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.


November 3, 2014

November Madness

Halloween was Friday.
We carved our pumpkins the night before and had a blast.
I also just see that our balcony is really falling's okay, we will be moving again next year. Until then it better holds us. We went nontraditional and carved a Cinderella pumpkin as well. They aren't perfect, but that's what Halloween is about. It doesn't have to be perfect, it has to be fun. The imperfections make it special and unique. Cannot wait for next year's Halloween. 

Friday night we stayed in, made steaks and salad and enjoyed delicious wine. Also, I might have snuck in a few pumpkin ciders. Oh, and yes, we watched horror movies. It rained most of the time Halloween Night so I felt bad for all the trick-or-treaters that went out. We didn't get any in our area so that was good. Not that I mind, I just don't have the money for all the candy. Speaking of trick-or-treaters, we drove through an area that is pretty popular during Halloween and later on Christmas time. People go out with decorations and all, not to mention the beauty of those houses. It is the fabulous 40s in Sacramento. I found a few houses that were spectacular and I wished it wasn't raining so I could have taken more photos. I still took a couple. Cannot wait to go back and explore Winter Holiday Flair soon.

Saturday and Sunday we pretty much stayed in. Studying was number one, and laundry was on my to-do list as well. Temperatures significantly dropped as well so it was nice to stay in for once and just cuddle up with a big fuzzy blanket, and sipping on hot chocolate. November Madness began. Yes, I just made this up. I mean, can you believe we only have two more months of this year and then welcome a new one? I can't. Time has gone by too quickly and it's just incredible. So, this month will be a little crazy. Not only will I start decorating for the winter holidays, buy Christmas gifts, create a Christmas lift for myself {never done this before, so hints are greatly appreciated}, and will hopefully go to Orange County right after Thanksgiving. Yay. 

So, let this November Madness begin...we are already into day three....yipee!!!

Happy Monday!


P.s. I linked up with Monday Morning Gossip hosted by Leeann and Kimberlee, you should, too.


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