Monday Memo: What’s Cookin’ in the Land of Double Chins?

Hello there! Did you have a good weekend? I sure did! I started my weekend off by attending and speaking at the Los Angeles Lifestyle Bloggers Conference. It’s always nice to be surrounded by like-minded people, in this case, a room full of women who love blogging and technology. The panel I was on was about networking with social media and blogging, and while I’ll never call myself an expert, I do think social media is super-awesome at connecting people who otherwise may not have a chance to meet. In fact, this weekend I was lucky enough to meet several new friends — and that’s what I love about blogging and the internet. There are so many wonderful people out there that belong in your same “tribe”.

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Photo by my friend Calvin @MayhemStudios. See my water bottle?! I was hydrated!

Once I got over the first ten minute jitters of the panel, I had a great time! I tend to get nervous during public speaking, but I know that the more I do it, the better it will get. The audience had some great questions and for the remainder of the weekend we learned about things like SEO optimization, basic business principles, accounting for bloggers; you name it! We also ate delicious treats by places like Stonefire Grill, Fresh Brothers, Peddler’s Ice Cream, and A Sweet Design. I also experienced my first earthquake on the 11th floor of a high-rise! EEEK! Let’s just say this Midwestern girl still isn’t used to the earth rocking and rolling even after 10 years of living in the Golden state.

That brings me to the other thing happening over here in Los Angeles pretty frequently — all those earthquakes. April got to experience an LA Quake that was a 4.3 a couple of weeks ago, and this weekend Matt and I felt a 5.3 and then a 4.1. I try not to worry too much about natural disasters because I have no control over them happening, but the quaking of the earth reminded me this weekend that I need to be prepared. We’ll be shopping for some emergency supplies soon, in addition to what we already have (water, canned goods, flashlights, tent, etc.). Do you have any emergency preparedness kits or supplies?

And lastly, here’s a picture of my kale, which is growing out of control. Anybody have recipes that use kale? (Besides kale chips.) That’s all I got! Busy weekend, but super fun. Next weekend will be another busy one, and April and I will have a special announcement to share. Hope you have a great day!

 

Friday Five

Hello, hello! Since I’ve been Christmas shopping, Christmas Party-ing, and wrapping up all kinds of side projects, the poor little Double Chin Diary has had a bit of an unintentional Christmas break. However, life happens and that’s totally cool. It’s all about #wycwyc. If you see me using #WYCWYC on instagram posts, here’s what it means:

verb
  1. to do what you can when you can.
  2. to acknowledge that by doing the best you can when you can, it is enough.

In the spirit of #wycwyc (founded by two amazing FitBloggin ladies, Roni and Carla), my post for today is short n’ sweet, bullet list style. That’s all I got! 🙂

1) I’ve been soooo busy getting ready for Christmas, BUT, I refuse to drive like a nut! Have you guys noticed that in the holiday weeks, people are so grouchy, and in particular, driving like crazy people?! Be careful out there. Saving a minute on the road is not worth losing your life or endangering others. Ok, my preachy PSA is over.

2) I’m looking forward to going back to a lower-carb routine in a few days. I’ve been indulging here and there on sugary things, and while the temporary “yum!” satisfaction is nice, I feel all tired and sluggish after. It will be good to get back to eatin’ lean and mean. Check out this amazing spread that my friend Shelley made this year. HOLY YUM, right? I can’t blame her for any of my calorie overloading (I wish!) but this picture was too epic to not share. (Also – shameless plug – she makes ADORABLE cat-nip toys for kitties. Her shop is on a brief vacation, but we’re gonna do a giveaway in the new year!)

Shelley's Winter Wonderland

Shelley’s Winter Wonderland

3) You should watch this video “10 Honest Thoughts on Being Loved by a Skinny Boy“. Some powerful words, indeed.

4) I’ve now added Fish Oil in to my daily supplements, and I can happily report back that I have had NO FISH BURPS! Remember my strange fear of this awhile back? The trick seems to be spending a little more on a high quality omega-3 supp. I’m using Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Formula, 180-Count. (If you click this link and buy it, I might make like .2c. Full disclosure!)

5) For a Christmas gift for myself, I’m going to get myself the FitBit Force. I almost got a Flex, but the Force has a display on the front that will let me see steps walked, calories burned, and my sleep directly on the bracelet, without having to check my phone. Because as much as I love my phone, sometimes I want to “accidentally” forget it somewhere remote for a couple of days. Once I receive it, you’ll get the full scoop. I’m hoping this will motivate me to keep it up, activity wise, on the day to day. (Pssst. New year’s resolution? GET UP FROM MY DESK DURING WORK and WALK! Sitting is the new smoking!)

 

Are you guys getting yourself a Christmas gift? What is it?!

Hocus Pocus – Our Ghostly Encounter

If you haven’t already noticed, I have a pretty vivid imagination. I’m one of those people easily influenced by the power of suggestion. If you say I should get a mole checked out on my arm, I’ll immediately think, “OMG, I HAVE CANCER” and will spend the next thirty minutes of my life plotting out my will. (Matt gets everything.) My wild imagination isn’t always a curse, and in fact, it’s responsible for helping launch my career in creative copywriting. But sometimes… like this last weekend… I wish I could just turn that imagination off, and be ‘Betty Bland N’ Plain’, with no tall tales swirling around in my brain.

We stayed in the top left room.

Matt and I spent the weekend in Big Bear Lake at a historic Mansion. We were staying in the Carriage House, an old building used for…. yep, you guessed it, housing carriages. This house was built in 1917, and the main lodge was built in 1879. Our room was pretty small and dusty, but there wasn’t anything particularly ooky-spooky about it. A little dated, a little country clutter, but it’s not like I found blood stains on the mattress – and the only dead body that I could see was the taxidermy trout perched above the bed. I even proclaimed that the room definitely wasn’t haunted – cuz you know, I’m like an expert on that stuff. We checked in, put our stuff down, and headed out pretty quickly to grab dinner since our tummies were rumbling.

Matt smiles, unaware of ghostly Emily lurking in the background. Look carefully at the sink.

We came back to a slightly eerie surprise – classical music was softly playing in the room. Our first guess was the radio – but nope, the alarm clock wasn’t on. We finally realized it was the phone that had some sort of hold button that played classical music. BUT WHO TURNED IT ON?! Matt and I were busy nomming on Cabin Cuisine, far away from the hotel room and creepy classical-music playing phone. Whatever – we moved on, a little spooked but just assuming it was on a timer or something (we talked to other guests who also experienced this – so maybe it was on a hotel wide timer?)

The corpse in our room. Anybody want fish sticks?

We ended up seeing Crazy Stupid Love that night (it was cute!), and when we came home at 11:30, the whole carriage house was dark, our neighbors all peacefully snoring in their tiny, creaky beds. We crept into bed, and with the light flicked off, I regressed to my five year old self and started to imagine cold fingers on my neck and monsters under the bed. I finally drifted off to sleep, but Matt and I were both startled awake around 3 AM from a large crash. You know when you’re woken up suddenly, and your heart pounds, and your eyes are frantically trying to catch up to the lack of light in the room? We both had that, and suddenly, my ‘spidey sense’ was tingling even more, crazed with anticipation of some axe-wielding, gold-panning demon ready to harvest my soul.

I managed to fall back asleep and awoke the next morning to find my makeup bag spilled inside of the sink with a few things on the floor. Big deal, right? Stuff falls all the time. However, look at the picture of Matt above. See the vanity counter? It’s tiny. And I made sure to push the bag all the way against the backsplash, purposely so it wouldn’t fall – cuz I use Lancome foundation, and that shiz is expensive, and I’ve broken the glass bottle before. So I kinda tried to make sure it couldn’t fall – no matter what. Weird – for sure. IT GETS WEIRDER!

No Up-Skirt shots here - this aint TMZ! Me in the haunted mansion

The next day, Sunday, I was shopping at one of the local stores when I started talking with the shop owner. I mentioned where we were staying, and she asked how I liked it. I explained that it had been a little creepy at night, and she laughed and said “Oh yes! My daughter worked there in high school as a maid – she eventually quit because of the ghost of a little girl who died there. She just got too creeped out.. they never hurt her or anything, but it just got weird!”

Little girl? The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Little girls love playing with makeup. Suddenly and randomly, a name popped up in my mind – EMILY. Emily was playing with my makeup. I don’t what kind of koolaid I’d been drinking, but in my mind, it suddenly made sense – it was the little ghost girl, Emily, playing with my makeup. Needless to say, Sunday night was a rough night for sleep – I kept one eye open, convinced a transparent little girl would pop up in front of my eyes, giggling, asking me to play with her. She never did pop up, thankfully. That was the end of the spookiness, but I left Big Bear with a great story – and an appreciation for my seemingly un-haunted house, where the only spirits are stowed high up in the liquor cabinet.

Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had a ghostly experience? Do you find your imagination prods you to believe in things that just might not be there?

**Note – A few yelp reviews pointed out a “weird feeling” in the room we were staying in – one person even said they felt a “demonic” presence. Luckily, nothing felt harmful – just a little creepy crawly!

This is not from where we stayed, but a "haunted" restaurant we ate at. The waitress described women in long blue aprons floating through the tables. We didn't notice the weird, gray thing in this shot until last night - and there was nobody there, but there is a guy standing off to the right. HOCUS POCUS?

Five Food Favorites Friday

It’s Friday! Let’s celebrate with a fluffy post – like my five favorite foodie things.

Five Favorite Meals:

  • Matt’s Pseudo-Beef Bourignon (braised beef simmered in red wine and onions all day. It’s amazeballs)
  • A delicious salad packed with fresh veggies and grilled chicken
  • Spicy Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes
  • A homemade, juicy cheeseburger
  • Cajun Pork Chops, Apples and Onions
  • ok, I cheated – one more – my mom’s chicken noodle soup

    mmmmm popcorn

Five Favorite Snacks:

  • Popcorn
  • Pretzel stick with cheese or chocolate
  • Crudites with ranch dressing
  • Sour watermelon gummies, occasionally
  • Mango with lemon and chili

Five Favorite Vegetables:

  • Avocado (Dresses up salads and sandwiches in the most wonderful way)
  • Cauliflower (excellent for crunching raw)
  • Green Beans (mmm, especially the ones that snap when you bite into them!)
  • Cucumbers (sliced with a little salt – divine!)
  • Broccoli (always so good on its own)

    Last summer's harvest

Five Favorite Fruits:

  • Tomatoes (homegrown, always. Don’t give me any of that pink garbage)
  • Pears (Juicy and ripe)
  • Plums (the deep, deep purple kind that stain your lips when you bite into them)
  • Strawberries (best with a little whipped cream)
  • Pineapple (I’ve eaten a whole one before. Don’t judge)

Five Favorite Beverages

  • Good, Old Fashioned Brewed Iced Tea
  • Fresh Lemonade
  • Thai Iced Tea (splurge)
  • Sprite Zero
  • Melon Boba (only on a big splurge)

Five Favorite Restaurants

  • Los Toros Mexican (incredible bean dip and margaritas)
  • Temptation in St. Maarten (we had our fancy honeymoon meal here. SO good)
  • Sonny’s BBQ (BBQ chain in the South/Florida – yum)
  • Luchessi’s Deli (amazing sandwiches on fresh baguette)
  • Kuhn Dang Thai (they have an awesome garlic green bean dish)

    Sunburnt and buzzed at Temptation in St. Maarten

Five food-related things that sound good right now:

  • Another glass of wine (heh)
  • A frosty pina colada
  • …. That’s it. I’m *gasp* FULL!