Miss M.I.A.

Sorry guys, I have been M.I.A. pretty much the entire month of November.  The truth is, I got lazy.  That’s right I said it lazy.  The problem is, the longer I go without posting something, the less likely it is that I’ll start it up again, much like my Instagram account (I was once obsessed, but I barely ever even check out others photos on the site anymore let alone post any myself).  And, the thing is – I started this blog for a reason.  I needed an outlet and I still do, and I was seriously enjoying this, so why stop now?

I promise to nip this laziness in the bud and push past my procrastinating ways and insecurities.  I made a promise to myself that I would keep this up and now I am making this promise to you the reader (if you’re out there….reading this…).  So, now that I got that out of the way, lets talk about what has been going on this month.

1. I started my mini bathroom remodel (it’s a mini remodel for a mini bathroom)

…and by started I mean, I purchased spackle, a spackling knife and a block sander .  I had my Tom rip the towel hanger, toilet paper holder and paper towel dispenser out of the wall and I havent really done anything since…so basically my once barely functional ugly bathroom is now even less functional and even more ugly.  Tom is ready to kill me haha!

Notice the towel with no home and the “lightly used” spackle equipment….annnd the horrible pink tile YUCK!

2.I got my hair done (for the first time in 7 months!!)

since I already had a whole lot of grow out I opted for an ombre look, now that I can keep up!! It looks great and I happened to use someone new this time.  She is much closer to my house so I foresee a long happy relationship there.  I know some of you will probably be thinking ‘Ew, ombre just looks like you have terrible roots’, but in my opinion it reminds me of childhood hair (if done right) almost like a kid who played in the sun all summer long and now the sun-lightened locks are growing out and fading to your darker winter tones.  Plus, it’s super easy upkeep and I am all about that!

This is the only picture I could find that you can see my new do… but you get the idea, lighter on the bottom darker on the top

3.I started a new diet!

I have been doing a sort of Paleo type diet (AKA: the Caveman diet), meaning no grains, breads, pastas, dairy, alcohol, added sugar or artificial sugar, no fried foods and no processed foods.  I know, sounds awful – but really it’s been great, and no I havent been turned into a pod person, I am being serious!  One of the many plus sides to this diet is I have been cooking a lot more so that means a lot more delicious recipes are headed your way and all of them healthy.  And  a real plus side to this is that Tom has been eating better and of course he’s already lost 10 pounds! (…jerk)  I have lost 4 pounds so far too and it’s keeping me motivated to keep on this diet.


Since I have been on this diet, I promised myself that on Turkey Day, so long as I was diligent, I would eat what I wanted.  It was glorious!! And, this is probably the first Thanksgiving since I was a kid that I ate without guilt.  I didn’t feel like I was being bad or wrong and that was nice.  As you have, or will come to realize my relationship with food is a complicated one so being able to chow down without putting myself down felt really, really good. Plus, I got to see Toms’ side of the family this year (though I did miss my side) it was nice changing it up and seeing a different dynamic.  We also got to go to a friends holiday celebration…so really I got 2 Thanksgiving dinners (MmmmHmmm!!!). And my friend had two cats so you know I was happy stuffing my face and petting kitties 🙂

I don’t think the turkey realizes how this works….


So now that we are all caught up, I can’t wait to share all of my recipes and home projects with you!  And if you have any tips on how to push past laziness with writing a blog (or re-doing a room in your house) I’m all ears.  I could use all of the motivation I could get 🙂 And I would love to hear about your Thanksgiving diners as well…I dont like turkey but my favorite thing has got to be the stuffed mushrooms  – what is your favorite dish?

Tomato Bacon & Bean Soup

Now that the weather is cooling down (and acting like it needs psychotropic drugs…) I decided to make myself a nice hearty soup to fill my belly and warm me up.  I found a delicious looking, recipe on curbly.com that I used as my inspiration (you can find the original version here) and decided to add my own twist on things.  I don’t know about you guys, but add bacon to just about anything and I’m sold.

So, if you’re like me and you want to try a new way to make bacon…erm, I mean soup…check out my recipe below!

–       28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in thick puree

–       32 oz. low sodium chicken broth

–       2 cloves garlic

–       1 large shallot (you can use an onion, but I’m allergic)

–       1 large zucchini

–       1 can white beans

–       1 can kidney beans

–       6 strips bacon

–       S&P to taste

To prep everything, before you start you should drain and rinse both cans of beans, cut up the shallots and zucchini into uniform pieces and mince the garlic.

I decided I wanted a one-pot meal, as to keep me from having to clean anything extra so I decided to cook the bacon right in my pot before adding anything else.  Brown it until it’s nice and crispy.

I like my soup chunky so I cut my shallots and zucchini pieces pretty big, add them and the minced garlic to the bacon in the pot.  Sweat the shallots (that means cook them till they are clear) and add in the can of crushed tomatoes.  Now turn up the heat!

At this point things should be smelling pretty good in your kitchen…

Cook this down for about 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds or so.  Now add your rinsed beans and chicken broth to the mix, lower the heat to a slow simmer and add salt and pepper to taste.

Pop a top on the pot (say that 5 times fast!!) and let it do it’s thing for 30 to 45 mins and it should be ready to devour. OM NOM NOM!!!!!!!!

Let me know if you try this out! Enjoy!

Julia 🙂

Making My House a Home

All this time stuck in my house due to the hurricane, and all of the stories of friends, and friends of friends, losing their homes has made me realize that I should be taking better care of my own home (among other things…).

Currently, at Casa de Julia (and Tom) we have started by de-cluttering and dusting.  But now, I’d like to really start doing some projects around the house to make it reflect my style a bit more.  To help cultivate this style I have been pinning things on Pinterest like a mad women for the last 24 hours or so. (check out my Pinterest here if you like).  My place has great bones (and hardwood floors!), but is in serious need of a face lift but, we only have a botox budget.  So here are a few of the projects I want to do around the house to make it look fresh and new.

There are a whole lot of updates I have in mind, but these are the main things I’d like to get done, the first of which is creating a bar area in my “dining room” with a buffet table.  I really like the idea of a sixties style bar to house all our liquor and wine as well as our nice glasses and stem-ware.  Plus, it just gives such a cute and put together look if done right.

I love this bar styling guide from a fellow blogger at landofnams.com

Another project I would like to do, is fix my awful, awful bathroom.  It’s small and a hot old mess…the tiles and all of the fixtures (i.e.: sink, tub, toilet) are Pepto pink and our vanity is maroon and falling apart.  The walls have poorly filled holes and an array of other issues that need to be spackled over and sanded.  I am not a DIY type of gal, although I’d love to be, but in this case due to my lack of funds I really have no other way of getting it done by anyone but myself.  So I came up with a few ideas I want to try; since I can’t afford to gut or really change much in the bathroom, I am going to focus on what can be done.

Bathroom issue #1: Replace the vanity.  I’d like something a but more modern, with some wood and metal accents and in an ideal design I could find a way to fit our kitty litter box under/in it so that I can work on my 3rd project which I’ll explain below.

Bathroom issue #2: Fix the walls – I plan on spackling and sanding away all of the (many) imperfections our walls have and then adding a fresh coat of paint.  The main design aspect of this would be the paint…since I can’t change out the pink I’m thinking that should actually tie it in.  My idea is to add a horizontally striped wall with pink, light grey and white stripes in different sizes….maybe if I’m feeling extra saucy I’ll do it in chevron stripes, yowza.  Anyway, I think it would add a modern and playful touch.

Kind of like this but with pink, white and grey.

The third big-ish project in my house that I would like to start working on is our spare bedroom.  Currently, it’s a storage/closet/jewelry vanity/treadmill/cat litter room that still has a Pooh Bear border from wayyy before we moved in and really ugly grey carpeting.  We just finished cleaning it out and now I’d like to turn it into a nice office type space where I can get ready in the morning – and I want the kitty litter OUT.  I refuse to put any of my makeup in that room because I don’t want to chance getting pink eye.  I constantly have to dust my perfume bottles because they are always getting covered with litter dust – gross!  I am not really sure what I want to do in there just yet, but my mind is working overtime to figure it out (thank goodness for Pinterest ha!).

Lastly, I want to spruce up our insanely outdated kitchen (we have a canary yellow oven and stovetop…ek!).  I’d like rip the entire kitchen out and start over again but I have resigned to painting the cabinets and adding some modern hardware to the doors as well as pulling up our hideous green and white vinyl tiles and adding something in a neutral tone that resembles stone or ceramic tile.  Also, if we can find something affordable I would LOVE to change out our marble patterned formica countertop/backsplash with something a little nicer and more stylish but, we’ll see.

I found this nifty guide to painting my own kitchen cabinets over at diy-guides.com

I’ll keep you guys updated on these projects as I start doing them and I’ll post some before and after pics as well.  Ah! I can’t wait to get started! 🙂

The Storm

As the sky darkened and the wind picked up on Sunday morning, I was headed to brunch with my boyfriend and a few friends.  No one realized what the next few days would hold for our city, and everyone in the surrounding areas that would be affected by this storm.

I actually joked about the moniker the media had given the large storm barreling toward us.  “Frankenstorm” they said, and it made me feel like they (the media) must have been having a field day with this.  It made it seem like a joke, I mean how can I take something called Frankenstorm seriously?

Hours later, sitting in the darkness with only the faint glow of a few candles, all I could hear were sirens and the wind whipping the trees outside my house.   Our power was out and the only connection to the outside world was Facebook, where I was reading horrifying things about the neighborhoods in surrounding areas.  Anxiety filled me as I worried about all of the people who I know and care about.  The air smelled of fire and I read that Breezy Point was flooded and burning.  People in southern Staten Island were fleeing their homes as the surge washed away homes, cars and sadly people, though I didn’t find that out until the next day.  So many neighborhoods and people have been affected.

It ripped houses from their foundations and trees from their roots.  The path of devastation that Sandy has caused is absolutely heart wrenching.

I can say that I am lucky.  Me, my family and most of my close friends were left relativity undamaged.  Yes, we were without power for a few days, but that is barely a worry when some of our neighbors have nothing left.  Lives were lost.  Homes were irreparably damaged.  Cars floated away.  Entire neighborhoods destroyed by flooding and fires.  One of the largest cities in the world was left at a stand still.  And yet once again, we are still standing.

New Yorkers are nothing if not strong.

There are so many people who now need help and support so please be sure to lend a helping hand where you can.  Donations are being set up all over to help the people who lost their homes and/or belongings.  Please make sure to keep everyone here in NY and NJ in you thoughts and prayers as we piece together what we have lost.

If you have been personally affected by this storm and are in the need of assistance, please go to these websites to file a claim:



For donations or to volunteer please use the info below:


NYC Mayor’s Office:https://twitter.com/NYCMayorsOffice/status/263293376592502784

New Jersey relief:

Contact: 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397) or 609-775-5236 and 908-303-0471


Community Food Bank of New Jerseyhttp://www.njfoodbank.org/

Contact: (908) 355- FOOD (3663), ext. 243

NYC Mayor’s Fundhttps://www.nyc.gov/html/fund/html/donate/donate.shtml

American Red Cross:http://www.redcross.org/

Contact: 1-800-RED-CROSS or 1-800-733-2767

Texting: REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10

Food Bank for New York City:http://www.foodbanknyc.org/ 

Texting: FBNYC to 50555

Habitat for Humanityhttp://www.habitat.org/

Contact: 1-800-HABITAT (422-4828)

Humane Society of the United Stateshttp://www.americanhumane.org/about-us/donate/

Contact: 866-242-1877

Texting: HUMANE to 80888