Chasing (reading) Maria Menounos



A couple of months ago I ordered Maria Menounos’ book for only $2.99 on Amazon.

M Men

It was a quick read and I mostly read it on the treadmill.  If you read it you will quickly learn and hear quite often how she interviewed the Obamas (okay we got it).  Also, she does everything herself (yeah, sure).

Besides those annoying things I think it is worth the three bucks.  It’s similar to a blog but it’s a pretty, rich girl’s blog who is an overachiever so there are a lot of good tips.  Here are my favorite:

  • Getting organized in every way is so important.  Especially in your closet.
  • There is such a thing called a face primer for makeup.  Who knew?
  • Use handtowels to wash your face.
  • Keep an inspiration board in your closet.
  • A Thai massage incorporates stretching (I totally want to try one now).
  • Use a hot water bottle, wrap it in a towel and place on your chest to calm you.  (still need to try this)
  • Create a life and career plan.
  • Have a back up plan to help you be more courageous and confident.

I always considered myself organized but when you have to start over and buy everything new then a laundry sorter is low on the list.  I lived for almost a year without a laundry sorter.  Our clothes just hit the closet floor which made my cats very happy.  Seriously, why do they love laying on stinky clothes and shoes?

Here’s the closet before.  There is a huge pile of dirty clothes that Sadie is enjoying.

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After I finished the book I finally broke down and spent $50 on the Seville laundry sorter from Amazon.  It was so worth it.  It’s now on sale for $41.53 here.

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Tag, our ragdoll cat, of course had to check out the new sorter.  This is a great model.  I looked at a couple of stores before choosing this.  It has a shelf under the bags to support it when the bags are full.  It’s on wheels so it’s easy to move to vacuum.

Another great tip she had was to use towels to wash your face.  I read that and thought DUH!  Why am I washing my face and splashing water all over the bathroom?  So I immediately headed to (yes you guessed it) Amazon and found these beauties.  I got a pack of 6 for $9 and they are now on sale for $8 here.

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I keep the towels next to my sink and rolled up in a basket that I found at Target.

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I had never heard of a face primer but I love this stuff.  She recommended this brand and of course Amazon had it for $25.  I ordered the tinted one with bronzer which next time I will go with the non tinted primer because this one is orangy.  I love the way it feels and the smell is amazing too.

Primer

It actually went up in price to $35 on Amazon here.

There is a lot of good advice in the book and I’m glad I have it on my kindle.  I highlighted my favorite things so I can go back and read it.  I really enjoyed the section on a life and career plan.  I’m still working on mine.  It’s in my life plan file.

She has a new book coming out about diet and exercise.  I’ll probably buy it when it is on sale next year.  She covered diet and exercise in this book so I can’t imagine how much more she is adding.  Although seeing her in a bikini makes me reconsider.

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Maybe I should pay the $10 to see what she has to say on the subject.  Although I will not be following her advice on belly bling.

Homemade Mexican Viniagrette Salad Dressing

I have found the perfect homemade salad dressing container where you can shake and pour and it’s so easy to clean up!

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I got this on Amazon and after reading the reviews I clicked order right away.  It has a wide opening to add ingredients and a wide spout for chunkier herbs and onions to get through.  Also, dishwasher safe!

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Here are my ingredients I added for my Mexican vinaigrette salad dressing.  Olive oil, lime juice, shallots, cilantro, garlic, oregano, roasted ground cumin, a little bit of salsa verde and some chipotle hot sauce.  Added all of the ingredients gave it a shake and it was ready!

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I made a black bean tostada salad similar to this one here and used this as the dressing.

DIY Corkboard Fail

I was at Lowes to pick up a mirror and was inspired to make my own DIY bulletin board once I saw this roll of cork for $9.  I thought it would be a great place to pin inspiring quotes and images that I could see in my home office.  I had a good idea in my head but the execution was a major DIY fail.  I found these precut pine boards that were 2 feet and 3 feet long.  The four pieces cost about $8.

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I rolled out the cork and was planning out how I would do this but was rudely interrupted by these fluff balls.

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I finally had it planned out and then Tag decided he looks better framed rather than this boring cork.

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I already had this wood stain that I am a huge fan of!  It’s so easy to apply with hardly any mess.  It is costly at $13.

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I use this sponge thingy that I found in the painting section of Lowes to apply the stain.

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I had to get creative on how to dry this because it is like 20 degrees out still.  Here Chester is and I believe he thinks this is as boring as watching paint dry.

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Here’s the beautiful stained boards with the cork rolled out and a huge hole caused by a cat claw by someone who will remain nameless.  This is where my plan came apart.  I either had to attach the boards and then glue on the cork or find something to stiffen up the cork and attach the wood.

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Unfortunately, my plan didn’t work.  I decided to use an amazon box and super glued it to the back  of the cork and it did not whatsoever work.

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In the end, I am left with stained boards, the cork is in the trash and I should have just bought a premade corkboard.  Oh well, it was fun trying to create.

I’ve been considering buying this $10 corkboard on Amazon here.  My idea is to see if I can attach my boards over the smaller, boring frame but I’m afraid I’m throwing a good $10 after a bad $17.  I think I need to find something else to do with these stained boards.

Healthy Bruschetta

I’ve been reading Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  It’s a romance book set in Italy and I’m halfway through but there are so many mentions of good bread, cheese drizzled with honey & oh my the olive scene in the olive grove.  (You should read it!  Hot.  Then check out all her Chicago Stars books – CANNOT PUT THEM DOWN)

While reading about her characters and the delicious food they were eating I began craving bruschetta.  I decided to make a healthy version and I picked up all of the ingredient at Whole Foods.

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Whole Foods has only one Whole Grain bread that is freshly baked.  I always have them slice the loaves for me and I buy two loaves every time I am there and freeze the second.  It’s the only whole grain bread my husband actually likes and it took this find to wean him off Wonder bread.

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I defrosted a bag of white beans I had in my fridge the day before I made the bruschetta.

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These herbs are such a time and money saver.  I use them many times a week for homemade salad dressings, stuffed peppers or stir frys.  These are frozen basil and crushed garlic cubes that easily pop out from their containers.  I got these at Whole Foods but they have them at Trader Joes too.  I use one cube of basil and scrape a little garlic for most of my recipes.  I find one entire cube of the garlic is too much.

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To make the bruschetta I chopped up cherry tomatoes & a little bit of shallots.  I mixed the tomatoes and shallots with the white beans, one cube of basil, a small amount of crushed garlic, oregano, black pepper and olive oil.  I let this sit and mixed it up occasionally to help the frozen basil and garlic melt.

I toasted 2 slices of bread while that marinated and then I simply topped the bread with the mixtures and drizzled a bit more olive oil on top.

You must top it off with some Parmigiano Reggiano.  I love to use a vegetable peeler and slice some over the bruschetta.  Whole Foods has delicious Parmigiano Reggiano and a good chunk of it will set you back about ten bucks but a little goes a long way with this flavorful, nutty cheese.

I made extra of the tomato and white bean mixture.  I put it in the fridge to use later to mix in with lettuce to make a salad.

Kale…mmm

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Yes, her body is sick and yes I stole this picture from Perez Hilton on my phone at 10:54 am.  But this is all about kale not Jen’s stripper body.  I’ve been hearing so much about kale lately especially people juicing with it (Yuck, no thank you).  I realized that I had never tried it and I had it in the back of my mind that one of these days I will venture into a kale recipe.  Then I saw this video.  Click here.

tone it up girls

It’s the girls from the tone it up show on bravo.  All these tips in their videos are great for snacks but this one stood out because I had been wanting to try this amazing nutrient dense food.  They pointed out it is a great lunch to take to work because kale is so hearty it won’t wilt with dressing on it.  So, I went out the next day and bought some prewashed kale from Trader Joes and made a kale salad!  My husband and I had it for lunch on our first day of our recent cleanse.  See here.  His was thrown together in a Ziploc with strawberries, goat cheese, sliced almonds and homemade dressing.

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Then I decided to make a white bean soup with kale the next week.  I seriously love white beans and white bean soups are my favorite because they are so creamy. I googled white bean kale soup and got ideas for recipes from many sources and came up with this yummy delight.

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For my husband I added Chicken sausage to my vegetarian soup.  We had grilled cheese sandwiches for a meal during one of our many snow storms here in the suburbs of Philly this winter.

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Here’s the breakdown with no measurements because I just threw it together.  I used kale, carrots, shallots, onion, vegetable broth and white beans.  I admittedly go overboard am a snob about beans and refuse to use canned beans.  So these I lovingly soaked for 8 hours and then cooked for an hour like I always do.

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I sautéed the carrots, shallots & onions with olive oil until soft then added the kale for a couple of minutes.

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I mashed up some beans with a fork in some vegetable broth to add to the soup to help make the soup creamy.

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This is a little blurry but I threw the sautéed veggies and kale along with the mashed up beans and then some more non mashed up beans in my crockpot.  I added rosemary, oregano, basil and some roasted garlic and voila delish!  The kale holds up great in soups and provides an interesting texture combined with the creamy beans.  I ate this soup for a week!

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Back to Jennifer Aniston for a moment.  Apparently to get that toned stripper ready body for We’re the Millers she ate veggies, greens, lean proteins and kale.  (Sounds like my soup!)  Also, she did yoga.  And when she wanted to cheat she ate kale chips.  Huh?  Is that a typo eonline?  My cheat is chocolate cupcakes or chocolate chip cookies or even chocolate chips not kale chips.  But one cannot help looking at that picture and not be inspired.  I’m going to add kale chips to my next Trader Joes or Whole Foods shopping list.