A wonderful weekend

Hi everybody! *waves hello*

I hope you had a lovely weekend. I know I sure did! I’ve been catching up with the hustle bustle from the holidays, and have also started a new full-time social media job (working from home! score!). It’s been a very exciting past few weeks in my household. This weekend was a 3 day weekend for me, and I had a jam-packed few days full of fun. To start, me and my gym buddies all got pedicures. I spoil myself about once a month for a pedicure, and the expense is well worth the hour of relaxation. Don’t our toes look adorable?


Then, on Saturday, Matt and I enjoyed being spoiled Southern Californians by heading to Malibu, where we frolicked in the surf and sunbathed. 80 degrees on January 18. Yep, that’s pretty spoiled. It was funny because about five feet from our beach sheet, there was a Land’s End catalog shoot going on. The models were wearing big, chunky sweaters over bikini bottoms, and you could tell they were going for the Cape Cod / Nantucket type feel. Not in LA, baby… our beach days here are nice and warm.


We hiked up to a lookout point above the beach, where the clear sky was a breathtaking backdrop to the blue ocean. Isn’t the view amazing?


I scuttled around this canyon type thing, and had fun doing some tricep dips as I crawled through. I’m trying to squeeze in exercise wherever I can!


After the beach, we saw Her. I’m still wrapping my head around that movie; I liked it, sure, but what an odd concept. Sadly it’s a concept that I can see becoming true in the very near future. We already have Siri, how long until our operating systems become our best friends and confidantes and therapists and doctors? Crazy, right?! You should go see it and tell me what you think.


Today, we woke up early and headed to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. Right now, avocados, oranges, kale, cabbage, onions, potatos, bok choy and different lettuces are the stars of the season. I bought some organic carrots, celery, heirloom tomatoes, and bacon avocados for meals this week. I also picked up a half gallon of raw milk, because I made my own cheese! My dad got me thisΒ Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit for Christmas, and I’d been impatiently waiting for a weekend day to make my own mozzerella. More about that in a minute, but first I have to show you the delicious brunch I had today with my friend Timmy, new friends Chris and Travis, and Matt. Our friend Tim’s roommate’s boyfriend (got that?) lives in a beautiful midcentury modern house in the LA hills, and we were invited over today for a super yummy brunch of mimosas, cornflake crusted french toast, hash browns, and red pepper eggs. It was deeeeelicious and was the perfect “cheat meal” to close out my weekend. After we ate, we played Cards Against Humanity (which I am so buying, like now. Damn! I can’t, it’s sold out) and had a grand time guffawing at the incredibly offensive word combinations we came up with. It was an awesome, low key Sunday with delicious food, belly laughs, and great company.


Now, back to the cheese! A few people have asked me if I’m going to blog the “how to”, but to be honest, I don’t really know how other than to follow the instructions in the booklet that came with the kit. I was nervous about making it, but truthfully, it’s a pretty easy process as long as you measure the temperature of the whey and stick to the general time guidelines. We used raw milk, which is unpasteurized and made me feel all hippie-anarchist. I even drank a little bit…. tastes exactly like “normal” milk. Some people speculate that raw milk can help ease allergies — curious! I’m not a huge milk drinker in general, otherwise I might give that a try. So basically making mozzarella was pretty simple. Here’s a nifty little instagram video I did of it.


The end result? YUM! It’s not as salty or as squeaky as store-bought cheese, but it has a very light, milky taste. I found it the perfect backdrop for our dinner of caprese salad — sliced heirloom tomatoes with cheese, basil olive oil, salt and pepper. Amazing. AND, one last wonderful thing about this weekend? I put on my previously too tight to button jeans, and while they’re still snug, they button. They’re wearable πŸ™‚ YAY!

So there’s my weekend in a nutshell. I feel so lucky to get the things I get to do — spend time with awesome people, play in sunny So Cal’s awesome beaches, make and enjoy delicious food. I hope you had an equally excellent weekend. So tell me, what did you do this weekend? What was the highlight?

Family Fun and Kitsch: My Favorite Things

Hey everybody, happy Friday! This is a non-weight-loss related post but I got to thinking about KITSCH the past few days. This weekend I’m super excited because on Saturday I have an action-packed day filled with fun, at the Hollywood Wax Museum and at the Los Angeles Dia De Los Muertos festival. One of the things I always try to do when I’m in my home city and when I’m traveling, is to see places packed with Kitsch. What is Kitsch, exactly? Some people define Kitsch as “pleasantly distasteful” but I actually prefer to think of it as the things that don’t *quite* fit in but are fun, unusual and things you don’t see everyday. Maybe this is why I love browsing flea markets πŸ™‚ I was thinking about how I always go out of my way to find kitsch when I travel, and these few examples popped up…

Fish Pedicure in Thailand with hubby and the Running Jewess. Eeeeek!

Fish Pedicure in Thailand with hubby and the Running Jewess. Eeeeek!


One of my favorite “kitschy” things we did in Thailand was the garrah fish pedicure. I had read about it in magazines and was at first horrified, but after a friend posted that she did it, I had one of those “Well, when in Rome…” type reactions. It cost a few dollars and the sensation was WEIRD. It wasn’t so much that I was worried about it hurting or being gross, what creeped me out more was like, what if I somehow step on a fishy and kill it?! (Yes, I’m the weirdo that always goes to the worst case scenario, in this case, worrying about fish safety!)Β My feet were actually noticeably softer afterwards, and man, is it a great story. I’m so glad I did it!


Dia de Los Muertos bride and Alyssa!

Dia de Los Muertos bride and Alyssa!

In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I always love the cultural art. They have some fantastic iconographic images of plus-sized ladies that are adorable, as well as all of Frida and Diego’s amazing work. I especially love the wooden skulls like the one above. I’m excited to see more of these at the Dia De Los Muertos festival tomorrow. I think it’s really important to step outside our bounds of what’s “normal” in regards to art; for example, this skeleton lady would creep a lot of people out, but I thought it was COOL. Again, kitsch!

Kitschy Pea Soup Andersen's in Santa Nella, Calif. Photo from Simply Junebug's Instagram.

Kitschy Pea Soup Andersen’s in Santa Nella, Calif. Photo from Simply Junebug’s Instagram.

Another kitsch classic? Pea Soup Andersen’s. When I stopped here on the way to Fitcation, I was amazed that I had never been. They have a delightful little store loaded with kitsch Tchotchkes, mugs, magnets, candles, food items, imported spices. I LOVED it and could have easily spent $300 on all the various bric-a-brac. Thinking about all of this, it’s no wonder I love the decorating style of country clutter and those restaurants that have stuff ALL OVER the walls – guitars, trophies, pictures, t-shirts, money. I guess being a visual person it just delights me to look around and read a little bit of everything πŸ™‚

So there’s just a few examples of KITSCH that rock my world. I can’t wait to share pictures with you from the Hollywood Wax Museum – a place I can’t believe I’ve never been to considering I’ve lived 20 minutes from Hollywood for the past eight years! It’s actually the longest running wax museum in the United States. I’m curious which waxy celebs I’ll pose with πŸ˜‰ Another place I really adore is the Cheese Castle in Wisconsin, the Bean in Chicago, and the giant dinosaurs along the freeway on the way to Palm Springs. If there’s a giant ball of twine, I’m there! When you travel, do you find yourself going out of your way to see the weird and unusual or do you stick to standard tourist attractions? Or do you skip both of those things and explore the uncovered parts of cities you’re visiting, maybe local digs? Would you do a fish pedicure?!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Non-Weight Loss Related Post: The Magic of Makeup

When I was 11 years old, I remember one of the best Valentine’s Day gifts I’ve ever received. My mom presented me with a little bag of candy; the chalky conversation hearts, some chocolate, and a pink Cover Girls Cheekers blush. I remember the excitement of my very first piece of makeup; a sure sign that I was leaving childhood and entering the awesome state of adulthood. (If only we could go back, eh?!) Ever since then, I’ve had a love of makeup, that once even landed me a job at Kohl’s in the beauty department, rubbing lotion samples into geriatric shoppers hands or trying to create effortless eyes for busy moms.

My best friend and I were both mutually obsessed with makeup, and while neither of us wore tons of it, we would spend weekends poring over our Making Faces book by Kevyn Aucoin. He would create glamorous looks ranging from fairy-like Tori Amos eyes to dramatic, gothy styles with black lips and spiderweb eyelashes. We’d “practice” on each other, never quite mastering the art, but ALWAYS having fun.

Somebody recently asked me why I wear makeup, and I thought it was a good question. I don’t feel like I have to, in fact, there are many weekend days where I leave the house without a stitch of anything on my face, even though I feel like my blonde eyelashes make me look like the walking dead. I wear makeup because it makes me feel good. I love the way a nice black mascara makes my eyes pop, just like how a swipe of pinky coral blush brings some life to my fair skin. I feel more comfortable in the skin I’m in by adding a little “enhancement”. The key is, of course, like Edward Scissorhand’s Mom famously said, Blend and Blend and Blend! Is it my weight that makes me want to wear makeup? Eh, probably not. I like what it does for my face. It’s fun!


While some women dread putting on makeup, I actually enjoy the process as I see it being somewhat artistic. In the morning, I like that I can choose based on my mood for the day – Do I want to do a colorful plum on the eyes, or do I keep it neutral with a sparkly brown? Do I wear lipstick or stick with gloss? Should I bother with blush, or is it too crazy of a morning, when tinted moisturizer and mascara is all I’m going to do?

In the picture above, the wedding makeup includes two uncommon things for me, bright red lipstick and false eyelashes. It’s a little “too much” for everyday, but I had fun “Creating” that look and I think that makeup can be amazingly fun when it’s used in the right capacity. So today, ladies, (and some men too, if that’s your thing!), what are your thoughts on makeup? Is it a must have for you or an afterthought? Is it something you hate, or something you love? Also because I’m a fiend, share your favorite makeup item.. mine is FAIRYDROPS Scandal Queen Mascara Black. It’s pricey at $24 a tube, but turns my wimpy, mini lashes into lush, foxy fringe.

Your turn: Is makeup a fun, artistic pleasure for you, or a dreaded effect of a misogynistic agenda? Or is it neither of those extremes?!

(I popped two affiliate links in here because you never know, some of you might be makeup lovers like me! We can share the 3c I earn if you buy. πŸ˜‰ )

April’s flower filled birthday celebration!

This weekend, Matt and I traveled up the boring I-5 to visit foggy San Francisco and celebrate April’s 30th birthday! April is somewhat of a hippie. Even though she missed the 70s by about ten years, she’s always been a flower child at heart. Her birthday party was held in Dahlia Dell at Golden Gate Park, a lush green park on the lawn of the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. Here’s some pictures of the special day! Most of these were taken by my mom of the talented Lynnette Joy Photography.

She wore a daisy chain in her hair.

April wore a daisy chain in her hair.


My brother's girlfriend Alison made this amazing cake. It was delicious!

My brother’s girlfriend Alison made this amazing cake. It was delicious! We had some of April’s favorite candy, bottlecaps, pixi sticks and smarties for guests to snack on.


The Double Chin Duo is together at last! Funny how we look so much alike yet have some major differences, right? Do you think we look alike? Some people think we look like twins!

It was great to see my best friend Katelyn and my Dad. (PS: See that little hip curve I've got?! Always a sure sign I'm slowly shrinking. Woohoo!)

It was great to see my best friend Katelyn and my Dad. (PS: See that little hip curve I’ve got?! Always a sure sign I’m slowly shrinking. Woohoo!)


I'm not sure if you've ever seen the Double Chin Brother! This is our sweet little brother, who is almost 25 but will always be 12 years old to us.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the Double Chin Brother! This is our sweet little brother, who is almost 25 but will always be 12 years old to us.

I enjoyed some yummy treats during the party like pork ribs, macaroni salad and a cupcake, but I tried not to drink my calories. This picture was actually taken in anticipation of another post I'll write this week about my upcoming break up with diet soda :(

I enjoyed some yummy treats during the party like pork ribs, macaroni salad and a cupcake, but I tried not to drink my calories. This picture was actually taken in anticipation of another post I’ll write this week about my upcoming break up with diet soda πŸ™

We had all kinds of entertainment, from making floral crowns to a ukele player!

We had all kinds of entertainment, from making floral crowns to a ukele player!

These magnificent poppies were just a few of the many gorgeous flowers surrounding us.

These magnificent poppies were just a few of the many gorgeous flowers surrounding us.

Happy Birthday, April!

Happy Birthday, April!

Don’t forget to enter to win a prize pack filled with delicious BIG TRAIN protein drinks!!!


Running in Rainbows: The Color Run

color run packets

Running in rainbows leaves a beautiful mess after the Color Run LA!

One of my goals in life that I hope comes across on the blog is to always have fun. Exercise is something that I usually don’t view as fun – because it’s WORK. The huffing, the puffing, the sweating, the panting, the “Am I done yet?”, the cramps in your leg if you don’t sweat, the expensive shoes, the mid-workout wedgie… I could go, but I won’t. Β It was kind of a big deal when I found exercise I actually enjoyed, like zumba, boxing and hiking, and realized that burning calories didn’t have to mean torture. Last year, I saw The Color Run on Skinny Emmie‘s blog and I knew I had to go. I’m a big fan of color in general, and getting pelted with it in all white sounded awesome!

White and bright before the run.

White and bright before the run.

I set up a team and was joined by 9 lovely people – some I have known for a very long time and some I had just met. We were named the ChromatiKids, and began our adventure pristine and clean in fresh white.



While I had originally hoped to run this 5K, I knew I wasn’t prepared enough to run, so I opted for a steady walk with most members of my group. (There’s another event coming up in March I think I might try to run! Woohoo!) We had a great time gabbing as we ascended the hills around Dodger Stadium and approached our first color- BLUE! The course was set up so that you would go a distance uncolored, and then as you came upon a landmark, say, 1 mile, you entered the color “zone”.


Next, we came upon orange, where I was pelted with a rather large color bomb on the top of my head. For the first time, I lived a day in the life of a ginger. It was kind of fun, but I don’t think you’ll see me cheating on my beloved Ms. Clairol.

color run la

Next, I hit up yellow, where I took on a mustard-like hue thanks to my personal color-chef, pictured here. Don’t I look sunny?


Pink was our very last color zone, and that called for a jumping celebration! I was feeling really good at this point because I felt strong and somewhat in shape through out the whole 5k. I even ran a couple parts of it and then doubled back to join my team. It’s awesome to actually feel your efforts adding up!


Color Run Team ChromatiKids After the Run!

Color Run Team ChromatiKids After the Run!

My only advice to those of you participating in a color run is to CLOSE YOUR MOUTH during the color zones. Because I’m sometimes not the brightest, I giggled my way through the first zone and ended up sputtering on a big old ball of colorful cornstarch. I learned my lesson and kept my lips zipped, but that was the only little “oops” I had during this awesome event.

color run finish line

Color Runners Rock!

I had so much fun at the Color Run and it was an awesome way to spend time with friends, get some fresh air, burn a ton of calories, and enjoy something totally unusual. I’ll have memories of being pelted with color for a long, long time! So bloggies, what do you think – would you do the color run or do you prefer to stay un-pelted with color?




A whimsical wedding: 1920’s style!

The gorgeous bride and dapper groom

Hi everybody! Hope you had a fantastic weekend! Last weekend after Matt and I time traveled to the 60’s, we headed back to Los Angeles to enter the roaring 20s! My longtime friend and twin Amy (at work we dressed up as each other for Halloween once because so many people confused us for each other) was marrying her sweetheart Casey at the beautiful Legendary Park Plaza hotel in downtown Los Angeles. I was looking forward to this wedding for a long time, because I knew lots of my MGA friends would be present, and I was so so happy for Amy to get to say “I Do” to her sweet Casey.


The ceremony location

The bride and groom said their handwritten vows under an ornate painted cathedral ceiling, flanked by towering wrought iron gates and a beautiful wooden chuppah draped with flowers and ivy. The bride’s brother officiated the ceremony and did a wonderful job. I really love the touch of people using people they know to officiate their weddings – our 7th grade English teacher officiated our wedding!

Dangerous curves ahead

Matt and I put on the ritz for this wedding, and I was so excited to wear my (size 16!) dress from Nordstrom’s rack. I felt that it was really flattering and comfortable, which is a rarity for curvier gals like me. Evening wear is one of the worst things to shop for, in my opinion, almost up there with bras. However, this dress is a keeper, and I only suffered minimally in my control-top briefs. (I’ll tell you, getting home from an event where you’re wearing some sort of girdle or spanx? The moment when you take them off ranks up there with like… scoring a huge raise, winning the lotto, or some other form of massive hedonistic pleasure. Let the flab fly free after being constricted all evening. Sooo nice.)


The gang's all here!

After the ceremony, we headed in to the ballroom, where we enjoyed appetizers, an open bar and a bandstand style band! We swing danced, ate, chatted, drank and enjoyed the vintage photo booth. Here’s a great shot of the whole group, ready to go protest the prohibition. Matt and I cut quite a rug, so I wasn’t feeling too bad about the lavendar macarons I snacked on from the dessert bar. I always forget what great exercise dancing is until I’m out there shakin’ and boogieing and sweating.



Eric Balfour and Jenny and I

One of the other cool things about this wedding was that there was a CELEBRITY there! I guess I’m still small town Illinois girl in that I get all giddy and excited when I see someone who’s on TV. Amy’s cousin is Eric Balfour, whom I instantly recognized as Gabe from Six Feet Under, one of my favorite shows ever! I very respectfully asked if Jenny and I could take a picture with him and he was super super nice and friendly. Cool!


There were three types of cake – carrot, red velvet, and some sort of oreo cookie cream. Yum! I had the carrot cake but by the time we got to cake, I was so stuffed I only had a little bit. Isn’t their cake pretty? Amy’s bouquet and center pieces, and floral elements on the cake, featured succulents! I’ve always wanted to go to a wedding with some succulent touches. I had soo much fun with all my friends at this wedding, and by the time the evening was over, Matt and I had been to the 60’s and the 20’s, all in one weekend. I only wish we could have hit up the renaissance times while we were at it too (I’ve decided that clearly, the reason I’m overweight is I’m just in the wrong era. This body would have been GOLDEN in the middle ages, y’all.)

Congratulations, Amy and Casey – and thanks for letting us be a part of your special day!