Friday, February 28, 2014

Mmmm, I Made Chili

It’s raining in California! More impressively, it’s raining in the Valley! I love the rain, I’m sure I have mentioned that before.  The air quality here in the central valley of California is DISGUSTING.  So when the heavens open and the blessed drops sprinkle down on us, cleaning up the air quality, I do my happy dance.  I also just love winter weather activities such as cuddling with soft blankets and kittens, watching movies, reading books in fire light, and of course the wardrobe of leggings, sweaters, and boots doesn’t suck! But the best part? The best part my friends, is the food.  Tonight, in celebration of the gray sky, I made my favorite chili dish. 

From top to right: steps one through finish :) 

Shopping List!
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 can low sodium can pinto beans
1 can low sodium can black beans
1 can low sodium can kidney beans
1 Mexican packet of chili powder
1 Mexican packet of ground cumin
1 can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
1 large can of organic diced tomatoes. 
Optional: Fritos corn chips or toasted sourdough bread

Heat some olive oil in a deep skillet or stockpot.  Turn the heat to a medium-high. Line up your veggies in order as listed above after washing the pesticides off of them.  Chop the onion and throw it in the pot, stir with a wooden spoon.  Chop the bell peppers in order green-red-yellow and add them to the pot one at a time, stirring occasionally.  Don’t let the vegetables cook too fast; you want it to be a slow release of flavors.
Once the vegetables are mixed in start opening all your cans.  Drain the beans but don’t drain the chipotles or tomatoes.  Add all three beans to the mixture and stir with a spoon.  Wait a couple minutes to make sure the bean and veggie mixture is heated through and mixed pretty well.  Then add your spices.  I usually add a whole packet of chili powder and ground cumin because I like my chili with a lot of flavor, but please adjust your spices to your taste.   Mix the spices in very well and then feel free to add the chipotles.  These suckers come whole, so I like to chop them up while in the skillet/pot to avoid making a mess of the cutting board.  They are also pretty spicy but have an amazing flavor. If your heat intolerant, just add the sauce they sit in to have the best of both worlds.  The last thing you will add is your can of tomatoes.  Mix thoroughly and then turn the heat down to low.  Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Serve hot plain or with Fritos corn chips, or freshly toasted sourdough bread.

This chili is vegan and packed full of protein, fiber, and vitamins.  It is amazing for your body so I strongly suggest you make a full batch and keep the leftovers for up to a week.  If you try it, let me know!

XOXO, Cristen

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blogmopolitan Quiz Link-Up!

Hi! I haven't blogged in over a week, mostly because I have been dealing with some emotional baggage (what doesnt kill you makes you stronger)!  Ive been wanting to get back, so I thought this would be the best way to ease back into the blogosphere.  Thanks to Juels who told me about Erin's link up, I am back in action!

XOXO, Cristen

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

No One Has Time For Your Low Self Esteem

Generally, writing rants isn't what I prefer to do on this blog, although its so new that really I could go in any direction!  Recently I have been confronted with many examples of other woman trying to tear other women down.  Its driving me crazy.  Listen up Bitches!

1) DO NOT hate women for being beautiful.  Everyone has a uniqueness about them, even you.  Learn what it is, and highlight it.  Oh and ITS OKAY TO ADMIT NICE THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF! When did we tell ourselves that seeing our own beauty was conceded? Its not, get over it.  Also, those women you hate on? yeah they work their asses off to look that way.  Some by working out every day and eating healthy, others by working really hard to pay for plastic surgery.  If you think you will be happier with yourself to do these things, go for it, and lets never judge.

2) Your opinion is not the only one that is correct.  So if another woman comes at you living her life completely different then you live yours, stop, open up, and learn something.  As long as they are not hurting anyone, then it is 100% okay to be supportive.  I love my best friends because they let me be EXACTLY who I am.  They never judge, tell me I'm wrong, and even when they know better, they still let me make my own mistakes and never tire of catching me when I fall.

3) When a fellow women gets ahead in her life in any way, weather its a small promotion at work, a new engagement, or even if she finally finds the perfect mascara, JUST BE HAPPY FOR HER! Genuinely.  Don't compare your life's achievements with hers, that is stupid.  Jealousy is for losers.  Don't be a loser.  Lift up your friends and loved ones! Embrace their life choices!  Its okay to let another woman's achievement inspire you to get ahead in your life, because that is a positive effect.  Let the positive energy flow sisters!

4) If you're in the habit of tearing other women down to make you feel better about yourself, then you need to stop.  This happens so often in my life.  What you need to understand is that everyone has their own walk in this life.  Even if things look great on the outside, everyone is struggling with something on the inside.  Don't make it worse.  You will only make yourself look like a catty bitch, and eventually you will have no friends... that are girls... which would be AWFUL!

5) When a fellow woman finds enlightenment, and makes positive changes in her life, DO NOT TELL YOURSELF OR ANYONE THAT IT IS JUST A PHASE.  Its not just a phase, its beautiful, and its idiotic to not try to learn how she became enlightened.  Its not nice to be unsupportive.  

I don't understand why we as women dont stick together.  Its not a competition, no one "wins".  

Id like to conclude by sending out a ginormous THANK YOU to my best girlfriends: Juels, Amy, Maria, and Dre, for always letting me be who I am, and for supporting me every step of the way.  I love you girls so much because you're all secure in yourself, lovely, unafraid, and genuine.  Don't ever change.  

XOXO, Cristen

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hopeless Romantics Unite!

Valentines Day isn't just about romance.  I use it as a day to really show and tell the people in my life how much I love them.  From making red and pink wrapped candy trails starting at my sons bed leading to a cute gift and card for him to wake up to, to texting my entire phone book red hearts and "I love you"s making sure not to miss anyone.  There are people who think valentines day is just a consumer whores holiday, and that everyday should be a day to bring home flowers and tell the people in your life how much you love them, but honestly if I did a candy trail for Maddex every day then it would get a little boring, plus he'd be like the poster child for childhood obesity.

Two weeks ago, my best friend Mia and I were trying to nail down the next available date we could hang out.  With my crazy school/work schedule, and her crazy work hours, we pretty much have to plan our hangouts in advance, because leaving it up to chance would pretty much guarantee that we would never see each other.  Turns out, the next available time frame we had to work with just happened to be the upcoming Friday: Valentines Day! Her boyfriend had to work during the day, and mine was... sleeping, so we decided that would be fun to have a BFF Valentines Day Extravaganza!

We started our day with spa pedicures at this place she frequents in Clovis.  I hadn't had a pedicure in literally months, so the experience was amazing! I chose a ruby red color, because it was Valentines Day (duh) and plus I always wear light pinks and neutrals, so it was a fun change.  Mia chose a lighter color, which looked really pretty next to her olive(ish) skin.

Maria is vegan, and I am pescetarian, so we both love Whole Foods as a place to grab lunch.  We always know there are going to be more then one option for both of us! Plus their sandwiches are to die for!  They also have a large flower market, and of course for the holiday it was booming! I also picked up some wine for later :)

Next was the big finale to our BFF Valentines Day: a few hours at the spa where we booked a couples massage.  This is funny, because I am used to doing massages solo style, but Mia is a little inexperienced so she really wanted me in the room.  For her 24th birthday I booked us spa treatments at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, and accidentally booked us a couples massage! It was my first spa experience so I didn't really know what I was doing, but it was super fun anyway! So to relive that amazing day, we went in together again! Ive known Mia since we were in the 7th grade, so it wasn't weird at all.  

After the massages were over we sat in the steam room for a while and then headed home.  I had to work that night, but she was making a romantic dinner for her boyfriend.  While on a delivery, she called me.  Her boyfriend had proposed! They love each other so much, I was ecstatic for her!!! Still am!

After work I made some white wine mixed with pomegranate Italian soda and dropped in a couple raspberries.  My boyfriend came over and we drank a few bottles and laughed, talked, watch some movies.  it was the perfect end to the perfect day.

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

XOXO, Cristen

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Verbal Abuse Is Not Okay

I was verbally abused at work last night.  It happened on my very last delivery out to the country on a very dark road.  I was going slowly and kept my eyes peeled on the mailbox numbers, so I could be sure I didn't miss the house, this house that I have never been to before in almost 3 years of working for the pizza parlor.  I found the house and noticed a very large man (about 3 times my size) who was holding a flash light.  I pulled into the driveway, parked the car, and stepped out.  I then asked him if he was the one who ordered pizza.  There was a cluster of houses in that particular area, and the ticket said to serve the trailer in the back of the house, so I wanted to make sure he was in fact the customer.

He verified that he was, then proceeded to ask me if I was stupid for not seeing him shining his flashlight.  I was taken aback, but immediately thought he was joking, so I apologized and told him that I was intently looking at the mailbox numbers.  Then he began to yell at me regarding the fact that I didn't park close enough to his gate, and he would have to carry all the food an even further distance then he originally expected.  I apologized again, and then asked if he would like me to pull the car up, but he shook my suggestion off, and just mumbled about how stupid I was.

I pulled the bag with his pizza, cinna-poppers, wings, and side sauces inside, and looped my arm through it so I could carry his two 2 litter Mountain Dews in my hands.  I wanted to be a good server, so I walked all the food up to his gate, hoping to diffuse his frustration about where I parked.  He seemed surprised, and I was hoping he would just take the food, pay me and I could be on my way, but that is when things started to get scary.

Standing right next to him, I looked up and gave him a smile (because that is what I do) and tried to hand him the first 2 litter.  Rather then taking it from me, he glared down at me and gruffly asked, "Where is my ranch? and peppers? You don't look like you have my full order!" I replied, "Oh, sir they're in my bag, Ill get them for you right now-" but before I could even finish my sentence he grabbed the bag and tugged on it.  My arm was still looped through it so when he tugged on it he hurt my arm.  I said, "Sir, please, you're hurting me!" "OH SHUT UP!" he yelled at me.  And that is when I forced the sodas on him and let him have the bag.  I began to cry as fear trembled through me.  I seriously thought he was going to hurt me.  I ran to my car and locked myself inside and just bawled into my hands like a baby.

After a few seconds I realized that he hadn't paid me and he still had my pizza bag.  I know it was stupid, but my boss has been on my case over the stupidest things lately, and I didn't want to get in further trouble for letting a jerk stiff me and leaving a bag somewhere.  In retrospect, I don't think I would have gotten in trouble, but at the time, my brain wasn't working that way.  The man came to my passenger side and was yelling profanities at me.  I pulled myself together and stepped back out of the car.  I apologized and explained that he scared me, and if he would just pay the $38 for the order, I would be out of his hair.

Instead, he continued to yell at me, calling me a little bitch, telling me I am stupid, that I should go back to the store and quit because I am the worst pizza delivery driver he has ever met! I just stood there crying. At one point I remember saying "Sir, you cannot talk to me this way! I have done nothing to deserve it." but he was relentless.  So I stood there, sobbing, looking to the ground as he laid into me, taking things out of the pizza bag.  He dropped the BBQ sauce on the ground and then blamed it on me.  His Cinna-poppers leaked onto the pizza box, and he blamed it on me.  Eventually he threw two $20 bills at me and finally let me leave.  I grabbed the bag off the ground, got back into my car, and pulled away as fast as I safely could.

I called my boss right away, and told him everything that happened, or tried to, I was hysterically crying.  He calmly told me to go back to the store, write a personal statement, he would send it to HR in the morning, and then assured me that our company WILL NEVER DELIVER TO OR SERVE HIM AGAIN!  I felt comforted, but not better.  When I got back to the store, I indeed wrote out my story, and listened to my PIC talk to the man on the phone.  He called to let the manager know that I am a lying little bitch.  I'm confidant my boss believes me.  I cashed out and went home, but I couldn't hold back the rolling tears.  I had stopped sobbing, but the tears were still sliding down my cheeks, and I couldn't stop them.  I went home and told my dad what happened.  He said basically what my boss said, but I still had really bad dreams last night.  I didn't sleep well at all.  This experience was the scariest thing I have ever been through.  I have always heard about people treating others this way, but have never actually experienced it.  I hate to say that I now look at the world in a different way, but also that I am grateful for all the kind souls out there.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Family Nights

Me, Maddex, and Denver

My mom had this great idea to get the whole family together at least once a month.  We are all pretty lucky right now to only live about an hour apart, which wont always be the case.  Sister wants to book it to Arizona ASAP, Courtney and James are going to Georgia in July for about a year, and then will be in Colorado, Jaden is moving to San Diego this summer to join the Navy, and who knows where Maddex and I will end up after I finish school.

 Me and Jaden

Dasha and Me

Our family get-togethers could be themed "food and selfies".  We always take a lot of pictures, and eat our body weight in food. This last weekend we had "build your own Tostada" night.  My sister fried up some tortillas, chicken, fish, cooked some refried beans, rice, and chopped tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and salad greens.  She also provided cheese and sour cream.  It was a want-to-be Mexicans (me) dream! I'm still trying to be super TIU healthy, so I brought some collard greens to use instead of the tortillas, and some soy "beef" as a protein.  I didn't realize she was making fish!

 Me and Courtney

Dasha and Jaden

Even though it was super healthy, especially since I opted out of the dairy, I still ate three servings.  I was so full it was uncomfortable.  I took a walk with Courtney after dinner, but my stomach hurt so bad that we had to cut it short.  Still, it was an amazing time with family.  I love my brother so much, and his girlfriend, Dasha, is always a hoot to be around.  Sister was a bit cranky, but I tried not to take it too personally, and Mom was so happy to be around everyone.  I am going to miss every once when we all part ways again.

Courtney, Dasha, and Me

Me and Jaden (again)

Denvers Tounge

Maddex and Denver

Our next family night will be in March, and I believe I am hosting! Everyone, be prepared to eat really healthy, clean, and lean foods! I might even juice some shots!! 

XOXO, Cristen

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Secrets Of The Youthful Look

People are usually shocked when I tell them how old I am.  At first it was kind of flattering, now its mostly annoying.  Especially when they find out I have an 8 year old son.  They give me that look (you know then one like they're in the presence of a real live slut!) and ask "You got pregnant at 13?"  To which I reply: "Hell no! I was 20!"  And then their eyes get all big and the famous follow up question slips their lips, "How old are you?" ...rude, "I'm 29".

Here's the deal, I do look a lot younger then my age.  Its part genetics, I remember my mom holding her youthful flow well into her forties.  She got really sick and it shows a little, but still, for being in her 50's mom is looking pretty cute.  Barely any wrinkles! I feel lucky, but its not all about genes.  Some of it is the advice she gave me growing up, but also some tricks I have learned along the way, and below I am sharing them with you!

1) Sunscreen!
This one is super important (hence its number 1).  The sun is awesome, it is the wonderful source of energy for all of life on this earth.  It is warm, bright, and a symbol of happy days.  Its also dangerous to the skin.  It does help synthesize vitamin D when exposed to your skin, but lets always remember to wear at least 30 proof sunscreen on your face at all times.  A lot of makeup these days has it built in already, but if yours doesn't, be sure to add sunscreen to your morning routine.  ALWAYS wear heavier sunscreen on your face and shoulders when exercising outside.  To let the vitamin D do its thing, I usually don't wear sunscreen on my forearms or legs.  But if I'm going to be out for longer then 30 minutes, I will use a spray on and go have fun without worrying about it!

2) Caffeine.
This is a weird trick, but if you have ever read about those coffee face masks then you have heard this before.  I use an eye cream in the mornings with caffeine in it to help stimulate the cells and make my eyes look brighter.  It works very well.

3) Aspirin mask.
I really love to do "girls nights" with my sister, best friends, and even my boyfriend.  (its not weird) :)  During these fun times its a must to google new at home beauty treatments to experiment with.  One time I found a recipe for this aspirin mask where you crush up a handful of aspirin, and add pure aloe vera gel to it until has the consistency of a liquidy paste.  Then you spear it all over your face and let it dry.  Afterward rinse, and I like to follow it up my lathering fresh chunks of avocado on my face for another couple minutes to counteract any dryness that might be caused by the aspirin.  Once the avocado is rinsed your face will be as soft as a baby's bum, and any fine lines will be significantly reduced.  Seriously.  I'm not kidding you.  Go out and try it, you can thank me later!

4) Avocado
Speaking of avocado, its so important it gets its own bullet point.  FULL of healthy fats, it works wonders on the skin.  Make a mask out if, eat it, drink it in a smoothie, I don't care, If you want to have smooth, youthful skin, you NEED to make avocado a part of your life.  It is what it is my friends.

5) Water.
Staying hydrated is so important for your skin (as well as every other organ in your body).  When you are dehydrated, your skin shows it.  It looks dull, grayish, and a bit sunken.  I can always tell when people don't drink enough water.  And yes you have to drink it! Just laying in a bath will actually dehydrate you, so grab some lemon or cucumbers and get over it.  You need to drink half your body weight in ounces a day.  Your weight/2= oz.

6) Eating vegetables
I probably preach this one too much, but I don't care.  It is so important to eat a wide variety of vegetables at every meal.  FILL HALF YOUR PLATE WITH VEGETABLES.  Juice them.  Stick them in your smoothies.  Steam them.  Eat them raw.  I don't care, just put them in your system.  They are full of vitamins and phytochemicals that combat the free-radicals in your body, and makes your skin look clear, young, and happy.

So there you have it.  My 6 secrets to looking younger then your age.  Do you have any tricks or tips?? Id love to hear them! Comment below :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Week Off

I went to San Luis Obispo on Sunday to pick up my little man, like I do every other weekend.  I went down a little early to visit with friends, and although the stars didnt quite align for my scheduled hike up Bishops Peak with Amy (so much rain), I was able to cuddle up to Juels and talk shop with LOTR serenading up in the background. 

She told me: You know you haven't blogged since Tuesday!
I replied: I know... its just Im consumed with all my secrets right now, so I have nothing to write about.

The minute I said it out loud I realised I really need to recommit to this space.  So instead of doing my BioChem homework, Im going to tell you all (my two readers) what has been going on lately!!!

First of all, my beloved kitty cat turned ONE on Sunday! Happy Birthday Ackles-Attackles! 
He cares so much :)

Second, I have been pretty consumed with my new obsession with Tone It Up.  Since I purchased the Nutrition Plan I have been reading it over and over, trying to get the hang of it.  Ive been taking a few days to get in the habit of the new work out schedule, and so far I have lost 2 pounds.  I started the food plan on Saturday so Im calling that a win! I woke up this morning and realized for the last three days I have consumed only clean, lean, and healthy foods.  Absolutely no processed foods or sweets have entered my system, and although I am craving some chocolate covered raisins like nobodies business, I am feeling pretty amazing!  I recently purchased the salad shaker, so now I can take my meals on the go! Ive always wanted one of these things!!

Also... one more thing... I got back together with my ex, and Im super happy about it!
Ok Bye!!