldest friends.

I've been having disrupted sleep for the past few days. I can't seem to balance working on my blog, hustling, networking, emailing, connecting, researching, with eating well, getting enough sleep, hydrating, exercising, maintaining a good relationship, maintaining good friendships, oh yeah and ummm WORKING full time, ya know, doing that thing I have called a job... etc.

How are we supposed to do this in our twenties, when many (most) of us have small apartments, smaller incomes, demands from our bosses, families, significant others, friends (and I say demand in a mostly loving term, not with the negative connotation it sometimes carries.) Sure, we aren't as busy as moms or... moms. (And dads.) But we're busy. We're learning. We're growing. We're trying.

How are we supposed to do it all?

I tried waking up at 6 am yesterday. I set my alarm for 6 am and then a second one for 6:05 am because I knew I wouldn't wake up from the first alarm and somehow I slept through both of them and fell back asleep until 7:30 am. (Yeesh.)

That left barely enough time to shower, get dressed, oh yeah and forget about me putting on makeup before leaving the house. I did this in my car, while sitting in traffic, (sorry mom.)

I can't be the only one who feels rushed, busy, and constantly behind. There's this feeling of being pulled in all different directions that I can't seem to shake. Feeling like I want to be creative, but I want to make money, and for some reason when you're first starting out, those two things tend to be mutually exclusive. I think quite a few of us share this feeling of wanting to change the world but feeling helpless because the electric bill and rent are barely getting paid (forget a cable bill, you got rid of cable a long time ago.)

This isn't a complaint about my life, but rather a shoutout to the people who share this sentiment that I think is all too common in our twenties... but sometimes people don't want to talk about it. I don't have all the answers (do I even have any yet? Yes- pack your lunch every day so you save money.) I'm just here to get the ball on honest conversation rolling.

Let's try to navigate our twenties gracefully sisters... we're in this one together.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

11 Last Minute Memorial Day Ideas

Hi everyone! I hope you're having a great week so far. Can you believe it's May 6th already?? I can't believe how fast 2015 is flying by. It's going to be summer before we know it. Like many of us, I treasure three day weekends, but sometimes I just can't get a trip together in time. If you're anything like me, at this point you've already combed over,,,,, (you name it,) with little to no luck. (I want to do something that won't break the bank.) Planning a trip last minute can be exacerbating. But long weekends are supposed to be fun, remember?

Here are 11 last minute Memorial Day ideas that I hope help you feel less stressed about the weekend. You can still have a great weekend even if you're staying in town, or just taking a trip for the day!

11 Last Minute Memorial Day Ideas

1. Host a barbeque. 
Invite all your friends that are staying in town (there's probably a lot more than you think!) and throw a backyard barbeque. Red Solo Cups, hamburgers and hot dogs, chips and dip, great music and great company- what could be better?

2. Take a road trip.
Depending on where you live you want to be wary of holiday weekend traffic. But is there somewhere close by (or not) that you've always wanted to visit? Hop in the car (early,) pack some snacks and your camera and see what you end up discovering!

3. Host a board game night.
Game nights are one of my favorite things to do with friends. Favorites of mine include Taboo, Cards Against Humanity, Bang, and the Fish Bowl Game. 

4. Host a potluck. 
Similar to hosting a barbeque but have everyone bring a dish of their choice! You could whip up quick and easy guacamole - see it here.

5. Have a picnic.
Pull out the ol' picnic blanket, grab a bottle of wine, some cheese and crackers, salami, sandwiches and head to the local park. 

6. Head to the beach.
We are lucky enough to live within biking distance of the beach, so we will probably bike at some point during the weekend rather than facing the beach traffic/parking mayhem. 

7. Go bowling.
This is a great evening activity!

8. Do a pub crawl.
Make a local pub map and send it to all your friends. Let them know where you're starting and see who shows up at which bars!

9. Go to a drive in movie.
I've never been to one of these but I hear they are pretty fun. 

10. Ride bikes.
I love bike riding! Memorial Day is a great excuse to dig out your bike and go for a ride in the sunshine.

11. Camp in your backyard.
Bummed you didn't make camping reservations in time? Try pitching a tent in your own backyard. Act like you're away from home and bring flashlights, sleeping bags, camping gear etc. The great thing is you get to use indoor plumbing. :)

What about you, what are your plans for Memorial Day Weekend? What do you think of this list?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Black + Brown

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you all had a relaxing and fun weekend. I wore this outfit to a birthday party on Sunday. I wanted something slightly conservative without being too stuffy. While I don't usually wear darker colors in the spring and summer, the material this dress is made out of is super light and airy, so I can wear it and not overheat. My favorite thing about it- the gold button details!

 Dress: Guess | Bag: Forever 21 (white not available online) | Necklace: Gorjana | Earrings: Kate Spade, Loren Stewart | Bracelet: SMARTfit Band | Sandals: J. Crew (on sale!)

  Dress: Guess | Bag: Forever 21 (white not available online) | Necklace: Gorjana | Earrings: Kate Spade, Loren Stewart | Bracelet: SMARTfit Band | Sandals: J. Crew (on sale!)

 PS this bag was only $22.90 (!!)

Blooper :)

Thanks as always for reading!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Untitled #35

Mother's Day is around the corner (it's this Sunday, May 10th!) Still looking for that perfect Mother's Day gift? Here are some gift ideas that are all less than $50. Happy shopping!

Friday, May 1, 2015

19 Minute Guacamole

Happy Friiiiidayyyyy!

Who's celebrating Cinco de Mayo this weekend (since the actual 5th falls on a Tuesday?) I imagine many of you are going to parties, co-hosting parties, or perhaps throwing your own party!

Ever feel stressed before a ton of people come over? No matter how much menu planning, cleaning, place setting, candle lighting, etc. that you might do, things can still come up or get forgotten. Sometimes you're running down to the wire and still fussing over things while your guests start to arrive.

I want to simplify the guacamole for your party while still bringing the homemade twist. I found this recipe on (you can access the original post here. Asterisks include my changes or input!)

Don't you just love avocados?!

Total Time: 20 minutes (*bet you can do it in 19!)

Ingredients :
Original recipe makes 6 servings 
- 2 large avocados, flesh removed and mashed
- 2 (10 ounce) baskets cherry tomatoes, quartered and seeded*
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 limes, juiced**
- 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste 
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix avocado, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno pepper, and garlic together in a bowl. Stir lime juice into the avocado mixture. Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

*Depending on how much you love tomatoes you may not need this many.
**I found that half a lime was enough for my taste. I'm a firm believer in the taste-as-you-go method.


And you're done! It's that easy! Have a great weekend, everyone! 

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