Monday, May 23, 2016

Wolfie is One!

Our little boy had his first birthday on May 20th! We are unsure of how accurate his birth date is, considering he was found as a very small puppy wandering aimlessly around a swap-meet :(  All we know is, we are so lucky he was scooped up by a good samaritan and brought to safety to the rescue organization that we adopted him from!

We had a fun birthday weekend with Wolfie wandering around San Clemente. It is such a beautiful beach town with many great restaurants and cool shops (including Three Dog Bakery, where Wolfie got his very own birthday cookie!).  Wolfie especially enjoyed walking on the pier and checking out the water!

Wolfie is definitely one spoiled pup, but we couldn't let his birthday pass without a new toy! We let him pick out anything he wanted from the store! He chose this squeaky newspaper toy, which makes sense considering my husband is a news junkie. Since Wolfie got it this past weekend, he has barely left the newspaper out of his sight. He is going to be so well read!

We feel incredibly fortunate to have found such a fun, sweet little pup. Here's to many more full-filled birthdays, Wolfgang!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Summer Wish List

Who's excited about summer vacation? I know I am SO ready for (almost) zero responsibilities until late August! I will most likely do some tutoring or babysitting here and there, but my ultimate goal is to spend as much time relaxing as possible!

Lately, with the end of the school year fast approaching, I have been constantly daydreaming about summer days hanging out at the pool or beach. That is much easier to accomplish this summer since moving to California! I have a pool at my apartment complex and I am only a 12 minute drive to the nearest beach!

Here are some things I am really looking forward to/want to do this summer:

1. A beach day followed by the most delicious gelato from Gelato Paradiso.

2. Lounging around in the pool on this Rocket Pop float!

3. Drying off (or bundling up on cooler beach nights) in this floaty towel.

4. Helping out my sister by nannying for a week when she goes back to work after maternity leave. I can't wait to spend more time with my new nephew!

5. Our annual OBX family trip. My parents finally bought a beach house down there after almost 30 summers of renting. I can't wait to see it!

L to R: Me, my mom and my sister at OBX circa 1993. 

6. I bought this cute suit over this past weekend and can't wait to wear it! Since I have a little more junk in the trunk, I'm a big fan of boy-shorts. Also, the color totally reminds me of a creamsicle! Yummmmm.

What are your summer dreams or plans?

Monday, May 9, 2016


I feel like while I was growing up, so many of my peers went through a phase where they were "vegetarian". I remember my sister decided she was a vegetarian when she was in middle school. I mostly think it was so she didn't have to eat some of the dinners my mom prepared so she could eat bagels and peanut-butter instead (but only she knows the truth*). It lasted a few months, but then it was chicken tenders day at our sleep-away camp, and her vegetarian streak was over. (Camp food is notoriously terrible, and the chicken tenders were definitely the only semi-decent meal that our camp served.) I had a friend in 5th grade who decided she was a vegetarian after we saw a fully cooked rabbit at an Italian restaurant. I did feel bad for the rabbit, but not enough that I wanted to end my relationship with eating meat.

For some reason, I never had the urge to make the leap into vegetarianism. I enjoy a good burger. Nothing beats a nice meat and cheese plate. And don't get me started on good BBQ--mmmmm. I never judged my friends or family for deciding not to eat meat--although I definitely know a few people who get reaalllllly annoyed by vegans/vegetarians. I always hear stories about dinner parties gone horribly because a guest was vegan or vegetarian and requested a different meal, yada yada. Rule of thumb--if you're inviting people over for a meal, just ask them what they can't or won't eat, and plan the menu accordingly. NBD.

Recently, however, I have begun to crave meat less. I don't know why or how it happened, but I just haven't felt like eating it. Maybe it's this hippie, California lifestyle that I've adjusted to! Still, there are times when we are out (for example, a great BBQ restaurant or a top-notch burger place) when I will order meat. Family events/holidays can be difficult, so I eat meat there too.

A lot people become vegans or vegetarians for conscious reasons--mainly animal rights. Don't get me wrong, I love animals. But I don't feel that bad when I occasionally have meat. When I do prepare meat dishes, I try to follow the USDA guidelines to make sure that the meat is organic, free-range and hormone-free. Still, I think my main motivation for eating less meat is because I generally just feel better when I don't eat it as much. I have more energy and don't feel as bloated as I did when I was eating more meat.

I was trying to figure out what to call myself. Because I'm not a vegetarian. I used to refer to myself as a "nocturnal carnivore". Since college, I have rarely eaten meat in the day-time. Fortunately, my husband is a quasi-adventurous eater, so I often prepare dishes with tofu or beans as the main protein at home. A couple of times a week, I will make fish or chicken for dinner at home. My husband and I typically eat dinner at home 5-6 days out of the week (hooray for saving $$$). I have made a decision that the majority of the dinners I make will be meatless. I try to have 3 days a week (at least) that are meatless.

Finally, I figured out what I am called. I am a "flexitarian"-- aka a flexible vegetarian. I am eating mostly plant-based foods, but will enjoy meat and fish occasionally. There's even a book about it!

Who knows how long this will last--it may be fleeting like my sister's middle school vegetarianism. But I do feel like this is a lifestyle I could get on board with. It isn't restrictive, and I feel healthier. Here are a few of my favorite meatless recipes that we have been enjoying at home:

1. Black Bean Burgers . I usually make a big salad and roasted potatoes on the side.

2. Tofu Tikka Masala is super easy! Saute tofu dusted with a little flour in an oiled pan for a few minutes until browned. Add store-bought tikka masala sauce, a can of drained chickpeas, and frozen chopped spinach or frozen peas. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Enjoy with basmati rice!

3. Potato gnocchi. I add some jarred sun-dried tomatoes (the oil in the jar adds more flavor), and saute some mushrooms and spinach to add in as well. I like great northern beans (white beans) in mine, but my husband doesn't like them so I usually just put them on the side for myself.

4. Tofu orange chicken is a favorite of my husband. Saute tofu dusted with corn starch for a few minutes until browned. Meanwhile, mix together 2/3 cup orange marmalade, 2/3 cup barbecue sauce, 4 TBSP soy sauce, and 2 TBSP ginger. Add mixture to browned tofu and stir. Add a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies and let simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with brown rice!

I hope you get a chance to try some of these recipes. They are really really yummy!

* Disclaimer: After speaking with my sister, she claims that she became a vegetarian because she felt bad for a little lamb she saw on a trip to a farm.

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