Thanksgiving Weekend Catch-Up

Hello everyone! It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged… It’s been busy but not busy, if that makes sense. ๐Ÿ™‚

My dad returned from his trip to Asia and brought back this bracelet… luckily, my mom thinks it’s cute too. ๐Ÿ˜› Quite a fashion statement. I don’t think I’d personally wear it…

I might take on this fresh water pearl earring though. They were so big that they felt like gauges! PS – does anyone have any suggestions for toning down these freckles? I’ve had them since high school (tennis for four years) and my mom loves to remind me to get rid of them. I’ve tried Caudalie serum and it doesn’t seem to be helping much.

My mom’s a one-woman catering whiz. Our Thanksgiving spread was an unconventional feast of ham, lumpia (eggrolls), flautas, pancit (noodles), carrot cupcakes….

She was very proud of these cupcakes. Check out that piping!

According to my email, last Friday was free roast beef sandwich day at Arbys. My brother was one happy camper.

We don’t decorate much for the holidays but I did have a couple of boxes of free lights from my college apartment days. We strung them inside the house and called it good. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love how the neighborhoods are starting to decorate their homes for the holidays!

This flavor is yummy – gingery yet sweet from the raspberry taste.

Anyone else think these are cute? I only wear two types of shoes: sneakers or FitFlops. These FitFlops from TJ Maxx were cute and comfy!

Finally got one of these little doo-hickeys to stick on the back of my phone.

& spent Sunday studying and watched a movie called “Inside Man.” It was from 2006 and pretty good! Yesterday we watched “A Big Fat Greek Wedding”…. last time I watched that was when it first came out in 2002. Oldie but goody!

Favorite movie from early 2000s? Have you decorated your home with lights? Would wear sparkly flip flops?

Cheers! Nicole


PSA: Love your Loved Ones

A Facebook friend posted this on my news feed the other day. It’s in German with English subtitles but I highly recommend watching it. I was tearing up by the end… Sad elderly men are one of the top things that make me cry.

I believe this video is sponsored by a German supermarket. It’s a great PSA to visit (or at least call) your elderly loved ones. During my last couple years in my college town, I got into the habit of calling my grandparents living in the East coast a couple of times a week during my walking commute to work. Although I think it’s time they invest in some hearing aids, it’s a blessing that they’re pretty healthy/happy in their early and late 80s.

After you wipe away the blurriness from your tears… here’s an update on that pulp stuff from our juicer.

Although cinnamon-spiced pulp muffins sounded fannntastic, an egg bake was the healthier option. Mixed a cup of pulp with 1/2 a sliced onion, spices, and egg whites.

The onions looked like worms to me. It wasn’t my favorite recipe, but.. it’s edible? ๐Ÿ˜€

Lunches have been leftover won ton dumpling soup. Mmmm.

Followed by sliced persimmons…

And last night’s dinner was home made siao mai (pork dumplings) with a slab of coconut oil salmon steak. I like to eat food out of mugs and tiny plates…

I’ve been better not snacking at night time but I’m still gaining weight. I understand that our bodies fluctuate on a day-to-day basis but I’m someone who’s driven by obvious results (who isn’t?) so it’s been frustrating. I’ve been more laxed about eating wheat products but they’re probably contributing to my bloating.

Have you heard of NSV, aka “non-scale victory?” NSV are small, every day indications that you’re developing habits to a healthier lifestyle. Today’s NSV is that I’m drinking my tea plain without any almond/coconut milk. Earlier this year, I was drinking like 3 cups of coffee with reduced fat milk a day… then it became 2 cups… 1 cup… tea with reduced fat milk and honey… tea with just the milk… tea with non-dairy milk… and now, plain tea. Still a few other things I can clean up with my diet, but if you told me earlier this year that I would no longer be drinking my creamy iced coffees I wouldn’t believe ya.

What do you put in your coffee and/or tea? Favorite flavor of tea? Last time you called an older relative?

Cheers! Nicole

While everyone else is roasting turkeys and baking pies….

My mom decided to get into juicing.

Granted, we aren’t going to be substituting real food with juices any time soon (or any time, really). This is more of a supplement for our diets. An earthy, somewhat messy supplement. Juices cost ~$6 at our local grocery stores. I once paid $10 for a juice while exploring NYC for a mid-day pick-me-up during the middle of July. This bounty of produce cost us $30. The juicer was $149.99 before a 20% coupon at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We bought celery, collard greens, kale, jicama, beets, lemons, oranges, apples, pineapples, romaine, cucumbers, mint, parsley, and ginger. The bananas were only $0.99 for a 5 lb bag… those will be going into smoothies. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ingredients for our first juice… I was looking for ingredient lists online from popular juice bars, but we ended up just tossing together random things. Any guesses on what color this juice will end up being?

If you guessed purplish, you’re right! Beets always override all other colors. I would be careful with the amount of beets, apples, oranges, and carrots (along with other fruit) — they are high in sugar. All of that produce on the cookie sheet yielded this much juice:

No wonder juices are pricey! When a juicer extracts all of the nutrients and liquid, it leaves behind a “pulp.” This stuff contains some nutrients and pretty much all of the fiber. I was reading up on what to do with the pulp and other people suggested adding it to breads, soups, mac and cheese, meatballs, etc. Other people just throw it out. I might add it to scrambled egg whites or something.

I ate about 1/2 a cup of this with a spoon before digging into an actual glass of juice.

What’s your favorite juice to buy?ย Do you own a juicer? Do you have any suggestions on what to do with all this pulp?

Cheers! Nicole

Brunch is Always a Good Idea

Hi everyone! K’s grandparents are visiting from Northern California and their backyard persimmon tree was brimming with fruit. Guess who got lucky…

I love persimmons! It might be the texture, the taste, or the nostalgia of my mom cutting and serving it to us when we were younger. I love getting people’s backyard harvests as gifts. ๐Ÿ˜

A nearby town was having a parade mostly attended by local businesses and kids organizations. We happened to run into it as we tried to get brunch. A few representatives from the Noosa yogurt company had wagons filled with these Noosa mates in chocolate and cranberry add-in flavors… we both chose the cranberry granola ๐Ÿ˜‹ I just ate the yogurt though. K said the mix in was good! It was a perfect, creamy 10am snack to hold us over until lunch time instead of brunching.

I was curious why Noosa spells it “yoghurt.” I guess I didn’t research enough because I couldn’t find it using the Swagbucksย search engine (I did find 7 Swagbucks, though!), but I did learn Noosa was founded in Australia. Sure is a cheeky little company!


Instead of plastic spoons, the Noosa reps were handing out these cute little foldable paper spoons. Eco-friendly!

We ended up leaving after enjoying our “yoghurts” to beat the parade crowd. The next day, we tried brunch again. There’s always a line atย Snooze, An AM Eatery so we left about an hour before we actually thought we’d get hungry. This place doesn’t do reservations but it’s always super busy! They’ll send a text to your phone once there’s a spot available. Forty minutes later….

3 Egg Omelet or Scramble
Our farm fresh eggs with a choice of three fillings served with hash browns and choice of toast or tortillas.

I chose the 3 egg scramble with shrimp, beef barbacoa, and pulled pork with a crispy hash brown round and substituted my toast for a pineapple upside pancake for an extra $4. The hash brown was divine (and I don’t use that word casually) and the meat of the scramble added a hearty juiciness.

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes
Buttermilk pancakes with caramelized pineapple chunks, housemade vanilla crรจme anglaise and cinnamon butter.

K loved this pancake! They also had a pancake of the day named after Buddy the Elf from the movie Elf — cinnamon sugar and candies galore!

Chili Verde Benedict
Green Chili sauced tortillas and melted cheese with yourย choice of slow cooked pulled pork or barbacoa style beef, topped with poached cage free eggs, green chili hollandaise, pico de gallo, and cotija cheese.

Along with his Brewmosa (freshly squeezed orange juice + craft Belgian style wheat beer), K enjoyed his Benny. Look at that beautiful mound of food!

There was a grocery store on the way back so we took a little walk around it. I love watching the frenzy of Thanksgiving shoppers – doesn’t that sound a little crazy?

Sent a picture of this to my mum…

At the supermarket, we passed by a coin counting machine that was charging 11.9% commission. So if you had $100 worth of coins, the machine collects $11.90 of it as its fee… that’s like one dish at brunch! Since I’m supposed to take it easy (activity-wise) because of my irritated incisions, I asked K if he had any coins to sort out… and boy, did he ever.

That’s not even all of it. I got thru a few episodes of Fuller House and Sex in the City while simply just separating the denominations and rolling $8 worth of pennies. This’ll be a long project ๐Ÿ˜

Would you pay a third-party machine to count your coins for a 11.9% commission? Favorite relatively healthy thing to order at brunch? Tried a persimmon?

Cheers! Nicole

Disclaimer: No products sponsored this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Crafty Cravings

Hi everyone! I guess going from 2.5 weeks of taking it easy after gallbladder surgery to working on your feet for 4 days straight shocks your body. The incision by my belly button has been hurting like the dickens. Started a course of antibiotics prescribed by my surgeon followed by lots of icing and resting… and then another busy week ahead.

I thought I’d share a little poster I made a few years ago when I was going through a rough patch in life. I’m not sure what I was thinking to include #SOCKS – “es o si que es” is Spanish for “it is what it is.” What will be, will be. I love crafting things but then I don’t want to end up with a bunch of clutter or throw things away afterwards. Often, I get excited about a crafting concept and go all in and then lose interest or get preoccupied with something else…. can anyone else relate?

Been craving a trip but my schedule this next month is too busy to take one. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I want to see Disney in holiday action! Apparently there are YouTube videos of people visiting different areas of the Disney parks and doing food reviews. I’m just living vicariously through them in the mean time.

This post is short and sweet. Back to my studying…

Do you love crafting? What do you craft? Ever visited Disneyland or Disneyworld during the holidays?

Cheers! Nicole

5 Random Thoughts

Hello everyone! 4AM wake up calls for work has made me one tired lady. My feet are killing me. Here’s 5 random thoughts I’m reminiscing about to de-compress after today:

I love to paint but I’m not one of those people who imagine majestic thoughts and translate them on to paper. I’m more like the people who see something cute and try to recreate it. Here’s a picture of a turtle I painted last year:

I’ve been doing a lot of self care lately to help reduce stress (for me, it manifests as amenorrhea, anxiety, neck tension, stomach pains, grinding teeth…) Exhibit A:

Does this mean I’m swallowing plastic in my sleep? This is like my 4th pair of retainers. I recently got fitted for a night guard by my dentist and it’s supposed to last years. I’m already grinding through the plastic and it’s getting thinner… but it’s only been a month. whomp whomp, there goes $300.

Check out this lamb from the after-Easter sales earlier this year…

Although a huge stuffed animal is the last thing I need, I’m kindof wishing I bought it.

What do you think about this decoration idea? I love it but not sure where I’d place something like this.

And since it’s always to end things on a sweet note, here’s a picture of the “cake” my mom baked me for my last birthday. It’s her famous banana bread layered with cream. It was a beautiful banana cake sandwich!!

What’s your favorite cake flavor? Do you grind your teeth at night? Highlight of the day?

Cheers! Nicole

Pretty Cactus

Hi everyone! Today I took a long walk with my mum and saw this gorgeous cactus. I haven’t seen a cactus this purple before. Beeeautiful!

The cactus matched the skyline. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love these AZ cotton candy sunsets. Also, I’ve noticed that kids nowadays are a lot less likely to wave hi to strangers. Granted, I’m not one to be super friendly either (bad experience, I know I know) but it’s just something that I’ve observed. Out of the couple dozen of kids we saw, one initiated a “hi!” and one waved back.

Have you seen or tried out these attachable fans to your iPhones? What a quirky concept.

When blackberries are on sale for 77 cents a box, you buy lots. I like to eat them on top of Greek yogurt with cinnamon, frozen in my water, and straight up.

I’m really craving meat tonight. This is Rotisserie chicken from Sam’s Club that’s been recooked for 20 minutes on high in a turbo convection oven. Better than fried chicken!!

I used to feel like this….. ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoying my new job!!

Do you feel safe enough to take a stroll in your neighborhood (in my college town, it was quite ghetto)? Do you get cotton candy skylines? Ever feel like this little girl in yellow?

Cheers! Nicole