December 30, 2014

My Favorite Homemade {southwestern} Meatloaf

Excuse my very boring image above...but I made meatloaf and was hungry. I even forgot to add the broccoli with almonds to the photo. It was a hectic day. Next time. I am only human and no food blogger, but I made my very own homemade meatloaf and let me tell you it was very delicious.

For months I wanted to make meatloaf. I was craving it but then also admitted to myself that making a dish like that during hot summer days wasn't ideal. So I waited until temperatures dropped. Colder temperatures ask for warmer and somewhat heavier dishes. This meatloaf isn't even "heavy" but definitely worth a try during colder days.

Here's what you need {for about 4 servings}:

- 1lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves {I used parsley instead}
- 1 can {4 ounces} mild green chiles, drained {optional}
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can {8 ounces} tomato sauce, divided
- 2 tablespoons ketchup

Here's what you do:

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Spray 13x9 baking pan {or use something else you think would work}
- Combine beef, onion, cornmeal, egg, cumin, salt, pepper, half the tomato sauce, cilantro and peppers
- Mix well
- In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the rest of the tomato sauce with ketchup
- Shape the meat mixture into your pan, then top the ketchup mix on top.
- Bake for 55 minutes or until cooked through
- Wait five minutes before you cut the loaf
- Enjoy

Once it comes out of the oven the ketchup pretty much looks the same. I had no idea. Again, I'm no pro and never thought that ketchup stayed the same...I mean, it never crossed my mind. I just thought something would happen to it but clearly it looked the same. Needless to say we ate this dish in no time, hence the halfway eaten loaf photo. LOVED it.

This dish was one of the easiest and one of those I dreamed of later. I don't need to do this all the time but we needed something homemade and meaty. It was a great meatloaf and I will certainly make it again. And maybe then I have an updated photo to post on this post that actually is perfect...with spinach or carrots or peas. :) I swear, we ate veggies that day too.

December 29, 2014

A Look Back at 2014

2014 was a wonderful year. Looking back I discovered I overcame my hear of photos, graduated, moved, settled in, got married, struggled, laughed, traveled, and loved. So much happened and I am grateful for every single moment. It was a crazy year, a crazy world...but oh so worth it.

I enjoyed the first half of the year in Southern California with friends, trips to the Improv and the beach as well as weekly explorations of restaurants. I struggled with the future and what might come next. I struggled but had a steady rock to my side. I kept quiet and privately enjoyed my love life {yes, I just called it that}. I learned that happiness existed. I said "see you" to a dear friend who left for Afghanistan {he returned two weeks ago, safe and sound}. The first half of the year was fantastic.

Second half of this year turned out to be different. We moved to Sacramento. We had no idea what this move will do to us. Don't get me wrong. We have settled in but we are not fully settled. We have grown to understand each other, explore this whole new area and find little things to do around here that make us happy. We both miss Southern California but we are liking it here as well; we kind of have to for the time being, no?! Fall was finally fall, and my favorite city ever is so close by it makes life up here so much easier and more fun!

I am thankful for all of my friends {even the ones I hardly get to see!!!}, my favorite person allowing me to be me and to brighten my day every day even when I don't feel happiest, California, my Swiss family and friends who still talk to me and who I cannot wait to see again next year, my American family, and life that constantly shows me that it is worth living and loving each moment to the fullest

Bring it on 2015!!!

Here's a look back at 2013 and what I had to say about 2012.

December 26, 2014

Cozy Afternoons by the fire

 “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
  - Charles Dickens


We survived Christmas! AND it was slightly white. Yay!
Best part of our trip to see the in-laws was that we could relax, cuddle with the doggies, and just enjoy cozy moments by the fire. Literally. Also, I got everyone winter socks {I am a dork, I know} so it was quite fun to see everyone walk around with matching socks. We had a great holiday time.

I did miss my mother and my Swiss friends but other than that we had a fabulous time, exchanged gifts and surprised each other with laughter and lots of humor. Charles Dickens knew what he wrote about.

Hope your Christmas was filled with love and laughter, and if you were celebrating Hanukkah then I hope you equally enjoyed your holiday time. We all deserved it!!

Here's to relaxing over the weekend and recharging before this year ends. We will quietly spend New Year's Eve at one of our favorite restaurants in town while celebrating our four-month anniversary. Very excited about it.

Have a great day!

image via flickr

December 21, 2014

Happy Holidays

Have an amazing Christmas Week!
Have it filled with laughter, love, family, friends, food, drinks, music, and presents {of course}. Indulge in some quiet time, don't get into arguments, and enjoy every moment {even in onesies and comfy socks}. Give hugs, smile and have an awesome time!

Merry Christmas!

December 19, 2014

New Year, New {almost} Everything!

I know it is still December and 2015 hasn't even begun. Yet, it was time to change a few things on here and if you have been around for a while you know it was really time. Seriously; it took me forever. My layout is almost finished. I wanted it to be girlie, polka dotted, with a hue of gold, simple and clean. I got rid of a lot of clutter and I am still working on it. It's a constant work in progress but it's fun to rearrange things. What do you think so far?

In other news, Christmas is around the corner, Hanukkah started last week and I am getting sick. My sore throat is getting worse. I blame my amazing friend down in Southern California. I visited her for her birthday last week, hence my absence. I flew down to celebrate her birthday, had a blast, flew back to my favorite person and am now dealing with signs of a nasty cold rolling in. Fingers crossed I am stronger than that cold.

With the New Year approaching rather fast I really wanted to change a few things...not just on the blog but also in my life. It's a weird {and more than just often not thought and acted through} cliche that we make up lists and resolutions when a new year rolls in. Yet, I still want to believe in a better, more fun, and happier year. I started with changing up the blog, my thoughts, creating a creative corner at home, and will work on my fitness starting right after Christmas. Cannot wait. 2014 will end beautifully, and 2015 will start golden.

Do you have any last minute resolutions to complete this year?!

image via here

December 17, 2014

I'm back!

Hello my lovelies,

I have been MIA I know. It's been a hectic week but a very good one. I spontaneously went down to Southern California for my friend's birthday weekend. It has been four full months that I had been so you can imagine my delight to finally go back. My favorite person wanted me to go there for so long because he knows how much I miss it and how much I miss having friends around. It's hard up here. It's really really hard. Going to see my friend for her birthday was, I think, the best thing I could have done. The flight {and the anxiety beforehand} was worth it all. I am glad I went. These five days were worth it. I am rejuvenated, thrilled, excited, and just happier. 

This trip is also the reason I wasn't online all that much. Plus, my phone died three times on me. Fully charged the battery decided not to work and baaaam I had no phone or access to the outer world. I felt miserable. Really. Phone is back on but who knows for how long. It's an oldie but still a goodie, so fingers crossed Santa brings me a new phone or 2015 means I will get a new one...I know I will. 

So, bear with me my readers...I'll be slowly catching up and slowly getting around to posting again. I have yet to wrap presents, send them, and write this week will be BUSY. Good I won't complain. 

Hope this holiday season has been good to you, and that you are enjoying this month as much as I am enjoying it. Cannot believe we are already passed mid-December!! What on earth?!

Oh and if you were wondering why I chose that quote to begin this post with...lots has happened. You often dwell on what ifs and whys but in the end it's all about the NOW. I learned that certain people in my life just have to be left behind. Not because we fought, or are fighting, but because they don't accept me for who I am or for who I have become over the past twenty plus years. We all change, but we can still accept each other, no?! 

Have an absolutely awesome day.

image via here

December 10, 2014

What To Do During the Holidays when on a Special Diet

As the holidays crawl nearer {yes, crawl} most of us have parties to attend. Whether it is a party with friends, coworkers, family, or as a plus one...there's always some sort of a party people go to. Plus, if you are not hosting it is even more fun to enjoy the festivities. Just saying.

But what do you do when you are on a special diet? I am not talking about the constant diet most of us are on to lose a few pounds here and there so we fit back into our favorite jeans or the bikini we want to wear on an upcoming trip. I am talking about a constant diet more people have to live on because they are allergic to certain ingredients, or of course, the diet people believe in is the best and healthiest. I am allergic to gluten, and slightly tend to even have issues with contamination but my doctor said I should not worry yet {oh, thank you}. I know people who are allergic to nuts, diary, citric acid {which I think is worse than gluten}, or just allergic to certain fruits or other stuff. The list goes on. What do you do then? Unless you are lucky enough to have open-minded family or friends, or your friends and family are allergic as well {ha, that would be nice} attending a holiday party can be dreadful. If you are the host and you know you will have guests over who have allergies or require dietary restrictions...well, it's pretty much as dreadful, but it's all doable.

Here's a few tips I found over time that will help both sides to overcome the dreadful thought to disappoint anyone with or without an allergy or dietary preference:

When you are the host

- be direct and ask your friends about any allergies or preferences when you sent the invite; after all it's your party and you want to be a successful host pleasing friends and not making them sick and ruin the experience. Plus, with all this holiday craziness it's easy to forget to mention it. So, ask away in order to plan ahead and have fun hosting your holiday party.

- if your guests offer to help you with dishes or ask if they can prepare a dish that's specifically gluten free for example, by all means, accept that offer. Who wouldn't want help. 

- keep it simple. If it's your friends they will already love what you are going to offer them. They will eat what will be on those plates and in those pitchers {unless you are like me having no pitchers but the wine bottles ready!}. Don't overdo it. Don't go overboard by pleasing everyone by creating two kinds of the same dishes but with different pasta {gluten free and regular pasta}. Just make one. It will get eaten.

- ask for help. If you can't do it all or feel you are at a loss, ask your friends to help you out. It never hurts to ask is what most people live by, so when it comes to making a holiday party as fun and as eventful as ever, just ask and don't get too stressed. You won't be grated.

When you are the guest

- be direct and let the host know that you have an allergy. I am sure that if the host is your friend she/he already knows, but if it's another party don't hesitate too long to let them know. It's worse when you refuse food on the day of the party. It's kind of an insult.

- offer to help or bring a dish or two, and explain to the host why you would like to help out. Don't just show up with a dish in your hand {unless it's a potluck of course}. Help is always appreciated. When it comes to special ingredients, dietary preferences etc the host is not familiar with it's easier to bring/make something you know will work. Takes the pressure off the host. Trust me.

- if there's food or drinks you cannot have at a party, and you weren't as fortunate to help or bring something and no one considered your allergy {this sadly happens all the time} be a good sport. Don't frown, don't be upset {even though you will be} but instead go with the flow. Don't eat what you shouldn't but eat what you can. If the carrot and celery sticks are the only things you can eat, do so. Politely say no to anything else offered to you, drink the drinks you can and don't hesitate to ask what's in something. I mean, it's what it is. No one wants to be rushed to the ER because of a nut allergy or something else upsetting your body. So, be a good sport.

- bring back up. I always have a Kind Bar with me when I go somewhere, or a tangerine. They easily fit into any purse and allow me to feel full, get the nutrients I need and won't upset my body at all. Don't eat those items in front of your host but if you really cannot help and can't find anything that fits your special diet, then sneak in a bite or two in the bathroom {if you really really have to} or quickly go out to the car and eat it.

I have had my own share of awkwardness when it came to hosting parties or attending parties. I had to sneak in a fruit bar one time because I knew the hostess didn't care about anyone who had allergies. It's also hard for Swiss people to change their habits, or think ahead. Don't want to point fingers but I have great friends who do remember but I remember last summer I was invited to my friend's place for dinner and of course she forgot I couldn't have "normal" spaghetti. It's a mistake, and I was okay with her forgetting it all but it's been tough. Luckily she had wine. Just saying. :)

I will be possibly attending two parties this weekend {one for sure} and it won't be easy. One will be a bowling party and we all know that bowling alleys NEVER have healthy food. If you know of a place that does please let me know but all I know is bowling places have fried stuff and that jazz. Not for me. Not even a hot dog would be okay, sadly. So wish me luck. It'll be a fantastic weekend I know but it will be a tad bit difficult for me to fill my hungry gut. Fingers crossed.

Any fun plans for this weekend?
Do you have allergies or prefer a certain diet and have come across some difficulties? Fill us in.

Happy Holidays, whether you have an allergy or are on a special diet. Enjoy it to the fullest and don't overeat. ;)


image via a family feast
buffet image via better home and garden
wine image via people

December 6, 2014

Holiday Presents for the Man You Love


Sometimes it can be difficult figuring out what to get your husband or boyfriend for Christmas. They may think they’re easy to shop for, but you know better. You don’t want to be stuck buying them some new socks or another favorite gift card. It’s time to think outside the box and come up with some Christmas gifts that he will love. He’ll be impressed if you take the time to come up with a few gifts that he didn’t even know he wanted. With some creativity you’ll have some incredible gifts wrapped and placed under the tree, and he’ll be eager to open them during the holidays.

The Right Pair of Jeans


Whether he wants a double knee dungaree for when he’s on the farm, rugged, trendy, or casual denim, a variety of styles and colors can be found on G&L Clothing. Find the right pair of jeans for your man that you know will look great on him and make him feel like a million bucks. With so many options to choose from you may even get him a few pairs of jeans, especially if he needs a new pair of two because his existing pairs are ripped.

If you’re not sure what kind of jeans he likes sneak into his closet when he isn’t looking and find out what color he likes the most. If he prefers a darker pair of jeans buy him a new pair, but with a mix of dark and light in a trendy pair he’ll really like. You should also write down his size if you don’t already know it, and remember to read online carefully whether the jeans run small or not. Find the right pair of jeans for him and he’ll feel thankful for your creativity.

A Handmade Gift 


Your husband may not be able to admit that he loves the sentimental gifts, but deep down he loves them most of all. Make him a photo collage of you and kids or come up with a dream box with individual dreams written down on small cards that fit inside. If you’re super creative decorate the box with favorite photos, stickers, and other elements that will make the box stand out. There are also canvas photos that can be made online with a favorite family photo. A canvas photo is easy to hang up in your home and fun to wrap and stick under the tree.

Clever Sports Accessories 


If he happens to be obsessed with sports such as football, baseball, basketball, or NASCAR, it’s okay to buy some accessories that he will absolutely love and use. Whether it’s memorabilia or something he personally can use, such as a new kayak for kayaking, showing him that you support his love of sports will make him feel special. There are also other accessories you can buy him such as a new pair of court shoes, shirts for tennis and working out, and more. Perhaps you’ll even want to attend a live game with him in the near future! If this is the case buy tickets ahead of time for Christmas.

Guest post by Sierra at Simply Sierra blog

December 4, 2014

Home for the Holidays

With the holidays approaching faster than ever {or is it just me?} it is always fun to see neighborhoods decorating, commercials switching over to more festive ideas, and stores playing holiday music. I'd prefer it to be a mix of Christmas music and some regular radio music. As much as I love Christmas music I don't want to hear constant holiday is just too much. However, a nice mix would be perfect. 

I of the best parts this season? The Samsung commercial with Kirsten Bell and Dax Shepard. I may be an Apple girl most of the time {just not the computers} but this commercial is the cutest and most festive one. Love it. So in honor of December and this holiday season...I'm sharing this video with you. I'm sure you have seen it before, and if not, you are welcome. 

December 3, 2014

Yummy Zucchini Pancakes

It has been a while since I shared a recipe with you. I have been cooking but not really something I would want to share or think it's worth sharing {a.k.a. I often cook the same stuff because it's easy and liked and eaten by everyone}. With warmer temperatures leaving us and giving room for cooler weather it is time to eat healthier. It has gotten cold here in Northern California. It's been raining and dropped down to the 50s, and yes, that is warm for some of you living in snow areas...but this is pretty cold for CA. 
We should all eat healthier throughout the year but sometimes we forget and indulge in heavier, meat and sauce filled dishes keeping our gut satisfied. Sometimes, we just have to stop that habit and go for something healthier and fun. I came up with gluten free zucchini pancakes. I made a ton and thought we'd have leftovers. I was mistaken. We ate them all.

Here's what you need:

2 cups grated zucchini {I used two large zucchini and it was enough...I made a third one and just grilled it}
2 eggs, slightly beaten {I seasoned them with pepper and paprika}
2 tbspoon chopped green onions {or more or less if you want}
1/2 cup flour {I used 3/4 cup of gluten free flour}
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese  {or more if you feel the batter needs it}
1/2 tspoon baking powder
1/2 tspoon salt
1 pinch dried oregano {I used more since I love oregano}
1/4 cup vegetable oil, or as needed

Here's what you do:
- Blot grated zucchini with paper towels to remove the extra moisture
- Stir together zucchini, eggs and onion in a bowl
- In a separate bowl mix flour, cheese, baking powder, salt and oregano
- Stir in the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture. It will be moistened.

- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high
- Work in batches, drop about 1/4-cup portions of that batter into the hot oil
- Fry until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes per side
- Drain pancakes on a paper towel-lined plate

Serve with or without plain Greek yogurt.

It sounds like a lot but isn't. It's very easy and oh so delicious. You can add different kinds of seasoning to your beaten eggs or even to the cheese/flour mix. It's all up to you. We love pepper and paprika so it worked perfectly for us. Cannot wait to make some more. Best quick and quite healthy dish ever.

Anything you make with zucchini? Anything you'd recommend?
Let me know.


P.s. Happy Birthday to my favorite person...may today be an awesome day for you....and yes, we are going to see your folks just has to be perfect!

December 2, 2014

Rainy Random Weekend Update

I have been MIA for the past week. It was a perfect way for me to unplug and enjoy life. I did not touch my computer once. Even though my Thanksgiving didn't turn out as planned it was still a good and long weekend. I think I have not watched this many Christmas movies or just regular films for a very long time. It felt great. I even introduced my favorite person to some films he had never watched. I had to watch a few of my favorites - so thrilled he lets me introduce films to him he may actually like. He liked this one a lot. Granted, he'd prefer action packed, bloody stuff....but well, for this holiday season he decided to go with the simple one; then again, hew as tired from working all week long {even on Thanksgiving} so he just plainly gave in. Haha!

I could go on and tell you about the films I watched but this would end up super long and quite boring. Also, it was constantly raining so that meant I was trapped most of the time watching films until my eyes would not stay open. On Sunday however, I was a happy girl. My favorite person finally had a day off {before his entire week of vacation started} and we decided to go against the rain and see the California Automobile Museum. It was a great way to enjoy a cold and gray Sunday. Plus, when I see cars from 1906 and 1926 and 1938 I get a little much history, so much those cars could tell, that prestige they provide and the elegance they carry with them is just impeccable. Today, cars don't have this beauty about them anymore.

Just looking at these I feel the history coming back and all. I swear, I am definitely born in the wrong decade...or, as I always say, I might as well have lived in the 1930s - hair, shoes, and all.

Time to fix the leaking roof now...wish me luck. 


December 1, 2014

Hello December

Do I need to say more?
The holiday season has officially begun.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Chrismukkah or nothing at all, December is always a month to look back at the year and look forward to something better, bigger, more phenomenal and thrilling.

With that said, go out and have fun.
Enjoy this month and make it one to remember {in a very good way!!}.
I have plans to travel and see very close friends, family and fur nephews!!
It is going to be a freezing as well as a warm winter holiday. Cannot wait.

Happy Monday!

first image via here

November 24, 2014

Finding Happiness in the Darkest Times

Happy Monday my lovelies.
Hope your weekend was perfect, filled with laughter, people to talk to, spontaneous dates or trips, or just a great book that invited you into a new unknown world. My weekend was anything but good. Yet, I don't want to vent. I have vented too much over the past three days and I am exhausted. Instead, I want to look forward to the next three days that will hopefully be merry and bright...even yes, with Thanksgiving around the corner.

I am trying really hard to find happiness these days. Thanksgiving will NOT happen this year. We had plans to go see family and they got shattered into million little pieces due to my favorite person being called into work every single day this week. Even on Thanksgiving, and yes even over the weekend {again}. I cannot, and will not, extend my gratitude to those greedy business people wanting to make a killer profit on an American holiday, cherished for many many decades celebrating life, nature, food, and the gift of family. Thanksgiving is the time to be thankful for technically one thing {yet, we no longer live in the 1700s} so we have become grateful for many things. This year, tons of people are thankful for early shopping hours. Thank you for being thankful {insert major sarcasm here}. Anyhow, so, while this holiday isn't happening this year I am trying to find happiness elsewhere.

1) Monday being a nice day {at least it doesn't rain today, hopefully}
2) Tuesday will be movie going to see Mockingjay, Part 1
3) Wednesday we are going to watch a Christmas Tree Lighting - the first thing we do in this town
 {it better not let us down}

Also, I am planning a trip back to Southern California. It'll be just for a few days but it  will be enough to recharge. My soul and mind need replenishing. I need friends in my life. I need the possibility of calling my girls for brunch, or a quick drink or just coffee. I don't have that here. At all. I feel I fail at making friends or just meeting people, let alone in a new environment. So knowing I get to see two of my besties and hopefully a third one while I am going to SoCal makes my heart jump a little. 

See? I am focusing on the happy parts...

...Monday here I come!


image via here and here

November 21, 2014

Happy Friday

Krysten over at Why Girls Are Weird shares her Happy Friday list every week and today I felt like doing the same. We all know we need positivity and I know that I need it more than anything these days. So, writing one and sharing it will help me stay focused on the good, the beautiful, and the inspiring. 

10 Things That Made Me Happy This Week

1. Cooler Temperatures
2. Christmas decorations in town
3. Feeling better and healthier
4. Gnocchi
5. Scented candles
6. Wrapping presents
7. Scandal
8. Hot apple cider spiced with cinnamon
9. Moringa scented body butter
10. Date Night

image via here

November 19, 2014

My Love for Influenster

If you have been around in this lovely blogger world you probably have heard or seen people posting about their boxes and goodies they received - for free. If not, you are now going to read about this awesomeness! I learned about Influenster over two years ago, signed up and was positively surprised to immediately become part of this wonderful community. I basically signed up, answered a few questions about myself, reviewed products I knew about and used, and within a few weeks was sent an email telling me I qualified for a free VoxBox. I was over the moon. I mean, who doesn't like free products?! Exactly.

Free products means one thing...try them, use them, and write about them. Share as much as you would like and be an influential person, or as I call it an Influenster. The more you do, the greater your chance of earning points and qualifying for a VoxBox that will work for you and your lifestyle. Also, honest reviews are the best. If you don't like a product say so and explain what didn't work and why. You don't want others to buy a product that smells nasty, doesn't work at all and just costs too much, do you?! Influenster is not just about receiving free products, it is about helping each other and being part of a community. There's Twitter chats and parties, as well as contests. It is a fun ride!!

My very first box I received was a Natural Beauty VoxBox. It fit perfectly. I still use the drying mat today, buy LypSyl from time to time and encourage people to try eBoost. My reviews even helped me receive more products. I probably saved a ton thanks to a few simple and honest reviews. A few months after that I received another VoxBox, and then another one, and then another one. It was and still is heaven. My latest VoxBox is probably my favorite; I also was sent more shampoo afterwards so that was fantastic. 

Influenster has now also an #InfluensterApp. Reading reviews, getting and giving feedback on products has now become so much easier.

Enough about Influenster. If you are not on there yet I'd recommend you get on that bandwagon and enjoy your ride in the community of trendsetters and consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences. You won't be disappointed.

Are you on Influenster? If not, why not?! It doesn't cost a thing to join the fun!

November 18, 2014

Life doesn't stop for anybody

“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn't stop for anybody.”
- Stephen Chbosky

I remind me of this every day. Every hour and even every minute.
My whole life I have been waiting for something or someone to smile and say hi and change my life. Not that my life was bad it just wasn't "it". Things did change, and partially I made them change. I lost friends along the way and gained new ones. I disappointed people, I even disappointed myself. Life however kept rolling like an endless roll of film. It didn't stop. It really doesn't stop. Life continues to amaze me and it continues to challenge me. I may not follow the path my family had in store for me to walk on, and I may not even walk the route I had personally intended to follow along...I am in a whole different place, away from my loved ones, my closest friends, my mom, and places I call home and fondly remember. Yet all that is part of who I am. It is me. It is my life. It is my path, and it is my own entire roll of film that doesn't stop for anyone.

With that being said...go out and enjoy your day. Don't wait for better weather, don't wait for sunshine or your friends to knock on your door. Step outside, walk, drink hot cocoa even when it's your bed time or finally open that bottle of wine, and clean the house. Paint those nails, or go on a spontaneous shopping trip {online or not}. Do it. Don't wait. Make the best out of today. Don't roll your eyes and say "I can't". You can, only if you really truly want to. Besides, it is your life, your film, and if you don't do it now when will you?!


November 17, 2014

My Winter {Lust} Wishlist

winter lust list

I am excited to announce that I am featured over at Monday Morning Gossip today! Be sure to stop by at Leeann and Kimberlee's weekly link up and join the fun.

The holidays are literally and officially around the corner. Thanksgiving is in ten days, guys, and then baaaammm, December with its festivities begins. Thanksgiving this year will be a sad event for us. Our plans to spend it with family collapsed. Main reason?! Work. That is all I am saying. I am beyond annoyed, and disappointed.

BUT, I have already started holiday shopping. Most gifts are already in my possession, just a few here and there need to be found, wrapped, packed and sent or at least put aside so I can put them under a big green and festively decorated tree once the time comes. Shhhh, Santa doesn't bring those gifts, you know?! It has always been me, no one else. Let's keep this to ourselves. 

This year my budget is pretty tight. I can't afford what I would love to buy and get my loved ones. However, I still don't want to sit back and wallow in self pity over the fact that my poor self cannot be generous. Who said generosity is about money?! Seriously. This does not prevent me from lusting over items I wish I owned. Besides, I have been sick for a while {hence my lack of blog posts lately}, mostly staying in bed or on the sofa sleeping or watching all kinds of TV shows. This is then the perfect time to start thinking of all those wonderful items I would love to own myself. Fingers crossed I get at least a toaster and my favorite perfume!

What is on your winter lust list?
Do you guys make gift lists?!
I had to do this for the first time and oh boy was that hard.


November 12, 2014

Time to be Christmas Creative

Christmas has always been a big deal in my family. I grew up in a culturally mixed family though. I grew up learning what it meant to be Catholic, Muslim, and even Jewish. Yes, believe it or not. It is not something we would talk about but something we just knew and accepted. My grandfather didn't fully know what to believe in, so he made sure we all grew up open-minded, tolerant, and not tight to just one thing. You can call me or my family crazy. Today, I love the holiday season. I love it mainly because to me it means to get together with family and celebrate life. It is not about what was once written down, said, believed, celebrated and what not. This is all good, it is not me. To me, the holiday time {especially during the winter months} is a time for families. 

Also, it is time to be creative and enjoy seasonal traditions.
Christmas cookies have always been my favorite. Swiss Christmas cookies are definitely my favorites. Unfortunately I will not go home this holiday and I will miss out on all those yummy sugar treats. My gut will love me for that because they are all made out of regular wheat flour and that will hurt my tummy big time. Yet, a girl can dream. Right? 

Cookies aren't everything though. The sheer happiness I feel when I put together holiday decoration is something I cannot describe. Going out and looking for the right colors, shapes, and lights makes me warm and fuzzy. Wish we had more space to put stuff up this year. However, we both agreed on enjoying what we can put up even if it less and once we have more space we will go out and crazy with decorations. Here's a few ideas I came across or actually always wanted to do.   


Gifts should be wrapped. This year I want it all simple yet colorful and with a touch of gold. I'm a little obsessed with gold lately. Not sure what hit me but it could be that the super girlie in me appeared and decided to stay. I am not complaining. So, simple, unique, colorful wrapping will be done this holiday season...what do you think?

I am planning on being creative for Christmas. Are you getting ready for this holiday season?
What are you planning on doing differently? Me? Just the wrapping. Also, I had to put together a Christmas wish list for the first time ever. I had never done that before. I felt I was demanding, haha. Let's see what I get this year. But I better be getting my shopping done soon. I cannot come up with gifts, even when there is a list in front of me. It just feels weird. 

images via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 |

November 7, 2014

Dear Person on a Bicycle

Dear person on a bicycle,

Hi, how are you? I hope you are doing well, enjoying your day today and the privilege you get while riding your bike. You looked rather chipper and just filled with joy while almost losing your life the other day.

You probably noticed I chose not to address you as a bicyclist. I chose not to address you that way because in my eyes you are not one. You think you can sit on your bike and ride along, enjoy the brisk fall morning hours on your vehicle of choice, get a little tan in as well since the sun decided to show up earlier than anticipated, and just be as free as a bird. Let me tell you one thing, and one thing only. Obey the traffic rules. OBEY the traffic rules!!

I don't care where you are from, who you are, what you do, and why you ride a bike to work or school or just for fun. I get it, I love to ride my bike as well. I do. It is indeed a fantastic feeling to be physical, outside, and moving instead of sitting in a car, polluting the area, paying for stupid {yet, decreasing} gas prices and being stuck in traffic. I know it. I feel and hear you. This feeling doesn't give you the right or permission to be stupid, it also doesn't give you the permission to not care, and it certainly doesn't give you the permission to just think you can do whatever while riding your precious two-wheeler. 

Driving is a privilege, not a right!!!! 

As a person driving anything, and in this case riding a bicycle, you should and actually must obey to traffic rules. A stop sign is a stop sign. A red light is a red light. A yield is a yield. Look and signal before you turn or change lanes. You get it. Right? It is very easy. You feel protected by whoever came up with funny ways of saying "three-feet distance to bicyclists is a must, and if not, then slow down" and "oh, it is never your fault, because cars are bigger and heavier and blablabla". Oh yes, we should share the road. I totally agree. And yes, cars are bigger, heavier, and could destroy you. You don't want that. No car driver wants that. No pedestrian wants that. So think before you hop on your bike next time and ride along in total denial of traffic rules and oblivious of what is around you.

I saw you. There was a four-way stop area. Everyone stopped and my turn came to turn. I saw you. I also saw you didn't give a crap about even slowing down, or thinking you should stop for a stop sign. There were at least eight cars around all waiting for their turn. I saw you. You? You just kept going.  You didn't see me. You didn't see any other person. You just smiled and kept going. I love life, and I will never harm anyone or anything, but oh my, was I glad I had my window down yelling at you and giving you my two cents of what you should and shouldn't do. You think you have the right to just ignore rules, drive through everything you feel fits your schedule and size, and think you are the boss. You are wrong.

I don't care what others say. I learned that when we learn traffic rules early on {and in this country you learn them early enough}, whether or not you are in a car, on a bike, or any other vehicle you must obey the law and follow traffic rules. This then means you must stop at a stop sign, just like everyone else. You also must stop at a red light, and not think you are genius by disobeying laws and color and signs just so you can get to your next appointment a few minutes earlier. You put yourself in danger. You may not realize this but you do. You play with life and with death. I don't know if you have a death wish but the way you looked like you certainly enjoyed your moment and were not thinking of leaving this crazy planet behind. So, next time you come to a stop sign and red light, please stop. Please obey the rules. If you are late, then please leave five to ten minutes earlier because, yes, traffic happens and you are not the only one trying to get to an appointment. You have no right to think you own the street. You own your life, and nothing else. 

So, dear person on a bicycle, reconsider stepping on that pedal if you cannot obey rules. Please don't drive your bike thinking you own the streets and nothing can happen to you. Think before you ride you bike. Obey the freaking rules just like everyone else is trying to. I will yell and honk at you again, and I will use my favorite word again if need be. I have no problem with that. Don't get offended. You live. You will get verbally hurt, and in all honesty, I have no problem with that either. You deserve the words I yelled at you. You really really really did.

With that being said, our roads are for whoever can and wants to drive a vehicle...may it be a car, a bicycle, a big heavy motorbike or tractor or what not. We should all obey traffic rules. It it my responsibility to be a good driver and a good pedestrian. It is yours as well. Rules are rules. They are made for a reason. I just feel that it has gotten out of control with people trying to protect bicyclist and blaming auto drivers for reckless driving. While those drivers are partially responsible when something like that happens, I know from experience and history that it is always the fault of two parties, that includes the lovely bicycle driver as well. Both parties need to look out, slow down and obey rules. Neither one has more or less responsibility. Neither one is better, and neither one has the right to think he or she is God. Just not happening. 

So, stay safe, obey rules, and share roads.
You are not the boss of the streets. No one is.

Until next time. I am sure.



images via 1 | 2 |


and yes, this all happened and yes, my window was down. it might not have been my finest moment but i was sooooo happy to have my window down and finally telling that one misbehaving, irresponsible and careless bicycle rider what i thought about him.

November 6, 2014

How to Try to Avoid the Cold During the Colder Season

It's November and it will get colder. Yes, even in sunny California. We are spoiled and complain at 65 degrees that it is cold. I now. Depending on where one lives it will get colder than that, and yes, it will even snow. Colder temperatures, rain, wind, and snow can be uncomfortable. Experiencing dry skin, chipped lips, and an occasional cough or runny nose will feel and be part of our winter. Let's face it, we always get the cold. We may have gotten our flu shot {I'd recommend it, I got mine a few weeks ago}, and we may take care of ourselves but the moment will come and we will have a major love affair with one if not multiple tissue boxes.

There is no real way to stay healthy all the time. Our bodies work in different ways. Yet, we can try to stay healthy and pump our immune system without the daily pills we see in grocery or department stores.

A few tips on how to hopefully avoid the annually recurring winter cold: 

- sleep enough {at least six hours, if not longer...easier said than done I know, but try}
- drink lots of fluids {water, tea, and homemade clear soup}
- take a vitamin pill {this won't substitute the lack of fruits and veggies you should be consuming}
- drink one glass of freshly squeezed orange juice per day
- get the flu shot so a cold won't turn into the flu
- eat yogurt; it's a great immune booster
- enjoy raw veggies and dip instead of chips and salsa 
- while you are at it, eat more veggies that are in season {beets, Brussels sprouts, endive; here's a list}
- eat pumpkin anything: it is also a great immune booster
- get a lot of fresh air {my doctor once said that morning air and light is better than in the afternoon}
- try pomegranate and huckleberries {I know I will}
- exercise {I try to work out at least twice a week. Pilates and walks are a must, if I can add Zumba it's a bonus}
- bundle up. You may feel hot, and it may be sunny outside but don't forget to cover your chest and neck

These are just a few tips. There are many more and each person likes to do something else. These are my tips that I usually follow. Yes, usually. I often forget to make fresh orange juice, and right now I lack a juicer or one of those squeezer so it will be hard. Haha! Also, when it rains like no other I'd rather stay home. I'm that lazy.

Any tips you follow along through the colder season?
Anything I missed, or should incorporate or even add?
Let me know.


 image via here

November 5, 2014

My Favorite Bacon Lentil Soup

Excuse the smudges on my lovely red soup bowl but I had to take this photo two seconds before I devoured this homemade dish. This is my favorite bacon lentil soup - all made from scratch. It's easy and oh so yummy.

We are all busy. Some of us have jobs outside the house, some of us work from home. We also may be on irregular schedules, so I know how it feels to come home exhausted and not knowing where to start or what to cook. Over the years that I worked irregular hours at a hotel in Switzerland I learned to make quick, easy and delicious dishes. My favorite of all was always a lentil soup - during fall of course.

Here 's what you need:

- green lentils {1 1/2 cups, soaked and rinsed}
- bacon strips {as many as you'd like, I used five, cut in big chunks}
- red onion {either half, or one whole one cut in cubes}
- chicken broth {3 to 4 cups}
- water {1 cup, or to taste}
- cumin {1 teaspoon}
- salt & pepper to taste
- parsley {1/4 cup or less or more}

Here's what you do:

- soak the lentils for at least one hour {some prefer to soak them overnight or for five hours}
- in a pan, brown the bacon and then set aside
- in the same pan, add onions for about five minutes
- add the lentils, and chicken broth and bring to a boil
- then cover and let simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes
- add the bacon either at the end of those 25 to 30 minutes or after 15 minutes
- add salt, pepper, cumin and parsley and stir and let it all sink in for about 5 more minutes

Dish is ready when you are.
It's very easy.

One thing though, make sure you soak the lentils for a long while. Some prefer not to do this and just wash them thoroughly but well, when I did it that way, let's just say lentils love to create air bubbles in your belly and it may get really really bad around you. :) Be warned.



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