I’m loving this whole blogging thing so much that I’ve decided to move to my “om” sparkly new website! Yep, I’ve packed up all of my posts and images and am already moved in to the new site and some new additions have been added that you will enjoy. I’m so excited to share it with all of you! And I’m one very lucky gal to have a graphic designer/web developer for a boyfriend, who has been super supportive throughout all of this. Thank you, Sam. And thanks to all of you! I love that we’ve created a great little community here in this small part of the internet.
If you currently subscribe to my blog, make sure to resubscribe to my new and improved blog by adding your email address over on the right side. And if you have not subscribed to my blog yet, you should. It’s a lot of fun:) Check it out:
It’s summer, and with summer comes lots of sun, and with sun, usually comes sunburns. It’s been 4 years since I’ve cut out tanning and so I have to work extra hard to protect my lighter skin. And so I started doing some research a few years ago on big-brand sunscreens and was mortified to find out about all of the nasty chemicals that wreak havoc on our hormonal system and cause birth defects, among other awful things. So I’ve composed a little break down for you on what I have found in my own research. EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is the greatest website to find out what is in your products. And their articles on sunscreen is where I’ve gotten most of my information. I’m not an expert, but I am very passionate about knowing what is in my everyday products and the effects it has on my body, so I do the research for reliable information.
There are two different kinds of sunscreens–chemical and mineral. While both have their cons, mineral sunscreens are far superior to chemical ones, in terms of health and sun-protection. Ingredients in chemical sunscreens get absorbed into the skin very easily and are broken down by sunlight, to which companies add more toxic chemicals to make sure the ingredients aren’t broken down. Ingredients in mineral sunscreens are not absorbed into the skin and are effective with sun-protection. Although they do contain nano-particles, despite some that have a “non-nano” label, that are potentially harmful because the particles are so small and can be inhaled, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that they have harmful effects. The bottom line is that mineral sunscreens protect our skin very well without being broken down by the sun and all with very few health concerns, somethings that chemical sunscreens can’t boast about.
So in conclusion, Badger sunscreens are exceptional. In fact, most of their products are (I highly recommend the lip balm). It’s one of the best mineral sunscreens on the market and I used it on vacation in Silver Lake and only got a little burned on my hands (fishing in a boat, in the middle of a hot day, for hours will make your hands a bit red no how liberal you are with putting on sunscreen). Hope this is helpful! Happy sunscreening!
This is one of my simple and delicious go-to dishes that I make for myself, but usually I eat whatever variation of this recipe I make right when it’s ready and hot. But now that the temperatures have risen in Orange County, I’ve been chilling it in the fridge before I dive in and it’s even more delicious cold. The mustard vinaigrette dressing is what makes it for me; the lemon adds a lot of tangy flavor, while the Dijon mustard makes it really creamy. This recipe also makes for a fantastic side dish, as Sam and I had this dish (he calls it Joaquinoa Pheonix) with little filet mignons one night and it was super yummy! The recipe is below and is versatile for whatever kind of flavors you’d like to add. Enjoy!
Cold Quinoa Salad (Serves 1 meal or 2 side dishes):
1/2 cup of white quinoa
1 cup of chicken stock
Juice from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp. of Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp. of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. or so of chopped chives (flat leaf Italian parsley is good-any green herb of your liking would work)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Wash the quinoa in cold water (this helps give it a fluffier texture). Bring the chicken stock, quinoa and juice from half of the lemon to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the seeds get fluffy. You will see the white rings separate from the seed. If you taste it and it’s still too crunchy continue to let it simmer until it has a softer texture. You want a little bit of chewiness, but you don’t want to feel like you’re eating bird seed.
While that’s cooking, combine the rest of the lemon juice, Dijon Mustard and red wine vinegar and whisk together. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the mixture to make sure the oil is nicely incorporated into dressing. Add salt, pepper and most of the chives to your dressing and stir. Once the quinoa is looking nice and fluffy, pour the dressing on top and mix it up in a bowl. Let it cool down a bit before chilling it in the fridge. Cover the bowl and poke a hole to let steam out and chill for around 45 minutes or so. Add the rest of your freshly chopped chives and dig in!
Summer is just starting to hit me! I was starting to worry I wasn’t going to be able to get into the summer spirit, but luckily my seasonal enthusiasm came just in time. I love putting together images of what is currently making me happy. So here are some of the things that I’m looking forward to and are inspiring me this summer.
-Watching Noah and Allie’s complicated, summer romance in The Notebook for the gazillionth time-
-Reminiscing of sunny days in Catalina-
-Tulsi mala beads: believed to have strong healing properties that bring peace and harmony to one’s life-
-Old-timey circus photographs-
-I like to imagine I’m in Bali when I’m practicing yoga-
-Eating mint-chip ice cream; my favorite!-
-Wishing I owned all of Reese Witherspoon’s costumes/outfits from Water for Elephants-
Uncle Sam and Ella; a dynamic duo I could not adore more. Poor Ella is the only child on our Silver Lake trips so she sometimes has no one to play with, except when Sam is around–then the playing really begins! I think Ella has a lot of Sam’s attributes, particularly their love of performing for others. He’s the perfect companion for her as he has no problem acting like a kid and doing the silliest things with her. The name of the game for the whole trip was “playing spy” on the grown-ups. Sam would give her “missions” and she’d earnestly complete them. And sometimes they’d go on operations together, like to spy on Papa while he washed the dishes. And I was there to capture it. I was all smiles and laughter behind the camera, while trying not to blow their cover. Mike was also holding back laughter, but playing along with it; he’s a good Papa. I couldn’t resist sharing this hilarious series of photographs with you.
Annual Silver Lake trips started with Sam’s family when he and his sister, Sara, were very young. Somewhere along the way the trips came to an end, but three years ago they decided to bring the family vacation back to life! It’s been amazing in the last three years to sort of experience what Sam’s childhood vacations were like in Silver Lake. And it seems that with each year, the trips get better and better. I’ve known Sam and his family for nearly five years now and we’ve been very close from the beginning, but I am constantly in awe of how lucky I am to be a part of this family.
This vacation was really special for me–maybe even the best of my life, so far. I felt like I was in this calm and spacious mind-set to fully appreciate every ounce of what happened during our trip. There were so many moments that I loved and I was usually right there to capture it with my camera. I realized on this trip how much I love to document the awesome moments of my life. I wrote in my journal of all of the great experiences of the day and I had two cameras with me: my new Nikon SLR and my smaller Sony camera for situations when I couldn’t take my bigger SLR.
I think I have this drive to capture moments that I love on camera or in my journal because I always want to remember them and hate the thought of letting those little things–and even the big things–dissipate into my life’s history without remembrance. To be able to have something to look back on and remind myself that this small, yet incredible, thing happened one day when I was in Silver Lake, is very important to me. Ergo, I’m a serious moment captor. Some of the highlights of the trip: the Supermoon, celebrating my 25th birthday, Sam and Sara dancing to “Billie Jean,” Sam and his niece, Ella, playing spy, boat fishing, mornings at the cafe and beautiful sunsets on the lake.
The mental transition from vacation mode back to everyday-life mode has always been a tough one for me. Particularly this year, when our gang left Silver Lake to head home, the more we headed further along the road the more my head started to get bombarded with stressful thoughts. It was shocking how quickly my relaxed and loving mind-set that I cultivated during the trip was overshadowed by the worries of going “back to reality.”
But, having 8 hours of being on the road, I got to thinking about how the reality I created on vacation should be not be much different from my reality back home. Why allow stupid, insignificant things get in the way of making me feel absolutely great about myself; like the way I felt on vacation? Albeit, I did have some big things to tackle when I got home, I realized that I can take responsibility for my own life experience and stop those monster thoughts from controlling my mood. I should always feel like my beautiful and amazing, vacation self in my everyday life! So now, despite the difficulty to allow myself to let go of mood-controlling thoughts, I’ve decided to make the commitment to choose to live my life with a lovely, vacation state of mind; minus the constant desire for yummy, yet greasy, vacation foods. Cheers to living your life like your lounging by the lake with a glass of wine!