Friday, November 30, 2012

cranberry, rosemary goat cheese and turkey sandwich

I lurve goat cheese. 

Like eat it on everything all the time love.

I may have cooked a 14 pound turkey last week for 4 people, hehehe. 

I don't like food going to waste so I was in search of a ways to use our bucket o'turkey. 

I also didn't feel like spending a lot of time cooking after spending hours cooking on Thanksgiving. Enter this simple yet heavenly sandwich. 

I spread rosemary goat cheese on both sides of the french bread. {you could use regular goat cheese, I had rosemary goat cheese in the fridge and it seemed very fitting to go with my thanksgiving turkey}. 

I then broke up a few pieces of turkey, a mix of dark and white meat, laid them over the goat cheese and topped it with left over cranberry, orange and apricot compote. 

If I wanted to spend an extra few minutes in the kitchen I could have turned this into a panini. Which would have been amazing with a bowl of yummy soup. 

Cranberry Compote Recipe{from Nov 17, 2011 issue of Woman's Day Magazine}: 

-2 naval oranges 
-16oz cranberries {fresh or frozen}
-2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup apricot preserves

1. zest 2 tbsp from one orange {i think it took me part of the 2nd orange} into a medium sauce pan. Juice both oranges into the sauce pan {equals about 1 cup}.

2. Add the cranberries, sugar and preserves and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens, 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

finding natural, non-toxic & eco friendly products {for your home & skin}

Over the last year I have been searching for products that are non-toxic and eco friendly, because let's face it, if I can be a bit more environmentally friendly why not.

Enter The Honest Company, they have cleaning supplies, personal care and all things baby related. Added bonus you order and they deliver directly to your doorstep! That means one less outing for you.

I try to do my part to help make this world a better place. Simple things like recycling, using compact florescent lights, conserving water when possible, turning lights off when I leave the room. Nothing crazy, but these little things are easy and simple. 

As I have gotten older I have become more conscious of the products I use on my skin.   Having lived near Los Angeles for many years and now living in an industrial friendly city again I am super aware of how the air outside can affect your skin etc.  I can't always control what my skin is going to encounter outside on a run or other daily activities, so I think it super important to be more aware of what you do decide to use on your skin in your home.

In the last year I have started to read labels more closely, and trying to only use products that have natural ingredients  and are non-toxic.  Things like laundry detergent and cleaning supplies are something I have become more picky about. Cleaning supplies in the kitchen have really important to me. I am cleaning dishes and surfaces that my food touches before I eat it.

The Honest Co. laundry detergents says right on the bottle "specially designed to be the most effective laundry detergent without using chemicals that can harm fabrics, irritate your families skin, and our ecosystems." This makes it almost impossible for me not to love it.

The Honest Company was started by a mom and a dad who, like many modern parents, were increasingly worried about products made with questionable chemical ingredients. But the alternatives they found were often expensive, inaccessible, bland, or ineffective. In response to this clear need for something better, they created The Honest Company to ensure that parents (or anyone for that matter!) could easily find natural and non-toxic eco-friendly products that are beautiful, effective, and affordable. From customized product bundles to diapers and wipes to an ever-expanding line of cleaning and personal care products, you can find everything you need at and have it delivered directly to your front door.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Honest Company. The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Party Attire: Glitter and Gold {what to wear this holiday season}

I love the holiday season. 

I love getting dressed up.

I love wearing anything with a sparkle or shimmer in it. 

Last week I was in search of an outfit to wear on Thanksgiving, something that would be comfortable enough to cook a feast in {don't worry I wore a cute anthro apron} and yet still be festive. 

I ended up pulling this look together out of my closet.

necklace: Francesca's // chambray top: Forever21 {similar} // sweater: GAP // skirt {similar} and tights: Target // belt: TJMaxx {came with a top} // Flower on belt: Whippycake // boots: Nine West outlet {similar}

I am completely obsessed with wearing my chambray shirt with EVERY.THING. I layered it under this gold scalloped edged sweater to add a bit of casualness to the outfit. 

I love this jacquard skirt, the cream and gold colors scream holiday to me. 

The dark eggplant tights add a bit of color and warmth. 

I added a belt around my waist to give the look more of a put together look {and show off my waist, hehe}. Clipping on the Whippycake flower added another pop of color. 

Since both the tights and whippycake had jewel tone colors I opted for a jewel tone necklace I got last spring at Francesca's for $6! 

I opted to wear my other obession with this outfit, my flat cognac boots. I literally want to wear this babies every single day! I think along with the chambray shirt this outfit wasn't too dressy for our Thanksgiving meal at home. 

This would also be a perfect ensemble to wear to a cocktail party at a friends house for the holidays or date night with the hubs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

another way to help my purpose project: buy a livefashionABLE scarf {the knitting project}

You guys, I cannot believe it. On Saturday night, a whole 6 days before the end of the month I reached my goal for my purpose project.

I seriously cannot even find the words to describe to you how happy my heart is. I was so scared to do this purpose project because I was afraid I was going to fail and not meet the goal.  I quickly realized even if I didn’t reach my goal I would not have failed. Any money I raised was going to help a woman have a chance at living her life without prostitution. A chance to feel like she has purpose here on earth and is proud of what she does. 

I can't even begin to describe to you how this project moved my heart. There are still a few more days left in the month of November, so there are still a few more days for you to donate if your heart is leading you to support this cause. 
Since my goal has been reached I want to introduce another way for your to help support Mocha Club and the women they are able to help rehabilitate. Purchase a scarf from livefashionABLE

Your purchase of a fashionABLE scarf creates sustainable business for women in Africa.  Our commitment as a non-profit is to the development of people — fashionABLE works with women who have been exploited due to the effects of poverty.  So, when you purchase a scarf you are providing jobs, and then we send the net profits back to holistically rehabilitate more women. This is the beauty of non-profit…. -livefashionABLE website

These scarves would make a wonderful Christmast gift this holiday season. You would be giving someone a beautiful handmade scarf and you'd also be supporting a woman in Ethiopia as well as help rehabilitate more women. I can't think of a better gift to give. 

scarf: livefashionABLE // necklace: H&M {similar} // blazer: miley cyrus for walmart {from my sis} // t-shirt: Navy Exchange // skinnies: Forever21 {from my sis} // shoes: converse, chuck taylors // hair ties: peas and carrots  // turquoise bracelet: {via my LoveClub box} HorseFeathers  // knit bow ring: {via my LoveClub box} handmade escapade

You can purchase a scarf by clicking on the photo below. There are so many beautiful scarves made by so many beautiful, strong, corageous and resilient women.

Meet Etanesh, her story shows how wonderful Mocha Club and livefashionABLE is.

“I moved to the city to live with my uncle and go to a better school, but he died and left me by myself. I got into prostitution because I was all alone and had no money. Everything was dark. I was abused and wanted to die, and prayed for God to take me out of this life. // I’ve never looked back at leaving because I am so happy now. I have found motivation to have my own business one day, and I want my son to grow and be in a good place. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me get this point” -livefashionABLE website 

Now that my goal has been reached I need to sign up for my knitting class! If you knit was is your favorite item to make? 

Also, if you do happen to buy a scarf{scarves} forward me your reciept and I will send you some goodies in the mail as well {rellasbellasATgmailDOTcom}.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

thankful and blessed

wow, last week just kind of flew by with out getting a blogpost up. sometimes life happens and the blog comes second, or third, or fourth or last, hehe. 

so much to be thankful for this year:

i am thankful for my husband who puts up with my craziness

i am thankful for friends who send "mixtape" CDs and when it arrives on the day I am feeling super homesick

i am thankful to have my sister, brother-in-law and nephew close by to spend holidays and other fun days with

i am thankful for friends who text me when their son goes poop in the potty, but love it more when then send me texts saying that he pooped in his pants in the car at swim practice. i am thankful for this because it makes me happy to know even though we are 3000 miles away we can still share lifes little moments together

i am thankful for my parents who watched Khloe for us during the summer while they had a full house

i am thankful for a family who is always willing to help in any way they can

i am thankful for online friends who turn into real life friends

i am thankful for this gal who prayed for me all summer during my crazy cross country move and life changing events

i am thankful we have a beautiful house and food on the table every day

i am thankful for a God who loves me because of my flaws 

i am thankful that every day is a chance to start fresh

i am thankful for new friends in Virginia 

i am thankful for friends who have been around since middle school and will be around when it comes time to pick out old people homes

i am thankful for military friends turned family, they make military life so much easier to deal with

i am thankful for reaching my purpose project goal to raise $400!! {more on this later this week}


Friday, November 16, 2012

coffee date friday: how my purpose project is changing my heart

Happy Friday Friends!

It's coffee date Friday and I did record a vlog this week, woop woop!

update: ugh, the video is kinda wonky. You can totally hear me but the actual video looks fuzzy. Sorry friends, just listen and pretend I don't look silly. wink wink

More info here, here and here about my purpose project with Mocha Club

I'd love to know your plans for Thanksgiving and also what do you think should be my first knitting project?? 

linking up with alissa

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the knitting project update {donate and get a thank you gift} & an equestrian inspired look

God has been so good. It's Tuesday evening and today there have been $150 in donations, in one day.


A dear sweet friend of mine donate $100 from her company. I was so happy and overwhelmed with love I cried for a good 10 minutes. I cried because I could feel God working in my heart and showing me how good it feels to give to others.

I want to give a bit more. The next 5 people who donate $15 or $25 will get a fun thank you from me. Donate $15 and pick one pair of these earrings, either the chevron or mustard. Donate $25 or more and you will get both pairs!

All you have to do is forward me the email {or take a screen shot of it}showing me how much you donated and include your address.{email me at rellasbellasATgmailDOTcom}

I am so beyond thrilled that we are just about halfway through the month and we have already reached and surpassed the halfway mark to our goal of raising $400 to bring one woman in Ethiopia out of prostitution. 

WE are at $221! Only $179 left to reach our goal! 

$400 will completely rehabilitate and transform one woman's life. It will give her the skills necessary to find a job that she can be proud of.  The “Women At Risk” program provides spiritual, emotional, and psychological counseling and helps them find alternate means of income to support themselves and their children.-Mocha Club Website

I spent most of today cleaning out and unpacking the last room in our house. I was so overwhelmed with all the random items we had left to unpack. I was so embarrassed to look around at all the stuff we have and yet there are days I find myself wanting more.

Doing this purpose project with Mocha Club is giving me a lot of perspective. I find myself looking at things differently. I can feel God working in my heart. I can feel him showing me what is truly important and reminding me to be thankful for all that I have.

jacket: the limited // sweater: the limited // button up: forever 21 // skinny jeans: paige denim, thrifted // boots: nine west // belt: tjmaxx {came with a top} // flower clip: whippycake // necklace: carolineg

There are so many simple things I take for granted. Going grocery shopping whenever we need food. Turning on the heat when it gets "too cold". Since we just moved to Norfolk and are finally getting settled in I am starting to look for full time work. The other day I was looking online and got a bit frustrated because I didn't really know where to start. Then I felt ridiculously foolish.  I was getting upset because I had so many jobs to search through. I can only imagine how a woman in Ethiopia would jump at the chance to have options.  More importantly to not have her only option be a life of prostitution to provide for her family and survive.

You can read more about my purpose project here and here

pleated poppy

Monday, November 12, 2012

pizza, long walks, a birthday and legit mexican food {a great weekend at home}

This weekend was very relaxing and after a week of meetings, conference calls and lots of stuff going on with Scott's work it was exactly what we needed.

On Friday afternoon I texted Scott to see what time he planned to be home from work because I was starving. He replied back with a time and then "Cogan's". Cogan's is our favorite pizza place here in Norfolk. I couldn't reply back fast enough! Pizza and beer with my loved sounded perfect!

We decided to order a pitcher of beer with our pizza. Best decision ever! We spent Friday night catching up on our week, laughing, and stuffing our face. 

We woke up early Saturday morning, brewed some coffee and headed out for a walk around the neighborhood. {I couldn't find my to go cup so I used a Starbucks cup from Thursday nights tea, hehe}

This is a picture about a block from our house. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love where we live. I love the that we are less than 2 miles from downtown, we live close to this gorgeous water, and our street is so quiet. You feel like you are out in the country when you sit on the front porch.

After our long walk we decided to jump in the car and grab breakfast to bring back home. We enjoyed our DD treats on the front porch.

Sunday morning we took the birthday girl on another long walk. She loves exploring the area. With all the squirrels around here she is in heaven trying to catch them.

Fall in Virginia is gorgeous. All the tree changing colors blows my mind. You do not get this in California. The colors are so bold and vibrant. 

Yesterday I was feeling a bit homesick for California. After Scott got home from an afternoon of football watching at a friends house we decided to try a local Mexican restaurant for dinner. Being from San Diego the best Mexican food is found at hole in the wall places. Yelp reviews said this one was legit. I have to agree, this place did remind me of home. The salsa wasn't what I was used to but the food was good, the place was a hole in the wall mom & pop shop. It was perfect!

I didn't open Gretchen {the Mac} once this weekend and it felt great. I didn't plan on taking a break from computer time, it just kind of worked out that way. God has wonderful way of giving you just what you need. 

How was your weekend? Fabulous I hope! 

P.S. Have you heard about my purpose project?{click on the image for more info}

Thursday, November 8, 2012

my challenge to you: invest in your community {speak with actions and not words}

If you are friends with me on Facebook {this is not an invitation to add my personal fb, page, I just know many of my family and friends read my blog} then you saw my comments the day after the election. 

I went to bed soon after midnight on Tuesday night when it was announced President Obama had been elected for another 4 years. 

I woke up to so many Facebook posts about how the world was ending, people were moving to Canada {insert any country}, bashing our re-elected commander in chief and just saying nasty things. It made my heart hurt. I try not to talk too much about politics, I promise you will never guess what political party I stand with.  You will never guess because I don't side with either party, I think we need both sides to co-exist, but that is another post for another day. It does not matter to me who won or lost on Tuesday, the bigger issue I have is the way we as Americans are handling it. 

Here is one of my post election Facebook posts:

"here is an idea: take all the time you spent on facebook/twitter over the last few months talking politics{or liking 100s of stupid posts}, count it up and spend that much time in 2013 on your community. If you aren't happy with the outcome you should start by making changes in your home, then your community, then your city, state etc. If you are happy Obama won use the time to try and bring our nation together. Again, your actions speak louder than your words {or silly facebook posts}"

Everyone wants to rant and rave about what they hate, but how often do we try and change it? I am not someone to sit on the side lines. If I see something that bothers me I try to change it. Do I think I am going to wake up tomorrow and run for president, no. But I know I can make a difference in my community. 

I challenge you to make a goal for 2013: spend more time investing in your community. Decide on how much time, maybe an hour a week, an hour a month, anything. But commit to doing something that will make the community you live in a better place. I urge you to go one step further. Do something beyond your normal community. I volunteer a lot with the military community, one of my goals for 2013 is to volunteer with my local community here in Norfolk. So, if you have kids I urge you to go beyond just volunteering at their school. Maybe spend one afternoon a month at the local soup kitchen with your family, giving back your time. 

There are so many things we as a nation can change, but we have to start at home.  We have to get out there and lead by example. We have to remember our actions speak volumes louder than our words do. 

As our next generation grows up with all of these social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter we cannot let them think by simply posting about why we dislike something change will happen. Change only happens with action. We live in a country where we can disagree, and if we dislike something we can work to change it. We need to stop complaining and be the change. 

this was my alternative post title: "stop complaining and take action {or why democrats and republicans made me angry}" lol

linking up with alissa 


rella's recipes: garlic noodles

- 8oz. whole wheat angel hair pasta
- 7 cloves minced garlic {i love garlic so you can do 3-4 cloves}
- 4 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 green pepper
- 1 cup mushrooms

STEP 1: In a large pot, bring water to a boil to cook the pasta according to directions

STEP 2: chop green pepper and mushrooms. Sauté in skillet. 

STEP 3: While the pasta cooks and veggies cook, mince the garlic.

STEP 4:  Remove sautéed veggies. Melt the butter in skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and bubbly, add garlic. Cook until soft but be sure the garlic does not turn brown or burn. 

STEP 5: mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. 

STEP 6: Drain pasta and add to skillet, add soy sauce mixture and toss. Add veggies and toss once more. 

I made chicken to add some protein to our meal. 

Easy spicy soy sauce to add more flavor: 

1/4 of a cup of light soy sauce:  add sriracha sauce{we call it rooster sauce} and spicy dijon mustard until you get your desired level of spiciness. If it gets too hot just add a bit more soy sauce. 

my recipe was tweaked from this recipe

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Knitting Project {meet bezuayhu}

It’s the middle of the afternoon and I’m balling in the corner of my local starbucks. I am reminded just how much I take for granted and how blessed my life truly is. I spent the last 30 minutes trying to find the best video that would capture how much this purpose project means to mean. When this video started and tears began to roll down my face I knew this was the one:

Last week I shared with all my lovely readers, friends and family about the knitting project.

My goal to raise $400 and learn how to knit.

I left Influence conference last month and the ministry of Mocha Club kept weighing on my heart. I feel like we as women spend so much time worrying about things like having the newest shoes, perfect haircut, a home that looks like it could be in the latest issue of Martha Steward Living. We often times forget how great we have it. I find myself catching myself a lot lately complaining about things that are just so silly. Getting upset because I am stuck in traffic; annoyed the plumber was 3 hours late. God is reminding me of how lucky I am. How blessed I am to not have to worry about the things these brave women in Ethiopia encounter every day.

scarf: livefashionABLE // sweater & maxi skirt: target // stripped tee: forever21 // shoes: converse "chucks" // clutch: sew caroline

My goal for the month of November is to raise $400. $400 rehabilitates one woman from the sex industry in Ethiopia. By  raising $400 WE can give a woman the opportunity to live a better life and no longer allow prostitution to her means to survival. 

How $400 will change one woman's life: 

Basics of what women receives through Women at Risk:
•Rehabilitation from desperate circumstances
•Counseling to redeem deep emotional and physical trauma
•Hope through skills training and job opportunity
•Restoration, dignity, and a new life!

Details of what they receive:
• Individual and group counseling 
• A 12 Steps addiction recovery program 
• Pre-& post-HIV counseling and testing 
• Daily devotion and bible studies 
• Skills training and job placement services 
• Day care services 
• Tuition and schooling material for children’s education and many more programs that address the unique needs of the rehabilitating woman and her children 

Bezuayhu made the scarf I am wearing above. Once a woman is rehabilited from the sex slave industry the second part of Mocha Club is livefashionABLE. These woman who are given a second chance can make a living making scarves instead of prostitution.

This is Bezuayhu's story:

“I am now 19 years old. My parents had passed away and I used to live with my aunts and grandparents. They always wanted me to work and not to go to school. So, I came to the city, and there I came to this life of prostitution. // Now, it feels so good to get up in the morning and say I am going to work. It feels so good to have a scarf named after me. I’m so proud to be called a scarf maker.”

I am praying as you watched today's video or read my post from last week  you will want to help. Whether it be to share this post with your family and friends on Facebook and twitter, or to donate; every bit counts.

if 10 people donate $40 we will have helped changed one woman's life.

if 40 people donate $10 we will have helped changed one woman's life.

if 80 people donate $5 {one drink at starbucks} we will have helped changed one woman's life.

a few tweets or posts for fb to help spread the word:

Can you help @rellasbellas change the life of one woman? read more about her #purposeproject

Let's help @mochaclub make a difference and help @rellasbellas learn to knit #purposeproject

Goal: $400 raised, 1 woman freed and a chance for @rellasbellas to learn to knit #purposeproject

bring coffee from home and donate ur $5 latte fund to help change the life of 1 woman #purposeproject

pleated poppy

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Knitting Project {help change one woman's life}

I’ve wanted to learn how to knit for as long as I can remember. Almost two years ago I bought yarn and needles in an effort to teach myself. Those needles and ball of yarn sit with my crafting supplies untouched. I tried for about two days to teach myself and failed miserably. Today that changes. I am partnering up with Mocha Club for the month of November to create The Knitting Project, a way to raise money to rescue girls in Ethiopia from the sex trade industry.

Check out my knitting project video to learn more:

What this project means: This project isn’t about me getting to do something at the end of the month; it is about reminding myself of how lucky and blessed I am to have more than I could ever need. It is about God reminding me to be thankful for everything. It is about giving a woman in Ethiopia the chance to start over.

Women at Risk: "Women and children are often the most exposed and abused victims of injustice, especially in the war-torn areas of Africa. In Nazaret, Ethiopia, Mocha Club helps rehabilitate women in Ethiopia who were forced into a life of prostitution as an attempt to escape their situation of poverty. The “Women At Risk” program provides spiritual, emotional, and psychological counseling and helps them find alternate means of income to support themselves and their children. Mocha Club website

you should know: 

1 of 9 women in Ethiopia's capital city of Addis Ababa is forced into prostitution 

3 of 4 women in this lifestyle have AIDS and for many, this is a death sentence 

My Goal: During the month of November I am praying to raise $400, enough money to rehabilitate one woman. $400 will give one woman emotional, and psychological counseling and helps them find alternate means of income to support themselves and their children. 

At the end of November if I have reached my goal I will be signing up for a knitting class.

Thank you so much for stopping by and learning about the knitting project. Over the next month I will be sharing more information with you about the project, Mocha Club and of course updates about reaching my goal.  Any little bit helps, a donation, prayers, sharing this post on Facebook, your blog, twitter etc. 

<<<< all donations are tax deductible, you will received an email with a receipt after donation >>>>

//thank you to nicole from the style hatch for my amazing graphic!//
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