Let’s Do Lunch

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A goal of mine has been to stop the bad (and expensive) habit of buying my lunch most days of the week. While I eat pretty healthily overall, I find that when I bring my own mid-day meals, I’m eating better portions and healthier options more consistently.

Not to sound like a complete infomercial, but I have found the perfect solution to transporting meals on the go that I just had to share with you! As the perfect Christmas gift (that I didn’t know I even needed) from last year, the Sachi Market Tote has made taking my lunch to work a stylish breeze.  This insulated tote conveniently folds down when not in use, so much so that when I first opened this gift, I thought it was a make-up bag. The insulation keeps food or beverages placed inside hot or cold longer, which means if I forget to put my food in the fridge once I get to work, ideally everything should be a-okay.

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What I think we often forget about when taking our own lunches to work, is the flexibility to customize meals however we choose. While I’m one of those strange people who actually like salads, they can become pretty mundane after a while (paging: caesar salad).  I’ve been experimenting recently with easy and yummy ways to invigorate the classic salad and I’ve gotten lots of satisfaction with simply adding berries to mine. (In general, my rule is fruit and nuts do wonders to enliven any salad).

So, the aim of today’s post? One, part of the fun when making the “responsible decision” to take your lunch to work is that it should be functional and stylish, insert referenced tote here. And two, change it up! Eating the same thing everyday is not only totally boring, but unnecessary. In my experience,  if I don’t change it up, I’ll happen to glance at the café menu at work posted online daily and say “Ooh, they’re serving mac and cheese today!? Well, I can save what I brought for lunch today and eat it tomorrow…” (Somehow I justify this, don’t judge.)

So, let’s do lunch! My new favorite, super delicious, and easy to make salad if you’re in the market for a quick suggestion?

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|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

Exactly one week ago, it was raining here in L.A. I had my heater on curled up with a warm cup of coffee slightly bummed that it had the audacity to actually rain during most of my stay-cation. Two days ago, I walked outside headed to see Iron Man 3 and nearly melted at the nearly 100 degree temperature. I know compared to some parts of the world, we’re very blessed when it comes to weather and I won’t argue that. I learned what COLD was when I walked outside my cozy hotel room in Boston one week before Christmas a few years ago. I can still feel the prickles on my skin just thinking about it and have such deep respect for those that aren’t complete weather wusses like I am.

Aside from the fact that our electricity bills hit their peak in the coming months, gas usage seemingly goes the opposite in my experience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used the “it’s too hot to cook” excuse and promptly took myself out to eat out of  fear of turning on the oven. Seeing as how I’m now older (and ideally wiser) this won’t be an excuse for me anymore. When I stumbled across 20 Nutrition Experts’ Favorite 5-Minute Meals from Shape.com, I knew there were some real treasures to keep in mind; and while some of these recipes do call for oven use, The Everygirl’s 12 Simple Breakfast Recipes was a welcomed find. The point being, if in the near future you see me consistently using said excuse above as a reason not to cook (and I’m sure I’ll do it because I did last weekend), please feel free to forward this link to me as a gentle reminder.


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


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||Santa Fe Salad // Full recipe here.||

Toss together 3/4 cup organic greens, 1/4 cup pico de gallo, and 1/2 cup each rinsed and drained canned black beans and thawed frozen organic corn. Top with 1/4 sliced avocado.


1-TheEverygirl_EasyBreakfast3||Baked Oatmeal //Full recipe here.||

Ingredients
1 -1 ½ cups of rolled oats
¼ cup of chopped raw pecans or walnuts/combination of both
¼ cup raisins, soaked in water for a couple minutes until plump
1 cup of Granny Smith Apples, cored and diced into ½ inch pieces
1 egg
1 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt
Substitute various fruits and nuts based on preference

 


||Something to think about.||

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||Where I wouldn’t mind being at this exact moment.||62102e39d88a001fb44beabf83778f04


||Sole Society – Cassidy Medium Weekender// Deets here.||c8d3ee5b9bd7e960e0e9a7fc40238722


||Bistro Electric French Press Coffeemaker. // Deets here.||

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Highlights

This week has been all about the finishing touches, those small details that make the WORLD of difference. In retrospect, these little details and finishing touches hit nearly every area of my life and lead to one of the best, most productive, and happiest weeks I feel like I’ve had in quite a while.

From returning to yoga practice (after missing two weeks), checking out the Silver Lake Farmers’ Market for the first time for fresh strawberries; frolicking around Universal City Walk in search of the best popcorn ever (see my new favorite flavor here), finally giving in to the use of a make-up primer, to a few sweet surprises from a sweet guy, and stopping to enjoy a small treat a friend brought back from Paris – it’s been a week full of finishing touches, little details, and small pleasures. It’s making the world of difference.

Have a great weekend! xx

Blend

Highlights

Happy Good Friday and a good Friday it will be.

After a rather hectic week of “fighting the man” in various areas of my life, I’m so looking forward to the next three days off to recharge. I’m the kind of person that will fight when things need to get done and I won’t let it go until it is (I don’t care if it’s over a dollar – it’s the principle!). While I always try to retain a level of diplomacy and politeness – I have no problem calling, emailing, stalking, and generally speaking my mind when something needs to be addressed. One of my pet peeves in life is when another’s personality is quite opposite to this and they’re not being responsive. I like people who get *crap* done! (I really wanted to use the other word, but want to keep things PG here). 🙂

As cliché as this statement has become, I’m a spiritual rather than religious person. Easter as a young child usually involved a huge Easter basket and a special homemade dinner where preparations started earlier in the day. I also recall watching parts of  “The Ten Commandments” on afternoon TV – not fully understanding what the heck I was watching because it was so long and they “spoke funny.”

Sadly, as an adult, I don’t have a ritual for this weekend, but totally respect those who do. It’s always nice to take time out to celebrate and reflect on what you believe in. If I had a choice, perhaps I would tackle watching “The Ten Commandments” again (with the subtitles on for clarity) after a leisurely Easter Brunch at Cafe Midi.

Have a great weekend and whatever your beliefs, I think this is a good time, as ever, to reflect on them.

My week’s highlights as we bid goodbye to March…


TREAT| gelato

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{Indulging in a few bites of my guy’s gelato. You get the treat without the guilt!}


EAT| cafe midi

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{Finally, I had brunch at Cafe Midi – it’s my favorite new place.}


SPRING| flowers

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{My first floral purchase for Spring  // The Spring Project is now underway.}


SHOP| farmer’s market

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{I’ve been on a serious farmer’s market kick lately. I enjoy starting out my Sunday mornings visiting a local farmer’s market and stocking up on fresh produce for the week.}

(This week: Studio City.}


EAT| lunch

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{I was so proud of my homemade lunch concoctions this week (lots of salads), thanks to my farmer’s market visit.}


SHOES| sandals

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{So my Audrey Brooke Wedges were too narrow for my feet (the risks of online shopping).  I went in-store to exchange them for these adorable Unisa Lenni Glitter Sandals.}


DVD| zero dark thirty

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{A sweet gift for my DVD collection from the BF and one of my favorite movies of 2012.}



Highlights

My life has been filled with so many stories and so much storytelling this week. Aside from the amazing Stanley Kubrick exhibition that I saw recently, I’ve been immersed in three other narratives that have not only entertained, but brought out my deeply contemplative personality.

I‘ve been delving into “The Up Series,” a documentary that checks in with a group of British people once every seven years (beginning at age 7). I’m just now catching up on the other parts of the series in order to see the most recent installment at age 56. Meanwhile, any time I’ve spent sitting in traffic has been accompanied by an audio book, Iyanla Vanzant’s autobiography “Peace From Broken Pieces.” I’ve been on such an emotional roller coaster listening to her story and it’s made me really stop and think about my own life and how my experiences have shaped how I now am as an adult. And finally, because I love a good fiction read to satisfy my imaginative side, I’ve been spending lots of down time absorbed into Stephenie Meyer’s, “The Host.” I’m halfway through and should make it just in time for the film’s release next weekend. 

Interestingly, as I absorbed these narratives this week – ranging from autobiographical to purely science fictional, they all somehow intertwine in theme. What I’m learning is that it’s amazing how we grow and change, yet remain the same at our core. As a result, it’s those  demons we struggle with as we move about our day-to-day because of those established core characteristics.

While I spent a lot of time engaged in stories, I managed to come up for air to have a very productive week. Taxes are done, I took a more challenging yoga class (for which I’m now feeling the sore effects), my goal to incorporate more fresh fruits and veggies into my diet is going well, and a few spring inspired happenings paid off in small ways.

Have a great weekend.

This week’s highlights…


SIP| coffee & milk

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Prior to checking out the Stanley Kubrick exhibition, it was a nice treat to grab an iced mocha from the LACMA’s on-campus coffee shop, Coffee & Milk, and sit outside in the sunshine for awhile. I had my reservations about the place when I was told they don’t offer vanilla/flavored syrup so as to “not affect the flavor of the coffee” but I could order a mocha instead – which in my mind is still considered flavoring so I didn’t quite see their argument.  Anywho, after doctoring it up some myself (more sugar and milk was needed) – I forgot all about that nonsense and got ready for an exciting day ahead – caffeine fix in place.


SHOP| farmer’s market

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A stop at the farmer’s market yielded great rewards on the produce front that I’ve been happily enjoying all week.


EAT| tavern ham & vegetable salad

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A memorable lunch earlier this week. The best part? The champagne vinaigrette dressing. Yum!


GIFT| flowers

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The gift of Spring from a friend that brightened my day.



|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

I‘m a firm believer in spring cleaning. Being that I’m very slightly O.C.D., I’m more the type to try (and sometimes fail) to keep up on this throughout the year because I absolutely, with a passion, hate (HATE) clutter. This season, I’m committed to really doing a hardcore spring cleaning cycle. I have clothes in my closet that I need to part with for your typical reasons. Jewelry in my jewelry box that I bought at Forever 21 years ago that now looks like it’s from Forever 21 (cheap). And of course, there’s a storage closet and old paperwork that could use a good sift through. I‘m by no means a pack rat. I‘ve even been told that for a grown woman I don’t have much stuff, which is how I prefer to keep it during my younger years. It means I can pick-up and move with the flow of life or to Europe at any time. Either way, we can all use a good purge. It not only feels amazing when you let go, but makes room for what the new season brings. One week until Spring!


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


|| How to rock the statement necklace. ||


|| Steve Madden Rise Wedges in mint. ||

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|| Ice Cream Lab // The new liquid nitrogen futuristic ice cream parlor opening this Friday in the 90210 // Read more here. ||

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|| Decadent tree houses. ||

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|| Gratitude. ||

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|| D.I.Y. – From picture frame to table tray // Read more here. ||

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|| Lavender maxi dresses. ||

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|| Peanut butter, strawberries, bananas and granola wrap // Healthy options on the go // Recipe here. ||

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Highlights

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The weather continues to play tricks on us. Warm one day, cool the next, then dreary for the last 3. It was such a sleepy week with plenty of days where I would’ve rather slept in, made a late breakfast, then curled up with a book and a stack of movies. I have to say that before the weather turned ugly on us, I spent quite a few memorable days outside that made me grateful for the simplicity of hanging out by the water. There’s something so comforting in that, that I never get tired of.

I found myself around a lot of small gems that made this otherwise sleepy week a bit more happy. I don’t really have anything major planned this weekend, but would very much like to spend it roaming around a museum with my boyfriend. We’ll see what happens. Have an amazing weekend guys, and thanks for reading!

Here are this week’s highlights…


EAT| the melt

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I’m always game for grilled cheese and was happy to spend an evening at The Melt trying out the new spot that recently opened in Hollywood. (Shhh – don’t tell anyone, but I still prefer Heywood for my fix.)


WORDS| jonathan adler

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I loved reading the manifesto while browsing Jonathan Adler on Melrose.  Number 2 stood out to me most (as well as the slogan pictured at the top of this post.)


VISIT| manhattan beach pier

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Watching the sunset and passer-bys on a perfect Saturday afternoon at the beach. I was happy when I took it and I am happy every time I look at it.


EAT| cupcakes

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I can never resist a cupcake and tried Cupcake Couture’s S’mores flavor. 🙂


SEE| a place at the table

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A significant night this week was at The Nuart Theatre (the front window cardboard cutout gets me everytime!) to see A Place at the Table. It’s a new eye-opening documentary about hunger in America. Please see my full review here. And please see this film.


READ| the host

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I’m finally getting around to reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer, a book I purchased LAST YEAR to read during Christmas that I’ve neglected far too long. I have the resolve to finish before the film opens at the end of the month and it’s really getting good!


Highlights

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Welcome to March and the changing of times! I’m sure many of us will miss boots, scarves, and how you can get away with a lack of attention to incessantly shaving your legs; but I’m very much looking forward to the sunshine. Longer days and warmer weather are a-coming! Even better and what I’m most excited about, March begins the climax toward better films coming out in the market, of which I’m looking forward to partaking in over the weekend when I go see Nicole Kidman’s new thriller, Stoker.

Have a wonderful weekend! My week’s highlights…


FILM| the impossible

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A leisurely Saturday afternoon spent with my boyfriend at the Sundance Sunset Theater to see one of the last remaining Best Picture Oscar nominations on our list before the big night, The Impossible. While the film definitely hit some clichés in storytelling and technique, it was a moving film and quite unbelievable that this family of 5 survived one of the greatest natural disasters of our time.


EVENT| oscar night

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A friend of mine threw an Oscar party this year, and I have to say that besides the awesome appetizers she had on hand, this fancy Oscar ballot to play along was the perfect touch.


SIP| iced mocha

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I switched things up on an ordinary Wednesday and added a little chocolate to my A.M. latte. Pretty amazing how things perked up!


BEAUTY| birchbox

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Thanks to Birchbox, I’ve been experimenting with green nail polish for the first time!


EAT| veggies

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Sometimes keeping it simple is tastiest. I devoured a plate of veggies for lunch and couldn’t have been happier. Granted, the potatoes were scalloped, but it still counts!


WORDS| smiling

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This is a quote I saw awhile back that I instantly wrote down on a post-it and placed on my desk. I found myself looking at it all week.


Cupcakes and L.A. Hipsters

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Location: 3337 West Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake

I love when cupcakes just appear out of nowhere, when you least expect it, and didn’t even know you wanted needed it. My rendezvous in Silver Lake to try out the grilled cheese place getting a lot of buzz continued when I noticed between bites of my sandwich over lunch the number of people walking in and out of the shop next door. Most importantly, they were exiting with cupcakes boxes in hand. Talk about the universe always working on your behalf!

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Simply put, I LOVE cupcakes (you can read my thoughts on some of my favorite L.A. places herehere, and here) and this couldn’t be a coincidence that Lark Silver Lake Cake Shop happened to be a mere 15 steps away. After devouring the best grilled cheese sandwich I think I’ve ever had, we headed over for an impromptu dessert fix.

Lark Silver Lake Cake Shop has all the fixings for a great experience. They display a large selection of cupcakes, cakes, cookies and goodies (even gluten free and vegan options) inside an inviting and charming establishment. In fact, it was so welcoming (and to be quite honest we were just dying to eat dessert by that point) that we sat in the well-dressed interior space and devoured our frosted covered carbs right there.

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The Berry Shortcake Cupcake hit my tongue 30 seconds later and my mouth did the happy dance. Let’s just say it was a sexy experience: white cake filled with “Crème Patisserie” topped with a whip creme frosting and a strawberry.

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{Berry Shortcake Cupcake – before.}

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{After.}

The City of Silver Lake and its small business owners are going to love me because not only am I fully endorsing that you get over to Heywood for the best grilled cheese in town, you have to complete that experience with a trip next door to Lark for dessert.

Here’s to killing two birds with one stone!

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Sun. Snow. City. Subs.

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Location: (A frozen) Big Bear Lake, CA

One of the most enviable things about living in L.A. is that you can hit the beach one day, enjoy city life the next, take a step back and melt into the calm suburbs the following day, then head to the mountains for some snow action if that bores you. I even came up with a nifty (and cheesy) new thought when you break it down: Sun. Snow. City. Subs. = L.A.

A glance up at the distant snow-covered mountains a few weeks back and an upcoming long weekend that also happened to be around my boyfriend and I’s anniversary, seemed like just the right time to leave the sun and the city to play in the snow. A drive up the winding mountainside; and we were in the charming, quaint, and snow-covered Big Bear Mountains 2 hours later.

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{Driving up.}

The plan for the day was simple: enjoy the drive and a change of scenery, walk around the small town, have a nice lunch (the Peppercorn Grille was amazing), check out some of the shops, smile, and head home!

While it’s been pretty cold (then randomly warm) in L.A. over the last few weeks and I knew it would be rather “chilly” being up in the mountains – my body was not all ready for the sharp temperature drop during the day because I’m such a wuss when it comes to cold weather! Thus, I didn’t even attempt to go tubing this time around.

Here are a few more photos from the day. We couldn’t have picked a more beautiful one. Enjoy!

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{Stopping to take in the view.}

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{The town.}

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{Buying bulk Jelly Bellys – which I can totally do back home but I couldn’t resist.}

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{Lunch.}

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{Admiring the snow.}

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{Heading home.}