The Hulk

Posted in Food, Living by mcarmen5 on 01/20/2011

I don’t know when exactly or how it happened, but something sparked the idea that green juice might be fun to try and the next thing I knew, I was obsessed.  I’ve been juicing and drinking a glass of green juice every morning since my first glass last week.   That glass was also the first time I ever had fresh green juice and I was so pleasantly surprised.  I scoured health blogs and magazines for “the perfect” recipe (searching for “perfection” = story of my life!) and came up with something that appealed to my palate.  I recommend using organic ingredients whenever you can and I’ll list the ones you most want to use organic below before the recipe.  Also, the recipe is meant to give an idea of a green juice — experiment to find your favorite combination.

Try your best for organic (I especially recommend sourcing organic leafy greens because you’re juicing and consuming the delicate leaves, which likely have the most pesticides on them.  Celery is also another important vegetable to purchase organic for juicing):

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Parsley
  • Carrot

Green Juice — I lovingly call it “The Hulk” because it’s so green and powerful :)

  • 2-3 leaves of Kale (leaves removed from stem)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach (sometimes I add more when I feel like it)
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1-2 small apple(s) (usually organic and either green Granny Smiths or Gala apples)
  • small piece of ginger (maybe the size of a thumbnail? depends on how much kick you want)
  • a small handful of parsley (measure to preference)

To make weekday morning juicing easier, I usually wash and prepare the ingredients and divide them into separate ziplock bags.  Each bag is labeled “Green Juice” 1, 2, 3, …etc.   Try to avoid dicing the cucumber, carrots or apples too long before juicing as the veggies tend to dry out and the apple will oxidize.

For me, it’s easier to have a morning green juice when I feel like it.  It wakes me up and I feel energized, light and refreshed.  Otherwise, I think it’s perfect as a post-workout tonic or as a snack.  I don’t really recommend using it to replace a meal, though it certainly has enough veggies to count as a salad.  My first juice was before dinner and I really didn’t know what to expect.  I was amused by the super dark green color  — it was interesting and kind of cool, and the taste was so fresh and phenomenal.  Shortly after drinking it, I walked to a neighborhood restaurant for dinner, and on that short walk I started feeling the effects.  I felt “brighter” and lighter and the bonus was that as I incorporated green juice into my days, I found myself making smarter nutritional choices.  Even better: I don’t crave coffee or soda anymore :) Give it a try!

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A Case of the Uglies

Posted in Living by mcarmen5 on 12/21/2010

It’s that time of year again — holiday parties!  My friends and I have our annual traditions: gingerbread house-making, Festivus (classic), ice-skating at the Embarcadero and of course, our beloved ugly sweater party.  I was determined to win this year and claim the ugly sweater goblet as my own, so I literally decked my sweater.  I must say I’m pretty proud of myself because this was originally a plain white Hanes $5 sweatshirt from Target (on sale – LOVE that store).  There were only XXL’s left, so I cut and re-sewed it to match my proportions and did an off-shoulder 80’s cut.  My only regret is that they no longer had the neon pink sweatshirts – perfect 80’s moment for the ultimate in “ugly” :)  The sweater was so easy to make — just snip tinsel and hot-glue on felt and other sparkly embellishments.  This was all from a $3 roll of gold tinsel, a $1 foam board (for the candy canes), a $1 felt and sparkly copper pipe cleaners.  So easy and much better than buying an expensive “ugly” holiday sweater!  I won second place (BOO!), but I won majority vote, so I’m still a happy clam!  Need to amp it up next year!  Hope this provides some inspiration for my fellow ugly sweater party-goers :)

San Francisco in Watercolor

Posted in Living by mcarmen5 on 10/12/2010

There really is no city more beautiful than San Francisco.  I’m often conflicted between my enthusiasm and pride for the city and my unabashed selfishness with it.  Sometimes I just don’t want to share!  I stumbled upon these pretty watercolors by a local SF artist and thought they were too cute not to share.  These little snapshots perfectly capture key elements of San Francisco and are whimsically romanticized by the talented Tomoko Maruyama.  I’d love to get a print, but I need to first decide which one I want!

{View from Crissy Field}

{the stunning Palace of Fine Arts}

{Coit Tower, with its 360* panoramic view}

{Fisherman’s Wharf & its iconic crab}

{sparkly fireworks by the Bay Bridge}


Posted in Living, Musings by mcarmen5 on 10/08/2010

On the conveyor belt and about to head into the fire pit!  Just found these silly pics of my two furry loves and thought they would be fun to share.  This is what discipline (and determination!) looks like: the ability to hold out for the big reward even if it’s literally so deliciously close!

Let’s hope I’ll have plenty of focused discipline and determination tomorrow morning :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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California Dreamin’

Posted in Living, Musings by mcarmen5 on 10/07/2010

Why is it that as the days get shorter and colder I find myself fantasizing about driving down the CA-HWY 1 with the windows rolled down and honeyed sun rays streaming in?  All I could think about were white bikinis, straw hats, soft sand and surf, turquoise waters and pretty, summery colors like coral and bleached-out pastels.  Ugh, this can’t be good for me — it’s not even WINTER yet!  It’s gonna be a long seven months ahead.

French Apple Tart

Posted in Food, Living by mcarmen5 on 10/04/2010

Just as I was about to mope about the seasonal end of some of my favorite summer fruits, I was quickly reminded that fall is also ripe with plenty of other favorites.  Thinking about fall’s culinary choices got me very excited!  To me, the arrival of fall also means the delectable arrival of crisp apples, buttery squash, smokey mushrooms and hardy and hearty greens.  I decided to welcome the new season by making a rustic French apple tart — my very first!  The tart only required four Granny Smith apples and the tartness was balanced by a ginger-infused raspberry preserve glaze.  This little tart was devoured in minutes, but it actually took a lot of work to make!

Trust me, while I love food and love to eat, I’m not a superbly skilled cook by any means.  I’ve never made pastry dough from scratch all by myself — I’m usually the sous-chef and “executive” taster for my more talented friends — so the fact that I didn’t screw up the dough made me happy, and when the pastry crust came out buttery and perfectly flaky, I was through the roof!  Yep, safe to say I’m pretty pleased with myself right now ;)

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Read: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Posted in Food, Living by mcarmen5 on 05/19/2010

{The Omnivore’s Dilemma, 2007, Michael Pollan}

For someone who is a foodie, I admit that I knew embarrassingly little about the food I ate — like, where it came from and what’s in it.

Outside of media bites and familiarity with buzz words like “free range” and “organic,” I realize now how little I understood about our agricultural system.  I literally had no real conception of the process from farm to table.

Michael Pollan’s The Ominvore’s Dilemma was my first exposure on the food subject outside of cliche or trite media bites and brief program segments on the subject.   I read it a few years ago and have been recommending it wholeheartedly since.  It has seriously changed the way I approach food in all its forms — growing, procuring, eating and preparing; it has changed the way I see food.

I highly recommend it.  One fun thing from the book that has stuck with me is the layout of the standard grocery store — the whole or “good” foods tend to be on the periphery and we are usually directed through aisles of processed foods to get from one end to the other.  The most important change I’ve noticed however, is in how I read ingredient labels — something that I feel is so enlightening that I could tell everyone about why it matters.

If you’ve ever wondered where our food comes from, what’s in it and why it matters, or even just what we should have for a meal and the evolution of what makes a “meal,” then I definitely recommend you give this book a read.

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I Dream of India

Posted in Living, Style by mcarmen5 on 03/06/2010

Although I’m usually a simple, all-white bedding kind of girl, I couldn’t help but gravitate towards these beautiful prints from John Robshaw.   I absolutely adore prints and color, but I’m often too commitment-phobic and worried about mismatching patterns to ever take the plunge.

All that changed when I stumbled across John Robshaw’s textiles.  I’m now obsessed!  His textiles are vivid and the patterns have a kind of laid-back luxury and rustic appeal that I love.   John was inspired by his travels through Asia and studying firsthand how local artisans crafted quality textiles with beautiful patterns the traditional way, as generations before have.

I can already see these gorgeous pillows on my bed…. Warmer weather and sweet afternoon naps beckon.  Hope you’re savoring the weekend… relax and indulge in some delicious eye-candy:

[via realsimple.com]

{Images via johnrobshaw.com}

Beautiful Spaces: The Waterfront View

Posted in Living, Style by mcarmen5 on 03/04/2010

{Formal Living Room View}

Spring is almost here and I’m dreaming of soft sunlight and crisp, cool air.  In honor of Spring’s arrival, I wanted to showcase one of my favorite interior designers, Jennifer Post, whose work in this Miami Beach high-rise brilliantly evokes a breath of fresh air. It was maddening love at first sight as I flipped through an issue of Architectural Digest (I’m obsessed!) where her work was featured.   I’m passionate about design, but rarely do I come across a designer whose signature style calls so closely to my heart.

Post’s style to me, is best described as “free” (free of clutter, free from enclosure), though she prefers “pure.”  One thing is clear: her spaces are at once both serene and stunning.  There is so much freedom in space and light.  The layouts and design elements are functional and aesthetically sophisticated and nuanced.  Quietly bold, minimalist design, open spaces and pure, clean lines.  Oh, and white is her favorite weapon of choice — a designer after my heart!  I hope you enjoy these spaces as much as I do…

{Formal Living Room}

Can you believe that view?  Forget about coffee table books and conversation pieces, the stunning view itself is a conversational statementPost brings elements of the external environment inside through touches of color.  I like the big sculpture, which actually makes the space seem larger because of its grand size.  The floor to ceiling windows are my favorite element in this room — actually it’s a favorite of mine in any space.  Beautiful, natural light to me is true luxury.

{Dining Room}

I love those silver “water droplets” on the dining table — a really subtle, clean accent without being cheesy.  With such a pure palette, I can imagine the food and festivities taking center stage.  Shiny silver and sparkling glass with an all-white palette make this space pristine.

{Informal Family Room}

{Bedroom One}

Seriously one of my dream bedrooms!  I love the serenity and openness of it all — no clutter and the room is focused and functional (the main attractions are the bed and exquisite view).  I also like the lucite bedframe, which gives the cool illusion of a floating bed.  Light is so important in the life of a space, and the true beauty of this room, like the rest of the house, is that it is bathed generously in natural light.  I can already imagine how sweet it would be to wake up on a sunny morning in this room — nothing but clear, turquoise waters and blue skies for miles on the horizon. Oh, the life. :)

{Bedroom Two}

In this bedroom, Post wanted to avoid enclosing what would otherwise be a fantastic light-filled space, so she opted for glass walls.  Like the rest of the house, oceanic blues, soothing turquoise and soft cloud-whites are weaved into the interior, creating the feeling of a seamless transition between the environment outside and the spaces inside.  The clean lines, lucite and glass surfaces and white palette take full advantage of the natural light by giving it as many opportunities to sparkle and reflect as possible.  The end result is an elegant pure space that radiates serious visual appeal.

{All images courtesy of Architectural Digest, July 2009}

Holiday Happiness

Posted in Living by mcarmen5 on 12/25/2009

The lights are on and a festive mood is everywhere.  Just wanted to share snippets of our holiday this year.  I love the warm atmosphere we have right now and I’m even more grateful to be able to spend this holiday with the best people in the world and the ones I love most.

{Liebe’s First Christmas with us}

{Gingersnaps: I’ve made these every year since I was 16}

{Christmas Eve Dinner : my Stepdad’s hearty beef stew}

{stockings hung by the fire}

{reunions with good friends and loved ones}

Tomorrow morning, we’re having a hearty Christmas brunch with mimosas, eggs royale, home fries, pumpkin spice pancakes and fruit. I’m already looking forward to it!  I’m also excited to be reunited with some of my closest friends this weekend, and I may even have a craft post up since one of my best friends is visiting and she is a pro-crafter!