working towards a better me... 1 pound at a time.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Make-up review, Luna Twilight palettes.

In honor of Bella's birthday.. omg. I know, I'm such a super dork.. I decided to post my make-up review of Luna Twilight's palettes inspired by the women of Twilight. When I first saw this collection come out, I freaked. I love Twilight and all things Twilight.. but everything was pretty pricy! So I held off until I found a 25% off coupon from this website.. and went to town! Okay, not really. I wanted EVERYTHING.. but I held back and got the Rosalie and Bella palettes.

As you can see, they are pretty small.. about the size of a credit card.. but they're perfect for stashing in your purse for an emergency touch up. I normally wear quite a bit of make-up, but I wanted to really be true to these colors, so I only used some clinique tinted moisterizer, a mac powerpoint (waterproof) eye pencil in 'duck', and maybelline's lash stiletto mascara in black (which i LOVE, btw).

I didn't take a picture of the Bella palette, this is Rosalie. On the left are two lip glosses, then two shadows, then a blush. Obviously very pink-toned, and the shadows are very sparkly (LOVE!). The colors were very light, and since that first try I have used the mac 'paints' to increase the pigment on the shadow. Here's me wearing Rosalie:
and closer. I really like the pink cheeks and the sparkly-ness of the shadow. The glosses aren't very dark, but that's fine with me since I'm not a lipstick-wearing kind of girl. I like them more than any other gloss I've used. They go on smooth, aren't sticky, and don't taste funny. Perfect!
Below is me wearing Bella. The shades are even more au-natural.. and 'earth-toned'. The shadows aren't quite as sparkly, and the blush is very nude. It's a perfect summer palette.. and I actually prefer the nude-toned lip glosses over the pinks of Rosalie.
Overall, I've been very pleased with them.. and I use them all the time. I would definitely recommend some sort of primer on your eyes and face to increase the pigments a bit. The shadows are pretty loose, so the powder will get on the mirror.. but that's nothing a swipe with a kleenex won't fix. It makes me smile to open up my make-up bag and see my Twilight palettes. What can I say? I have a minor obsession..
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

second most-requested recipe...

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a serial baker.. and therefore, most of the recipes people request from me are for cupcakes, cakes, cookies, etc. My most-requested recipe is here if you're interested. ;)

However, recently many people have been requesting the recipe for my mom's taco casserole. I think she actually refers to it as "mexican casserole" .. but you catch my drift. It's super yummy, and can easily be modified to suit your tastes. For example, I use brummel and brown yogurt spread instead of butter, 94/6 ground beef or higher, and the light shredded cheese blend from trader joe's. However, I'll write it out as given to me by my mom.. since it is her recipe. That being said.. it's not very exact. lol.

MEXICAN CASSEROLE.. adapted from the kitchen of Nancy Eitel.. <3
this recipe is written for a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish.

2 lbs ground beef
2 packets taco seasoning
2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilis (such as rotel)
2 cans sliced black olives, drained (or you can slice the whole ones yourself.. i'm lazy)
fresh cilantro, chopped*
1 pack large corn tortillas
1 bag shredded mexican cheese blend

*optional, i know a lot of people don't like cilantro

Butter both sides of the corn tortillas, you will use about 4 per layer, depending on the size. Each layer will kind of look like this.. pardon my horrible illustration.
okay.. i'll admit.. i had fun with it. see the tomatoes and olives and cheese?! yes, that's cheese sprinkled on top of the buttered tortillas. lol.
Anyways, what I'm getting at is that you'll have to cut some of the tortillas in half to get them to fit right in the dish.. Also, I don't really know what happens when you don't butter the tortillas.. let me know if you try doing it that way. Set the buttered tortillas aside while you cook the beef mixture.

Brown ground beef in a large pan, drain, and add seasoning according to package instructions. If you want, you can use less water than called for, and add the cans of tomatoes without draining. Simmer the ground beef/tomato mixture until most of the moisture is gone, then add the olives, reserving a handful for the top of the casserole. Remove the ground beef from the heat, and stir in some chopped fresh cilantro to taste.

Now you're ready to assemble! Be sure to spray the dish with nonstick spray. Layer tortillas, cheese, ground beef (enough to cover the tortillas), and repeat. I think I've put the cheese on top of the beef mixture in some cases.. I doubt it matters. Keep layering until you run out of beef. It will probably be about 4 layers, and make sure you end with a layer of tortillas. On the top, sprinkle some shredded cheese and the reserved olives.

I think the last time I made it I baked it, covered with foil, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, removed the foil, and baked it an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese browned a little bit. The key is I think. It's all cooked, it basically just needs to be heated through. Also, my mom told me that when she makes it she adds about a half cup of water inside the pan, around the edges, to prevent the tortillas from burning. I've never done this.. and I've never had a problem. After removing it from the oven, sprinkle on some fresh cilantro for garnish. ENJOY! yummm...

PLEASE don't hesitate to make changes.. there have been times where I've thrown a bunch of extra stuff into the beef mixture. (i.e. my mom doesn't put in the rotel or the cilantro, but I thought it sounded good, and I also usually add chili powder since my bf likes stuff spicy). I hope you like it!

Friday, July 30, 2010


So I finally found my camera cord.. and I can post again! I guess you can blame my hiatus on nursing school as well.. considering I haven't posted since BEFORE I started my summer school class.. and now it's over. It was fun to finally study something I'm really interested in and know that I will be applying to my career. I've also been distracted by the logistics of school. I have to deal with financial aid for the first time (since I have the most amazing parents and they paid for my undergraduate education, I didn't have to deal with it.. and everything I've taken since then I've paid for using my salary from my job at Packard).

Needless to say, it's been stressful. I don't qualify for grants since I have a bachelor's degree (yes, in many instances I have felt punished for having a degree.. this definitely isn't the first time).. so I have to get loans.. ugh. And mostly that's because my job won't let me decrease my hours. That means i'll have to go relief/per diem, which means I will no longer be getting benefits, and there's no guarantees to how many hours will be available to me each week. The good thing about that is that I don't have to work if I don't want to (because of exams, clinicals, etc), but I don't have a steady paycheck to pay for school/rent/insurance. So loans it is. I still haven't even told my work I'm going relief, but I'm waiting to make sure Kris will be able to add me to his insurance.. which is something he's kinda freaking out about. He says he's stressing about feeling like he's responsible for supporting me. I understand where's he's coming from, but it's not like this is a fling.. we've been together for, oh.. 8 1/2 years now. But still.. I do get it. And I so love him for being as supportive as he has been while I go back to school when he's ready to really start our lives together. I'm truly fortunate to have him.

So.. after all my excitement I realized my camera is sitting at home.. and I have all these pictures of stuff I've done lately. Like yummy food I've cooked, and cupcakes from my first big event, a wedding! So, I'll have to steal from facebook. I'll be right back.

Well, not right back.. it's been about an hour. But I found them, courtesy of my friend Renee (a bridesmaid in the wedding), who took the photos. Here's a close-up of the top. The red velvet cupcake (with cream cheese frosting) is topped with an iridescent purple flower with purple dragees. I really loved doing these because purple is my absolute faaaavorite color.

The flowers are made of colored gumpaste, which I formed using a make-shift foil flower former instead of an expensive one from the store. lol. I painted the flowers using purple lustre-dust, which I also used to color the dragees (they were initially white, like the one in the center of the flower). Here's a photo of them all boxed and ready to be gobbled up by the guests!

It was stressful, but fun.. now that I'm in school I don't think I'll be saying yes to any weddings for a while.. ^_^

Saturday, May 29, 2010

body image...

as women, i think we all have a negative body image every now and again.. if not all the time. i know men do as well.. as i have been through the "babe you do NOT need to lose weight" discussion with my boyfriend many times.. but i believe that women struggle with it more. it seems as though we all know that other people are probably feeling what we're feeling.. but i don't think we ever TRULY believe that anyone out there understands how lousy we feel about ourselves.
i had a woah.. that really hit home.. moment recently when i was reading a book that stephanie gave me called "good in bed" by jennifer weiner.:
it brought me to tears.. because i felt like i was feeling exactly what the main character was feeling as she read an article her ex-boyfriend wrote about her in a magazine (similar to cosmo, i imagne).. the article was entitled "loving a larger woman" i wanted to share it, since it really stuck with me.

I'll never forget the day I found out my girlfriend weighed more than I did.

She was out on a bike ride, and I was home watching football, leafing through the magazines on her coffee table, when I found her Weight Watchers folder-a palm-sized folio with notations for what she'd eaten, and when, and what she planned to eat next, and whether she'd been drinking her eight glasses of water a day. There was her name. Her identification number. And her weight, which I am too much of a gentleman to reveal here. Suffice it to say that the number shocked me.

I knew that C. was a big girl. Certainly bigger than any of the women I'd seen on TV, bouncing in bathing suits or drifting, reedlike, through sitcoms and medical dramas. Definitely bigger than any of the women I'd ever dated before.

I never thought of myself as a chubby chaser. But when I met C., I fell for her wit, her laugh, her sparkling eyes. Her body, I decided, was something I could learn to live with.

Her shoulders were as broad as mine, her hands were almost as big, and from her breasts to her belly, from her hips down the slope of her thighs, she was all sweet curves and warm welcome. Holding her felt like a safe haven. It felt like coming home.

But being out with her didn't feel nearly as comfortable. Maybe it was the way I'd absorbed society's expectations, its dictates of what men are supposed to want and how women are supposed to appear. More likely, it was the way she had. C. was a dedicated foot soldier in the body wars. At five foot ten inches, with a linebacker's build and a weight that would have put her right at home on a pro football team's roster, C. couldn't make herself invisible.
But I know that if it here possible, if all the slouching and slumping and shapeless black jumpers could have erased her from the physical world, she would have gone in an instant. She took no pleasure from the very things I loved, from her size, her amplitude, her luscious, zaftig heft.

As many times as I told her she was beautiful, I know that she never believed me. As many times as I said it didn't matter, I knew that to her it did. I was just one voice, and the world's voice was louder. I could feel her shame like a palpable thing, walking beside us on the street, crouched down between us in a movie theater, coiled up and waiting for someone to say what to her was the dirtiest word in the world: fat.

And I knew it wasn't paranoia. You hear, over and over, how fat is the last acceptable prejudice, that fat people are the only safe targets in our politically correct world. Date a queen-sized woman and you'll find out how true it is. You'll see the way people look at her, and look at you for being with her. You'll try to buy her lingerie for Valentine's Day and realize the sizes stop before she starts. Every time you go out to eat you'll watch her agonize, balancing what she wants against what she'll let herself have, what she'll let herself haev against what she'll be seen eating in public.

And what she'll let herself say.

I remember when the Monica Lewinsky story broke and C., a newspaper reporter, wrote a passionate defense of the White House intern who'd been betrayed by Linda Tripp in Washington, and betrayed even worse by her friends in Beverly Hills, who were busily selling their high-school memories of Monica to Inside Edition and People magazine. After her article was printed, C. got lots of hate mail, including one letter from a guy who began: "I can tell by what you wrote that you are overweight and that nobody loves you." And it was that letter-that word-that bothered her more than anything else anyone said. It seemed that if it were true-the "overweight" part-then the "nobody loves you" part would have to be true as well. As if being Lewinsky-esque was worse than being a betrayer, or even someone who was dumb. As if being fat were somehow a crime.

Loving a larger woman is an act of courage in this world, and maybe it's even an act of futility. Because, in loving C., I knew I was loving someone who didn't believe that she herself was worthy of anyone's love.

And now that it's over, I don't know where to direct my anger and my sorrow. At a world that made her feel the way she did about her body-no, herself-and whether she was desirable. At C., for not being strong enough to overcome what the world told her. Or at myself, for not loving C. enough to make her believe in herself.

i, like the main character in the book ("C."), cried for a while after reading this. and i wasn't sure whether i was angry or sad.. or both. probably both. because it is a struggle, living every day hating the body you have.. and i suppose we tend to point fingers at ourselves more than everyone else.. but it's a group effort that makes us feel the way we do. yes, i know i can do something about it.. but saying and doing are two very different things. i won't tell you what happens in the book, just in case you want to read it.. but it's a pretty life-affirming story, and i truly enjoyed it.

on that note.. i started a 4 week boot camp yesterday.. something to hopefully jump-start myself in a road towards a more healthy me. i'll let you all know how it goes.. but let's just say the first day was reeeeeeeeeeeally tough. but good. yeah.. good.

ugh! camera cord.. where are you?!

my frustration over losing my camera cord has been overwhelming me the past couple days. i know, it shouldn't.. but ugh!!! i've been in 'organizing mode' lately since i'll be starting school soon, and i don't want to be stressed about studying AS WELL AS about the piles of my crap all over the apartment.

did you notice how i specified MY crap? yes.. i have a LOT of stuff.. much more than kris.. and i feel very guilty about it. needless to say, i've been getting rid of some of said crap.. trying to make my home 'nursing school ready'

i've also been organizing my digital life. i went through and organized my 650 emails in my inbox, deleting most and putting the rest into folders. i purged my email contacts, erasing anyone whose name i didn't recognize. then i set up my yahoo mail to forward to my gmail. this is all because i'm getting a new phone, the htc hero, which is a google phone, and i want my contacts and emails to be very organized. i hope i can keep it that way. kris has been netbook shopping for me... something i said that i'd buy for myself if i EVER got into school. finally! we're gonna go look next weekend and pick me out something nice.. and cheap. lol.

sooo.. since i can't find my cord, i had to steal pictures of my most recent adorable creations from my coworker whose daughter's birthday i made them for. the theme was abby cadabby. ?! yeah, i had no idea who she was either. apparantly she's elmo's friend on sesame street. the cupcakes were a lot of work.. but they turned out cute!
and i also made a color-coordinating cookie bouquet.. which the birthday girl's mom arranged. didn't it turn out cute?! i loooooooved the color scheme.. and i love the vase.

that is all.. cross your fingers that i'll find my cord soon. and then more photos will be coming your way!

Friday, May 21, 2010


they blocked blogs at work.. which is why i have been MIA for like.. ever. well that and i was on vacation. just tonight they started giving us "quota" time.. so i have 10 minutes to scroll through my blogroll and write a quick post.

i have a bunch of blog photos i have been taking as well... but i lost my camera cord *gasp* and haven't been able to upload them. lisa.. it might be at your house?! that's the last time i remember having it. i'm such a scatterbrain.

in other news, i FINALLY got into nursing school!



i know, right?

be back soon! (i hope)

Thursday, April 8, 2010


finally! i decided that the easiest way to finally post this was to simply bring my camera to work. i can never tell if i'm going to be busy or not.. but on the nights that i'm not, i have a lot of down time. so here we are! i've been compiling a cookbook for a loooooooong time now with all my favorite recipes.. and attempting to capture them all myself. here's my most recent endeavors...

this one is a favorite. chicken cordon bleu from cooking light. it is soooo ridiculously yummy. just ask lisa! i made it for her and amanda on my last sd visit. yum. this is my most recent 'throw together' dish. on nights when i don't feel like going to the grocery story it's filled with things i always have on-hand. i don't think i put chicken in it this particular time.. but sometimes i will throw in either rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or i'll grill up a chicken breast on the foreman. it's whole-grain or faux whole-grain such as barilla plus or ronzoni smart taste. i toast up pine nuts on the stove while the pasta is cooking. during the last couple minutes i submurge a small strainer with chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not the oil packed kind) in the boiling pasta water. i strain out the pasta and tomato mixture and toss it with the pine nuts and some bottled pesto. yum! kris isn't a sun-dried tomato fan, so i tend to put more in my bowl. i looooooove them.
this is a new addition to our rotation, also from cooking light. chili-glazed tofu . i've been trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our diet.. finding good vegetarian recipes has been a challenge for me, especially since i don't like beans and kris doesn't really like the texture of tofu. this one is DEFINITELY a winner! so good, and so easy. just make sure to pat your tofu really dry before pan-frying it or else it won't brown up very well. oh, and i double the sauce and use brown instead of white rice.
i think what i like most about this recipe is it's versitility. i didn't have any of the ingredients on hand (except brown rice of course) so i made a variation. i used broccoli instead of asparagus, and aidell's teriyaki chicken meatballs in place of the tofu. i've talked about the wonder that is these meatballs before.. and i really can't say it enough. they are soooooo good. and they worked quite well in this recipe. seriously though, if you aren't a tofu fan, try this recipe. it will convert you. i think i've made it at least 4 times since we first tried it a month ago. looooooooove.
anywho.. i thought i had taken more pics.. but i guess not. i'll try to stay on it! later gators!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


yes, that pretty much sums me up lately. i mean, i have gotten things done, but not nearly all of the things that i have wanted to. the weird rainy/sunny weather makes me just want to sleep all day until i can wake up when it's dark and know that it's dark no matter what.. not having to guess if i'll need an umbrella and rain boots or sunglasses and flip-flops when i walk outside.

my list of things to do:

-finish wardrobe hack (similar to the center one on that page, but different colors and it's a 2-door wardrobe) mind you, i started this hack LAST YEAR
-sew up the holes in my work pants (because i don't want to waste money on new ones)
-get rid of more clothes/shoes/accessories i don't use
-hang curtains (part 2 of my wardrobe hack.. you'll see... someday)
-post food photos here (you'll also see.. someday)
-upload photos of recent events with friends so they can see them (i'm SO lame!)
-start exercizing. right. that'll happen.

things that were on my list and are now complete:

-try making macarons (done, and done. i tried once.. they were okay.. tried again.. they were better. i'm bringing them to my mom's on easter)
-donate initial mound of clothes/shoes/accessories i don't use (it was quite a haul.. like 3 garbage bags full. plus 2 big boxes and 2 small boxes of christmas decorations and other home supplies)
-take pictures of food (at least i remembered that part)
-give juno a haircut/bath.. oo i should take a picture of her! her hair's so short!
-use my old navy gift card to buy clothes for cabo (they're coming. skirt weather! woohoo!)

so really i need to jump on the photo thing. that would be easiest. and i need to grab the sewing machine from my mom so i can finish my stupid wardrobe hack/drape hanging. and i REALLY need to do SOMETHING so i can at least drop maybe 5 pounds before cabo?! that's not too much to ask. as you can probably tell, i decided against the sf half marathon.. because i realized i need new running shoes for someting of that distance, and i really can't afford them right now... along with the registration fee. anywho. i'll let you know. all i can say is right now.. i'm SUPER fat. like so much so, i need to take that tracker thing off my blog because it's very misleading. yeah. stop being lazy. i'll keep telling myself that.

Friday, March 12, 2010


so anyone who knows me KNOWS i adore caffeine. in all forms. it all started with chocolate. you know.. nutella sandwiches i made for myself to take in my school lunch as a child (that's what my mom gets for leaving me to my own devices in the AM! well, that and me cutting curlers out of my hair... lol). and then in progressed to coffee when i got to college. and then i started working night shift, which meant i was drinking (and still do drink) about 2-3 cups of coffee throughout my shift.

if you're eco-conscious as i try to be.. you're probably thinking.. damn! this girl goes through a ton of coffee cups. but i don't.. because i have a bunch of reusable ones. my two favorites are:

my purple mug.. which kinda looks like this... but it's prettier, because it's purple. and purple is the best color. ^_^

i love it because it keeps my drinks hot, for like, ever. seriously. when i get off at 7am, my drink is still warm.

however, that mug is from starbucks.. and when i'm out getting my coffee at peet's whenever possible.. (oh how i wish peet's were open when i'm on my way to work).. i CANNOT in good conscience walk into peet's and ask them to please fill up my sacrilegious starbucks mug with their delicious coffee. so i got this adorable one:

in finding this picture.. i discovered they have a PURPLE one too! that one was NOT at bed bath and beyond. ugh. well at least in buying this one i donated some money to breast cancer research. that's always a good thing. i also REALLY love my giant sigg bottle... but i don't fill that with caffeine. so it's not really pertinent.

anywho.. i go through phases. i'll stop by starbucks like, every day before work and get my grande quad 2 pump nonfat mocha.. and then i'll realize how much money i'm wasting and go back to brewing my arabian mocha-java at home with trader joe's nonfat vanilla creamer.. then recently i've gotten REALLY lazy and started just bringing tea to work instead. now tea does the trick as far as the caffeine is concerned.. but i'm just getting used to the taste. i tend to drink a cup and then let it get cold. which brings me to my post. i'm just getting through the box of tazo teas i got for christmas from kris' family. i've discovered i love the chai, awake, china green tips, & passion (but that's caffeine free.. bleh). tonight i brewed myself some zen (FAIL) and earl grey (DOUBLE FAIL). i was NOT happy. but then i found a china green tips that i'd stashed in my purse. which is what i'm enjoying now.

omg. this totally brings me back to a post i did a while back of a 'tea wallet' i found that i wanted to make.. and never did. i still want to. it would be sooooooo cute.

so my question is.. any tea recommendations? right now i'd say the tazo chai is at the top of my list..

Thursday, March 4, 2010

i thought about posting every day for the past week..

and obviously i haven't. i hate my 'in between weeks' at work where it feels like i barely even get a day off because by the time i get on everyone else's normal sleep schedule.. i have to go back to work. bleh.

last night i watched 'this is it' with my grandma and then we all had dinner at my mom's. it was really nice. i need to spend more time with my grandparents. they're so funny.. even if they do repeat themselves a lot. "that michael jackson.. he is just an angel! it makes me sick to think he's dead. SICK!" -grandma at about 25 different times through the course of the movie.

whenever i'm at the computer.. this is what i look down to underneath the desk. she wants to say hi:
my important decision (in progress) for the week is deciding whether or not i want to do the san francisco half marathon at the end of july. i really think i can do it. i mean.. it's the beginning of march, which gives me almost 4 months to train. and the second half of the course has a 16-minute mile time.. something i DEFINITELY know i can do, considering the last 2 i did had 14-minute mile times. plus, it's in san francisco!!! i'm leaning towards yes.. but that means i need to organize my training crap and get my head in the game.

yes, i went there.

we'll see. hopefully i'll make my decision by the end of the week. in the meantime, i'm going to be making a white/lemon cake with mango mousse filling for david's birthday on saturday. wish me luck!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

hello world!

yes LISA, i know it's been forever since i've updated my blog. but really, i'm not all that interesting. i mean, really, the holidays are insanity right? because on top of it being thanksgiving and christmas and new years and all that, everyone and their MOM in my family (yes, including me) decided to be born during this time of year. so honestly, my life has been full of baking, and wrapping, and baking some more.

so you've probably gathered that there hasn't been a whole lot else productive going on with me (i.e. losing weight). except maybe filling out a few hundred nursing applications and not yet getting accepted anywhere. okay, so it hasn't been a few hundred, but it sure feels like it. and may i take this moment to scream at uc berkeley for charging an arm and a leg for transcripts? $20 a piece? REALLY?!

i have been keeping my photos fairly updated with all my baking creations. my favorite one of late is a martha stewart inspired cookie wedding favor i made for my friend's bridal shower.

look at them all lined up! aren't they cute?! she's having a winter-themed wedding (hence the snowflakes) and the accent ribbon is black with white polka-dots. it took about a gazillion cookies to make them all, but i'm very proud with how they turned out! to see the original version from martha click here.

other than that, i did have the joy of finding a dress to wear to said friend's wedding without even trying all that hard! and i know that many women know what i'm talking about when i say dress shopping can either be really fun or really horrid. mostly horrid when you hate your body. needless to say, i was walking through target (can we take a moment to revel in the fabulousness that is target?!) a few weeks back and saw a merona dress i thought looked cute. it totally fit, and is perfect (at least i think so) for a winter wedding. i don't usually write reviews, but that's how much i love this dress.

i'll have to post a picture when i get all dressed up!