Month: September 2015

The Best “Easy” Sandwich You Could Make

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Sandwich-making is lost art form. Unfortunately, it’s been buried beneath a ton of sexist jokes and therefore doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Seriously though, I’m convinced I love sandwiches a minimum of four times more than your average person. I’m all for purchasing a better-than-average sandwich but when I make them on my own, I often do go for the ordinary sandwich. This was an exception, though. All it took was buying a 50¢ (go, go, go shawty) wheat bun and it somehow cause me to go above and beyond. Here’s that delicious and so-easy-that-you-don’t-have-an-excuse-not-to-do-it sammich.

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I used:

  • wheat bun/roll/whatever you want to call it
  • sliced turkey
  • 1 egg
  • spinach
  • feta
  • bell peppers
  • avocado (not pictured!)

Everything after is pretty self-explanatory. I made the egg sunny side up (with olive oil) and also placed the cut bell peppers in the pan for a bit after the egg. I typically like less meat on my sandwich and more crunch from the veggies (lettuce, spinach, what-have-you), but after setting up my sandwich I realized I did need two slices of turkey instead of one. After placing the turkey, the avocado followed, and all other ingredients, along with the cooked egg and bell peppers.

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And there you have it: a sandwich that could be given at a fancy shmancy brunch place but you could enjoy from the comfort of your own home. In PJs. Watching Netflix. And that I think is what they call a win-win.

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Venice Beach

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You’d think the Venice Beach was known more for the its beach since, you know, it’s part of the name, but Venice Beach is so captivating for its people. Its vibes are distinct than other SoCal beaches. I went and ended up catching these photos, and as you can see, was more interested in the Venice culture and people rather than the beach itself, though the sea isn’t a bad view to look at either.

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Does makeup primer really work?

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Everyday that I put primer on, I wonder, is it actually doing anything? I will say I don’t see a major change in my makeup when I change primers (particularly compared to the difference of when I switch foundations), but lately I’ve been using Smashbox’s Photo Finish foundation primer. I realize that making makeup last longer is one of primer’s many uses, but for this post, I decided to focus on how it makes your foundation look after application.

The first photo, is a section of my face completely make-up free. Then, a photo with JUST foundation (Estee Lauder’s Double Wear), and the third image is one with primer put on before foundation. I also dusted just a bit of powder to have a finished look.

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I see just a bit of a difference, but honestly, it might have just been these photos. In person, I couldn’t really see a major difference. I don’t know if the formulation in the primer has anything to do with it, but it is called “Photo Finish,” and yes I did just now come under the realization that it might actually photograph differently. As for the staying power, my makeup itself doesn’t last very long unless I’ve been taking care of my skin, and the primer rarely helps.

All in all, I’d say primer doesn’t make enough of a difference for everyday makeup wear, but if I were to be going to a special event where I’d know I’d be taking photos, then I’d wear a primer. Perhaps my next step will be to invest in one with SPF so it’s doing double duty with sun protection.

I’d love to know if anyone else has a different experience than my own and feel their primer makes a massive difference in their makeup. I’m no makeup expert, so maybe I just don’t know enough about it to know how to make it really work!

Introverts like Parties too

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I believe it was Tolkien who said “All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; all introverts do not hate being social.” Okay, maybe he didn’t say that last part, but he should have, along with foreseeing Dumbledore’s character and making a separate book about the epic battle that would definitely ensue between Gandalf and Dumbledore (#TeamDumbledore). Okay, I think I’m getting off tangent, but seriously, sometimes a person has to look past the surface to see the value of something. I’m not implying that all introverts have some greater hidden value that extroverts lack, but just because I prefer not to talk as often does not mean I prefer having my voice be unheard. These are factors that relate to my extroversion that I’ve been able to acknowledge and that I should keep working on, all fancily formatted and everything.

Also, as a warning, I don’t mean to identify all introverts with being, quiet, shy, homebodies, but the stereotypes are there and this post serves more to address them. Just as a quick recap, introverts are not defined by those qualities, but as individuals that prefer “solitary activities and get exhausted by social interaction. They tend to be quite sensitive to external simulation in general.” In other words, being an introvert or an extrovert is more about where you get energy from, whether it’s from an internal world or an external world.

Embrace it.

I used to think of my avoidance to being as extroverted as my friends as a weakness. Honestly, sometimes I still do. I have tried to push myself past the point of being comfortable. Being pushed out of your comfort zone could be beneficial but in this instance, it wasn’t. I didn’t feel like I was being authentic, which in turn, was the real weakness. Thanks to the yin and yang, the universe, all the gods, one God, Beyonce, or whatever suits your fancy, balance was created in the world and it was created for a reason. For day, there is night. For extroverts, there are introverts. For rice cakes, there are pizzas. Embrace your most authentic self and the world will reward you, hopefully with a pizza.

Use it as a strength.

An introvert is known for being more of a listener than a talker, but as I previously stated, that doesn’t mean I prefer for my voice to go unheard. Now I try to see listening as a skill that can continue to be crafted to later go on and serve as a platform. This could be used for other people to not just hear me later on, but to really listen and process what I try to communicate. It’s important to remember Meryl Streep when we feel like we’re not being heard (and at all other times because, you know, it’s Meryl) and what she had to say about it:

“It’s amazing what you can get if you quietly, clearly and authoritatively demand it.” 

Listen to what others are telling you, then use your limited speaking time as a strength to say it once, and to make it final.

Take your quiet time, and your social time.

My new tagline for meeting people should be “Hi, I’m Laura, and though I identify with being a homebody please don’t count me out of all your social outings.” I try to not feel guilty for taking my alone time, but I have noticed that leads to less invitations out. This point is simple: Take your alone time, but not so much that you’re alone an unnecessary amount of time. Make sure that your alone time is that, and not an alternative to social anxiety. Reach out and initiate meeting with friends. Avoid the small talk and have meaningful conversations.  Join clubs. Try to have something scheduled in the future to be excited about, whether it’s solo reading time or a fun concert.

Do not overthink.

This is also a simple point; alone time leads to thinking, which could lead to ruminating, which has the potential for over-analyzing. I could go into why this is bad, but I’m sure you know of its downfalls. For me, this has interfered more with my decision-making skills. Now I try to make quicker decisions and run with them. If it was the wrong decision, I can learn from it and go from there. It’s better to make the wrong choice and learn from it than to make none at all.

I’d love to hear any other tips/mantras/what-have-you that others have for being introverted, or what this is like from an extrovert’s point of view. Also, I recommend this site that does a wonderful job at pinpointing which category you fall into, along with your personality type (#TeamINFP!).

Image via Telegraph UK.

Natural No Bake Nut Bars

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This blog post is brought to you by an overheated kitchen, anger (due to the heat of course), and deliciousness. I guarantee you the heat and the kitchen are totally my fault, and I hope you don’t encounter it, but the deliciousness is completely credited to a recipe that I recently stumbled upon on the blog by Poppy Deyes. Essentially, my process is practically identical, though I have added a few notes (such as don’t try mixing fresh-out-of-the-oven oats with your bare hands) that a person like me would need.

You’ll Need:

  • Pitted Dates —- 1 cup
  • Honey —- 1/4 cup
  • Almond butter —- 1/4 cup
  • Unsalted almonds (roasted optional), chopped —- 1 cup
  • Rolled oats —- 1 1/2 cups
  • Raisins OR dried cranberries —- 1 handful

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Process:

**IF you prefer to roast the almonds and oats, start by setting your oven to 355 degrees fahrenheit so it can preheat.

The original recipe calls for throwing the dates into a food processor, but I threw them in a blender instead (and had no issue doing this). They end up looking as you’d expect: a squishy, easy to mold type thing.

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Toasting the almonds and oats is an optional step, though I do recommend it. It’s also why I mentioned in the ingredients list that having roasted almonds is optional as I eventually put them in the oven anyway. Beforehand, I had whole almonds and had to mash them into smaller pieces. And yes, I said mash because my patience was not about to be tested by sitting there and individually chopping every almond. I mashed them by placing them in a Ziploc plastic bag, then mashing that bag with the end of a can opener. Not the fanciest option, but it definitely works. Place oats and almonds in the oven until they’re golden on the top, for about 10 minutes.

Afterwards, WAIT FOR IT TO COOL if you want to use your hands to mix ingredients together later. I didn’t think about this and wasn’t able to use my hands because, you know, I don’t have supernatural hands that can withstand an unnatural amount of heat.

Combine the honey and almond butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Mix together. Again, I let it overheat which made the mixture even hotter, so just allow for a warm temperate and remove from heat as soon as the ingredients are properly mixed. Pour that over the nutty mixture in the bowl.

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Stir all the ingredients together and mix mix mix. This is the part I missed out and couldn’t use my hand, but I stirred for a long while before everything was properly combined.

Place mixture in a baking pan, tin, whatever suits your fancy. I lined the pan with foil to make it easier later on. Press mixture down until it’s flat and as even as can be. Obviously, it’s up to you how thin you’d prefer the bars to be.

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Let mixture rest in fridge for about 20 minutes. Then, cut it into bars and you are done!

For storage, I wrapped them in baking paper and placed them in a container so they could sit in the fridge. The paper may not be necessary, but I was afraid they would stick and I figured it would make it easier to grab-and-go.

Enjoy!

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Autumn Candles

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How is is that SoCal has still not registered that it is late September and Autumn begins in two days? I understand this part of the globe does not believe in four seasons, but still, it’s always nice to open your mind to new ideas and beliefs, okay LA? Okay. Even though SoCal is stubbornly insistent that it must remain summer outside, the inside of my home will definitely start feeling the coming fall weather, beginning with candles.

I am gradually transitioning to more autumnal scents, as two of my favorite candles still have summer-themed aromas. These are two from Target, and I highly recommend: Cucumber Water and Melon Mint. I’d describe them, but really, their titles say it all. The Melon Mint does smell sweeter than the Cucumber Water, while the latter does has a fresher scent than the former.

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The three more autumnal candles are all from Bath & Body Works (because what else, amiright?). I wasn’t quite sure which of their massive collection to purchase, so I opted for two of their medium candles to give them a try. The Autumn candle is probably my favorite and it’s described in their packaging as a “crisp fragrance that celebrates classic autumn in red delicious apple, rich cedar wood and green basalm.” If walking outside on a crisp fall morning had a scent, this would be it. No kidding. The second one I picked up was Pumpkin Pie, which is described as  “delicious autumnal blend of creamy pumpkin, whipped vanilla, and flaky pie crust that’s as sweet as your pumpkin pie.” Now I don’t know who Bath & Body had working for them, but that description delivers. It is a lot sweeter than the Autumn candle, and for my preference, too sweet to be in another room besides the kitchen. There, it’s perfect.

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Marshmallow Fireside is easily one of my favorites. I believe this belongs more in their winter range. I actually found it in storage from last year, though I have been burning it nonstop so I’ll need to be replacing it soon. It’s described as a “sweet-tasty end to a long cole day.” Though this one also smells more sweet than spicy, it doesn’t remind me so much of actual food as the Pumpkin Pie one.

I’ve been loving the variety of scents this year so I’m excited to see what I’ll pick up next, although I hope that by then LA has at least gotten an idea of what “cold” is supposed to feel like.

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