Thursday, June 30, 2011

Easy Summer Party Recipe!

According to the clock, there's only a few days left before the summer 4th of July weekend begins! Obviously you're already having visions of margaritas, mojitos, chilled summer wines, and BBQ's in your head. And while corn on the cob and cheeseburgers are glorious, there's also room for the fabulous and delicious small bites. Introducing....drumroll please....the Crostini! Its not complicated and you look like a domestic goddess. This recipe is as idiot proof as it is tasty. Try it this weekend!

Roasted Fig and Ricotta Crostini with Balsamic Vinegar

For six crostini:
5 figs

3/4 c. fresh ricotta

6 slices Italian bread or baguette

Good olive oil

Salt and pepper

Balsamic Vinegar for drizzling

Preheat your oven to 350 ° . Drizzle the bread with olive oil and put on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on the center rack, flip and bake for another 5 minutes or until the bread is crisp and toasted. Next, turn the oven up to 400° . Slice the figs into quarters and place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the figs for about 20 minutes, or until bursting and colored. Smooth two tablespoons of ricotta onto each crostini and top with three or four pieces of fig. Grind a little pepper over it and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Voila!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Phoenix Process

"Our life is a product of our decisions, not our conditions"

"Whether you can or you can't, its whichever you think!"

If you change your thoughts, it will change your life. Our thoughts affect our actions and our actions determine our life. Instead of thinking of all the obstacles between you and your goals, think of all the opportunity between you and your goals. Force yourself to turn the 80% of negative self talk into 80% of positive self talk.

Your thoughts are the cause and your life is the effect. If you wish to change the effect, you must first change the cause. Obstacles exist only in the mind- in actuality its opportunity waiting for you to take action.

Every day is a new beginning. We all know this to be true. But sometimes it feels exhausting. Sometimes we feel the mundane and hard truth that today feels like yesterday and the day before and the day before that. It feels like Groundhog where's the silver lining? It was just a movie, though even in the film the frustrating experience Phil was experiencing in life made him begin to re-examine his priorities and made him start to want a better, more meaningful life. And the truth is, we always have a choice. Although our minds may be telling us that "this difficult time in my life is going to last forever" that is an illusion. If we are caught feeling shame, guilt, regret, or fear, we project those feelings onto the future and miss living in the now. Then of course, it doesn't feel fresh, new or exciting.

There seems to be common themes in everyone's lives these days. Change. Its everywhere.

Things are crumbling, falling away, shifting and changing. Its sort of like the Phoenix Process. As the story goes, the Phoenix dies in a flame and then rises out of the ashes to be born anew. The result was a fusion of who he had been before and who he was to become , allowing the new self to unfold and integrate with his old self. Sometimes life asks you to reproduce yourself from the broken pieces of difficult times . I guess the theme is to emerge from frustration and disappointments and be more than you were before. Be reborn from the habits, people, jobs, relationships and circumstances that are falling away.

Sometimes life gives us a hard shove and shakes us to our very core for us to even consider change. Create a vacuum by letting old negativities burn away. I guess the old must die for the new to enter, and I have to create space so that life can begin to show me my own worth. And the next chapter will be a beautiful one indeed ;)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

An Adventure in Silverlake/Hipsterville

This past Sunday my friend Shineh took me out to brunch in Silverlake where she recently moved. We both share a love of good food and appreciate the same weird shit. We started out brunch at a place called Dusty's and had a champagne brunch and some good food. Check it out if your in the doesn't even feel like LA down there..its like its own little world. So we were checking out vintage stores after stuffing our faces and found this crazy store called the Echo Park Time Travel Mart. I attached some of the pics I took in the store. There is some crazy stuff in there and all the money goes to a non profit dedicated to tutoring students and inspiring them to write. Silverlake is super artsy hipsterville but if your in the mood for some culture, park your car on Sunset and take a walk...some of the coolest shops, garage sales, vintage, and restaurants you'd ever wanna see. I scored 2 amazing bracelets for a dollar..Two boots Pizza Joint (aptly named after Louisiana and Italy shapes) marries creole and your fave slice of pie..what more could you want in a pizza?? ..They also have them all over NYC, fyi. Silverlake was really cool..definitely worth checking out...but wear your best hipster outfit or you'll stick out like a sore thumb.

Point of story...step out of your comfort zone and see what the rest of LA has to offer. Get involved.

Word on the Street

Who in LA hasn't heard of MOCA's " Art in the Streets" Exhibit? You'd have to be living under a bridge. Even then, you'd probably have graffiti painted all over your bridge. It's stunning and nearly overwhelming; beautiful, and a badass way of articulating a point of view. There are so many great places to check out the stuff in the raw...melrose, fairfax, silver lake, hollywood, la cienega, la brea, etc. If your in LA or live here already ..I dare you to check this out and not be impressed.

Check out this street art blog:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beercakes for Breakfast!

People like pancakes. And beer. And mixing stuff together. Drumroll please....beercakes!

Heineken Pancakes (makes 8-10)


3 c. all purpose flour
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. oats
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tbsp molasses
1 12 oz. bottle Heineken ( save a swig for yourself)
2 egg whites
1. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients

2. Add wet ingredients except for the egg whites. Mix until incorporated

3. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold into batter

4. Melt a pat of butter in a hot pan. Pour batter into pan and swirl until bottom is covered

5. When bubbles form, flip the pancake. When browned evenly on each side, its ready.

6. Eat and drink with a man for whom you'd do anything ;)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tom Ford's Sexy New Makeup Collection

Um talk about sexifying your bathroom...can't wait for this ish to come out.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Look out for Outlook

We've all been there..We've felt the nausea inducing, gut twisting, computer chucking feeling that results from a mistakenly sent message. Did I?? Did I just?? Noooooo!!! You then curse the nonexistence of an emergency ABORT button ( unless you use gmail, which in that case click here )

But its so easy to do! The "reply" button is right by the "reply all" and your fingers get stuck or so does the mouse and before you know it, you hit send and your email disappears into the matrix of doom. Now sometimes your merely embarassed, but sometimes there are more severe consequences ...the latest Congressman scandal anyone? Dont get me started on naked pictures..

So here are a few tips to avoid shit hitting the fan:

- Keep your emails professional even to your coworkers you consider your friends. Its a work computer and they can pull emails in 2 seconds since its company property.

- Write your email first. Insert the recipient last.

- double check that Outlook doesn't autofill Karen your sister as Karen your boss. It doesn't know any better so type out the full name.

Last but not least...keep it classy. Nobody's staying recession-free these days. Your long hard earned degree all down the tubes for a wrong email costing you your job= FML no :)
Jobless isn't the future your shelling out hundreds of bucks a month in student loan payments for so be careful! As I write this my coworker is running around cursing...guess she should've read this first.


Ask and you shall receive

** I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change**

It wouldnt kill any of us to be a little more open. One great universal truth is "Ask and you shall receive." But the kicker here that noone tells you is that you have to believe that your worth it.

Another kicker is by the time you start believing in yourself you may come to see that you don't even want the thing you were originally asking for. Why? Cuz many times we ask for things on the outside we think will make us happy on the inside. But if we try to work on ourselves from the inside out, the desire lessens and we become more focused on being of service and adding value to other people's lives, that instead of taking from the world- we give to it.

Interesting how this works eh? We want stuff we dont need and in the process of working our ass off to receive it, we may find out we dont even want or need these things anyhow. Or maybe we still do and we are whole enough to receive it. This is the beauty of desire and why its a good thing. We keep searching for wholeness and are tricked by all the stuff on the outside and think that these things make us whole. I saw Jason Mraz's wedding was called off and he only had a few words to say about it..he said two halves dont make a whole..two wholes make a whole. My friend Jamie also says that and its one of those things that sticks with you. You look at the successful relationships from the ones that aren't and you see this ringing clear every time.

So..get to asking. Start your journey. Go after the things you want, but focus on becoming the person it takes to receive the things you want. And while your on your journey, stay open to new points of view and the fact that you are going to change your mind about what you many times want. But thats okay. You live and learn and say yes to the adventure. Edison failed 80,000 times before he pulled off electricity. Ask for it, have faith, and be open'll look good on ya.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

DIY Friendship Bracelets

Amigo, Amiga, Tomato, Tomato...lets not split hairs...lets split friendship bracelets instead.

Here's the link to the seal the deal on friendship.

Accept and Be

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Don't hate me because my nails are beautiful

Whats not to love about nail polish? One more way to accessorize! OPI's newest collection marries the bright and bold colors of summer beautifully here. And what a happy marriage it is! Cool blues, pretty purples and who new green could make me feel brand new? Summer is a time when we show of skin and nails and toes and what a better way to portray your personal style. I've seen some of these colors on girls lately and I must say I did a double take and wondered why I hadn't though of it sooner. My personal faves are the "fiercely fiona" and "what's with the cattitude"...try it with your red or purple bathing suit and I swear people will take notice..and in a good way. Pair one of these funky colors at your all white party or with your fave black dress and hope people don't hate you because your beautiful.

When life hands you a lemon...make cupcakes!!

When I stumbled into my friend Katie's memorial day bbq a few weeks back, I had no idea what I was getting myself into...her 2 roomate's cook like God's and what's better than eating with Lindsay Lohan's boyfriend in the movie Mean Girls you ask?? Eating heavenly lemon cupcakes with him my friends..Seriously..there are no words. Best cupcakes you have ever eaten in your life. You'd slap your mother for them. Perfect to pair with any damn thing you please. They are summery, they are light and fluffy, they are well...perfect. Thank me later.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Zest and Buttercream Frosting

3 sticks butter, softened
2 c. sugar
5 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. cake flour- no substitutions
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
zest of 2 lemons

4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 325. Line two 12 cup muffin tins with cute liners.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Dont go skimping here-you want mixture to be almost white and super fluffy. This is absolutely essential to the outcome of the cake.

3. While butter and sugar are mixing, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside. After butter and sugar have mixed sufficiently, with the mixer running add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest.

4. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding flour mix and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until fully incorporated.

5. Using a standard cookie scoop, place about 2 scoops of batter into each muffin cup. Fill these almost to the top-due to the final texture ( think super moist and light pound cake) , these cupcakes wont have a nice curvy crown but thats okay noone will ever know or care.

6. Bake about 20-25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You dont want to overbake. Remove from oven and cool completely. Frost with lemon buttercream and garnish with strawberries, raspberries or mint leaves.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

1 1/4 c. butter ( 2 1/2 sticks)
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
3 c. powdered sugar

Beat butter, zest and juice in mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar beating till spreading consistency.

The Language of Letting Go

As I am about to grow another year older there are some things, people, grudges, clothes, expectations, etc. that I need to let go of. Their shelf life has expired and its fruitless to give yourself to the things and people that don't serve you best..I learn and relearn this all the time because I put my whole heart into something and when it doesn't work out I get so upset..because damnit I wanted it to. We've all been betrayed, it let's work on the art of forgiveness. I know its a practice, just like your yoga teacher tells you.

If over time you express your needs and feelings and they aren't being seen or taken into account, have the courage to pick up and leave. Having high standards and the courage to maintain them is how you make sure that only the best kind of relationships remain in your life. It's the mark of a master to meet the needs of their partner and their friends. The most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves- yet all too often we put too much emphasis on our relationships with others and not nearly enough on our relationships with ourselves. Like the name of this blog..its all about mastering peace to create a masterpiece of yourself. I think its worth it to try to evolve in all the many wonderful ways we can and that can be as broad or as specific as you make it.

I read something this morning that recharged my batteries and so I'll pass it along.

*The truth is our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.*

*The only way to learn forgiveness is to be betrayed. You might understand the intellectual concept of forgiveness, but you will only learn how to truly forgive when someone has done something that requires you to love them and let it go. Life demands these hurtful experiences for you to learn how forgiveness feels, it could be no other way. If there is anyone in your life that you must forgive instead of seeing them as someone who has hurt you, try to see them as someone who was sent to teach you forgiveness adn thank them for this gift- then forgive them and let it go. They lose all their power over you that way.*

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Upgrade your Ipod

Muy Caliente!!

Some people are foodies- I like to think I am one of them ballin on a budget. What do they call people who love good drinks? friends, not an alcoholic..just a bitch who loves a good beverage and there's nothing better than a litany of spicy cocktails on the menu's lately. They can even be without alcohol and I want to drink them all. In fact, I'm weird..I can easily be eating at a restaurant and order 3 different beverages because they all sound good to me.

So..In the spirit of summer and all things caliente..Here's your new favorite drink.

Recipe: Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita

1/2 Liter of Tequila Blanco..splurge and buy the good shit
3 Jalapenos
1 Cucumber
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Simple Syrup* u can also mix 1 part sugar to 1 part water and nuke it till diluted.
Lime wedges

1. Slice the jalapenos and combine with tequila in a mason jar or swing top bottle. Infuse the tequila with jalapenos for three days.

2. For the cucumber juice, roughly chop the cucumber and mash in the food processor. Run it through the finest setting of a food mill or press it through a fine mesh sieve to extract the juice, leaving most of the skin behind. Cucumber juice will keep in the fridge for a few days.

3. To make on margarita, fill a cocktail shaker with the ice and add 2 oz. jalapeno infused tequila, 2 oz cucumber juice, 1/2 oz lime juice and 1/2 oz simply syrup. Shake and serve on the rocks and garnish that beautiful baby with a lime.

Your now having the best party in town, #winning

10 Tips For 20 Something Transformation

This is a crucial time in our lives as we are all faced with forever-feeling decisions and the expectation to map out the entire course of our lives.

1. Be present. This is tough. Take the time to just be. Living mentally in the future only creates anxiety. Set goals, yes, and consider the future but accept where you are. Trying to figure it all out is fruitless and robs you of the present moment.

2. Stop comparing. I am guilty of this. Dont look at everyone around you to determine your worth. My mom always said there is always going to be someone more successful, richer, smarter, more successful, better looking, thinner, and so on. Focus on what you want and be grateful for what you already have and have accomplished. Find people who inspire you. We are all on different paths.

3. Stop caring what other people think. Other people's opinion of you and your choices is just that-an opinion, not the truth.

4. Tune in. We all have intuition, we just dont always necessarily want to listen. Pay attention to your gut feelings.

5. Dont wait for permission, approval or validation. Some people grew up with over-involved parents who guided their path and patted them on the back along the way. Now its time to be your own cheerleader. Give yourself the validation you are seeking and stop waiting for permission or approval to do the things you want to do.

6. Make choices. I know its tough because today we have an abundance of choices which often leads to making no choices at all. If you cant pull the trigger on a decision, find a way to build your decision making muscle. Weigh the odds, make a list, and my friend Jamie always says..take the advice of people who have the things you want!

7. Make mistakes. Fail till you prevail. With every disadvantage comes a seed of equivalent or greater benefit. I try to remember that and learn from it instead of beating myself up over it. Just try to do it better next time and learn the lesson.

8. Do things alone. Whats wrong with us that we forgot how to be alone? Learn to like yourself and your own companionship. Go to a movie alone, its really not that bad! Be open to discovery and be your own best friend. I like me, I really like me!

9. Build your tribe. All of us need one, and one that extends beyond family. Network, seek out mentors and call upon wisdom from older generations. I have a mentor and I swear he is a god send. He has a great career and a family and is an amazing father, he has been my rock and a fountain of wisdom and of all places I found him at work...not all older men are creepy or want to sleep with you, fyi.

10. Be of service. Contribute. You learn who you are and what you truly have when you give to others. Its what makes the world go round. It is in the act of giving that we receive the most.

Life is a series of transformation. Change is inevitable I've learned. Careers, relationships, friendships, money, houses, good times and bad will come and go.

* Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. IN our response lies growth and freedom. And when you are free, you can fly*

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hardwired for Hope?

We like to think of ourselves as rational creatures. We watch our backs, count our calories, weigh the odds and pack an umbrella. I am told that both neuroscience and social science suggest we are more optimistic than realistic. Which is funny considering me personally I try to be optimistic and positive and want to believe the best in people...but after recent events I'm again at a crossroads. People underestimate their chances of getting divorced, losing their job or being diagnosed with cancer, expect their children to be extraordinarily gifted, envision themselves achieving more than their peers and overestimate their life span ( who wants to think about these things granted).

The belief that the future will be much better than the past and present is called the optimism bias. It abides in every race and social bracket. You would think with the economy, unemployment, tornadoes, genocide in other countries that we could collectively grow pessimistic...

But my favorite thing about humans is that we are incredibly resiliant. I know I lose track of how to bounce back sometimes and we all do, but how amazing that we all try to remain optimistic about the we really manifest our destiny? Maybe those Inca's were on to something...

I'm going to play devil's advocate for a minute. Overly positive assumptions can lead to disaster. It can make us less likely to get health checkups ( i dont feel a cavity, im sure im fine!!), apply sunscreen ( ouch/wrinkles ) or stock up enough in our savings accounts ( but that jumper was so cute, ill never find another that fit like this one and I have to have it..I have no clothes!)

But that bias also protects and inspires us; it keeps us moving forward rather than to the nearest high-rise ledge. Without optimism, our ancestors might never have ventured far from their tribes and we might all be living in caves dreaming of heat and light.

To make progress, we need to be able to imagine alternative realities to get out of the rut. We need to believe we can achieve them. Faith helps motivate us to pursue our goals. I know I achieved 2 big goals I set for myself, but have been attacked simultaneously for things centered around those goals..everyone loves to judge.

So my antidote is hope. Even if that better future is an illusion, optimism has clear benefits in the present. It clears our mind, and stamps our brain to be shaped by the future. My two cents to you my friends is to build your friends up when they lose hope, to give a hug, a smile, a text or call back even if you are busy, and to keep the faith. With hope all things are possible.