Archive for the ‘Novice Housewife’ Category

Building Community in Big Cities

Posted by krystamasciale on July 23, 2012  |   2 Comments »

For the first time since I moved to L.A. (six years ago), I feel like I have a solid community here in this city. For those of you who have ever lived in a major city (particularly L.A. or NYC), you know how difficult it is to build consistent community. For Angelinos, there is always an excuse — traffic, distance, traffic or traffic. Everyone you know is typically spread out enough to where getting from here to there is such a nightmare unless you leave at 6 a.m. or 9 p.m. It doesn’t bode well for building relationships and feeling connected on a regular basis. This month has been an extreme exception.

A few reasons I feel our social calendar has been exponentially busier this month:

1. Family. The hubs and I both have family in SoCal. My brother and sister-in-law are kind-of a big deal, so we haven’t been able to see them as much over the past year due to their insane schedules. We always love the chance to meet up for a quick brunch or dinner together. The hubs’ family is always up for a reason to get together and celebrate SOMETHING each month. This month it was 4th of July white trash style. They hosted their annual 4th of July pool party with plenty of food and booze for all 30+ guests. Despite the fact that they’re in Orange County, a good handful of L.A. friends make the trek to enjoy one of the most epic parties of the year:

 

2. Special Occasions. This obviously requires that you have a few aquaintances/friends to start with. If you do, make it a point to go to events that they create for you to enjoy yourself and meet new people. This month, we had a few bday parties, an engagement party and an opportunity to support our friend’s band at a new venue.

3. Organized Sports. We recently joined a DodgeBall team in Hollywood. It’s probably the activity the hubs and I look forward to most every week. On Monday nights, our team plays in a league of 5 other teams and battles to our deaths for the championship (it feels that serious when you’re playing). Everyone in the league walks to a local bar after each game and hangs out the rest of the evening together. It’s such a fun way to meet people you would have never become friends with otherwise!

4. Church. We had gone to the same church for about 4 years and made some of our closest friends in the city from that community. When we left to start fresh elsewhere, we felt a little out of sorts and had a hard time connecting with people (mainly because we weren’t involved and didn’t give people a chance to get to know us). We decided to join volunteer teams that meet once a month for a few hours on Sunday mornings and were then chosen to be on the Kenya team. Most of our social interaction this month has been with some of the members from our Kenya team because of the amount of prep time we’ve spent with one another. We’ve had so much fun getting to know these people and we haven’t even left yet!

5. Work. This is probably obvious to most people. For those of you who work from home (like the hubs and I do), it’s not super obvious. For me, most of my clients live outside of SoCal. In fact, most of them live in different time zones and our relationship is limited to texting and Skype calls. Because the process we take our clients through is a bit more intense than your average client experience, I have been privileged to become friends with a good handful of them in the last year. We recently hosted four clients-turned-friends for a week this month as they came through L.A. on vacation. When you have the opportunity to build a company around your core values and passions, you attract people with similar hopes for the trajectories of their lives. Nothing is more exciting than building friendships that encourage risk and continued dreaming!

What are your secrets for meeting new people in your city?

Personal Style | Channeling Audrey

Posted by krystamasciale on July 6, 2012  |   No Comments »

A few months ago, I met Hilary Rushford through Twitter. I think it was after I published my Personal Style | Personal Brand post, where she undoubtedly assumed I was a fellow fashion blogger. Boy was she in for a treat.

Her monthly Instagram challenges have caused me to be more intentional about my personal style. Last month she added a virtual book club to the mix and all of the photo challenges were based on quotes from the book. How brilliant is that? Serious kudos Hilary.

I’m sure most of the women participating saw this as a fun excuse to show the world how creative they are with their wardrobe. For me, it was much more of a foundational lesson in building a personal style. It provided just enough structure for me to remain disciplined and thoughtful when getting ready in the morning, and a perfect blend of learning and creativity to explore options and think for myself.

The book she chose was Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Wasson which was such a fun read and perfect for a fashion challenge. The book is centered around the making of Breakfast At Tiffany’s and the cultural impact it had as well as the impact Audrey had on fashion from that point forward. If you’re at all interested in fashion, old Hollywood or film, you’ll love this book. I’ll give you a few snippets that were game changers for me:

“She dressed up for her husband.” 

[This was one of the more poignant lines from the book that made me fell like a total ass. I think this line is burned in my brain forever. I feel it’s something that was lost in the transition out of the 60s. What a terrible thing to lose.]

“Of the color black — their darkness acts as a kind of camouflage, masculine by contrast, and allows them to watch without being watched. It’s a choice of someone who needs not to attract. Someone self-sufficient. Someone more distant, less knowable and ultimately mysterious. Powerful.” 

[This line made me feel as though my desire to wear black all day every day was justified. I may frame  it for the next conversation I have with stylist friends who tell me to stop buying black and navy blue. It was also a line I connect with as I feel less inclined to attract these days. Is that what happens when you leave your 20s?]

“Chic was no longer this far away thing only for the wealthy.”

[I get that now. It was a lovely excuse when I was too lazy to dress myself, but really chic is so accessible if you’re creative and know what you’re looking for.]

“Givenchy (the designer of Audrey’s little black dress) was about showing off the body as it was, not reshaping or idealizing it. He felt you didn’t need to use a lot of accessories or embellishment and based dresses on the shape of the women as they were, not as he or the culture wanted them to be.”

[Do I hear a collective sigh from women around the first world?]

“Pure understatement radiates confidence — individual personality as opposed to a pre fab femininity.”  

[How I read this … stop trying so hard.]

“I don’t need to embellish to be commanding. I don’t need a fashion megaphone to make myself heard. I just need to be me.”

[Preach it.]

“Having been a studio head myself, I can only say that I think you’re often inclined, instinctively, to comment even when you don’t have anything to say.” 

[It’s not just about the clothes. It’s about the way you carry yourself. The whole package. Consistency.]

After reading this book, I felt more inclined to channel my inner Audrey by asking a few simple questions: What works for me? What do I feel confident in that also compliments my own figure (not hides it or accentuates the parts that are culturally desirable)? Here are two pieces I came up with while on vacation.

I learned that head scarves may be my thing. They’re fun, keep my hair in place and cover my roots when they’re coming in (come on, that’s fair). I also learned that I LOVE giant sunglasses. It’s the best way to feel mysterious without trying too hard. And I’ve gotta say, I’m becoming obsessed with my jean shorts and wedges. The last time I purchased a pair of shorts was in undergrad. I know, I’m lame. I realized my legs aren’t awful and I should own that. The wedges make me stand up straight and spruce up the outfit so I don’t feel like a total slob.

I highly recommend the book … AND … I recommend checking in with Hilary to see what her next Instagram challenge is. There’s nothing better than a little guidance and accountability to get you on the right track with building your personal style.

T.V. Shows We Love At Our Casa

Posted by krystamasciale on June 27, 2012  |   3 Comments »

Thanks to Netlifx, the beginning of summer and the season finales of popular shows on T.V., I’ve seen a hike on Facebook and Twitter of this question: “What are your favorite TV shows?”

I’m no expert. Trust me. But I DO live with a filmmaker who insists we watch at least a half-dozen shows at a time. Because of this, I’m at least in the know and feel more confident than I normally would recommending the following shows for your eyeball consumption:

[AMC.]

Breaking Bad — Oh Walt. Who doesn’t like a good story about a high school chemistry teach turned meth maker/dealer because of a cancer scare? The dynamic between Walt and Jesse is fascinating.

Hell on Wheels — Ladies. Maybe the hottest man on television right now stars in this Western centered around the making of the Pacific Union RailRoad. Watch it. You’re welcome.

Mad Men — My obsession because of the time period, incredible style, dapper Don Draper and quotable advertising tidbits.

The Killing — Holy Moses. Gripping. And incredibly impressive that it took two seasons to solve ONE murder. Much like Breaking Bad, the partnership between the two leads simply glues me. Oh, and the leading role (detective Holder) is played by a brilliant female lead. LOVE. HER.

The hubs watches all of those and adds The Walking Dead, which is when I vacate the room because I hate zombies.

[HBO.]

Boardwalk Empire — I find this show fascinating because of the historical references. Set in Atlantic City in the 20s/30s during the prohibition leaves room for beautiful costume design, interesting dialogue and plenty-o-gangster action.

Game of Thrones — I don’t watch this show. In fact, I call it the screaming torture show. BUT. The hubs REALLY loves it and the scuttlebutt around town is that it’s damn good. If you can handle gory sound effects and some guts, I’m sure it’ll be one of your faves.

True Blood — Used to watch this but then got bored with vampires, fairies and crazy people. I wouldn’t recommend it.

VEEP — Probably one of my favorite new shows. Love the Tony Hale/Julia Louis-Dreyfus dynamic. The girl from My Girl is in it too! If you’re into SUPER crass female dialogue, this is for you. If not, don’t watch it. You WILL be offended.

[SHOWTIME.]

Dexter — LOVED this show until the end of Season 4. Then I was too afraid to take a bath and the show lost some of its umph. Totally worth watching up until then though! How they made me root for a serial killer is beyond me.

Homeland — Best new show on T.V. No joke. Claire Danes is absolutely brilliant in this show and the content is riveting. Think CIA agent who suspects war hero of terrorism. Mind numbingly good.

[CBS.] 

Big Bang Theory — So funny. So smart. So refreshing. Watch it.

[ABC.]

Modern Family — Funny. Hilarious and relevant family dynamics. There’s nothing earth shattering here, just good humor and totally fun to veg out to.

[NETFLIX.]

Friday Night Lights — Uh-MAZING. Watch the whole series. And lady friends … you’re welcome for introducing you to Tim Riggins if this is the first time you’ve considered watching this gem. Texas accents, high school football and a marriage we all crave (thanks coach T and Tammy Taylor!).

Downton Abbey — This is a period piece that I personally find interesting because I like castles and British accents. It’s slow but good dialogue and hits on some interesting historic moments.

Parenthood — SO GOOD. This is a win for everyone. Not offensive, good family show with some meaty content. Definitely the more ‘real’ version of family dynamics that tackles hard issues with a good mix of humor.

New Girl — I watch this on and off, but every time I do I chalk it up to a nice little guilty pleasure. It’s not rocket science, just good old fashioned girly fun. And who doesn’t love Zooey?

Friends — I’ve been watching this on the ‘off seasons’ of all these show being on hiatus. The hubs bought me the box set for my bday and I’ve LOVED watching it from the very beginning since I wasn’t into it when it was on the air. Good stuff.

Lost of good stuff to see out there on the tube ladies and gents. Did I miss anything?

Green Living Starts In My Kitchen Part 2

Posted by krystamasciale on March 6, 2012  |   1 Comment »

The fabulous Christina is back to give us a few more tips on how we can live more environmentally aware starting with our kitchens! If you’ll remember her last post, she gave us helpful tips on how to create an environmentally conscious lifestyle by cleaning our fridge and buying less so we don’t waste as much food. I’ve gotta tell ya, I’m proud of myself. I applied one tip at a time so I didn’t set myself up for failure and I’ve already noticed a decrease in the amount of food wasted every week. My fridge feels a bit barren but the hubs and I haven’t been left wanting anything we didn’t have. The leftovers we DO have, are used for lunches the next day which feels awesome! So, here she is again to graduate us from the fridge to the cupboards!

_______________________________________________

So, a few weeks ago, we talked about cleaning out the fridge for the purpose of being more enviro-friendly—with budget and waistline (mine in particular) in mind. The fridge was just the beginning, now, it’s time to tackle every other part of the kitchen. I’m sure many of us have cupboards full of food that’s lived on the shelf longer than we care to admit. It’s time we cleaned these items out. By cleaning, I don’t mean donating to your local food pantry—giving away crappy food that you don’t want, does not = being generous or green. What I mean here is to transform the looked-over contents of your cupboards into something healthy and tasty. Use these items to supplement your grocery shopping list until the random contents are gone, over the course of weeks. This will give you an opportunity to:

1) spend less at the grocery store as you take advantage of items you already have

2) appropriately recognize what you actually eat and which purchases can be skipped in the future

3) challenge your cooking ability as you create healthy concoctions out of basically random contents

The ultimate idea here is to create a kitchen that ONLY holds what you will actually eat. This prevents you from buying needless crap in the future and creates a kitchen that’s more functional and more likely to be used moving forward. Cultivating a more user-friendly kitchen will prevent excessive eating out and the trend of saving money, eating healthy continues.

I don’t know where I was first introduced to the concept of cleaning (or cleaning out) as a start to becoming more environmentally friendly, (I think it was here) but I’ve come to discover that it’s perhaps one of the most effective methods to baby-stepping one’s way towards higher levels of green-ness. Since I’ve begun to do this, I’ve been forced to have honest conversations with myself about what I actually need and found myself feeling lighter and satisfied whenever I’ve been able to accomplish more with less. This January, I purged: a never used blender, myriad cookbooks and am creating arroz con pollo with a random box of seasoned rice with dried peas (I’ve all but stopped purchasing boxes of seasoned rice and pastas in the past couple years….so that puppy was in my cupboards for a while) . With the extra space I’ve found in my kitchen, I’ve re-organized and made those hard to spot items easier to find and use.  What are some other tips for your clean and user-friendly cupboards, you ask?

  1. With the extra space you have now from not hiding endless amounts of infrequently eaten canned goods, try using the territory to store those pantry items that you DO eat frequently in bulk. This will save on money, packaging and cut back on the number of items you need to purchase every week. Some such items for me are: brown rice, coffee and olive oil. (Yes, I’m probably the one non-Italian that has a 100 oz tin of olive oil in my pantry. )
  2. Spread things out. If your cupboards are roomier, you’ll find items more readily and have a less frustrating/time consuming cooking experience.
  3. Avoid the urge to “stock up.” It took me a while to realize that I would purchase tons of food items in an attempt to create a sense of abundance. My full pantry made me feel taken care of and wealthy in some way. This is silly. And is a false pursuit. Full cupboards doesn’t equal abundance…. It just equals full cupboards. True abundance, I think, comes from a sense of fulfillment from receiving what you need- not more.
  4. Use your cooking experiments as a way to connect with others. Once you’ve transformed the random contents of your cupboards into a tasty meal, feel free to donate that item. Most local food pantries are desperate for food that is not overly processed. Your meal may not have a long shelf-life, but could make for a nice surprise for their guests on a single night. Or a nice peace offering to your neighbors that are less than amused by your noisy dog.

Again, being a bit more “green” here is a result, not of a magic green formula or shopping list, but of becoming more acquainted with your own eating habits and becoming more comfortable in filling spaces with less.

(Krysta’s attempt … don’t judge. It was my first try!)

Family Portraits | Front Steps

Posted by krystamasciale on March 2, 2012  |   3 Comments »

As most of you know, I’m got hitched nearly two years ago. There is nothing I love more than my wedding photos. Mainly because the hubs and I look hot and Gary and Courtney did such an awesome job making our wedding day images pieces of art. See? (If you’re planning a destination wedding, you’d be a fool not to hire these two.)

RIDICULOUS.

But here I am, a few years later, wishing I had a reason to haul the hubs to a photoshoot so we had more updated images of us around our home. You know, ones where we’re in normal clothes doing normal things.

That’s where my good friend Jess Koehler comes in. Jess is known for her stunning documentary work in other countries. She’s a brilliant artist and a natural story teller. Someone who digs for a deeper message by asking questions before she starts snapping away. I think that’s what makes her imagery so compelling. She brings humanity into her shots and I can’t help but feel a small piece of myself in all of her work. I could go on for days about this chick. Anywho, during her travels, she realized we all have something in common: a family legacy. It started with these two images:

The gentleman in the first image is seen here in front of his father’s home. It was the home he grew up in only a few steps from the home he now shares with his wife in the second image.  This is their life … the life their children and grandchildren will be telling stories about for years after they’re gone. It’s just like the old black and white images we’ve seen of our parents and grandparents on the front steps of their homes in their Sunday best. You know which ones I’m talking about? I love those photos of my family. They tell a bigger story about my family’s legacy that I’ve either forgotten or wasn’t born yet to be a part of. Those pictures show where it all began.

Jess realized we don’t do that anymore. Sure we take pictures all day every day on our iPhones and post them to Facebook. But our generation doesn’t take pictures on our front porches or in front of our homes like our parents and grandparents did. Kind-of crazy right? Not even in front of our first apartment or loft or rental. I mean, here I am almost two years into my marriage and I’m not sure I have ONE photo of the front of my house. I DEFINITELY don’t have a photo of the hubs and I in front of it. Which makes me sad because the beginning of our life together as a real family started in this home. It’s a part of our little family’s legacy.

So we set up a shoot date and the hubs and I let Jess do what she does best. Here’s our favorite from our Front Steps series:

I can’t tell you how excited I am about these images. They’re done in a way that represents our personalities and the life we’re living RIGHT NOW. They aren’t forced, yet still artistic and beautiful. But most importantly, I have a snapshot of the foundation we’re building for the life we’ll have in 20 years. And it all started here … in front of 2008 … like I’m going to tell you where I live!

The point is, she’s giving those of us who are just starting to build a legacy the chance to remember where it all began. It’s not just any ol’ snapshot, it’s continuing the story our families started years ago in front of their two-story farm houses. I think there’s something beautiful about that and I’m so excited we got to be a part of it! If you want in on the action, send her a message and tell her you want to set up a Front Steps session. She’ll blow your mind.

Here’s to living lives we’ll be proud of when our grandchildren are flipping through old Internet files.

National Anthem/Commercial Party

Posted by krystamasciale on February 6, 2012  |   No Comments »

Yesterday was such a hit in the Masciale home.

The hubs and I dusted off our hosting skills and started planning a National Anthem/Commercial Party (otherwise known as the Super Bowl) early last week. Despite how busy this week was for both of us, we thought it was a great opportunity to welcome our friends into the new year with yummy food, tasty beverages and a t.v. to catch the latest ads for America’s favorite holiday. Did Kelly Clarkson rock the National Anthem OR WHAT? Girl’s got pipes.

I digress.

We were so surprised that most of our friends were free with such late notice! Since neither of us had much time to prepare for the 15 guests, we decided on simple menu items:

APPETIZERS 

1. cheese/crackers/deli meat

2. chips/salsas (real salsa, not the Pace kind)

3. pita chips/hummus/artichoke dip (Fresh and Easy has THE BEST artichoke dip)

4. veggies (no one ate them)

5. the Masciale family pizza bread

6. the Masciale family buffalo wings

7. deviled eggs

MAIN DISH — it was 75 degrees here in L.A. so we decided for the BBQ option.

1. hamburgers

2. hotdogs

3. chili (for either chili dogs OR to have plain)

4. tots

5. baked beans

DESSERT

1. brownies

2. chocolate chip cookies

3. strawberries

DRINKS

1. vodka

2. rum

3. beer

4. wine

And, of course, mixers, water and lemonade. Here’s the spread:

Yes, we are a two crock pot family. Don’t judge.

One of my favorite things about hosting is being able to team up with the hubs. It’s so much fun to throw parties with him! And since we don’t get to see each other a lot these days (we’re both really big deals), this was the perfect opportunity to do something fun together AND love on our friends. How cute is he?

     

See the tilted bodies of our friend? Yeah. That intensity was only reserved for the commercials … no lie. You could hear a freaking pin drop during the commercials. All hell broke loose once the game was back on. I love L.A. I’ll be honest, I had to Google who was even playing. Some dude at Costco asked me who I was rooting for and all I could come up with was, Kelly Clarkson. It was the God honest truth despite how sacrilege that is on such a sports-filled occasion.

      

For anyone wondering if I brought my housewife A-Game, look no farther than the above photo. I sported a cocktail, my apron, homemade carbs AND some wonderfully simple (yet SUPER stylish) earrings my friend Sarah made me. They come in all colors, but I chose turquoise because it matches my new red hair so nicely! You should check out her Etsy site … seriously. She’s got some super fun accessories to choose from!

As for the rest of the evening, a handful of brave folks stuck around to watch The Voice. Super fun show, especially when you see an old singing buddy on national television. I almost lost my brownies when I realized a former Kansas Ambassador of Music was rocking it out on my T.V. My trip to Europe was jam packed with memories of this dude. So glad to see he stuck with it. Hard work pays off! Here’s to livin’ the dream folks!

      

Green Living Starts In My Kitchen

Posted by krystamasciale on January 27, 2012  |   3 Comments »

I asked my good friend, Christina, to write a guest post because the thing she is most passionate about, is something I am so unacquainted with: having an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. And truth be told, I wish I knew how to be more conscious about these things, but it seems so overwhelming. That’s where Christina comes in. Just so you know … this girl kicks ass in so many ways. She’s incredibly talented (you may have seen a little film she recently helped promote called, The Help) and ridiculously intelligent. I can’t wait to see the world in 10 years after she’s had her hands in making it a better place. It’s going to blow minds.

____________________________________________

 For the first time in years, I took a proper vacation over my two week break from work during Christmas and New Years.  And by  “proper,” I mean, out of the country, sleeping in, eating silly amounts of food and reading something other than my work email  account. The natural, depressing result of my two week-long indulgence, is that I came back to L.A. chunky and broke. When Krysta  asked me to share some knowledge about simple things one can do to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle, I decided to use  my most immediate concerns—my muffin-top and my waning bank account—as a lens through which to explore sustainability.

Almost one-third of greenhouse gas emissions are connected in some way to food and agriculture—nearly one-third! Therefore, if you want to be a bit more Earth-friendly, taking a look at what you’re eating, is a great place to start. Convenient to those of us who are also trying to lose some lbs., those foods that are healthier for you to eat (spinach) have a lower carbon footprint than other less healthy options (processed hamburger from a fast food joint). If you’re eating a veggie rich, hyper local diet, it’s likely that your carbon footprint is already lower than most, but let’s look at this same equation in terms of cost.

First, the amount of food wasted per week due to poor planning is avoidable. Not to mention the amount of money that could be saved if we weren’t eating out whenever we realize there’s nothing in our home to eat.

So, let’s start with the fridge. How long has it been since you’ve cleaned out your refrigerator? Like really cleaned it out– like you know what all of those random, supposed jars of jam and bottles of salad dressing contain? If you can’t remember…. Now’s the time. Take an inventory of everything that’s in the fridge and get rid of everything that’s expired or that you know for a fact you will simply never eat. After that, do some scrubbing and clean it. All of those dried pieces of veggies on the bottom of the crisper or sticky spots under the maple syrup…. Get rid of ‘em. Your fridge will be beautiful, you’ll know everything that’s in it and now you are free to fill it ONLY with things that you will eat.

Here are some other tips for your fridge:

  1. Try using glass or otherwise clear Tupperware—if you store items in clear containers, you never have to guess what your leftovers are. It makes the hunt for suitable eats more efficient- which is helpful when you’re super hungry and likely to grab ANYTHING to fill you up. (*glass is more environmentally friendly than plastic, but re-purposing clear plastic works here too)
  2. Try having self bottled filtered water available in the fridge. I’ve re-purposed large glass bottles that originally held juice as my own form of filtered bottled water. If you are purchasing bottled water, try throwing a filter on your tap and bottling your own water in glass bottles. This is a HUGE potential cost savings for you—plus MUCH more environmentally friendly.
  3. Try making your own salad dressings. If you tend to be a dressing collector, this should help cut back on some of the clutter in the fridge. My fave is olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt.

Ahhh….. Your fridge (and your freezer) are clean and ready to be appropriately used. Use what you threw away as a guide for what NOT to buy when you go shopping. This will prevent needless purchases. The other key to avoiding needless purchases is simple, but will require time: planning. Figure out a system that works for you in terms of grocery shopping. I tend to shop about every two weeks and plan around when I have events in which I know I’ll be eating out. By the end of the two weeks, I’ve effectively cleaned out my fridge. It’s actually an interesting bi-weekly contest with myself. Can I plan so that I’m eating everything that I purchased in exactly two weeks? Usually, no. But, over the past couple years, I’ve become more efficient. I purchase less every week, and in turn, waste less food.

For those of you who are paralyzed by your now clean fridge/freezer situation and have no idea where to begin in regards to planning one or two weeks worth of food, here are some questions to ask yourself to help you get started:

1. How many meals will I (or me and my family) likely eat at home this week? (once you come up with the number, subtract 1 or 2—you will likely cook less than you think, particularly if this is new for you)

2. Is there anything I’ve been craving lately that’s healthful?

3. Which items are in season right now? If you don’t know what’s in season, you can look here. Select a couple items that you like and know you will eat and build some menus around them. When purchasing the star recipe items, try to buy them from local sources.

(Farmers markets or CSAs—Community Supported Agriculture are best for this.) This is important for myriad reasons, but here are the 3 biggies:

1. Because the food has had to travel a shorter distance to get to you, it will likely stay fresher longer

2. The shorter travel distance means the food has a smaller carbon footprint and

3. The shorter time needed for travel means the farmers harvesting this food have probably been able to let it ripen for longer and therefore, this food may actually have more nutritional value than something you’re purchasing from the store that’s been shipped from somewhere super far away. I also find that purchasing from a farmer’s market is always less expensive than shopping at a traditional grocery store- and more fun to boot.

For snacks, stock up on seasonal fruits—especially those that are easy to grab—and/or try making an extra side when cooking, so you’re sure you have leftovers. If you can replace boxed crackers or other packaged snack items with things like leftover spinach and garlic or a pear, you’ll be a better person for it.

As you can see, there’s no magical item here that I can suggest you purchase that will suddenly make you more green…or more fit or financially stable for that matter. Becoming more green is more about discovering what you don’t need to purchase and simply understanding your own habits more clearly so that you can better prepare for them. I hope that you plan an amazingly delicious local meal for your next dinner at home, but even if your new clean fridge doesn’t encourage you to cook at home, it should at least discourage you from paying money for things you won’t eat.

Chalk Board & Sofa Table From Scratch

Posted by krystamasciale on December 20, 2011  |   4 Comments »

That’s right.

The hubs spent his two days off before our vacation building me a sofa table and chalk board for my office. Why? Because he’s awesome and he loves me. Obviously.

We have this large and in charge wall in my office space that was screaming for some attention. See? Even Henry thinks so:

Anywho. I had been daydreaming (and Pinning) about chalkboards for a while. I prefer white boards, but the black of a chalkboard seemed like just the amount of drama this room needed. Here are some clippings I found as my inspiration:

 

So amazing. Now. I relayed this information to the hubs (especially the magnetic chalkboard combo) and he started gettin’ crazy:

 

See how nicely it’s coming along? I also happened to mention a while ago that I’d LOVE a sofa table to go underneath said chalkboard. When I bought him his nail gun for Christmas, it was the first thing he decided to make! Here’s the simultaneous progress on THAT part of the project:

 

 

Pretty amazing huh? We decided to stain the table the same color as our floor even though we LOVE how beautiful this wood was al natural.

Here’s what he ended up with:

 

Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous? He’s going to finish the frame around the chalk board to match the floor/table. I can’t wait to get some magnets and chalk!!

Any suggestions for what I should put on my little table?

Healthy Egg White Sandwiches

Posted by krystamasciale on November 24, 2011  |   No Comments »

One of my favorite things about vacationing in Mexico with the in-laws has to be the cooking tips I walk away with.

My sister-in-law, Natalie, has been super intentional lately about finding heathy alternatives to some of our favorite meals. And there’s no meal we love more on vacation than breakfast.

Natalie knocked it clean out of the park this morning … And it was healthy! (gasp!)

Here it is:

Egg White Sandwiches (for 5 people)

2 cups 100% Liquid Egg Whites
1 full egg
Pinch of garlic salt
Pepper to taste

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Set a non stick pan (use cooking spray if needed) on your range at low to medium heat.

Whisk the egg mixture until fluffy, dump it into your pan and let it cook. Don’t touch them. Seriously, back away from the stove.

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While the eggs are doing their thing, nuke these babies and put them in another pan to finish cooking. I hear the Trader Joes vegetarian patties are pretty legit too.

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Here’a how your eggs should look. Make sure you fold them with a rubber spatula for ultimate fluffiness.

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Now, there are a few variations for how you can make these babies. The healthiest option is to use a sourdough English muffin. Close seconds are whole wheat English muffins or Thomas brand bagel thins (110 calories) — without cheese. If you aren’t counting calories, carbs or fat intake, spread a little butter on your toasted bread of choice, sprinkle some cheese on the top and smash together.

Here’s what it will look like:

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Sooo freaking good. And get this, these delicious sandwiches are healthier than your bowl of cereal in the morning … And way more filling AND way more yummy. I’d say even yummier than Cinnamon Toast Crunch! What?!

Get you some. Then let me know what you thought!

Parenthood

Posted by krystamasciale on November 22, 2011  |   1 Comment »

So, the hubs and I got a dog a few weeks after we got back from our honeymoon.

She’s clearly a diva, but totally awesome.

Anyway, we became parents rather suddenly. Some friends of some friends found said puppy on the side of an L.A. freeway and through a series of events, she landed in our possession completely unharmed and full of energy.

We were thrilled … a bit nervous … and totally unprepared, which is what I would imagine “real” parenthood is like.

Then we pup #2 about a year later. Why? Because pup #1 needed a sibling pretty bad.

Aside from the sudden change in my daily routine, the duties of disciplining and potty training and the incessant picture taking when they do, yet another, super cute (fill in the blank) … I’ve been humbled by the arrogance of a previous theory that children/pets are a reflection of their parents.

While in most cases this is, in fact, truth, I feel the greater epiphany lies in the idea that one shouldn’t judge unless one has been there herself.

For instance, when pup #1 and pup #2 escaped from our front yard yesterday and took a joy run around our neighborhood for about 45 minutes, I would have appreciated if the woman who caught pup #1 would have said, “Here’s your super cute and cuddly pup! So glad I could find her for you!” Instead of saying, “How about you be more careful with your dog next time. Leashes are good, ya know.”

Really? Because I meant for my dog to squeeze herself between the rods of our gate and barrel down the street as I was letting her out to pee.

Parenting is hard. Even if what you are parenting is 2-year-old puggle mutt and a crazy hyper 8 month old boxer/pit. I can’t imagine how we would have made it our first week without Google nor can I imagine what it’s like to parent real life human children.

Although I still hold to my belief that pet/child owners could be more responsible and lead with greater conviction … there are just some things you’re going to have to take the dirty looks for. Dirty looks that I will now be less generous with in Target if your two children are squeezing doggie toys or if your puppy pees on my floor.