One film, one T.V. series, delicious indulgences, and cruelty-free make-up: January Favorites!

Let me start by throwing a huge THANK YOU out into the ether for Idris Elba’s winning a SAG Award (Best Supporting Actor, or however they call it at the SAG) for his role as Commandant in Beasts of No Nation. The win alleviates my annoyance over seeing that Elba’s well-deserved recognition wasn’t reflected on the list of Oscar nominations.

So, I’m back to doing these “monthly favorites” posts. January’s list is mostly about food and cosmetic items, the latter of which came from my stash – things I already had, but wasn’t using. The only newly purchased item here is the Burt’s Bees lip crayon color.

As usual, though, I’ll start with entertainment. Here’s the one film and the one T.V. series that held our attention in January:

 

1). Amy (documentary)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Amy_documentary

 

If I had to choose one word for this documentary: Devastating. It started with a scene showing footage of Amy at 14 years of age singing “Happy Birthday” to her friend, a heart-breaking scene because we knew how her story ended. Here was this happy girl in possession of a brilliant talent, and then she was neglected, used, and preyed upon by vultures masquerading as people who loved her. Well, they loved her, alright. They loved her to death.

Here’s that scene of Amy as a kid singing “Happy Birthday” to her friend:

 

 

R.I.P., Amy.

 

2). How to Get Away With Murder (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-HowtoGetAwayWithMurder_2016

 

We started January binge-watching How to Get Away With Murder. Then we tried to watch the documentary series Making a Murderer, and on the heels of the former, it’s hard to watch the courtroom scenes without thinking of how Annalise would flatten her opposition in one sweeping, ire-charged oratory. “Steven Avery needs Annalise” became our Making a Murderer tag-line up until we stopped watching it. Seriously! One day with Annalise in court and Avery would walk.

Minus: Annalise is a fictional character. Plus: Viola Davis won a SAG Award for her performance as Annalise.

 

3). The Body Shop Shea Body Butter.

 

The Body Shop body butter in Shea.

The Body Shop body butter in Shea.

 

This is an old favorite that’s made a come-back as our night hand cream. I’ll always love its unique scent, and the rich body butter formula is wonderful on our dry hands.

 

4). Burt’s Bees lip crayon in Sedona Sands.

 

Burt's Bees lip crayon in Sedona Sands.

Burt’s Bees lip crayon in Sedona Sands.

 

This was the only shade of Burt’s Bees lip crayons I didn’t have, and now it’s tied as my favorite (with Redwood Forest). I’ve been wearing Sedona Sands every day, since I’m feeling the nude/pink vibe right now. It’s hard for me to find a nude shade I really love, so I’m glad to have discovered a perfect one in my favorite lip color formula.

 

5). e.l.f. Flawless Finish foundation in Sand.

 

e.l.f. Flawless Finish foundation in Sand.

e.l.f. Flawless Finish foundation in Sand.

 

(Yes, that would be a half-eaten Larabar in the pic. I’d set it down on that paper towel and then decided to place the product next to it, for some reason.) Toward the end of last year, I experimented with a couple of high-end cruelty-free foundations and ended up putting the new one by Too Faced on my 2015 Favorites list. When I found this old bottle of e.l.f. foundation, I started using it again and realized that it actually looks better on me than the Too Faced one. So I stand corrected: The e.l.f. foundation IS my favorite foundation. Six bucks at Target! Amazing.

 

6). e.l.f. High-Definition powder in Soft Luminescence.

 

e.l.f. High-Definition powder in Soft Luminescence

e.l.f. High-Definition powder in Soft Luminescence

 

(And yes, that would be Nenette poking her nose into the pic!) e.l.f. came out with this new-ish version of their High-Definition powder, so I had to try it. Also six bucks! Why not? And I love it. Their original (Sheer) High-Definition powder always seemed a bit chalky on me, and I was loving the Shimmer version for a while, but this one in Soft Luminescence is like the perfect hybrid of the two. It’s fabulous.

 

7). e.l.f. Jumbo Eyeshadow stick in Rock Out.

 

e.l.f. Jumbo Eyeshadow Stick in Rock Out

e.l.f. Jumbo Eyeshadow Stick in Rock Out

 

I still love e.l.f.’s Smudge Pot cream eyeshadow in Cruisin’ Chic, but in January I dug through my e.l.f. collection, found the eyeshadow stick in Rock Out, and have been using it ever since. It’s slightly darker than Cruisin’ Chic, and the color is more like a deep olive, kind of a shimmery, moth-like greenish-brown. It blends as easily as the Smudge Pot formulas, too.

 

8). Vegan donuts and cookies.

 

Vegan donut and cookie from Whole Foods.

Vegan donut and cookie from Whole Foods.

 

I spent January eating way too much refined sugar, once again, and I had the zits to prove it. I just didn’t have the inner wherewithal to walk past Whole Food’s bakery without raiding the pastry case. They have vegan cookies, muffins, donuts, and scones. The donuts and the chocolate chip cookies are my favorites.

 

9). Nachos.

 

Vegan nachos.

Vegan nachos.

 

Okay, so January wasn’t my healthiest month ever. For dinners, I mostly alternated between big plates of nachos and heaps of pasta. Callaghan was on a salad kick, so I didn’t even share. Granted, vegan nachos and pasta the way I make it aren’t that unhealthy, but my diet was definitely lacking in veggies in January! The nachos on the plate you see here are made of blue corn tortilla chips, vegan cheese, salsa, and avocado. What can I say.

 

10). Cheerios with peanut butter.

 

Original Cheerios with peanut butter for breakfast.

Original Cheerios with peanut butter for breakfast.

 

Those of you who hang with me on Instagram and FaceBook might remember when I posted this pic. That was the day I’d forgotten to bring bread to go with my peanut butter at work, so I ran to the little shop on campus and came back with this little container of original Cheerios. The Cheerios/peanut butter combination was a little dry, but I enjoyed it. Now I bring Cheerios to work every day. Nutritionally speaking, they really aren’t that bad! They have a little sugar and one preservative, but I’m not going to argue with whole grain oats.

 

11). Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea.

 

Celestial Seasoning's Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea.

Celestial Seasoning’s Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea.

 

Here’s another old favorite! I love this deliciously mellow, sweet tea. We often have it as a dessert between dinner and bedtime. I think it’s the hint of licorice that makes it special.

That covers it for January. I hope the first month of the year brought simple, pleasurable little things into your lives, as well!

Typical Food.

Several friends have been asking me what I typically eat, and I find it difficult to answer on the spot, because, I guess, I don’t put all that much thought into food… so the last time I was asked, I decided to do a food journal over the next two days, which happened to be Sunday and Monday (yesterday). The timing was great for the experiment because my documentation captured a weekend day and a weekday that also happened to be a gym day. It covers a pretty good idea of the average food picture in my life. I’m sharing the results here this morning, for anyone who may be curious.

Since this was a spontaneous decision, I didn’t premeditate it or go shopping for it or anything. That’s my excuse for not exhibiting dishes prepared from scratch. Some weekends, I cook food to feed us for a few days, if not for the week, and some weekends, I don’t… and this last weekend, I didn’t.

Here are a few generalities:

1). Water is key to starting my day right. First thing in the morning, I drink three big glasses of chilled water, and I continue drinking water all day long. I have a little idiosyncrasy about water: I prefer very cold water, except I like to drink room-temperature water when I’m eating.

Water is the only thing I drink besides coffee and the occasional cup of tea or iced tea. (I stopped drinking grapefruit juice last year… I used to have it with breakfast.) I’ll sometimes squeeze fresh lemon juice into my water when I’m at home. I’m hyper-vigilant about keeping myself hydrated – I also drink a big glass of water right before going to sleep. I’m just really into water. Fun fact!

2). You’ll notice a lot of carbs on both days, since that’s my favorite food group. I prefer complex carbs and actually avoid simple carbs (white bread, white pasta, white rice, white potatoes, refined sugar, and alcohol… I think my last glass of wine was back in either October or November). (Oh wait, did I have champagne with my in-laws when they were here visiting from France for New Year’s? Yes, I believe did! December 31 was the last time I drank alcohol, then.)

3). I’m in the habit of waiting until 9:00am to eat breakfast, even though my alarm goes off at 5:00-5:30am in the morning five days a week. I get up and drink the three glasses of water with my thyroid medication, and then I wait 30 minutes before consuming anything else, because that’s how thyroid medication works. (I have Hashimoto’s disease – hypothyroidism. In my case, it’s autoimmune thyroiditis.) When the 30 minutes has passed, I take my other morning meds, and I have my first of two mugs of coffee.

4). I take supplements twice a day (different ones with my morning and evening meals).

5). I tend to cycle through certain foods. For instance, for a few weeks recently, I was having a Trader Joe’s blueberry-bran muffin for breakfast every weekday. Then I moved on to waffles and berries. I change it up every two to three weeks.

6). While there’s almost always some overlap in the things we eat (like salads, guacamole, fruit, etc.), Callaghan and I eat different meals about half of the time, I’d say. He’ll incorporate non-vegan elements into his.

7). Have I mentioned that as of about a month and a half ago, I’m back to 100% vegan, 100% of the time? It feels good. I’m my old self again.

So all that said, let’s jump in! Here’s what I ate over the last two days:

Sunday

Breakfast: Bear Naked Honey Almond Granola (10g protein!) with plain, unsweetened almond milk, blueberries and raspberries; coffee with stevia and the same almond milk; whole wheat toast with Earth Balance buttery spread.

 

Granola with a generous topping of fresh berries and almond milk, and whole wheat toast - and Sumatra coffee, of course (my favorite)!

Granola with a generous topping of fresh berries and almond milk, and whole wheat toast – and Sumatra coffee, of course (my favorite)!

 

Lunch: Sandwich with vegan lunch slices in turkey and ham flavor with fresh spinach, Roma tomato, Dijon mustard (that Callaghan brought back from France!) and grapeseed-oil Veganaise on whole wheat bread; a nectarine.

 

I usually default to sandwiches for lunch, which is fine, because I love them. I usually have fruit, too.

I usually default to sandwiches for lunch, which is fine, because I love them. I usually have fruit, too.

 

Snack: Kind Healthy Grains Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds (1/3 cup), dry.

 

A handful of dry granola for a crunchy, sweet afternoon snack - one of my favorites! This is Kind Healthy Grains Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds. YUM.

A handful of dry granola for a crunchy, sweet afternoon snack – one of my favorites! This is Kind Healthy Grains Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds. YUM.

 

Dinner: Black beans and brown rice with HOT salsa; sliced avocado; a side salad of mixed baby spring greens and tomato with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper and oregano.

 

This was a quick and easy dinner of brown rice, black beans, salsa, and avocado, with a salad on the side.

This was a quick and easy dinner of brown rice, black beans, salsa, and avocado, with a salad on the side.

 

Dessert: Justin’s organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups.

 

Justin's organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups are my favorite vegan treat!

Justin’s organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups are my favorite vegan treat!

 

Monday

(The standard two mugs of coffee with stevia and plain, unsweetened almond milk)

Breakfast: Two of Van’s Multigrain 8 Whole Grains waffles with Earth Balance buttery spread; blueberries and raspberries.

 

I toast and "butter" (it's Earth Balance) the waffles at home and bring them to work loosely wrapped in foil. Van’s Multigrain 8 Whole Grains waffles, blueberries and raspberries.

I toast and “butter” (it’s Earth Balance) the waffles at home and bring them to work loosely wrapped in foil. Van’s Multigrain 8 Whole Grains waffles, blueberries and raspberries.

 

Lunch: Sandwich with Trader Joe’s Mediterranean hummus, fresh spinach and Roma tomato on whole wheat bread; a nectarine.

(On gym days, I’ll usually have peanut butter and jelly for lunch, but lately I’ve been alternating with hummus for the savory goodness of it. It’s still a great high protein/healthy fat sandwich spread.)

 

I ate lunch at my desk yesterday: Sandwich with Trader Joe’s Mediterranean hummus, fresh spinach and Roma tomato on whole wheat bread... and a heavenly nectarine for dessert!

I ate lunch at my desk yesterday: Sandwich with Trader Joe’s Mediterranean hummus, fresh spinach and Roma tomato on whole wheat bread… and a heavenly nectarine for dessert!

 

Snack: Small handful of roasted, unsalted almonds; a mini chocolate chip Clif bar.

(Workout fuel! I like a combination of protein, healthy fats, carbs, and a little unrefined sugar an hour or two before going to Body Combat.)

 

A small handful of roasted, unsalted almonds and a mini chocolate chip Clif bar fueled my workout after work. That mini Clif bar is so tiny! It's exactly the right size.

A small handful of roasted, unsalted almonds and a mini chocolate chip Clif bar fueled my workout after work. That mini Clif bar is so tiny! It’s exactly the right size.

 

Dinner: Homemade guacamole and an Amy’s Sonoma veggie burger (organic vegetables, quinoa and walnuts) on whole wheat toast; side salad of spinach, mixed baby spring greens and tomato with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper and oregano.

(Post-workout delicious combination of complex carbs, plant-based protein and healthy fats.)

 

Callaghan made his guacamole to go with our dinner, and it was fabulous, as usual! Homemade guacamole and an Amy’s Sonoma veggie burger on whole wheat toast, plus a side salad.

Callaghan made his guacamole to go with our dinner, and it was fabulous, as usual! Homemade guacamole and an Amy’s Sonoma veggie burger on whole wheat toast, plus a side salad.

 

Dessert: Fresh strawberries.

 

Fresh strawberries for dessert.

Fresh strawberries for dessert.

 

The strawberries look kind of weird in the picture, somehow, but they were wonderful.

Not pictured: I had a cup of Celestial Seasoning’s Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea last night before bed. It’s my favorite nighttime tea.

Et voilà! Two typical days.

My favorite thing to eat besides carbs is seasonal produce. The nectarines are fantastic right now. You know they’re a June favorite!