What I’m Digging Right Now – October Favorites

Thing One: It’s time for October Favorites, which means that this is the one-year anniversary of my Monthly Favorites posts!

I’m not at all surprised that I started this series in October, because I find it easy to enjoy pretty much everything in October. It’s my favorite month, so there are lots of favorites in it.

Thing Two: I regret to say that I have to retract a previously-listed favorite. That Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain lip color I’d raved about in my September Favorites post? Is no longer a favorite. September was a weirdly humid month here, and my lips didn’t know how to deal with it, I guess. That lip stain (stains are drying products, but that one seemed to be different!) turned out to be a disaster on my lips as soon as the monsoon humidity ended. They just suddenly dried out, and nothing I did could soften them. No amount of exfoliation helped. No variety of products helped.

Until I tried… and this brings me to my first favorite “little thing” on the list for October…

 

1). Nivea  A Kiss of Moisture Essential Lip Care.

 

Nivea A Kiss of Moisture Essential Lip Care

Nivea A Kiss of Moisture Essential Lip Care

 

As I was saying, nothing in my arsenal of lip care products worked when my lips dried out. Oil didn’t work. Vaseline didn’t work. The Aquaphor I traditionally use at night didn’t work. The L’Occitane lip balm I’d raved about a few months ago stopped working. The EOS balm I’d been enjoying did nothing but taste good (and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t getting any nutritional benefit from it). So I headed to the drugstore in search of something different, and I walked out with this modest little product by Nivea that’s literally the only thing that works. My lips went from extremely dry and flaky to soft and moist overnight. I have a feeling that this is going to be a favorite for life, not just for now.

 

2). Asymmetrical, geometric, metal statement necklace.

 

Wearing the necklace at Rage in the Cage.

Wearing the necklace at Rage in the Cage.

 

A former co-worker gave this necklace to me for Christmas one year, but somehow, I never wore it until October. I threw it on as we were heading out the door to Rage in the Cage, and I’ve worn it several times since then. It’s funny how our tastes change over time… something that seemed awkward to me at first now interests me with its unusual, unexpected appeal, and I love it.

Shall we move on to food?

 

3). Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

 

Roasted Brussels sprouts with quinoa

Roasted Brussels sprouts with quinoa

 

LET IT BE KNOWN that finally, after several years, I’ve discovered a way to get Callaghan to eat Brussels sprouts with genuine gusto. Brussels sprouts are way at the top my favorite foods list – I love cruciferous vegetables, particularly Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, rapini and kale – and the fact that he didn’t like them no matter what I did made things challenging. One day last month, I put them in the oven to roast. Callaghan enjoys roasted broccoli and cabbage, so I thought, why not try roasting the ol’ sprouts? And miraculously, he loves Brussels sprouts when they’re roasted! It’s simple… I just cut off the ends, remove the outer leaves, cut them in half length-wise, arrange them cut-side-up on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle them with extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle them with coarsely ground sea salt and black pepper before putting them in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes. He demolishes them and then asks for more. SUCCESS IS MINE.

 

4). Organic Honeycrisp apples.

 

Organic honeycrisp apple! Apple perfection.

Organic honeycrisp apple! Apple perfection.

 

It’s apple season, and everywhere I look in the produce section, it’s applicious abundance all over the place! My favorite kind are the Honeycrisp apples. They’re so sweet, juicy and flavorful. I have one every day. I know I need to enjoy them while they last, because they are seasonal.

 

5). Kashi Go Lean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble cereal.

 

Kashi Go Lean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble cereal

Kashi Go Lean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble cereal

 

I’m always on the prowl for protein-rich foods, so when I spotted this cereal on the store shelf, I grabbed it, read the label and brought it home to try. Plus, toasted berry crumble! I had high hopes, and it didn’t disappoint. I eat it with plain, unsweetened almond milk, and it is SO GOOD.

 

6). Clif Builder’s Snack Size protein bars in Chocolate Mint.

 

Clif Builder's Chocolate Mint Snack Size protein bar

Clif Builder’s Chocolate Mint Snack Size protein bar

 

Oh my goodness. If you’re American – and maybe even if you aren’t – you probably know what Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies taste like. Imagine a Thin Mint in the form of a substantial little bar with 10 grams of protein and only 140 calories, and it should be evident why I have to rave about these today. This nutritionally-dense little bar functions as a dessert that means business… the business of supplying me with yet more protein while tricking my taste buds into thinking they’re smacking on Thin Mints. The best part is that you don’t have to wait for Girl Scout cookie season to get them!

Now exiting food territory…

 

7). Arizona sunsets.

 

Arizona sunsets are always beautiful, but they're especially dramatic in October....

Arizona sunsets are always beautiful, but they’re especially dramatic in October….

 

In Arizona, a sunset isn’t just a sunset… it’s an Arizona sunset. The Arizona sunset is a thing, and it seems that October in the desert brings the most unforgettable sunsets of all. Pictures don’t do them justice. I think it must have to do with the cloud arrangement at this time of year. I don’t know. All I know is that every year I’m in Arizona, I take more pictures of sunsets in October than I do in any other month. They are spectacular.

Let’s finish off the list with pop culture!

 

8). Homeland, Season 4. (T.V. series).

 

HOMELAND (Season 4)

 

No spoilers here, but just allow me to say that after the season three finale, we were kind of left with our jaws on the floor, thinking, What could be the point in continuing this? We were intrigued, and we knew we wouldn’t be let down, but we had no idea how not let down we’d be. Season four is turning out to be our favorite so far, and that’s saying a lot, because Homeland is one of our all-time favorite series.  It just keeps getting better!

 

9). The Good Wife (T.V. series).

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-thegoodwife

 

Okay… how is it that we never thought to watch The Good Wife before? We started watching this masterfully written and crafted drama series in October, and it immediately sucked us into the depths of its rich and complex world. You guys, this show is on its sixth season; we’ve been binge-watching it as if there weren’t other things we needed to be doing. We’re half-way through the second season. We’re completely addicted. We’re gone. Bye. See you next year.

 

10). American Horror Story: Freak Show and Stalker (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Freak-Stalker

 

T.V. is so good right now, it’s killing me. Between the shows mentioned in this post and Modern Family, I don’t even know what’s playing in the movie theatres right now, to tell you the truth.

So, we had no idea about Stalker until last month. We started watching it at about the same time as American Horror Story: Freak Show, and we’ve continued to watch the two as a double-feature every week, back-to-back. We start with Stalker, then move on to AHS, and by the time that’s over, I’m thoroughly creeped out.

With Stalker, it’s the camera angles… the way the show is filmed helps to build a sharp, paranoid intensity in a short amount of time, and you don’t even realize you’re on the edge of your seat until it’s over. With American Horror Story: Freak Show, it was mainly Twisty the Murder Clown that did it for me… until the other clown emerged. Again, no spoilers here. Just saying. There are two evil clowns, and the fact that the new one is the scarier one to me is telling.

I’ve actually been contemplating this season of American Horror Story beyond its dark surface display of evil and gore, and I might share those thoughts here at some point… probably when the season’s over and I’ve seen the whole thing to its conclusion. (It wouldn’t be fair to draw conclusions before watching the conclusion, right?)

With that, I’m off to enjoy another crisp and gorgeous November morning. Enjoy your week!

My Experience with Juicing, or, What the Sea Witch Gave the Little Mermaid to Drink in Order to Grow Legs

Recently, we decided that it would be reasonable to invest in a juicer, so we conducted the obligatory consumer research and ordered one from Sears. Free shipping!

 

A good juicer, and we got it from Sears for a decent price.

A good juicer, and we got it from Sears for a decent price.

 

Once, in my thirties, I did the Master Cleanse for ten days, and I had no problem with it. Based on that experience, I figure I can easily do a fresh veggie juice fast four times a month; it’s a practice I wish to cultivate for detoxifying purposes (not for weight-loss). I invited Callaghan to do it with me, and he said yes, count him in! Okay, then… LET’S DO THIS.

The first time we used the juicer – last week – we double-checked to ensure that all the right parts of the machine were locked down into the right places. Despite our diligence, we somehow forgot to place a receptacle beneath the juice spout. Details! In a matter of seconds, we found ourselves in the middle of what looked like a violent crime scene, because the first thing we fed into the juicer was, of course, fresh BEETS. Also, the machine was facing backwards (which was why we forgot to check the spout), so we didn’t notice the error until the beet juice hemorrhage was well out of control.

We had to act fast. Our kitchen was the site of an unholy beet massacre; it looked like someone’s throat had been slit in the grand finale of a knife-wielding lunatic’s homicidal rampage. The beet juice spread quickly, pooling under and around things on the white kitchen counter. It splattered on the wall. It dribbled onto the floor. It went everywhere.

In a panic, we grabbed whatever we saw lying around to mop up the mess. The beet juice transferred from one thing to another, and all over us. Yikes! I thought. What if the cops happened to knock on the door at that very second for some random reason? We would have been caught literally red-handed, standing in our slasher flick movie set of a kitchen with gobs of bloody… er, beety… paper towels, a stained sponge and a smeared counter. It looked very bad. Also, somehow, there was a dirty coffee mug half-way filled with the stuff, adding to the macabre effect. I was wearing my skull t-shirt, too. We should have taken a picture.

Callaghan held up the remaining chunks of beets, and I said, “At least we have some left!”

That was Juicing, Part 1.

Juicing, Part 2 was about juicing the rest of the veggies once we worked the kinks out of our methodology.

Juicing, Part 3 was about drinking the juice.

The horror of Part 3 surpassed the horror of Part 1. The juice tasted like it came from a stagnant bog from the Pleistocene epoch, with an aftertaste of sweaty feet.

Coincidentally, my friend Beau wrote on his Facebook that day:

I juiced almost 2 pounds of kale and got a whopping 8 ounces of liquid. Due to its enticing, beautiful green color, I tried it out before mixing with my other fruits and veggies.

It tasted like a mouthful of the Gulf of Mexico……and not in a good way.

Wow, I thought as I commiserated with him in a comment on his post. What a coincidence! We’re both juicing kale today and concluding that it tastes like ass.

Later, Beau wrote:

Juice update: Mixed this…liquid…with the rest of the stuff the girl set aside for juicing. By adding several bell peppers, oranges, grapes, cucumber, lemons and a metric shitload of celery, I managed to get the taste boosted to “peppery sewage.” …….I will be revamping the recipe.

Yeah, I think the celery was one thing that killed it for me. That, and the garlic. And the cucumbers. Instead of melding into a harmonious brew, each of these flavors defiantly held their own shape and competed with each other with obnoxious force, bulldozing my tongue until it became a whimpering, limp rag in my mouth. Traumatized into oblivion, my poor taste buds spent the rest of the day engaged in a feeble battle to develop amnesia.

The juice is vile. As Beau put it, it tastes like how an exorcism feels.

But I choked down another glass for lunch.

In the middle of the afternoon, Callaghan and I stuffed organic apples into the juicer and gulped the juice like it was the elixir of the Gods. Ah! Fruit. Simple, sweet fruit.

Then I brushed my teeth and felt a little bit better, even though I still had an apocalyptic caffeine-withdrawal headache and my whole body felt hijacked from the inside out. It was like my blood had suddenly become claustrophobic and gathered itself into a frenzy to exit my pores in the most dramatic way possible, clashing against the insides of my veins like waves pounding the rocks on a stormy beach. Agitated toxins all riled up, I thought. I wasn’t hungry at all, but I felt sick. Also, I felt oddly cold and just very out-of-sorts in a particularly disconcerting way. I did not like being in my body. I fantasized about unzipping my skin and stepping out of it, leaving my miserable, toxin-riddled flesh suit in a heap on the floor.

I couldn’t understand it… since returning to the States, I’ve eaten pretty “clean” (which, for me, personally, means vegan and sans simple sugars/refined carbs, as well as nothing fried) 98% of the time, and the last time I consumed an alcoholic beverage was sometime in June, so it’s not like my body’s composed of junk and had a tidal wave of HEALTHY to reckon with upon introduction of the veggie juice. My habits are already very healthy. How could the juice be that great of a shock to my system? Nor did I remember feeling this way when I did the Master Cleanse, not even after ten days. My body doesn’t even react like this if I don’t consume anything at all for a day, for whatever reason. Also, I’d juice-fasted once or twice while we were in France, for several days at a time, and I’d felt just fine. The problem is THIS juice.

That evening, I still wasn’t hungry, but I opened the refrigerator and eyed the juice remaining in the glass pitcher. The day is almost over, I thought. I can do this. I love vegetables! How can drinking them be so different than eating them? I poured out a glass for each of us, but when I lifted mine to my mouth, my nose reacted first. The hairs in my nostrils withered, as though singed by an invisible flame. My throat tightened, and my gag reflex convulsed. My stomach curled into a ball and tried to hide. My mouth watered the way it does right before you vomit. I set the glass down.

“I can’t do this anymore. I’m done,” I said to Callaghan, who was happily drinking his second glass of juice in one sitting. (What the hell? How can he…?)

“I’m French,” he informed me, reading my mind. “So I can eat the most terrible-tasting stuff.”

I drank some water, brushed my teeth again and went to bed.

The next day, my body looked like a million bucks.