Thursday, July 21, 2011

I've moved!

Big ... huge, gigantic, jumping for joy kind of news.

I've moved!!!! another blog address with a brand-spanking new blog design, via the lovely Emily from The Blog Fairy.

When you get there - check out the brilliant header she made for my blog. She accomplished so many things with that. She made all my fantasies come true, and gave me boobies. Which made me laugh. If it makes me laugh - I love it!

I hope you lovely readers, followers, subscribers that make this blogging world so darn fun join me over there. Please switch your follow to my new blog here, and change your google reader subscriptions, rss feeds. I'm thinking of doing something special for those of you that do move on over with me. 

This is the perfect birthday gift... yipee!!!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Simple Kale Saute

I've been on a no sugar, no carb diet. So I've been trying to find food I can make that tastes yummy - is healthy and easy peasy to make.

I like kale - so I thought... maybe a quick saute.

1 bunch of kale
1/2 bunch of spinach
10-15 thin spears of asparagus
1 cup of sliced crimini mushrooms
2-3 Tblsp garlic olive oil
1tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper for your own preference
1/2 a lemon

Wash the kale and de-stem them. Make slice the leaves in thirds horizontally.
Wash the spinach and make the same slices as the kale.

Break off the ends of the asparagus and wash. Slice them in thirds at an angle - because it's prettier.

Add 2-3 Tablespoons garlic olive oil to a wok (or whatever you like to saute in) over med-high heat. I sprinkle some freshly ground sea salt and black pepper - 'bout a 1/2 tsp each to start.

Toss in the mushrooms and saute until golden brown.
Add the asparagus. Saute another few minutes until tender.
Toss in the kale. Saute for 4 min or until it's wilted.
Last, add  in the spinach and saute until wilted.
Off the heat.
Squeeze in half a lemon's worth of juice.
Add more salt/pepper to your tongue's choice. heh

Toss - and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Happiness Post:: Post 30

Visits with old friends.

I absolutely love it when old friends come to visit and we have such a great time. At the end of the visit, you simply don't want them to leave because they have enriched your home with their joyful spirits. The conversations were invigorating, satisfying and lasted long into the wee hours of the morning. 

It's thrilling when our children are all bright, happy, funny, and enjoy each other's company. The food was plentiful, and bellies were happy. There was such a feeling of warmth and joy that permeated my home - and I reveled in it.

I was lucky to be at BYU with both Jon and Chastity - we all lived in the Foreign Language Student Residence at BYU. It is, bar none, the best place to live, and meet people who are not only intelligent, talented and fun - but people who enjoy learning, and experiencing the world outside of their comfort zones.

If I had my way, we'd all live in the same neighborhood, or our own compound, so our kids could associate with such fascinating people.

Jon is a creative genius, puppeteer, software guru, gospel whiz, stellar husband/father and friend. 
Chastity sings, plays the ukelele, throws knives, belly dances, does circus trapeze tricks, home schools, is a fabulous mother/wife and friend... 
and these are just a few of the things this couple does. 
It's no wonder I so enjoy their children.

It makes me feel so content and happy to know that people I respected and admired in my youth, are still people I respect and admire.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday: A Family Lives Here - Exhibit 15

I'll be posting each Friday with the same theme of "A Family Lives Here". Hope you like it. Hope you join in on the fun.

Exhibit 15:

As kids my brothers and I enjoyed playing with legos. We received some legos one Christmas I remember. We were excited! Then we realized the pieces were mixed up in all of our boxes. Turns out they were hand-me-down legos from our friend across the street. My Mom had saran wrapped the boxes. Regardless, we loved creating with them.

We thought now would be a good time to introduce our girls to legos. We went to Target and found the only pink box in the aisle. We also purchased a pack with a bus, pizza shop, bike shop and bus stop.

Let's just say... I love putting them together. I love following instructions. Also, I love miniature stuff. Our girls... kept saying "Oh! How cute! It's so tiny!"

Oh, I've already vacuumed up a glass goblet, but saw it and removed it from the vacuum. I felt like a hero. I've already stepped on two... and one of them made my foot bleed, internally. Let the madness begin.

What are your favorite legos?


We're like detectives, scouting out evidence that a family lives here.
Join me by posting a proof of family, with your commentary.
Then, tack on my button and include it in your post. 
Remember to add your link via Mr. Linky.
Ready, set, go!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower

I'm a little addicted to cauliflower right now. In the last week I've had it three times. Also, cauliflower is part of the family of veggies that actually protect you against cancers. Dude. Awesome.

So here's what I do.

Buy a head of cauliflower (they have orange too - so pretty). Preheat your oven to 350. 

Cut off the leftover leafy/stem thing and then break the sucker apart. If there are pieces that are ginormous. Cut them. Shape them into what you want to eat. Wash the beautiful cauliflower. Drain.

Toss the lot of them into a bowl and douse it with enough olive oil to coat the cauliflower. Freshly grind sea salt and black pepper - liberally. Don't be afraid. The more salt/pepper the more you can't have just one. If you're like me and love spicy food, add red pepper flakes.

Scatter these puppies on cookie sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes. Check it to make sure it's done to your desire.

Then... eat... and watch how quickly you can inhale a single cabbage head. It's like being a vegetarian zombie... "mmm... imitation brains!"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happiness Post:: Post 29

Sometimes it's easy to forget how good I have it.

When we're out and about, my friends and even strangers make mention to me of how lucky I am that my daughters play well together. That they enjoy being together, doing things together. They really are best friends. I hope they'll be BFFs forever.


Don't get me wrong. They have their moments. But by and large they get along really, really well. My 6YO loves to be in charge. She also has a heart that is unconditional, sensitive and thoughtful. She loves to take care of, create surprises and write love notes to her sister - daily. 

My 4YO loves to play with her big sister. Misses her when she's not around, and is really patient with following what her big sister directs. She also remembers her sister when it's just the two of us running errands. Whenever, she gets a treat, or a balloon, she immediately asks for another for her big sister.

I often receive kind comments from friends who think I make motherhood look easy. I want you to know that that is not my intention at all. (I don't really have an intention - crud, should I have one? I just, you know, throw it out there.) For me, motherhood is not about easy - it's about the joy.

To be clear, motherhood isn't easy. It isn't. Some of us take well to it, some of us don't. There are annoyances, there are short tempers, and I am one of the most hormonal woman you'll meet. So if it seems like it is easy, breezy. Please know, it is not. I make an effort to capture all the many, many joyful, happy, grateful moments. Those are moments that help when the going gets tough. I find that when I focus on the positive, the negative stuff gets forgotten quite easily. It also helps that my memory tends to reset itself every five minutes. What's that again?

I love this picture - after running through the water I made them each have a sandwich. I turned around to find them sitting like this. I snapped about 4-5 pictures before I actually had to get their attention to take the picture below. They chitter, chatter together all the time.

I do believe that each of us can be joyful. We have the choice each day to decide what kind of person we'll be that day... and I try to choose to be cheerful, as long as I've been watered, fed and cared for. Ha!

However, my daughters are the main reason I enjoy motherhood. They came this way. They have their weaknesses, just as I do - but they truly are a joy to learn from, to be around and simply to adore. Honestly, there are times I just sit and stare at them. They are so entertaining. You couldn't pay me all the riches in the world to change my life. This is true happiness.

ps. All pictures taken on my iPhone

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday: A Family Lives Here - Exhibit 14

I'll be posting each Friday with the same theme of "A Family Lives Here". Hope you like it. Hope you join in on the fun.

Exhibit 14:

Good morning! It's breakfast time.

 Tiana must've made good on her restaurant.

 If Mulan is anything like me - she loves to enjoy good food.

Look, there are the cutie pies enjoying breakfast and entertainment.

Tiana and Mulan were centerpieces for our dinner the night before these pictures were taken. My daughters love setting the table, but their favorite thing to do is to come up with creative center pieces.

Do you kids like to set the table too?


We're like detectives, scouting out evidence that a family lives here.
Join me by posting a proof of family, with your commentary.
Then, tack on my button and include it in your post. 
Remember to add your link via Mr. Linky.
Ready, set, go!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

I just want to preface this post. This was not easy to share. While I am 90% the kind of person to just chuck this in the air and get on with it, there's 10% that is screaming at me... "what the hell do you think you're doing?" 90 weighs more than 10 - so 90 wins.

Body image feels different to everyone, I get that. Weight feels different. How we feel I think is intensely personal. I am merely sharing my feelings, I hope that that is all it is seen as. I'm not trying to offend sensibilities. This is just me, being me and being straight with you all. The fact is, I dug myself into this hole, I have to dig myself out. Although it was much easier, and tastier getting in this hole. Ha!

You know how some doctors display a molded thing of fat and disgustedly you ask, "what the heck is that?" They explain, "that's just five pounds of fat." Welcome to my version of - below are pictures of 140lbs. Enjoy. Hope you didn't eat anything. heheh

Last April (2010) I weighed 147 lbs. I am only 5'3" and maybe a quarter inch or two. My driver's license says I'm 5'5" and that I weigh 118 lbs - now I was wearing heels at the time, and I was 18 when I got that license. I was 122 lbs when I got married. I never gained the freshman 15. I don't recall having ever been on a exercise/diet regime. I didn't have to watch what I ate. It was a great life.

March 2010 -147lbs +/-, probably + 
(please note the belly flop, and the stretchy yoga pants I wear to the gym normally)

Last year I gained a ridiculous amount of weight when I went on a crazy baking, cooking binge. It was good food. Always from scratch, always the freshest, best ingredients. I live in California - food just is better - the only place that has us beat is Hawaii, who wins that hands down. So I gained... a lot of weight. It wasn't like it snuck up on me - I was consciously, perhaps subconsciously enjoying my food, and tasty treats ... a bit too much.

April 2010 - still 147 lbs +/-  (notice the same pants - for the gym!)

For a food lover like me who loves the play of flavors, tasting something new, and exotic, sometimes comforting... it is hard to resist. There are simply so many recipes, a myriad of food to savor...there isn't enough of me to try it all. Oh, but I did try to taste it all.

Hanging out in my hometown of Cupertino with my sister, brother and our parents. 
The cousins got to splash outside the Cupertino Library. Beautiful library.

So what happened?

I felt... uck. St-uck, g-uck, m-uck, d-uck, b-uck? Okay, the last two were for fun.

If you know me - I am pretty damn confident. I, frankly don't give a rat's ass what people think. (because we all know that those that get their skivvies in a knot aren't worth your time)

I love this picture.

I do, however, care a lot about what I think (perhaps, a trait of every blogger). I could feel all that extra weight on me and it felt miserable. Like an extra sweater or two that your mom makes you wear when it's cold outside, but it's not that cold and you're just itching to get it off, because it's a knitted sweater out of wool, but you can't because your hands are stuck in these bright red mittens.

I knew I had to do something. So I started exercising, regularly (sporadic exercising doesn't quite do it). I stopped cooking/baking like a madwoman. I started to work on getting back to what I felt was comfortable, what I knew was me.

I know many people worry about how they appear to others. That's not me. For me it's all about the crazy woman living in my head (there's more people, but that's another post). I blame her for all the inappropriate jokes and expletives that occasionally pop out of my mouth... willingly.

September 2010 with my lovely friend the greek goddess 
(even my Boden dress can't hide it from me, and I am wearing make up here.)

Right now, I'm at 135 lbs. It's not where I want to be, yet. It's an improvement. My husband shakes his head when he hears me frustrated with working on my weight/health - and tells me I don't need to do it. He then compares me to other people - which, while I understand he's trying to be kind, supportive, etc... he just doesn't understand it's not about comparing myself to others. It never has been. It's about comparing myself to the image I see in the mirror.

Granted this can be complicated as, depending on which mirror I look at (the gym, my closet, my bathroom, or any shiny surface), the image can still be distorted. 

So what do you do?

It's easy for me to say thank you to people who compliment me - but what runs through my head as I thank them? It's usually an immediate dismissal of their kind compliments.

So who, or what do you trust?

 October 2010-9th Anniversary. 
I can't remember how many lbs. But I can see it. (make up occasion)

Don't get me wrong. I have my moments. Fleeting moments where I'll think - "dang girl... you're looking sassy today." Quite often, I think, "dang girl... we still got a lot to work on."

Which is why I don't have a problem running around all day, every day without a stitch of make up on my face. Not because I think I am naturally gorgeous, blah, blah. But because, I don't like the feel of make up every day, and I don't care what other people think of how I look. I like to look clean, decent and happy - but unless it's Church or a special event, occasion where dressing up is required, I just can't be bothered with it.

Beauty - is complicated. It's hard to pinpoint. I know I have my own issues to work out, with the girl in my head. I think I prefer my brand of crazy, to worrying about what others think of me.

June 2011 140lbs. 
Look how different it looks from a picture taken just four days after, 
when I went dancing with my friends, below.

A few notes. If by few, I mean... several.
1. I've never had a guy, in my entire life seek me out. Which is probably why I enjoy stories where the male simply can't resist his desire for a woman. Let me amend that, never had a guy that I found attractive/had a personality that I also wanted to spend time with seek me out/ask me out first. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. Maybe too quirky? But man, don't we all love being fiercely desired? Mr. Firth-Jackman-McAvoy text me. (heh)

2. My first kiss was at 19. It was... not what I expected, imagined, nor wanted, and it was a lot more wet, sloppy and goopy than I thought it would be. That first kiss was not a good one. However, subsequent kisses with other people, and my delicious husband were scrump-diddly-uptious. I love kissing. I have kissed four guys in my entire life.

3. The only times I've been hit-on (that I can remember, significantly) were after I had been to the gym, still in my sweaty gym clothes, in contacts, and stinky. I don't get it. Pheromones? If so, folks, I have just given you a secret potion. (post edit: also, I should mention I was married, and had two children... where were they when I was single???)

4. I am far too gifted in the thigh muscle department. Also the "baby got back" trunk too. Neither of my parents have this. I have spent much of my life trying to decimate them. Wish me luck. Also, my legs look much better upside down. (I am always looking for tips to shrink them... they are mostly muscle - so how do I shrink them - tell me!)

5. Earlier this year I was at the gym trying to get advice on eliminating my sexy thighs. Two instructors, at two different times asked me how much I weighed - when I told them I was 140 lbs at the time, they both had the same reaction. Stunned silence, then mumbly, verbal recovery. They told me I needed to run. I hate running. Hate it. Unless zombies want to munch on my brain, why do I need to run? I'd much prefer to kickbox their brains out.

6. The truth is, I miss my lithe body. I wish I could go back in time and tell that girl a couple things. First, you feel/look fantastic. Second, do your old self a favor and start an exercise regimen. Starting in my mid-twenties sort of put me behind the eight ball. I'm making up and paying for it now.

7. When I go exercise and my daughters ask me why - I tell them, that I exercise to be healthy, strong and it makes me happy. I don't explain that it makes me happy after I kill myself at the gym... but they'll learn that when they're older. Endorphins rule. For now, all exercise is fun for them. I work really hard not to talk about how "fat" I feel around them. I am not always successful - but I am trying not to warp them.

 June 2011 - taken four days after the picture above. Still 140 lbs.
Crazy huh? I'm the second from the left, fyi. (make up occasion)
Stuff like this totally messes with me in my head.

I wrote this post for my friend, the greek goddess. She's working on putting together ideas for beauty.

I wouldn't say I am beautiful. I'm too modestly Asian for that. I will say that I'm beautifully quirky. I do believe that. I don't have a face that lends itself to the proclaimed, agreed upon beauty. I have my moments of shine. I know I am aging...because the calendar says so, but I don't feel it, or see it. Or am I unwilling to see it? I do find some in my hair when I have to get it highlighted because more white hairs are showing up. But I just don't feel my age. I don't know if time has bent, but I feel like my 20s were just yesterday. Today, I just happened to have two little girls, growing up in mere seconds before my eyes. I suppose that's why, since I don't feel old - I don't feel like I should "act" my age. Maybe that offends people - I don't give a damn. It makes me ridiculously cheerful and full of energy. Perhaps that's the secret of life. Teasing, tricking our brains to act the way we want, not what the world dictates we ought to be.

You're welcome, that's two secrets I've shared with you. 

Maybe we really can... become what we think about. Maybe true happiness is simply living and defining the life, and all those other conundrums, like beauty, the way you, and you in your head want to be.

One of my favorite quotes all through high school and college was by Helen Keller. "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be touched or even seen, they must be felt with the heart."

Perhaps, I should answer myself... "you", when posed with the question, "who's the fairest of them all?"

Taken from my closet's mirror. July 2011 137/135lbs...and counting... down I hope. 
And for those of you that do care... I don't care that you get to see my messy closet. *grin*


Bonus Features:
A post on beauty that I love. By a great man. You should read it. You should share it. We should all commit to doing a better job at being gentler on ourselves. I'll need reminders. I am forgetful like that.

A post I enjoyed - I love the idea of tailoring clothes to fit our different body types. I would love to have my own, inexpensive mind you, tailor. When I was at BYU studying broadcast journalism, buying suits for on camera work was a pain. In fact, it was what I thought was a oddly proportioned body that messed a lot with the woman in my head. I had to buy a size 4 suit jacket and a size 6 skirt/pants. So I could never, ever buy a complete suit set. Or if I did, the top would be too big for my tiny boobs. Now they're tiny, and deflated. But they're mine. They're glorious for providing an endless supply of milk. I missed my true calling as a nursemaid.

These last couple days I've seen articles on the vainest cities - funny as I was working on this post for a couple weeks now. "You're so vain... you probably think this song is about you, don't you..."

ps. I shared my weight. Do you know how big that is? (pun, intended) Now, don't go spreading it around. Ha!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Apricot Compote Cheesecake Bars

Thank you Martha Stewart. These are simply divine.

For the delicious recipe - go here.
Thought I'd share some of the pictures I took while I made the cheesecake. I wish you could smell the sweet apricot aroma.

First you cook the apricots. The recipe says four - but I threw in one more. You cook it with sugar and a bit of salt.

It's ready when it looks like this.

Then you puree it with a lemon juice and water (I doubled the lemon juice) in a food processor.

This is the crust after it's been baked.

 Here's the cheesecake mix waiting for the apricot puree.

You just drop spoonfuls randomly. It's really fun.

 Then take a skewer and gently make your own designs. My girls thought these looked like dancing stars.

Voila - all done and baked... cool and then let it sit in your fridge for two hours. 

Dang I love apricots.

ps. I only took one bite. Just one. I am so proud of my discipline. I did freeze some for when I'm of my no sugar/carbs stint.