Monthly Archives: May 2012

summer in southern california

Technically I guess it’s still spring but the weather down here is like summer. My older sister came to visit me last weekend and she wanted to check out the pool in my apartment complex. I humored her and tagged along to go sunbathing (which was a horrible idea!). Why you ask? I think I’ve mentioned in previously blog posts that the sun and I have a hate/hate relationship. I applied sunscreen and STILL managed to get the craziest sunburn I’ve ever had. I thought it was particularly strange because I’m always outside AND I’ve lived in SoCal all my life. Needless to say, I am not a happy camper. My arms still hurt! It’s also still red and creepy looking. I told my big brother that I look like a lobster.
Anyway, I managed to snap some shots of the pool area before I got burned.
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The color of these pictures are amazing. These are unedited natural lights pictures (if anyone’s wondering). Hopefully my crazy burn will go away and I can go swimming soon. The weather’s been crazy hot lately. Thanks for reading.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

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irvine farmer’s market

I’m super excited about this post. The Irvine Farmers Market was a blast. My sister came down to visit me and the two of us went with my new roomie to the farmer’s market. It was great because there were vendors for art, jewelry, clay flowers, photography, roasted corn, kettlecorn, bread, ravioli, sausages, fruits, and veggies.
This is a picture of the painting my new roomie gave me 🙂
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It’s a painting of Detroit because that’s where she’s from.
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Here’s the picture of the soap vendor that we saw at the farmers market.
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These are little clay flowers. The detail completely blew me away!
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Awesome color of assorted veggies.
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Eggplants and bitter melons.
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Mericol Escentuals 🙂 I love her! She was such a sweet lady.
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Strawberries galore! 🙂
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My loot from the market
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More of my loot 🙂
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This is wild mushroom and four cheese ravioli cooked with polish sausages and sauteed in brown butter herb sauce! 🙂 IT WAS DELICIOUS!!
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Our lunch today 🙂 The rolls were awesome! The lady at the roll place was hilarious. I’ll post the recipe of the ravioli soon!

So funny note of the day, I’ve concluded that my new roomie’s boyfriend sort of looks like Nick Lachey. I can proudly say that because I was born and raised in Los Angeles 🙂 haha! We were tanning by the pool today and I realized that I’m from SoCal and she’s more tan than I am. What the heck?!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

graduation photoshoot

The first weekend of May, my friend from community college drove down here to do a photoshoot for me. Here are some of the pictures! 🙂
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This was taken on the suspension bridge. Basically, if there are too many people walking across it, it’s going to move and make you feel dizzy. It connects the Claire Trevor School of Arts with the rest of campus.
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This is Peter the Anteater. UCI’s mascot is an anteater..don’t ask. I just go with it! 🙂 This is by the Bren Events Center where graduations and sporting events take place.
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This is the OCTA/Anteater Shuttle stop. The route that I take is actually cancelled for the 2012-2013 school year which totally sucks for all the college students living where I’m living right now!
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This is by the Phinea Alumni House and University Extension.
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This is in front of Social Ecology I which is the office you go to to register and seek academic counseling if you’re a student within the School of Social Ecology.
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This is at the rose garden by the Irvine Barclay Theatre and Watson Bridge. The theatre is where most of the musical and performing arts events take place. Watson Bridge is the bridge that connects the campus to UTC (University Town Center). UTC is where the restaurants, post office, photo studios, grocery stores, fedex, and etc. are located.
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This was in the japanese garden by the alumni house.

Hope you liked the post! I usually don’t post a ton of pictures of myself. All photography courtesy of Anneliese Trujillo.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

mother’s day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there. I had a funny conversation about mother’s day with my sister last night and she pointed out that our family is a matriarchy. Mother’s rule the house I suppose. I came to realize that I always end up giving my mother flowers for mother’s day. So in light of my annual bouquet of flowers, I want to post some different ones that I took in my front yard. I’m pretty sure the people driving by thought I was crazy.
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I’m not sure what these are called but I saw them on America’s Next Top Model! I think it was cycle 10 where Whitney Thompson won.
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Unfortunately, my lens was not pro enough to capture the beauty of these little ones.
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This is the jewel to my collection 🙂 It was a great shot.
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I attempted to take a picture of a butterfly but the butterfly flew away before I snapped the picture..so I’m not sure what this is supposed to be. Just saying.
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Ahhh so gorgeous. I love the color 🙂

I would like to thank my mother for everything she has done for me. I cannot put into words how lucky I am to have a mother like her. She is the kind of mother who would stay home with me if I was sick and take care of me until I got better. The kind of mother who peels my apples with a knife because I’m too much of a sissy to do it myself. The kind of mother that thinks me living on my own means I starve myself so she packs tons of boxes of food for me to take back to school. The kind of mother who has always accepted me for who I am and made sure I knew she was proud of who I am. The kind of mother who also gets excited for new foods and places to go. The kind of mother that prefers home cooking versus store bought crap (I’m sure stores are great but you can’t beat mama’s cooking..EVER). The kind of mother who loves and nurtures and doesn’t judge. The kind of mother who can make fun of me and still laughs along with me at all the stupid jokes we crack. The kind of mother who can be a loving mother, a wife, a daughter, a role model, a authority figure, a cook, a maid, a butler, a chauffeur, a seamstress, a shrink, and a best friend all in one. Thank you mommy for 23 wonderful years of life. I cannot wait to share more memories with you. She bought me some awesome thai tea leaves and my sister and I made thai tea yesterday! 🙂 I might post the recipe but we’ll see. I might drink all of it before I can snap a picture. Happy Mother’s Day!!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

chocolate chip cookies

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These are the best chocolate chip cookies!! I have to say, follow the directions please. I usually try to substitute ingredients if I can get them cheaper but these babies need the real deal. I have made these cookies using margarine because it was what I had on hand and it’s a lot cheaper than butter. Use butter! Margarine has a water substance which makes the cookies spread like no other when they are baking. These cookies hardly spread at all when they are baking. The only issue I had is with adding the chocolate chips. When you add the chips, make sure to use a spatula. You’re definitely going to need to use some muscle to get all the chips incorporated with the dough. I got the recipe off allrecipes.com! This recipe has over 4,000 views so yeah, it’s good.

Here’s the recipe..
Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from allrecipes.com)
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
2 eggs
2 sticks of butter soften
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 12 oz bag chocolate chips (I used Nestle’s dark chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using a stand mixer, mix butter with both sugars until fluffy.
3. Beat in eggs one at a time. Make sure to mix well after each egg.
4. Add in vanilla extract and mix again.
5. In a small bowl, mix the baking soda with the hot water and add that to the dough.
6. Add salt and mix.
7. Finally add the flour. I usually DON’T mix after every cup of flour because I find it overmixed as a result. So add all the flour to the mixer before mixing it together.
8. Make a hole in the dough with a spatula and add in the chocolate chips. Be sure to mix them well or else you’ll have dough without any chips. And that’s never good!
9. Bake at 350 for about 13 minutes. It really depends on your oven. Mine took about 13 but yours could take 10.
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As you can see, my cookies don’t have a smooth top. Personally, I hate smooth top cookies UNLESS they come from Diddy Riese which is a cookie shop out of Westwood Village near UCLA. They’re famous for their cheap but DELICIOUS cookies and ice cream sandwiches. I love the crinkle look in chocolate chip cookies because I feel as though they are more authentic. I love this recipe because it gives a chewy inside with a crispy outside. If you live in Southern California but have not been to Diddy Riese, you’re missing out. My older sister is a UCLA alumni so I made regular trips to their fab cookie shop every time I went to visit her. I went to visit her quite frequently. I even requested that she bring me home cookies when I couldn’t go visit her 🙂 DIDDY RIESE! You’re not a UCLA alumni until you’ve had Diddy Riese. UCI doesn’t really have any good cookie shops around. I’m not sure what makes a UCI alumni. I guess if you haven’t been to Berkeley Dog or Cha For Tea. Or if you haven’t been in line at Starbucks for over an hour. This isn’t during the rush by the way. Starbucks at UCI = second most busiest in the industry with the one in New York City being the first. We love Starbucks at UCI! 🙂 Thanks for reading.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

chocolate covered strawberries

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I’m in love with strawberries! I love strawberry season so much. As I mentioned in the previous post, I got these babies at the farmers market. They were too ripe that most of them were already going to go bad. Instead of trying to stuff myself with strawberries, I made chocolate covered strawberries! 🙂 They were ah-mazing by the way. I think the ripeness of the strawberries made them sweeter than usual. Combined with the sweetness of chocolate made them extra sweet, just the way I like it.
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Here’s the recipe..
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
1 12 oz bag of good quality chocolate chips
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
20 strawberries

1. Pour chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until all chocolate is melted.
2. Once chocolate is melted, stir in the cream, butter, and vanilla extract. Be sure to do this right away when the chocolate is still hot. Also be sure that the butter melts completely. You could do this over the stove if you’d like.
3. Let the chocolate cool while you wash the strawberries and pat them dry with a paper towel.
4. Leave the stems on the strawberries and hold the stem while dipping each one. After dipping, set them on a wax paper covered cookie sheet.
5. Let the chocolate harden on the wax paper before putting in the fridge.
6. Once the chocolate hardens, put in the fridge for at least 2 hours to harden the rest of the chocolate.
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I got 20 chocolate covered strawberries with this recipe but yours might differ depending on the size of your strawberries. Most of mine were medium size with some small ones and a few large ones. They were delicious. I took them to my internship and my coworkers ate them up.
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I think this salad is the awesomest one I’ve had in awhile. I was home for the weekend and we had chicken salads for dinner. My sister bought this sesame ginger salad dressing from Ralphs that just makes everything taste better! I usually don’t like cucumbers but in this case, they were delicious that I had extra ones! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

food adventures

Sorry for the lack of posts! I forgot my memory card reader at school when I went home this weekend so I couldn’t post any pictures 😦 This w
eek is midterm week so it’s been so hectic. I wanted to blog about some of the food I’ve been eating that are delish. Has anyone in the SoCal area ever heard of The Julian Pie Company? They have stores in the San Diego area but ship worldwide I believe. Or at least nationwide. Their pies are SO GOOD!! I got a peach and apple crumb pie and the crumb was so frickin delicious. It was actually my favorite part of the pie. I’m telling you, get the crumb kind! You won’t regret it.
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I made a trip to the Alhambra Farmers Market back home and got a load of goodies. Surprisingly, this was my first trip to the farmers market there so it was pretty neat.
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My sister and I attacked the hummus stand. We got garbanzo chips, hummus, pita bread, bruschetta, and some other stuff I can’t name. I also got a orange cupcake at the Red Velvet Gourmet Co. They sell organic cupcakes which was pretty cool. The cupcake tasted like a half and half bar. Don’t those strawberries look delish?! I was so excited for strawberry season! 🙂
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I got some strawberry lemonade which was soooooo yummy! That’s the picture of the bruschetta. I love bruschetta. It tasted super delish with the tomato sundried hummus and garbanzo chips. And last but not least, my favorite study snack for now. Original Zebra Caramel Chocolate kettlekorn from Maw & Paws. They have a super cute store in Laguna Hills for all the SoCal readers out there! 🙂 Have a wonderful day! I’m off to go study my brain out.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina