If I Had [more than] A Million Dollars…

Remember when we used to say, “If I had a million dollars…?” In 2014 in Southern California, that would buy you a modest house in a suburb, property taxes and insurance not included. Sad face.

But today’s prompt for “Blogtember” is If I won the lottery… which is a fun one assuming the winnings are more than one million dollars (I’m hoping for at least 20 million in this fantasy).

bitch I know

If I won the lottery, I’d invest. Duh. I guess that can be construed as a cheating, I’d wish for more wishes kind of answer, but no really, I’d invest at least a third of it in various stocks and bonds. Because that’s the difference between being and staying wealthy and well, just winning the lottery. If I could live off of the interest alone from investments, that would be awesome. I’d put a big ol’ chunk of that into Tesla motors, and SpaceX if it ever goes public. I’ll put my money into any Elon Musk project.

I’d also create my own LLC, make my family members partners of it, and invest in some really good commercial property(ies) with a triple net lease. That way my family would be set up comfortably, and it would be the gift that keeps on giving (rather than me just cutting everyone a check).

But I ‘m sure you’re more interested in the fun stuff, like the lifestyle I’d have living off of the investments. Where would I go, what would I do, how would I spend my time?

I would probably quit my job, or maybe teach one class for funsies. I would enroll in courses at my local community college– all sorts of impractical, fascinating courses. I’d learn sewing and carpentry. I’d take a course on financial trading along with music appreciation and the history of philosophy, all while studying Spanish. Why? Because I really love learning shit. I would be a student for the rest of my life if I could, and I guess winning the lottery would make that possible.

I’d also travel the world. That’s the great thing about being a perpetual student: long breaks between semesters, or full semesters off if I want them. I’d explore every continent. I’d take some trips to just see the sights and eat the food, and some trips to volunteer in places of need. Because you know, I’d have a nursing degree from my community college, and could also put those carpentry skills to work building homes.

I’d cut a good check to my favorite NGOs like Planned Parenthood and Habitat for Humanity– not for the tax deductions or the good karma, but just because it’s the decent thing to do.

And finally, I’d buy some really, really good wine. I’d have a wine cellar that would take even me a long time to work through.

What about you?

Helene in Between

O Is For Oh Those October Goals!

I’ve got to say, I’m not all that surprised that September is already over. It’s never been my favorite month, and for reasons I don’t want to be specific about, I’ve been waiting all too patiently for October to come.

So with all of that said, here is what I hope plan to accomplish in the month of October:

october goals

  • Lose 5 pounds. Because I am steadily trekking on towards my goal.
  • Blogging every day. I’ll be joining in the link up for Blogtober, so expect to see posts that respond to these prompts:


So I normally cringe at portmanteaus like Blogtember, BUT I like the idea of a blogging challenge and I like that the topics will prompt me to write about more personal topics.

  • Read This is How You Lose Her. I loved The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao when I read it a few years ago and I’ve heard nothing but awesome about this collection of stories.
  • To not eat any Halloween candy. This goes back to item #1. Also, I am actually not that much of a candy person. Any time I do eat a piece of candy, I don’t really receive any satisfaction, only guilt. I don’t even give out candy to trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood (I’m all about bags of popcorn), so there’s no reason for me to waste the empty calories.
  • Get in my Oktoberfest fix. The German half of me is ready for some juicy bratwurst already.

So while we’re at it, let’s check in with September’s goals:

Lose 5 pounds. Um…. accomplished….? I say this with hesitation and questions because my weight fluctuates enough that depending on the day this is both true and false. I’m calling it a success though.

Read The Arabian Nights.  I quit. See more of an explanation in this post. 

Take the 30 Day Yoga Challenge.  Yeah I failed after a few days. I tried doubling up some days to make up for skipped sessions, but by day 7 or 8 I gave up. Lame.

Be consistent with Khaleesi’s training. I wouldn’t say I succeeded or failed. We’ve been taking her to classes at Zoom Room, but with her chocolate muffin debacle and then her recovery from getting spayed taking longer than expected, she has had to miss classes. I’ve been practicing some commands with her at home, with the added challenge of getting her to focus when there are rascally kitties running around.

To not cry when K gets spayed.  I didn’t cry! I did moan and groan when she kept running into my leg with her cone of shame though. See this post for the awesome substitute for a cone.

So you win some, you lose some. I can already sense October will be a more winning month, at

Big Bear is for Dogs

The best laid schemes of mice and men… or so they say, right? This last weekend, C and I planned to head up to Big Bear Lake with our new kayak for a weekend on the lake and hiking the woods. Unfortunately, C ended up having to cancel one night because he was needed at the hospital. And then we couldn’t get all kayak sections on/in the car, with no time to find a good roof rack. Then little Khaleesi’s sutures from getting spayed became slightly infected, which meant we had to take it easy with her.

So although we were discouraged, we still packed up the car and headed up the windy mountain to enjoy what was left of the weekend.

big bear september 14 4

I am so glad that we did. Big Bear can be incredibly crowded (and expensive) in the summer and during snowboarding season. For the beginning of autumn, the town was relatively quiet, with a brisk chill in the air. It was perfect for us beach-city dwellers who don’t really see much of this fall that everyone raves about.

big bear september 14 5

Whaaaat? I never see leaves changing color!

We stayed at Hillcrest Lodge where we had the most adorable cabin. Not only did thay have a charging station for the Tesla (!), but they are also pet friendly. (BTW, if you like to travel with your dogs like we do, I highly recommend BringFido.com to find hotels, restaurants, and so on.)

big bear september 14 2

Khaleesi loved the chilly breeze and abundance of sticks and acorns. We loved that we found this Pro Collar, which replaces a cone of shame. How did we not know about these for the first week of her recovery?! These are so, so much better for us and for her.

big bear september 14 6

After settling in to our cabin, we walked down to Big Bear Mountain Brewery for a flight of beers and some sandwiches.

big bear september 14 3 big bear september 14

Once the sun went down, we tucked in to our cabin with a roaring fire and the USC game on the TV. Yeah, we watched football while on a weekend getaway. Go ahead and judge.

Sunday was perfect for a late brunch at Nottingham’s Tavern (also dog friendly) before a sun drenched walk through the woods and along the north shore of the lake.

big bear september 14 8

K loves brunch, even if she was a little sedated from her medications.

big bear september 14 7

Hehe! She has such a sense of humor!

big bear september 14 9 big bear september 14 10 big bear september 14 12 big bear september 14 11

Although we could only stay for about half of the time we originally planned, getting out of town, even if for less than 24 hours, was just what we needed.

Coffee Talk

Hello and happy Friday to you! It’s been a while since we’ve had a nice Coffee Talk around here, and I think it’s time we do something about that. So grab a cup of joe and let’s “Tawk amonst ourselves.”



For the past couple of weeks people have been all giddy about the new iPhone. Pssshhh. I’m a droid girl myself, but whatevs, I’ll let them have their fun. Unfortunately, iPhone users of the, um, male skinny jeans persuasion are discovering that their phones don’t quite agree with their choice of trousers. Apparently, the phone bends if it is in the front pocket of someone sitting down in tight pants.

Which leads me to wonder– who is at blame here? Apple for the design flaw, or the men who wear skinny jeans?

Can someone tell me what Ello is, and why I should care maybe need an invite?

When I heard this video was floating around, I feared it might be in poor taste and might make me ragey. Au contraire! It’s kind of awesome:

Oooh, can we talk about how this week we adopted to adorable kitties?! Khaleesi met them at our vet; they were rescues up for adoption, and they became buds right there in the waiting room. We couldn’t resist, and so 3 days later this brother and sister were strutting around our house like they own the place. It doesn’t hurt that they look like the cat we tried to adopt who ran away– we still feel really guilty about that. These two seem to love it here though.

The photo quality isn't great because trying to photograph 2 black cats at night is like...well, I don't think I need a metaphor for that one. It speaks for itself.

The photo quality isn’t great because trying to photograph 2 black cats at night is like…well, I don’t think I need a metaphor for that one. It speaks for itself.

Oh, and they have names:Rex and Lula.

When they play with Khaleesi, she bites their heads. Not with any pressure or anything; she just puts her mouth around their heads. Has anyone heard of/seen this before? The Google machine tells me other German Shepherds do this, but it still freaks me out when she does it. The cats don’t seem to mind. I keep finding them with wet heads and necks.

I know it’s the end of the week, but still, it’s Banned Books Week. I love taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate the freedom to read dangerous and obscene books. In fact, pretty much all of my favorite books have been banned at some time. What’s your favorite banned book?

But speaking of, remember how I was reading  The Arabian Nights? I’ve decided that I just can’t. I felt like each story was about horrific violence against women, children, and animals. I kept looking for parables in these tales, but couldn’t find any. 200 pages in and all I found was one gruesome, bizarre story after another. Maybe this is me reading it through a Western lens and not understanding the hidden beauty in the tales, and I’m okay with that. Sometimes you just have to say “nope” to a book you’ve given a fair chance to, you know?

Alright you beautiful people, I hope that you have a good weekend! Thanks for stopping by!


Healthy Fall Recipes

When it comes to fall, most chicks gush about pumpkin spiced lattes, muffins, brownies, you know, all of that good stuff that makes you thankful for bulky sweaters that hide those treats.

Unfortunately for me, fall in Southern California isn’t cold enough to wear bulky clothes, and I am determined to shed a few pounds this season instead of gaining them. So today I am sharing (re-sharing?) some of my favorite healthy, seasonal treats. I guess my rehashing of blog posts I’ve already shared reads like one of those cheesy clip show episodes on a sitcom, but…. no, that’s pretty much what this is. Anyway, I hope you like these:

Paleo-friendly Zucchini Bread



The almond flour keeps the carbs to a minimum here, and it’s lower in sugar than most recipes. This is comfort food and it’s best: tasty but it won’t expand your waistline.

Skinny Spaghetti Squash


Oh spaghetti squash, how I love you. I love tearing in to a giant bowl of it and feel as if I am pigging out, while the “spaghetti” only has 40 calories per cup!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust


I was so skeptical about this at first, but I am sold. I love how cauliflower can replace so many of my favorite carbs, but pizza dough made from veggies? Amazing!

Chai Spiced Sweet Potato Bisque


Okay, so most bisques can be a bit heavy, but with only 1/2 cup of cream for the whole recipe, it’s not too bad. And yes, sweet potatoes are full of carbs, but if I’m going to splurge, it should be on something as vitamin-rich as sweet potatoes, right? And this soup is just so flavorful!

Suddenly, skipping the cookies and lattes for something more nutritious doesn’t sound so bad, does it?!

(Linking up with Treat Yo’Self Thursday)

Oh, the Places I’ll Go…

A couple of weeks ago I shared my list of places I do not want to visit, and it was a lot of fun reading your reactions and comments. To be clear, I would go to any of those places on someone else’s dime. But here are some places that I would make sacrifices to visit:


I’ve heard it is one of the best places to go sailing in the world. I mean, look at that beautiful sea! Plus, I need to scope out King’s Landing– you know, for when my Khaleesi reclaims the throne.

Vietnam and Cambodia.

I would love to visit either, but since people often visit both in one trip, I am lumping them together. I would love see Angkor Wat, and I hear that Ho Chi Minh City it a youthful, hip city with amazing food.


I love hiking. I geek out about geology. Iceland would be the perfect place to do both. Plus, I have always wanted to see the Aurora Borealis. Iceland, I am coming for you.

Galapagos Islands.

Nerding out about evolution while sailing around and frolicking with sea turtles, sea lions, and blue footed boobies? Count me in.




Just not right now, for obvious reasons.


Again, some day; just not now for obvious reasons.


I’ve never been! It’s (I hope!) the next trip that we plan. When I feel all frowny about cutting back on carbs, I just remind myself that some day I will carbo load like a champ all over Italy, and it will be worth it.

So what about you? What’s on your travel bucket list?

(Linking up with Travel Tuesdays)

Golden Girl

Do you ever look at  those super-stylized home tours and think, her significant other had no say in any of that.  C is not that kind of guy; he would not be comfortable in a girly, style-me-pretty type of living room, and so our home will stay in neutral tones with lots of wood.

I’m perfectly happy with that, but sometimes a girl can still create a super-girly Pinterest board, right? I’ve been loving gold accents– I know I know, that’s so very original of me considering that it’s just abut all you’ll find if you look through Home Decor pins. Just the right about of gold makes a room look so elegant. The right amount is the operative phrase here. C put it best about my gold obsession when he pointed out that there’s a fine line between elegant and Shahs of Sunset tacky. Sometimes I need help finding that line, but I think that a home with any of this stuff would be on the right side of that line:


gold decorSo our home may never have these looks, at least until I create my own little girly escape. What do you think about gold– classy or tacky?

Three Fashion Books

Because an uncomfortably hot Saturday like today is best spent in the shade (or AC if you’re lucky) reading, I’ve got Catherine here to share some of her favorite fashion reads for a day like this:

Three fashion books

image via

image via

Books are doors to other universes. They open different worlds and make us understand better unknown phenomena. If you want to be a doctor, you read medicine books; if you’re into the food chain and organisms, you read biology books; if you want to become high class New York fashion photographer, you read fashion books.  Fashion books inspire people and they challenge us to have a more reflective and complex opinion about this industry. Through history and art, they give us details and structures. It’s like they’re constantly opening new doors and removing curtains and masks. So let’s talk about some really cool fashion books, every true Fashionista has to know about.

1. Vogue: The Editor’s Eye. If the “September Issue” introduced us to the world of Anna Wintour, this book invites us into the hard-working world of eight legendary fashion editors of Vogue Magazine. Fascinating interviews and wonderful photographs with an introduction that’s well documented by the signature of Hamish Bowles, all gathered as a truly sumptuous book. The Editor’s Eye shows us that regardless of the role and the position of the fashion stylist, the editor’s personality and the photographer’s creativity remain the most important ingredients that guarantee the success of one shooting session.

2. Deluxe: how luxury lost its luster (by Dana Thomas) – a well documented and well organized book that has an incredible narrative style that discusses the history of marketing, franchising and licensing for the luxury brands. Dana Thomas, a former journalist for Newsweek and The Washington Post, discusses diverse topics such as: the Chinese counterfeit products and the perfume sales, the story behind the “curtain” of LMVH or the memories of Dior boutique shopping on Avenue Montaigne. An important chapter of the book is devoted to big fashion conglomerates (LMVH and Hermes) and the changes in the luxury industry in the ’90s.

3. Alexander McQueen: The Life And The Legacy (by Judith Watt). L’enfant terrible. Genius. Hooligan. Visionary. Alexander McQueen can be described in many ways in the many books that have been written about his legendary life. Judith Watt is an expert in the history of fashion, and here he talks more about McQueen’s collections, while presenting inspirational points, personal stories and unpublished material.


Friday Funnies

Alrighty folks, it’s Friday, and you know what that means…

Time for some funnies! I hope these make you giggle too:


Me on payday:

bitch I know can't. hate you.

comic sans

cat profile pic cat touch lamp cheeseburger stabbing delorean dog with camera four star motel married katniss


Have a great weekend everyone!

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