Saturday, April 11, 2015

Brunette in the 'Burbs

Hey ya'll....

So I'm an atypical, young brunette living in suburbia and I thought I'd share my thoughts on suburbia. 

I'm from suburbia and there are things I love about suburbia. Wide, clean streets. Room for kids to play. Big driveways. But as I'm now in my late twenties (and feeling wiser than I was two years ago), I think a lot about life and why I moved far to start a new chapter in my life. 

I sometimes tire of all the traffic and traffic lights of a highly populated metropolitan area. But people are nicer where I live now than where I came from. People are rushed ... a little bit. It's nice to drive without fear of getting into an accident every second, which was the case of where I'm from. It's nice that certain people - usually older people - smile and say hi to me as I walk by, even though we're strangers.  

But sometimes - oftentimes - I crave a smaller town vibe. Like take this view of the Olympic Mountains. I took this from a wonderful vantage point on Easter weekend. It was so peaceful and beutiful to be in a small, quiet town enjoying this amazing view. My amateur photography skills don't do the view justice. 

I want to know what a small town feel is like. But I'm more liberal in my thinking and I feel I'd need to go visit a liberal-minded smaller town. When I read about small towns - you know, towns that have a main street and fourth of July parades - I often wonder if the camaraderie is stronger among residents compared to the sporadic, rushed paces of residents of big cities. It seems like the Sally Sues and Johnny Jones' of pie baking contests might just be good friends because their small town population and love of pies brought them together. It seems like in the movies and in real life articles, that certain small towns in America are very charming and it seems like everyone knows each other. 

Of course, I haven't ever lived in a small town - like a town with fewer than 20,000 residents - but I have this sort of Americana, small town dream in my head. What is it like? Ya'll should let me know...

Ms. Parmigiani 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

One man's trash is another inventor's treasure

Portland, Ore. --- Have you ever thought about where your trash comes from and where it goes? Have you ever thought about how plastic is made? Have you ever thought of overseas manufacturing and its severe impact on workers' health and the planet's health?

Really cool things are happening in which people build buildings out of empty plastic bottles. I recently stumbled upon a cool article written by Sustainable Business Oregon.

There is a really cool non-profit in Portland, Oregon called Trash for Peace. This organization literally uses plastic bottles as trash can bins, wood from old pallets to build amazing benches, and uses rims of bike tires as trash cans.  Check this cool organization out at

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Stumbling upon nature

      The other day, I walked outside to get some fresh air. I was relieved to take a break from driving. Driving, going, pushing, running, walking, hurrying, moving, packing, unpacking ... is all I do. Work, shop, eat, sleep, clean. Rush. Rush. Rush.

      It was a Sunday and I needed some fresh air. I meandered around, happy to be outside without having anywhere to drive to or get to. I stumbled upon beautiful nature behind my complex. I see the new homes being resurrected, so I know I live in a new, up-and-coming residential area. But wandering around last Sunday just about 100 feet directly behind where I live was amazing.

     I found concrete street already poured. I found driveways already existing. I found curbs. I was told by a family member that this used to be the site of a former residential area. But I was still in awe of seeing the "Christmas" tree standing proudly at the end of a driveway where a mobile home used to be.

        I walked around, breathed in the crisp December air, and kept taking pictures. It was interesting to see nature - brush, trees void of their leaves, and Douglas Firs - running wild amongst the concrete slabs of forlorn driveways and empty, cracked streets, trying to overcome it. Man versus nature.

     I saw a tractor slumped near heaps of cylinder concrete blocks thrown randomly in a pile. Nature versus man. Beauty versus rubbish. Quiet versus noisy. Habitat close to nothing. 

         Who had lived here before? Who decided to "clean up" the area with brand new homes? I had never before seen the ghost of an old neighborhood. It was beautiful to see the abundance of the trees and brush trying to break free from the chain-like concrete. It was a very interesting contrast of what was once there - the nature that is trying to regrow and reclaim its land. It's sad knowing that these trees will be chopped down to make way for another lot of homes. Maybe the few that survived chopping for the formal locale of residents won't survive the chopping block for the new, modern layout the builder has in mind. 

      It was almost eery walking in this old neighborhood which was reclaimed by nature. But it was amazing. Old versus new. Black, old concrete set against brilliant trees. 

          As I noticed an old fence at what must've been the former property line, my ears noticed the road noise. I was near two very busy roads that intersected on a corner. Reality came back. I always hate when suburban neighborhoods exist because it means urban sprawl takes place. There are very few forests left in Oregon in the crowded areas due to masses of people dispersing from Portland. Ironically, I am from So Cal - the center of suburban sprawl - where no nature exists, but is rather captured by the builders: the money talkers (and the nature takers). Roads and roads and roads are built. A million stoplights are put in.

        But last Sunday, I didn't think about public transportation and how stoplights in suburbia need to be synchronized. I just truly enjoyed being artsy and enjoying my surroundings, observing all of the contrasting elements.

       Relax. Slow down. Walk. Observe.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I made something I've never made before. I'm slowly starting to learn about gluten free foods, as I try to listen to what my body is telling me, how my body feels and what I might need to cut from my diet.

I'm not for sure if I have a gluten intolerance, but I do have major stomach problems. I decided one day I'd like to make gluten-free muffins. After weeks of searching online for gluten-free blueberry muffin recipes, I kept encountering recipe repertoires that consisted of long lists of ingredients that made me sigh in exasperation and I felt defeated. I didn't want to make muffins anymore.

I grew up baking and cooking with my mom and sister Sara (, making mouth-watering Italian dishes and American cookies that delighted even our pickiest-of-eaters friends. I'm thankful to my mom who taught me how to sautee, steam, roast vegetables, how to chiffonade, and how to execute recipes well. I also learned how to survive on my own as I moved out of the house because I had been cooking for years. I often created my own recipes, blowing my taste buds into new dimensions.

My mom learned how to cook from her father, a full Sicilian, who, to this day, still drinks Scotch and has two cups of coffee a day; my awesome grandpa who comments like we all have in our family when a cook hasn't prepared food to our expectations: "Eh ... I could've made this better at home."

But I finally found a recipe on that listed most of the ingredients I had. I no longer sighed in exasperation and defeat. I finally found a recipe that I was looking forward to baking. The recipe called for 2/3 a cup of rice milk; I had coconut milk, so I used that instead.

 I mixed all the dry ingredients together, and then added the wet ingredients - canola oil, coconut milk (my choice), vanilla extract and maple syrup (my choice to use in lieu of agave nectar). The last thing I added were blueberries, which I washed beforehand.

I was excited when I remembered I had these re-usable silicone muffin pan liners my sister Jenny bought me about two years ago for Christmas. I am so excited I never have to buy muffin liners again!

This picture above is of the mix right before I put the pan in the oven. But the most important thing is .... the end result! After letting the muffins cool in the pan, and then on the rack, I tried one and they were't bad. For gluten-free, it was actually good. It wasn't sweet at all. But it was good. 

I'm young, but I'm starting to realize our bodies change and I wasn't in as good of shape as I used to be in. I have to be extra careful about what I eat, even though I've always been healthy. I have to be healthier. I've cut a few things out of my diet as I'm trying to lose a little weight. 

Gluten-free baking and gluten-free food in general can have a lot of calories. I've noticed this more and more, and I think it's because other things are added to gluten-free products to make them taste better. But as long as I eat smaller quantities and things in moderation (gluten-free or not), I'll be fine. And now I have weekend snacks! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sometimes I'm on the hunt for quirky and "corky" things!

Cork Planter Bookend Set
Photo from

This combines my love of book ends and organizing!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I hosted a Meet Up event over this past weekend. Other young women and I made Valentine-themed crafts. It was so fun! I made this wreath from an idea I found from the Internet. (Thanks Google.) It took awhile, but this wreath was easy to make!

I bought red yarn, a round, styrofoam wreath, pink, red and white felt, and a ribbon. A new friend donated heart stickers, which I placed on the wreath. While this wreath wasn't my idea, it was my idea to put on the heart stickers.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Year Brings New Beginnings

Although it's already seven days into the month of January, I still feel this new year will be new, special and encouraging. To have something new or a new person enter one's life means to have something unfamiliar and of recent origin enter one's life. Something unfamiliar, obviously, is different.

To me a new year will hopefully mean a year which will bring about good and different things. There's a reason I moved far from where I grew up. I grew up in a safe home and neighborhood, never went hungry, and went to great schools (well, I don't think anyone enjoyed middle school.) To me, my new year will include having faith, a better attitude about things, and even more perseverance to get what I want and deserve (i.e. a career, etc.).

Sometimes change, even with a new year which subtly slips away from the old year, is the best thing for people.

I borrowed an Oprah magazine and read an article by the popular author and life coach Martha Beck. She is a smart lady. It's rare when I relate to an author who writes for a magazine which seems to appeal to women in their 40s, 50s and 60s, but as a mid-twenty-something woman, I really related to the article Take a Flying Leap. You should read it.

Not everyone is able to overcome their fear of failure or has the ambition to change. This article is about how if someone feels an intangible pull that they should change their life (Beck calls it 'the call'), that someone should and ought to change and listen to the call of life. Be smart. Don't let the negative people pull you back.

For each door that closes, I realize another one opens. I don't always see the "opening," but what's important is that I try. If at first I don't succeed, try and try again. Some common sayings are common for a reason - because they're true.

I really love the serenity prayer saying about God giving me the grace to accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change the things I can. I also love a Mary Engelbreit quote. It has something to do with accepting how you think of stuff you cannot change (changing your perception), but changing the things that you have the control to change.

I have no idea what's going to happen this year. But I have a good feeling. Always trust your intuition. It exists to protect you.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The first wreath I ever made!

What's great about living where nature is abundant is that I was able to make this wreath from real tree branches and real holly berries from my friend's holly berry bush in her yard!

It took a little time making it, but it was easy. All I did was use ties to bind the branches to a hanger (a metal one which I spread out in to a circle).

Now all I need is a wreath hanger! 

Happy holidays!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The art of using up ingredients

For breakfast yesterday morning, I decided I wanted something a little bit more interesting. Even though I wasn't born in Italy, I truly feel like I have roots to my Italian heritage. I like how Italians seem to always find ways to use miscellaneous ingredients and don't waste food. I don't like wasting food. Since I cook for just myself, I always get creative of how to use food up before it starts rotting.

I made a wonderful sandwich. On medium heat and after I drizzled olive oil in the grill pan, I grilled a few tomato slices, whole garlic cloves and slices of a yellow squash. Then I grilled two slices of bread - bread I had on hand which I normally use for toasting. If I had a delicious ciabatta or sourdough bread, I would've grilled that; but again, I just used what I had on hand.

I layered the squash and tomatoes on the slice, and tucked the garlic cloves in. I added a few slices of basil leaves (I washed them of course) to my sandwich, and spritzed the mound with a little bit of salt and pepper, then added the top slice of bread.

I bit into the sandwich and I closed my eyes because it tasted so good. There is definitely an art to grilling, and luckily when I grill or roast my veggies, they always come out fantastically well. The vegetables are never hard - they are tender and the juices and fragrances are released.

It's amazing that such a simple sandwich is simply divine!

Mangia mangia!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Two-in-one: Pledge to recycle and enter a Crooked Human contest!

Thursday November 15 is America Recycles Day! And CROOKED HUMAN encourages you to reduce, reuse and recycle!

      Visit www.AMERICARECYCLESDAY.ORG and pledge to recycle more. (Click on 'TAKE THE PLEDGE' at the top of the page to take the pledge.) Then 'like' Crooked Human on Facebook ( now through the end of the day on Thursday, Nov. 15.

3    Then send your first and last name to and tell us you took the pledge. You’ll be entered in a drawing now through November 15 to win a free, environmentally-themed gift from Crooked Human.

4    There will be only one winner. Enter now for your chance! However, there will be three runners up who will each win a coupon to be used toward purchasing ANY gift of their liking on after November 15.

Remember - Think twice before throwing something away - it can probably be recycled instead! Paper, newspaper and cardboard without food stains on it and plastic bottles (normally with the numbers one through seven) are recyclable. 

Crooked Human, Inc. is located in Vista, Calif.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On Sept. 21, 2012 I attended Feast Portland. It's an event I first read about in the very popular Bon Appetit magazine. While it was a four-day-long event consisting of sub events celebrating food, wine and chocolate, many of the sub events were expensive.

I was able to attended the unique Chocolate City event. But before going into the white-picket fenced-in area, I just happened to run into Duff Goldman, the Ace of Cakes.

Let's just say it was a wonderful first Friday for me in Portland!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I find comfort in words. Positive words. I find sorrow in horrific words. Words can make us feel so many different emotions. Choosing to speak positive words can lift someone’s spirits and speaking the wrong words can tear them down.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is the dumbest saying. Words can hurt people. So today, while the Pride Parade occurs in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego from 12 p.m. through Sunday until 8 p.m., think of all those individuals – even if we don’t understand them – who are fighting for their civil rights.

Although I’m not a gay woman, I can only imagine the trials gay people endure. Sexual orientation is not what makes a man or a woman. Skin color has nothing to do with a person. It’s what’s in their hearts and how they treat others that matters or doesn’t matter.

Freedom of speech is so precious in this country. Yet, it’s time we stop treating each other poorly and name calling for no reason. It’s horrible for an individual to ridicule someone just because he or she is gay.

Good luck to all those marching in the Hillcrest parade!

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don’t give up.”

-Anne Lamott, writer

“We must be the change we with to see in the world.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, June 1, 2012

I love books. I love it as a medium because a book allows me to escape my life and live someone else's life momentarily. It can be a gift. -Me :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Keynes' Consuming Ideas On Economic Intervention by DAVID WELNA

Here is a brief article about Keynesian economics.

Some of you may notice a quote of Rick Perry's in which he, yet again, makes up words that aren't really words. Can you find it?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Best Jobs Magazine to host job fairs in Southern Calif. and San Jose

Here is a list of job fairs which will be held in the following few weeks in the month of September. San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Pasadena and the Inland Empire (a geographic area which consists of cities in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties).

From Best Jobs Magazine:

Los Angeles

Get Back to Work Now Event
Sept. 1, 2011
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
342 N. San Fernando Road
Los Angeles, Calif. 90031

North Los Angeles

Get Back to Work Now Event
Sept. 13, 2011
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
UEI College
7335 Van Nuys Blvd.
Van Nuys, Calif. 91405

San Diego County

Get Back to Work Now Event
Sept. 15, 2011
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Oceanside public library
330 N. Coast highway
Oceanside, Calif. 92054


Get Back to Work Now Event
Sept. 20, 2011
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Keller Center for Corporate Learning
1000 S. Fremont Ave. Bldg A-11
Alhambra, Calif. 91803

San Francisco

Get Back to Work Now Event
Sept. 27, 2011
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Devry University ( San Jose Center)
2160 Lundy Ave. Suite 250
San Jose, CA 95131

Inland Empire

Get Back to Work Now Event
Sept. 29, 2011
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Keller Center for Corporate Learning
1090 E. Washington Suite H
Colton, CA 92324

Visit to register and view their calendar of events. According to the Web site, the events are open to the public.

Good luck!

(A few edits have been made. Best Jobs Magazine lists San Francisco as the area where the San Jose, Calif. job fair will take place on Sept. 27. San Jose is a city in Santa Clara County. The magazine also lists San Diego city as the area where the career fair will take place at the Oceanside Public Library, but this is located in Oceanside, which is a city in San Diego County.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dear Ms. P,

I require your assistance because an enormous spider has made a pretty intricate web between my sliding glass door and screen. It is sitting right smack at waist level so I can't miss it. Therefore I will live in utter darkness because the blinds will remain shut and the door will not be opened. Please help. You may have to access my neighbors porch and then leap onto my balcony to get at the spider because there is no way I'm letting that spider sneak into my house.

The funny thing was AJ (my cat) and I kept hearing this buzzing noise and I thought a fly was stuck between the glass and screen or something but I couldn't see anything. It must have been the spider.

Arachnophobic in L.A.

Dear Arachnophobic,

Please make sure to call your landlord as soon as possible in order for a
maintenance person to get this spider out of your life. In the meantime, keep
your door shut tightly and your blinds shut.

Good luck!