What The Heck is Friendsgiving?

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We all get at least two families, if we’re lucky one is functional. We’re born into and love our first family, but we need the second to take a break from the first. Our second family consists of the friends we choose. When holidays roll around, who gets us?

Thanksgiving should be spent running like a headless turkey taking orders from mom, then sitting at the table passing the baked mac n’ cheese to our little nose-picking cousin, right? This year, I learned that we can make up holidays to celebrate with our friends. Who knew?

Over the weekend, I went to my very first Friendsgiving. You’re probably thinking, “Is she serious?” Yes, I am. My new friends (sorry Drake), that I met through a mutual friend, hosted their seventh annual Friendsgiving dinner. It’s a pre-Thanksgiving celebration where the drinks flow and nose picking isn’t allowed.

Typically, Friendsgiving is a potluck style dinner, but this year’s happened to be a extra fancy. Wolfgang Puck catered the five course feast complete with servers, appetizers and dessert. Yummy to my tummy!

Feast your eyes on more food porn below. This Thanksgiving remember to eat, drink and be thankful!

IMG_5412Short Rib and Seared Filet

IMG_5404 2Seared Scallop

IMG_5400Asian Pear Salad

IMG_5415Pumkin Brûlée IMG_5424More Sweets

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Giving Up Junk Food

Happy Humpday!!!

In August I vowed to stay away from “The Darkside”  (see the declaration here).  Did I stick with it?

Breaking an addiction takes time. Day 1-2 were tuff, but I did great after the initial withdrawal. Well, I didn’t have junk food for 5 days. Does that count for anything?

I went to Target on the first weekend and let Mini Oreos and Teddy Grahams win.  I don’t typically buy junk food. At work i’m surrounded by junk and eat it because it’s there.

During week two there were chili cheese Fritos at work and I politely ate two guilt-free snack sized bags.

Although I failed to achieve my goal, I am happy. I’m down to 1 junk food item per week. One step at a time.

August Junk Food Log

8/11/13 – Mini Oreos (3.5oz Go Pak)

8/12/13 – Mini Teddy Grahams (3.25oz Go Pak)

8/14/13 – Chili Cheese Fritos (1oz bag)

8/15/13 – Chili Cheese Fritos (1oz bag)

8/20/13 – Warheads Sour Rips Roll (1.5oz)

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Short Term 12 is “Raw & Honest”

“Remember you are not their parent, you are not their therapist, you are here to provide a safe environment and that’s it.” -Grace (Short Term 12)

Short Term 12 tells to story of Grace,  a twenty-something supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers.

This film sparked my interest because I was placed in foster care from about age 9 until I was adopted at age 16. I lived in a family home setting as opposed to the group home setting featured in the film. Hearing Grace say the quote above captured my attention. Those words are a reality for too many foster youth.

I thought, “This trailer just got real”. More often than not, foster youth are removed from what they know as home, for reasons beyond their control. To think that they are then placed in an environment where the staff are instructed to only provide a “safe” environment is horrible. How can youth reach their full potential? Without nurturing, love and support, the system is setup to produce few successful adults. I digress.

Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12 writer and director) presents a raw and honest depiction of life for staff and foster youth in facilities similar to Short Term 12. The relationship between the staff and youth warm your heart. Be prepared for the whirlwind of emotions you will experience.

At the end of the film, reflect on the beginning. Unfortunately, that reality is a continuous cycle for some.

Check out Short Term 12 now playing in select theaters.

Easy Peasy Turkey Meatloaf

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Where are the eggs? Oops!

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Dinner is served.

I found this super easy recipe on Pinterest. The pin carried me over to 4 Men 1 Lady‘s blog. The directions seemed simple enough, so I tried it.

I forgot to add the eggs, oops. Luckily, I remembered 2.1 seconds after I closed the oven door, so I had time to add them.

Everyone loved it!  I made it for my niece (age 5), sister (age 21), and friend (age 28), who all asked for second servings. Winning! I paired the meatloaf with a cheesy baked potato and a baby spinach salad drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette (pictured above).

If you have kids around, turn it into a fun kitchen bonding experience. My niece enjoyed mixing the meatloaf ingredients with me. Get the “Easy Turkey Meatloaf” recipe deets from 4 Men 1 Lady.

Follow me on Pinterest for more cool pins. Thanks for reading! xoxo

Stuff My Mouth w/ Blu Jam

IMG_2860 Breakfast Quesadilla $14.95 & Crunchy French Toast $12.95

That moment you close your mouth and hear the angels sing as your taste buds party like Paris Hilton in 2004.

Yes, Blu Jam Cafe’s Crunchy French Toast are that delicious (as my mouth waters), the breakfast quesadilla is not too bad either. The servings are huge. We went halfsies and there were a couple leftover French toast. It is safe to say that this could feed two adults and one small child.

The tasty goods outshined the service, our server seemed a little preoccupied.

Blu Jam in located in Los Angeles on Melrose and in Sherman Oaks on Ventura Blvd. (We chowed there).

Thanks for reading! xoxo

H O M E: Living and Dining in LA

HOME (Los Feliz location) is where you wet your whistle and chat, on a warm Los Angeles summer night.

While HOME is a restaurant, I am more likely to return for the ambiance and cocktails, instead of eats.

Attempting to make up for the poor food choice I made earlier in the day, I ordered the Warm Spinach Salad. If HOME’s goal is to serve a dish as the average person would at home for a chill night out by the pool, then call it a success. The presentation is subpar and the salad fell short at titillating my taste buds.

On the other hand, the atmosphere and service are terrific. Did I mention that Happy Hour drinks are five bucks and are not watered down? Worth it!

As for the Chicken Pomodoro Sandwich and soup, my friend date says, “The sandwich was quite savory, the cheese added a great kick to it. Soup was bland, but ok. I’ve had better. Oh! The fried pickles were my fav!”

Check out the pictures below. Feel free to ask questions. xoxo

IMG_2727The view from our table. We were seated outside.

IMG_2724Warm Spinach Salad $11.95 
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Chicken Pomodoro Sandwich $10.95 & Soup $3.95

The Habitat for Humanity Experience

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All hail to construction workers, building a house is no joke! Laying the floor (giggles) took at least 6 hours with four amateurs on the job. It was a great experience and more importantly, for a great cause.

With volunteer labor and donations, Habitat for Humanity provides families and individuals affordable safe places to call home. Good stuff, right?

Echoes of Hope’s ‘Be A Light’ volunteers partnered with Habitat for Humanity/Hollywood for HFH to renovate a house for a family that has lived in apartments with no yard for their little ones to play in.

The day was filled with construction jokes like… “We need one person to lay and another to screw.” and “Look! Two girls are screwing.”

In between jokes we worked hard. We left sore, but grateful that we were able to contribute to something so meaningful. A home is a place of stability, a foundation for success, a loving and supportive environment.

Check out more photos here and watch our “Harlem Shake” video below.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity click the links above or visit http://www.habitat.org.

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Hosting “Meals of Love” at Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House

If you follow my personal Twitter and/or Instagram accounts you know that i’m on the Circuit Board of Echoes of Hope’s “Be A Light” program. The program provides Echoes of Hope youth and volunteers with opportunities to actively give back throughout the community. The Circuit Board is responsible for spearheading the Be A Light projects.

Sunday, Nov. 18, we hosted “Meals of Love” at Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House (LARMH), through its Happy Meals program. By preparing and serving dinner to families, who spend all day at the hospital, we allowed parents much needed time to relax and enjoy a meal—without dishes to clean.

After serving families (about 75 individuals) an Italian feast and fresh baked cookies for dessert, we played a few rounds of Bingo using M&Ms and gummy bears as board markers.

This project was a great way to kick off the Be A Light program. The residents and staff were awesome. We enjoyed it so much that we plan to visit in 2013. After cleaning the kitchen we took a tour of the house and learned a few fun facts.

Did you know that LARMH residents come from all over the world? The house is pretty dope. There is a game room filled with just about every gaming system. The library is filled with books, comfy seats and children are allowed to take any book of choice back home with them. And for the moms and pops there is a parents ONLY room.

Below are a few shots from our visit.