Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What I'm Pinning: Stained Glass

I've developed a bit of an obsession with stained glass. It can be so feminine, delicate and intricate, or it can be very clean, modern and fresh. I would love to have a piece of stained glass, whether it be on my windows or on the inside.

Source: etsy.com via Amanda on Pinterest

Source: etsy.com via Amanda on Pinterest

Monday, February 27, 2012

Million Dollar Babies

Last night my counter celebrated our million dollar year along with our Macy's managers and Clinique representatives. We got all dressed up and went to the Cliff House to drink wine, eat a delicious meal and celebrate all our hard work. We all had such a great time!

I had never been to the Cliff House before, but oh my goodness...it was so delicious. One of the best meals I have ever had! Steak and lobster with raspberry chocolate cake for dessert. Doesn't get any better!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lead in your lipstick

    Did you guys hear about the study that found lead in 400 lipsticks? 400! I just don't understand why lead is in our lipsticks.While they claim it is in very small amounts that are not hazardous, it still freaks me out. You can read the article here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Butternut Squash Lasagna

 Lasagna is one of my favorite comfort foods. It's cheesy, full of carbs and if you're lucky, it might come with garlic bread. Not too long ago, I had butternut squash lasagna for the first time and fell in love. It was a totally new take on lasagna, but still held on to my favorite ingredients, cheese and pasta.

So, I decided to try making it! I also wanted a reason to use my new ramekins. This recipe is for two 16 ounce ramekins. You'll have plenty of leftover squash if you cook all of it; I'm planning on using mine to make soup!

You need:
1 1/2 cups cubed  butternut squash
6 lasagna noodles
1 cup ricotta cheese
5 tablespoon pesto
handful of spinach
1/4 cup of chicken broth
1/4 cup of milk
2 tablespoon heavy cream
clove of garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Put cubed butternut squash in a pan, and add olive oil to coat. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Turn to medium heat, add water and cover. Let cook for about 20 minutes or until tender.
3. While squash is cooking, mix ricotta cheese, pesto and spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste and 2 tablespoons of milk. Set aside.
4. Place lasagna noodles in boiling water, and cook until almost al dente. Set aside.
5. Once squash is tender, remove from pan and place into blender. Add garlic, milk, chicken broth, heavy cream, 1 tsp of rosemary and 1 tsp of oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.
6. Oil ramekins with olive oil.
7. Put a small amount of squash puree to cover the bottom, and then a layer of lasagna noodles. You will need to tear the noodles in order to fit your ramekin.
8. Place a thick layer of ricotta mixture on noodles, followed by squash puree, followed with another layer of noodles.
9. Add walnuts to one of the layers (doesn't really matter which). Don't chop them too small! You want some good walnut texture.
10. On the last layer of noodles, cover with squash puree. Cover with foil and cook for 20-25 minutes.
11. Uncover and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Let cook for another 5 minutes or until melted. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

7 Tips To Drink More Water

I'm a big water drinker. It's my drink of choice just about everywhere because:
a.) it's usually free. 
b.) it's refreshing.
c.) it doesn't mess with the flavor of my food.
d.) it's good for me.

Every now and then I slack on drinking water, and I always feel pretty awful when I do. I get tired, my skin breaks out, I get headaches and you know...I'm thirsty. I always ask people when they come to the counter how much water they drink, because not getting enough water can really impact your skin. Here are a few tips on how to stay hydrated!

1. Keep a water bottle with you wherever you go!
This is a big one. At work I have a Camelbak water bottle, and I always have a large Aquafina bottle that I refill and keep using in my school bag. I recommend buying a real bottle, as plastic bottles consume additional petrochemicals. I'm just being cheap at the moment.
I set a goal to drink a certain amount of these water bottles everyday. It's way easier to drink four water bottles than drinking "8 glasses of water." If you don't drink a lot of water, start slow and build up. As a rule of thumb, you should drink half of your body weight in ounces of water a day.
Ex: If you are 100 pounds, you should drink 50 oz of water a day. Of course this varies, but it's easy to remember.

2. Stop drinking soda.
I have never been a soda person. Sure, I enjoy the occasional root beer or cream soda every blue moon. But it is just so sweet and hurts my throat. I mean, c'mon, it's carbonated sugar water. Whenever I drink it, I always think, "I'm basically drinking syrup right now." Replacing soda (or as I call it, "pop") with water will not only replace remove a lot of calories from your diet, but your body will be so much happier!

3. Flavor it if you need to.
Water can get boring. It's just so...watery. Sometimes you need a little flavor! Sometimes I buy a low-calorie iced-tea mix at the store, but the best way to flavor your water is with produce in your fridge. My favorite is  adding cucumber and lemon, as pictured above. It just gives your water that little bit of flavor you want, but is not overpowering.  I always drink more water at restaurants when they add lemon! Experiment and find some flavors you like. Frozen fruit is a great option; frozen blueberries, raspberries or peaches add some sweetness!

4. Add some ice and a straw!
This sounds kinda silly, but I think it helps. When water is super cold, I drink it like nobody's business.  Same thing when I add a straw. Maybe it's just more fun drinking from a straw? Maybe you feel fancier? I really don't know. But hearing the clinking of ice in my glass and being able to twirl the straw around helps me to drink more water. 

5. Purify your water.
I'm very lucky to live in an area with delicious tap water. But I have been to other areas of the country with water that tastes pretty nasty (Florida, I'm looking at you.) Getting a Britta system is not too expensive, and makes a huge difference in the taste of water. You will drink so much more water when it tastes good. Also, spending money on a purification system could possibly guilt you into drinking more water. Similar to spending money on a gym. Paying for it makes you use it!

6. Drink water every few bites throughout your meal.
Take a drink of water every one to two bites you take during a meal. It sounds a little excessive, I know. But, it will help to slow your eating by forcing you to put down the fork. It will also fill up your tummy with water instead of food, and help you to eat less. And look at that! You just downed a few glasses of water during your meal. Voila!

7. Drink tea, not coffee.
Okay. Totally guilty. Like...really, really guilty. I choose coffee over tea about  97% of the time. Getting to drink coffee is one of the highlights of my day. I love it. Not to perpetuate stereotypes or anything, but I live in Seattle. Loving coffee is almost a requirement.
But when summer comes around and I don't have to go to class, I drink a lot more tea. And I hate to admit it...but my body is grateful. Caffeine in coffee is a mild diuretic and can increase urine excretion. This can be neutralized by drinking an extra glass of water, but why not just drink caffeine-free tea instead? (Answer: because coffee is the nectar of the gods.)

So go drink some water! You will thank yourself. Once you get in the habit, it's so easy and delicious!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bein' Quirky with Zooey Deschanel

Okay, we all know how cute and adorable Zooey Deschanel is. But sometimes I get a little tired of all the quirky cuteness. I mean...it just feels a little overdone sometimes. For example, I enjoy her show New Girl, but cannot stand the intro. It's too much cheesy cuteness. Sometimes just her character in general is a little too much for me.

I was excited to watch her on SNL, and see her play some different characters. By far my favorite was her sketch with Abbey Elliot, "Bein' Quirky with Zooey Deschanel," in which Zooey played Mary-Kate Olsen. It was so perfect! I loved that she was able to laugh at herself. If you didn't get a chance to see it, you gotta. The guy playing Michael Cera was perfect!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lemon Pesto Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Walnuts

Lately, I have grown quite found of these cute little veggies. Quick and easy to cook and full of vitamins...I mean, what's not to love? My favorite way to prepare them is in a pan with some pesto and lemon. Throw in some cranberries for sweetness and walnuts for crunch, and bam. Delicious, delicious health. 

I didn't add measurements to this recipe because it's so easy to adjust depending on what you like. Love Pesto? Add a lot! Not a huge fan of citrus? Maybe skip on the lemon zest/don't add too much lemon juice. This is pretty hard to screw up.

You need:
Brussels sprouts
1 lemon (you will add juice and zest)
balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

1. Clean and cut off any excess stem and remove surface leaves. Cut in half. 
2. Place in pan on medium heat. Add pesto, and season with salt and pepper.
3. When sprouts start to brown, add a bit of water (a tablespoon or two) and cover to let them cook for a minute or two.
4. Add chopped walnuts.
5. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
5. Squeeze lemon into pan. Add lemon zest.
6. Remove from heat and add cranberries.
7. Eat!

 Super easy. AND healthy. Eat this for lunch, and then feel good about eating that pizza later.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What I'm Pinning

Here are some of my favorite recent pins!

This loopy up-do is so cute! Her hair color is great too...makes me miss my blonde.
I love the mixture of these of these patterned drapes. I want to do something like this with green and purple.
The pattern and shape of these heels are great. The pink ribbon detail adds a nice pop of color.
I would love to have this piano sitting in my living room. The color is so great!
I love this color combination, especially against the white walls and table.
Peanut. Butter. Pound cake. Nough said.
This print is so lovely. Very delicate and soft.
These blackberry bars would be great for summer...or anytime :]
I do a subtle cat-eye everyday, but this little bit of gold would be great for something more dramatic.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

North Coast Gymnastics

   Yikes. I have been a pretty bad blogger lately. I haven't updated in a week, and there are so many posts I haven't been able to read or comment on. I have been so busy that trying to post has been impossible. Lately all I want to do at the end of the day is get in my sweats and be lazy. Today was a nice break from my full days, as I got to hang out with my sister and do some thrift store shopping.

   One of the things keeping me busy has been my photojournalism class. I have really been enjoying the class; every week we have a different photo assignment. This week was "Controlling Motion," so I went down to North Coast Gymnastics, and took some photos of the girls while they practiced.

       These girls were a lot of fun to shoot, and everybody at the academy was very friendly and welcoming. I may have to go back just to get some more practice!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Five years

Blouse: thrifted
Skirt: Francesca's
Shoes: Urban Outfitters
Earrings: Nordstrom
Belt: Macy's

   I have a love hate relationship with this blouse. I love the color and the material. What I don't love is how it requires ironing every 15 minutes. Also, the tie on the collar is just kinda awkward...I'm never sure if it looks better tied, or loose. Looking at these pictures, I think tying may be the better option.

   Today marks the fifth year Tommy and I have been together. Five years! Time flies when you're having fun. Unfortunately I have to work tonight, but we have already celebrated with lunch and mimosas and tonight we plan on going out to eat.I also bought two slices of cake from Pure Bliss, one of the best bakeries in Bellingham.

    I love you babe. Thank you for being my everything!