Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I promise this ends well…


Intellect currently stands at 'Do Not Disturb', and today has been a lot bit of a struggle. I'm finally back from what now seems like a surreal compilation of my favorite things. All the fantastic impressions from the previous week in beautiful Los Angeles mutated into seemingly distant memories by the swift kick of some brat's foot to the back of my uncomfortably upright chair and the bleak realization that I was on my way back to reality (aka school). My to do list elongates by the hour with yet another and another task I conveniently forgot was due before the week's end. Well, suck-it-the-fuck-up you say? You're right, and I'm trying. Let me briefly recap my fabulous week in an attempt to lighten the mood upon which I have shat. 


With all the excitement of reuniting with my one and only (oh yeah, I'm in a long distance relationship. It sucks balls, but we make it work.), said one and only surprised me with a bouquet of my favorite flowers (hydrangeas) and date night at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. We dined on prime rib, wine, and sour gummy worms, rested our laurels in the best seats in the most beautiful building in LA, and listened to the LA Philharmonic. He knows what's up.

Random Fact of the Day: The Walt Disney Concert Hall was designed by Mr. Frank Gehry after a rose, his wife's favorite flower. Initially, Lady Disney hated the design, vowing the family name would not be represented by so hideous a building. Mr. Gehry, quite the salesman, scheduled a meeting with Lady Disney. At this meeting, Mr. Gehry's only companion was a single rose. He asked for a glass of water and a pair of scissors then explained, as he cut the bulb from its stem, his wife's affinity for this particular flower. Mr. Gehry then gently set the severed bulb into the water, where it morphed into a form resembling what is now the Concert Hall. 


I rounded out the week imbibing happy hour specials, devouring baked goods at Proof, paradoxically laughing on the Haunted Hayride, gaining weight via homemade Filipino food, and relaxing with my favorite person. All in all, it was practically everything I wanted, which makes coming back to Indiana that much more difficult. 

Luckily, I was welcomed home with a rather sweet surprise. A very thoughtful person in my life, who knows (pretty extensively) my adoration for school time, sent me a surprise package of macarons. Not pictured here, since I could not wait to try one, is the honey lavender flavor. Devine. Enough floral scent without being overpowering and just enough sweetness. Plus, the package came with a 10% off coupon on what will be my first purchase from Macaron Cafe. So, I guess you could say I'll be eating my feelings until my next trip back to paradise.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

California Love


Color me excited. I'm going back to Cali; escaping this wretched place, if only for a short while. Having grown up in southern California, I tended to take for granted all of the sensational things The Golden State has to offer. Only after leaving and spending an extended amount of time "enjoying" the seasons did I grow to truly appreciate the paradise I left behind. Just the predictability in weather is ample reason for my affection. No need to check the weather every morning to make certain I don't end up walking home in the rain or wearing a dress in 20 degree weather. [The sun can be very deceiving, the times it's actually out.] No need to EVER wear earmuffs or gloves, god forbid both (with a scarf). No fear of winds so cold they draw tears like the freshest of onions. The bliss of having events to attend, restaurants to try, things to see! The lack of judgment eyes when "dressed up" on a "regular" day. I could go on forever, but I'll spare you for now. Moral of the story: my time away has solidified the fact that no matter where I am, my heart resides in California.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Whole Wheat Walnut Oat Bread


Long name, but delicious. I found this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine long ago but always come back to it. I gave some to a friend and he was "surprised by how flavorful it is." Gotta love surprises. Especially pleasant ones.


Regardless of how aesthetically pleasing as well as flavorful this bread can be, it's surprisingly easy to accomplish. I do have to say, there are a number of steps involved–pulsing the oats in a food processor, soaking the oats, etc.–however, no stage was particularly difficult. The recipe yields two large loaves, and they freeze splendidly. Just wrap tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil then seal in a freezer bag. Unwrap and heat in the oven, slice off a chunk, add Nutella, and enjoy your awesome life.


I featured this grainy goodness in a black-pepper crusted turkey sandwich with spinach, fig jam, and a touch of dijon mustard.

Random fail of the day
I currently work at a legal aid clinic as a student legal intern. Part of my job involves conducting meetings with clients. As you can readily expect, professionalism is vital in this particular facet of my job. Turns out, I'm a STUPID and recorded the meeting date in my calendar incorrectly. Forty-five minutes late. There's more. Apparently, in the decade my professor has supervised students in this capacity, he has never had this happen before. Sometimes you just gotta make a name for yourself. And I do it by breaking records.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Training Motivation

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all photos via Lululemon

I love Lululemon. I know there was some sort of issue about some of their pants being see-through, but last I heard no one really complained (at least I wouldn't imagine any guys did). Either way, I've never really had any problems with their products so I'll keep purchasing until something comes up. Speaking of things of theirs I have: wunder under pants, running pants, running crops, running skirt, a gym bag, vinyasa scarf, long sleeve running top, a couple tanks, hoodie, and headband. The only things that I don't really like or use is the gym bag and the headband. I go to the gym across the street from my apartment so I just really don't have to use a gym bag and the headband won't stay on my head. (I blame the weird shape of my dome rather than the band, though.) But I mean, how cute is all their stuff? I love it! And it just gives me that little push of excitement enabling me to get out the door for my workout.

[Not so] Random Gripe of the Day: People who constantly wear workout gear out but never workout. Stop it. You're not fooling anyone. (Unless they're just yoga pants. Those are just the bee's knees in comfort so I don't blame you.)

Truth be told, I've attempted a life revamp since returning to school. I am most certainly not where I want to be as far as physical appearances and overall athleticism, and I haven't been for quite some time. I was always athletic in high school and continued participating in at least some sports throughout college (mostly tennis). In 2008 (I can't believe how long it's been), I ran my first race–a half-marathon–and it was glorious. One of the best things I've ever done simply because it was always a goal I thought unattainable. I finished without any walking and I couldn't have been happier. However, I've been on a slight but constant downslope since then. Work presented itself as an all too convenient excuse to skip workouts and then school took over where work left off. I'm sure you've all been there and, if not, have heard it all before.

I would often reminisce about the horrible training program I went through in order to get in shape for the half. It was horrible and incredibly restrictive but I felt great and that feeling out-shined the struggle that came with eating 1200-1500 calories a day and logging at least five two-hour workouts every week. Not to mention I saved useless calories by never, ever drinking alcohol (or anything else with calories except smoothies for that matter). Strangely, I wanted to get back to that, but motivation was seriously lacking. Wishing for it just wasn't enough. So, when I came back to school I decided it was a perfect check point to just make myself start up again. C'mon, Christine. Don't be a bitch. My mantra that gets me going. 

Despite my food posts, I'm actually very conscious of what I eat. I try to consume as many fruits and vegetables as possible, only whole wheat when eating grains, lean meat, yogurt, nonfat milk or unsweetened almond milk, black coffee, tea, and tons of water. I've been consistent with this despite the occasional cheat meals (today, it was pizza) or cup of Velveeta mac and cheese (180 calories and SO good!). 

Speaking of, I often follow up my runs with a smoothie. Smoothies could possibly be my favorite breakfast for after workouts. They're refreshing, surprisingly filling, and really REALLY easy to put together. And quick! This one has frozen blueberries, banana, nonfat milk, chia seeds, and wheat germ. Damn, I just realized I forgot to add shredded, unsweetened coconut...

I've also been much better about workouts and ran my first 5K a couple weeks ago. I've been pretty consistent with workouts as of late, that is when lack of sleep and tons of school work haven't gotten completely in the way.

Here's to lots of workouts, feeling great, and looking super cute in Lululemon!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chocolate and Almond Butter Cake Bars

I'm beginning to discover that I can not be trusted to do work at home. The temptation to cook is far too great to ignore. Plus, the comfort of having the whole day with no finish line meetings or deadlines to monitor my progress leaves me, well... wondering where the hell the time went. 

Did I need to bake? No, of course not. Did I need anymore sweets in my kitchen let alone my tummy? Definitely not. Did I need another distraction? Hell no. But I sure wanted to come up with one. And I'm a doer. So, I did it.

Again, I tweaked this recipe just because of what I happened to have on hand. I replaced the dark chocolate with milk chocolate chips (wish I didn't have to do that. I would've preferred the dark chocolate.) and the peanut butter with almond butter. Oh, and the all-purpose flour with whole wheat. These are as delicious as they look. When inhaling eating, though, make sure you have some milk on hand. These "cake bars" are reminiscent of a chewy chocolate chip cookie, only bigger, so the lactose accompaniment is only fitting.

Random Gripe of the Day: Those people who correct people's grammar and/or spelling on social media. Unless it's some error that is especially egregious and/or obvious, just leave it the eff alone. Even then, it doesn't even matter because it's social media, not a scholarly article. Instagram is no environment for pithy review sessions in punctuation. Don't get me wrong, if I get something wrong on a post I'm going to go back and correct it because it bothers me. But if I came across some abhorrent asterisk comment citing an insignificant oversight with the correction... I'm sorry, but stop it. If you're an offender, it's ok. The great part about changing is you don't have to wait to start. To be fair, though, another time it's acceptable is when it's incredibly hilarious. (Click here for examples)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tictail Shop

Hey! Did you guys notice my little shop link up top? [I've also linked the photo.] I just added some new pieces so check them out! If you have any questions on any of the products or would like additional photos, feel free to contact me. I'd be happy to oblige! 

I'll be adding some shoes and Michael Kors watches soon be sure to check back!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Crackers and Caramel


I find it a tad disconcerting that only three posts into this blog I'm already straining to find a subject worthy of documentation. I suppose an entire day spent reading contract guidelines can do that to you. As one of my best friends so accurately stated, "Law school stifles all creativity." Accordingly, the catalyst to from The Lion's Den was a sudden urge to revitalize the atrophied righter-most of my brain. The most creativity I've been able to muster lately has been to cook (if I do say so myself) some bomb-ass meals. Which, quite honestly, is another reason I started this blog. I just love food, and I love trying to make my concoctions look pretty. 

Which brings me to crackers, Homemade Wheat Thins to be more precise. I was feeling pretty shitty and couldn't shake the feeling. It might've been a combination of ominous, intermittent thunderstorms and the countless deadlines soon approaching. Or, maybe I've just listening to too much Lana del Rey and I've been feeling a little emo. Who knows. Either way, I felt like shit and couldn't get over it. Supemorosely, and inappropriately so, I asked myself, "What makes me happy?" Woe is f*@&ing me. Damn my privileged life! Naturally, my answer was food. I have no clue why I even had to ask. The chaotic state of my kitchen nearly impeded my journey to recovery but I was able to overcome. *raises fist* 

Back to the recipe. Just because I had it, and felt like making myself feel healthier, I replaced a quarter-cup of the flour with wheat bran. Did you know that wheat bran serves as a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and iron? Iron being particularly important for women! Furthermore, it's a good source of vitamin B (especially good for those hangover mornings)! But consume in moderation! Too much wheat bran too soon can cause stomach discomfort and *whispers* gas.  Btw, I also replaced the salt on top with fleur de sel. Cus I'm fancy like that. 

This recipe is actually a good one (hence the link). Typically, baking isn't my thing. I hate the restrictive nature science demands of the cook. Maybe I don't want to bring my eggs to room temperature! Just let me live my life! However, this seemed easy enough, I had all the ingredients, and just needed a snack. All in all, I'd certainly make these again and be happy about it. 


I apologize for the grainy iPhone photo above, but I mean, who cares. Say hello to my chocolate covered fleur de sel caramel friends. Fleur de sel double feature; it's been a good day. Caramel recipe here. Just cool the caramel in a buttered pan, cut, and devour as you see fit. Just a warning, I've made these before and only remembered how delicious they were so I made them again. Meaning, my brain conveniently repressed the memory of how terrible cutting these things is and how tedious wrapping them can be. My level of domesticity only goes so far. Either way, they're freakin GOOD and well worth making at least once. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How to make old ladies jealous

old lady jacket

Jacket: Burlington Coat Factory 
Loafers: Elizabeth and James 'Aly'
Watch: Kate Spade (gold dials. f yes) 
Jeans: J Brand 
V-neck: no idea 
Messenger: Zara

Two things about this outfit:

One is a bit of a confession and a bit of a Random Gripe of the Day. According to Instagram, it all began 21 weeks ago. I regrammed Gala Gonzalez's (of www.amlul.com) post depicting a paradox of an outfit - mixing classic, conservative elements with obnoxiously red, gold-buckled flats and modern jewelry. It's juxtaposition intrigued me, to say the least. New goal: to replicate this beauty. Seemed simple enough. [Nope] I was surprised to find just how difficult it was to acquire the perfectly gorgeous red flats. And whenever I got lucky and found some (which was still only probably twice), they were sold out. Rude. I was also deceived into thinking the search had concluded. I found some patent leather oxfords on yoox.com for $50 which were perfect. YOOX! My savior! F.A.L.S.E. After overeagerly awaiting my beauties' arrival, I tore open their cardboard vessel like it was Christmas morning and I still had my onesie on. To my outright dismay, I came to find the red shoes were actually pink. Bubble Yum pink. That this is not how they were portrayed on the website goes without saying. Deception. Betrayal. Unmitigated disappointment.

Long story long, I found these Elizabeth and James loafers and am in love with them. Goodbye door, hello window. They're simple but fabulously funky, and they flaunt a slight witch quality from the pointed toe. I can't tell you why, but I wanted that extreme pointed toe, kinda makes it look like you have big feet, Mary Kate and Ashley lookin shoe. Got what I wanted. How weird that I found it in Elizabeth and James!

Two is another old lady story and Random Narrative of the Day. I don't know why I've had so much interaction with the elderly as of late but this is my reality. I suppose it's my hood? Regardless, they've all been the nice ones, not the "get off my grass!" kind of folk so I can't complain. But here's a tip you [hopefully] may never need: if you ever want to make an elderly woman mad jealous all you have to do is buy a jacket like this one. But it has to be as cheap as it is awesome. The cheaper the better. This jacket, for example, was $13 at Burlington Coat Factory. (There are very few places to shop here and we took a chance. AND WON.)

:Where did you find this?!
:Oh. In the coats section, of all places! (my attempt at being nice and actually engaging conversation)
:The COATS section?? But... this isn't even supposed to be there. This jacket is sportswear...
:I don't know. I got lucky I guess! (awkward laughter)
:Oh...*saddest face ever* I wonder if there are any more...
:It was the only one I saw, but hopefully! (*YOINK!* MINE! straight to hell)

Kidding about that last part, but that woman made me feel so guilty for buying the gdamn jacket I almost gave the thing to her. Then my selfishness and overarching sense of victory from finding exactly what I wanted for $13 took over and I got the eff out of there. I donated a dollar for cancer research, so I guess that evens things out, right?

Baked Pumpkin Donuts


I'd hate to start this blog by acknowledging what ended up being a so-so recipe, therefore I'm just not gonna acknowledge the recipe. At least not the recipe author... or republisher for that matter. Maybe I'll just say the recipe came from a certain company that allegedly reigns supreme (as far as milled grain is concerned). Don't get me wrong, the donuts are fine. They just aren't necessarily worth the extra calories. (Yes, I count calories. No, I'm not a crazy.) I suppose I should note, however, that the recipe includes nutmeg and ginger. And yields donuts that are unexpectedly bland. At least I got to use my new donut baking pan!

Random gripe of the day:
At noon it was a chilly 60 degrees F. At 4pm, it was a slightly muggy 83 degrees. I dressed for the inevitable backsweat-inducing trek home and ended up freezing for most of the day. Note: I realize that given the impending literal freeze I'm about to face in a few weeks, I really shouldn't hyperbolize. Conclusion: I still find this dressing-for-the-seasons thing a bit challenging. I swear I can be smart sometimes, though.

Random narrative of the day:
For lunch, I went to my favorite spot on campus. I love it because it offers a good amount of healthy options and it's as epicurean as school-operated establishments can get (aside from Au Bon Pain). Most importantly, it's on a separate part of campus, serving as my bustling yet tranquil escape from the pretentious aura of young legal minds. Law kids are weird (myself included), but even worse, talking about class or what stupid thing some tired soul said after being shafted by the Socratic method is not my idea of a good time. (The fact remains that I am often that tired soul.) Tangent concluded.

Another thing. This place has one of my favorite things–cucumber water. Sold. I ordered the quinoa with sweet potatoes, braised kale, and chicken breast. $8 with coffee ain't bad. Especially since some chicken wings at Mickey D's runs about $6 these days. (Have you tried those Mighty Wings yet? You should. They're bomb. I've apparently succumb to the marketing.) Anywho, apparently I missed the memo that Senior Citizens United chose the same spot for its annual luncheon. I'm fairly certain the restaurant sold about 86 bottles of milk after that rush. But to be honest... they were all so cute it kind of added to my enjoyment. Plus, I typically welcome black sheep moments. The judgment eyes from wearing shorts and a t-shirt while everyone else is wearing jackets, not so much. Lesson learned: go back to LA.