Our Search for Happiness

On my summer reading list was "Our Search for Happiness"-
by M. Russell Ballard.
And let's just go ahead and add it to my favorites list, too.
It was phenomenal! Inspired! Motivating!

This book is exactly what it professes to be-
"an invitation to understand the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."
Everything is described in simple, perfect words.
It's funny- it's inspiring- it's definitely one to read.

Whether you are a Mormon or not,
I recommend this one to you.
It is eye opening.
And believe it or not,
I feel very much happy (:

If you are interested, click here.



Golly, it's been awhile!
But I just HAD to share my experience on shutterfly today.
If you haven't heard of shutterfly.com, well, you have missed out!
Sign up and get your prints through them.
...Most of what I buy is actually (almost) free.
I have gotten a free calendar, free photo book, free prints-
you get the picture:)
Rad right?!

I got an email for 10 free cards today and thought, what the heck?
Why not order a handful of holiday cards.
I mean, it's not like Christmas is forever away, right?!
Despite that, it was fun. And well worth it!
Did I mention that if you sign up for shutterfly.com you get 50 free prints?!
True story.

Here's a peak at my cards:

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.


Romney 2012

America borrows approximately
36 cents per every federal dollar that is spent. Scary.
And did you know that after continual promises of "hope," "change," and "reclaiming the American dream" -
Obama has actually increased the number of unemployed persons to almost 13 million Americans?!
In its May economic release, the government reported the unemployment rate
as a consistent and unchanging 8.2%.
I don't see any "hope" and "change" in that.

There are less jobs since Obama moved into the white house,
health insurance costs have increased nearly 25%-
not to mention the cost of gas rising 90 cents during his presidency-
and national debt has gone through the roof!
$6.3 trillion dollars of debt was stockpiled by the first 43 presidents-
but $6.5 trillion has been added in Obama's only, one term of presidential office.
It's no wonder why I'm skeptical of giving him another (reckless) term.

Romney has my stamp of approval.
Let's take a glance at his experience, stance, and character.

First, Romney is a businessman.
He is an expert with economics and a fond supporter of free enterprise.
As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney flipped a $3 billion dollar budget deficit into a surplus-
WITHOUT raising taxes.
By placing Romney in Washington, we know he will reduce military spending,
eliminate costly programs, and relax the current federal regulations of small business owners.
Romney doesn't mess around.
Among his primary donors are no other than American banks-
including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and J.P. Morgan.
Why are the "deep pockets" supporting this candidate?
Because like me, they have confidence that Mitt Romney is the one to make things happen,
the man "believing in America."

Romney has a plan.
He is against national debt-
and in favor of economic freedom.
We can rest assured that with his foreign policy plan,
Romney will not be so quick to justify policing other countries.
It is the time of global economy, is it not?!
Which is why every country and every continent have interest to the United States of America-
Romney will think twice about spending billions to aid countries whose manufacturers are costing us unemployment of our own and leaving us jobless!
He has an energy plan that safeguards our environment,
but also preserves our jobs.

He is a man of high standards.
There is honor and patriotism in a life led with such high moral values.
Mitt Romney has the charisma and energy of Obama-
But is consistent and fearless.
He is a leader like no other,
A leader who accepts challenges-
and has proven to tackle them head on.
What other presidential candidate can we put full faith in,
knowing that they have lived a life of such personal integrity and morality,
that no questions have been asked?
And has proven time and time again that he is the man for the job.

Who will I be voting for in this upcoming election?
Who else?!
Mitt Romney!!

Please refer to the following links:
* Click here to read what Mitt's son thinks of his dad
* See 18 Statistics Proving Obama has NOT helped the economy
* Read why an avid supporter of Ron Paul now endorses Mitt Romney instead

(Images courtesy of Rude Awakening, Mediaite, and Getty Images.)

Blogging Scholarship
by YourLocalSecurity.com


colorado times!

So I told you about Matt's birthday-
But did I mention my mom's?!
I don't think so!

My mom turned 38 last week (hehe)
and we were there to share in the good times.
And the best part was...
She had no idea we were coming!!

Call me sentimental, but it really was such an amazing opportunity.
Because we are saving our dollars,
This is our only time we will be visiting Colorado this summer.
So to see my mom (and the rest of the fam!) was such a blessing.
I love her SO MUCH.
Happy birthday, mom!

From Benihanas to downtown art shows,
we chatted and hung out with our favorite people ever: family.
In fact, I had so much fun, I barely remembered to take pictures-
Luckily I had my phone on me!
At least there's a handful right?!


quarter of a century!

Matthew is OFFICIALLY a quarter of a century years old.
I knew he was an old man...
But 25?!

I surprised him for his birthday-
And it became the funnest night.

We started off with a fresh dinner:
*Key west grilled chicken skewers
*jicama black bean salad
*homemade (raw) horchata
Check out the recipes at the bottom of my post-
Just in case you are intrigued;)

After dinner,
I surprised him with tickets to the Lakers playoff game 4!

Against all my better judgement, we made funnel cakes when we got home.
Can you believe it?!
Matt has been craving them for over a month
(ever since we went to six flags and I protested against them)
so for his birthday, I said what the heck?
Why not?!
It's his birthday after all!

Aside from him getting a fiery burn from hot oil,
I would say his birthday was a success!

The night ended with us looking at the stars on our big back patio,
where I had set up a bed and candles and incense and...
and I'll save you from the mushy stuff.

Needless to say, it was a great day!
And with a family barbecue and mountain motorcycle ride planned for the following day,
It was a big ol' grand weekend.

...Yay for birthdays!

------------------------------------ ♥ ------------

key west grilled chicken skewers
3T. soy sauce
2T. honey
1T olive oil
Juice of a aime
2 garlic cloves, minced
cilantro, to taste
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

directions: this couldn't be easier! in a small bowl, mix all marinade ingredients, mix in chicken breasts, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes prior. Place on skewers and grill till juices run clear. Enjoy!

jicama black bean salad
serves 8
2 large ears of corn, husked
5T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 15oz. cans black beans, rinsed, drained
1c. 1/3-inch dice peeled jicama
1/2c. 1/3-inch dice peeled carrots
1/3c. thinly sliced green onions
1/3c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4c. (packed) chopped fresh basil

for dressing:
3T. fresh lime juice
2T. orange juice
2.5t. grated lime peel
1/4t. ground cumin

directions: start off by brushing 1T. olive oil onto corn and grilling. Cut off corn kernels and mix with remaining ingredients, leaving out the remaining olive oil. whisk dressing ingredients together + remaining olive oil. mix dressing into salad. season with salt + pepper. serve immediately- or can be made morning before. cover and chill. recipe from epicurious!

homemade {raw} horchata
makes about 7 cups
1c. raw cashews
2/3c. white rice, uncooked (medium or long-grain preferred)
2.5c. water + 3 cups water
one 3-inch cinnamon stick
2/3c. sugar, or to taste*
1t. vanilla extract

directions: In a large blender canister, Vita-Mix canister, or large bowl combine cashews, uncooked rice, 2 1/2 cups warm tap water, cinnamon stick, cover and place in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours. Remove canister from the refrigerator, remove the cinnamon stick, and blend the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes on high speed, or until blended as smoothly as possible. Then add sugar (to taste), vanilla extract, 3 cups more water and blend again for 2 more minutes, or until mixture is as smooth as possible. If desired, strain horchata through a sieve or cheesecloth (I did not find it necessary as the cashews blended incredibly smoothly in my Vita-Mix). Serve immediately as is, over ice, or refrigerate and serve chilled, shaking before if mixture has separated. Horchata will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days; use common sense.

Notes: *I used traditional recipes here and here and here as reference for the sugar (and they use more than I did). You may wish to start with 1/3 cup sugar, and increase from there if you prefer something less sweet. You can use another form of sweetener, to taste. All amounts are to taste. If you are serving over ice, it will also water down and become less sweet, something to keep in mind. This is a sweet beverage; it’s not supposed to be “barely sweet”; it’s supposed to be sweet. The Mexicans are not shy with sugar; they pour sweetened condensed milk over sweet potatoes as I witnessed in Mexico City. If you prefer a thinner horchata increase the amount of water, to taste, or strain it. Whatever blender you use, blend, blend, blend. Depending on type of blender used, and taste preferences, strain if desired.

(recipe, directions, and pictures all from "Love Veggies and Yoga"


what better?! a weekend with Averill.

It is high time I admit the truth:
My life just wouldn't be the same without Averill.
She is probably my oldest friend-
the bubbly inspiration that has helped me become who I am.

I have known her for, well, FOREVER!
And funny thing is, I don't ever remember meeting her.
That's just how long I've known her for.
Have a friend like that?
Well, then you know exactly what I mean.
Or at least somewhat.

You see, Averill is like nobody else.
She is a gorgeous girl that's BURSTING with talents-
In fact, ever since I can remember,
people would be awe-struck from her voice.
She can sing like no one else!
And from the get-go, she has been writing and plotting plays and books and stories in general!

Maybe you've heard the quote from the Los Angeles Times Syndicate-
"Some people march to a different drummer-
and some people polka."
Yes, this is Averill.
You really should meet her.
She is an inspiration after all!

We grew up going to dances and giggling over boys-
scheming and spying and laughing, day and night.
We pulled endless all nighters to watch and analyze movies-
and with Ave's film program in Boston and my videography exposure,
we continue the tradition today.

But oh no, the list doesn't stop there!
We have uncovered plots for movies-
and written stories.
We've hosted parties..and ate chocolate till we were sick!
Believe it or not, we even went through a rock climbing phase.

She has helped me through the darkest times- and the lightest times.
And I can never thank her enough for her support during the biggest time:
my wedding day.

Here are just a handful of the very found memories of us!

Lucky for me, she came out to visit us this past weekend!
We spent the time relaxing and tanning and talking and cooking-
just revisiting good times :)
With Ave, it's always good times!

Forever friends ♥


Recap: Raw Week

raw banana-cocoa smoothie

raw tacos, with cashew-walnut meat

raw banana chips

recap: raw week
So raw week was an adventure-
to say the least.
Surprisingly, it was very easy!
Who woulda thought?

My friend Averill asked if I had craved anything?
And if so, what?
Well, ya know what I told her?
I hadn't craved a thing.
(Except more raw cookie dough...the healthy kind, of course!)

Of course, I have eaten raw before,
but what I discovered this past week was shocking!
Raw food is FUN.
and makes me feel just so darn GOOD.

Here are some specifics I learned from eating 100% raw:

1. I had much more energy- more energy to get more things done and more efficiently, more energy to workout (and workout harder), and more energy in general. I felt lighter, happier, and more enthusiastic. My head felt clear.

2. Sleeping was easier. In all honesty, I slept ok before! However, during my raw week, I feel asleep so much easier- and slept so much deeper. I woke up earlier and more refreshed than ever!

3. Cravings went out the window! I tend to crave late-night fatty foods or chocolate. Guess what? Raw week changed all that. I ate RICHER foods and nothing else crossed my mind.

My sis asked about the hush-hush subject: bowels.
Lucky you, I will spare details.
Let's just say...
They improved.

So are you convinced? Will you succumb to the challenge?
Eat raw for one week-
And you won't regret it.