Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shoe {Love}: New Toms

Inspired by this picture: I was in search of Toms for my feet!

So it took me a long time to get a pair of Toms, but I'm very glad I did.
Not only are they comfortable and slip ons, but the company donation of shoes to children in need makes you feel just all warm and fuzzy inside!
Well so I got a plain gray pair to start off with... just want to make sure my feet will be happy in them first!
So needless to say, I'm sure I'll be seeing a couple more pairs of Toms in the closet... in the near future!

Oh! And I bought and also waiting for that lacey ivory pair, which is on back order till March! *eep!*

Word of the Day 1/31/2012

Gambol (verb) : to skip about in play : frisk, frolic

EXAMPLES: The children scamper and gambol about the playground with seemingly endless energy.
"Strong binoculars … allow patrons to spy on the sea otters, pelicans, cormorants and other creatures that gambol among the bay kelp." -- From an article by Peter Magnani in the San Jose Mercury News, October 10, 2011

DID YOU KNOW?: In Middle French, the noun "gambade" referred to the frisky spring of a jumping horse. In the early 1500s, the English word "gambol" romped into print as both a verb and a noun. (The noun means "a skipping or leaping about in play.") The English word is not restricted to horses, but rather can be used of any frolicsome creature. It is a word that suggests levity and spontaneity, and it tends to be used especially of the lively activity of children or animals engaged in active play.

Taste-Bud Tuesday: Olive Garden Salad Dressing

I found this through Pinterest (yes, I've been on a LOT lately) and if you've been to Olive Garden, chances are you've had their salad and their amazing salad dressing. It's practically to buy for! (which you can too ya know!) But this DIY recipe makes me want to create it myself, and have an Olive Garden Dinner-night! 

Brandie over at The Country Cook was right by saying that Olive Garden's dressing is pretty much "the holy grail of salad dressings". And I'm one of those fanatics that go there JUST for the salad and breadsticks!

1 packet Good Seasonings Italian Dressing
(Ingredients needed to make dressing: oil, water, vinegar)
1/2 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp water

- Prepare Good Seasonings Italian Seasonings Dressing as it states on back of package. Once prepared pour it in a medium bowl, then add additional ingredients listed above (starting with driend Italian Seasoning).
- Using a whisk, mix all ingredients until mixed thoroughly combined. Serve with your favorite salad fixings.
- Store unused dressing in a sealed container in the regrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Be sure to give the bottle a good shake before using.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Word of the Day 1/30/2011

Elixir (noun)
1a : a substance held to be capable of changing metals into gold b : a substance held to be capable of extending life c : cure-all d : a medicinal concoction
2: a sweetened usually alcoholic liquid

EXAMPLES: While the new sports complex should bring some much-needed job growth to our struggling region, we should not regard it as the elixir for all of our economic woes.
"At Frederick Douglass Blvd. and 147th St., he noticed the giant wall mural boasting of the powers of an elixir, Omega Oil." -- From an article by Sherryl Connelly, Daily News (New York), January 2, 2012

DID YOU KNOW?: "Elixir" has roots in the practice of alchemy; it was used in the Middle Ages as the word for a substance believed able to alter base metals into gold. Its later use for a drug purported to prolong one’s life led to its use in the names of medicines of mostly questionable effectiveness. Today, it is often used generally for anything thought capable of remedying all ills or difficulties, be they physical or otherwise. The word came to us via Middle English and Medieval Latin from Arabic "al-iksīr"; it probably ultimately derives from a Greek word meaning "desiccative powder."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thirsty Thursday - Strawberry Peach Vodka Collins {Popsicles}

Strawberry Peach Vodka Collins Popsicles

Who doesn't enjoy some strawberries & peaches? Now what over-21-year-old-chick doesn't enjoy a good Vodka Collins? And what inner-child adult doesn't love all of that... in a POPSICLE!
Come summer time, I'm making these for my girlfriends!
6 oz pureed strawberry (about 10 strawberries)
2 oz peach syrup (recipe follows)
12 oz tonic water
2 oz plus 3 oz vodka (divided use)

1. Stir strawberry puree with 2 oz. of vodka. Place three teaspoons of strawberry mixture in the bottom of popsicle form; set aside. (As mentioned in last week’s cocktail popsicle, I used cordial glasses, but any form will work.)
2. Stir peach syrup with tonic water stir to combine. Add vodka and stir to combine.
3. Pour peach and vodka mixture over strawberry mixture and stir to combine.
4. Freeze for about 2 hours or until mixture starts to solidify enough to hold a popsicle stick upright. Insert popsicle sticks and finish freezing popsicles overnight. To release popsicles run hot water on the outside of popsicle molds for a 2-3 seconds.

Peach Syrup
(You will have more syrup than you need. Save for other cocktail uses)
½ cup sliced peaches (about 4 medium size peaches)
1 cup water
1 cups sugar

1. Wash, peel, and pit peaches. Place peaches in a blender or food processor and process until peaches are pureed.
2. Place water, sugar and peach puree in a pot and bring to a boil and continue to boil for 5 minutes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Word of the Day 1/25/2012

Intercalate (verb)
1: to insert (as a day) in a calendar
2: to insert between or among existing elements or layers

Examples: Over the centuries, people of various cultures have intercalated months and days to bring their calendars into alignment with the seasonal year.
"The fossiliferous deposits of the Tatrot Formation outcropping in the area consist of pale pinkish-orange brown clays, brownish grey siltstones and shale, and greenish grey fine to medium grained sandstones intercalated with dark grey conglomerates…." -- From an article by M. A. Khan, et al., in the Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences, December 31, 2011

Did You Know?: "Intercalate" was formed from the Latin prefix "inter-," meaning "between" or "among," and the Latin verb "calare," meaning "to proclaim" or "to call." It was originally associated with proclaiming the addition of a day or month in a calendar. An instance of intercalation occurred in the earliest versions of the Roman calendar, which originally consisted of 304 days and 10 months and was determined by the lunar cycle. When the Romans realized that they had overlooked a two-month cycle during the winter, the king "intercalated" the months January and February. Eventually, the word's use broadened to include other kinds of insertion.

Work-It Wednesday - World's {Fastest} Workout

I tried this workout one morning, and it is fast... but I think I would need to do this two more times. It was fun too: Ryan kept looking at me with the "WTH are you doing Ma?" confused look! But it's true: 4 minutes to do some kind of movement: {no excuses!}

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

#81 DZP: Not Log Into Facebook for a Whole Week!

That's right! I did it! I did NOT log into Facebook for a week!
I signed off Sunday night and a week later (Monday) I went back!

 It wasn't that hard acually. I deleted the app off my phone and the shortcut off my internet explorer. If I needed to access my FBook account, I had a friend do it... it only happened once, and it wasn't really ME that was logging in... it was my friend!

Now that the week is over, I put back the app icon and the shortcut, but I haven't been on FBook that much. Not like I use to that is: like 4 to 5 times a day... or more if I'm chatting with friends.
The last two days I've probably went on it twice... so like once a day. I'm going to try to keep it this way, because my life does NOT revolve around FBook.

Besides... I have a new obsession: PINTEREST!
*thanks Erin*

Word of the Day 1/23/2012

Contaminate (verb)
1a : to soil, stain, corrupt, or infect by contact or association b : to make inferior or impure by admixture
2: to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements

Examples: Lucy ended up with a serious infection when her wound became contaminated by bacteria.
"Indian meal moths are the most common type of pantry pests, and with the female moth laying up to 200 eggs per week, they can quickly contaminate the entire pantry." -- From an article by Arrow Exterminators in Business Wire, November 17, 2011

Did You Know?: "Contaminate," "taint," "pollute," and "defile" mean to make impure or unclean. "Contaminate" implies intrusion of or contact with dirt or foulness from an outside source (logically enough, as it derives from a Latin word that is a cousin to "contingere," meaning "to have contact with"). "Taint" stresses a loss of purity or cleanliness that follows contact ("tainted meat"). "Pollute," sometimes interchangeable with "contaminate," may imply that the process which begins with contamination is complete and that what was pure or clean has been made foul, poisoned, or filthy ("the polluted waters of the river"). "Defile" implies befouling of what could or should have been kept clean and pure or held sacred and commonly suggests violation or desecration ("defile a hero's memory with slander").

Taste Bud Tuesday: Homemade {Twinkies}

Homemade Twinkies!

*Say Whaaa!*
Saw this recipe from my newly acquired pinterest account, and I would love to make these. I'm not the biggest fan of twinkies, but read the recipe, and you'll see with the ingredients it sounds deee-lish!! Besides, it's {homemade!!}


For the cake: 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the filling: 
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three mini loaf pans with cooking spray. 
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar with a handheld mixer until thick. Slowly add in all other ingredients and beat until fully combined. Divide the batter among the mini loaf pans, filling about 3/4 full. Bake cakes for at least an hour, or until golden brown. Cool in pans and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
  3. While cakes cook, prepare filling by mixing shortening, sugar, vanilla and light cream with a hand mixer. Once mixed, slowly add in sugar and beat until combined. Fill a pastry bag with frosting and cut a small hole. 
  4. Once cakes have cooled, carefully poke three holes in the bottom of the cakes. Pipe frosting into the holes until just filled. Cool for at least 20 minutes and enjoy!
Also hop on over to the website I saw this from and they have other Hostess related recipes that are easy {DIY yummies!}

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ryan - Meet Bryce!

This is Bryce the black bear from Bryce, Utah.
It just so happens that I wore my brown bear PJs too!
My Auntie Netters got it for me from her last vacation.
Thank you Auntie!!

Good Morning Everyone!

Oh HI!

Giggles and Snuggles...

Shine On...

Thirsty Thursday: Pink Lemonade


I'm feeling like having a tall glass of pink lemonade! Nice, cool, crisp PINK lemonade... I sound like it's 90 degrees outside, when it's really 70 degrees HA! And then seeing it in a mason jar like the south does it just makes it soooo much more desirable! Then make it a "Lemon-Up" (as In-N-Out calls it) and add some 7-Up or Sprite and mix it with the lemonade!
Here's a recipe from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa herself! Enjoy!

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (5 to 6 lemons)
1/2 to 3/4 cup superfine sugar, to taste
1 cup crushed ice
4 cups water
2 teaspoons grenadine
6 maraschino cherries

Place the lemon juice, sugar, ice, water, and grenadine in a blender and process until completely smooth. Place a cherry in the bottom of 6 glasses and pour the lemon juice mixture in the glass. Serve!

Word of the Day 1/19/2012

Fustian (noun)
1: a strong cotton and linen fabric
2: high-flown or affected writing or speech; broadly : anything high-flown or affected in style

Examples: Readers with a low tolerance for fustian may be put off by the writer's style, but there is no denying that his arguments have merit.
"To be wearing plain dimity and fustian in a room full of satin, velvet and diamonds took an effort of will." -- From Daisy Goodwin's 2011 novel The American Heiress

Did You Know?: "Fustian" has been used in English for a kind of cloth since the 13th century, but it didn't acquire its high-flown sense until at least three centuries later. One of the earliest known uses of the "pretentious writing or speech" sense occurs in Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus when Wagner says, "Let thy left eye be diametarily [sic] fixed upon my right heel, with quasi vestigiis nostris insistere," and the clown replies, "God forgive me, he speaks Dutch fustian." The precise origins of the word "fustian" aren't clear. English picked it up from Anglo-French, which adopted it from Medieval Latin, but its roots beyond that point are a subject of some dispute.

Merriam-Webster Online

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Work-It Wednesday: Boxing Workout

Boxing Workout: Hit Like a GIRL!
A do-anywhere boxing routine with high-intensity moves that sculpt muscles

Women's boxing will make its debut at the 2012 Olympics in London, marking the first time that all summer sports will have female athletes. (Took 'em long enough!) The landmark decision reflects the sport's fast-growing popularity among women.

Over the past few years, chicks have been pouring into boxing gyms and boxing-based fitness classes in record numbers, hooked on the one-two punch of high-intensity cardio and muscle-sculpting moves. (Cardio kickboxing classes, for example, have grown 37 percent in the past three years.)

"Boxing gives you a sleek, defined body and improves your speed and reflexes," says Michael Olajide, co-owner of Aerospace High Performance Center in New York City. There are some serious mental perks too: Because boxing requires a focused mind, it can almost serve as a form of meditation. "Students often walk in with a problem, and it's gone by the end of class," says Olajide.

Perform this explosive total-body workout, created by Olajide, up to five times a week: Do round 1, rest up to one minute; move to round 2, rest, and finish with round 3. Nix the breaks to boost your calorie burn.

Power PunchStand with your feet hip-width apart, one slightly in front of the other, knees slightly bent. Bring your fists up, one slightly in front of the other, palms facing each other and elbows close to your body. (This is boxing stance.) Punch your back fist straight in front of you at shoulder level, rotating your torso and fully extending your arm.


A. Hit: Left Jab, Right Power Punch, Left Uppercut
Stand with your left foot forward and hold light weights as you complete all three punches in order (that's one rep) at a slow, controlled pace. Do 12 reps. Drop the weights and do eight more reps, pausing for a few seconds at the end of each uppercut, then immediately complete 16 reps as quickly as possible. Switch to the opposite side, leading with your right foot and using your right hand for jabs and uppercuts and your left for punches, and repeat the entire sequence.
B. Lunge and Squat
Step your left foot forward and bend your knees to lower your body until your left thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. Return to start. Do eight reps slowly, then step a few feet out to the right and bend both knees to lower your body until both thighs are parallel to the floor. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat the entire sequence.
C. Jump Rope
Holding a rope in one hand, hop from side to side for 10 seconds, then grab the handles with both hands and jump rope for 30 counts. Repeat five times.

Upper Cut
Get into boxing stance. In one motion, drop your shoulder, turn your wrist so that your palm is facing you, and punch your fist upward.


A. Hit: Left Jab, Right Power Punch, Left Uppercut, Right Hook
Stand with your left foot forward and hold light weights as you complete all four punches in order (that's one rep) at a slow, controlled pace. Drop the weights and do 12 more reps, pausing for a few seconds at the end of each hook, then immediately complete 16 reps as quickly as possible. Rest for a few seconds, then do another 16 reps quickly.
B. Single-Leg Squat
With your feet more than hip-width apart, raise one leg behind you. Bend the standing knee to lower your body as far as you can, keeping your back leg off the ground. Press through your heel to return to start. Do four slow reps, then do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat the sequence.
C. Jump Rope
Do four jumps on both feet, then four jumps on your left foot, followed by four jumps on both feet and four jumps on your right. Repeat this sequence for two and a half minutes.


A. Hit: Right Jab, Left Power Punch, Right Uppercut, Left Hook
Stand with your right foot forward and hold light weights as you complete all four punches in order (that's one rep) at a slow, controlled pace. Drop the weights and do 12 reps, pausing for a few seconds at the end of each hook, then immediately complete 16 reps as quickly as possible. Rest for a few seconds, then do another 16 reps quickly.
B. Iso Squat
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands behind your head, then bend your knees and sit your hips back to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for one minute, lifting both heels slightly off the ground.
C. Jump Rope
Jump rope for two and a half minutes. Once you get into a good rhythm, try crossing your arms in front of your body and swinging the rope beneath your legs every 10 to 15 jumps.

Thank you Women's Health Mag and Kristen Dold for writing this piece! This looks intense but fun (if you like kicking ass by boxing). Now this doesn't mean I'm going to be the next chick kick-boxer or anything (HAHAHA at the thought of it though), but I know boxing is a great work out and I love WH for posting this!

Word of the Day 1/18/2012

Junket (noun)
1: a dessert of sweetened flavored milk set with rennet
2a : a festive social affair b : trip, journey: as (1) : a trip made by an official at public expense (2) : a promotional trip made at another's expense

Examples: The senator has been criticized for going on expensive junkets to foreign countries.

"It's a little embarrassing, but when I saw a report that Gov. Sean Parnell was just returning from a junket to Europe, I was surprised. I hadn't noticed he was gone. Awkward." -- From an op-ed by Shannyn Moore in the Anchorage Daily News, November 21, 2011

Did You Know?: The road "junket" has traveled has been a long one, with frequent stops for food along the way. Since at least the 15th century, the word has named various comestibles, ranging from curds and cream to sweet confections. By the 16th century, "junket" had also come to mean "banquet." Apparently, traveling must have been involved to reach some junkets, because eventually that term was also applied to pleasure outings or trips (whether or not food was the focus). Today, the word usually refers either to a trip made by a government official and paid for by the public, as in our example sentences, or to a free trip by a member of the press to a place where something, such as a new movie, is being promoted.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

#74 DZP: Go Barefoot for the Weekend

I can't believe I haven't wrote about this sooner, but way back when I was still preggo and on bed rest I completed this haha! I didn't go anywhere, just stayed home, so I walked around the house barefoot. Nothing really exciting about it I know, but goal completed none the less.

Tuesday Taste Buds: Bitchin' Bourgignon

Got this from Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen tweet, and I love it! Enjoy! :)

Tuesday Boozeday: Bitchin' Bourguignon!

It was the legendary Julia Child that transformed boeuf bourgignon, a classic French working man’s dish, into a staple of American fine dining. A lot of people are super nervous to try this recipe out because it takes so long. No worries! Despite the hype, this wine based dish is incredibly forgiving and super-delicious! Plus, it uses an entire bottle of red wine and we’re pretty sure that’s awesome.
6 ounces pancetta
3 lbs stewing beef
1 bottle of dry red wine (a Burgundy works well)
3 cups beef stock (just above room temperature)
2 large carrots, diced
1 red onion
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves mashed
2 tbsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme
¼ cup flour

½ pound mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil

Dice pancetta into 1-inch size pieces. Heat a dutch oven and fill with olive oil, add pancetta and cook until crispy. Remove cooked pancetta from pan.

In a plastic bag place the beef, flour salt and pepper, shake to coat the pieces thoroughly. Take pieces out of the bag (shaking to remove excess flour) and put on a plate.

Add beef to the dutch oven in small batches, do not overcrowd! Brown each piece until golden and crisp on either side. Remove beef and place on a clean plate.

Next, add onions and half the bottle of red wine to de-glaze the pan (scrape the bottom to get all the good greasy bits out), cook until the onions are translucent.

Then, add the browned beef, beef stock, 1tbsp of salt, cooked pancetta, garlic, carrots, herbs and freshly cracked pepper. Cook on medium-low for 3-4 hours or longer if using a slow cooker (closer to 6-8 hours depending on the heat) instead of a dutch oven. The lower the heat, the longer you have to cook it for. You’ll know it’s done when the meat practically falls apart when you shove a fork in to it.

For the Mushrooms:
Heat olive oil and butter in a pan on medium, add mushrooms and cook until browned. Add to stew at the same time as the beef.

Serve with french bread, focaccia or anything bread-like and absorbent to soak up all that delicious sauce! It also works great served on a bed of mashed cauliflower!

As Julia Child would say: Bon Appétit

#98 DZP: Julie & Julia

In 2002, Julie Powell is a young writer with an unpleasant job at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's call center, where she answers telephone calls from victims of the September 11 attacks and members of the general public complaining about the LMDC's controversial plans for rebuilding the World Trade Center. To do something she enjoys, she decides to cook every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) by Julia Child in one year; Powell decides to write a blog to motivate herself and document her progress.

Woven into the story of Powell's time in Queens in the early 2000s is the story of Child's time in Paris throughout the 1950s, where she attends Le Cordon Bleu to learn French cooking and begins collaborating on a book about French cooking for American housewives. The plot highlights similarities in the women's challenges. Both women receive much support from their husbands, except when Powell's husband becomes fed up with her excessive devotion to her hobby and leaves her for a short time.

Eventually, Powell's blog is featured in a story published in The New York Times, after which her project begins to receive the attention of journalists, literary agents, publishers, and a dismissive response from Child herself. Although Child's book is rejected by Houghton Mifflin, it is accepted and published by Alfred A. Knopf. The last scene shows Powell and her husband visiting Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian Institution and Child in the same kitchen receiving a first print of her cookbook and celebrating the event with her husband.

I have to say this was such an adorable movie, and it was a shame I didn't see this back in 2009!
I watched this with my Mother, and it was a great movie to watch with my personal baking inspiration (thanks mommy!). Now after watching this movie, I want to tackle a chef/cook/baker of today and cook/bake my way through their cook book! Maybe Alton Brown's Good Eats (part 1, 2, OR 3). Or Giada De Laurentiis' Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California and learn all her Italian cooking. Or Anne Burrell's Cook Like a Rock Star. Or Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen: Cookin' for Trouble! All great books and I would love to cook a recipe a day from those Kitchen Masters. Alex and I watch plenty of Food Network and Cooking Channel, and yes indeed we "stay hungry". But now being inspired by Julie Powell's love for cooking and love for Julia Child, I want to embrace a cookbook and learn something new and maybe one day teach it to Ryan!

399 Days Left for my DZP!

Less than 400 days left and I'm only 31% done!!!

Looks like I gotta get on it and start marking stuff off!
I have a lot in progress but with 70 more goals to complete, that's like a goal needs to be completed every 5 days!

Goals In Progess:
#33 Read 50 new books
#36 Donate my hair to Locks of Love
#47 Complete a coloring book
#54 Go to 5 different museums
#55 Put away $10 for every goal completed
#64 Eat at all California locations of the Melting Pot
#69 Own all the seasons of Dexter on DVD
#71 Complete a 365 day photo challenge
#82 Expand my vocabulary by 100 words
#98 Watch 26 movies I've never seen starting with each letter of the Alphabet
I'm not even going to list the others that haven't been started...