My 5 Gift Rule & How to Save for It

Only 354 days until Christmas 2017 – woohoo and the countdown begins! I know, groan-ugh-booo! If you’re like me though, you are a planHER, meaning you need everything laid out and ready to go…even if it’s almost a year away.

Christmas 2016 was spent being bummed I couldn’t get all the things for my kids that I/they/we wanted, but then realizing it’s not about “all the things.” 20ish years old and I’m barely figuring that out – so sue me! Christmas 2017 I want experiences! I want memories that last more than the “let’s rip the paper off and beg dad to put this together only to be mad at Santa because he forgot the batteries” type of moments.

What do I hope to change this time around – I mean it is the month of change? Well, how about instilling the popular idea of limiting gifts to specific “categories” per say. Just by searching “gift rule” we get plenty of ideas. I know, there’s no memories in “these things” but bear with me. I adjusted my “rules” to be more specific for what I want for my kids. untitledThis includes something they want, something they need, a Christmas outfit to wear (every Christmas Eve we go to family so they will get this gift early), something to help them learn (a book, a puzzle etc), and something that they can make (creativity is key) and possibly give to others once they’re finished.

Now, onto the memories idea. We usually buy for my parents, his parents, each other, a secret Santa party, and the kids of course. Kids aside, I like the idea of giving an experience. My favorite gift we gave this year was to his cousin which was an “Actor Survival Kit” that included a gift certificate for wine and chocolate tasting from where she lives. Why not do this for everyone? Or better yet, why not take everyone out so we can enjoy some time away TOGETHER! Such a concept. Movies and dinner – I don’t think we’ve ever done this with everyone together (someone write me a reminder note!).

Whatever we do, I want it to be within our budget as well. This year we scraped the last few paychecks of the year to quickly buy some things and we even had to take advantage of good ol’ Mr. Credit. Why though?! Because we didn’t plan ahead and we weren’t strong enough to stick to the plan. This year, I plan on doing a monthly savings challenge and stashing that money into a Christmas Club Account. That way I can’t be tempted to touch it, and it’ll be available just in time for those Black Friday sales.

Join me today and starting planning for #Christmas2017; tell me, what are you going to change?

 

7 Tips for Eliminating Interview Nervousness

Confession! I am great at customer service, I make killer presentations, I even used to be a drama leader. But for some reason interviews make me so nervous. It’s like a first date for me really. I get the initial invite and butterflies flourish in my stomach. I research everything about the company, I plan my outfit (sometimes two) the night before, I eat a great breakfast, and then the time arrives and my palms get sweaty and my brain decides to check out!

Because of this and my desire to go somewhere in life, I’ve decided I really need a strategy to overcome the nervousness. I brainstormed about all the advice I’ve ever received. I searched “professional interview tips” and clicked on the top three websites I found. I listed, erased, added, then dwindled my list to the following tips for eliminating nervousness at an interview:

  1. Research – Do this by more than just Google. Today’s big and small companies are catching onto the social media craze. This allows the job seeker to get insight to a company in more ways than one. Their company website will tell you all the highlights but looking at their Instagram page, Twitter, and sometimes even Youtube will tell you a whole lot more.
  2. Practice – It makes perfect. When I was involved in acting and writing skits, we would host practices numerous times a week when a big show was coming up. We wanted everything to be perfect and flawless. Same goes for interviewing. If we don’t practice we may never find our weak spot. If possible, practice with numerous people and really listen to their criticisms.
  3. Press and Dress – I’ve always heard to dress one notch above the normal work wear for a company. Do this but also remember to iron iron iron!!!! People can see wrinkles and lack of care a mile away!
  4. Everyone matters – Mini story time. When I worked at Greater Nevada on the teller line we would have potential candidates come in with their applications. You’d think they’d at least be nice and friendly to us being we were possibly their future co-workers but honestly some of them just didn’t seem to care…& they were never heard from again.
  5. Questions – A simple web search yields many generic questions, but if you fall back on tip number 1 you’ll gain some unique and helpful ones along the way.
  6. Follow up – My last semester in college I attended numerous networking events. Every recruiter there stated that if they really enjoyed an applicant but never got a follow up thank you note they were out. Nuff’ said.
  7. Be persistent – No matter if it’s your first interview or your 100th, keep selling who you are and be true to yourself. Sometimes companies are looking for more than just your past; they want to know you’ll fit perfect into their culture and sense of family. Keep being you until the right one comes along!

Thanks for stopping by and let me know in the comments below what other tips you’ve found helpful or have read over and over about so  you assume they must be good!

Boneless Buffalo Wings – Vegan Style

Something about putting the words boneless and wings in the same sentence as vegan seems so wrong. But i did it so sue me. This past weekend I finally got on board with the cauliflower “is so amazing” craze and I made “faux” boneless buffalo wings. Which I guess I can just call them cauliflower bits covered in hot sauce because that’s really what they were and anything else just seems…weird.

I do apologize in advance because my phone hated me this weekend (or maybe it was giving me a hint to lay off the technology I don’t know really) and I could not get a good shot in of my dinner so bear with me. Or veg with me since we’re trying to be ‘animal free!’

Now onto the more important stuff!

I got the recipe for cauliflower buffalo wings from Popsugar.com and made two minor adjustments. I used regular flour versus the garbanzo bean and maybe used 2 Tbsp of Earth Balance instead of the 1 tsp of butter. It was good though so I’m not complaining! Oh yea…and I fried my delicious morsels instead of baked them. I justified this because:  a.) This was kind of like a cheat meal & b.) I already needed oil for my french fries so I mean why waste the oven energy and bother dirtying a pan?! Lazy cook or smart cook – you decide.

Personally I thought these were bomb and pretty much ate all of them. For the littles I fried theirs and just didn’t toss in the wing sauce and they were all about that cauliflower life. Bossman on the other hand was not very into it. This was odd to me because every fake meat I’ve tried so far he has enjoyed and I well, barfed. One day we will agree! Until then, let me know in the comments below if you have any more awesome cauliflower recipes I should try! And as always, feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram:  @hmklambert

#daretooveg

I Can’t Get Down With Naked

And by “Naked” I mean the green monster $9.99 funky kind of naked. I have a problem. Green juices make me gag. No joke. It’s not pretty, it’s not cute, it’s not even funny really. It’s just SAD! It started when I decided to embark on the Daniel Fast with my peeps over at C5 Church. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was preggers and so everything I ate welp came back up – this included the Green Machine by the infamous Naked!

Ever since then I just can’t really sip on and enjoy a green juice. Granted the only ones I have tried are store bought so maybe that’s my issue? Not sure and I honestly would have never cared if it weren’t for the fact that I’m trying to be a healthier bright greater example of my former self and therefore NEED greens to probably survive.

My present solution? IMG_20150829_102938Take shots of green juice at each meal with a liquid H20 chaser. So far it’s working but I do feel childish. Maybe I’ll even follow it up with a bite on a lime wedge if I’m feeling swanky. The kids love Naked and Odwalla but me and my taste buds are another issue.

Perhaps I shall try green powders. Anyone have suggestions for different juices/powders to try or is this just a #newveganproblem; therefore, I’ll need to put on my big girl panties and carry on?! Cue the “Some Nights”album!

Basic Baked Eggplant is Nothing to Frown Upon

Basic. It’s not really a flattering word to some but for me it’s simplicity. I am really enjoying this Raw til 4 idea and while I’m not 100% sticking to it on most days I find it quite nice. Having mainly fruit and fruit and then a little bit more fruit if I’m feeling adventurous is quite easy during the day especially because it’s been in the high 90s.

My issue as of late – finding dinner inspiration. You see, having a Manly Man who insists he needs meat is quite difficult when also trying to find new vegan recipes for me to try. Guess that will be on hold for a while because for some reason I have yet to master the weekly meal planning objective yet.

This weeks meals are going to be basic though and I’m not even ashamed. You see, a few days ago I posted on my Instagram (feel free to follow @hmklambert) what I had for dinner. Baked eggplant with rice and marinara sauce. So easy. So simple. So BASIC but so good!!! Kalani helped make the eggplant which I think is why he ate so much. Malia…well she’s just a garbage disposal so she had no issue eating. I served these alongside some salmon I made for the Manly Man and he had no complaints. Cooking those veggies as a “side” for the fam but a “main” for me caused a light bulb to shine. I realized I am making this whole meal planning vegan eating thing way too difficult.

Starting a vegan journey is only as difficult and boring as we make it to be. And along the way there’s nothing wrong with a BASIC kind of meal because sometimes those are the wisest most delicious ones! Hence my journey of basic dinners for the rest of my life! Mwahahaha – okay maybe not but at least for this week it’s what’s going down.

Here’s what I did for my eggplant (served 2 adults, a picky toddler, and a baby) – feel free to try it and let me know what you think!

IMG_20150828_182311

Ingredients:
2 beautiful eggplants (don’t forget to stare in awe at them while at the grocery store – it’s what I did)
3 cups Italian bread crumbs
Enough EVOO to dip eggplant (anyone else forever here Rachel Ray’s voice when they see this?)

What You Gotta Do:
Heat oven to 400 degrees and oil a cookie sheet
Peel and slice eggplants so they’re not too thick but not too thin – go with that you like
Dip sliced eggplants into EVOO then shake em up like a Polaroid in the bread crumbs – preferably in a sealed bag (I’m sure you could calmly just place the eggplant onto a plate and then flip and be done but my son insisted this method was the best)
Place covered slices onto greasy pan and bake for like 20 minutes. I flipped mine halfway through because of my gas oven and I was paranoid – okay confession over.
Take out, place over rice, cover with heated marinara sauce and eat til you’re content!

WEEK ONE May 16 Vegan Attempt

*WARNING:  this is a super late post but I felt it important to get it out because you know..it’s like a diary thing.

  • Week one menu included:
    • Breakfast
      • Banana Pineapple Spinach Smoothie
      • Watermelon Monomeal
    • Lunch
      • Grapes & oranges
      • Iceberg salad with 2 apples, walnuts, Craisins, & raspberry hazelnut vinaigrette
    • Snacks
      • 2 Bananas with 2 T. peanut butter
    • Dinner – each dinner started with a romaine salad with tomatoes & cucumbers
      • Rice & broccoli
      • Potato wedges & 3 corn on the cobs

Okay so before I started this vegan journey I would “meal prep” in a sense. My version was I would basically pick 2 or 3 “types” of breakfast/lunch/dinner and make enough for the whole week. This was easier for me because of how busy I am during the week and with meals ready it saved us money from getting the dreaded MickeyDs…no offense if you’re into that. I didn’t want to get rid of this habit altogether because it was a working successful system for me and with two littles that was huge!

With this vegan adventure lifestyle change I planned on doing the same thing. My plan was to only switch out breakfasts for a month then switch to lunches then finally dinners – essentially a 12ish week plan. BUT…as you can see from the menu above I just jumped right in! Do I regret it? No! Do I wish I had planned better? YES! Anyways, moving on…

My Munoz*Lambert family (#MuLaFam) loved the breakfasts. Per – pretty much everyone’s suggestion online – we started our day with 32 ounces of water (Kalani got a few sips from me). For me it took a while to drink it all – about 30 minutes – because I can’t just chug it all down. Eric on the other hand was usually running late in the morning so he’d chug his water and grab his food on the way out. Whatever works for you – do you!

No lunch was a major fail for me! For one…I didn’t think about just “how much” I’d have to eat in order to make sure I was getting in enough calories so 1. I wouldn’t get headaches & 2. I’d have enough so my milk supply wouldn’t drop (tmi? sorry kinda). Chewing so many grapes was something I wasn’t used to. Eating 2 or 3 oranges at a time really hurt my teeth for some reason. Future lesson – maybe just juice them. The first day I had just a salad for lunch I made way too much. Because I saw people on Youtube posting that they’d eat like a whole head of lettuce I thought I had to as well – wrong! I couldn’t! I literally made a whole head of iceberg/ lettuce, chopped up 2 apples and sprinkled the rest of the yummies on and ate almost half. I wasted it and was really upset. I tried snacking on it the rest of the day but I was just not into it.

Snacks: there was peanut butter involved…should I really say more?

Dinners was fine for me and I had no complaints. I did start with SMALLER salads for myself, Eric, and Kalani. While it was okay for the adults (& yes I did eat mine with ranch, I am on the search for an alternative that I enjoy) Kalani was not having it. He’s never been a big veggie eater, hence the challenge of this change. Even the cooked veggies I had made for us was a struggle to get down for him. Feeding veggies to him will definitely take time.

Also, week one I was already challenged with eating out! Eric’s sister Marisol was heading to Vegas for the weekend – lucky goose – and took us to lunch before she left. I googled some “vegan options” in the area and found there are two places that we could have gone. But that would have been too easy and I like challenges! So we went to Ihop – which according to the boards I was reading – “is not very vegan friendly and no one should go there ever.” CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! I ordered hash browns with all the veggies they had and an English muffin sans butter. I topped my hash browns with lots of Tabasco sauce and jellied up my muffins – it was delic! Next time though – I need to get a double order because this mama was still hungry! I’m a chubby DON’T judge me. =)

Now I know people will be complaining that the grills over there have meat grease on them and lalalalala .. listen people…let me share my little thought on this kay?! I’m not THAT strict about things because I’m just starting out. Plus, I feel like if “vegans” want big chains to accommodate them then they really need to kill them with kindness. From personal experience in customer service when I had a customer who was upfront nice and they had an issue – it was MUCH easier to accommodate them and fix whatever they needed. If they upfront were rude and snarky and trying to educate me about how to do my job – well it was much more difficult to keep my smile plastered on my face okay… Basically, if I’m wanting NO animal byproducts on my biz then I will be strict at home. But when going out I need to understand the business I’m going to and the people who are working there. Thankfully my waitress was super nice and understanding so ordering how I did wasn’t a problem. Should I experience less than superior service elsewhere I’ll have to just go with the flow – even though dead fish go with the flow but still!

Anyways – some takeaways from week one’s change:

  1. I need a Vitamix! Okay I don’t NEED one but thanks to some Youtube stalking that I may or may not have done I really really REALLY want one! Future investment? I think so!
  2. I need to figure out some meals that I like and then add in “new” ones to try on weekends. That way I’m not stuck with food I don’t like for the whole week.
  3. Citrus fruits in bulk is a NO go for me. I need to either juice them (yet another kitchen gadget I now need hehee) or just eat like one..

So, week one down and onto week two. Does anyone have any easy vegan recipes they suggest I try?

La Posada Real Carson City

Just a disclaimer:  this post is SUPER late! We went to this restaurant a few months ago, I snapped the pictures, and then kept saying to myself, “I will post, I will post,” and then I never did until NOW! Finally, cross this off my to do list.

Anyways, one night many many moons ago, my ma, the boyfriend, the boyfriend’s bro (which my son cutely also calls bro), KoloheKalani and Miss Malia Joy all went in like a starving bunch into La Posada Real in Carson City. At the time, the restaurant was newish to the area (although I’m 99% positive that the same owners have a place in Reno too) so we decided to try it instead of Olive Garden. Local versus big chain bring it on!!

GREAT DECISION let me tell you! First off, it surpassed all of our expectations mkay?! Thier chips and salsa 20150307_183415was really good and flavorful. The chips were nice and thin and not thick and brick-like to where your teeth are going to pop off. Another plus was they just kept the chips and salsa coming! None of that one order then we charge you junkity junk like some other places. You’re the real MVP La Posada Real!

Okay moving on…My ma is extremely picky about everything (she’s one of those who always thinks:  I can do that better) and she was in love with her enchiladas. My bf comes from a very old school household and his mom frowns upon anything canned. He’s had authentic homemade Mexican food since he was conceived okay. He loved it! Bro didn’t even have a chance to breathe before scarfing his meal down – believe he got a chimichanga which was HUGE. & I was pleasantly surprised that my shrimp cocktailIMG_20150307_185058 was so FULL of shrimp and fresh flavor! No offense but some  uhm…how do I put this…well seasoned Mexican restaurants in the area have been a bit stingy lately..so I was kind of expecting only a couple pieces of dingy shrimp in a bowl of tomato biz but I was wrong. It was amazing! Actually I’m still craving this stuff…no one tell Mama Munoz!

Now onto the kids’ review. I know what you’re thinking, Malia is barely 8 months old now how old could she have been then? & Kolohe Kalani is 2 so really how can they provide a good review..? Well well well my friend read on! We got sat in a corner of the bar where there was a sweet looking older gentleman performing. I thought really people we have a baby and you put us here in the loudest part of the restaurant? Okay…well that man’s voice put Miss Malia Joy to sleep so quick I was tempted to take her back the next day just so she could deep sleep again! Kolohe Kalani also had a blast dancing with his Gramma . It was great for me because then I could actually eat my food and not have to worry about him bothering other people with his pent up energy in the booth. That aside, he ate most of the rice on all of our plates (yes he’s going through THAT stage) and that says a lot.

Anyways, short review gone rambling. I’d definitely recommend this place and would go again! Let me know if you have gone and what you got! ~ I’m always looking for suggestions!

ps:  you must try the deep fried ice cream! IMG_20150307_192222We ordered two for the table and it was just the right amount of SAWEET!