Saturday, August 14, 2010

Need diet & exercise motivation? Buy Oxygen magazine!!

I usually stick to the mainstream women's health/fitness magazines, like Women's Health & Self but they always felt lacking in the info I was really looking for, namely practical meal ideas & workouts that felt new. I had seen this magazine on the newstand before but since many of the women are so buff (& some are even bodybuilders) I got scared off. But after many reccomendations from gals on a Fitness board I post on, I picked up an issue. Wow! This is exactly what I've been looking for! Lots of workout moves, none of that "Try this new walking workout!". And they whole magazine is focused on "clean eating". And while I haven't committed myself to that diet, I do like the straight forward approach. (Maybe I'll try to work that in with my calorie counting (that way I can still feel like I can eat chocolate & desserts. I can't ban anything without getting bitchy. lol)
If you are bored by the same-old fitness magazines, pick up an issue of this. You won't be disappointed.

Great style: Jennifer Aniston

Magazine Review: Harper's Bazaar September 2010 - Jennifer Aniston

So far, this is my favorite September issue. I dog-earred a lot of pages & made a lot of notes.

Fashion: I love how Bazaar often pairs a photo shoot with a few paragraphs or even a page of writing about the fashions they have shown. Makes it more accessible somehow. Anyway, in this issue they have an Accessories Special featureing leopard, skins & the color red, an article titled Secrets of Efortless Style, The New Fashion Flock, Where Have All the Bras Gone? & Bringing Mystery Back. They also have a How to Wear It Guide (like pairing camel w/caramel accessories, olive with florals, etc) & How to Wear Pantsuits. There is a tribute to Daisy Fellowes, an interview of Marc Jacobs by Calvin Klein, and a 1 page write up about The Row. They have 2 pages of couture & a really cool fashion shoot with Rachel Zoe as the subject, posing with various big name designers. Zoe did a very good job & the pics are very artistic.
Nothing worth mentioning as far as beauty goes.

Get this issue!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Books: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
"In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don't put out fires--they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury's vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal--a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad. Fire Captain Beatty explains it this way, "Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs.... Don't give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy."

Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman undergoing a crisis of faith. His wife spends all day with her television "family," imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall. Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbor Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home. Eventually, his wife turns him in, and he must answer the call to burn his secret cache of books. After fleeing to avoid arrest, Montag winds up joining an outlaw band of scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, waiting for the time society will once again need the wisdom of literature." taken from

I was surprised I didn't enjoy this more. It could've just been my mood at the time (my mood determines more than I would like) but while the story was interesting, frustrating, & sad, I didn't really feel connected to the main character. I think I will need to read this again another time

Magazine Review: Marie Claire September 2010 - Mary-Kate Olsen

This really is the Project Runway magazine isn't it? This issue they have an article about the PR casting call, Nina has a page titled Nina's Guide to Getting Dressed (I do love her books so my only complaint here is that it wasn't a longer article) & Gunn's Laws (comfort is overrated, be nice, etc). I'm surprised they didn't take Michael Kors from Glamour.
This wasn't my favorite issue for fashion. The Big Girl in a Skinny World column talks about her must-haves but other than that & Nina & Tims columns, I didn't make any other fashion related notes.
This issue did have more in the way of beauty. The Beauty Passport is on facialists secrets, Beauty Snoop is about Evan Rachel Wood, they have a bunch of makeup & hair product picks in their Lady & the Vamp section, the Foreign Beauty Report was on Bali (duh, seeing that Eat, Pray, Love is coming out soon) & there is a one page write up about a the makeup, etc in a French Cabaret.
Quite a few interesting articles, including how stay at home dads are the new status symbol for working women, a really infurating article about the backlog of untested rape kits & an article about What Women Eat in different parts of the world. It includes calorie counts, etc & lists the women's height & weight. Seems misleading though since often the calorie counts are quite high but the women are still quite slim. They should've included how much physical activity the women do since that would be a huge contributing factor. But I believe this was taken from a book on the subject so it was out of MC's hands. Funny thing, the American featured in the mag ate only fast food. lol.

If you are looking for fall fashion inspiration, I would keep looking. But if you want a few interesting articles to read, it might be worth it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Magazine Review: Glamour September 2010 - J Lo

I didn't feel overly impressed with this issue but I wrote a full page of notes while reading so....

In Beauty, there were anti-aging tips in Read This & You'll Never Need Plastic Surgery, wavy hairstyles & the Glammy Awards, which are totally lame. All Great Lash & CG Cheekers blush.

For Fashion, What to Wear if You Love: Classics, Brights, Pants, Comfort, etc. 6 ways to wear a lace tee, Must Have: Messenger Bags, Bow Flats, Chain Purses, etc. A fashion photo shoot with Justin Bieber (why is that brat famous?). Also Dos & Don't of Fall Style from Michael Kors.

Articles: 5 Health Truths to Live By (don't trust your Dr blindly, getting dirty is good for you, your drink of choice should be water, etc), a long article about anxiety which talks about drugs, therapy & info about panic attacks. 12 Things I Wish I Knew About Love at 21 (be interesting, fine line between teasing & criticizing, don't compare your life to your friends...). Would You Be Friends with You? New Qs about Love & Sex (sexting, the difference between hot, beautiful & cute, group dates, etc). Also an article about popular celeb workouts, new school, such as TRX Suspension Trainer, & old school, like running & yoga.

The Samsung article in this issue is about the people's favorite leading ladies (Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet) & What if the characters were real, who would you want to have as your BFFs? (SATC) Who would you want as your boss? (Liz Lemon)

Again, not a bad issue but I didn't really love it. Not sure what I'm looking for but I haven't found it yet.

Magazine Review: Lucky September 2010 - Jessica Simpson

Finally!! The start of the September issues! Gotta love the fresh feel of starting a new season. Plus I'm sick of dealing with it being 100 degrees every day.

The most interesting thing about this issue were the ads. Apparently GAP has a new black pant collection coming out that looks really great. There are also some great looking items at KMart, the military jacket in particular has caught my attention. Also, there is a Samsung ad that I've noticed in a few of the September issues that is made to look like a magazine article & is actually worth reading. In this issue its on the big fashion inspirations seen in movies & music.

Anyway, onto the Fashion in this issue. Mini trends are red & black together, ruffles, layered lace. Capes are back (I think they're classic & very chic is done right - think Carrie in SATC in the Fleet Week episode). This issue also has the Fall Shoe Guide (styles include lots of different kinds of boots, girly flats, strappy heels, etc). Photo spreads on Retro Modern (some very cute looks) & Uniformly Chic (juxiposition of hard & soft, masculine & feminine).
For Beauty, they had a very nice article on red lipstick & recommended shades in categories such as matte, classic reds, liquid, sheer, etc.

Overall, its an ok issue. Don't think this will make my must-buy list

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Magazines: The August 2010 issues worth getting

Sorry I'm so late with everything this month. Having a newborn & trying to potty-train a toddler takes up a lot of time! lol
I narrowed it down to 4 issues that would most likely be worth your money:Lucky w/Ali Larter. This seemed to have the best fashion inspiration for right now, for when you're in the mood for fall but its still *way* too hot to wear most fall clothes.

Allure w/Eva Mendes. Hair articles were in every issue I read this month but Allure had the best coverage & ideas by far.

Harper's Bazaar w/Cameron Diaz. This issue had the best fall fashion inspiration (although if you want to wait a few weeks all the Sept issues will be out)
People StyleWatch w/Beyonce. You know I always consider this a must-get (my other usual must-get, InStyle, disappointed me this month so that's why it didn't make the list).


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Magazine Review: InStyle August 2010 - Courteney Cox

This issue felt a little lacking. I didn't really make many notes about it. Just mainly who was featured in in the monthly columns, etc. Nothing worth noting for beauty.
~Secrets of Style w/Jason Wu
~Her 10 Best Ever! Marion Cotillard
~Signature Style: Julianne Moore
~Fall Shoes (pointy heels, biker boots, bright suedes, fring & tassels, black & strappy, nude hues)
~10 New Style Statements (cluthces for day, socks w/skirts, mismatched prints, denim on denim, etc)

Overall, eh for InStyle but still better than some of the other magazines out this month.

Books: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

"As the finale to Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is not content to merely match the adrenaline-charged pace that made international bestsellers out of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire. Instead, it roars with an explosive storyline that blows the doors off the series and announces that the very best has been saved for last. A familiar evil lies in wait for Lisbeth Salander, but this time, she must do more than confront the miscreants of her past; she must destroy them. Much to her chagrin, survival requires her to place a great deal of faith in journalist Mikael Blomkvist and trust his judgment when the stakes are highest. To reveal more of the plot would be criminal, as Larsson's mastery of the unexpected is why millions have fallen hard for his work. But rest assured that the odds are again stacked, the challenges personal, and the action fraught with neck-snapping revelations in this snarling conclusion to a thrilling triad. This closing chapter to The Girl's pursuit of justice is guaranteed to leave readers both satisfied and saddened once the final page has been turned. --Dave Callanan" taken from

This book is gripping just like the second one. I really liked it & stayed up half the night to finish it. If the first book was too slow for you & you gave up on it, just move onto The Girl Who Played w/Fire & then onto this one. You won't be disappointed.

Magazine Review: Elle August 2010 - Drew Barrymore

Lets start with the most interesting part of this issue: the article They Like It Like That?, which is about the sexual fantasy life of men. It's gross, the phrase "flesh Slinky" was even used. lol. Disturbing but worth reading.
Other articles included The Choice (about selective reduction in pregnancies of multiples) and Secrets & Lies (about whether you should share relationship details w/other people).
In Fashion, Style A to Zee is on Faux Fur and has anyone else noticed that leopard seems to be bigger this year than usual? Yes, I know its back every fall but it seems more hyped up this year.
In Beauty, there is the required-for-August hair section. This time the focus is on bangs (Nicole Ritchie inspiration), pixie (Halle Berry), long, straight (Reese Witherspoon), and waves (Kim K). And, duh, Jennifer Aniston has the most requested color (pretty sure her cut is the more requested too). There is also the Beauty Editors beauty picks.

Another thing worth noting is that in the Drew interview she mentions there possibly being a Charlie's Angels tv show. Could be interesting. Love Drew, BTW.

Overall, not bad. Try to read the article I mentioned above but there weren't many other standouts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

ELF Order

Haven't placed an order in a little while. I had originally planned to get the Aromaleigh eyeshadow in Entangle (gorgeous unique shade) but they are closing and won't accept Paypal anymore. And since I'm only allowing myself online orders w/my survey money, I had to find somewhere else to spend.
I heard about the ELF free shipping w/any $10 order promo & decided now was the perfect time to try a few more thing from them. I had placed an order a *very* long time ago & had mixed feelings. But now they have the Studio line, which gets many raves, so I knew I had to try them again.
This is what I got:

Small Angled Brush
High Definition Powder
Blush in Gotta Glow (Nars Albatross dupe)They are also suppose to include a free gift, which is the cream eyeliner (hope they don't send the white shade)All this for $12!! (and since its my survey $, pretty much free for me!!)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Magazine Review: Harper's Bazaar August 2010 - Cameron Diaz

I want to start by saying that I'm loving the lady-like looks & the 70s inspiration. With my lifestyle I probably won't be able to work the cute dresses but flare jeans, camel coats, shearling bombers? Bring them on!
Fashion: In this issue they have a handbag special & a really nice article about What to Buy & How to Wear It (camel coats, leopard accents, menswear tailoring, feminine blouses, etc).
Beauty: Not much here, just 2 pages on the requisite August magazine topic, hair.
Articles: Eat, Shop, Love (by Simon Doonan. I didn't really like the encouragement for women to shop to feel better but I guess its appropriate for a fashion magazine), Two Moms & a Baby (the inspiration behind the movie The Kids Are All Right), Mistaken for the Nanny (about having mixed race kids).
The A Fashionable Life section is something I normally skip but this month its on the Hilfigers & all I can say is, damn. Every picture of the wife was so OTT & posed. Ridiculous.

Not tons of great content but I did feel inspired for fall.

Books: Medium Raw

Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

"In the ten years since his classic Kitchen Confidential first alerted us to the idiosyncrasies and lurking perils of eating out, from Monday fish to the breadbasket conspiracy, much has changed for the subculture of chefs and cooks, for the restaurant business—and for Anthony Bourdain.

Medium Raw explores these changes, moving back and forth from the author's bad old days to the present. Tracking his own strange and unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, Bourdain takes no prisoners as he dissects what he's seen, pausing along the way for a series of confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food.

Beginning with a secret and highly illegal after-hours gathering of powerful chefs that he compares to a mafia summit, Bourdain pulls back the curtain—but never pulls his punches—on the modern gastronomical revolution, as only he can. Cutting right to the bone, Bourdain sets his sights on some of the biggest names in the foodie world, including David Chang, the young superstar chef who has radicalized the fine-dining landscape; the revered Alice Waters, whom he treats with unapologetic frankness; the Top Chef winners and losers; and many more.

And always he returns to the question "Why cook?" Or the more difficult "Why cook well?" Medium Raw is the deliciously funny and shockingly delectable journey to those answers, sure to delight philistines and gourmands alike." taken from

I absolutely loved Kitchen Confidential so when I heard that Bourdain had another book coming out I looked for it every time I had the chance. This isn't everything that I hoped it would be. Felt kind of random. No I wasn't expecting a novel but also didn't think that it would be a collection of fairly random thoughts, rants, apologies, etc. Some parts were interesting, like when he was talking about the food court idea but others, like whole chapters above his chef friends, weren't of interest to me (maybe because I don't live anywhere near a city w/great restaurants & couldn't afford to go even if I did). Borrow this book, rather than buy. But check out Kitchen Confidential, if you haven't already.

Books: Let the Great World Spin

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Let the Great World Spin
is the critically acclaimed author’s most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s.

Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth.
Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century.” A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence. Hailed as a “fiercely original talent” (San Francisco Chronicle), award-winning novelist McCann has delivered a triumphantly American masterpiece that awakens in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal.
taken from

Hearing all the great reviews I was very excited to read this. I bought it & started it as soon as I got home. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. Maybe this style of writing just doesn't appeal to me, all the different storylines in one book. Yes, they were all connected in some small way but the quality of each story varied greatly. Some of the stories, like the one about the artist couple, I enjoyed reading but others dragged on & had me frequently counting the pages until the end of the chapter. I gave up on this a bit less than halfway through but I still urge you to check it out, although you might want to get it from the library rather than buy it, just in case your experience is similar to mine.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Magazine Review: Self August 2010 - Bridget Moynahan

This seems to be the Look Younger issue. Several articles on that topic, such as Look Younger in 28 Days (tips like wear sunscreen, get lots of sleep, etc), 12 Secrets to Staying Young (checklist of BMI, fiber intake, blood pressure, etc), superfoods to eat (such as curry, coffee, pumpkin seed, watermelon, etc. Includes a one week diet plan following a 1600 calorie diet).
My fave parts of the magazine were part of the Beauty section. The 1st is Hair Bliss 101: Style Like a Pro which gives instructions for how to do an updo for curls, curls that last, add volume & do a bouncy blowout. Also shows the individual models after they styled their hair themselves with the pro's tips. The 2nd beauty article was Your Kind of Beautiful, which shows trends for different looks (Natural/Girl, Sexy Date, Casual Chic). The trends for Casual Chic were petal pink lips, neutral nails, gilded eyes & messy updos, which product recs for each. Not really new info but it was still appealing.
Since this is Self magazine, there were a few workouts, including Sweat with Your Pet & an pool workout.
They also had a page with info on acai, since apparently there has been some controversy recently (I don't really follow all those "hot, new superfoods" since they change so frequently), an article titled Are You Having Enough Sex? & some really cute bags & shoes.

I liked this mainly for the beauty articles since the Look Younger part seemed to be all old news & I don't have a pet or a pool.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Food: Things I've been loving recently

When I first started watching my weight I posted about the food I ate frequently that fit in with my diet. (You can see the post here: ) Well, I've recently found some new loves & thought I should share them with you.

Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers.
BF bought a big box of these at Sam's Club, I tried them & fell in love! They are a great salty fix, filling & are only 10 calories each (each cracker is about 2" big). I eat them quite frequently since I can only eat 4 or 6 & fit that into my daily calorie count easily.

Swiss Miss Fudge Bars
Only 100 calories each but quite a decent size. Guilt-free ice cream

World Catch Salmon Burgers
Another Sam's Club find (makes me wonder what kind of goodies we'd find if we had a Costco membership). Healthy, not too fishy. We like to eat them on the Oroweat Thin Rounds (I posted about them last time) w/spinach, tomato & dill mayo.

Luna Bars
I've been eating these for awhile. I always have one in my bag in case I'm out somewhere & get hungry (I get really shaky & sick when I feel hungry). At around 180 calories, these are nice for a snack when you don't feel like putting much thought into what you want to eat. I usually grab a variety from the boxes at the grocery store. They tend to be $.89-1.00 each. My fave flavor is Chocolate Raspberry.
NOTE: Another really yummy bar is the Clif Mojo trail mix bar in Mountain Mix. Has peanuts, pretzels, almonds, raisins & chocolate chip. It's also only 180 calories.

Mini Babybel Light cheese
At first I hesitated to try these because at $4-5 for 6, they were quite pricy. But then I found them at Sam's for $9 for 24, which is a great deal. These are 50 calories each & kinda taste like mozzerella. Individually wrapped so great to grab & go

Yoplait Greek yogurt
I was eating Chobani greek yogurt w/fruit but found that I preferred my yogurt plain w/a bit of honey. The main reason I chose this one is because it $1 for a 6 oz container at Walmart, which is the cheapest of the available kinds at that store.

Skinny Cow Peanut Butter & Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches
These are delish! 150 calories each

Pepperridge Farm Geneva cookie
This is my go-to cookie. If you only eat one (which is difficult), it's only 40 calories.

Werther's Original hard candy
I have quite a sweet tooth & having a cookie or a piece of chocolate a few times a day (even if only 40 calories each) does add up. Just 1 of these is around 25 calories, which is a bit better

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Who What Wear's 10 Fall Trends

Great style: Jessica Alba

Great style: Jennifer Aniston

Magazine Review: Marie Claire August 2010 - Dakota Fanning

I don't usually like seeing young teenagers on magazines for women but I didn't mind seeing Dakota Fanning on this issue. I guess she's never really seemed all that young or immature, which could be the difference.
I will start by talking about the Articles in this issue, since they were a little more interesting. In Love/Sex they talked about mistresses for hire & how men like tans lines (which sucks because I find them horribly tacky & can't tan. I'm pretty sure I've come across actual tan-line porn. Um. Yeah. lol). In the Bulletin they tal about the rise of asexuals (more popular among women than men). 1 Girl, 2 Guys & a Baby is about a women having & raising a child w/her 2 gay BFFs. The Big Bang is about how to pump up your sex life using various aids. There is also an article about honor killings in America & how they usually don't get much press since they often fall under the category of domestic abuse-type situations.
For Fashion, I 1st want to say that I'm not super fond of the individual pieces layout in the 101 Ideas section. They way its set up makes it kinda difficult to see the (usually super expensive) items. This issue's Designer Dossier is on Fendi, & the Big Girl, Skinny World feature is on accessories. Towards the back of the issue they also have a photo shoot with head-to-toe designer looks, summing up that designers look of the season (Fendi, Valentino, Michael Kors, etc).
In Beauty, they have a blurb about what they are calling Grunge 2.0 (which I'm kinda excited about - for unknown reasons), Beauty Snoop is on Christina Hendricks. They also have a section on makeup to complement your haircolor & a page saying how having sex can make you more attractive. Duh. lol

Overall, this issue was kind of boring. Skip it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Food: Black Bean Soup

This recipe is insanely easy & still really good.

1 T. olive oil
1 cup of salsa
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 can of refried black beans
15 oz of chicken broth
Sour cream, optional

In a saucepan, heat the oil & add the salsa. Cook until hot, stirring frequently. Then add the rest of the ingredients, using a wooden spoons to break up & mix in the refried beans. When its hot & fairly smooth, it's done!

Magazine Review: Allure August 2010 - Eva Mendes

I had forgotten about their big giveaway in August until I got this issue. Don't think I'm going to bother to sign up for anything this year since last year I set my alarm for over half of the items & didn't get a single one.
On the subject of Beauty, they have an article about the return of blush (& in it acknowledge that bright blush can look amazing on pale girls as long as applied with a light hand - something most mags tell you to avoid), a Sugar & Spice article about makeup looks inspired by princesses & villans, & Skin Deep, skincare for your skincolor/ethnicity.
This issue also has a Hair Special. Topics include: The Hottest Cuts (shoulder-length, bob, cropped, long & layered with celeb examples & exactly what to ask your stylist for to get their looks), Tools of the Trade for each cut, 13 Hairstyling Shortcuts, and a few words on Brigette Bardot and how she had the "most enduring hairstyle ever" & pics of all the different ways it has been interpreted. Also Wild Things, which features wild, roughed-up, matte hair & how to get that look.
They also had a blurb about the cult-y Chanel nailpolishes, from Vamp to Jade to this season's Paradoxal. I've never owned a Chanel nailpolish but I have knockoffs of every single on of those shades.
Overall, it's a pretty good issue. Worth picking up.

Magazine Review: People StyleWatch August 2010 - Beyonce

This is one of my favorite magazines but it's so difficult to review since it doesn't really have defined articles, just a lot of pictures, with topics that might only last for 1 page. Overall, just get it every month. You won't be disappointed.
One of the longer articles was 15 Hot Fall Trends (military, lace up booties, vibrant eyeshadow, clogs, etc). The military look really shouldn't be considered a trend anymore since it's pretty much seen every season. Can we just say it's classic & move on?
Comment: Why the hell do they have Jersey Shore's The Situation giving his POV on women's outfits? Does anyone really want to attract a guy like that?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Food: Fajitas

This isn't something I normally make but I had leftover tortillas from the black bean quesadillas & an extra steak so fajitas sounded like a nice change of pace. It really was so easy & tasty that I think its something I'll have to make again soon.

For the steak, I cooked it ahead of time, let it rest & then cut into long strips. I then squeezed on half a lemon & used cumin, chili powder, onion powder & cilantro to season (I plan to experiment w/other seasonings though. Think the next batch will have more zest. Perhaps a bit of chipotle?)

I sliced up a green pepper into long thin strips, an onion into strips as well, and sliced some mushrooms. I heated up my cast-iron pan and added 1 clove of garlic, peeled but not chopped. Once garlic has browned, remove & throw in green peppers. Stir occasionally. When they start to brown, add the onion. I did the mushrooms in a separate pan but you could prob add them after the onions have browned if you want to have less dishes to wash. Once the onions are close to done, add the meat. Cook until heated through. Keep pan covered until ready to serve.

Warm up tortillas separately. Top with sour cream, cheese, salsa and/or guacamole.

Yes these could end up being high calorie but if you keep the toppings light it should be less than 400 calories.

Food: Black Bean Quesadillas

I got this recipe out of Women's Health Flat-Belly Fitness Guide book (the kind that's on the newstand next to the magazines). This tastes like something you'd get from Chili's & my BF has requested that I make it again (and he can be kind of fussy). And like everything else I make, its really very simple.

1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 T. ground cumin (sounds like a lot, I know)
1 clove chopped garlic (or 1 t jarrred)
4 fajita-size flour tortilas (I like the Mission Homestyle ones)
1 c. low-fat Mexican blend cheese

In a large skillet, cook black beans, tomatoes, cumin & garlic until liquid dissolves, stirring occassionally. (If you get impatient, feel free to pour some of the liquid off instead of waiting for it to evaporate.) Place folded tortillas on a plate, unfold & cover half with the bean mixture, top w/ 1/4 of the cheese. Fold the other side of the tortilla over the beans & cheese.
You can either broil these for 3-5 mins, flip then cook for 1-2 mins, watching carefully or cook on a cast-iron skillet (which is what I prefer).
Makes 4 servings.

Each serving is approx 330 calories.

Books: The Castaways

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand.

"Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.
Once again, Hilderbrand masterfully weaves an intense tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of endless summer island life." taken from

I picked this up because it seemed like a good beach read. But almost right away, reading it kinda felt like a chore. Yes, there was a death with curious circumstances surrounding it but honestly, I really didn't care who killed who or not. I'm not exactly sure why I stuck with it but I did. Kinda wish I would've used that time for something else since the ending was very meh.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Magazine Review: Cosmo August 2010 - Britney Spears

I want to start by saying that Britney looks awful on this cover. Why on earth didn't they photoshop her more or do her makeup differently? Poor thing.
Anyway, I did enjoy this issue. Light (of course), fun articles, quizzes, etc. Also found out that there are 2 Jackie O & 1 Marilyn Monroe movie coming out. For the Jackie O movies, one will ve on the History Channel & Jackie will be played by Katie Holmes & one on the big screen w/Jackie played by Rachel Weisz. The Marilyn Monroe movie is titled Blonde, w/Marilyn played by Naomi Watts.
On to the rest of the issue...
For Articles, Would You Have a Baster Baby?, Sex Survey (notes are made when married guy's answers differed from the answers of singles guys. Kinda interesting. For example, after sex 71% of single guys want to cuddle & 21% want to watch tv. But for married guys, 32% would prefer to watch tv. lol). In other sex related topics, Period Sex & John Mayer's G-Spot Geometry (lol, I know. WTH?) & Sex Tape Tips (how to adjust lighting, postions, etc to obscure your identity). In a more relationship-y vein, The 5 Smartest Tips We've Heard This Year; things like talking to your SO about what you might want to change in your relationship, cheatproof by confiding mostly in each other, try dirty flirting (aimed at people in long-term relationships).
For Beauty articles, Beauty Cheat Sheet: Keep a Zit Covered for Hours (actually looks like newer, decent advice) & a photo spread on different nail trends (lace-covered, etc).
The main standout for Fashion was a Wear Now, Wear Later photo shoot (w/anouraks, sequin leggins, leather mini) & a photo shoot w/Jersey Shore's The Situation & Pauly D in the background acting like their womanizer selves. lol

Overall, I liked this issue. Good for a poolside read

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Books: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.
"Mark Haddon's bitterly funny debut novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is a murder mystery of sorts--one told by an autistic version of Adrian Mole. Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is mathematically gifted and socially hopeless, raised in a working-class home by parents who can barely cope with their child's quirks. He takes everything that he sees (or is told) at face value, and is unable to sort out the strange behavior of his elders and peers.

Late one night, Christopher comes across his neighbor's poodle, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork. Wellington's owner finds him cradling her dead dog in his arms, and has him arrested. After spending a night in jail, Christopher resolves--against the objection of his father and neighbors--to discover just who has murdered Wellington. He is encouraged by Siobhan, a social worker at his school, to write a book about his investigations, and the result--quirkily illustrated, with each chapter given its own prime number--is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time." taken from

This book is different. It's written in the style of an journal, from the perspective of a young autistic boy. He is trying to find out who killed the neighbor's dog, a crime he was originally accused of. He writes about the clues he finds, also tells about his day, how Good Days & Black Days are determined & has a lot of random trivia & math problems. It really is a great book, definitely worth picking up.

Books: Little Bee

Little Bee by Chris Cleave.
"The publishers of Chris Cleave's new novel "don't want to spoil" the story by revealing too much about it, and there's good reason not to tell too much about the plot's pivot point. All you should know going in to Little Bee is that what happens on the beach is brutal, and that it braids the fates of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan (who calls herself Little Bee) and a well-off British couple--journalists trying to repair their strained marriage with a free holiday--who should have stayed behind their resort's walls. The tide of that event carries Little Bee back to their world, which she claims she couldn't explain to the girls from her village because they'd have no context for its abundance and calm. But she shows us the infinite rifts in a globalized world, where any distance can be crossed in a day--with the right papers--and "no one likes each other, but everyone likes U2." Where you have to give up the safety you'd assumed as your birthright if you decide to save the girl gazing at you through razor wire, left to the wolves of a failing state. --Mari Malcolm -" taken from

Yes, I've been reading quite a bit recently. Guess that's what happens when you get rid of cable. lol. This is another heavy book. It forces you to think about the horrible political situations in second- & third-world countries & the effect on the local people. It is touching but far from a happy story.

Books: Heart of the Matter

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin.
"The author of Love the One You’re With (2008) once again tackles the subject of infidelity in a novel told in alternating chapters by the wronged wife and the other woman. Tessa Russo is celebrating her wedding anniversary with her handsome husband, Nick, a pediatric plastic surgeon, when his pager goes off. At the hospital, he meets his new patient, six-year-old Charlie, who has been badly burned while roasting s’mores. Charlie’s mother, Valerie, a high-powered lawyer who has raised Charlie on her own, is wracked with guilt. As Charlie goes through various grafts and surgeries to repair the damage done to his face and hand, Nick and Valerie become close. Tessa, a stay-at-home mom who has misgivings about leaving her professorship, recognizes the distance growing between her and Nick but isn’t sure what to attribute it to or what to do about it. The premise is a familiar one, but Giffin injects freshness by getting inside both Tessa’s and Valerie’s heads and by making both sympathetic, fleshed-out characters. Giffin’s talent lies in making her characters believable and relatable, and readers will be enthralled by this layered, absorbing novel. --Kristine Huntley" Booklist, taken from

I haven't read any chick lit in awhile so it was a change to be able to read an entire book in a few hours. I have read several of Giffin's books in the past & she is definitely one of the better chick lit authors. This book was a bit of a change from the usual single-girl-in-her-30s-finds-a-man fare. The topic is actually quite heavy, a child being injured & the dissolving of a marriage. Definitely not a feel-good, happy book. But still a good read. Although not something I think I will want to read again so I will be putting it in the giveaway pile.

Magazine Review: Glamour August 2010 - Vanessa Hudgens

This issue was ok. A few good articles.
In the Beauty section they have articled titled Model Trends You Can Do (not too inspiring for me - tips included extreme eyeshadow, big curls, etc), Damaged Hair Fixes, 4 Beauty Tricks from Carmindy & The Haircut That Will Change Your Life (textured bob, modern shag, etc. How to get the cut, how to style, celeb examples).
This is the Denim issue (think Lucky also has a denim issue this month). I will need to buy new jeans after I lose a bit more weight but wasn't all that inspired by what I saw in this issue since I pretty much know what works for me & what doesn't. But anyway, on the denim topic they have ways to wear (preppy, rocker, etc), rules from Armani, 10 stylish women wearing their fave jeans, best jeans for your body type (tall = no capris, hourglass = bootcut, short legs = skinny, pear = flare).
There were two standout articles in this issue. One was We Dated Our Way Across America, advice included "men do want to be in relationships" & "Mr Wrong may be friends with Mr Right". The second article was The Cave Woman's Guide to Good Health, a common sense kind of guide to diet & exercise, things like move, eat real food, connect with others in person, get ZZZs & get healthy downtime.
Overall, a decent issue.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Losing Weight: Progress Report

I am pleased to report that I have lost 7 lbs in the past 2 weeks! Which is 4 lbs under my pre-pregnancy weight. Only 6 more lbs to go before I reach my goal of 125. Then I'll re-assess to decide whether I need to lose more or not. I don't look great when I'm tiny - I have short stumpy legs & am flat-chested so I look best with a few extra lbs to make me appear more proportional.
I have lost this weight by eating between 1200-1300 calories daily. It can be difficult at times to stick within that range but I'm still able to have chips, dessert, etc. If I'm planning to have a big dinner I cut back during the day so that I won't go over my allotted calories. My snacking system works out quite well for this, since most of my snacks are under 200 calories. I also measure *everything*. Guesstimating is far from accurate & it messes up your running total. I don't have a food scale yet so I'm doing my best w/measuring cups & counting out individual pieces (for things like snack foods). has been a huge help in keeping me on track. I've made it one of my homepages & I visit it frequently to input any foods I've eaten. Sometimes I put in everything I plan to eat for the rest of the day to see how much leftover I have for chocolate, chips, etc.
I like calorie counting because it doesn't cut out any food groups. Nothing is off limits, you just need to eat smaller quantities. It does encourage you to eat healthier because healthy food is usually much lower in calories. One pitfall would be all the super-fake, processed food thats low-cal but quite bad for you. I try to avoid that & concentrate more on smaller portions of real food.
As far as working out, I've been stretching & doing light yoga but I think my body is finally ready to start something a bit more strenuous. I will make a post about it when I start an actual routine.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Books: The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.
" Like Frances Hodgson Burnett's beloved classic The Secret Garden, Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden takes root in your imagination and grows into something enchanting--from a little girl with no memories left alone on a ship to Australia, to a fog-soaked London river bend where orphans comfort themselves with stories of Jack the Ripper, to a Cornish sea heaving against wind-whipped cliffs, crowned by an airless manor house where an overgrown hedge maze ends in the walled garden of a cottage left to rot. This hidden bit of earth revives barren hearts, while the mysterious Authoress's fairy tales (every bit as magical and sinister as Grimm's) whisper truths and ignite the imaginary lives of children. As Morton draws you through a thicket of secrets that spans generations, her story could cross into fairy tale territory if her characters weren't clothed in such complex flesh, their judgment blurred by the heady stench of emotions (envy, lust, pride, love) that furtively flourished in the glasshouse of Edwardian society. While most ache for a spotless mind's eternal sunshine, the Authoress meets the past as "a cruel mistress with whom we must all learn to dance," and her stories gift children with this vital muscle memory. --Mari Malcolm" taken from

A word of warning: this book is long. But its quite good & you really get caught up in it. The ending left me feeling quite sad & depressed, even though I guess I did see it coming. But this is still a book I would recommend.

Magazine Review: Lucky August 2010 - Ali Larter

Wasn't able to find a pic of the cover online. Sorry

The staff at Lucky managed to strike the perfect balance of fall-feel but able-to-wear-now in all of the fashion pieces they chose to feature. Too often, magazines are filled with fur coats & dark makeup in the middle of summer. And while its nice to plan ahead (it is what the stores & designers are doing) it can be difficult to get excited over heavy coats, boots, etc while sitting next to the pool in your bikini. But this issue has the best pieces for the next few months that don't make you sweat just thinking about them.
These next few comments seem to conflict what I just wrote above. lol. They have a page on short-sleeve blazers, something that seems very easy to get horribly wrong. Also, Getting It Right: Pantsuits & Sandals. Um, yeah. The people at Lucky didn't get it right either. The Accessory Report is on chain mail (jewelry, accents, etc). In general I don't like it since it can look very cheap but they did have a few cute pieces on the models. The Now & Later editorial had some very cute looks.
The Lucky Denim Guide is pretty much only for those of you that can wear skinnies, since it seemed like (other than the Flared category) all of the others were skinny styles (but in Patched, Cargo, Trouser, etc categories).
The only Beauty standout was I Want Her Haircolor. Shades like sun-dappled brown, dark & glossy, cali blonde, etc & for each they had shade tips, how to maintain & product recs.

As a whole, it's ok. I lean more towards liking it because of what I wrote at the beginning of this review.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

NOTD: OPI Peru-B-Ruby

This is one of those shades that I tend to forget about until one day, I dig it out & fall in love all over again. A really great bright, rich pink.