Monthly Archives: July 2013

Jordan Farmar

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One of my biggest goals for the summer was to volunteer. I wanted to do something that I would enjoy and something that I felt passionate about so I decided to volunteer for Hoop Farm. Basketball and kids, what’s not to love? Jordan Farmar happens to be my favorite basketball player so it’s a win win situation. Hoop Farm is a summer basketball camp held in the Pauley Pavilion at UCLA. It’s a four day camp for boys and girls ages 7-16. They do yoga, basketball drills, basketball games, and etc. Lunch is also provided. Tomorrow is the last day of camp but definitely look into it next year.
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My older sister was a freshman when Jordan was a sophomore so I’ve been following him for awhile. I was super excited that he played for the Lakers after he declared for the NBA. I’m even happier that he’s a Laker again. Trying to convince myself to be a Nets fan was brutal. Gotta root for the home team right? LA all the way 🙂 I don’t follow many professional athletes. In fact I think Jordan is the only one I follow consistently because of all the great things that he’s accomplished aside from his basketball career. All the things he does with his foundation and spending time with kids at Mattel’s Children’s Hospital really sets him apart from other athletes. At least in my eyes it does. It’s cool to see a professional athlete using his stardom to help the community he grew up in. People laugh at me when I say it but it doesn’t matter if he scores 30 points or 0 points. He’ll still be my favorite because he’s an inspiration.
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I don’t know him personally but I can definitely say Jordan is a down to earth and humble kind of guy. He’s incredibly nice and polite. Probably one of the sweetest people I’ve met. Just the way he carries himself inspires people. You know how you idolize someone and you want to be exactly like them? Some people have their dreams crushed because the person they idolized wasn’t what they lived them up to be. Jordan is exactly what I thought he would be like. He inspires me with all the great work he’s doing with his foundation. When I first started following his foundation, I thought to myself that if I was given the opportunity to do great things like that I would do the same thing. So why not start volunteering? He’s truly inspirational. Not a lot of people would spend approximately six hours at a gym with over 100 kids trying to teach them the fundamentals of basketball for four days. Keep in mind there are kids who are 7 years old.

The experience was amazing. The other volunteers were really nice and I got to know them pretty well in the two days that I volunteered. The coaches were hilarious. It was great to see that many of the coaches and volunteers are friends with Jordan. It gave the camp a family atmosphere and that is a hard thing to accomplish. I also met his mom and his daughter which was really awesome. My favorite memory of camp was watching the drills sessions on my second day. A young boy was struggling during a drill where you have to bounce a basketball with each hand from the starting line to the other side and back. Jordan was watching him and saw that he was struggling so he asked the boy for the basketballs and when the boy gave them to him, he showed him how to do the drill and gave him pointers. I thought it was cool because the boy was grinning from ear to ear afterwards. It’s moments like that that definitely make the volunteer experience worth it. I asked him if I could take a picture with him and he said sure. I was laughing afterwards when I was talking to the other volunteers because he probably thought why is that crazy Asian girl ambushing me right when I first get here? Sorry Jordan! 🙂 It’s an awesome picture even though Jason photo bombed it. He’s hilarious too. I swear he was eating every time I saw him.
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Hopefully his foundation hosts other events because I’d definitely volunteer. Everyone was friendly and chill. It’s a great opportunity to volunteer. There were kids from all sorts of backgrounds. Some of the kids from the Department of Child and Family Services were really taking to the coaches. I saw a boy cling onto a coaches arm and another one rest his head on their shoulders. Some of the younger boys were trying to teach me secret handshakes while others were trying to impress me with hand stands. Overall, I had a lot of fun. I was the official Gatorade mixer during day two. I have to say, my Gatorade mixing skills are legit. The kids said it taste better the second day than the first day. It’s hilarious to watch the kids eyes light up when they know Jordan’s watching. I wish I got to volunteer all four days to get the full experience but two days was still awesome. I’d definitely do it again. YAY LAKERS 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

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what to do with a psych degree?

When I first graduated with a psychology degree I was thinking I’d never get a decent paying job unless I went to grad school and got a masters degree. Technically, it depends on what your perspective of “decent pay” is. Last week I was chit chatting with a friend of mine who happens to be a military wife. She lives in San Clemente..by the beach. I’m sending her as much nasty glares as possible because I miss living in Irvine. She was asking me about my degree since she recently graduated and was looking for employment. I told her I’d write it all in a post so she could read it because it was way too much talking on the phone. No I’m not rude. I just happen to hate talking on the phone. First of all, it depends on what type of psychology degree you have. I know, what the heck does that mean? Well UCI has two types of psych degrees. You could either enter the School of Social Ecology and earn a BA in Psychology and Social Behavior (like I did) or you could enter the School of Social Sciences and earn a BA in Psychology. What’s the difference? If you can’t tell from the name, the first one is primarily based on social behavior. It also depends on what you want to do. A psych degree is very general so the field of employment is very broad. You could work as a teachers assistant, a paraprofessional, case manager, behavioral interventionist, youth leader, insurance agent, car salesperson, marketing assistant, and etc. The first few make sense but a car salesperson? A lot of people don’t know that companies like Enterprise hire individuals with psych degrees or communication degrees. Psychology is based on communicating and all that yada yada so don’t focus on one type of job while browsing.

Okay here’s the breakdown of places that hire individuals with psych degrees as far as I know of.
Teacher Assistants/Instructional Aides/Paraprofessionals (the fancy term): School districts (usually requires 2 or years of experience), Olive Crest, and McKinley Children’s Center

Case Managers: Ability First and 5 Acres

Behavioral Interventionist: Easter Seals and Sage Behavioral Services

Insurance Agent: Aflac and Farmer’s Insurance

Car Salesperson: Enterprise

I hope that helps Ren! 🙂 I think a lot of the more popular companies like Farmer’s Insurance will be easier to locate for military spouses because they’re always on the move. Easter Seals is an excellent company to work with if you’re a military spouse because they have a program for veterans. It’s right up your alley 🙂 They pay fairly well too. Starting wage for a BI is $16-18. If anyone knows of anymore places/companies than let me know! I’ll be sure to pass it along.

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop

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I made a pit stop to this candy store as I was in Pasadena to pick up some candy for the kids in my class. Last week we went to a park in Santa Ana for their pool day. After swimming, we were all gathered in a grass area for snack and we were attacked by hives of bees. A lot of kids got stung and two of them ended up hospitalized. I felt so bad and had trouble sleeping because I kept thinking about it. WTF man? Anyway, I thought this would cheer them up a bit. I went for the soda pop and got them some candy. The pop I got taste like a half and half bar and a orange dream machine from Jamba Juice.
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They have some old school candy and bubble gum that I haven’t seen since I was like ten. I got soda pop, two packs of nerds, two laffy taffys, sweet tarts, sour punch chews, warhead chews, and bubble gum. The kids are going to go crazy when they see it 🙂 I’ll be back for more soda pop. They have a huge selection but I didn’t have time to look through everything.

On a side note, I also went to Pappa Rich and their raspberry iced tea is excellent. Strong flavors 🙂 Happy reading

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Black & White Cupcake (Dots Cupcakes)

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I’ve been making regular visits to Pasadena for cupcakes, soda pop, old school candy, ice cream floats, and etc. Dots Cupcakes has my favorite cupcake. I’m not a fan of black and white cupcakes except for the one at Dots. I don’t know what the heck they put in that icing but it’s so darn good. I’ve tried a lot of places to get the perfect cupcake such as ConFexion, Mrs Beasley, Sugar Fix, Sprinkles, Cake Mamas, and etc. None of them compare to this wonderful cupcake. I’m a simple person when it comes to sweets. You can wow me with a chocolate chip cookie. I LOVE good chocolate chip cookies. When it comes to cupcakes, I have the same mantra. Simple is best.
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– L to R clockwise: cookies and cream, fleur de sel, tiramisu, strawberry shortcake, raspberry lemon, and chocolate mint
I bought some for my grandma because I was going to visit her after my sweets splurge. The black and white cupcake was $3 and regular size. The mini ones are $1.75 each. I’m kinda bummed that they raised their prices but I still love their cupcakes. The cookies and cream and chocolate mint are good too. I haven’t tried the rest. I heard the tiramisu one is good but I saved it for my auntie. See ya next time 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

Perfectly Sweet (Alhambra, CA)

I’ve always seen this bakery driving by but never thought anything of it. My friend posted some pictures on Facebook and they looked good so I decided to try them out myself. Today marks the two year anniversary that I’ve been writing this blog and what better way to celebrate than to celebrate with sweets? 🙂
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I ordered the creme brulee, tiramisu, strawberry shortcake, and banana cream pie. I walked in and there was no one inside. The two ladies working were chatting among themselves without a care to greet me which I thought was rude since I know they saw me. After a minute or so, one of the ladies came over and asked me how I was. YAY, finally some customer service. I don’t know about you but when I worked at the candy store at the mall six years ago, my manager ALWAYS demanded that I greet customers. Her philosophy was no smile no business. Now it makes sense to me.
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Aside from the semi-lack of service, the box was decorated quite nicely.
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This is the tiramisu. I love tiramisu and anything Kahlua related. I was a bit disappointed with the texture of the tiramisu. Taste wise, it was fantastic. The texture was off because half of it was mascarpone and the other half was cake drenched in Kahlua to the point where it taste pudding-ish. I like my tiramisu to have layers of cake and that’s what it lacked.
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This is the banana cream pie. It’s flippin huge. The cream and the banana filling taste great. I hated the crust. It taste like standard frozen pie crust which is no bueno. Altogether it taste good but I still prefer the one at Bittersweet Treats in Pasadena.
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This is the strawberry shortcake. I’ve never been huge about strawberry shortcake until I tried the ones from Bon Epi in Irvine. This strawberry shortcake definitely gives Bon Epi a run for their money. AND Perfectly Sweet is so much closer to home which means more visits! 🙂 The cream, cake, and strawberries all blended together beautifully. It was my favorite out of the four.
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Creme brulee! I love the stuff. It’s expensive as heck but when I can get, I get it. The creme brulee was as big as the banana pie which was awesome. The melted sugar on top gave me hype for like an hour. The custard was smooth and creamy. It’s not the best I’ve had but definitely pretty good. The only thing I didn’t like was the thick layer of melted sugar. I like my creme brulees to have a thin coating so I can focus on the delicious custard beneath it. It was displayed beautifully though 🙂

Well there you have it. Happy two years to my blog! I’ve been thinking of a giveaway project but am waiting to hear back from a fellow blogger. We shall wait and see if it’s a go or a no. Hopefully I get to post about it on here 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

marshmallow treats

I’ve been wanting to make granola bars all week and somehow my desire for granola bars turned into marshmallow treats. I found leftover rice krispies cereal and marshmallows and decided to go the marshmallow route 🙂
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Marshmallow Treats
3/4 bag mini marshmallows, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups rice krispies cereal
1 1/2 cups quaker oats cereal
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup organic sweet and dried cranberries

– In a medium pan, melt butter
– Once butter is completely melted, add the marshmallows minus one cup (save it for later)
– In a medium bowl, add the cereals, almonds, cranberries, and one cup of leftover marshmallows
– When the marshmallow has completely melted, pour on top of the cereal mixture and mix
– Press mixture into a 13x9in pan and press down to get an even layer
– Let cool for about an hour so it firms up before you cut into it

I was hesitant about adding almonds but the taste of the melted marshmallows and the almonds seem to really blend together. It’s delicious 🙂 Definitely something that fools you into thinking it’s healthy! A trick I use when I push down the mixture into the pan is having a small bowl of cold water handy. I dip my fingers into the cold water before pressing down on the mixture. That way I won’t get burned because the mixture is still hot and my fingers won’t stick to the mixture. It’s always worked for me so if you’re having trouble, try it out. Happy eating! 🙂 The two year anniversary of my little blog is coming up! I’m actually super excited (and I remembered this year).

Fail Sweetly,
Justina

lemon bars

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I made lemon bars yesterday because a coworker of mine has been nagging me about making them. They’re the perfect summer treat and they were delicious. The crust was awesome 🙂 The picture doesn’t do it any justice because my lighting was horrible.

Lemon Bars (adapted from Christy Jordan)
Crust:
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
Filling:
4 eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar for garnishing (optional)

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees
– In a bowl, mix the butter, powdered sugar, and flour together for the crust (I did it by hand with a fork)
– Once the crust comes together looking like coarse bread crumbs, press the dough into a 13x9in pan and bake for 20 minutes
– While the crust is baking, make the filling
– In a separate bowl, beat the four eggs
– Add the sugar and mix
– Whisk the lemon juice in carefully
– Sift the flour and baking powder together
– Mix that into the egg mixture, 1/3 of it at a time
– Once it’s all combined, pour it over the top of the baked crust
– Bake again for 25-30 minutes
– Let the bars cool for about 30 minutes and sprinkle powdered sugar on top if desired 🙂

These were really yummy and went fast when I brought them to work. Everyone wanted to try one because it was a great summery treat. These have lemon flavor but don’t overpower the crust or the sugar. Everything mixes well together. Make these for a bbq this summer! 🙂

Fail Sweetly,
Justina