Monday, December 31

what i learned in 2012

an excellent motto, thanks to my ex-neighborhood's trash can

When the New Year comes around, I prefer to reflect on the previous year rather than make a million unattainable goals for the year to come (because I've tried that before). 

I think the New Year is exciting. It's a time to make some changes in yourself, most importantly concentrating on what's inside. Sure, it's fantastic if you lose those five extra pounds and make it to the gym to kick your own ass everyday, but I think a lot of people (including myself) forget about bettering your character. Doing good in this world and being an honest and decent person, in my opinion, is highly underrated and something we should all strive for.

So what's my point? Challenge yourself. Yes; make that promise to workout more. Eat healthier. But don't forget about your character. It will always get your far in life. Volunteer once in a while. Send snail mail to an old friend. Do random acts of kindness. Buy that sweet homeless man near your work an occasional burger; because it'll make you a kinder and happier person and maybe even make someone else's day. And you'll never regret that.

Though I absolutely, 100% know that I live a blessed and exceptional life, this year was hard for me. I struggled with my emotions, letting people go, unemployment, anxiety, stress... the list goes on. So in the spirit of reflecting, I made a list of the things I learned this year. Despite how tough 2012 was, I learned a ton. And you know what? That counts for more than I once thought.

Happy New Year, everyone! 

Expect the unexpected.
No job will ever be perfect, but don't settle for a job that makes you miserable 
or doesn't make sense for your path.
Patience really is a virtue.
Sometimes, you just need a few too many beers... in the dive-iest of dive bars... with your best friend.
That being said, some nights Speedway Stout and 90's hip hop are the only option.
It's okay to go on dates.
The Bar Method is hard. And I like it.
If someone has hurt you in the past, they will likely hurt you again. 
Though I believe in second (and often third and fourth) chances, you should 
always keep your guard up.
There is almost always an exception to every rule.
Be spontaneous. Go camping and travel... see the world!
Food will always be a huge part of my life, but I don't have to overdo it. Portion. Control.
Say yes more. Go on that date you think will be awkward. Who knows, it just might be great.
I'm officially too old to drink Long Island Iced Teas. 
Good guys might be few and far between but they do exist. Don't settle.
Stop prejudging. Just stop. It's ugly.
My family will always be reliable and supportive. Thank you!
One pair of navy and white polka dotted shorts is all you need.
Seeing Dr. Dre at Coachella really was one of the highlights of my life thus far.
Buy local. Support small businesses. It'll almost always make you some new friends.
Be nice to everyone, smile at strangers and always, always, take care of yourself first.

Thursday, December 27

(not weiner) schnitzel

Recently, my family found this fantastic recipe and we decided to try it ourselves. Needless to say, it was the perfect chicken dish, combining both zesty and peppery flavors. Plus, it was quick. Winner winner chicken dinner!

4 boneless chicken breasts, 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs, 
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, salt and pepper, 
olive oil, fresh lemon juice (about 4 teaspoons), 
3 cups arugula and 1/2 of a small red onion, thinly sliced

First, cut chicken breasts in half (vertically) and open. Cover with plastic wrap and pound out the chicken until thin. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place flour in a dish; panko and parmesan in a second dish; and eggs (beaten) in a third dish. Dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg wash and dredge in panko mixture. Cook cutlets in olive oil on the stove, two minutes each side. Continue until all chicken breasts have been breaded and fried. Place in a pan and keep in the oven. 

In a small bowl, whisk one tablespoon olive oil with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add this dressing mixture to a bed of arugula and the thinly sliced red onions. Arrange chicken and top with arugula mixture.

For an extra kick, add a bit of lemon juice to the egg wash to bring out the lemon in the salad topping. 
{Seriously one of the best chicken recipes ever... try it out and let me know how it turns out!}

Wednesday, December 26

it's the holiday season

We don't have a ton of traditions in my family, but the ones we do have kiiinnnda solely 
revolve around food. Shocker. 

Christmas Eve 
(garlic pork tenderloin with mojito, black beans and rice)

Christmas Day
(prime rib, twice baked potatoes and brussels sprouts)

Needless to say, after back-to-back feasts, we felt (and looked) like beached whales Christmas night.

Exhibit A 
Please note my dad on the far left. Struggles.

I hope your holiday was as good as mine! Stay tuned for some feastly recipes this week!

Tuesday, December 25

have yourself...

wishing anyone who has ever read my blog the merriest of Christmas' and the happiest of holidays! you all make my day... every day! xoxo

Tuesday, December 18

wise words

image courtesy of project merit badge

"I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting." Barack Obama

This has never been more relevant.

Monday, December 17

losing it

For once in my little ole blog life, I'm actually referring to losing weight and not my mind. Since moving home to the Bay Area just a little over a week ago, I already feel relaxed, happy and at ease. My friend Lori says it's because I'm meant to be in the Bay Area; I think she's right.

While I'm only semi-employed (seasonal position at lululemon - hello discount and free workout classes!), I'm concentrating on myself. Though I'm a big advocate for loving yourself no matter what, it is important to stay active and eat right (most of the time) and I have definitely not been doing that... until now.

So let me ask you all... how do you stay in shape? What are your favorite healthy snacks? I'm all ears.

In other news, SantaCon was this past weekend in San Francisco. Basically, everyone dresses up as Santa and the entire city, so it seems, partakes in a bar crawl. Let me tell you... it was quite an experience.

me and katie - the birthday girl!

my best friend lauren

{Good times, good times.}

Friday, December 14

gift guide guest post: mommy dearest

Hi all, it's Jenn from A Pop of Style! I'm so happy Allie has given me the opportunity to share one of my gift guides on her blog. I love all of her beautiful pictures, recipes and always learn something from her beauty tips! Hopefully you find something here for your momma for the holiday and I hope to see you over on a Pop of Style!


Thursday, December 13

gift guide: dear ole dad

Is it just me or are dads notoriously hard to shop for? Especially on a budget. Hopefully these decently priced gifts will give you some ideas for dear ole dad this holiday season!

▲ art of shaving kit  golfer grill set ▲ scotch lucero olive oil + balsamic 
▲ Custom tumbler ▲ SPERRY'S ▲ river of doubt by candice millard 

Wednesday, December 12

gift guide: the manly man

This might be creepy. But I'm trying to not be selfish since I do realize that I'm about the only person in the world without a boyfriend. Plus I'm kind of a sucker for cute couples. So ladies, if you're looking for a gift for your outdoorsy, manly man boyfriend... you're welcome.

Other ideas [do you think I'm pathetic yet?] could include: concert tickets, beer of the month membership, a planned weekend getaway or a stocking stuffed with all of his favorite things. Why am I single? Just kidding. ;-)

Tuesday, December 11

it's beginning to look a lot like...

Christmas is coming; Hanukkah is here. And no matter what you believe in or celebrate, December is  a month for gift giving. Like every other blogger in the world, I've put together a series of gift guides for those hard-to-shop-for people in your lives. First up, your besties. Personally, I know my pals would be psyched to get a best friend beanie... tehehe.

Also, my friends at Beau & Stella were kind enough to give us all 15% off using coupon code BEAUTY15... along with free shipping. Enjoy these perks until the 17th... I know I will!

Monday, December 10

moving on

photo courtesy of lauren millslagle

Moving on from people and places is never easy. Though I'm used to change and I can't say I hate it, it makes me uneasy. A few days ago was my last day in San Diego... a city I've lived in basically full-time for the past six years. Though I knew moving on to San Francisco was and is a good (and necessary) move, I can't help but feel sad about what I've left behind: an incredible community, bursting with small businesses and a truly wonderful friend.

But even in a storm of emotion, I've already felt a sense of empowerment because I know I'll prevail. I know myself and I believe in myself and that's important.

I think today's message is to not be afraid of change but to embrace it. The worst thing you can do is idly stand by and watch life pass. That's where I was just a few months ago and I promise you, if you aren't satisfied with where you are in life or where you're headed, change it. You won't regret it!

Monday, December 3

remember that wedding i went to...

Seriously, how beautiful was this wedding? I felt like I was inside a fairytale. Keystone, Colorado was the perfect background and my friend, Carey, was the perfect bride.

photographer: marianne brown