I picked up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo this weekend at Barnes and Nobles on a whim.  I had heard about her KonMari method of cleaning and organizing but reading someone else summary hadn’t moved me into the cleaning frenzy I was trying to gear up to.  Well, after reading the small book in one night and a bath I can officially declare myself a convert.  So far I have tackled my clothes and I am officially in love with my closet.  Not that my closet has changed it’s structure from its crooked broom handle rod suspended from the ceiling and Ikea dresser.  It’s the same physical structure, it just is now filled with items that I love and inspire me. It’s also  seen a drastic cleanse by getting rid of 5 large trashbags filled with clothes that have served their purpose with me and are being donated, and will hopefully go to good homes were they can have long lives of being cherished.


Long Time Coming

So it’s been awhile since I blogged….like 5 months (cue sheepish grin). Things got a little complicated, then they got hectic, and then I just got plain ol’ lazy. I started a new job last April- I’m a preschool teacher now- and the new job plus the old babysitting gig left me with little time to think or sleep let alone exercise or write about exercising. I fell off my running bandwagon as the temperatures rose in May and I only got back on a handful of times. My non-running and lack of energy left me feeling depressed and hopeless about my body. In addition, I was plagued all summer long with shoulder pain that would trigger migraines whenever I worked out with my trainer. I finally decided that I should see an acupuncturist and thank god I did!!

Dr. Mitra listened to my symptoms when every other western medicine doctor I’ve been to rolled their eyes. My GP didn’t know what to do about my shoulder pain, fatigue, weight gain, and gastrointestinal problems- to her they were unrelated and meaningless. Not so for my acupuncturist! Right away she said that they all have to do with the liver- even the shoulder pain can be attributed to a depleted liver because it causes tension and a general sense of over-exertion. Other than going in for weekly sessions, Dr. Mitra also asked me to do a couple of unconventional things. Firstly- stop working out with my trainer. Stop running. She said the only exercises I should do are ones that are zero impact like swimming. Since there isn’t a pool around I found another form of a no-impact workout- Cardio Barre. I am LOVING it!! My only issue with it is finding time to get to a class. Last week I went twice, but this week I haven’t had a weeknight free so I will have to go over the weekend. In addition to my low-impact workouts, she told me to start eating meat and to avoid cold foods. The meat thing is a lot easier than the cold- I mean it’s 95 degrees here!! I’ve cheated a few times for Rita’s Italian Ice…. Even with my cheating, I’m noticing a huge difference. My energy is way up. I’ve had zero signs of gastro issues, and my shoulder pain has been dormant except for one or two headaches in the past 5 weeks.

All hail the acupuncture!!!

J is for Junk Food Cleanse

I was listening to NPR the other day as I was driving to work and I heard a report about our country’s addiction to sugar. I wasn’t surprised to hear that americans have a sweet tooth and that they eat too much junk food. I was congratulating myself in my head for not drinking soda when I heard the main reporter say that women should only have 20 grams or 5 teaspoons of sugar per day! She went on to describe her dismay when she realized the yogurt she had for breakfast had 9 grams of sugar, leaving her only 11 grams for the entire rest of the day. Hearing the recommended sugar intake was a definite wake-up call for me. It’s easy to go way over the designated amount if you aren’t paying attention to the non-dessert food’s sugar and then eating something sweet on top of it.

For the past week I’ve been trying to look at the labels of everything from my granola bar to frozen organic amy’s bowl with a ginger dressing. On top of that I’ve been buying coconut bliss bars instead of ice cream. Not only are they healthier since it is coconut milk instead of dairy, but they are low-glycemic because it is sweetened with agave instead of sugar. Plus they are frickin delicious. I’m already feeling a lot healthier, and lighter even those it’s only been a few days. It’s probably all in my head, but that’s okay. I’m okay if it’s just the absence of sugar crashes that is making me happier.

xoxo- Big sis

ps- the sugar I’m referring to is ADDED sugar, not natural. So don’t be a dum dum and swear off fruit and sweet potatoes because they have sugar. Those are good for you!

H is for Honest Company


Just a glimpse at some of the Honest products I use

Just a glimpse at some of the Honest products I use

My husband is allergic to a lot of things. All dairy products, nuts, salmon, coconut, and poppy seeds. Obviously finding recipes to cook can be a challenge at times but I knew that going in. What I didn’t expect was how hard it would be to find toiletry products that would work for both of us. If something was too floral smelling, I’d get allergies, but if something had coconut or almond oil for moisture, he couldn’t have it.

At the same time, we have both become more conscious of the terrible chemicals that are being put in everything from shampoo to laundry detergent. Somewhere around my third attempt at finding a detergent that didn’t make either of us itch I found The Honest Company. All of their products are non-toxic, hypoallergenic and organic. The best part is you don’t even have to go to the store to buy them. The Honest Company ships to your doorstep in discounted bundles.

My favorite products are the hand soaps, the laundry detergent, and their body lotion. I can’t wait for the day when they make face wash, face cream, and makeup because I will never have to go to a drugstore again!!

To start your journey to an “Honest” home today click here The Honest Company!

xoxo Big Sis

ps- again, not a paid endorsement. I just like their stuff!

G is for Green Bean Casserole

For most of college I was vegetarian.  I ate no meat, no fish, instead eating a tons of beans, veggie, cheese, and grains.  After a diet of mostly grilled cheese and iceberg lettuce during the summer between my sophomore and junior year, while my family and I were traveling through the Rocky Mountains and vegetarian options were limited, I arrived home with a renewed passion for food and made the leap to being vegan.  As Thanksgiving rolled around, my family of 5 had 2 vegans and 1 pescatarian, my brother and I decided to take on making a vegan thanksgiving.  The turkey loaf left much to be desired.  But the vegan green bean casserole that I made was absolutely delicious, that now that none of us are still strict vegans, and I am no longer even vegetarian, this one has stood the test of time.

So Delicious Vegan Green Bean Casserole


  • 1/3 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium sized white onion
  • 1 lb of button mushrooms
  • a handful of more flavorful mushrooms- portobello, shitake, oyster (optional if you desire a more mushroom-y tasting dish)
  • 2 tbsp oil of your choice (I used coconut, but you can use olive or vegetable)
  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans
  • 1 3 ounce can French-fried onions
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 ° F


  1. Beans: Bring the water to boil in a large pot. While it’s heating, cut up the beans into fork size pieces and rinse well. image_1Salt the water and beans to the boiling water.  Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the beans are al dente. Drain beans in a colander, and then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Let them drain in the colander, shaking every now and then to get off all the water.



  1. Sauce: Mince garlic and dice onion.  Saute in large saute pan or wok with 2 tbs oil of your choice over medium heat until onions begin to turn transparent- about 4-5minutes.  image_8
  2. Dice mushrooms and add to saute pan. Lower to medium-low heat. Cook for an additional 5-8 minutes until mushrooms have softened.image_13
  3. Remove 3/4 of the mushrooms/onion/garlic mixture and set aside.
  4. Melt 1/3 cup of vegan margarine into remaining mushroom/onion/garlic mixture in the pan over low heat.image_14
  5. Add 1/4 cup of flour slowly, mixing constantly so it doesn’t clump. Keep stirring for several minutes until the sauce thickens.  (hint: you are making a bit of a roux here, it is done when it stops smelling of paste and starts to smell like a baked good)image_15
  6. Add in 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth, stir to combine.  image_18
  7. Add 1 tbsp of soy sauce.                                         image_24
  8. Fold in the remaining mixture of mushrooms/onions/garlic that you had set aside.image_27
  9. Combine with green beans in a large casserole dish.image_29
  10. Bake in oven at 350°F for 10 minutes
  11. Add crispy onions on top and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until onions on top have become slightly browned.


Bon Appetit!

-xoxo Lil Sis

Originally adapted from Jolinda Hackett’s Vegan Green Bean Casserole from about.com.

F is for Face!

F is for Face!

I’ve always had pretty finicky skin so I am pretty particular about what I put on my face. In the past I’ve had to struggle with dry skin if I didn’t moisturize or breakouts if I did because all of the conventional products out there were either too heavy or irritating to my face.

Recently, I’ve started to notice the aging process kicking in and I finally decided that I need to figure out a way to moisturize properly if I don’t want to look wrinkly soon. Luckily, I found the “Nuance” line at CVS. They have a ton of products that are all naturally based and great for sensitive skin. I started with the foaming face wash (which I loved!) and moved to this cream cleanser for the winter months (LA is sooo dry lately). I also use their super cream and eye cream. So far, so good! no breakouts! Smooth and hydrated skin! Thanks Salma Hayek!

xoxo Big Sis

ps- this is not a paid endorsement. This is just what my face likes🙂

D is for Mucinex D aka the devil!

I started getting allergies when I was in high school. Every year, like clockwork I would start sneezing just in time for finals. They have gotten progressively worse as I have aged, but until this year they stuck to a fairly regular schedule. The only change was when I moved to LA the “season” extended from May and June to March through July.

This year however, after a reprieve in August and September, the runny nose, sneezing and itchy throat and eyes started up again and it hasn’t quit since. I was on Zyrtec for a while until that no longer seemed to be working for me. I finally decided to stop living in agony for 4 hours each morning and schedule an appointment with an allergist to get tested. I am eager to find out what has been causing such terrible symptoms. The appointment is set for this coming monday and until then I am supposed to avoid taking antihistamines.

After a few days without Benedryl my ears started to hurt, so I decided to go to an urgent care facility to double check that it was just allergies and not an ear infection as well. Sure enough, it was just allergies. The doctor said that the congestion was just so bad that it caused my ears to block up as well. Since she couldn’t give me anti-histamines she prescribed Mucinex D to help decongest my head and ears in the meantime. She said, “This is really good stuff. Take it every 12 hours and you should feel a lot better.”

I was dubious since my main problem is all the sneezing and snot. To my surprise, not only did my ears clear up, but I had zero allergy symptoms the following day and night. However, I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t realize that it was giving me anxiety until last night when I woke up at 3 am and couldn’t fall back asleep…EVER.  Somewhere around 5:30 and in between the tossing and turning, worrying that my dog had fleas (she didn’t), and solving two crossword puzzles in bed I thought to look up the side effects of Mucinex D online. Sure enough- Panic Attacks, restlessness, and insomnia were at the top of the list. I only had to wait another 6 hours for it to start to wear off. It’s been almost 24 hrs since my last does and I still feel a little jittery despite 2 cups of chamomile tea (currently brewing my 3rd). 

Wish me luck, or rather, wish me relaxation and a good nights sleep!

xoxo- Big Sis

C is for Comedy

I could definitely use a little more laughter in my life.  Living in New York City, I fell a little guilty that I don’t take as much advantage of the incredible opportunities that my city offers.  It is a rare occasion that I play tourist and see the sites.  I try to make it to the museums and art galleries as often as possible, but either life gets in the way or that 45 minute subway ride there and back is just too daunting. New York is also home to some of the best performing arts.  It is a mecca for musical theater, straight theater, dance and music, but I make it to those shows even less than I make it to see art.

Earlier tonight I ventured to the tourist attraction that is Times Square to attend a show with my mom, aunt, and a friend of my mom.  Normally I avoid Times Square like the plague because it seems that once there, everyone forgets how to walk or cross a street, but I am so happy I did.   We went to see a two-person show in a small theater on the 4th floor of a building on 42nd st and 9th ave.  The show was non-stop laughter and showcased the actors talents (they played 32 characters in total) as well as endurance for running a 75 minute show that was non-stop.  While all of the characters were funny, I was surprised that they were also able to remain honest in such a fast-paced show.  I cannot recommend “Craving for Travel” enough.  If you are in New York go see it!

Inspired by the great night I had, I am committing to getting out and seeing more of what my New York City has to offer and laughing more!

(ps. This is not a paid endorsement, all opinions are my own)