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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Same Faces Around Me ... With The Same Point of View


I first heard this song the other day when my sis wrote a post about Tori Kelly finally reaching 1,000,000 subscribers.  I already love Tori Kelly, but I instantly fell in love with this song.  There are so many quotes in it that I love ... everything is stated so much more eloquently in this song than I could ever say them:

"All I know is, I'm not meant to be silent,"

It's a typical, chase your dreams type of song. The words probably apply a lot more literally to Tori's life as she is a singer and therefore she quite literally isn't meant to be silent. That said, I just love the thought -- even if you're not quite sure about the path that you're on as long as you're sure enough to know that you're not meant to be silenced, suppressed, or held back in anyway, then you're already making progress. You're already on your way there. You can't be successful until you realize that you weren't meant to be anything short of successful.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Coffee Bar


Sometimes when I don't feel like being productive i.e. studying, I go on Pinterest and look up all the cool home decor posts. I really think that my decor project for the start of 2015 will be a coffee bar.  Really, all you need is a kitchen cart to get started.  Everything that I posted above, with the exception of the espresso machine, is from Ikea- thus pretty inexpensive.

There are no set rules to setting up your coffee bar as I've seen it done so many different ways.  The one recurring theme that I particularly enjoy is the coffee bar with the chalkboard behind it.  I think it's so cute and a really easy DIY.  Literally, all you need is a frame, some chalkboard paint, and sturdy cardboard.

I already have an espresso machine in my kitchen as well as a few mugs, and the milk frothing jug pictured above.  See? I'm nearly there!  I will keep you all posted on my progress and hopefully by the end of January 2015 I'll have it all set up to show you guys!

What have some of your favorite decor ideas been lately?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mini (Living Room) Apartment Tour

I've been meaning to do this for a while (since I moved into my new place a couple of months ago) but I've just been waiting until I finally put everything together. Well, my apartment still isn't totally put together ... so here's a preview of the living room area!

My sister says it looks like I live in an art studio, but personally, I like the way it's coming along. A lot of the stuff in my apartment was either bought at Ikea or the trading post on Fairfax. 

The top photo really just shows my view as I'm sitting on the couch.  I have a little baby television that I will one day upgrade -- but to be honest, I watch so little TV that an upgrade wouldn't even be worth it at this point.  I don't even pay for cable since I'm not home enough to use it.  But I do have a Chromecast that allows me to stream my Netflix onto the television when I'm in a cozy movie mood.  

Due to my law school budget, I decided it would be more fiscally responsible to make my own art. It's been really fun creating my own little pieces and extremely therapeutic! The bigger Amsterdam artwork obviously wasn't painted by me-- it was purchased at Ikea. But most of the smaller ones are my own work, so I'm pretty proud of that.  

I use these two Ikea shelves, that I actually had at my old place in Malibu, as my TV-stand. I'm actually thinking of getting two more to put on top, just so I can give the TV a little more height. For now, this will do. I love the compartments though because it provides more than enough room for my many law school books. Most of my books from this semester are in my car, bedroom etc. So for now, it's mostly just my 1L books on display. 

Also, because it's almost Christmas time (don't judge, yes it is), I threw a few Christmas lights onto the stand, just to add to the mood!

This is my favorite painting that you see right as you come through the door.  It's my favorite for two reasons: first, because Dobby is my all time favorite Harry Potter character (so loyal and true) and second, because I painted it myself and was really happy with how it turned out.  So if ever you come to visit, Dobby will be the first to greet you! If you're a Harry Potter fan at all, then I'm sure I don't have to explain why I chose "free" as the caption for this painting-- RIP Dobby, a free elf!

Below, I have a close up of my "coffee table" which is really just this awesome chest that I bought at the trading post. It was actually brown when I bought it, but I painted it white and I LOVE it. This photo seriously doesn't do it justice but I think it's the coolest thing. It actually does open but I never open it because the one time I did, this creepy photo of a little girl was just laying in there and it was just a horror movie waiting to happen. I didn't want the spirits to come out and get me, so it will just have to remain closed. On top I just have a stack of books, a few family photos in frame, flowers in a vase from Ikea, some candles etc.  Also, I have that giant lock and key thing -- it was also purchased at the trading post!

Finally, this last shot is just my cozy little couch area.  I have two pillows on there right now that do not match or make any sense at all, but that's what we're going with!  I do want to paint a few more pieces to put on the wall behind the couch because it just looks so bare.  I'm just not sure exactly what should go there.  I was thinking perhaps one of those three-piece paintings? If you have any suggestions, seriously, let me know!  

For now, this is my cozy lil apartment/living room/nook -- somewhere in the hills of California :) 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Louisiana Baby

'Bout a week ago, I decided to channel my inner Princess Tiana and cook myself a nice pot of gumbo.  I hadn't had any since I lived in Louisiana in 2012, so this was long overdue. It was my first time making gumbo on my own and I must say, I was rather pleased with the result.  There's nothing you can't do when you set your craving mind to it!

I used Emeril's Gumbo Recipe which was really easy to follow and the process took about 4 hours in total.  The only thing I excluded was the File Powder, as I literally could not find it at any of the grocery stores I went to in Calabasas.  But even without it, the gumbo still turned out just fine and the consistency was still pretty thick, so I don't think it hurt at all.  Of course, gumbo was made to be shared and enjoyed by lots of people, so the one drawback was that I live alone and had soooo much leftover. Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it out:


Ingredients
1 cup vegetable oil                     1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chopped onions          1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers         
1/2 cup chopped green onions                                                    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne                 3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon Rustic Rub, recipe here if unable to find
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 pound smoked sausage, sliced (andouille or kielbasa)
1 pound boneless chicken meat, cut into 1-inch chunks


Combine the oil and flour in a large cast iron or enameled cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and continue to stir for 4 to 5 minutes, or until wilted. Add the sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Continue to stir for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth. Stir until the roux mixture and water are well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
Season the chicken with the rub and add to the pot. Simmer for 2 hours. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, green onions, and file powder. Remove the bay leaves and serve in deep bowls.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Choices

An old Cherokee chief told his grandson: "There is a great fight going on inside of all of us. It is a fight between two wolves. One is evil: it is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego. The other is good: it is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth." The boy thought about it and he asked his grandfather, "which wolf will win?" The old man quietly replied, "the one you feed."


I remember reading that somewhere a long time ago, but for some reason today, it popped into my mind. This is probably one of the realest messages I've ever come across. We all experience highs and lows in life; this is inevitable. I think that at times, I've looked at other people and wondered why things seem to go so much easier for them. But honestly, no matter how great someone's life may seem from the outside, everyone is facing some kind of battle. Everyone is going through something. I believe that what makes the difference is how you choose to approach each situation. 

If anytime something goes wrong, you dwell on it, and you think about it over and over again ... eventually, that thing will consume you. It's so easy to get lost in all of the negativity, and to self-loathe or feel sorry for yourself. But when you do that, you are feeding the bad wolf. You are feeding the negativity and revolving your life around something that won't bring you happiness or joy. So what's the point? Replaying terrible situations and awful mistakes in your mind won't make them any better. It won't make them go away. You can only fight evil with good. We need to focus on the blessings that we have and channel our energy towards the positive. Be grateful, be honest, be kind. There's a saying that goes "when you've had a bad day, try and treat the world better than it treated you." That's really all you can do. Life is full of choices and opportunities. Now is your chance to feed the good wolf!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

1 Thessalonians 4:11

I've loved quotes ever since I was young.  I would seriously fill notebooks with quotes and write them all over my agenda when I was in elementary school. There's just something soothing about knowing that regardless of what you are going through, someone at some point has experienced the same thing.  They don't know you and yet, they understand you.  There are quotes to comfort you, quotes to inspire you, and quotes that just impart wisdom onto you.

This is a Bible quote that I came across and it's really been speaking to me lately.  I am a Christian and so I appreciate many of the teachings, but even if you're not a religious person, there is so much wisdom in that book to be shared.  

This particular quote is simple, but I think it's a lesson we can all take something from.  It's so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing ... to compare your life to someone else's and to lose focus on your own journey.  To me, this is just a simple reminder to focus on myself, let go of the distractions, and to build my own future.  In a way, I think it's just another way of saying "keep your eye on the prize."  Don't involve yourself with anyone else's drama or pettiness.  Don't let anyone pull you into their circus.  If you humbly and quietly continue to work on yourself, to work with your hands, you will be rewarded.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fall Weather

Printed Head Scarf: Ardene, Jacket: Zara Basic, Sneakers: Adidas 

It's finally getting colder here in California and I'm kind of enjoying it.  Don't get me wrong, I love warm weather too-- it's part of the reason I decided to attend law school here. But even so, fall is my favorite season in terms of style.  I'm finally getting to pull out all of my favorite fall clothes, so that makes me pretty happy.

I purchased this windbreaker type jacket in August from Zara and was so excited when the weather cooperated enough to allow me to wear it.  It's the perfect fall color and I feel like it can go with a lot of different things.  It even cinches in at the waist which I love! Unfortunately, I was too lazy to do my hair that day -- but it was nothing a simple headscarf couldn't fix.  Voila!

Oh -- and my other favorite part about the cool weather lately has been all the hot chocolate I now drink at home at night ... with Baileys of course!  Soooo good !