Real Simple Recipe: Blackened Salmon with Broccoli Rabe

23 May

This was easier than I thought it would be. It’s so easy even a fifth grader can do it. Indeed pictures can be deceiving. Vons didn’t have any broccoli rabe so I had to settle for regular broccoli. (Or maybe they had it but I didn’t know what it looked like.) Haha. They also ran out of golden raisins so I substituted it with Sun Maid’s mixed jumbo raisins instead. Until today I didn’t realize how complementary raisins can be to salmon flavor-wise. I think I’ll have to turn down the heat next time to prevent the sides from turning black too quickly. It may look like it’s overcooked but it still came out fine. If there’s a certain technique to this I need to know.

Blackened Salmon with Broccoli Rabe


Peters Canyon Regional Park

22 May

Miles bugs. He bugs and bugs until he gets what he wants. Whenever he wants to go out he will lay his head on me and put pressure on it. For example, if I’m typing he will place his head on my hands right on top of the keyboard preventing me from moving them. Once he stares at me with that puppy face and hazel marble eyes, however, I begin to melt.

I usually walk him around our neighborhood or at Laguna Lake Park, but I figured that if the world did end today, we’d at least be somewhere elevated so we can watch the earth crumble and/or explode ala Woody Harrelson in “2012.” But that didn’t happen which is a great thing because I don’t think the hill we hiked on was high enough anyway.

I decided to drive us to Peters Canyon Regional Park because they allow pets there as long as they’re on a leash. There were quite a number of people present but because the trail is loopy it’s hard to tell. The views were gorgeous and Miles thoroughly enjoyed it. He especially loved walking the narrow pathways and climbing up one of the steeper hills. At one point I had him pull me because I was getting tired. Too bad his dad wasn’t there to experience it with us, but we got to share some pictures with him along the way.

The entrance. It

Miles having fun.

Miles insists that we stay on the trail.

That way.

View from the top.

This was a tricky one to take!

The beautiful lake.

A very narrow path.

Casting shadows on the path.

A beetle tries to get to the other side of the dirt road.

Engelmann prickly pear.

Cottonwood trees.

A burst of yellow.

Catching the sunset on the way back to our starting point.

Poison oak down below.

Chicago Through the iPhone

22 May

The bf showed me some interesting sights of Chicago today. He made me feel like I was right there with him. I heard it’s a beautiful city.

(L-R) Elephant & Castle Pub & amp;Restaurant, Trump Tower, Willis Tower (formerly Sears) full view & up close, Ferris Wheel, and Lake Michigan.

Miles’s First Framed Portrait

20 May

Gosh, this picture frame has been empty for months. I think I finally found a living room-worthy shot of our Milesy.

Miles in his element. Wet and wild.


Real Simple Recipe: Spaghetti with Quick Meat Sauce

20 May

For some strange reason I was suddenly craving spaghetti. The tomato sauce…the busog na busog feeling it gives you after eating…the spices…

I’m not exactly gifted in the cooking department and because my boyfriend cooks often for both us I’m usually very dependent on him in the kitchen. But since he’s not around, I forced myself to be brave and tried to figure it out on my own. I think that when it comes to cooking I learn best when I’m alone. I can think better because I feel like no one is going to judge me. Are you like that too?

I had originally picked out a recipe from, but when I shared it with my Dad he said that it looked too complicated and advised me to start with something simpler since I’m just learning. Then I remember the recipe app on my phone from and found an easy spaghetti recipe that they claimed would only take 30 minutes to prepare. Well because I was watching American Idol in the middle of it all it took me about two hours. Haha. I drove to Vons to buy all the ingredients and then made a mess on the kitchen counter (which I still have to clean up by the way). Here’s how it turned out. The only variation I did was to add some Italian Seasoning. It’s not the best I’ve ever tasted but it’s the closest I’ve ever been to actually ‘cooking.’ Translation: nothing was raw or bland.

Spaghetti with Quick Meat Sauce


“Dancing with the Stars” LIVE!

19 May

I was at Laguna Lake Park in Fullerton last week jogging when I sat on a bench to take a quick breather. I checked my emails and lo and behold saw one from On-Camera Audiences for Season 12 of “Dancing with the Stars!” I am a huge fan of the show and I was psyched for the opportunity to finally watch it live. I immediately signed up and called my friend Rachel Couvrey to invite her to watch the show with me. We lost our chance last year when we couldn’t go because work got hectic. Although we had both wanted to go very badly because of Jennifer Grey the timing was just off. We promised each other that if either one of us got tickets again we’d let the other know. We were so excited! I chose to sign us up for the results night because that’s when they have guest performances from big stars. On Monday night they announced that the legendary Stevie Nicks was going to perform two of her songs. Wow.

I left my car parked at Citadel Outlets since Rachel offered to drive us to CBS Studios. I understand that it’s the same place where they shoot “American Idol.” When we passed by the entrance to the studio at around 1:30pm there was already a line forming, but it wasn’t that bad. Maybe the gloomy weather turned some people away. Good thing we only took one car with us because parking at The Grove shopping center was awfully expensive. It was $24 for a full day. (Gasp!) After parking we grabbed some water and snacks somewhere in the market section of The Grove before navigating back to the entrance of the studio where we waited for about an hour before being escorted inside. While inside, they confiscated our cellphones and we had to sit down and wait for another hour. They told us that they were pre-taping the performance of Pitbull and Ne-Yo, but unfortunately we were about three seats away from the 30 people that they chose to be part of it. Those 30 people actually got to sit down below. Rachel and I were pretty bummed. But I told her to stay positive because who knows we still might get good seats. (I was right!) One of the ladies sitting beside us had already been there before and she filled us in on what to expect and provided us with good conversation and gossip about the celebrities. Close to 5pm when the show was scheduled to start they let us enter and seated us in the balcony. When one of the production assistants saw that there were only two of us she had us wait to the side and then when all the balcony seats were filled up she sat us close to the stairs. Little did we know that Tom and Brooke would be talking from that end during the second half of the show. It was definitely exciting to be in the background shot while they were hosting.

We saw several celebrities at the show including Nick Lachey and his fiancée Vanessa Minnillo. They were there to support Nick’s younger brother Drew Lachey whose dance with partner Cheryl Burke was voted the favorite by fans throughout the 12 seasons of “Dancing with the Stars.” We also got to see American Idol castoff Pia Toscano, the humored girlfriend of DWTS’s Mark Ballas. I saw him kiss her after the show.

There was a lot of downtime during the show and they had this hype person whose task was to get the crowd to cheer. Some parts were pre-taped but I was really grateful we were able to see Stevie Nicks perform live. She had a teleprompter for her song lyrics. It was magical to see all the live dancing and camera movements as it happened. Brooke and Tom were really friendly to us and greeted us while they waited for the camera to be on them. One of my favorite moments was when Ralph Macchio got voted off and he was thanking everyone for their support. You could tell what a sweetheart he truly is.

The show ended at exactly 7pm and outside Rachel and I burst out laughing because they were giving away Salon Perfect lashes. We were like, “Really?” Of all things! But then again A.I.I has been a long-time sponsor of the show. It was mostly funny because we both weren’t expecting it.

With our stomachs grumbling, we decided to try one of the restaurants at The Grove and settled on The Farm of Beverly Hills. Delish! When I got home I watched the replay and had a fit of giggles seeing myself and Rachel clapping behind Tom and Brooke as they were hosting.

I’m so grateful for the experience. I would totally do it all over again. What a blessed day it was!

The golden ticket.

Dolling up before heading over to CBS Studios.

Started waiting in line at 2pm. The show was from 5-7pm.

The long line. Some fans came all the way from Utah.

Hilarious freebies after the show (my eye on the lash carton).

Had Meatloaf at The Farm of Beverly Hills at The Grove.

Grubbing after watching the show.

Got to be on TV behind the hosts! Fun.

My Eye on a Lash Carton at Walmart

13 May

Back in September 2010, I had the rare opportunity to work with photographer Dorit Thies, makeup artist Iris Moreau and hair stylist Benjamin Mohapi at the Smashbox Studios in Culver City. American International Industries, the cosmetic company who owns the brand Salon Perfect which is sold exclusively at Walmart, wanted to create a fresh new look for their packaging.

I think I might grab a couple as souvenirs.

This is what it looks like on the new Salon Perfect website.