Words To Live By: 02.26.15 – It’s Okay To Be Special

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“Let your dreams come true…it’s okay to be special.” - Jazmine Isabelle, a rambunctious wise 5-year-old

If you’ve ever taken a browse through my Instagram, you’ll notice this little witty girl who calls me “Gawmmy” (her own made-up pronunciation of “godmommy” since she was a baby. I don’t have children of my own but I definitely consider Jazmine Isabelle as my own and through the years, I’ve taken the privilege of taking part in raising her to be a strong, independent and emotionally/socially stable of human being.

With very busy work and homework schedules, seeing each other isn’t always possible so every few nights, JazzyBelle and I have a FaceTime session to just talk about anything and everything from her new sight words, how much the tooth fairy left her for her first tooth, to her friends at school and what her god-pup-brother Jasper is up to! It amazes me how insightful and she’s become! On some nights, she takes her mom’s phone and leaves me Voxer messages. Tonight in particular, I receive the most inspiring yet simple message…and surprising it’s in the last 5 seconds of the message.

 

“Let your dreams come true…”
Normally, this statement is worded as “hope your dreams come true.” I’ve learned through the years that as much as we can hope, nothing can ever be accomplished without actions on our part. So my little intelligent Baby Bestie may be onto something by saying we should LET our dreams come true. Many times, we give excuses as to why we can’t make our dreams come true instead of letting go of those excuses and allowing ourselves the opportunity to live the life we were meant to live. Let it happen!

“It’s okay to be special…”
As a role model, JazzyBelle’s parents and I have taught her that everyone can be different in their own way and that is perfectly fine and acceptable. We never look down on anyone or lessen their value because of they are different than we know as our own normal. In this message, JazzyBelle affirms with me that I am special and being special is okay and my self value is of worthy substance.

If an almost 6-year-old gets it, then why can’t we as adults? Have the trials and tribulations we endure as adults completely has just jaded to positivity? The simplicity of these concepts is mind blowing isn’t it? Kids do say the darnest things but they are the most honest human beings. My hope for everyone is to allow yourself to let your dreams come true because you do deserve what you are willing to work and fight for because YOU ARE SPECIAL.

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Instragram: @JazmineIsabelle / @Kris_AroundTheHemline

 

Meal Prep Recipe: Healthy Turkey Meatloaf

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My first recipe post! I’m trying my best to post my meal preps on the blog rather just posting on Instragram so here you go!

Sundays are usual meal prep days for me and I dedicate a good 2-3 hours in the kitchen these days. I know that seems like A LOT but the time it saves me during the week makes it all worth it! It keeps me from being lazy and running to good ‘ol Chick-Fil-A (my addiction but let’s be real, a grilled chicken sandwich isn’t as fun as a crispy chicken sandwich…oh and those waffle fries…let me stop there!) Being a household of ONE, it’s hard to keep fresh raw foods fresh because I can’t eat most of pre-packaged servings from the grocery stores (try splitting up a tray with 10 chicken breast…chicken for days!) So, I do a lot of freezing! More tips on that on a later post!

Now…I’ve grown a fondness to meatloaf the last year or so. Growing up in a full Filipino household, my mom didn’t cook meatloaf! Okay, I take that back, the Filipino version of meatloaf was Embutido but it was more like a meat roll with a hard-boiled egg and raisins in it wrapped in foil and steamed (not my fave). Nonetheless, I fancy the loaf because it’s EASY to make and can be used in several ways! In order to make it healthier, I replaced healthier ingredients and sans the breadcrumbs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tray of Ground Turkey, 98% lean (20 oz. tray)
  • 2 eggs (1 whole and 1 egg white)
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of shredded carrots (I used 1 medium size carrot)
  • 1/3 cup of fresh cilantro (slightly chopped)
  • 2 tsp of A1 sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

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Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Once ingredients are all in a bowl, mix it up! I personally just dig in and mix it with my hands (yes, I washed them!) but those boosie ones (j/k) you can mix with a spatula. Once that’s done, take out your 9×5 loaf pan and spray it with olive oil. I use a Misto Olive Oil Sprayer instead of the store bought PAM sprays.

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Place the pan uncovered in the middle of the oven and let it bake for the next 50-60 minutes! If you’re an oven peeker like me, you’ll notice that the pan will get flooded with juices. Don’t worry, these will soak back into the loaf once you take it out to cool. You know the loaf is ready to take out of the oven when all the pink has turns pale (very typical of ground turkey) and the top gets a bit brown. Let it sit for about 20 minutes. You’ll also notice your loaf shrank in size! Again, very typical of turkey meatloaves!

ATH - Meal Prep Turkey MeatLoaf Web 3Once cool, you should easily be able to remove from the pan and slice it into pieces. Although I like to individualized my serving portions, I usual don’t for meatloaf because I don’t want it to dry out so I cut what I need and then store away in an air-locked glass storage container.

ATH - Meal Prep Turkey MeatLoaf Web 4For this meal prep, I topped the slices over quinoa, which I conveniently cooked in a  rice cooker. I also add some sautéed broccoli (always have a balance meal!) seasoned with Mrs. Dash! I know meatloaf usually is paired with some ketchup but to keep it healthy I refrain from it. If it’s a little bland for you (then you didn’t put enough salt and pepper) or if you have a salty tongue, then you can add Bragg Amino Acid All Purpose Seasoning (a.k.a. my soy sauce substitute).

I mentioned a little earlier that you can use these meatloaf slices in about anything! I’ve added these to a wrap, crumbled it onto a salad or over wheat crackers for a snack. Pretty much about anything! Be creative! Also, feel free to add your own favorite ingredients to this recipe and share them with me in the comments below! Hope this post sparks up some yummy healthy food preps!

Eat Healthy!

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Cosmetics: Isabel and Ruben Toledo for MAC

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Who doesn’t love a good romantic story…fashion designer girl meets artistic illustrator boy creating amazing designs and art for over three decades!? Um..yea! The artistic chemistry between these two love birds is absolute amazing! Isabel Toldeo is best known as the designer for Michelle Obama’s 2009 Inaugural Dress as well as the creative director for Anne Klien. Rubin Toldeo has illustrated sketches used by Barneys and Louis Vuitton.

Blend two things I love – make up and fashion – you can only imagine the excitement when I saw this collaboration! Iconic fashion icons Isabel and Ruben and MAC! MAC Cosmetics recently released this new limited edition collection earlier this month consisting of 45-pieces of dynamic colors with a unique, fun, and vibrant illustrated exterior design that steps out of MAC’s signature black casings!

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Photo credit: MAC Cosmetics

Polyvore: Around The Hemline

Polyvore: Around The Hemline

If I had it my way, I would have all 45-pieces but for now, I’ve added their lipstick “Tenor Voice” to my vanity and added lip pencil, Redd as well (R.I.P. to my lost Redd)!

Instagram: @kris_aroundthehemline

Instagram: @kris_aroundthehemline

One of my favorite interviews on this remarkable couple is back in 2012 with CNN that you check out here. A quick quote from the interview:

They have since been together for more than 30 years in a union, equal parts romance and business, that’s the marvel of the fashion world.

Can you say… #RelationshipGoals?!

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52-Week Money Saving Challenge

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It’s almost the end of the year and that means people are scrounging around tightening loose ends, thinking about new year’s resolutions, setting new goals and just probably sitting back!

Either way, I wanted to share this really simple “challenge” to save up a nice “Fun Fund” stash for 2015. I did this last year (found the idea on Pinterest but sorry I can’t figure out who to give the credit to since I can’t find the link) but I recreated the chart! There are several variations but my chart added the dates for each week in 2015.

Some charts begin with Week 1 to save $1.00 but I like the reverse method because you seem to have a little more ‘surplus/free’ cash towards the end and beginning of the year with Holiday cash gifts received, work bonuses/raises and even tax returns!

Last year, I used a large mason far and just shoved all my cash in it. But this year, I decided I’ll be opening up a separate online high-yield savings account and will be transferring the funds weekly into this account. I figured it was the best way from ‘breaking the piggy bank’ as it does take a couple days to withdraw funds from these accounts so I think twice on requesting the withdrawal.

Now, start with Week 1 and save $52.00, the following week you save $1.00 less than the week before and so forth. Now, if $52.00 seems a lot for the week, think about all the unnecessary expenses you do throughout the week like Starbucks runs, junk food, taxis rides, those bagel (talking to you New Yorkers!), etc. The first month will be tough but after January is done, think about it, you already have $202.00 saved! Not bad!

Here’s the chart below and wish everyone lots of luck and discipline throughout the year!

52 Week Money Challenge 2015

Happy Savings! Post in the comments below on and let me know how you’re doing! Good bye 2014 and Hello 2015!!

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FitLife 10.28.14 – Transformation Tuesday

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So….I haven’t written nor shared much of my “transformation…weight loss…fitness journey” on my blog, however, I’ve been sharing a lot on my Instagram account (IG: kris_aroundthehemline) because…let’s face it…writing takes a lot of time! Between 4am training runs, gym times and 8-13 hour work days and weekend trainings, writing came at the bottom of the priority list!

As a quick back story, I’ve been working my little butt off the last year on dropping pounds, eating healthier, staying active indoors and outdoors and signed up for one of the most rewarding challenges yet – a half marathon! Yes, a whole 13.1 of running! The most miles I’ve ever ran was about 4 miles during soccer conditioning practice…in high school and the occasional blue moon 5K races for random charity causes. However, today I am positing my first transformation post EVER!

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The photo to the left was from May 2013 during a “Walk for Lupus” Charity Event. Thinking back to this day and even when I posted it on social media, I didn’t think I was “that big” and friends and family now tell me they “don’t remember” me being “big.” Little did they know, I definitely remembered their faces when I saw them after moving back home to California. Two and half years of living in New York and access to unlimited amounts of food on every corner and mobile food deliveries and the weight just packed on.

When I moved back to Cali in August 2013, I pushed myself to get back to the healthy athletic person I knew myself to be! I got active in the gym, outdoors and took on one of the biggest challenges thus far…a Half Marathon! I received the lottery for the infamous Tiffany’s necklace finisher medal – the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco set for October 2014. So, 13 months after I focused myself back to getting healthy — 46 pounds off and staying off! BOOM! I’m still not at my target weight but I’ll get there. Slow and steady keeps the weight off…no more crash diets, no more starvation spurts, no insane workout burnouts, NO QUICK FIXES! If a product, program and diet is too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. There’s never a substitution for time, dedication, eating healthy and staying active! My official race time was an astonishing 2 hour and 30 minutes flat! My goal was to finish in 3 hours! Let’s just say the adrenaline and training definitely paid off. The BEST feeling in the world is accomplishing what you never thought imaginable for yourself. Even through failed runs and injuries, I knew that I just could not NOT finish. Mind over matter.

I am most proud of not just completing the race but how I stuck through the rigorous training schedule with balancing a work and social life. I can only hope everyone that is on the journey to live a healthier lifestyle finds that one motivating factor that burns like fuel for them! Keep going, don’t give up & transform yourself to anything you want to be! Corny as it is, you can if you’re willing to try.

Hopefully without the insane run schedule I can post up more of my own health experimentations and learnings. I’ll definitely be sharing health recipes and my quirky gym selfies on Instagram and on Twitter!

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Here are some photos from Race Weekend!

Race Ready!

Race Ready!

Stay Strong from Start to Finish! It's only 13.1 miles and some hills!

Stay Strong from Start to Finish! It’s only 13.1 miles and some hills!

At the starting line!

At the starting line!

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Running Emotions! My finishing photo isn’t the prettiest but that look is the look of accomplishment! “She believe she could, so she did.”

Words To Live By: 09.11.14 – Never Forgotten 9/11

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Never Forgotten. United We Stand. 

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Never forgotten. United We Stand. Three years ago, I moved to New York with nothing but hope and a lot of determination. I didn’t know how long I was staying, how I would survive the concrete jungle, or how I would even like living in such a big city…all I knew is that “if I made it here, I can make it anywhere.” I was in New York for the 9/11 10th year Anniversary and you could FEEL the heavy hearts, the grieving, the tears in the air but simultaneously you could also feel the resiliency, the strength and the courage of those who persevered through this tragic event. Visiting Ground Zero with my Father, a former Navy Veteran, when he came to visit was overwhelming. So many brave men and women fight for our country and as Americans we need to be more thankful, not just on these historical days but every day.  

My time in New York taught me so much about myself and that no matter what happens in life that makes us fall, we get up and stand tall with solid tenacity and pride. Prayers to the heroes, the survivors and the families that loss their loved ones, especially prayers to our country and other countries, that we one day find peace among each other.

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Words To Live By: 09.08.14 – Inspire Kindness

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Inspire Kindness & Pay It Forward.

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After a great weekend with family and friends in Vegas, we get stuck in traffic for 8-hours on the I-15 on the way home. Unfortunately, sitting still in 90+ degree weather at night overheated my SUV 3-hours and 92 miles into our drive (yes, 30 mph or slower for 3-hours straight). All bad. As the Best and I were using the freeway call box (somewhere in the middle of the dessert and about 60 miles from Barstow), we had ignorant people yell, honk their horns, holler, whistle and scream out of their windows at us as they passed us by. As we hang up the call box phone, one car pulls up and starts talking to my brother. At this point, I already knew what he was going to say – all the coolant is gone and oil is sitting low. We took all the bottles of water we had and dumped them into the radiator. The Good Samaritan offered us a few water bottles of his own but nothing much else we could do, so we thanked him and told him to continue on as we wait for AAA to come with a tow truck.

Just about 45-minutes later, the tow truck pulls up and we’re going over details of where to tow my SUV…but notice a car pulling up behind my car. To our surprise, it was the Good Samaritan that stopped nearly an hour prior! Jokingly, he says…“Hey you guys are still here!” and as he’s lugging a big plastic bag he continues to say “I felt bad for you guys so I went to the gas station and got you some oil and liters of water. They didn’t have coolant but I think this should get you to the next city.” This person drove at least 20-minutes out to the gas station in traffic, bought us supplies, drove back in another 20 to 30-minutes of traffic, cut through the dirt path between the 15-NB and 15-SB freeways…to help absolute strangers. We sent the tow truck away as my SUV started up and was stable for the rest of the 5-hour traffic ride home.

In amazement and absolute gratitude, I was speechless and nearly in tears. A stranger that didn’t know me, nor anyone in my car, extended their help in a way that many people won’t. Because of him, I saved on a very expensive tow, got everyone home safely and restored my faith in humanity. Amongst the handful of inconsiderate people yelling out their window to ‘scare us’, there was one person that changed the perception. There have been times I’ve been there for family, friends and colleagues and I’ve been burned by my own kindness to them but those burns won’t stop me from being grounded and continue to extend kindness to others when there’s always that chance…that ONE PERSON that can change the outcome for you. Ironically, he was wearing a Superman shirt.

Spread the kindness to those you know and those that are strangers. It won’t cost you much but a smile and a helping hand!

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Words to Live By: 08.15.14 – How I Live My Life

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Learn to love without CONDITION.
Talk without bad INTENTIONS.
Give without any REASONS.
And most of all, care for people without EXPECTATION.

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Life happens so quickly that I haven’t had the chance to stop, write and share the positive changes I’ve made (though mostly documented on my Instagram @kris_aroundthehemline)! Yes! That’s me in the photo when I visited Hawaii last month on a little R&R getaway! I hiked up Koko Head Mountain just in time for the sunrise! When you see natural beauty in its most purest form, it changes your mind-set – your petty problems don’t seem so big anymore. The positive outlook and experiences I’ve been having has been inspiring me to pick up the laptop/iPad/iPhone and start blogging again (hopefully)!

Positive perceptions lead to positive outcomes. Those actually read my posts know that I believe in changing perception and look at situations in every angle, not just from your viewpoint. As the quote above says…

Learn to love without condition. If you love that person, then you love them. Be real. You may not always need to be in their lives to love them. As long as you understand why YOU allow yourself to love that person, then loving them is unconditional.

Talk without bad intention. Yes, gossip is everywhere – between friends, colleagues and family but I try to do my best to not let negative and defamation come out of these lips. No need to lie or fabricate! Speak the truth. Always.

Give without any reason. Like I said earlier, God blessed me with a giving heart and I give not to receive and without to be owed. I give because it is a sign of peace, caring and/or love for people. Put out positive vibes!

And most of all, care for people without expectation. There have been several times at work where I could have watched a coworker fail. It’s not my responsibility right? What do I get out of it? Well, caring for others doesn’t make you a doormat nor does it cost much (in my given scenario it doesn’t). Part of being a positive leader (an overall person) is empowering others to reach their potential so I always stretch out a hand.

Be nice to each other and let all that negativity just pass you by!

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Words To Live By: 12.17.13 – Speculate, Fabricate and Hate

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When people don’t know what’s going on your your life, they SPECULATE.
When they think they know, they FABRICATE.
And when they do know, they just HATE.

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Saw this quote randomly online (tried to look up the original author but there were several authors and annoymous leads so if anyone knows, let me know!) and just got to thinking how TRUE this particular quote it is. When one is successful in any aspect of life – career, family, wealth, fitness, beauty, talent or in happiness – they are not worried about what others think. Successful people focus on drive, motivation, positivity and following their dreams and goals. Focusing on any type of negativity only slows or even hinders their success process! Who has time to give to that? Not I.

Continue to focus on your goals and when you get that weakness to quit, just go a little further and remind yourself why you started and how far you’ve come. Through the years, I found that people will judge and hate on you no matter what you do and judge you even more when they don’t know truth so they end up speculating about your life. When they try to piece their version of the truth, they only fabricate a life for you that fits into their ideas of you. But when they do know, they just hate on your success because they haven’t reached their own successes. Pay no mind to the naysayers, the haters, the judgmentals, or the negatives because while they’re busy focusing on you, you’re focusing on your dreams and goals. So keep it pushing and always strive to be a better version of you.

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Words To Live By: 12.09.13 – All Life Is…

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All life is an experience. The more you experiment the better. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Happy Holiday Everyone!

It’s that time of year again…where families are gathered and memories made in ugly sweaters and Santa hats. But it’s also a time of reflection for some – those that reflect on the year past and the year to come. We check mark the experiences and “To Do” list we set out for the year and we make new lists. What’s on your list for 2014?

Just as the infamous Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, life is an experience. Good or bad. So the more that we live life and experiment with the things we are curious about, the more experiences we have. This doesn’t mean “YOLO” (for those who aren’t familiar with the phrase made popular by Canadian rapper, Drake in recent years means “You Only Live Once”) and live carelessly and irresponsibly but to truly make choices of experiences that grow you and possibly positively change you.

I typically get asked why I move around so much. My answer to them is “Why Not?” There is so much of the world to see that I feel I would be doing my life injustice to NOT go and live in these cities especially if the opportunity is readily available. I love the fact that I’ve lived in our Nation’s Capital (Washington, D.C.) and one of the fastest paced cities (New York, NY) and in the sunny smog-congested city (Los Angeles, CA…still love ya LA!) and even in the Finest City (San Diego, CA) within 10 years (not to mention my long-time stay internationally in Japan). Within these cities, I learned more about myself and gained not only personal growth but career growth as well. So all in all, go out there and experience everything life has to offer! “You Only Live Once” but if done right, you only need one.

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