Saturday, September 29, 2012

a photo post...

My crazy little sister did Tough Mudder today in Seattle with some of her friends...she finished it!! So proud of her! I couldn't do it if my life depended on it. Seriously.

Happy birthday to my dear friend Christy-Dawn! (it was yesterday) Love you long time! (photo from her wedding 2 years ago)

I bought myself a gift by the name of Michael Kors...

...because I got this! A new job at the Langara Family YMCA as the Program Manager. I am super excited about it, but also sad to leave all my friends at co-workers at my current YMCA! It will be a great experience for me overall though... just a big change!
And the above resulted in these pretty flowers from my lovely sis :)
this is my cousin Bailey who I am hanging out with for the next week while his mom & dad go on a cruise. Jealous!

Oh, and did you know today was National LSAT Test Prep Day?! I wrote a practice LSAT today at SFU Burnaby, just for "fun" to see how I would do. Mitch & I did it together; he is for real going into law and writing his actual LSAT next week!! It was a good experience; and I am super curious to see how I did, especially considering I did no prep work for this test whatsoever.  Law is something I would LOVE to go into, however I really don't know that I have the grades or the drive to do law school...we'll see! Want to try a sample LSAT??


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

thinning hair.

Oh, the joys of getting older. My most recent complaint is that I am losing hair like there is no tomorrow. I seriously have about 19 strands left on my head. Naturally, I did some googling & reading on this site and discovered it is normal to lose 100-150 hairs per day - doesn't that sound like a lot? Oh, and don't remind me about grey hairs either.  Lame!!

So,  what causes hair loss/thinning, you ask? Well: age (being in your thirties or forties), stress, nutritional changes, hormonal changes, thyroid problems and iron deficiency. Looking at this list, I probably have ALL of them. Well, no hormonal changes, but the rest yes!! And I'm only a few years shy of being 30. Yikes.

Several people have told me that Nioxin is a good hair thickening shampoo and conditioner for me to try so I may need to start on that. I may as well try to see if it works!

Wouldn't you kill for thick, gorgeous hair like this???

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

are berries back in the running?

I read this article on the Globe & Mail website today and it gives quite the optimistic outlook for good ol' RIM - our Blackberry making friends. Although...when you check out their stock price chart below...they have had quite the downfall over the past five years...

Make sure you check out these leaked photos of the next Blackberry London (that's its code name supposedly)!


chana masala

My carb-free diet has been relatively successful. My goal was Friday to Sunday (3 days) of which I would give myself  a grade of 92%. I ate some popcorn at the movie theater on Saturday (remember, I am just avoiding the 'bad carbs' ie: bread, pasta etc.) and then on Sunday I ate about 12 - 15 tortilla chips with spinach dip. Not too bad, in my opinion, considering the amount of carbohydrates I would normally eat in 3 days!!

I have decided to continue on with my carb-free-ness. Kind of. Not 100% carb-free, just majorly carb-reduced. I still haven't eaten a piece of bread or had pasta since last Thursday; I did eat some rice on Monday with the Indian dish I made for dinner. I also had the same thing for lunch today. (love leftovers!)

This chana masala dish (sometimes also called chole - pronounced 'sho-lay') is a delicious, flavorful, spicy Indian chick pea dish. I also added some cauliflower (gobi) to it when I made it to make it a little more exciting. Chick peas do have carbohydrates in them, however they also have a lot of fiber and protein which is good. This was a hit between my dad & sis!! My mom is a super picky eater (she loves cereal) and my brother has been sick lately and has simply not been eating (he has issues). I would recommend this to add some spice in your life!! I also recommend to load it up with cilantro. Mmmmm...I could eat cilantro by the bunch.

This dish isn't too challenging to make; it does require some spices that you may not necessarily have on hand though, depending. You could also add other vegetables to it if desired, or chicken even!

my chana masala & rice

Saturday, September 22, 2012

trouble with the curve

My poppa, sis & I went to see the movie "Trouble With the Curve" this evening. It's about a baseball scout and his daughter; it's a super cute movie. PS - have I mentioned I am not feeling well? Well, I'm not. And I feel like whining about it. I have a runny nose that won't stop, a head that feels like it weighs 1,000 pounds, more sneezes every five minutes than I can count on one hand, and a cough that makes my chest feel like it weighs an equivalent amount to my head currently. It sucks. Anywho...enjoy the trailer below!

a carb-free weekend.

I have taken it upon myself to stop eating carbohydrates. Don't worry, it's just for the weekend, so it's super short-term! I just wanted to see if I could actually do it, and I knew it would exponentially increase my vegetable and fruit intake. I figured I would do the weekend simply because it's a feasible amount of time. I have been freaking out about health issues lately - mainly my stupid swollen feet/ankles/legs that hasn't gone away since May. I think that because I don't eat meat, the amount of carbohydrates I consume ends up being higher than most, which is obviously not healthy. So, this is my solution: to cut certain out things separately and see what helps! Oh, and I am only not eating what I call "intentional carbs" this weekend - meaning no starchy things like pasta, bread, rice or potatoes. So anything else with carbohydrates in it I will still eat such as peanut butter, eggs, yogurt, fruit etc.

By not eating meat, and removing carbohydrates from my diet proves quite challenging finding things to eat! Yesterday (Friday) I literally just ate a bunch vegetables for EVERY SINGLE MEAL. It was good, and it's a good thing I love vegetables, but how long can that go on?! Sometimes I think about how much more variety eating meat would give my diet. I do eat seafood, however I recently discovered that shrimp and prawns are super duper high in cholesterol which sucks. Morally/ethically I don't love the idea however the confused question naturally comes up of "Why can you eat seafood but not meat?!" I don't know. I just like it. (is my answer)

I have made two carbohydrate free meals for dinner the past two days and they have been pretty good! Plus, quite healthy so I've been happy with myself. Here is what I have made! It's a good thing I enjoy cooking - these meals both take quite the prep work sadly.

Does anyone have any fabulous carb-free recipes they love that they would like to share with me?! Please do! 

1. Spaghetti squash with "fake meat" spaghetti sauce: I remember this prego's momma used to make this for dinner and I have been wanting to make it for forever; I just never got around to it. Basically you roast the squash and it turns out like noodles once cooked! Then, I bought Yves ground round (aka fake meat!) and put that and a whole ton of chopped up veggies in tomato sauce. The squash definitely doesn't taste like pasta, but I think it's a good, healthy alternative.

Roasted spaghetti squashes (it squashes a word? is squash already plural?!)

You scrape the insides out with a fork and they make noodles - see?

my bowl of "pasta"...

...topped off with a hearty sauce!

2. Zucchini Pizza Crust & Cauliflower Crust: JC used to make this zucchini crust pizza almost on a daily basis, so I thought I'd give it a go. It literally is shredded zucchini made into a crust. Since my sister isn't a zucchini fan, I ALSO made cauliflower crust pizza for her! They both turned out fine and decently tasty, but let me tell you, my arm is SO sore from grating all afternoon! I grated so much cauliflower and zucchini it's not even funny. The prep work for this darn pizza FAR outweighs its worth. Anywho, it's tricky to call this pizza because it's really not. That would be totally fooling someone to call it pizza! It's more of a casserole type layered thing. The zucchini one was difficult because it was so watery - I had troubles removing the moisture before cooking it so I thought it would be ok, but I would recommend ensuring it's super dry before baking the crust.

Zucchini crust up close, cauliflower crust behind. This is pre-baking them. Its literally just the vegetable, an egg, some flour and spices. That's it! Then you bake it for a while. Make sure the zucchini one isn't too thick! (another problem I also had)

This cauliflower 'crust' turned out better than the zucchini one in my opinion. Except, one head of cauliflower didn't make very much. Oh well, MORE grating next time...

This is the final zucchini pizza product - once the crust is baked, you top it with tomoto sauce, your fave toppings and of course, CHEESE!    

Monday, September 17, 2012

seven layer tortilla pie

Boy, I have had quite the productive day today! I woke up at 8 am (since I am old I cannot sleep in anymore), baked blueberry muffins (see post below!), cleaned the bathroom, did several loads of laundry (mine and my siblings!), drove my brother to his car (it had a sleepover at a friends), emptied the dishwasher & reloaded it, started some homework (I have like 3 papers due Friday) and then I went to the store to buy ingredients to make dinner! Whew. Now that I list it all it doesn't sound like that much?! It felt like a lot. I digress...

I made this seven layer tortilla pie and it was a hit! My mom used to make it a lot back in the day but I couldn't find the same recipe she used to use. So, I googled one and I only made a few small changes from the recipe. Essentially you alternate the two layers of mixture with tortilla shells, and each layer gets salsa & cheese as well. I also added a bit of taco seasoning on a few layers for some extra flavor. I like this dish because you could make it in a lot of varieties - add chicken, add ground beef, add other veggies (I debated spinach but decided against it for fear of the unknown) or switch up the types of beans you use. Even refried beans would be great in this!

These pictures aren't actually all that 'flattering' for my lovely dinner, however this is all I have!!

This is the mixture for one of the layers - mashed white kidney beans, salsa & garlic. I added chopped onion & green pepper.

This is the other layer - diced tomatoes, black beans & cilantro. I added corn after this picture was taken as a last minute decision. 

The final product - it's challenging because you make it in a casserole dish but then it's difficult to cut. So, I lined the dish with foil and then just lifted the entire thing onto a plate which worked well. However, I can see this dish potentially getting a bit watery if you don't drain all the beans etc. so that would be tricky.

The final product - a falling over slice of seven layer tortilla pie! Serve with rice, salsa & sour cream. And hot sauce, of course!

blueberry oat pecan muffins

Since we have a plethora of blueberries these days courtesy of my friend Raj who has a blueberry farm, I thought I would attempt muffin making. Please note, I like to cook, not bake. Baking is just far too precise for me. Cooking you can adjust, add, remove, change or do whatever you like whereas if you did that with baking, you would be hooped!

I tried searching for a healthy blueberry muffin with oats and pecans, and voila! I found a recipe online. They turned out ok; a little on the moist side but that might just be because I wanted lots of berries in them. They definitely taste healthy, but not too healthy. Not bad overall I'd say!



Sunday, September 16, 2012

fun things

I like how A Cup of Jo does post sometimes by listing fun things around the net. I have adopted her ways because I find so many fun things from my daily news readings, tweets, other peoples blogs etc. If you have some time on your hands, click & read away!

I love tuna - this is Chef Michael Smith's mayo-less tuna fish sandwich!!


The greatest dance tutorial ever for the Gangnam Style song! (if you haven't heard it, click here)






rockin' the orange

Yesterday a bunch of us from work went to the BC Lions game. The YMCA & the BC Lions have a partnership where they give the YMCA $10 from each ticket so it was for a good cause. Let me tell you, however, football games are soooo long and soooo not exciting to me...I try, I really do, it's just not my thing. At all. Anywho, it was fun because there were a bunch of us there.


Front Row: Lil sis, Harman, Pants & Jeevan  Back Row: Taryn & Adam


Moi, Jessica & lil sis

Jeevan, Harman & Pants being silly boys with bibs

Aunty Coralee, my poppa & Uncle Michael

sibs

Not surprising, Pants found the cheerleaders...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

65 years

Last night we celebrated my grandparents 65th wedding anniversary with a lovely dinner at the Vancouver Golf Club. Can you imagine being married for 65 years?! Incredible - 65 years, 4 children, 9 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild and one more great-grandchild on the way; they are a great example of where I would love to be after 65 years, that's for sure.

My grandpa put so much effort into organizing this event and spent a lot of time making sure everyone was having fun. Such a social butterfly he is - maybe that's where I got my social skills from! Everything turned out so well and everyone had a blast. There was family, friends, neighbors and past co-workers there. Even my grandma's two flower girls were there!! So cute.

Dinner at the golf club (where my grandpa has been a member for practically forever!) is ALWAYS amazing. There was a creamy pesto pasta, vegetable ratatouille and a salmon that was to die for. Oh and foccacia bread with oil & vinegar. And caeser salad. I'm such a sucker for a good caeser salad. YUM. We have been there lots of times for dinner (and lunch; and breakfast!) and it's always delicious. My parents got married there 30 some odd years ago and I think it's just a special place in my heart that I associate with fun family times. I'd love to get married there some day!!



My cousin Gina & I. People were talking about how alike we look! (my mom & her dad are siblings)

My sister & our grandma

The pretty centerpieces that my Aunty Josie spent a lot of time on (those and chair covers!)

Me, my cousin Kristen and sister

My mom mingling

Here he is, being his chatty self with his buddies!

My mom, sister and grandma. I'm sad I wasn't in this photo!

My grandparents :)


The dixieland band that played! They were fantastic, entertaining and super upbeat. I really enjoyed them!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

10 tips to a great workday

I read this cute gem of an article on a great website (Inc) and thought I'd share it! It is 10 tips to have a great day at work and I think they are fantastic, plus they really can be applicable to every day. It's amazing what simply having a positive outlook on life can do to your day anywhere.

1. Start with 15 minutes of positive input.
2. Tie your work to your life's goals.
3. Use your commute wisely.
4. Stick a smile on your face.
5. Express a positive mood.
6. Do what's important first.
7. Avoid negative people.
8. Don't work long hours.
9. Wind down and relax.
10. End you day with 15 minutes of gratitude.

And voila - a great workday is created!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

b&b

These are my newest dog/house sitting pals - Buster & Benji! They are pretty cute and have a TON of energy. They are super cute together and definitely keep each other company.

Buster

Benji

Benji cleaning Buster's ears - haha!
See? They snuggle!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tomorrow is the first day of my last class EVER at good ol' Kwantlen Polytechnic University!

I am a little in shock - part of me feels like it was just yesterday that I started school. What on earth am I going to do with all my spare time after this semester?? Ideas please?!

Wish me luck...this course is double the amount of credits as a normal course. It's considered a "practicum" course with a major project worth 55% of my final grade. At least this is the ONLY course I am in and I can fully focus on it.

Yay!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On Leadership

I read an article on Fast Company today entitled "3 Ways to Become an Authoritative Leader, Even if You're Under 30" and found it quite interesting!

The tips from author Jess Loren are to do the following:

1. Establish yourself at your company.
2. Establish yourself in your community.
3. Make use of your previous experience.

I really like the line that says:

"When it comes down to it, a good leader is constantly developing. The skills that develop leader capacities are situational awareness, calmness under pressure, mental flexibility, and positive thinking. If you develop those skills, then you'll be a good leader whether you're 21 or 71."

I like this because it's so very true. Leadership is so situational, and there it seems as though there is never a "right" way to act in situations, and the same situation might come up with a completely different outcome every single time! It also has a lot to do with people's personalities, in my opinion. Everyone see things from their own perspective and it's important to remember that.

I have learned a great deal from my work experience and school experience on leadership. I really do think there is a lot I can learn on leadership still, and hope I will continue to keep learning and never stop!

Another great article: 5 Leadership Lessons you Won't Learn in Business School via Inc
One more great read: 4 Ways a Leader can Improve Communication via the Globe and Mail 

Monday, September 3, 2012

chicken cordon bleu

I started following this new recipe blog I found, by Joanne Ozug, called Fifteen Spatulas. It's such a great blog!! She had fantastic photos, videos and explains everything in such great detail and tells you WHY to do certain things, which I appreciate learning.

So tonight, I decided to try her chicken cordon bleu recipe. Surprisingly, it is not very hard to make and mine turned out quite well!! I used a different type of bread crumbs than she did, and used swiss cheese (she recommended swiss or gruyere) but other than that I followed her recipe to the tee. It really was quite easy, besides the grocery part that included finding chicken cutlets at Price Smart! I had to convince my brother to pound out some regular fresh chicken breasts for me since that grossed me out a little. Then you just add the ham, then cheese and roll it all up. Then roll the whole thing in flour, egg then breading and bake for 30 minutes!

I don't eat chicken so I didn't try it, but my mom, dad and brother said it was quite good. My mom said she liked it much better than the frozen kind. I think these were a hit with the whole family, which is challenging to do since everyone always wants something completely different!!! I served this chicken cordon bleu with fettuccine alfredo, steamed broccoli and caeser salad. Voila!



PS - I'd really like to try some other recipes of hers, including fresh spring rolls, grilled artichoke pesto zucchini bites, homemade mozzarella sticks, and crispetty cauliflower!

heist

Have you heard about the latest troubles in the world?! 10 million pounds of maple syrup, worth $30 million, was found missing from a warehouse in Quebec last week, according to the Globe & Mail.

I was practically in tears from laughter while reading this article a few days ago. I was trying to read it out loud to my family and could barely get a sentence out without a giggle. It's not that I don't take a theft of such volume and dollar value seriously, it's just that they speak so seriously of maple syrup. My favorite quote was: “We still have enough maple syrup. There will be no shortage." ...as if maple syrup was some sort of rare commodity in the world?!


PS - there was also a potato theft last week, worth about $3,000, in Richmond, B.C....