March 2012 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


The best things in life

Friday, March 30, 2012

Some of the best things in life are free. Some of the best things in life are not things. Some of the best things in life are right in front of you. Life is all about the simple pleasures. You can't go around judging the value of your life by the money you make or the things you can buy. Take a step back from the every day greed and do nothing. Forget your daily hassles, problems and woes  for a second. Do something that gets you back into nature. Do something that gets you out of the house. Do something that makes you more knowledgeable.  Do something fun, worthwhile, silly, outrageous, rewarding.  Do something different. Do something.

Citrus & Cashew Pasta

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ever been out to a Thai restaurant and basically drooled at your food? It's yummy, right? Well, that's how I came up with this healthy vegetarian recipe. I wanted something different, something delectable. I wanted all the flavors to mesh and mingle together in such a way that I could replicate the drooling sensation. I think I did. 

In this healthy vegetarian recipe you'll find cashews, broccoli, and citrus. The combination is almost heavenly. Make this at your home for your family or loved ones. After you make it a couple times, try out this healthy vegetarian recipe for a dinner party. Let's get started.

1/4 onion
1/2 cup green beans
1 carrot
5 florets of broccoli
1/4 cup cauliflower
1/2 yellow squash
2 cups cabbage
2 cups pasta
1/4 cup cashews
1 citrus fruit

All measurements are approximations and do not need to be followed exactly.

1. First things first, heat up your pan to medium heat and add some oil. Chop your onion and green beans. Toss the onion into the pan. Wait until it cooks a bit then drop in the green beans until both begin to brown.

2. Slice your broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower and yellow squash. Chuck them all in the pan on medium heat, stir and cover it up. Let the veggies cook for about 15 minutes. Since there's a large amount of vegetables, it needs time to thoroughly get warmed up.

3. The veggies need around 15 minutes to cook so you can multitask by boiling water. Add two cups of pasta and cook until done. I used bowtie pasta, but you can use whatever. Be sure to stir the veggies occasionally.

4. Mix in some spices with your veggies. Mine includes basil, black peppercorns, coriander, garlic, mustard seed, oregano, paprika, parsley, red chili pepper, rosemary, sea salt and thyme.  But you can use whatever you have in your pantry.

5. Everything should be cooked at this point. Take a piece of veggie and taste for yourself,  same for the pasta. Your taste buds will know if it needs extra time. Strain the pasta and mix it in with your vegetables.
6. Now for the final touches! Top off the dish with cashews, citrus and Thai peanut sauce. My peanut sauce is from Sprout's and it's completely vegan. But I've found a vegan version at Target too. That's all, friends. Enjoy!

When it comes to my meals, I like to keep them tasty but easy. Try out my healthy vegetarian recipe out tonight! Everyone, especially you, will be impressed by your culinary skills.
Bon Appétit!

It's Carmen the Intern: Part II

Monday, March 19, 2012

* It's Carmen is many things, but now It's Carmen is an intern. On Feb. 1, I began my first official day as a business reporter for Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. To put it briefly, my job is to create, write, report and edit content.

It's Carmen the Intern: Part I

Well, it's been another three weeks at my internship. According to my meticulously noted hours, I've worked on, written, interviewed, reported and edited several articles. The only ones that seem to get published are time-sensitive, which is understandable. 

You can read my piece on one of Cal State Fullerton's Business Madness events which occurred on March 5. Click here to check it out: Business Career Expo 2012: Titans Preparing for Their Future. I had an excellent time attending the fair and socializing with students and company representatives. I even scored a free mini notebook; it's perfect for a writer such as myself. I kind of wish I'd snagged a second one.

I have several articles in their final stages of edits. One is a profile article about a business student who also plays lacrosse for CSUF, while another revolves around a group of students who travelled abroad as part of their business administration class. Hopefully they'll be published by my next It's Carmen the Intern update.

Excited for my first day of internship.
Photo by: Katie Keyes

Though this is an unpaid position, it's fabulous not having a manager breathing down my neck all the time. I don't get constantly checked up on as if I'm an infant. I don't get assigned random tasks to keep busy. In fact, most of the time I'm alone at my cubicle unless the other student assistants are at theirs.

I get treated like an adult. I don't have to clock in or out. I can take an hour lunch break. I'm expected to do my work. That's my duty. And I feel I do it well. I listen, I work hard and I work fast. Everyone is friendly and I enjoy what I do. It's the seemingly perfect internship.

A day like this // Poem

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A day like this

by Carmen Varner

It's a day like this
 that makes me want to stay inside. 
The rain pours 
and the skies are grey.
I wouldn't want to leave the house anyway.
I wish I could stay in bed, 
under the covers, 
warm and sheltered from the tears of the atmosphere.
It's a day like this
I feel more confused about my existence than ever.
It's so perplexing how the weather
and our moods
can be so easily swayed.
It's a day like this
I'm reminded of how small I am.
Nothing revolves around me;
I revolve around the sun.
And when I feel down,
I realize the skies don't lie.
They're up there,
up so high.
It's a day like this
I understand I must journey on,
even if heaven cries.
The world won't stop for me,
so I must continue my adventure regardless.

What is this? Pokemon?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"I choose you. I choose you. I choose you," a female voice said faintly, although I paid no attention to it.

"I choose you," the voice said again. I wondered who she was choosing and why she was choosing them.

"I choose you," she repeated. 

"What is this? Pokemon?," I asked myself, as I strolled down an abandoned hallway. "Gotta catch 'em all."

"I choose you."

I turned around to see who it was. Nobody. I listened in an attempt to hear where the voice was coming from. Nothing.

"I choose you," the voice said suddenly.

"Is there some really rad Pokemon ringtone I don't know about?," I wondered.

"I choose you."

"No, really. I wish someone would choose me. But I'm never the girl to get chosen," I said in the direction of the voice.

"I choose you," it said again before I finally figured that the voice had followed me to my classroom. I immediately took off my lime green backpack and unzipped it.

"I choose you," the lady said. This time it was much louder, clearer. I opened up my pencil bag and there she was.

"I choose you," she said for the final time before I turned her off. It was just my trusty tape recorder. The night prior, I had recorded my roommate's voice as she read off lines for the memorization quiz I had in the morning. She recited her lines as Adam and left gaps for me to practice mine.

"Mystery solved," I thought to myself and smiled. "Although Pokemon would've definitely made a less lame story."

Spaghetti Squash Salmagundi

Friday, March 09, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Salmagundi

1 spaghetti squash
any vegetables in your fridge

In case you were wondering, salmagundi is a medley, hodgepodge, mixture, jumble. This healthy vegetarian recipe is simply a general guide to making a delicious spaghetti squash dish, not anything exact. You can include a mishmash of veggies. You may add any and every vegetable you have at your place.

Spaghetti squash is an excellent substitute for pasta, hence the name.  This is a low carb healthy vegetarian recipe/ According to Better Nutrition, spaghetti squash is a watermelon-shaped squash that's low in calories and carbohydrates and high in beta-carotene, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Dang, this squash has got it all! 

Alright, let's get started!

1. The first thing you need to do is cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. This can be tough because they're pretty thick. Then take a spoon and scrape the goopy insides and seeds. You can save the seeds and bake them if you want. 


2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle pepper and whatever seasoning you want to the squash. Put both squash halves on a pan and stick it in the oven. It usually takes around 40 minutes to bake.


3. Now chop up your veggies. Veggies are a huge part of any healthy vegetarian recipe. I cut onion and green beans and added them to a pan on medium heat. After those cooked and browned a little bit I tossed in asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and red bell pepper. Cover the pan and stir occasionally. It takes a while to cook since there's quite a mass of vegetables in there.



4. Your spaghetti squash ought to be ready by now. Take a fork and poke it. If it's soft and goes through easily, it's ready. If not, keep baking it. Once you remove the squash from the oven, get a large bowl and a fork. Start scraping! It's super easy to do. It breaks apart into spaghetti-like pieces. Rad, right? Add more spices and seasoning. I included a no salt seasoning, which included garlic, onion, basil, oregano, rosemary and parsley.


5. Everything should be ready to go. Mix cooked veggies and the squash together. Now's the time to add more spices, if necessary. I'm a taste-as-I-cook kind of gal. I added pepper, thyme and an everyday seasoning which included sea salt, mustard seeds, coriander, onion, garlic, paprika and chili pepper. 


Okay, so that's the easy cheap vegetarian recipe for ya. This makes quite a lot of food. Serve for friends and family or save for leftovers. Plus, this dish is extremely versatile. One day I added tomato sauce for a yummy pasta dish. The next day I put a dash of teryaki sauce for an Asian-inspired meal. 

Please let me know if you decide to try this healthy vegetarian recipe out!

Bon Appétit!

The Krazy Tales of Kirby Tierney

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

It was a Monday evening. The night air was cool, yet it was stuffy in the small living room where four twenty-somethings gathered together for a chill evening. The group consisted of two men and two women. Some had been friends for years, while some had met only a week prior. However, at this exact moment in time, they were close.

The four reclined in various parts of the room. The apartment belonged to Charles 'Kirby' Tierney and his two roommates. Kirby's roommates didn't respond well to company and remained hidden in their rooms. Kirby sat on the dirty brown couch in his living room next to Olivia Burlingame. Olivia browsed the television, constantly clicking the remote. She smacked her gum loudly and sighed as she went from channel to channel.

Jamaal Amoros sat on a small black beanbag near Kirby's feet and slowly sipped on a beer. Flora Franco leaned against the white wall with a tie dye pillow behind her back. Kirby met Flora his freshman year in philosophy class. Olivia was Flora's roommate and Jamaal was a friend of a friend who happened to be was crashing on Kirby's couch for the time being.

 "So what'd you do this weekend?," Flora asked Kirby and Jamaal. "Any girls this time?," she inquired.

"Yeah, we were hanging out with girls," Kirby said.

"I know, but you're "hanging out" with me and Olivia," she said, adding air quotes to emphasize her point.

"You're always like 'did you get it in?'" Kirby joked, imitating Flora. The four of them laughed.

"Sorry I'm intrigued," Flora said, kicking Kirby's shin. "You always have the coolest stories. If I had a cool story, I would tell you too."

Kirby seemed amused and thought about his weekend.

"We went to a warehouse party in LA on Friday," Kirby responded. "We skated all day. There was all the beer you could drink. Everyone was sipping beers and cruising on their boards. I drank so many I couldn't even skate, which is saying something," he said. "So I went to my buddy's car to chill, but ended up passing out in his car. I woke up like three hours later back home. Then, get this," he paused.

Olivia stopped flipping through the channels at this point and left it on Hey Arnold! Jamaal got up from his seat and went to the fridge to get another beer.

"Want one?," Jamaal asked nobody in particular.

"Yeah," Flora and Kirby said in unison. Jamaal returned with four beers in hand, two for himself.

"So what happened?," Flora probed.

"I hung out with my ex. She gave me like a 30-rack of beer for my birthday," he said.

"Seriously?" Olivia asked. "I'd never buy a gift for an ex."

Kirby gave Olivia a weird look.

"Even for someone as magnificent as yourself," she added hastily. She wasn't trying to be mean.

"The same girlfriend that you all of a sudden stopped talking to you? Let me get this straight. She wasn't pissed at you, but instead buys you beer? Interesting," Flora said, squinting her eyes in a train of thought.

"Anyway," Kirby began. "So I took it, told her thanks and bounced the hell out of there. We drank it all that night," he said pointing to Jamaal. "So pretty much, I had a ton of beer that day, beginning at the skate park. It resulted in a massive two-day hangover. It hurt my head to breathe. I swear it was like blasting a foghorn in my ear. My brain was pounding. Me and Jamaal just vegged out on the couch all weekend. Worst hangover of the year," he said.

"But it's only March!" Olivia exclaimed.

"Friday was totally worth it," Kirby said. And with that it was evident he was done retelling his story.


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