How to: Quinoa Veggie Scramble

I eat breakfast everyday. It’s really a nonnegotiable at this point.

I’m actually one of those weirdos who wakes up hungry. (I may have an actual problem.)

But the point is, breakfast — it happens.

My problem is that I usually end up in these ruts of eating the exact same thing every day for months. A protein smoothie. An egg sandwich. A bowl of Kashi or Special K Protein cereal.

It’s a bit uninspiring.

So when I manage to whip up something even remotely creative, I like to share with you guys. Plus, it’s been a while since we had a Kitchen Adventure, right?

My latest creation? A Quinoa Veggie Scramble.

IMG_4773

The “quinoa veggie” part was actually leftovers from one of my favorite dinners to make. Here’s how to make the Quinoa Veggie Stir-Fry:

Ingredients:
3 bell peppers (I usually pick a mix of red, yellow, and orange), chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
2 heads of broccoli, chopped
Garlic salt
Paprika
Salt and pepper
2-4 T olive oil
3-4 cups cooked quinoa (prepare according to package directions)

1. Heat 2 T of olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add chopped peppers and sauté for 1 minute.
2. Add chopped onion, broccoli, and 8-10 shakes of garlic powder and paprika each. Saute for 1 min, stirring regularly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. I like to put a lid on the pan for 3-5 minutes to let the steam cook the broccoli a little quicker.
4. When peppers and onions are cooked through, combine veggie mixture with quinoa. You’re done!

I personally love adding a bit of feta and some buffalo hot sauce to this mixture before eating. But you can skip that step if you’re making the scramble.

All you have to do to turn the above into breakfast is put about a cup of the veggie mixture and half a cup of quinoa in a microwave-safe bowl and add an egg. Mix it together and microwave for one minute. Mix again, and then microwave for 1-2 additional minutes. The bowl will be hot when you go to take it out, so be cautious.

I put my scramble in a tupperware hot and took it to work. By the time I got there, it was the perfect eating temperature. (It probably helped that it’s blazing hot outside so it couldn’t really cool down.)

And that’s it!

IMG_4772

What are some of your favorite quick breakfast recipes?

Advertisements

My Epic Workout

When my friend Diana asked me if I wanted to join her for a new workout class last night, all I knew about the class was that it was called “Epic” and that Diana said it was hard.

I think it’s fair to assume that no one has ever described me as epic physically.

I mean, I work out. I’ve survived three half marathons. But epic? When I think of epic, I think of this:

original-1

Or, you know, maybe this:

original

But I certainly don’t think of this:

IMG_0367

Which, yeah, is how I think of myself most of the time.

But anyway. I decided, sure, I could use some more epic in my life and signed up for the class. I’m a bit of a masochist when it comes to exercise anyway, so the challenge appealed to me.

I arrived at the Epic Hybrid Training Center Wednesday night about 15 minutes before the class, which was one of those courses designed to train you for a Spartan run. (Eep.) It was the type of small group that acted like they were all already friends, making me assume they had all taken the class several times before. (AKA, no one was all that friendly and they all acted tougher than they were.)

To my relief, though, only a few people looked significantly more in shape than I am. I had harbored a tiny fear that everyone would walk in looking like an actual Spartan, and I felt a lot better that most of them looked like they too spent their days behind a desk.

The gym itself looked like most CrossFit-style workout facilities — a variety of hanging ropes, bars, and sand bags surrounded us, along with jump ropes, raised platforms, kettle bells, mats, etc.

Diana arrived, we exchanged “let’s do this” glances, and class began.

By the time it was over, I was literally dripping with sweat. It was an intense workout, and there were definitely moves that I can’t do yet, but I was pleased to find that there was really only one circuit I found impossible to do at this point. (I’m looking at you, swinging/rotating monkey bars.) I’d never really considered doing a Spartan Run, but, hey, maybe, right?

Either way, it was a great workout. (An epic workout even??) I started feeling sore pretty much the moment I got home last night.

I have four more classes as part of the Groupon I purchased for the gym, and I’m actually looking forward to getting my butt kicked a few more times. I’m beginning to think I should make purchasing random class Groupons more of a habit — for the sake of a blog post at least, right?

Who knows, maybe I’m a bit more epic than I give myself credit for.

In defense of the selfie.

I’ve debated writing this post for a while, which is something I find that I do whenever I want to write about something that makes me a little uncomfortable or that I think I won’t get a favorable response on.

Welp, guess you guys have liked me long enough anyway, right?

I want to talk about selfies.

Up until about a year or two ago, you probably had never even heard this word. I hadn’t. I mean, they existed. Every since the beginning of portraiture, mankind has been seemingly obsessed with capturing their own appearance. (Don’t believe me? History don’t lie.)

There’s even a fairly fun trend in the art world of turning iconic photos into selfies. (I kind of love it.)

The point is, selfies are not actually a new thing. What is new (and especially poignant with the onslaught of social media, which gave millions of teenagers a platform on which to project their faces), is the sudden and sharp distaste for the genre.

I mean, I can’t lie — I get it. I get that it’s irritating to see someone post photo after photo of their own face. Like, what, you think we forgot what you look like? You’re just doing it to get compliments. It’s totally self-centered. Right?

Well, okay.

Sometimes, I think that’s true. But I think there has to be more to it. Because, yeah, okay, I know a lot of people who are self-centered in general who post a lot of selfies. (It makes sense that so many teenagers, who are notoriously absorbed with their own lives and worlds, would be the biggest offenders.)

But I also know a lot of sweet, selfless, otherwise mild-mannered people who still post the occasional shot of themselves. (Usually with all the usual “eek #obligatoryselfie” disclaimers, of course.)

Heck, I’ve done it. I counted no fewer than 21 selfies on my Instagram account. And that’s not even counting the dozens of “half-face”, hair shots, and group photos I’ve uploaded in the last two years.

But, I mean, I also write a blog about my life, so clearly I don’t have that many qualms about showing you my face.

So why do we do it? Obviously, I have a theory. Two, actually.

The first is that a selfie is solid, near tangible way of marking a moment in time. This is me. On this day, at this moment. Here I am. I was.

It’s something you can point to and remember. Pine for or be glad is over. Selfies are a little peek into your history.

That’s one theory. The other theory is much simpler, and way less philosophical.

A selfie is a way of capturing a moment when you felt good about yourself. After all, most of us only post flattering selfies. I know when I do it, it’s sometimes a way of saying, “Look, you guys! I look pretty right now!”

And yes, that is a petty reason for doing something. But I also have a hard time judging someone else for feeling pretty. (And I try not to judge myself for feeling that way either.) There are too many reasons to feel ugly these days, and too many people perfectly willing to tear others down for the sake of some shallow feeling of superiority.

Whenever I feel myself getting annoyed at someone for posting too many photos of himself or herself, I try to remember that. I try to to be happy for them for feeling pretty. Proud of them, even.

So, yeah, a Facebook album titled “Me*!*!*!*!*!<3lol” packed with 30 photos you took in the mirror is annoying. But the occasional “Woooo new haircut!” post? I can deal.

You probably look pretty spectacular, anyway.

Screen shot 2013-07-16 at 3.37.38 PM

How I spent July 4th Weekend

That, my friends, was a great holiday weekend.

It probably helps that I had, in total, five glorious days off of work. It was a much needed recharging. Here’s a little recap of what I did.

Thursday
July 4th was spent how all July 4ths should be spent — on the beach followed by a BBQ.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 12.07.34 PMSaturday
Saturday I had the Justine-iest of all Justine-y days. I started out with a trip to the gym, then got a pedicure, then went shopping, then I got my hair highlighted at what is officially my new salon, Muze.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 12.07.55 PM

Afterward, Joey and I met up for my favorite pad thai in the city, followed by a viewing of a little film called Monsters University. Because we’re adults.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 12.08.09 PM

Saturday
Saturday was a fairly low-key day, involving brunch at The Sandwich Bar and another backyard BBQ with some of our new Astoria friends. Much fun was had by all.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 12.08.16 PM

Sunday
Sunday was wedding day. My dear friend Melissa got married in New Jersey at the most gorgeous reception hall you’ve ever seen. Seriously. The words “fairy tale” only begin to describe this place.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 12.08.38 PM

Yes, that is fog around their feet and a chandelier the size of my living room. BECAUSE SHE CAN, PEOPLE.

The hubs and I turned out in our best black tie for the affair.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 12.08.27 PM

My dress is from Rent the Runway (the Carlos Miele Olinda Ocean Gown…rent it now because it’s awesome). (Also, click that referral link and we BOTH get a $20 credit. For realz.) I did my own hair and makeup because I’m not always high-maintenance.

Monday
Monday was recovery day. We slept, ate the hotel’s free breakfast, came home, napped some more, and generally did as little as possible. It was successful, if you ask me.

And that’s it! How did you spend your long weekend?

Camping.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’m not a camping person.

But because my previous attempts at roughin’ it had been resounding successes (read ’em here, here, and at the link above), I’m usually up for a few days in the woods when the opportunity arises.

I like the food, remember? I like hiking and lakes and campfires.

So at this point, I thought I could safely say that while I may not be the ultimate camper, I do like camping.

I thought wrong.

As I actually pointed out in the post at that first link, I had only ever camped in cabins before. Bare-bones-wooden-bunk-communal-restroom-type cabins, but cabins nonetheless. I had never expressed nor felt the desire to camp in a tent. And if I had just followed my (prissy little) gut, I might never have had a bad camping experience.

I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

Last weekend, we joined a few of our friends in Vermont for a little camping adventure. I knew going in that it was tent camping. I knew it. But I had convinced myself that it would be fine. FINE. I mean, how much time do you spend in your tent anyway, right? I would still have all the parts of camping I genuinely like. And the company would be great. WHERE COULD THIS WATER-TIGHT PLAN GO WRONG?

Actually, “water-tight” is particularly apropos. Because it rained. The entire time.

And what did we discover upon arriving at the campsite and opening our tent? That we were missing the top part that keeps the rain out. Le sigh.

Fortunately, Joey was able to fashion a frankentent out of a few extra tarps:

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 1.10.29 PM

Unfortunately, the door zipper was also broken, meaning water could leak in from all sides. Fun!

After one night of torrential rain and damp EVERYTHING, I opted to sleep in the car. I have no regrets about that.

Other than the rain, though, it really was a nice trip.

We toured the Magic Hat Brewery:

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 1.11.09 PM

Visited the Ben & Jerry’s factory:

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 1.09.37 PM

Shopped at a local farmer’s market that made me miss the Midwest like whoa:

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 1.09.53 PM

And, you know, spent some time communing with nature:

Screen shot 2013-07-02 at 1.11.31 PM

Plus, we swam and rowed at the lake, ate way too much of everything, and enjoyed the company of our friends. All in all, can’t complain.

Though I think we can rule out tents for the rest of my life.

 

Review: Influenster #Sunkissed VoxBox

Guess what! It’s time for another Influenster VoxBox review!

For those of you just tuning in, every few months I receive a box of complimentary products to sample and review from a company called Influenster. The boxes are themed by season, and the most recent box was the Sunkissed Voxbox.

IMG_4205

The box contained an Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream, Dr. Scholl’s For Her High Heel Insoles, Goody Hair Ouchless Ribbon Elastics, and SinfulColors SinfulShine nail polish.

Here’s what I thought of each product:

Olay Fresh Effects BB Cream

I am a little bit obsessed with BB creams. I’ve always had pretty decent skin, so heavy makeup seems like overkill, but I like using either a bit of powder or a tinted moisturizer to even my skin tone and help reduce shine. Naturally, when BB creams came on the scene, I was into it.

I’d used about four different kinds of BB cream before I tried Olay Fresh Effects, with varying degrees of success. (One of these days, I’ll do a real round-up review for you.) But I have to say that the Olay version is my favorite so far.

The cream goes on SO smooth, and the color blended perfectly into my skin. Seriously, it’s like I’m wearing nothing except that any redness or blotchiness also vanishes. Plus, I’m a sucker for built-in SPF protection.

I do wish it controlled shine a little better, but, hey, that’s what powder is for, right?

Here’s my before and after:

photo

 

Final grade: A

Dr. Scholl’s For Her High Heel Insoles
Anyone who knows me knows that I have extreme height envy and rarely wear flats that aren’t sneakers. I am who I am.

The problem, of course, with fighting your height genetics is that it can be rough on your feet. Especially when you have huge, flat feet like mine that are already prone to pain and injury.

So I was pretty excited to try out insoles designed especially for heels. I actually wore then during our Mad Men housewarming and was really pleased with the results. Despite being on my feet constantly (the hostess’s work is never done), I didn’t need to kick off my heels until the tail end of the evening, and my feet weren’t sore at all the next morning like they usually are after a night in heels.

One thing I wish is that they had been longer. I wasn’t kidding when I said I have huge feet, and I feel like I had to choose between cushioning the ball of my foot or my heel.

Final grade: B+

Goody Hair Ouchless Ribbon Elastics
I was pretty excited about these from the moment I opened them. I never like the look of a naked hair tie, but I’ve never quite perfected the art of hiding them with a strand of hair or whatever (my hair always slips out of the bobby pin by the end of the day). (Yes, I’m serious that this is something I’ve worried about in the past.)(#firstworldproblems)

Usually I’ll throw in a bow, but sometimes I worry it’s a bit too kid-ish of a look for a grown up. These Goody Hair Ouchless Ribbons are perfect, though. They’re made of elastic ribbon, so they’re feminine without having a giant bow at the end or your braid or holding back your ponytail. Here’s how I wore mine:

IMG_4338

Pretty without being too cute — what more can you ask for?

I haven’t tried out the nail polish yet, but I’ll post a review when I do.

Have you used any of these products? What did you think?

You can see some of my past Influenster reviews at the links below:
Review: NYC New York Color IndividualEyes Custom Compact
Review: Goody Simple Styles Spin Pins
Review: Influenster Beauty Blogger VoxBox
Review: SOYJOY Bars