Why Acupuncture Is Worth a Try

Have you wondered what exactly is this weird thing called acupuncture? Well I've been having on-going treatments for various issues and wanted to share with you my knowledge on the topic. Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine that goes back over two thousand years. It involves the insertion of short needles in your skin at strategic points on your body to unblock the energy flow (Qi). Acupuncturists believe that an illness occurs when someone blocks or unbalances your chi. At my first visit my acupuncturist had me fill out a long form asking about all of the problems with my overall health and even asked what my favorite color is. She checked my pulse in several places on my wrist to check in with my Channels. What happens at the pulse informs her decision on what points to use to treat me that day. She also looked at my tongue as it also informs her as to what is happening inside my body.

West African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

I love this soup and it's exotic blend of flavors so much that I make it every year. Peanut butter is the unusual secret ingredient in this West African inspired soup.I love making soups on Sundays because then I have my lunch for the week at work.


  •  lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot
  • 1- 15oz can of tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ts minced fresh ginger
  •  ts cumin
  •  ts coriander
  • ½ ts cinnamon
  • 1 ts salt
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4½ cups water
  • ¼ cup + 2 TB peanut butter 

  • Directions:
    1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Mix in the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrot, and continue to cook and stir about 5 minutes.
    2. Add the water to the pot, and season the mixture with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.
    3. Remove the soup mixture from heat. In a blender, blend the soup until almost smooth in small batches. Season with cayenne pepper. Return to the saucepan. Whisk in the peanut butter, and cook until heated through. Serve warm topped with fresh cilantro.
    Makes 5 servings
    233 cal, 45g carbs, 6g protein, 579% vitamin A

    Nail Polish Organization

    If you read my blog you know I have a bit of a nail polish addiction. Since I switched to Zoya nail polish a couple years ago, my collection has really grown. I had a cute small display rack  which meant I had to keep all the rest hidden in a basket which was really impractical because I couldn't "see" them and it was a pain to find colors. I looked at all the cute storage options Etsy had, but they were a little too pricey for me. So I searched ebay and amazon until I found the right acrylic rack that held the amount I needed. I don't know why I've held out on buying one for so long, guess I thought that would mean I was operating a nail salon. lol As my blog readers know, I'm really into organization so it only made since to make order with my nail polish collection. And there's still a few more bottles that aren't included here, well actually they just didn't make the cut. In my defense of owning so many colors, I paint my own nails every week and only go to the salon a few times a year so I feel I'm not really spending that much money on my nails. I'm going to keep this in my walk in closet and hopefully this will stop me from buying any more colors. 

    Oscar Movies Checklist

    The nominations tell me which movies are worth seeing so I try and catch up to see those top nominated films. What surprised me about the Best Picture nominees this year is that many were pre-releases and none made much revenue at the box office (as in little-seen).  Compared to last year where the Best Picture nominees were all big box office films. American Sniper was released in theaters the day after the Oscar nomination announcement. Did you hear that poop got nominated for an Oscar? lol During the nomination ceremony the Academy President called Dick Pope (Mr. Turner) Dick Poop! lol

    Gone Girl only got a nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. I thought it was one of the best movies I've seen last year, so suspenseful! I watched one foreign film this year – the Polish film Ida. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year and Best Achievement in Cinematography. 

    I really enjoyed reading the book Wild whose movie was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role and a Supporting Role. Maleficent with Angelina Jolie was nominated for Best Achievement in Costume Design. The Lego movie was only nominated for the music category, so co-director Philip Lord made his own lego Oscar that he posted on twitter. lol  

    From the Best Picture category I've seen the following movies:

    American Sniper was nominated for 6 Oscars and Bradley Cooper was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, the third year in a row he's been nominated for this award. There has been a lot of controversy around this film, former Governor and Navy vet Jesse Ventura accused Chris Kyle of lying about punching him in the face. Kyle's book publisher had to remove it from his book after Ventura won the defamation lawsuit for $1.845 million. So a clothing company of American Sniper merchandise raised more than $1 million in donations in a week to cover part of what his widow owes Ventura.

    That aside, Chris Kyle was a hero during his four tours and once out the military dedicated his life to helping vets deal with PTSD. This was a powerful movie that reminded me of how lucky I am to live in this country, not born somewhere unstable. When the movie ended everyone walked out in silence. His widow, Tara is releasing her book later this year while being embroiled in two lawsuits. 

    When Chris Kyle was alive he told people that any profits from his memoir is blood money and that he didn't publish it to be famous or for an income and that he wanted all profits to go to two families of fallen SEAL members (Job and Lee). Job is the one that is blinded in the movie and later dies in surgery. Kyle did not have a will and his wife has not given those families any money. Tara responded strongly in a court filing that she owed no such obligation Although days before Kyle was killed he donated about $56,000 to the Lee and Job families as well as to a charity supporting veterans. The company that Chris Kyle co-owned to help veterans had bought his house for him and allowed his family to live in it rent free. But due to a legal battle between the company and Tara, where the company claims the house was a conditional gift on Tara giving proceeds from the book and movie to the Lee and Job families, they are now asking her to either move out or buy the home from them for $314K. Right now the trial for the man who killed Chris Kyle is taking place, so his widow really has a lot on her plate in addition to raising two kids. Speaking of kids, there was one funny part to the movie, Bradly Cooper holding a fake baby.

    Boyhood was nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Performance by an Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role. The movie was filmed over the course of 12 years! This is the kind of movie I've always thought someone should do. They had to find a week each year that all the actors were available and the script was written each year before the shooting. It's incredible to see actors age 12 years over the course of three hours.  Patricia Arquette also matures over that time from age 33 to 46, plus she had a baby in real life so you see her weight fluctuate in the movie along with her haircuts. What I found really distracting was the on screen daughter of Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke played by the director's daughter Lorelei Linklater who does not look Caucasian and thus didn't make sense to be cast as their kid. While the concept of this movie was innovative, this 2 hour and 45 min long movie is incredibly slow and boring with little character development and no ending. 

    The Grand Budapest Hotel was nominated for 9 Oscars. The premise for the movie is that in the 1930s the Grand Budapest Hotel was a popular European ski resort, presided over by concierge Gustave H. and Zero, a junior lobby boy who becomes Gustave's friend and protege. Gustave prides himself on providing first-class service to the hotel's guests, including satisfying the intimate needs of the many elderly women who stay there. When one of Gustave's lovers dies mysteriously, Gustave finds himself the recipient of a priceless painting and the chief suspect in her murder. The film was shot in Berlin and Görlitz, Germany but in the film the hotel is located in a fictional place– the Republic of Zubrowka, an Eastern European nation ravaged by war and poverty in the 1960s when the movie ends. It's a quirky and charming movie with beautiful imagery, a massive cast of talented actors - Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson.

    Selma is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and (current) Congressman John Lewis among others. The movie was produced by Brad Pitt and Oprah and directed by Ava DuVernay. The movie included four British actors, one being David Oyelowo who played MLK. He said that when he spoke in his British accent on set it would startle people so he decided to stay in character for the entire filming off camera. The musician Common also acted in the movie and produced a song for the soundtrack.  Oprah Winfrey played the part of Annie Lee Cooper, a 54-year-old woman who tried to register to vote but was denied by Sheriff Clark. The movie is an important history lesson as it showed  how even after segregation was outlawed black people would illegally be prevented from voting in the South. And it showed President Lyndon Johnson's as a racist who wouldn't help  the civil rights movement. It was a powerful movie and I liked how they showed a more human side of MLK with him smoking, his wife talking to him about his adultery, and other civil rights leaders who did not like him. There wasn't much diversity in the Oscar nominations as Selma was expecting to be nominated for Best Actor and Best Director. I thought it was a fantastic movie that every American should see.  

    Lyndon Johnson’s condolence letter to MLK’s widow heads to auction soon. Coretta Scott King gave it to Harry Belafonte, and when he originally try to auction it her children took him to court and Belafonte won. He said "It’s been a very painful experience. I've been anguished at how they behaved and what they did to me." If you didn't know his children are also suing each other and the King Center in Atlanta could be stripped of its name because of their antics.  Obama had a special screening of the movie at the White House last month and for his second swearing in as President he used the Bible which MLK took on the road with him during his days as a preacher. But now Dexter King wants to sell it but Beatrice King is hiding it so they are in the middle of a legal battle. You won't hear any actual MLK speeches in the movie because MLK's estate (children) wouldn't give them the license for the originals. Maybe Congress will put his speeches in public domain soon since it's been 50 years because his children are ruining his legacy. Random fact, did you know that Rev. Jesse Jackson was on the balcony in Memphis with MLK when he was assassinated. Another random fact, while MLK and Coretta had  four children, they only have one grandchild. If you want to learn more about MLK (and his family), my college professor wrote a fascinating book on him, a side the public knows little about, his complex human side that the movie lightly touch on: I May Not Get There with You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr  by Michael Eric Dyson. I will end by saying that my father walked in the March on Washington in 1963 where MLK delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.

    I read that this year's Academy Awards gift bag contains a train ride through the Rockies, a year's worth of Audi A4 rentals, and a session for mind reading techniques worth $20K. Here are some funny pics from last year's show:

    50 Shades of Grey Review

    I bought this book as a gift for my mom a few years ago (on her request) but never got to reading it myself until I heard it was being turned into a movie and then I thought I had to read the most talked about book. By the way did you know it's a trilogy? I didn't. I read the first book and couldn't believe the ending only to discover there were two more books in the series. The book was so incredibly boring I had to force myself to get through it, but once I start reading a book I feel invested in ending it. The author used too much repetition in her writing, her favorite word was "impassive" used over and over again, then there were lots of eye rolls and lips bitten - you'll notice this in the movie. The book starts off at Washington State University in Vancouver which I had to google because I was so confused that such a town actually existed in the US. Interesting enough the British author had never been there, but had been influenced by the Twilight series for a location. The book even has a soundtrack to it, lots of classic music. This is my first and last erotica book that I will read, if you'd like to read a real romance book, check out Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.

    Since I invested time into the book, I felt I had to see the movie. I wanted to see Christian Grey's grey suits and grey eyes and how the book comes to life. It stars Dakota Johnson as Anastasia, she is the daughter or Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson and said that both of her parents will not be seeing the movie. I didn't think the movie deserved all the buzz it got, in fact it was as boring as the book. It did a lot of close up head shots during the scenes in the red room. In the book Anastasia has a lot of internal conflict, but we don't really hear her voice that much in the movie. There's a lot of back story to various scenes like dinner with his folks and her airplane ride home from GA that are not explained in the movie. One point I didn't understand is why Christian rode shotgun next to his driver, anyone know?

    My favorite quotes from 50 Shades of Grey are:

    "Because I'm fifty shades of fucked up." Mr Grey

    "I could buy you your heart's desire, Anastasia, and I want to, call it redistribution of wealth, if you will." Mr. Grey

    "Mom...she is scatty, disorganized, but newly insightful." Anastasia

    OPI released a Fifty Shades of Grey nail polish collection last month.

    Golden Globes metallic dress

    The Ellen show got in on the action too by spoofing the Today show hosts:

    Strawberries and Cream Baked Oatmeal

    I love baked oatmeal! It takes 5 minutes to prepare, then I stick it in the oven while I hop in the shower and get ready for the day. I use Wean Green glass containers to make these. This recipe creates a creamy strawberry oatmeal.


  • ½ cup rolled oats 
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TB of 1/3 fat Philadelphia cream cheese
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 4 strawberries
  • pinch of salt

  • Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees  and spray a single-serve ramekin with nonstick spray.
    2. Mix the cream cheese, honey, vanilla together. Then add the milk.
    3. Mix the dry ingredients and pour into the ramekin. Then add the wet ingredients.
    4. Chop the strawberries and fold in.
    5. Bake for 20 minutes.

    Nutritional Analysis:
    250 cal, 6g protein, 15g sugar

    Recipe Source: The Oatmeal Artist

    Another one of my favorite breakfast recipes are lentil cakes.

    Chocolate Face Mask

    With Valentine's Day upon us I thought I'd show you a delicious chocolate mask I tried. This mask smells amazing, like you're baking chocolate cupcakes in your kitchen. And it makes your skin feel so soft, plus its edible so you could lick it off. I love pampering myself with DIY masks and this is the most decadent one I've made. It's made with three simple ingredients I already had in my kitchen. It's perfect for winter's dry skin as the honey is incredibly moisturizing. Don't worry it won't break you out, honey acts as a antibacterial to help disinfect your skin if you have acne. I used pure cocoa to get all of the antioxidants to help clear skin and keep it hydrated. Coconut oil is an amazing product to put on your skin, it's an antiseptic and helps fight wrinkles.

    • 2 TB of raw cocoa or dark chocolate
    • 1 TB raw honey
    • 1½ TB virgin coconut oil

    Mix all the ingredients together and apply to your skin. Leave on for 20 minutes. Remove with water and apply your moisturizer.

    If you're looking for a great dish for brunch this weekend, try my Valentine's Healthy Breakfast option. Here's how I spent Valentine's Day last year.

    The Limited Wish List

    I wanted to share my favorite new picks from the Limited. Their spring line is out and I’m loving the bright colors, I bought a couple of the pieces below. On Feb 13 they are releasing their new Scandal collection and on Feb 18 they are releasing their muted purple line so check their site out for even more cute looks.

    20 Questions to Ask at a Party

    Caroline from  Little Bitty City One, Bree from Bree West, Kristyn from Primp & Proper, Katie from A Touch of Teal and Jennifer from Southern Anchors

    20 Questions to Ask at a Party that Aren't "What do you do?"
    At a recent local bloggers networking event someone complimented me on the ease of which I just walked up to a group of people and introduced myself. She said it took her 20 minutes to work up the courage to do that. My fellow blogger   talked about how her experience going to the event alone. I don't mind going to parties alone because I'm free to mingle. I believe that to expand your circle of friends you have to start engaging strangers in conversation. Isn't the purpose of going to an event; to meet new people? I'm sure you'll have plenty of events you'll be attending so I thought I'd share some ways to maximize your opportunities to improve your conversation skills. My observation has been that people who excel at small talk make other people feel comfortable, included and valued. I'm always striving to improve my conversation skills and saw this list at the Thought Catalog that I thought was so interesting that I wanted to share.

    A few years ago I met someone at a party that told me that ever since she moved to my city the first question anyone asks her is what does she do. I had never thought of that until she pointed it out and then I realized yes that is what everyone asks me off the bat and what for? I don't get any follow up questions? And why do you ask a stranger that with your first question? I do find that when I ask them the same question back half of the time they tell me they are a "consultant" and I want to say sarcastically "well that's real helpful in explaining your job." lol At that point I just get bored with the conversation. I'd rather ask someone what their interests are. So I've made it my mission since then to not ask anyone that question unless they ask it of me first or if it's somehow related to the conversation, as in they're complaining about their job. So here's a list of questions you could ask someone you've met instead of what do they do, I use the first four questions often.

    1. How do you know the hostess?
    2. What are your plans for the holidays? How did you spend NYE? What are your plans for the rest of the weekend?
    3. Any cool vacations on the horizon? Where was your last one?
    4. What's the last book you've read? Have you seen any good movies lately?
    5. When you go to Target, are you capable of spending under $50? 
    6. Are you Team Aniston or Team Jolie? IT’S STILL RELEVANT IN MY EYES! (this question was brought up at a recent happy hour I went to! lol) 
    7. How many different outfits did you try on tonight before you went back to the one you had on in the first place? For me, it was seven.
    8. What's your favorite city of The Real Housewives?
    9. Which famous baby would you rather be: North West or Ariana Grande?
    10. When you saw Gone Girl were you extremely disturbed or just mildly disturbed?
    11. Before we continue having a conversation, can you promise me that you’re not a "fashion blogger"?
    12. Which emoji do you use the most?
    13. Have you ever been to the P Street Whole Foods at 6pm on a Monday? Don't try it, shopping at peak hours means no guacamole samples, I can't take it!
    14. When you’re pooping do you prefer to scroll through Twitter or Instagram?
    15. What are your thoughts on the U.S. sanction of North Korea? Just kidding…. what is your favorite episode of Parks and Recreation with Amy Poehler?
    16. Have you ever been able to order Fireball without feeling like an asshole?
    17. How many times have you opened your fridge and been surprised that nothing new has appeared since the last time you checked the fridge ten minutes beforehand?
    18. When you go to brunch, what percentage is about the bacon, what percentage is about the mimosas, and what percentage is about crying and asking your friends to fix your life?
    19. Would you like to share a taxi home at the end of the night, and (this is unrelated) are you an organ donor?
    20. Lastly you can can compliment something they are wearing, and ask them about it so they can't just answer with a thank you.
    And while I'm at it, 5 Questions Vegetarians Are Sick of Hearing

    On another note I met my new bff at a party recently. There was 4 of us chatting and one person pulled out his phone and my new bff yelled out "are we boring you?" hahahaha I have always wanted to say that to someone. I mean if you're out with real life people, why do you need to check your phone? it's rude! I feel like people have lost a healthy dose of eye contact with iphones.

    If someone asks you "what's new" and you answer is "not much," that ends the conversation right there and then. That person was trying to open a dialogue with you but you shut down the conversation. If you haven't seen that person in a few months, surely you've done something you can share (the last movie you saw) so the conversation can continue.

    Try not to always one-up someone by trying to top their story with something similar that happened to you. Be a good listener.

    Killing them with Kindness

    Last year I gave you a list of random acts of kindness that you can practice anytime. I'm revisiting that list to continue to practice those things. I'm also keeping a "Year of Kindness Box" for myself, it's a collection of compliments and moments of kindness I witnessed throughout the year. I keep it in my gratitude journal in the 365 app, they say that keeping a daily gratitude journal can increase your happiness.

    Later this month I'm going to a volunteer orientation for a Books to Prisoners program. After reading the book Orange is the New Black I felt inspired to do something since I learned that many prisoners have little access to books. Usually prisoners are not allowed to receive books from friends or family and while some prisons have libraries, many do not. Of the prisons that do, access and selection can be extremely limited. As an avid reader I thought it would be nice to give back to a program that makes a few options available to prisoners seeking books. Basically I will get to read letters and pick out books to sent. I think it will be fun and rewarding!

    Color Coded Bookshelves

    Most of us have a bookshelf in our homes and my readers know I enjoy reading by all of my book posts. I'm a visual person and really enjoy seeing color. Before I bought my condo I had a interior design blog to keep track of things I like. For instance I love painted walls, I could never live with white walls. My closet is arranged in rainbow order and I don't own any black dresses/shoes/purses/coats because I find it boring. When I first saw a bookshelf organized by color several years ago I thought it looked so fresh.  So I recently reorganized the bookshelf in my father's office to try the color method and was very pleased with the result. I think it added a nice splash of color to his office.

    It took a few hours of enjoyable sweaty work, and it wasn't easy because I'd frequently run into the problem of not finding a space to put a book back on the shelf! lol I found myself asking what shelf can I put a book that is two colors? Can the brown books go with the orange books since I don't have enough orange books to fill up a shelf? Then I had so many left over books that I unexpectedly created a white shelf. Once finished I thought I should have arranged the colors by hue - dark to light, that would have made the small purple section stand out more. Yes I spent way too much time thinking about every little nuance. My father just finished writing his latest book and I told him he should look at what color is not prevalent on his shelf in deciding what color the spine should be! lol

    I'm sure you're wondering and yes I asked my father if his bookshelf was in any particular order (author, subject, title) since he said no I knew that arranging it by color wouldn't make books harder to find. I'm sure he found it to be frivolous and just entertained me, but I smiled at my masterpiece when it was done. I truly think his bookshelf is undeniably beautiful and that by color-coding his shelves I breathed new life into an old space! I think organizing your books by color is the kind of harmless DIY decorating experiment you should try! It makes a visual impact with your books by making them  look more vibrant.

    If you want another interesting way to display your books, I found this on etsy, you hand them by a string:

    Check out my Winter Reading List here.

    Chelsea Handler - Uganda Be Kidding Me

    I've never watched her show but she came on my radar when I found out she dated 50 cent. This hilarious book is about her travel adventures starting off on a safari in South Africa. Only took me a few days to finish, and now I can't wait to read her other books. I couldn't stop laughing and was laughing out loud which I never do when reading a book. She's definitely the kind of friend I need in my life - hysterical, inappropriate and a functioning alcoholic.  I loved that the pictures are in color, including the multiple ones of her peeing in public. The book also included eating impala poop, lots of inappropriate racist jokes, drinking excessively, and facetiming with her dog. I will use quotes from the book to show you briefly why I enjoyed it so much.

    "I find excessive showering just for the hell of it overrated. I believe people who shower twice a day are hiding a secret." 

    "There's a difference between being a class act and being classy. Peeing off the side of a jeep doesn't mean you’re not classy, it just means you’re a free spirit with a small bladder."

    "We were greeted by a dark-skinned man who introduced himself as Truth. We introduced ourselves as Honesty, Happiness, Honor, Witness, Serengeti , and Schnitzeldoodle. We didn't find out until later, when we met our tracker called Life, that Truth wasn't joking with us about his name."

    "My sister has her period. Is it okay for her to be outdoors?"

    "Shopping for maternity wear prior to trips shouldn't be ruled out either. Quietly I wondered if the elephant would confuse me as one of her own, considering my recent weight gain."

    "He responded that he didn't tell guests his personal information. I responded by informing him that we were not regular guests and any and all personal information should be disclosed ASAP."

    "It would have been very romantic had we been there with our boyfriends, had any of us actually had boyfriends."

    "Every morning, I would try on all three pairs of pants I had brought hoping that somehow my weight had shifted while I slept, but to no avail."

    "I want my sister with me at all times, and it's of no concern to me whether she feels the same way."

    "He informed us that the elephant ride had been cancelled and it would not be in the morning. "Did the elephants make other plans?""

    "It's not lost on me that the people I respect the most are the people who want to hang out with me the least."

    "I can't believe I bleached my asshole for this trip."

    "He was wearing flip-flops, and I prefer that men don't do that."

    "I changed my underwear, put the dirty pair into the safe, and locked it.  If Rex was staying with me, I didn't want him to see what I was capable of."

    Showcasing our bodies in bathing suits wasn't an option. I told her we would simply have to choose off-peak hours to submerge ourselves in the Atlantic.

    "We're in the Bahamas and I haven't seen one black person. We just came from Africa and I'm not prepared to go cold turkey."

    Chelsea's dogs flying private plane alone
    "I had shat myself on a beach - like an animal."

    "Shelly and I toasting to seeing our first black person. "
    "I have thrown underwear out in the garbage in order to prevent my cleaning lady from seeing them in the laundry. I have wrapped underwear in a plastic ziplock bag, put it in my purse, taken it to work, and thrown it in the trash in my office bathroom in order to avoid my cleaning lady from seeing my misconduct."

    While skiing "I had stashed in my jacket pocket (two single Fritos) in case of an emergency."

    "The saying that money doesn't buy you happiness is true. But it sure as fuck helps."

    If you want to read another book by a funny lady, check out Amy Poehler's book and Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) who said an alternative title for her book is "So You've Just Finished Chelsea Handler's Book, Now What?"