Homeless man’s honest act goes viral

February 14, 2013 - Leave a Response

I wanted to write a post that would be relevant to Valentine’s Day, but I absolutely couldn’t think of anything to write that wasn’t cutesy or cliché. Then I remembered overhearing a story on the news this morning that put a smile on my face. Perhaps a story about a heartwarming act of integrity is just as relevant as any other post I could have written.

Earlier this week, a homeless man in Kansas City, Missouri was asking for change as he usually did. A woman dropped some change in his cup, and accidentally left the man something else as well – her engagement ring. Instead of pawning the ring for thousands of dollars, Billy Ray Harris waited until the woman returned and immediately handed it over. The story has since received national media coverage.

We can all learn from Harris’s level of integrity. He chose to do the right thing, even when he could have greatly benefited from selling the ring. What would you have done if you were in his situation? I can honestly say that I am unsure.

Valentine’s Day exists to remind us to show love to others. Showing a stranger love can be a powerful act, and I think Harris acts as a great example of this. Today, I hope that we all remember to “love thy neighbor” just as much as we love our significant others, family, friends, pet, etc. Wouldn’t this world be such a happier place?

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Good Morning Smoothie

June 6, 2012 - Leave a Response

This morning I made a smoothie that was so filling I couldn’t finish one glass. My banana-oat-almond concoction is a perfect breakfast for someone on the go. Here is the recipe (makes one large glass):

1 banana
1 cup ice
3 tbsp soy vanilla yogurt (or regular nonfat)
1/4 cup cooked instant oatmeal
3 tbsp almonds
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tsp honey

Blend until smooth! Enjoy.

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Accidental Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese

January 15, 2012 - One Response

Who knew that a total cooking disaster could turn into the best homemade soup I have ever had?  In order to understand what I am talking about, I’ll have to take you back a few days to a comical sequence of events.

For Christmas, my mother bought me a beautiful Italian cookbook, and I was dying to give the recipes a try.  My first choice was a seemingly easy “Potato and Garlic Pizza.”  Obviously if the pizza had turned out as great as I had planned, this post would be about the pizza – not tomato soup.

The pizza was supposed to be completely from scratch, including the sauce.  Understand that I am a cooking novice and trust cookbooks religiously.  So when it called for seven liquefied tomatoes for the pizza sauce, I did as I was instructed.  Instead of a perfectly uniform pizza sauce, I was left with a blender full of watery tomato juice, essentially.  In the end, I realized a little too late that the recipe’s measurements were embarrassingly incorrect.

Look at all that tomato puree that was going to go to waste!

This story has a happy ending though, I promise.  As I scoured the internet for creative ways to use blended tomatoes, I realized I was over-thinking it – just make tomato soup, duh!  Sometimes impromptu cooking turns out better than the meals followed strictly by the book.  Having learned that lesson the hard way, I decided to make the soup using only my brain and my taste buds.  I must say that the tomato soup was easily the best I have ever had.

The soup I accidentally created taught me a couple of lessons:

  1. Even the biggest cooking flops may have a silver lining.
  2. Tomato soup is actually unbelievably easy to make.
  3.  Don’t cry over . . . too many liquefied tomatoes.

HOW TO MAKE ACCIDENTAL TOMATO SOUP: (and no, there are no exact measurement)

  • several tomatoes, halved
  • a little milk
  • fresh basil, or dry as an alternative
  • fresh cilantro, or dry
  • onion
  • a couple of garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Italian seasoning, optional
  • chicken broth
  • goat cheese

1: Place several tomato halves, I recommend 5, in a baking dish.  Pour olive over the tops and bake on 450 degrees for 10 minutes or so.  Meanwhile saute chopped onion, minced garlic cloves, basil, and cilantro.

2: Liquify a chopped onion medley and tomatoes in a blender.

3. Pour mixture into pot and add one can chicken broth and a little water (if can is from concentrate).  As you can see, I actually strained a can of chicken noodle soup and only used the broth.  Bring to boil, then turn down to medium low heat.

Call it creative or call it a little ghetto.

4: Add some milk, around a half of a cup, or if you have half & half that works just as well.  Then add goat cheese – as much as you desire.  Stir, stir, stir.

Crumbled goat cheese is the key to this recipe.

5: Use salt and pepper and Italian seasoning for enhanced flavor; serve!

YUMM!

**There are no exact measurements because the best recipes come from the heart.  Make this your own by adding or substituting whatever you desire!**

A Perfect Purchase for Fall 2011

October 1, 2011 - Leave a Response

As I was casually browsing through New York & Company’s fall collection, I unexpectedly discovered a blouse I simply could not resist purchasing.  Since I have recently began viewing fashion as a personalized art form, the blouse just seemed like the perfect way to incorporate fall trends with my own personality.  Below are five reasons why this New York & Company top is the perfect addition to anyone’s fall wardrobe.

The Power of Red 
This attention-grabbing color was seen throughout many fall 2011 runway shows, including Michael Kors and BCBG Max Azria.  Also, studies have shown that red is the best color to wear if you are trying to grab a man’s attention.  Whether you are wanting to wear the latest trend, stand out in a crowd, or grab the attention of the opposite sex, red is the perfect color.

A New Take on Hemlines
Recently, the fashion world has taken a new approach of adding a touch of originality to their clothing.  Hemlines are no longer symmetrical, nor do they necessarily fall safely below the belt.  While the New York & Company blouse has a straight hemline, it falls provocatively just at the top of the pants.  Who knew hemlines could be so edgy?

A Love of Pockets
Who doesn’t love pockets?  Not only are they practical, they add a touch of detail to any piece of clothing.  The pocket on the left side of the blouse absolutely was the cherry on top for me.  It completes the shirt!

Oh So Materialistic
The material of the shirt is imitation silk, also known as polyester.  Instead of the expected cotton t-shirt, the subtly shiny material gives the top a formal appearance.  By pairing it with black skinny jeans and heels, the blouse is ready for a night out.  Also, it combines two trends in one – retro shiny materials with the fashion world’s current love of red.

Quality meets Affordability
My experience with New York & Company in the past gave me the assurance that spending 25.00 on a t-shirt was totally worth it.  Knowing that the blouse will most likely last several years, it actually turned out to be a thrifty purchase.  The most important aspect of shopping is finding pieces that not only are adorable but affordable as well.

Click here to purchase the charmeuse front tee for yourself!

Delicious Lime Flounder In Only Two Steps

September 25, 2011 - Leave a Response

My second College Kid Cuisine recipe is ridiculously simple but will impress friends/roommates/parents (when they visit).  My goal with these recipes is to teach other college students that healthy eating does not require extensive cooking skills.

Health benefits of flounder:

  • Great source of protein.
  • Very lean meat; in other words flounder has a very small percentage of fat.
  • Contains Omega 3 fatty acids (small amount compared to other fish).
  • If you don’t like fish, it doesn’t have a “fishy” flavor.
LIME FLOUNDER
Ingredients:
  • Slices of frozen flounder*
  • Lime juice
  • Salt & Pepper
Directions:
  1. Place frozen flounder slices on cookie sheet.  Sprinkle ample lime juice, salt, and pepper on top of each slice.
  2. Bake in oven at 400F for 9-11 minutes.  Let cool & serve!

*Note that flounder shrinks significantly once you bake it.  I usually make 2-3 slices per person.
My lime flounder recipe is served best with a side of pasta & vegetables of your choice!

Introducing College Kid Cuisine: EASY ALFREDO

September 15, 2011 - Leave a Response

Myth: All college students eat ramen noodles or frozen dinners for a typical meal.

Fact: Some college students do not realize what a balanced, healthy meal is consisted of.

Several of my fellow college friends are in the habit of warming up pizza or loading up on starchy carbs when dinnertime rolls around.  While laziness may partially be to blame, many college students simply do not know how to cook anything besides easy mac.

I have always had a passion for healthy, high quality food.  Just because I moved to college didn’t mean I was going to neglect my appreciation for good meals.  With a tight budget and only mediocre cooking skills, I have quickly discovered several easy meals that do not require the sacrifice of quality.  As I begin to post my many creations, I hope that other college students can learn that balanced meals are much easier than they have perceived.

Here is my very first College Kid Cuisine recipe!  Portion sizes will usually be for one or two people.

EASY ALFREDO!

1/3 box tri-colored fettuccine
2-3 fresh cloves of garlic, minced OR 1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup milk, I recommend 2%
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1 chopped tomato, I like Roma
A few frozen pre-grilled chicken slices
Salt & pepper
Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese

1. In medium or large pot, boil water; add noodles and a couple of dashes salt.  Boil noodles for 10 minutes.

2. While noodles are boiling, melt butter in a mid-sized pan on medium heat.  After butter has melted, add minced garlic/garlic powder and stir.

3. Put cream cheese and milk in pan.  Stir until cheese is completely melted and there are no clumps.

4. Microwave chicken for 3-4 minutes.  Add chicken and also tomato to sauce.

5. Turn heat to medium low.  Add several dashes of salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Taste it to see if you need to add more!

6. By now the noodles need to be drained.  Afterward, mix in the noodles with the sauce.

Eat with parmesan on top!

A True Fan

September 13, 2011 - Leave a Response

Sanford Stadium

The Georgia Bulldogs are currently under a lot of scrutiny after losing their first two games this season. As an SEC team, football fans are surprised that the Bulldogs have not had better luck on the field last season and now this one.

While last season may have proven to be a very bumpy ride for Bulldog Football fans, Mark Richt pointed out in an interview Saturday night that they started the season playing teams ranked much higher than them. “There is still a lot of football left to be played.”

Georgia Football is not simply about the players on the field and the coaches on the sidelines. It is about the fans as well.  If the crowd is not supporting their own team, than how can anyone expect their team to play well?  Lately I have been disappointed in the lack of support from so called “avid dawg fans.”  A true fan of the Georgia Bulldogs supports the team until the very end.  That means staying until the end of the game even if the team is losing.  That means NOT grumbling about how lousy the team is doing.  In fact, the bulldogs played a great game this past Saturday against the University of South Carolina.  A true fan would be proud of the hard work and impressive plays by the dawgs even though they did not win.

If you are a TRUE BULLDAWG FAN, you will NOT complain or say the dawgs are terrible. By supporting your team no matter the circumstances, you are guaranteeing your team to play with a higher morale.

As a Georgia fan myself, it bothers me that some fans are not standing by the team. They need our support! We are going to have a great season as long as they see that the fans still care. SO STOP COMPLAINING!

Bizarre Tragedies at Coronado Mansion are Ruled Accident, Suicide

September 3, 2011 - 2 Responses

A whirlwind of debate is surrounding a recent Hollywood style crime scene after a press conference Friday. What seemed clearly to be a homicide case has now been ruled a suicide by investigators. Everyone from local San Deigo television stations to Good Morning America have reported every twist and turn of this tragic story.

Rebecca Zahau was found bound by her hands and feet, naked, hanging from a balcony at a historical Coronado mansion. The mansion belongs to Medicis CEO Jonah Shacknai, the boyfriend of Zahau at the time of her death. Shacknai was at the hospital with his dying son on July 13th when his brother discovered Zahau’s hanging body. Two days before her death, Shacknai’s son, Max, fell down the stairs and later passed away as a result of the sustained injuries. Rebecca Zahau, who performed CPR on little Max immediately after the accident, was the only adult home when it happened.

The Coronado house known as "Spreckels Mansion."

The days before Rebecca’s suspicious death gave no indication she wanted to end her life. She had been in contact with her family several times and promised to keep them updated about the state of Max Shacknai. However, police were quick to say that suicide was being considered as a possible cause. Immediately after the autopsy and investigation began, police sealed the case, leaving us all to fill in the gaps with pure speculation.

At the briefing Friday, investigators went into a detailed analysis of exactly how Zahau could have successfully ended her life in the manner that she did. Around midnight of the night she allegedly killed herself, she received a voicemail about the state of Max’s grave condition. Police say grief and guilt overwhelmed Zahau, causing her to commit suicide. After painting a cryptic message on her bedroom door, she wrapped the rope around her neck. Then she tied her feet and made a loose, handcuff-style knot to slide her hands into behind her back. Finally she climbed over the side of the railing and jumped off to her death. Investigators claimed that her DNA was the only DNA found at the crime scene and have no evidence pointing to homicide.

Zahau’s family simply isn’t buying it though. Zahau’s sister has told various media sources that they will be hiring an attorney and a detective to further investigate this tragic event. Her sister has repeatedly said that Zahau would never have ended her own life because of her religious beliefs and passion for life. Sherriff Bill Gore only said it was “unfortunate” that the family is not coming to terms with their ruling. He also stated that “science doesn’t lie.”

As a former intern for San Diego 10News, I have watched all the drama unfold from a unique perspective. I was present in the newsroom the day the son was officially pronounced dead. I called Zahau’s family (with no response) and communicated with police about the case. After watching the briefing and piecing together all the evidence I am aware of, I honestly believe the police are right. All evidence does point to suicide. The little boy’s death was simply an unfortunate accident. HOWEVER, I do not believe the police have adequately researched the motive behind her suicide. Did someone threaten her? Was her suicide provoked? The voicemail she received before ending her life was deleted; maybe there was more to the voicemail than we are being told. Only Rebecca Zahau can tell us exactly how this tragedy unfolded and why it did in such a bizarre manner. While many people are going to say that the police were paid off, I do not believe this insult to be true.

What do you think? Was it suicide or something more? Leave comments with your opinions!

All the above information was derived from previous 10News articles, my personal research, and statements made at the briefing Friday.

Up and Coming Trend: Black & White

August 25, 2011 - One Response

White House Black Market can expect revenue to exponentially increase this fall.  After browsing through several fashion sites for new fall ideas, I began to notice a recurring trend – black & white.  Love it or hate it, the duo is making its way to the forefront of fashion.  According to Cosmopolitan.com, Lady Gaga rocked the combination of black and white just this week.  However, the trick for most of us is making the high fashion trend look more appropriate for everyday life.  I have a few ideas:

  1. Elegant meets edgy: Try a loose fitting white blouse tucked into a pair of tight black jeans.  Add a pair of pearl earrings and some trendy chunky heels to pull the look together.
  2. Little black (& white) dress: The typical LRB is monotonous!  Instead, try a black and white dress with 60’s style prints, another upcoming trend.
  3. Find your inner girly-girl: Don’t be afraid to wear floral prints or ruffles in black and white.  Chic, yet girly!

    Forever 21 Sunglasses for 5.80!

  4. Accessorize!: Whether it’s sunglasses or a clutch, this trend will make any accessory pop against any outfit.  Forever 21 has several accessories exclusively in black and white patterns.
  5. Anything but boring: The idea of the black and white combo may sound, well, bland.  It doesn’t have to be though!  Branch out of your comfort zone; wear this fall fashion with red lipstick.  You could also incorporate the trend using black and white eyeshadow or nail polish.  The possibilities are endless!

Still don’t believe me?  Here are a few more reputable blogs that are buzzing about black and white fall fashion.

How Unsafe is Mexico, Actually?

August 17, 2011 - 3 Responses

Impoverished community in Tijuana, Mexico

As an American, traveling to Tijuana, Mexico is frowned upon.  Most people treat Mexico as a forbidden country where Americans simply should never go.  However, I ignored the horror stories and words of warning this summer when I took on an intern position that required trips to Tijuana.  Skeptics warily attempted to persuade me not to go, but I was determined to make my own opinion about a country so many are quick to stereotype.

Inevitably, my first visit of three was accompanied by worry.  I crossed the border into Mexico with wide eyes, watching for any sign of danger.  However, the fear was quickly replaced with intrigue.  Tijuana was a different world compared to San Diego, and I believe it’s this stark difference in cultures that scares so many people away from the borders.  Yes, there were several people begging for money at stoplights, but don’t they do that in Atlanta too?

Small children play with donated toys in the dirt road in front of their house.

When I began talking with the locals, I realized that most of them aspire to have a better life and are hardworking people.  They just do not have the resources or knowledge to pull themselves out of poverty.  As Americans we stereotype Mexicans, but the truth is, they are more grateful for much less than Americans.  The Mexican locals I spoke to showed a humility that is much rarer to find in America.

Overall, my trip to Mexico gave me a higher respect for a group of people living in conditions out of their control.  Most Mexicans are just as scared of the drug cartel as Americans are.  They want the violence and crime to end too!  I truly hope that more Americans will feel compelled to not only visit Tijuana, but help the people.  There are many organizations through which Americans can get involved.  The locals thoroughly appreciate all the efforts Americans have made to help them.  I promise that you will leave with a vastly different perspective and respect for the Mexican people.

Of course, I would strongly recommend against visiting Tijuana alone or after dark.  Find a reputable organization that know the area well and can guide you.  Travelling in a group is a fool-proof way to avoid conflict over the border.  I personally recommend Corazon Inc., the nonprofit that I interned for over the summer.  Visit Corazon’s website or call 714-547-0357.