Monday, October 8, 2012

bieber believer

In the midst of the move from Houston to Fort Worth my skin grew ragged.

I'm talking full out teenage nightmare zit storms.

It could have been stress.
It could have been the change in scenery.
No matter the reasoning my skin was truly an embarrassment!

For the longest time I was using the blue bottle Neutrogena facial wash both in the morning & evening. It kept my face relatively clear. But, when the eruptions began, it was failing big time.

The mall near the house here in FW has an automatic proactiv dispenser. One day in August, I took a $30 gamble on one of their trial sets.

It has been two months that I have been diligently using the kit and, I'm ready to star in one of their commercials. I know I sound idiotic but, it's true! Also, brace yourself for some vanity shots. But, in defense of my vanity, I am attempting to make you a believer (although, I do not have a before...I didn't think to snap a pic because I truly didn't think this would help):

here is my non-oily, clear skin with makeup

and, once again, at the end of a work day with my makeup long since worn off: oil free, pimple free!

While I do have the occasional break out, it's nothing major & usually around my jawline (in all likelihood due to hair product residue. But, other than that my skin is shine free & super soft. I'm also super impressed by how long the 30 day trial kit has lasted. I use it every day, morning & night. I just recently ran out of the toner but otherwise still going strong with the cleanser & night gel.

I hope that the proactiv miracle will continue and if you were by any chance looking to try new facial products: know that I am advocating for the Bieber line all the way.

I only hope I don't jinx myself by posting this...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

the newbies

If you had asked me a few weeks ago how my new school was treating me, I would have told you to suck it.

I'm not kidding.

I was hating on it. Big time. Building-smchuilding. I was longing for all my old 2nd graders and co-workers to be back with me. Besides that the first month of school is always the hardest. As exciting as new school supplies and students can be, you also have to start fresh: reteach routines, expectations, etc.

But then it hit me: this year I have a class of fourteen students.

If you're not in the education world, know this: a class of fourteen is unheard of in public schools. A class of fourteen is a unicorn. A teacher's dreamland.

As the days progress, I am consciously holding my breath waiting for something to happen. I have never been so blessed. Not only is the class remarkably small, they are also one of the sweetest most eager to please groups I have ever worked with.



driving up to the school never fails to bring a smile to my face: it's just too pretty!

I am also little by little getting to know my co workers & their funny quirks. Thus far my favorite of their traditions are Fridays, it's not five o'clock somewhere with them. It's four o'clock & I love it (and my tasty margaritas with a side of gossip).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

eye matter

Is it just me or does your makeup bag seem to run out of its essentials at the same time? I'm running low on tinted moisturizer & concealer, even though I just went on a Sephora trip a little over a week ago. Walking into Sephora is one of my favorite things to do in the world. Perfume, lip gloss, nail polish, make up, it's a girl's world! The sales girls are always sweet and are truly helpful, too. 

For the past few months I had noticed that my eyes were looking a bit tired & the skin around them seemed darker than normal. At first I thought it was just me being overly vain but when I read one of my favorite bloggers used eye cream to brighten her eyes, I thought it would be worth a shot. In my book eye cream is for old ladies but with my big 3-0 birthday looming rather close, I figure prevention is never a bad thing.

Since I walked into Sephora with little research under my belt, I decided to ask the girl for advice. She went above and beyond to help. She went through and showed me the different brands they carried. When she noticed I seemed more drawn to one than another, she'd go squirt a generous amount into the sample tubs and label it for me. I walked out with three samples & an alliteration trio. Boscia ($38), a Benefits one ($32, such pretty packaging) and Bremenn ($58, yikes). 

As of today I have only sampled one, Boscia. 

I feel I have been pretty good about using it nightly. Probably because I really have seen results. The dark circles under my eyes seem a lot more faint. A friend had told me when she started using eye cream, it got to the point where she no longer has to use concealer (lucky!) and while I am not quite there, I will say that it's close. 

I'm waking up in the mornings and seeing that my eyes are not as puffy, clearer and more alert. It's pretty awesome.

I realize that my three brand sampling is going to be slightly tainted since I'm about to start testing out eye cream number two (in all likelihood it'll be the benefit one) with my eyes a bit lighter than when I first started but I am hoping to see that the results will continue, if not increase with use. Do you have any recommendations?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

fifteen days later & a whole bunch of tmi's

September marks the third month we have been in Fort Worth.

In that time the highlights include:

  • Me losing ten pounds! Being poor & not being able to go out for drinks/food/starbucks/ice cream will do that to you.
  • Building up my jogging stamina. As of today I have officially run 29 miles. Not at once. Just over the past few weeks. 
  • Meeting my new students (seriously, some of them already have me wrapped around their finger)
  • Long talks at the dinner table with the hubs, these have been pretty awesome ranging anywhere from dogs to Obama to education to art to LOTR 
So, yep. Things are progressing well. I think once we acclimate to getting paid ONCE A MONTH (I realize I am cyber shouting but are these accounting people for real?) things may get a little less stressful. Moving from one end of the state to the other on one income sucks. 

Granted, Fran and I were financially challenged to begin with but these past few months have completely put us on the endangered list. It was ironically funny (I guess) sitting on the couch listening to the First Lady talk about the Obama's first dates in a rusty-hole-ridden vehicle when thinking about Santo (Fran's truck) and our current bank status. Call me stupid but, no, economically I am not better off than I was four years back. Nonetheless, I do not blame the government for this. Rather myself and my spendthrift ways. 

But, to steer back from that random tangent, I truly hope that by the end of this month I'll finally be able to venture back to Houston. I miss everything about the city: family, friends, job. You name it, I miss it. Homesickness has truly set in. I think a visit may help ease the ache. At the moment Fort Worth is just not nearly as cool. 

Until then, I will continue my ten dollar yoga stress relief Target DVD, bombing myself with Deep Woods bug repellent and attempting to avoid psl's magnetic temptation. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

first day jitters

Going into my seventh year of teaching, I still can't seem to rid myself of the night before jitters. Butterflies in my stomach, constantly going through the "will they like me?" or (more importantly), "will I like them"? 

It's been a blur the past two weeks. I went from nonchalantly applying to full on immersion into professional development and meeting the new teachers at the school. The past two weeks had me jumping from one building to another and busily preparing a room for a subject I've yet to teach: dual language. I am excited by the concept but slightly nervous I am heading into something beyond me: STAAR in two languages. 

Currently though, I am infatuated with the building I shall be teaching in. It was built in 1938 and has gracefully preserved much of its vintage charm. Including the most beautiful wood, glass fronted cabinets in my classroom! 

Cleaning out the classroom took a few days of manual labor. It went from this:

To this:

Even then, I am still not finished. I was rather spoiled by having my own building key at KIPP. At the new school I am constrained to a tight schedule that does not accommodate for me running across town whenever I ran out of punch out letters (hence the bare boards). 

The past few days have had me fondly remembering the students of the past (um, is there a way to phrase this where it doesn't sound so hokey?) and I am eagerly awaiting to meet the latest bunch. I am looking forward to putting forth a pinterest idea into play the first week. As always, I lament that I didn't have the opportunity to know of this project in the past because I think of a few students in particular and I know the "museum me" would have generated some awesome results! In any case, here is my prototype- joyfully made with Marshall, Lily & Barney gabbing in the background. Which may explain my halting Spanish. 

I will definitely need to brush up on my Spanish writing skills! It's amazing how much will go without practice. 

To all those venturing into a new year: I wish you the best of luck! May you go into it with open hearts and open minds. For those of you two weeks into the meat of things, keep you head up: it's bound to be a good year!

PS: Without a doubt, GIANT props have to be given to my husband. Not one summer has he ever shown the slightest waver in his enthusiasm to help me transform rooms. If not for his help (and power tools), it would never be done quite the same way!

Update: this morning I didn't hear my alarm go off. Panic attack, city. Luckily with my three minute commute I made with time to spare but, sheesh! Early heart palpitations are not fun. And, for my own mental sanity, academics finally look to be coming into the room. I'm excited, the kids today were super sweet & eager to please!

Monday, August 6, 2012

homemade frozen yogurt

In an attempt to not invade Yogurtland more than twice a week, I attempted to make froyo at home this week and the result was awesome.

  • 2 cups of greek yogurt
  • honey (about three tablespoons, I was eyeballing it)
  • frozen fruit (this time I used cherries)
Blend the three ingredients together. Pour the result into tupperware that can be frozen for about four hours. The only downfall to this recipe is there's no immediate gratification.

After impatiently waiting for the mixture to harden, scoop...

and serve!

I've been growing mint on my kitchen counter for a few days now & added the leaves as garnish without taking out when I started eating. The mint was such a great addition! I think the next time I try the recipe (which won't be for a while because the quantities I used will last for at least a week) I'll be sure to add in a few leaves to the blender for a cool kick. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

pesto, presto!

This past weekend, while at TJ's, I bought a big tub of basil- knowing full well I wouldn't be able to use it all but, not really having any other choice since there was no smaller size available. Well, the basil was used & then stored but was sadly wilting away each day.

Yesterday as I stared at the tub, it hit me: pesto!

I googled a recipe and realized I had every single item readily available to make my own pesto sauce. It was rather mind blowing how simple & quick it was to make. For some reason in my head I had always pictured homemade pesto as being a complicated, drawn out process when in reality, it took all of 5 minutes.


  • 2 cups of pesto
  • 2 cups of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (I used the crappy Kraft powder this time, next time I'll attempt it with the real thing)
  • half a lime 
  • salt & pepper
First, you will pulse the basil and garlic:

Once you see the two have been finely minced, slowly start adding in the olive oil: 

Once the olive oil has been fully pulsed in squeeze in your lime, dump in the cheese as well as the salt & pepper (to taste) and pulse one or two more times. 

Once, you are done, mix in with a pasta and devour. 

Fran & I were BIG fans of the pesto. I will try putting a little less olive oil next time because I found it a bit too oily for my taste. I also want to experiment with a bit of red pepper flakes for an extra zing. Otherwise, I can't wait to try it again!

Will hummus seriously be this easy? Because, other than chocolate, I think hummus is my other addiction.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

minty fresh

I'm attempting to live by the "pauper dinner" mentality but, uh, I don't know of anyone (other than Oprah) that is able to create such elaborate meals for lunch. But, I think I finally nailed a dinner that would fit the bill!

It's light, filling and extremely fresh- perfect for these hot summer nights (iiiigghhhhtttt). 

Here's what you'll need:
  • 2 slices of pita bread
  • 1 cucumber (seeded & diced)
  • feta cheese
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lime
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh mint
  • salad 
Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. While it's heating, cut the 2 pieces of pita bread into semi small pieces (I cut them into eighths). Place them in a pan and once your oven is ready, leave in for 15 minutes*. 

As you wait for the bread to bake, take a tablespoon of the vinegar, the olive oil and a whole lime's juice: whisk together in a small bowl & salt/pepper to taste. 

Once that is done, take a few (not many) fresh mint leaves, finely chop and set to the side. 

In a plate, arrange your salad and lightly sprinkle with the mint, feta cheese, and generously add in your cucumbers. Then take a small portion of the pita bread to top off before drizzling the dressing. 

From there, sit back and enjoy! The mint adds a literal cool flavor that (as lame as this is about to sound) subtly enhances the cucumber and cheese. I can see myself making this any weeknight when caught in a time crunch.

*I was tempted to skip the pita bread baking part and just substitute with regular pita chips but I am so happy I did not! The 15 minutes in the oven makes it so that the pita bread is still slightly soft & chewy on the inside with a crispness to its outside. Absolutely delicious! Not to mention that the whole thing took all of 20 minutes. As you can see, I added calories with my wine (I need to give it up) and...I ate some more of the pita chips while dunking it into jalapeno-cilantro TJ's humus (you MUST try it). 

Do you have any light/easy recipes you'd care to share?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


If you're not a chick lit fan (or if you are & simply didn't know) yesterday was the long awaited release day for Emily Giffin's new book. She's the author of Something Borrowed/Something Blue (read the series, if you haven't already) along with a slew of others. The past two books have been a bit depressing- no where near as good as her first ones, in my opinion- but I like her style and have faith that this new book will end on a happier note as opposed to the fuzzy gray area the others have drifted into.

So, when I wrote my list heading to Super Target (say it like Mary Katherine Gallagher, trust me it works) picking up the book was one of my top priorities.  You may be thinking, who the hell cares if you bought a new book's why it's worth putting out into the blogosphere:

look closely

Yes! Somehow, someway without paying more Target had autographed copies of the book! I don't know if it was through the publishing house or what but I am so excited! This is almost as good as if I had stood in line to meet her. Except, I didn't have to stand in line and do the 30 second awkward chit chat while she scribbles in my overpriced book. 

nerding out over pink sharpie

Before I move onto the recipe, no, I have not started the book yet. I meant to but I haven't had a chance. With good reason. I made my very first visit to Yogurtland. People, why had no one told me that Hello Kitty is their logo?! How had I not known!? I was seriously flipping out while in there! Hello Kitty everywhere! Thank goodness the fro yo was awesome (the coconut flavor was so good) if not, I would never be able to drag Fran back.

it's a testament to my love for HK that I would post this disheveled/bum/IG picture of me

I realize this entry is going rather long but they were too exciting discoveries that I had to share (note to self: must make friends in Ft. Worth soon so as to not inundate blog).

The recipe I attempted was a quinoa stuffed red pepper. Yes, prepare yourself for awesomeness! Again, keep in mind that every time I share these recipes with you, I take a few detours from what the original recipes call for which is why I include the direct link so I don't screw up your dinner.

  • 4 red bell peppers 
  • pepper jack cheese
  • quinoa (or, in my case, brown rice that I had from the night before)
  • half an onion
  • jalapeno (I used two for extra spiciness)
  • a lime
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • a can of black beans
  • a can of diced tomatoes (I would use fresh ones instead, though)
  • salt & pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Then begin by finely chopping your onion & jalapenos, transfer to a pan that has been liberally doused with olive oil for about five minutes before adding in the garlic. Allow the three to sautee for another 2 minutes. I squeezed the lime at this point for a bit of zest (next time I may add another...)

If you are using a can of diced tomatoes, drain the tomato juice into a baking pan (you will use this later). After which you will add the tomatoes to the pan with the onion/jalapeno/garlic mix and let simmer for 5 minutes. While that is happening, drain your can of beans & then add into the mix & stir before removing from heat. Once the pan is off heat, add in the rice and cheese*.

*if you choose to use quinoa: you'll add the quinoa when stirring in the black beans along with a cup & a half of water which you will then bring to a boil. Once boiling has occurred, bring down to a simmer & let sit for 20 minutes before adding the cheese

During this time, your bell peppers are to have been pitted and scooped to become teeny bowls because you will be spooning & stuffing the mixture into them before sprinkling the tops with cheese. They should end up looking something like this:

the best is yet to come!

Cover with aluminum foil & bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil & bake uncovered for another 10 or until the cheese has lightly browned. Upon which, serve on a bed of the mixture (I had so much of it left over, next time I could do with another three bell peppers) and drizzle with a bit of the tomato juice before digging in.

Because I chose to use brown rice versus the quinoa, I think my version was a bit blander. Next time I will shell out the extra dollars for the quinoa because it is sure to absorb all the flavors in the mixture much better than the rice. Either way, I can assure you that this recipe is a keeper.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

peachy keen

Before I share the recipe I attempted last night, I have to bring up Trader Joe's. I find it rather cruel that Mildred was in the midst of getting a TJ's no more than five minutes away before I ended up in Ft. Worth but I can't really complain. The TJ's here is about 15 minutes and it's probably for the best that it's not closer. That place is dangerously tempting! I walked in to pick up my groceries, with every intention of sticking to my list but...when you smell fresh lavender and the scent hypnotizes you over to it (think Fred Flinstone style)...I had no choice but to place it in my cart. 

It's currently gracing the hallway leading to the bedroom & it is the most wonderful air freshner!

Aside from the great flower section, the three buck chuck wine bottles are clear winners. As is their kettle corn! The packaging?! Ugh. It is a sucker's paradise.

The sucker being me, of course.

But, once I left without a giant dent in the bank account I got to work prepping for the sauteed peaches & pork chops recipe that should you venture to attempt, you will seriously thank me for bringing into your life. No joke.

What you need:

  • pork tenderloins (the package I bought had 5)
  • 2 peaches
  • honey
  • 1 cup of dry white wine (pinot grigio was what I used because it was three bucks)
  • teaspoon of butter
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • rice (or cous cous or quinoa)
Thoroughly coat a large pan with olive oil and cook the pork chops (be sure you salt & pepper them to taste) about three minutes on each side. Once they are cooked, set them aside and keep warm.

While the pork chops are cooking, pit and cut the peaches into eighths.

Detour: the peaches I picked up were so perfectly firm, plump & juicy! The color palette they created has me itching to integrate those colors somewhere in the house.

Upon finishing with the pork chops, you will add the peaches into the leftover juices & cook them for about two minutes along with a sprinkle of thyme leaves. Then stir in the wine and let boil for about two minutes. From there you'll stir in the chicken broth along with the honey. The official recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of honey but, I love honey & went squeeze happy with the bottle. That probably ups the calories/nutritional whatever but...what can I say? Sometimes the sweet tooth takes over. 

Allow the sauce to simmer for another two minutes before removing from the heat and swirling the butter in. Once you've done that, grab your plate, scoop out rice and place your pork chop on top of it so that you can ladle out the amazing peach sauce.

My husband is not a picky eater and, bless his heart, will eat anything I create with gusto & praise it (sometimes with my prodding). However, this time he could not stop talking about how great the dish was. And, I don't blame him because not to toot my own horn but, it truly was dee-lee-cious! If you try it, let me know how it goes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

back in the kitchen!

It has been quite some time since a) I've updated this blog and b) attempted any new recipes.


Unemployment during the summer is quickly turning into a quest for house wife of the year because you would not believe just how clean and efficient our new house is thanks to the copious amount of time I now have on my hands (this is not a complaint).

Last night while browsing through the multitude of pinterest recipes I have acquired, I decided that a salad would be in order (FW is like a dry oven of heat, it's so hawt) and the coconut chicken & honey vinaigrette salad seemed easy enough.


  • chicken tenderloins
  • crushed corn flakes (or thanks to my pantry, chex)
  • one egg
  • shredded coconut
  • salt & pepper
  • cucumber
  • carrots (a la julienne)
  • olive oil
  • dijon mustard
  • honey
  • balsamic vinegar (or regular)

Before you start, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

If you'd like the precise amounts to the coating of the mixture, I have included the link for the recipe but, quite honestly, I eyeballed most of the recipe and it was fairly spectacular. I took a giant ziploc bag, poured in some of the Chex. Then I was extremely liberal with the amount of coconut shavings I poured in which, I believe, led to a sweeter chicken. A bit of salt & pepper had me closing the bag and pounding it, until I had this:

From there I dipped my chickens into the whisked egg so that I could then thickly coat them with the coconut goodness. (Don't worry, I have no pictures of gross uncooked tenderloins to share with you). Once that was done, it was about six or seven pieces in total, I put them in the oven for 15 minutes before turning them over for another 15 minutes. 

While the chicken was cooking I went onto make the vinaigrette. Seeing as how the only ingredient I had to buy was the mustard, and that the vinaigrette was so easy to make: I am berating myself for not having homemade vinaigrette for every salad! I am changing my ways after this, though.

Take a tablespoon of olive oil, another of vinegar and one more for the honey and dump in a small bowl. Add a teaspoon of the dijon, whisk together & voila! Seriously. That easy. Mind you, I tripled the servings so that I would have enough vinaigrette left over for today's leftovers but that's entirely up to you.

Once your chicken is ready, pull out the plates load it up with salad greens take two of the tenders and lightly drizzle with your vinaigrette...

and devour guilt free because your dinner is only 397 calories. Yeah, awesome, right!?

Now, unfortunately, that day on my way back from the grocery store I stumbled across a food truck park (more on this later) and picked up cupcakes for dessert.

Cinnamon chai & red velvet

I wanted to eat both but I compromised and ate half of each. Which together ruled out my healthy meal but, it was all in the name of experiencing new things in a new city. 

Seeing as I've had two phone interviews & no call backs, you can expect many more of my cooking endeavors. Any recipes you'd like to share since last time?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Movie Monday (belated)

As a mid-week treat I met up with Heidi & our boys to indulge in "gourmet" tex-mex. Created by the Reef chef (Bailey's shake!) El Real had some pretty high expectations to live up to. Mind you, my puffy taco had nothing on Heidi's plate (chalupas) but I will certainly be heading back for my adult milkshake fix.

The purpose of our double date? His & hers movies. The boys went off to see Thor (which, fyi, was apparently a let-down) while we went into SOBO. The movie we'd been waiting two years to watch! 
Verdict? I cannot give a one dimensional answer. It's not a light, romantic comedy. Although John Krasinski (aka Jim, from the Office) is hilarious and was fully capable of providing much needed comedic relief. However, it's such a gray area (best friend sleeps with best friend's fiance)- you're torn! 

Do you feel sympathy for the cheats? Do you feel sorry for the bitchy best friend? Do you want a happy ending? Do you want them to be found out? Ah! I was pulled back and forth in absolute emotional agony. 

I think that if you have read the book, watching the movie is a great continuation. But, if you haven't, it may seem a bit far-fetched, and well, silly. So, my recommendation? Read the book. Watch the movie. You won't be sorry! 

PS: I would like a reason to glam up a la Salma. Those waves. The dress. The ruby lips. Gorgeous.

Monday, March 5, 2012

a must!

If you want the most refreshing (and tingly) shower experience of your life, go to target and stock up on:

The big bottle will be located by the Bumble Bee peeps for $14. Not only does it smell good, it leaves you refreshed & energized. I love it so much, I want to take multiple showers a day! Or, in Fran's words, "it feels like my balls have been taken over by a York Peppermint Patty". Take it as you may.

Also, if you're on the lookout for a good chicklit book, add Sophie Kinsella's latest novel, I've Got Your Number to your cart. I am not posting a picture of the cover because, quite honestly, it's not attractive. Who the hell thinks that neon colors with a black backdrop makes for an arresting cover? Anyway, this is truly a case of one not being discouraged by the cover because it's phenomenal (if you're into girly comedies). 

It's very rare for me to find a book where I literally laugh out loud as I read through it. But, there were four particular scenes where I was busting a gut while poor Fran tried to sleep one Wednesday night. The book had me so engrossed, I closed it at 2am sad to reach the end but happy knowing I had been able to read it from cover to cover that evening. 

Confession, as I write through this post, I am mentally revisiting the four scenes & thinking a reread is in order. 

PS: four week, unlimited boot camp for $69 at Spotts Park, who's in?!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


(anyone else think of divine when that word comes up?)

limited edition oreos (omg)

old UST haunts

and sweet, surprise treats from the hubs 

have led to me not losing any weight. By some miracle, I haven't gained any pounds either but...with swimsuit season right around the corner and my attempt to try to fulfill my goals needs some redirecting. Therefore, I went out and bribed myself with bright colors & new kicks:

I've got a sweaty date with Doakes, Fran and the pavement early tomorrow morning. Woo.