Monday, June 30, 2014

Playlist: June 2014

Has it really been over 2 weeks since I last posted?  That's pretty bad.

Here's a quick recap of the last couple of weeks:

Eric turned 32 and we celebrated with a nice dinner at The Twisted Cork Bistro.

I ordered the halibut with a charred jalapeno honey vinaigrette, black rice, sauteed kale, steamed asparagus, and avocado.  It was delicious!
Eric ordered the macadamia/Panko crusted mahi mahi with coconut buerre blanc, spinach, apple smashed potato cake, and coconut flakes.  I managed to steal a bite and it was so good!
For dessert we had the Vancouver Nanaimo Bar, which is a dark chocolate bar with a walnut crust and coconut custard.  It was so good that I almost wished I'd ordered one for each of us.

And with a name like the Twisted CORK Bistro, you could expect wine.  Lots and lots of delicious white wine.  (Too bad it was like 90+ degrees that day and my hair was disgusting.

We also ordered the Lahvosh appetizer with sun-dried tomato, basil, artichokes, and Havarti and goat cheeses, but I forgot to take a picture of that.  It was just as awesome as everything else, though!

About a week after our dinner, I brought home a small treat for him on his actual birthday: cupcakes from Cold Stone Creamery.  (You didn't know they made cupcakes?  Neither did I until I started searching for a place to order cupcakes.  Since it's been so hot lately and since we have an unhealthy obsession with Cold Stone ice cream and milkshakes, it seemed like the obvious place to get them.)

Eric proudly showing off his treats.
A closer look at the cupcakes.  I ordered a variety pack, which included 3 flavor combinations.  I tried all of them, and they were all as good as I'd hoped they would be.

Oh, and I had to include proof of our unhealthy obsession (see below):

I've been addicted to Cold Stone milkshakes made with red velvet ice cream and brownie bits mixed in.  I would tell you to immediately go try this, but I don't want to be blamed for any addiction that may result.

I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that we've been going to Cold Stone at least 1-2 times each week for ice cream and milkshakes.  At least we've been working out a lot, right?  RIGHT?!?!

My mom also came to visit us for a while.  She was here for about 2 weeks.  (And no, I didn't take any pictures ... Sorry.)  We spent some time going out to eat (and getting Cold Stone, of course), shopping, and hanging out with Eric's parents.  It was nice to have some time with her, especially since the last time I saw her was when I flew back to my hometown for my grandpa's funeral.  Not exactly the most fun or happy reason for a visit.

So yeah ... Things have been busy but fun.  June kind of flew by for me, and while it definitely had its ups and downs, it was (for the most part) a good month.

And since it's the end of the month, that means another Divulge and Indulge playlist!  (I realize I probably enjoy these much more than anyone else who might come across this blog, but oh well.)

In honor of my mom's visit this month, I've decided to make a "women who rock" themed playlist.  The idea is to simply include a bunch of female artists I've been listening to a lot lately.  Hopefully you'll enjoy these songs as much as I do!

Click on the link below to listen to this playlist.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Things I Should Like But Don't: Part 3

One thing I've always found fascinating is what people like and dislike.  What makes someone like one thing and dislike another?  And why do I often feel like I should like something (based on the other stuff I like) but find that I just don't?

This feeling is what sparked the idea to create a series of posts I like to call "Things I should like but don't."  If you missed the first two posts in this series, you can find them here and here.

Today's post focuses on a band most people are surprised to learn I dislike.  That band is The Postal Service.

Image courtesy of

Death Cab for Cutie is one of my favorite bands ... And I still hate The Postal Service.

I want to like them, but their style just grates on my nerves.  I mean, the song "Such Great Heights" is great lyrically.  But, to be honest, I much prefer the Iron & Wine version.

I'm not the type of person who expects side projects to sound just like someone's "main" body of work.  I genuinely think some people can produce incredibly diverse and amazing music by branching out a bit and trying something completely different (Dallas Green of Alexisonfire/City and Colour and James Mercer of The Shins/Broken Bells immediately come to mind, but I'm sure I could think of more).

I also actually like some "electronic"  and/or "experimental" music.  But there's something about the "electropop" sound of The Postal Service that's just completely obnoxious to me.

In summary:

Ben Gibbard + Death Cab = Phenomenal

Ben Gibbard + The Postal Service = Thank God this was only a side project

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Better Than Sex Chex Mix

I rarely post dessert recipes.

It's not that I don't love dessert.  Trust me, I do.  (Maybe a little too much sometimes!)  I'm just not confident when it comes to my baking abilities.

One of my secret-not-so-secret dreams is to be a contestant on MasterChef.  (If you've never seen it, you're missing out.)  I know I'm not good enough to even consider auditioning for any future seasons right now, but I'm definitely working on my cooking skills.  I'm hoping that eventually I'll get to the stage that most "true" food bloggers are at (I'm definitely not even close to being there yet!) and have the ability to whip up something that looks and tastes spectacular without any real recipe to follow.  I'd love to be so awesome in the kitchen that I could make the most random ingredients suddenly go together perfectly (and of course have amazing photography skills as well so I can take gorgeous pictures to share on my blog).

But I'm working on my cooking skills.  Not baking.

When it comes to baking (or making desserts in general), I usually just feel like I have no idea what I'm doing.  I think the main issue for me is the fact that I have to actually measure shit.  When I'm cooking, I can generally just eyeball most of the spices and ingredients and come up with something great.  If I try that with a dessert ... Well ... Let's just say I've had a few bad experiences.

The dessert I'm going to share with you today is simple, though.  (And as a bonus, it doesn't involve baking!)  I mean, if I could successfully make this, anyone could.

And you really should make this.

Better Than Sex Chex Mix

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Tablespoon.

Chex Mix
I don't know if I'd agree that this is actually better than sex, but it's pretty damn delicious.

Ingredient List:
  • 8 cups Chocolate Chex cereal
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter or margarine (I typically use low fat margarine in most of my recipes, but I went all out with this one and used real unsalted butter)
  • 3 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup caramel bits (These can be found with the chocolate chips in the baking aisle)
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream or milk (I forgot to buy heavy cream before making this, so I used the 1% milk we had on hand and it worked just fine)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips


1.  Add the 8 cups of Chocolate Chex cereal to a large microwave safe bowl and set aside.

2.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

3.  In a 2 cup microwave safe measuring cup, microwave the brown sugar, butter, and light corn syrup uncovered on High for 1-2 minutes.  After 1 minute, stir the butter/brown sugar mixture.  Microwave for an additional minute if the mixture is not completely melted and smooth.

4.  Stir the baking soda into the butter/brown sugar mixture until dissolved.

5.  Pour the mixture over the cereal, stirring until evenly coated.  (The butter/brown sugar mixture should be similar to caramel at this point.)

6.  Microwave the cereal on High for 3 minutes, stirring after every minute.

7.  Spread the cereal on the lined cookie sheet and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.  Once the cereal has cooled, break it into bite-sized pieces.  (Make sure the cereal is cool to the touch before moving on to any additional steps in order to avoid melting the candy.)

8.  Evenly sprinkle the peanut butter cups and marshmallows over the cereal.

9.  In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave the caramel bits and heavy cream or milk together uncovered on High for about 1 minute (or until the chips are completely smooth and blended with the cream or milk).  Using a spoon or fork, drizzle the caramel sauce over the Chex mixture.

10.  In another small microwave safe bowl, microwave the milk chocolate chips uncovered on High in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval.  (Because microwaves can vary, please make sure you keep a close eye on the chocolate to ensure it becomes creamy and doesn't harden or get caked in the bowl.)  Using a spoon or fork, drizzle the chocolate sauce over the Chex mixture.

11.  In a third small microwave safe bowl, microwave the white chocolate chips uncovered on High in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval.  (Again, please make sure you watch the chocolate!)  Using a spoon or fork, drizzle the white chocolate sauce over the Chex mixture.

12.  Refrigerate the Chex mixture until all drizzles are set.  Break it into small chunks and store in a tightly covered container.

I made a batch of this to take to work, and it got rave reviews.  If you're looking for something to feed a crowd at a party or work gathering, this is perfect!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Motivating Myself (Or Why Chipotle Shouldn't Be Across The Street From My Gym)

Lately I've been trying to go to the gym a little more regularly.  I was doing a great job with working out and eating pretty well before our wedding, but after that I kind of got lazy.

I don't know if it's the warmer weather or just the fact that I really don't enjoy packing on the pounds (true story: I have gained like 12 lbs since the wedding, and that's ridiculous), but I've been trying to motivate myself to work out at least 3 to 4 times each week.

Unfortunately, there is a Chipotle across the street from the gym.

If you've ever had Chipotle, you'll know exactly how awful this is.  I mean, you can't just drive by and pretend it doesn't exist.  (Especially if you're someone like me with little to no self control when it comes to delicious food.)

So if you want to know how I motivate myself to work out, here's an idea:

I swear both burritos weren't for me!  I will confess that I ate most of the chips and guac, though.  Sorry, Eric.

It's obviously not the best method, but it works.  And hey ... At least I'm not buying Chipotle (or anything else like it, for that matter) every time I go to the gym.  I just do it sometimes (though probably still more often than I should).

But really, how can I deny myself true happiness?

Yeah, I'm really posting a picture of myself post gym (i.e. without makeup and with gross hair) stuffing my face with a Chipotle burrito.

I should probably get some new motivation to hit the gym.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Crockpot Butter Chicken

Eric and I are both huge fans of Indian food.  Unfortunately, it's one of those things that I just haven't perfected at home.  Don't get me wrong ... When I make Indian-inspired dishes, they're good.  But they're not as good as what you'd get in a restaurant.

This was one of those dishes.

The best part?  This is a crockpot meal.

I'm sharing it today because while it was nowhere near restaurant quality, it was good.  It was also ridiculously easy (and you can't go wrong with that).  Eric and I both liked this recipe, and I'd make it again.  I just wish I could figure out how to make restaurant quality Indian food.  Maybe one day.

For now, though, I'll share this recipe ... Because, as I said, it was pretty damn good.

Crockpot Butter Chicken

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Half Baked Harvest.

Ingredient List:
  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp low fat margarine or butter (I used low fat margarine)
  • 3 cloves garlic (or, if you're lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1-3 tsp red curry paste (I used 3 tsp of Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 14 oz. can coconut milk (I used lite)
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (I used Fage 0% plain yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream (I used heavy cream)
  • 4 cups cooked basmati rice
There's a fork hiding somewhere under all that chicken and rice.


1.  Combine the coconut milk, heavy cream, Greek yogurt, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, curry powder, red curry paste, garam masala, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and sea salt in a large bowl.  Mix until completely blended.

2.  Spray the inside of the crockpot with cooking spray, and add the diced onion.

3.  Add the chicken to the onion in the crockpot.

4.  Pour the coconut milk mixture over the chicken and mix until the chicken is completely coated.

5.  Add the butter and place the lid on the crockpot; cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.  (I cooked it on low for 7 hours.)

See?  It's an incredibly easy recipe.  I served this over cooked white basmati rice with a side of peas.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Thoughts On #yesallwomen

Image provided by Unsplash ( and edited by me.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to write this post or not.  I struggled with it for a while because I didn't know exactly what I wanted to say.

It's an important topic and, as a female blogger, I felt like I probably should comment on it.  But since it is an important topic, I wanted to make sure I said something meaningful.  Hopefully I can.

If you're reading this, I'm sure you've probably heard about #yesallwomen, the Twitter movement that inspired users to share examples of what all women must fear simply because they are women.  The movement itself was brought on by Elliot Rodger's killing spree in California, which he blamed on the "cruelness of women" in the manifesto he left behind.

If you've been reading my blog, you might remember that I'm not a fan of Twitter.  I do, however, think this movement was a great idea because it has inspired both women and men to share their thoughts on and experiences with misogyny, gender-based harassment, and sexual assault.  And while there needs to be more action and less talk when it comes to things like this, opening up and addressing the issue is an important step.

While it's true that not all men are terrible monsters, it's also true that enough of them are ... Enough to make many women fear for their safety (or even their lives) when they have to take public transportation at night or worry that they'll be victims of date rape if they have a few drinks and/or wear something that's "too sexy."

Let me tell you something ... I used to dress a little sexier from time to time.  I'm pretty sure the last time I wore something more revealing (and, to be honest, it wasn't even that revealing ... It just showcased my cleavage) was on New Year's Eve 2005.  I remember this clearly because I was going to a party with a couple of friends and wanted to look cute.  When I went to the party, one of the first guys I spoke to started referring to me as "Boobs."  I remember saying to him, "You know, I do have a name ... And it's not Boobs."  And you know what?  He just laughed.

I have big boobs.  There, I said it.  I find them to be more of an annoyance than anything (especially when I'm working out or trying to find a dress that will actually fit my waist and hips without squeezing the shit out of my chest), but they're what I have to work with.  Unfortunately because of that night (and because of the hundreds of other comments I've heard about them over the years), I often feel like I need to "cover up" to avoid those types of comments.

Although I typically don't wear very revealing clothing anyway, the point here is that I should be able to wear whatever I want without fear of receiving unwanted attention.  All women should.  I've read that some men are offended by these types of statements because they make men seem like crazed animals incapable of controlling their urges.  The thing is, not all guys are like that ... But, as I said before, enough of them are.  Enough to make me think twice before wearing a top that gives even a glimpse of cleavage.  And that's completely fucked up.

To bring this point home, I'm going to share a story from my senior year of college.  I was a member of the leadership program at my university.  A large part of this program included giving guidance and information to incoming freshmen and transfer students during orientation.  We performed a lot of skits during that time in order to give information in a more fun/interesting way, and one of those skits was known simply as "The Date Rape Skit."  My senior year I was chosen to play the girl in the skit.  (And as someone who used to act in high school plays and who has always secretly-not-so-secretly dreamt of being a professional actress, I was excited to play the part.)

The whole point of the skit was to show how easily things can happen.  It wasn't an anti-men message.  It wasn't an anti-alcohol message.  It wasn't telling young women not to wear "revealing" clothing.  It was simply a way to illustrate the importance of being vocal about what's okay and what's not okay, whether you've had one drink or seven, whether you know and trust the person you're with or have just met one another.

So I dressed the part of a young college girl trying to look cute for a date to a party with a guy she really liked.  I wore a short skirt and a low cut top and fixed my hair and makeup.  One of the guy's lines in the skit even referred to the fact that he thought she was "sending him signals that she was ready" because of the way she was dressed.  So I went with it.

We gave several performances, and during most of them the audience was so quiet you could literally hear a pin drop.

Then, during one of the final performances, a male student shouted from the audience, "She's obviously asking for it!" right after my male co-star and I gave our monologues detailing the events of that night.

This kid was probably 18 years old, right out of high school.  It was probably his first time away from his parents.  He was probably trying to look "cool" in front of his new friends.  But that comment?  Total bullshit.  I was pissed, and so was every other member of the leadership team.  Our leader, a faculty member at our school, was literally in tears backstage because she was so disturbed that someone would think it was okay to make a comment like that.  Because that kid missed the fucking point.

It was awful, and I will never forget going back onstage with the rest of the team (and our leader) and just talking to the audience about the comment.  We pointed out that the idea of the skit was to show that date rape can happen to anyone, and that the rapist isn't always some random scary guy ... It could just as easily be a guy the girl knows and feels comfortable with.  We also explained that a woman should never be made to feel like she couldn't or shouldn't dress a certain way or have a few drinks at a party if she wants to ... That in doing this, she's not saying "I want to have sex tonight."

I realize that experience pales in comparison to some of the things other women have dealt with, but it's one of the best examples I have of personal encounters with misogyny and gender-based harassment.  Like I said, that kid probably just wanted to look "cool" and doesn't actually hate women ... But you never know.  And the fact that someone I would be going to school with might actually feel like he was entitled to touch or even rape a woman simply because she was dressed a certain way and had a few too many drinks at a party was fucking terrifying.  I lived on campus and often walked back to my dorm alone after dark, so it made me start to question how safe it actually was to do this.

#yesallwomen: Because I constantly have to be aware of my surroundings and look over my shoulder if I'm walking alone whether it be day or night.

#yesallwomen: Because if I wear a top that's even remotely revealing, I'm suddenly less of a person ... Just a sexual object that doesn't even deserve a real name.

#yesallwomen: Because sexual assault victims are too often made to feel as though it's their fault ... Their fault for dressing a certain way, having too much to drink, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Newsflash: nobody wants to be sexually assaulted.  Nobody.

#yesallwomen: Because they don't offer a don't rape/sexually assault/harass/beat women class for men, I took a women's self defense class in college to learn how to protect myself.

#yesallwomen: Because if a woman takes time on her appearance it means she's "asking for it."  No, she isn't.  She just wants to look nice and feel good about herself.

#yesallwomen: Because saying "You're just flattering yourself" when a woman speaks out against harassment of any kind is complete bullshit.

#yesallwomen: Because "feminism" isn't a dirty word.