Love has no…

You guys! This is so cool. My co-worker Michelle has two awesome daughters, Maddie and Sophie, and they were filmed in Santa Monica on Valentine’s Day for this video. Watch the video below (which has over 7.5 million likes)  and bask in the warm fuzzies that come from knowing it’s 100% true.

Succulents don’t suck.

One of my favorite things to do on weekends is dig in the dirt. Even when I still lived at home as a teenager, I bought tons of house plants, and started cultivating mini gardens in my bedroom. Some of my favorite plants still live in my parents’ house, but I brought a few with me when I moved to Southern California. Once I got to LA, I learned about the awesomeness of succulents. Most of them are simple to grow, require infrequent watering, and thrive just sitting in a bright window. Last weekend, I spent some time potting new plants (I love using old containers I buy at garage sales). Aren’t succulents awesome?

Succulents_lalalyssa

My favorite part about succulents is that they’re self-propagating, which means you can pull baby succulents off of big ones and make new plants. All of the succulents in the pictures below are babies from my other plants. Hooray for bargain gardening!

GardenGnome_Succulents_Lalalyssa

This one was a pain in the butt just because it was tedious to get the plants arranged in the jar. I used a chopstick to carefully push the tiny roots into the soil. But the end result was worth it, because this is adorable and sits on my desk for me to stare at when my eyes need a break from social media.

BellJar_Succulents_Lalalyssa

If you’re new to gardening and would like to learn more about it, I’d recommend the book You Grow Girl. It’s cheeky, helpful, and realistic when learning to practice with your growing green thumb. Here’s a gratuitous photo of my grumpy gray cat, Lucia.

GrayTabbyCat_Gnome_GardenStuff_RaisedBeds_Lalalyssa

Do you have any succulents? Which ones? This is one of my favorites. It’s called a Lithop, but you’ll see them marketed as living stones. Pretty cool, right?

 

Four Favorites on Friday

Howdy, y’all! Happy Friday from sunny Los Angeles. And when I say sunny, boy do I mean sunny. It’s almost cruel to talk about when parts of the country are so cold they’re experiencing Frost Quakes. I’ve been soaking up the sun by eating my lunch outside, and I even found a great deal on a used wrought iron chaise lounge for my backyard. And yes, I will wear sunscreen because I’m whiter than Olaf. Here are a few of my favorite things from this week, for your reading pleasure.

1577_Olaf_23

1) Love him or hate him, you gotta admit that Obama has some slick social media moves. Today, he announced on social media that fourth graders and their families will get free admission to National Parks, in the Every Kid in a Park act. That’s frickin’ cool! If you don’t already follow the White House on Instagram, do it. It’s a fun (and I’m sure carefully cultivated) look at life behind the scenes in the Oval Office and beyond.

2) Lately I’ve been all about yogurt for breakfast because it fills me up and some brands taste like ice cream (I’m talkin’ about you, Chobani Key Lime and Coconut). This week I tried two new stand-outs in the yogurt world, imo: Stonyfield Organic Petite Creme in Vanilla Bean, and Elli Quark in Blueberry. The funny thing is both of these aren’t even yogurt: Stonyfield is ‘spoonable cheese’ and quark is also a type of cheese that is less tart than Greek yogurt. The Stonyfield was super rich and decadent, and the vanilla bean had nice specks of vanilla in every bite. The quark is slightly less rich but more light feeling, perfect for accompanying some fresh fruit. It’s also less calories (80) and more protein than Greek yogurt, with way less sugar. I’m looking forward to trying Quark in some of their fun flavors like Bananas Foster. Right now, Whole Foods has a coupon in their store circular for Stonyfield, and you can find Elli Quark at Gelson’s in SoCal. It was  a little bit of a wild goose chase to find the Elli and I only found two flavors, but I’m hoping to find more soon!

3) I’ll be celebrating my 30th birthday in NYC this year, and I’m pretttttty sure catching Pitch Perfect 2 on opening night will be in order. Rebel Wilson? In her words? Crushed it.

4) The Sims 4 for Mac has finally come out and it’s only $39.99 right now. Well, there goes my free time. I’ve been waiting for this for years. Fun fact: when Sims City first came out, I was addicted to it and built a bustling metropolis that I named Elma after the city in the movie the Big Green. My dad had to reformat our computer, and Elma’s existence was wiped clean. The world’s smallest violin is playing for Elma. Maybe now in Sims 4, I can rebuild! (PS: Love that the Sims now have tattoos and different body types and wrinkles! Yay!)

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That’s all I got — hope you’re having a fabulous Friday.

 

Beautiful Food: Romanesco and Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

I’ve been playing with food photography lately and wanted to share these shots. Have a wonderful Friday!

Romanesco is a green cauliflower with a slightly nutty taste. It came in my Farm Fresh to You box (a weekly box of organic goodies delivered to my doorstep). I can’t wait to roast it up this weekend with some olive oil and parmesan. (Interested in Farm Fresh to You? Use ALYS6615 for $10 off your first box.)

Romanesco_Lalalyssa

I wanted to make Valentine’s Day treats for the guys at my husband’s office, so I whipped up a batch of semi-homemade lemon blueberry cupcakes. (Semi-homemade as in use a box mix for Lemon Cake, then add blueberries, more lemon juice, and top with homemade Cream Cheese lemon frosting. Yum!) The icing is with the Wilton 2D rose tip, with yellow food coloring streaked inside the bag to create an ombre effect. They came out so pretty!

LemonBlueberryRoseCupcakes_Lalalyssa

LemonBlueberryCupcakes_Lalalyssa

Got a case of the Mondays? Look at these.

I love the Interwebz because no doubt, while some pieces of content shared on it make me cringe, some make me genuinely smile, snort, or if I’m really feeling it, cackle with laughter. Here are three of these things that can help you shake off a case of the Mondays.

1) Talking Food on Instagram.

I love puns and I love food, so Talking Food is a natural thing for me to love. Follow them — you won’t regret it.

A photo posted by talking food (@talkingfood) on

2) The Silicon Valley Season 2 Trailer
Having worked at several start-ups before and now working in a tech/marketing role, I loved Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley (HBO) from the first episode. Fans of Office Space will recognize the dry sense of humor and self-deprecation so eloquently done by Judge. Watch this (NSFW) and tell me how loud you laughed at the “artisanal butter” line.

3) The Taylor Swift and Trent Reznor Match Up
I love me some Nine Inch Nails, and I admit that T Swift’s “Shake it off” is an infectiously catchy song. Some genius merged them together, and darkness and light go so well together with a driving back beat. Check it out!

What made you smile today?

Thoughtful Thursdays: Where I Live

Hey guys! I’m answering today’s Thoughtful Thursday prompts from All the Weigh. Feel free to copy and paste, fill in your answers, and then link up via Kenlie’s site.

Thoughtful Thursdays on All the Weigh

 

Where I Live

 

1. Where do you currently live? I live in a little suburb of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley called Reseda.

2. Have you lived in your current state throughout your entire life? Nope. I was born in Illinois, then lived in Florida, and then moved to California.

3. If you answered no to Question 1, then where else have you lived? Oops, I jumped the gun!

4. What is the coolest thing about your city/town? Reseda is a little bit of a shady town. It’s a little bit more low-income and has lots of strip malls. While it has a certain grit and roughness to it, the community of people who live in Reseda really do work hard to make it feel like a community and watch out for eachother. I think that’s cool.

5. Are there any holidays that your state goes all out to celebrate? If so, tell us about it. Hmm. Not really, though I feel like SoCal gets a lot of love as the “Hollywood” and movie state.

6. Describe your neighborhood (climate, scenery, etc.) My neighborhood is very suburban. It has a wide street with lots of houses of all different shapes and sizes, built in the 1950s.

7. What do you wish you could change most about the place you live? I wish the city was better maintained. We’ve had some problems with crime, and I feel like if everyone chipped in to keep things maintained a little better (ie, pick up your trash, a street is not a dumpster), then maybe things would get better.

8. Describe your home. What’s your favorite thing about it? I live in a two bedroom, 1 bath, classic 1950s bungalow. It’s just shy of 900 square feet, but the owners renovated it to have a more open feel with a nice open concept kitchen and lots of cabinets. My favorite things are: the kitchen, which is nice and big, perfect for a couple that loves to cook, and the GINORMOUS backyard. We have a 9,000 square foot lot, which is hilarious because the house isn’t even 900 square feet.

9. Where do you shop for groceries? I get groceries from a few places. Costco for bulk items like eggs, chicken breasts, blueberries, and olive oil. Ralph’s for meat and vegetables. Jons, which is an ethnic market, for every day type things. I walk there often.

10.. What is your favorite regular activity in your city/town? We have some really good food. As a very diverse city, we have a melting pot of great Thai food, Greek food, Armenian food, Japanese food… you name it, we have it!

 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Thursday!

From Four Eyes to Contacts: A New Adventure

I’ve worn glasses off and on since the sixth grade, when I suspect the doctor gave me them more because I wanted them rather than actually needed them. I remember the first pair of glasses I ever had: circular gold rims, horribly unflattering to my moon-like face. But, I was cool because I needed glasses. Yes, I now realize the irony of thinking a medical device you need to be able to see normally with is ‘cool’. I skated by with these not-so-necessary reading glasses until junior college, when I began to notice my growing annoyance with all of my teachers using what I thought were  light-colored dry-erase markers at the same time. Surely they were all using yellow pens on the white board, and writing tiny — there’s no way that it was MY eyes. Well, after asking a friend I sat next to if the writing was really small, she turned to me and said “You need glasses.” Lo and behold after my first adult eye exam, it was learned I had Myopia which in non-scientific terms simply means nearsightedness.

Pink cat-eye glasses? You betcha!

Pink cat-eye glasses? You betcha!

I’m lucky that my prescription is relatively mild, in that if I step on my glasses or forget them, I can see clearly enough to drive or navigate my way through dark alley. However, they’re just bad enough that it makes driving uncomfortable, or watching a movie a fuzzy two-hour long spectacle of blurry edges. When I got the right glasses prescription, it felt like everything was crisp and in high-def. Life had lines and edges and definition. Glasses and I got along for the next ten years, and once I discovered RX glasses I could order online, I was thrilled at the array of cute plastic frames I could get for less than ten bucks. However, as my life got more active, I started to get annoyed with glasses. Glasses fog up on trips to the rain forest. Glasses get scratchy when you throw them in a backpack with no case. Glasses get cumbersome when you can’t wear non-prescription sunnies, and you need to always have normal glasses and sun glasses in your purse. You can’t wear glasses on a roller coaster or in the ocean and they’re a pain when it’s raining.

Even my BitStrips avatar wore glasses.

Even my BitStrips avatar wore glasses.

So, I decided to get contacts. The eye doctor hooked me up with a week’s worth of dailies to try, and then on Saturday I go back in for a follow-up appointment. A very patient lady at the Valley Optometry Center sat with me for an hour showing me how to put in and take out my new contacts, and I’ll tell ya, poking my eye on purpose is strange. Putting them in for the third time today was much easier than it was that first day, but what I’m struggling with most is how to tell if they’re the right orientation (inside out or not). She showed me over and over, and I’ve asked all my contact-wearing friends, but the difference between “a punch bowl” and a “cereal bowl” is definitely not significant on something the size of a dime that’s translucent. (And, if you’re wearing contacts, you can safely assume your eyes suck. Why are we having to look so closely at these damn things?!) A few people have said some contacts have a “123” stamped on them, but mine don’t, and even folding the contact in half like a taco gets me nowhere, because both ways look like a taco to me.

My solace is that friends have told me if I have the contact on inside out, I’d definitely know. For now, wearing contacts kinda feels like there’s something in my eye… not in the “AGH GET IT OUT” type of way, but in the “Oh, there’s this weird little sheath covering my cornea, but it’s all good ‘cuz I can read street signs!” kind of way. Either way, I’m looking forward to getting through the adjustment period and being one of those people that can poke my eye without flinching to successfully wear contacts. The idea of not needing to always have glasses in my purse or being able to buy non-rx sunglasses is very appealing, so I’m determined to make this work.

Do you wear glasses or contacts or both? Do you have any tips for a newbie contacts wearer?

 

Day by Day and Hour by Hour

“Just take it day by day.” We hear this phrase all the time as adults, and it applies to so many situations; stress, change, grief, relationships, medical problems, fitness, health, eating… It’s a helpful term, in some ways, because it reminds us that really, we don’t have control over everything, and sometimes we need to just wait until the next day to tackle a problem (or discover it wasn’t really a problem, after all).

In the past few years as I’ve explored my eating habits, I’ve heard this phrase uttered from all sorts of wellness professionals — nutritionists, doctors, therapists, personal trainers, yogis, serial dieters, trusted friends. It’s good advice, really, it is — but it doesn’t work for me. The relationship I have with food is complex. Everyone has a complex relationship with food (except for maybe one person who I used to work with who said that he’d rather take a pill each day than have to eat. But I guess that IS a complex relationship with food, in its own way, right?). Complex doesn’t necessarily mean conflicted, but most of us celebrate birthdays with cake and Fridays with bagels or doughnuts. And that’s exactly the type of thing that make foods complex; it’s not only a way to sustain your body — it’s a celebration, a reward, a fuel, a nourishment, a punishment, a ceremony, a rite. See what I’m saying?

hour by hour day by day new lalalyssa blog graphic double chin diary pancakes

Why doesn’t “Take it day by day” work for me in relationship to food? Because I can’t take it day by day. I have to take it hour by hour. I need more minutia, more detail, more irritating, annoying fastidious thought to the act of eating and the difference between satiating hunger and negotiating an emotion. I don’t think I’m alone here. A lot of my friends who have successfully lost weight or are losing weight also live on an hour by hour basis. I see it in the neatly arranged stacks of Tupperware filled with chicken breasts and brown rice, the shopping lists of Greek yogurt and baby carrots, the hidden baggie of pistachios and Diet Coke at the theatre.

I felt this frustration of having to live hour by hour with my diet tonight. I had planned on grilling up a turkey burger, baking sweet potato fries, and steaming broccoli. However, I got a random burst of motivation to clean, and I ended up reorganizing our silverware drawer, junk drawer, and two other drawers in the kitchen. It felt awesome to finish up a project I’ve been putting off for months, but at the end of it, I was tired and felt too lazy to cook. The husband came home and we decided to go out, him suggesting Vietnamese or Ramen, two things I’ve been craving the past month. The irritation of living hour by hour crept in when I weighed those cravings against my current eating plan (low carb, heavy veggie, moderate fat). Both of the dishes I like at Vietnamese and Ramen are very heavy with noodles; delicious, delicious noodles that are made purely of starch; the very stuff I’m trying to avoid. We ended up going to a Greek restaurant instead, where I had a delightful and satiating salad topped with feta cheese and cucumbers and parsley and chicken. To me, that was a clear example of not being able to live day by day when it comes to diet: I need to be thinking about my food choices and diet more actively, more often, and more frequently, because a day doesn’t usually go exactly as planned. Hopefully one day, it will become intuitive — less of a process, more of a natural inclination.

What does it feel like to not make choices about food on an hour by hour basis? What does it feel like to not plan, to not wonder, to not worry? I don’t know if anybody actually lives in that care-free state of mind when it comes to food, because I’m sure that even people who don’t have weight issues have some lingering thoughts about nutrition and wellness as it relates to food. We all know the difference between quinoa and Cap’n Crunch.

So, dieters of the world, don’t take it day by day if you can’t. Take it hour by hour. Let the overtime or the burst of cleaning or the mold on the bread or the laziness guide you, but not derail you. This very act of needing to be so finely-tuned when it comes to food choices is annoying, but I have to remember that nobody ever achieves their wildest dreams by staying in their comfort zone. As long as I demonstrate instead of anticipate, I can make peace with food; day by day, hour by hour.

 

it’s friday, i’m in love…

Love, love, love. It’s easy… all you need is love! Okay, I’ll stop singing the Beatles and tell you what I loved this week!

1) This cat walking on an underwater treadmill, set to a special song. Do you see the look of determination in his eyes? I’m trying to channel his willpower, because I’m back on that whole healthy eating and exercising schtick. It’s worth the click. Make sure your speakers are on.

2) This Menday post from my pal AJ about the awesome Dover police officer getting his jam on to T-Swift. The hand motions slay me.

3) I loooove social media! (Ya think?) I got the chance to write a post for my company’s blog about why certain companies, brands, or products shouldn’t be on every social media platform. Check it out here!

4) This snack. I’m eating low-carb, and these Parmesan cheese crisps from Sonoma Creamery are on point. Get ’em at Costco in a two pack for $7.99. You won’t regret it! (Not a sponsorship, just my own discovery!)

5) This article, by the LA Times, that says the senate has ‘overwhemingly decided’ that climate change is real and not a hoax. FFS — about time!

That’s all I got. Hope you have a fantastic weekend and that you get to sleep in a little bit 🙂

 

Thoughtful Thursdays: All About Blogging

Hey everyone! My friend Kenlie reintroduced a blog link up at her site, and since this week’s is about blogging, I thought it’d be a fun one to try. If you’re a blogger, copy and paste the questions and then comment here with a link to your post so we can all read.

Thoughtful Thursdays on All the Weigh

All About the Blog

1. How long have you been blogging? Since I was 12 years old! I loved learning old school HTML and building websites in Geocities. My first blog was called “pale green stars” after the Everclear song, and then I started a Tori Amos fan site.

2. What do you like about being a blogger? So many things! I love having a space of my own to write whatever I want. I love making connections with people I might otherwise not know, like my pals Sarah and Emmie and Kelly and KJPugs. I’m close enough with all of these girls to text them on an almost daily basis, and that’s so cool! I also like that my friends and family can read along, though sometimes I forget that people read it and will make a comment related to my blog and I go, huh?

This is me and my friend Nik from BariatricFoodie.com, and Martinus from 300poundsandrunning.com. We were at FitBloggin', an awesome blog conference.

This is me and my friend Nik from BariatricFoodie.com, and Martinus from 300poundsandrunning.com. We were at FitBloggin’, an awesome blog conference.

3. What do you dislike about being a blogger? There’s a big stigma about being a blogger, that we’re all fame-hungry and self-absorbed. I think there’s definitely some small degree of narcissism involved in deciding to write a blog, but I don’t want fame at all. I also dislike that while there is opportunity to make money, deciding to take on those opportunities can turn into a second job if you take on too much. It’s awesome to have that chance and those opportunities, but I burned myself out with my last blog and I need to be careful to remember why I blog in the first place: for me, to write 🙂

4. What are the top 5 topics that you write about most frequently? My weight, food, exercise, and general life stuff like cats.

5. How often do you read other blogs? Are there any that you read regularly that we should be reading too? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a total slacker when it comes to blogs! I usually read things via Twitter or that interest me through Facebook. But,  I definitely have a “short list” in my head of blogs I lurk around on.

6. How do you define success when it comes to blogging? As long as you’re happy with what you’re doing, then continue rocking on with yo’ bad self.

7. Share something that you know now as a result of blogging that you didn’t know before. I know lots of nerdy stuff about websites and SEO and marketing. I also know that something you write, no matter how silly, trivial, or insignificant it may mean at the time, has the power to influence someone, either for good or for bad.

8. Has blogging had an effect on your life? If so, share the details. Absolutely, and all in a positive way. I’ve met so many wonderful people and had chances to further my career and passions. I’m also so lucky that a part of my job is blogging. Here’s a picture of me out in the field last summer, interviewing someone. How cool is that? (And? Tables, camera bags? Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!)

photo

9. How did you come up with your blog’s title? I wanted something light-hearted related to my name, and I originally had bought AllLyssa.com as a play on my name. However, some domain name squatter bought the name AlLyssa.com and turned it into a porn site. THAT could be embarrassing, so I decided on LalaLyssa, because I live in Lalaland and once named a cute little product that starts with Lala. It’s also short n’ sweet!

10. What’s the coolest thing about blogging? Giving yourself a voice when you might not otherwise have a chance to speak up.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to visit AllTheWeigh.com to link up! 🙂