The Shirt off her back

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Today a friend literally gave me the shirt off her back.

I saw her in passing as we both dropped our kids off at school. A warm hello-hug, and a brief catching-up as we briskly walked side-by-side in the stolen moments of friendship that the crosswalk duration would allow for two busy, working moms. Shivering from the unusual LA chill - low 50's and high winds that stung my face (the struggle is real to us Angelenos), I mentioned that underneath my bright yellow overcoat, I was only wearing thin workout clothes, and I had a class in the park in less than ten minutes that would last for an extremely uncomfortable hour. As we passed by her car she mentioned that she might have something inside that she could lend me. "Yes, please!" I accepted. (I would have settled for her husband's smelly sweatshirt at that point. Not that her husband is smelly. But he has been working on and underneath that car lately.) No dice. No extra clothes or warmth for me, so I told her not to worry and quickly hugged her goodbye. "Here, take my thermal!" she said, and started to pull it off from underneath her pretty, plaid poncho. "Absolutely not!" I retorted. "Keep your shirt, I'll be fine!" As I started to walk away, I could hear her insisting. "I'll be in my warm car all day, not outside. You need it more than I do. Take it!"

So I started to run. I ran away from my friend. Laughing and running, I turned back to blow her a kiss, tell her I that loved her, and that I'll see her this weekend. But I did run. I ran because I knew that she is actually the kind of person who would sacrifice her own comfort for mine. And I couldn't let her do that. As I got into my own warm car and started the engine, I took a moment to check my schedule on my phone. I looked up and there she was. I rolled down the window and in flew my friend's toasty thermal shirt, still warm from her back. Then she turned and ran away, all pretty in plaid, in just a tee underneath.

The Best Chicken Nachos Recipe

Thursday, February 9, 2017

In truth, I probably write down these recipes just for myself. I can't tell you how many times I go back to reference my own blog for something I like to keep track of here. (This tofu recipe is a staple in my house, and you'd think I'd have it memorized by now. At least I know this banana bread recipe by heart.)

We were invited to a Superbowl party last weekend and asked to bring something simple, like nachos.  I happily accepted thinking I would just toss some cheese and beans on some chips, make some fresh guacamole, and call it a day. But then I found this nacho recipe, and all bets were off. I decided to modify a bit and came up with this:

TD (Touchdown or Tanya Dempsey) 

2-3 chicken breasts
2 cans black beans
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp(or more to taste) cumin
Jar of pickled sweet jalepenos
Tortilla chips
Sour cream and guacamole

The only thing time consuming about this recipe is the chicken. But it cooks in a slow cooker, so it's basically the easiest thing in the world.

Throw 2-3 chicken breasts in the slow cooker with the can of diced tomatoes. I like to canned tomatoes that already have seasoning in them, green chiles added for this one is perfect. Add in cumin and garlic salt seasoning. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Once the chicken is cooked through, shred it up in the juices and set the chicken aside in a bowl. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the juices and mix in with both cans of beans. Simmer together on the stove for 5 min.

Preheat oven to 350.

Use a large cookie sheet to begin layering all the goodness. I used yellow-corn round tortilla chips because they hold the most stuff on each bite. (I'm hungry just thinking about it and wish we had leftovers.)

Layer chips, beans, shredded chicken, cheese, jalepenos. Repeat. 

Serve with fresh guacamole and sour cream. Yum!

Current Beauty Favorites - Products that make you glow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The other day at pilates class, a friend of mine commented on my complexion and how dewy and hydrated my skin looked, despite the cold weather lately.

It was such a nice compliment that I totally wasn't expecting - and it made me realize that the products I have been using lately must be working! So I wanted to share...

1. Palmer's Coconut Oil Body Oil
I discovered this on a whim when I picked it up at Target one day. I loved it so much that I also gifted it to a friend in a box full of Christmas goodies. Although I don't use it on my face, it makes the rest of my body glow with hydration without feeling greasy. Bonus - it smells like the beach and it's under $6 bucks!

2. Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color in Hollywood & Highlight
Even when I'm wearing "barely there" makeup (like at Pilates class), I always dab a bit of this on my brow bone, and at the top of my cheekbones. It gives such a pretty glow.

3. Daily Concepts Your Facial Scrubber 
I've been using this for a couple of months now, and I have to say that it rocks! It annihilates blackheads and smooths out skin beautifully. I use it once a week, every Sunday. Dab on something with hyaluronic acid in it afterwards. I like Neutrogena Hydro Boost hydrating serum. 

4. Kate Sommerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cleanser
I have to credit most of the compliment right here. In the cold weather, and with all those dry indoor heaters  - my complexion can get so dry. An every-other-day routine of this has worked perfectly for me. It locks in lasting moisture and gives an all-day dew. Be cautious that I once used it every day and it was too much. Also, it's not the best at removing makeup. It's a soft cleanse that I like to do in the morning. I love it!

5. Benefit Fake Up Hydrating Undereye Crease Control Concealer 
Oh man, this is my all-time favorite concealer and if you haven't tried it yet - you must! It's a concealer that's wrapped in vitamin E, so it's the perfect thing to keep in your makeup bag throughout the day for touch ups. Super moisturizing, never a crease and always smooth.

Hope you find something in here that you love, too! 


LACMA'S Rain Room + A Brand New Perspective

Monday, January 9, 2017

Within the first few days of the new year, I was hit with the stomach flu, our house was overtaken by ants (thank you, LA rain... I mean, really, thanks for the rain, we totally need it - but really, ants?) and against my best attempts to heal a relationship with a loved one, was rejected, deflated and left absolutely heartbroken.

2016 was a rough go for a lot of us, and now we'll have to deal with the aftermath in so many ways. (Inauguration Day is coming up and I can barely stomach the thought.) But still, we must find a way to champion on. 

The night before I made the trip to see the Rain Room at LACMA, I had the most beautiful dream. I had spent the previous nights tossing and turning, feeling absolutely sick, from whatever illness my body was trying to fight off within my gut, and from the knowledge that I would have to take a long break from someone I love very much. My first night of restful sleep proved to be a regeneration in health and spirit.

I dreamed I was an older, wiser version of myself, and I was teaching a class about perception. (I know, it's weird. Bear with me.) Everything I said to this classroom full of young faces, was everything that I needed to grasp, in order to move on from my current state of emotions - that the hurt that people may give you, the situations that seem may insurmountable, can all be slayed by one simple trick: your individual perception of what is happening.

When somebody blames you, it is so much more than the "act" that they blame you for. It's their perception of your action from within their own personal struggles, and how they process and deal with it. If you hurt or harm another, and even when you give love or loving actions to someone, what you give is not exclusively about what you gave - that is entirely up to their perception and interpretation of what was offered.

I have this friend who used to love making homemade greeting cards. He simply enjoyed the sketching and drawing and heart-felt sentiment. His friends loved them. His sister thought he was too lazy to go to the store, and too cheap to buy an actual card. The difference is in the person receiving.

So you see, everything is entirely up to us. How we navigate the world in peace through trying relationships, trying times, things out of our control (like ants storming up window ledges) is all about how we choose to perceive the situation. This seems simple, but man... it's not. And it goes much deeper than "let's make lemonade out of lemons!" - although I've always loved that saying. It's the work that we must do within ourselves to achieve a peaceful existence.

I met a young girl through an incredible organization I offered my styling services for called Freedom and Fashion. She was the victim of sex trafficking from her own family, her own grandmother - who offered her up for sex in exchange for money since she was a child. This young warrior doesn't blame her grandmother, the woman who was supposed to protect and guide her, but rather she found true forgiveness, by deciding to simply change her perspective on the situation. She said "my grandmother was just living in desperation, she didn't know any other way." And now this girl is free. And thriving.

So can we get back to the Rain Room? The morning after this blissful dream, I awoke with a new sense of self. With residual echoes of my "wiser" self still lingering, I decided to change my perspective on what was currently troubling me, and well, my life in general.

And do you know what happened? I had the most beautiful day. I decided to put my focus into the things that I can control, like the way I feel inside when I'm doing my best. I gave my focus and my love to my daughter, and we took an excursion to see art - and an exhibit I had been dying to see since it opened.

As we waited in line to enter the experience, our museum guide cautioned that if we choose to move through quickly, erratically, and just storm through the exhibit without regard to others, we'd get completely soaked. However, if we move slowly and carefully, and together (amazingly - the more people surrounding you, the less rain that would fall), we'd stay safe and dry and warm. 

Which made me think about how much the support of others can also help, too. (The Rain Room - a metaphor for life!) But still... and in the end, it's all entirely up to us. In essence, the more work we do on ourselves, the less likely we'll be to get wounded by others - because the hurt will have no power. 

I'm going to start calling it my love shield. 

And that feels like a fresh, new start for 2017.

With love, 

T xx

Happy New Year! (What I Wore, Who I Kissed)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017!! Can you believe it?
Gold Jumpsuit - K-lab at Kohls, (no longer avail but similar gold jumpsuit at Revolve), Waves from these rollers (you have to try them!), Revlon Color Stay Ultimate Suede Lipstick in Red Velvet (I also love the colors Stylist & Finale)

I personally am so happy to be ringing in a new year, and to be saying ADI-freaking-OS to 2016. Doesn't it seem like a lot of people had a rocky, crazy year? 

A friend of mine sent me this numerology article about 2016 and moving into 2017. For me, these numbers and insights were astoundingly accurate. If you believe in this kind of stuff, (or even just for fun) grab your cup of coffee and settle in for a good read.

Every new year offers so much to look forward to. A clean slate of new possibilities and it always feels so good to think about what lies ahead, doesn't it?

But with that said, through all the changes and growing pains this past year... I'm so grateful for my constants, my people, and those in my life who anchor me with love. 

You make me believe I can do anything. 

With love and well wishes to you and yours for an amazing 2017, 

T xx

Happy Birthday to Me! (4 things I've learned this year)

Monday, December 19, 2016

The thing about having a birthday at the end of the month, at the end of the year - is that major reflection on the past 365 days is bound to happen. I'm sure a lot of us do this, but for me, there's no way to avoid the "OK, what the hell did I do this year? What did I learn? What was 2016 about?"

The answers hit me hard this morning. And as tough as some parts of this past year have been (see here), the bigger picture is worth savoring. At least for the NEXT 365 days.

1. Letting go is sometimes the right answer.
I'm a fighter by nature and I always pride myself in never giving up. This gumption has served me well my entire life - I'm the one who gets things DONE. I fight hard. Only through gritted teeth and clawed fingernails will I release something, especially something I love - even if it's KILLING me. But what I've realized (big time this year) is that if something is holding you back, if something hurts your soul, and stunts your growth, if you've tried and tried and given it your truthful ALL, then letting go is not only OK, but necessary. (And so freeing!)

2. Sometimes friends choose you.
There are a few new people in my life who have chosen to not give up on me this year. Somehow they just decided that we are going to be friends. Not through anything drastic, just by continuing to show support and love and understanding through my canceled plans, overextended schedule, and lack of time to devote to nurturing these friendships. This year kicked my butt in more ways than one, and I've been too busy existing in survival mode to see anything else most days. But then I look back and I see these beautiful faces (some I've known forever, some who just decided G*dammit, Tanya, we are going to be friends!) looking at me saying "hey, we got you, it's all good" and I want to sob with appreciation. I know there will be a time when I can return the favor. I love you guys. (You know who you are.)

3. Getting older is pretty awesome.
I have this friend who I've known since my baby actress days in my twenties. I've always looked up to her, well, because she's older, but also because she's a truth teller. You want real, honest, conversation? That's what you'll get. She has always had this wisdom about life and love and growing up. (Although in a way, she refuses to grow up. I think that's her super-power.) This super-friend said to me this year "Tanya, as you get older you start to feel less inclined to make excuses and apologies. You just are who you are, and you love who you are! So be YOU. Give what you can give, do what you can do, and the right people (for you) will love you for it." (See #2)
WOW. Lightbulb moment.

Paige DenimOld Navy Cardigan (sold out, might still be avail in stores)Sole Society Boots (old, similar here)

4. Everyone speaks a different love language
This is a big one. This is based off a book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and was originally written for married couples on how to understand one another's "love language" and speak it to them in a way that makes them feel loved. For example, one person might show love by giving gifts, while another shows it by spending quality time together. There's an updated version of this book for "singles" or anyone, really. I'm not single, and my marriage is solid (we apparently speak one another's love language well) but I'm wanting to learn how to figure out some of my other relationships that have always seemed hard. When I finally read this book it made so much sense! Being able to show and give love is not just for romantic partners - it's for all relationships. And what an eye opener to know that even if you feel like you are giving (sometimes a whole lot) to another person, if it's not their "love language" they won't feel appreciated or feel love from you at all. And sometimes, sometimes - certain people, certain things are worth not giving up on. (You also know who you are.) Paying attention to love language is a way of saying "OK, this is me and this is how I show love, but if you need more, I'll try to speak your language. Because you mean that much to me."

So here I am... 365 days older, hoping I've gotten a few things right along the way, and challenging myself to do better one step, one year at a time... Hoping and wishing the same for you. 

PS - 5. Wide-leg culottes look good on NO ONE. 
OK, that was five. But it's true. Let that trend fade. 

With Love, 

T xx

OND Social Series - Dine on Display

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

When I was invited to be a part of the OND Social Series by my friend Stephanie Kimes of One Nine Design, I was so excited. Being a part of something as special as honoring women in business is something I was extremely proud of. 

I was in the company of some pretty spectacular women, from boutique owners (it was hosted at hip'tique in Santa Monica), to entrepreneurs, to business execs and more. 

All there to network and celebrate one another in a casual, elegant evening. Remember when I said (here) how my spirit had recently been renewed by encouragement and support? Well, this was one of those experiences. 

There's something to be said about women supporting women and bringing all of our resources and talents together to help one another and perhaps find a way to collaborate. If not now... then somehow in the future. 

I wore a comfy Banana Republic Dress and kept things easy with loose waves (from these rollers)! November Grey donated video services and collaborated on beauty touch-ups with a celebrity makeup artist and other top bloggers. Everyone there donated something to one another - from a pilates class, to spray tanningAsian sheet masks (omg so good!), and more.

The food was delicious (provided by Schaffer's), the setting gorgeous, the company - even better.  

Suzi Grgurich from Suzi G StylesOne Kings Lane Furniture Designer Kim Salmela, OND Social Series Founder Stephanie Kimes of One Nine Design (below L)

When I think of all the things I love about being a woman in business and entrepreneur, with all the ups and downs that come along with it, it's not only having the gift of doing what I truly love, but moments like this that keep me going.