The Mermaid

The Mermaid Look

The Mermaid Look

Happy Hump Day everyone!

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved mermaids.  It’s a love I share with thousands of little girls everywhere.  I don’t know what it is about them.  Maybe it’s that they are always depicted as such beautiful creatures, or that they get to live under the sea.  Being in the water always felt like a second home to me.  I loved swimming in my pool growing up, and taking trips to the ocean.  It’s probably why I ended up attending college at Pepperdine.

My love for mermaids inspired today’s look.  The top is a pearly white, and the shape reminded me of a sea shell.  The sheer tan colored mesh in the center provides the sex appeal men often notice about mermaids.  The bottom is a mermaid cut maxi skirt in deep blue.  The skirt has two slits up either side of the front.  I wore my hair with loose curls to finish the look.

Both the halter top and maxi skirt were purchased at Foreign Exchange in store.  Affordable prices and attention to detail make Foreign Exchange a great place to shop.

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Meeshiladas

Meeshiladas

Meeshiladas

It’s a cold and rainy day here in LA, and nothing tastes better on a day like today than something hot and cheesy.  I’ve made my meeshiladas for lots of friends and family, and they always notice something different about the filling.  My background is Persian, Italian and Irish so I really have no business making enchiladas.  Except for the fact that these meeshiladas are drenched in enchilada sauce , and come topped with cheese, they are nothing like the Mexican recipe.  They may not be traditional, but my guests enjoy them for what they are, meeshiladas.

To create a “meeshilada” you will need:

1 package corn  or flour tortillas

1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can enchilada sauce (or you can make your own)

1 package Mexican Cheese blend, Mozzarella cheese, or Queso Fresco

1 bell pepper

1 onion

1 can black beans

1 jar salsa (hot or mild depending on your preference)

salt, pepper

minced garlic

First you’ll need to prep.  Dice your onion and bell pepper.  Open your can of beans.  Take out your tortillas, and have them ready.  Season your chicken with salt and pepper.  Turn the heat on under your pan, and place a few tablespoons of butter or oil and your minced garlic onto the pan.  Place your seasoned chicken into the pan, and start to cook.  When the chicken has been cooking for five to ten minutes, or starting to get brown, add 1 jar of salsa to the pan.  Let the chicken absorb the salsa.  The chicken should start to become tender, at this point you can use your clean fingers or two forks to start to break apart the chicken.  Add the diced onions, peppers, and black beans.  Cook until the vegetables are soft on the outside, slightly brown.

Preheat your oven to 375.  Poor a bit of enchilada sauce into a lasagna pan.  Take your corn tortillas, and warm them up.  You can do this over the stove or in the microwave.  Heat them for under 30 seconds, just enough to soften them.  You can poor enchilada sauce into a plate or a pan, and lightly coat the tortilla in the sauce.  Fill the tortilla with your cooked mixture, and roll it.  If your unable to keep the tortilla folded on its own, a toothpick will help keep it closed while cooking.  Just remember to remove the toothpicks before you serve.  When you have filled your lasagna pan with your rolled tortillas, top them with more enchilada sauce and Mexican Cheese blend.  Cook in the oven until the cheese is melted, usually no more than 15 minutes.  Serve with sour cream and guacamole.

What’s Wrong With Me?

How to Avoid too Much Mercury

spicy tuna roll

Spicy Tuna I’ll Miss You

I am a chronic migraine sufferer, so when I had a migraine Friday night an hour after dinner I didn’t think much of it.  My stomach felt a little upset, and my boyfriend wasn’t feeling too great either.  We had just had sushi at Katsuya, and we wondered, “Did we get food poisoning?”  Sushi is tricky, and we all know how easy it is for sushi to go bad, but Katsuya is supposed to be a quality establishment is it not?

When I got home I took an excedrine for my migraine, as I often do and fell asleep.  I had anxiety the next day as well, and another headache.  It’s now going on the fifth day, and I still have a headache, some anxiety, and nausea.  I did research, and discovered I have mercury poisoning.

I have heard of mercury poisoning before, and heard that mercury exists in seafood, but never heard of the effects it can have on your brain.  I figured I would be throwing up, or have symptoms similar to food poisoning.  Never did I imagine it would cause headaches, anxiety, etc.

While I love seafood, the lesson in all of this is to be aware of the amount of mercury you digest.  Mercury searches for fat to intrude.  Since our brains our comprised of fatty tissue, the mercury finds it’s way into our brains affecting our thoughts and emotions.  If you feel like you have mercury poisoning, consult your doctor.

Here is a list of fish and their mercury levels according to about.com:

LOWEST MERCURY

Eat 2-3 servings a week (pregnant women and small children should not eat more than 12 ounces (2 servings):

  • Anchovies
  • Catfish
  • Clam
  • Crab
  • Crawfish
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Mullet
  • Oyster
  • Perch
  • Pollock
  • Salmon
  • Sardine
  • Scallop
  • Shrimp
  • Sole
  • Squid
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

MODERATE MERCURY

Eat six servings or fewer per month (pregnant women and small children should avoid these):

  • Bass
  • Carp
  • Cod
  • Halibut
  • Lobster
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Monkfish
  • Perch
  • Snapper
  • Tuna (Canned Chunk light)

HIGH MERCURY

Eat three servings or less per month (pregnant women and small children should avoid these):

  • Bluefish
  • Grouper
  • Sea Bass
  • Tuna (Canned Albacore, Yellowfin)

HIGHEST MERCURY

Avoid eating (everyone):

  • Marlin
  • Orange Roughy
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish
  • Tuna (Ahi)

It’s important to remember that seafood is a healthy alternative to red meat.  There are plenty of nutritional benefits to eating seafood, just remember to eat fish with low levels of mercury.

Skip the Chain Restaurant Game

Cook at home

You Get to Lick the Bowl

Sure cooking at home takes a little more work than driving to the Cheesecake Factory, but the results are worth the effort.

1) Mo Money in Your Pocket.

Eating out gets expensive, and these aren’t the times to be squandering your pennies on a meal you could create at home.  Cooking can become expensive as well, but if you are smart about how you shop, you can definitely save a couple hundred dollars a month.  There are few dishes that a restaurant can make at lower cost by purchasing in bulk, but most meals can be made at home at lower cost.  Certain conveniences like pre-cut vegetables and fruits, and frozen pre-made meals can get pricey, so if you’re on a budget you will get much more for your buck by cutting your own produce.

2) Get Fresh with Me.

You would be surprised to learn how many restaurants use Campbell’s soup, or packaged pre-made sauces.  If you’re going to eat these pre-made items, why would you spend $15 to $20 on a night at an Italian restaurant when you could spend $5 and eat from home.  Those chain restaurants you love get their meals from test kitchens.  A chef prepares the meals in a test kitchen ahead of time, the meals get packaged, frozen and shipped to your chain location where they then proceed to microwave your order.  Doesn’t sound to appealing does it? Not to mention the fact that places like TGIFridays sells these same items at your local grocery store, and you can microwave the dish yourself and skip the tip.  Taking the time to pick out fresh produce, meats, and cheeses will taste so much better on your plate.

3) That has HOW many calories?

Now that it’s pretty standard to display calorie amounts on restaurant menus, life has become pretty depressing.  I find it very difficult to enjoy eating out when I can see that my one dish has more calories than I should be eating in an entire day.  As someone who has lost over 85 pounds, calorie counting became an important part of my life.  From the age of 16 I started researching how many calories are in food items.  I know that a bean and cheese burrito I make at home has less than 300 calories, so why is it up to 900 calories when you eat out? And there is just NO reason why a salad should ever have 1,000 calories.  When you prepare your own meals at home you can cut so many unwanted calories.  Try cooking from home for one month, and see how much weight you lose.

4) Tip Yourself

Tipping has always been an interesting topic for me.  I have a set of tasks I have to accomplish at work every day.  Whether I am friendly and smile all day, or act grumpy, I’m going to get paid the same amount.  If I decide to bring my boss his cup of coffee, or ask if he would like a refill, I’m not going to get paid any more.  As a waiter/waitress you are being paid to serve people drinks and food.  It is in your job description to bring them what they ask for, and check up on them.  That is your job.  The restaurant owner should be paying you an adequate salary for performing your job tasks.  It shouldn’t be up to me to make up the difference for what your boss stiffs you on.  Are you going to pay me extra when you see my ads on Google, because you think I’m not being paid enough for what I do? I don’t think so.  That being said, I always tip around 18%. I know how it feels to struggle, and I’d be embarrassed if I tipped any less than what was standard.  If I’m on a budget I won’t go to a restaurant.  I won’t stiff on the tip, I just won’t go.  If I make my own meal, I get the credit and I can save my tip.

5) The Wait

When I get really hungry I might as well be lost on an alien planet. I know I’m hungry, but I’m lost as to what I want to eat.  I know I need food in me now, but that’s about it.  My patience grows very thin, I feel weak, and I sometimes want to cry.  So dramatic, but it’s true.  When I’m hungry, and I walk into a restaurant where the hostess tells me it’s going to be 30 minutes to an hour for me to be seated, I want to throw my purse at her.  Not only do you have to wait to be seated, you have to wait for the server to get to your table, take your order, get the food prepared, then bring it to you.  In all that time I could have just fixed myself a sandwich at home in under 10 minutes.

Your Best Friend’s Boy Friend

best friend's bf

Love is always cute…at first

When you have known your best friend from a young age into adulthood, you tend to meet quite a few men.  These men can come and go as quickly (if not quicker) than the months of the year.  Navigating your relationship with these men can get tricky.  If you become to close to the boyfriend, and he becomes the ex boyfriend are you allowed to remain friends with him?  If you keep a distance from your best friend’s new man to avoid drama will you be perceived as a bitch?  Wasn’t it so much easier when it was just you and your best friend in the relationship?

The best way to deal with your best friend’s man is to know your best friend.  That should be easy since you probably know her better than anyone else.  You know what gets on her nerves, what annoys her, and you’ve probably been in this situation before.  Look back on how she acted in previous relationships as an indicator of how you should act now.

That being said, there are some general tips on how to get through your best friend’s latest relationship.  Here are a few situations that can occur, and how to get through them.

1) The Bad Boy

Sometimes your friend enters into a relationship with a guy you know is all wrong, and your girl friend knows it too.  Problem is she doesn’t care.  There once was a guy who told my friend upfront that he was living with someone else when he took her on their first date.  He later told her about how he cheated on every girl he was with.  Throughout the span of three years, he would hit her up every time he ended a relationship.  In the third year he finally came to her with a proclamation.  He claimed that he had realized that she was the one for him, and that he wanted the chance to prove his love for her.  I knew he hadn’t changed, wouldn’t change, and couldn’t change.

The Answer: I kept it cordial with him, but I never got close.  I didn’t spend much time with them as a couple, but when I did I had civil simple conversations with him, nothing deep.  At the start of their relationship I expressed my concern, and gave her my opinion on the situation, then I was done.  I let her live her life, and learn her own lessons.  You can’t make anyone do anything, and the more you express your hatred for your best friend’s boyfriend the more strained your relationship will become.  She learned the hard way that he couldn’t change when she found him in their apartment bedroom with another girl.  There relationship ended, but ours didn’t.

2) The Buddy

In high school one of my friends got with a guy I was already friends with.  As their relationship grew, so did our friendship.  The three of us hung out all of the time.  They were only together for one year when he went off to college, and they broke up.  When their relationship ended, so did our friendship until two years later when he reached out to me.  He had ended his relationship, apologized for being MIA, and wanted to reconnect.  We had always gotten along really well, and I wanted to give him another chance.  He was also interested in reconnecting with my friend, so we planned for him to come with us to a mutual friend’s party.  They hung out at the party, and went to dinner shortly after.  Fast forward years later, and my friend decided she had an issue with our friendship.

The Answer: You can’t always make everyone happy.  In this situation I believed it was okay to remain friends with my friend’s ex.  I think anytime you are friends with both parties in a relationship before the relationship started, you should have the ability to maintain both friendships afterwards.  Her ex hadn’t treated her badly, and he was a very good friend to me throughout the many years of our friendship.  Had she mentioned an issue earlier on I would have possibly ended the friendship, but the fact that she was mentioning it ten years after their relationship ended, felt unfair.  Using her reaction to my friendship with her ex as an example, I never got too close to a man of hers again.

3) The Good Guy

Sometimes your best friend isn’t the one getting hurt, she’s the one doing the hurting.  If your friend isn’t seriously in love with her man, you shouldn’t be either.  Don’t get too close to a guy who your friend isn’t that into.  She’ll end it with him quickly, and expect you to do so as well.  Avoid the drama, and keep your distance.  It’s important to be polite and friendly in his company, just don’t start planning tons of double dates.

4) The Guy You Used to Date

I will never understand this, but some friends get with guys you used to date.  What’s even worse is when a friend dates a guy who bad mouthed her while you were together.  I once had an on again off again friendship with a girl I worked with while in college.  We were good friends in high school, but problems occurred when we started working together.  She started to get jealous, and when I got promoted over her our friendship pretty much ended.  While working together I started talking to one of our coworkers.  I was just getting out of a tricky relationship, and wasn’t really interested.  He was trying a little too hard to get me to go out with him, and it was coming off fake.  He knew I was having problems with my friend, and so he thought by bad mouthing her I would like him more.  I never understand his train of thinking.  I told him that he wasn’t going to get anywhere with me by saying such horrible things about another person, whether or not they were on bad terms with me or not.  Still he continued to say mean things about her looks, her attitude, and her personality.  A couple of months went by, and nothing happened between us.  He finally understood I wasn’t interested, and he backed off.  One day I read my friend’s blog where she wrote about someone who sounded a lot like our coworker.  I reached out to him, and discovered that it was true, he had asked her out.  I couldn’t believe it, but he did.  I tried to stay out of the situation, but one day she messaged me saying that she heard that me and him and dated, and that she wanted to know the details.

The Answer: In that situation I did what I will never do again.  I told her that he had been interested in me, but that things never went farther than that.  I told her that she should be careful, and that he was fake.  She asked me to elaborate, but I didn’t feel comfortable sharing the things he had said.  They were too mean, and I wanted to spare her feelings.  I only said that he had said some awful things about her, and that she should talk to him about it.  She did talk to him about it, and he confessed.  She got with him anyway, and told me that I was just angry that a guy who liked me would like her.  That ended our friendship for good.  A few years later she wrote to me, and confessed that I was right about him, that she should have listened to me, and that she was sorry.  I had no interest in becoming her friend again at that point.  What I learned from that situation is that when a girl wants to be with a guy, she will ignore and resent every negative thing you have to say about him.  Whatever you have to say will come off as you being jealous in some way.  When someone asks your opinion you can give it, but then drop it.

Stuffed Me~shells

stuffed shells

Stuffed me~shells

Stuffed shells is a popular Italian dish.  The traditional stuffed shell is pretty simple, and easy to make.  Traditionally restaurants are home cooks, stuff cooked pasta shells with a ricotta (cheese) mixture, top them with marinara sauce, and serve.  Stuffed Me~shells are different.  I recently had the opportunity to serve a true Italian my version of the classic, my boy friend’s father in New Jersey.  He questioned my methods at first, but after tasting them quickly became a fan.  I have had the opportunity to serve these shells to a variety of guests, all who preferred them over the original recipe.  Here is how my recipe differs:

Ingredients:

1 package large pasta shells

1 package lean ground meat

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 bunch fresh spinach

1 small carton ricotta cheese

1 package shredded mozzarella

Parmesan Cheese

1 onion

salt, pepper, garlic salt

1 jar marinara sauce or make your own

Directions:

I always start by boiling the water.  Add salt to the water to add flavor to the pasta.  When the water comes to a boil, throw in the package of shells.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is aldente.  You will be backing the pasta later, so it’s better that the pasta be a little on the firm side.

While the pasta is cooking, empty the package of ground meat to a sauce pan.  You can add a small amount of oil to the ban, so that the meat doesn’t stick.  Season the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic salt or powder.  Chop one white onion, and the bell peppers.  Add the onions and bell peppers to the meat mixture.  Brown. When the meat is thoroughly cooked, add the marinara sauce.  Mix.

Take the bunch of spinach, and remove the leaves from the stems.  Rinse. In a separate pan, throw in the spinach with a bit of salt.  Let cook until the leaves wilt.  Take the spinach and drain.  Mix the spinach with the carton of ricotta cheese, a few handfuls of mozzarella cheese, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Take a deep baking pan, and layer the bottom with the marinara sauce.  Take a pasta shell and fill it partially with the meet mixture.  Then add half a spoon full of the spinach and cheese mixture. Place the shell into the pan, and repeat.  Once you have finished stuffing all of your shells, top the shells with marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.  Set the oven to 325, and let the shells bake.  If you don’t want the top of the shells to get crunchy, put a piece of foil over the top of the pan while baking.

When the cheese has melted on the top your me~shells are ready.  Serve them with garlic bread, caesar salad, and wine.  Enjoy!

When it’s okay to go without accessories

Embellishment Dress

Embellishment Dress

Sometimes accessories make an outfit, but with the right dress you can go without them.  What I love about this dress is that the embellishments along the neckline create the illusion of  a statement necklace.  The fabric used to create this dress is thick, and the length of the sleeves make it perfect for colder months.  The little bit of padding in the shoulder gives it that nod to the 80s that I love.

During the spring I’ll mix it with a cute pair of gold heels, but since it’s cold I wear black stockings, and knee high boots to sex the look up while keeping warm.  Light eye make-up, and a bold lip compliment this winter look.

You can find this dress at a reasonable price at Venus.com.  I prefer a less opaque pair of stockings for this dress.  You can find them at a number of locations including Nordstrom and Target.

“Fashion”: My Philosophy on Clothing

Arden B dress

Dress: Arden B

I love dressing up, always have.  I know some guys (and I’ve dated them) like a girl in a simple T-shirt and jeans, but as much as I’m a guys girl in other arenas I can’t hang with the T and jeans.  I never feel better than when I’m in a fabulous dress.  I say I love dressing up, or I’ll say that I love clothing, but I try to refrain from the word “fashion.”  I think stating you love “fashion” puts an extra amount of pressure on a person.  Many people believe that to be in love with “fashion”, you have to be on top of trends and designers.  One should know what’s in before it’s in, and wear what’s on the runway or in someone’s new line.

I’ve never been much for other people’s opinions, and that goes for my sense of style as well.  I’m not going to wear something because a wealthy out of touch person thinks it’s hot.  I’m not going to wear something, because someone in Hollywood thinks it’s trendy.  I wear things that fit my body type, and compliment it.  I wear things that are delicate, unique, and beautiful.  I’m not ashamed to say I like embellishments.  I like a piece of clothing to stand out some way.  There has to be something bold about a piece.

I’m not a thrifty or sales rack shopper, but I don’t spend hundreds on my clothing either.  A lot of what I wear looks more expensive than it is.  My closet varies from dresses that cost $45 to dresses that cost $500.  Bottom line, I pay what an item is worth.

Once a week I’m going to highlight an outfit, and let my readers know where they can find it.  I’m going to give tips on how to dress your frame, and highlight all of your best traits.  I love clothing, and look forward to sharing that joy with my readers.