SLIDER

The True Story About Sourdough Bread Bowls

Monday, January 21, 2019

Rainy California days always remind me of when I worked at Panera Bread for three years in college. People would flock to buy the sourdough bread bowls at Panera anytime it was raining, which meant we ran out pretty fast. If management knew it was going to rain they'd make like five times as many bread bowls. 

But life doesn't always go according to the books. Sometimes rain comes out of nowhere & sometimes the swarm of people was just that intense in numbers.

And it was indeed intense.

So...like I said, I'm working at Panera. It's a rainy day. We sold out of bread bowls about an hour ago. I already turned down dozens of customers. My fellow coworkers at the cash registers turned customers down dozens of customers.

"No more bread bowls today. I'm sorry."
"We're out of bread bowls."
"No. We don't have bread bowls. We ran out."
"I apologize. We don't have any more bread bowls today."

There was one lady who came in. She asked for soup in a sourdough bread bowl. I told her "I'm sorry we're out of bread bowls."

Most people leave it at that, or make a funny (or sad) comment about how they were really looking forward to it.

But this woman...she was angry.

She demanded to know why we didn't have sourdough bread bowls. Where were they were?

I told her that a rush of people came in when it started raining & a lot of them ordered the bread bowl. We'd run out. I'm sorry.

She started yelling at me & demanded to see a manager, who reiterated that there were no bread bowls. She actually wrote a letter complaining about me & how I'd ran out of bread bowls & ruined her day. In fact, she was so furious with me that my manager had to pull up the camera & look at our interaction on the security camera to investigate if I somehow provoked her or if she really went off because we simply didn't have bread bowls.

Basically, the moral of the story is don’t mess with bread bowls people will kill for them or report you. Stay safe y'all & remember to say "thanks" to your food/retail associates because people are extra on edge when it rains.

Have you tried the sourdough bread bowls at Panera. Do you have any strange food service stories? Tell me tell me tell me! Leave a comment.



hello to you

How I Help People as a Blog Coach & Consultant

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

A blog consultant & blog coach offers feedback, guidance, & direction.

Ultimately, it's your blog & brand. You are free to call all the shots, execute any changes, & implement any strategies. As a professional blogging coach, I give you professional advice & guidance based on over 7 years of agency, corporate, & solo experience. 

My client Nicole says, "[Carmen] gave me guidance and direction that I never expected! I had to be myself - otherwise, she could not help me the way I needed. She was like an anchor while I was floundering around. She kept me grounded and on track."



A blog coach helps you prioritize your business & blog goals.

I work one on one with people to get them closer to their goals. I am a blog coach & consultant, which means the client is 100% in charge of their destiny. I sit back, look at the data, & allow the client to see their goals clearly. What do they want to achieve? How do they measure success? What needs to get done?

"Carmen helped me prioritize my goals for my blog and my brand as a whole. She provided me with skills to improve my decision making in everything from blog topics, gauging my audience, and making my personality really shine through in my work." says my lifestyle & travel blog client Kait of JustK8Things.

A blog coach helps you find your blog voice & establish your social media presence.

If you're feeling confused about your online presence, don't worry. You might be wondering how to start a blog & especially how to find a blog coach. What do you need to do? How can you stand out? Where do you even begin?!! A professional blogging coach allows you to delve deeper into your own fears & questions to discover who you can best reach & speak to!

"I reached out to Carmen a few months ago. She helped guide me by helping me find my voice and direction. She is an amazing mentor and friend. If you want to start a social media presence she is a good person to have in your corner." says Drea, my blog coaching client for over a year.

A blog business coach challenges you.

It's not easy. This is a blog coach & consultant after all. As a coach, I share information with you & ultimately, YOU put the effort forward to do the work. A social media manager, however, does the work for you. It depends what you need.

"I wasn't sure if I was going to learn much after the private coaching session but the challenge pushed me outside my comfort zone...The push was well worth it and much needed," says my client Stephanie.

With time & effort, a blog coaching can get you results that matter (page views, event invites, income, etc!)

"I've already seen massive stat improvements on my blog (I had one post go 'viral' with over 10k+ views in the first 48 hours which is MASSIVE for me). And most of the companies I've reached out to agreed to sponsored posts or collaborations! I just received confirmation that I'll have a press pass to Dogapalooza this year and I'm friggin over the moon! Again, thank you so much for the challenge." says my travel, health, & lifestyle blogging client, Stephanie of Adventures in Aussieland.

What is Huitlacoche? Is it Safe to Eat?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

What is huitlacoche?

Corn smut is a plant fungus caused by Ustilago maydis. While most farmers would consider this fungal disease an infection worthy of eradication, corn smut is considered a delicacy in Mexico, more commonly referred to as "huitlacoche." If you're left wondering: well, is huitlacoche safe to eat? Yes! The fungus is considered a maize mushroom or type of edible mushroom. You might even hear it referred to as cuitlacoche, corn truffles, Mexican truffles, maizteca mushrooms, corn mushrooms, & bunch of other terms.



What does huitlacoche smell like, taste like, look like?

I first tried huitlacoche back in 2016; I even mentioned it in my July A - Z monthly recap & my July Favorites. My boyfriend's mom made a batch. I ate it by itself, as a side. It's earthy but not as stinky as mushrooms. It tastes like corn. The texture is a bit mushy, just like cooked corn. There might be an occasional fiber from the corn. It looks dark, like a blackish, brownish color, kind of the same color as a crimini mushroom or Portobello mushroom.

How do you eat huitlacoche?

I loooove a huitlacoche quesadilla. Delicious. If quesadillas aren't your thing, you can add huitlacoche to your soup or burrito. You can make a huitlacoche taco or sope. Basically, you can add huitlacoche as a filler or side, the same way you'd integrate something like black beans or mushrooms. 


What's the nutritional value of huitlacoche?

High Protein
Huitlacoche is higher in protein than most maize or corn, & could be considered as an alternative protein source for vegetarians (or anyone), according to a research study published in Food Science and Technology (Sociedade Brasileira de Ciência e Tecnologia de Alimentos).

High in Minerals like Magnesium & Phosphorus
The study also shows that huitlacoche is high in minerals magnesium & phosphorus. Higher magnesium intake may reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes, & osteoporosis (National Institutes of Health). So load up on that huitlacoche!

High in Fatty Acids like Oleic Acid & Linoleic Acid
Huitlacoche is high in fatty acids like oleic acid & linoleic acid. Due to the plant fungus & how it alters the corn, huitlacoche is loaded with nutrients corn doesn't normally have, such as lysine, an amino acid.

High Carbohydrate
At the end of the day, huitlacoche is still corn, so it has a high carbohydrate content. The great news is that huitlacoche has a high cellulose content (a type of carbohydrate), which can be beneficial for digestion. Sounds like a win to me!

Low Fat 
Huitlacoche is low in fat, which makes it a great choice for anyone looking for lower calorie & lower fat foods.

So tell me, would you try huitlacoche? Have you? How do you like to eat it? Leave a comment below if you have any questions! :]

Your Guide to Fresh Eucalyptus Leaves in the Shower

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

I love eucalyptus. Maybe it's because I was born in Australia. Maybe it's because it smells like a warm embrace on a cold morning, soothing yet invigorating (kind of like fresh mint). Maybe it's because this fragrant green plant is the perfect addition to your next shower. 


Hang Eucalyptus in Your Shower

Hang fresh eucalyptus leaves in your shower to freshen up your bathroom. Simply tie it with a string or rubber band near your showerhead. The hot water hits the leaves to create a eucalyptus steam, kind of like an all-natural shower diffuser. The oils from the leaves give off an incredible scent that can last for weeks.





Where Can I Buy Eucalyptus Leaves?

I'm based in Southern California, so I find my favorite eucalyptus bouquet at my local farmers market, flower shop, or grocery store. I've seen eucalyptus fresh leaves at Trader Joe's, Vons, & some grocery stores by the flower section. You might be able to find it at craft stores too!

Care Tip: Shake off the leaves after every shower to avoid gnats or rotting. 

The fresh eucalyptus leaves can be flat & hold a lot of water. Shake it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture! Hey yaaa! After you turn off the water, shake as much water from the leaves as you can. Then you're ready to go.

How Long Do Eucalyptus Leaves Last in the Shower?

It ultimately depends how frequently you shower & how you care for the bundle of leaves. If the eucalyptus shower gets used multiple times a day, it may last 3 weeks or so. We had our eucalyptus bundle for 2 weeks, went on a 3-week trip, & came back to the most fragrant, fantastic scent of eucalyptus wafting through the bathroom. We used it for one more week before heading to the farmers market for a new bundle.


Can I Use Eucalyptus Essential Oils Instead?

Of course! You can use whatever you have on hand. I dabbled with eucalyptus essential oils for several years. It all started in 2014 with my very first bottle of eucalyptus essential oil. I prefer the fresh leaves because the scent is much more potent than the essential oils. But the eucalyptus essential oil is convenient & travel-friendly since you can take a small bottle with you wherever you go.  Click here for my favorite eucalyptus essential oil (*affiliate link).

Do you use eucalyptus leaves in the shower? Leave a comment! Tell me about your experience. Feel free to ask a question!

Blog Prop Ideas from Amazon to Elevate Your Flat Lays & Photography

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Buy blog photography props & flat lay styling pieces from Amazon! It's convenient, affordable, & you never have to leave your house! Shop for props in your three-day-old hair, giant sweatshirt, & no pants. Ahhh, that's the dream. Elevate your flat lay photography with these Instagram-worthy Amazon props that I swear by!

*Disclaimer: this post includes affiliate links.

Faux Sheepskin Rug



This elevates every blog post & photo. It's chic, simple, & acts as a palette cleanser. Sometimes I put it out when guests come over because I'm cool like that. It helps that it's incredibly soft. Choose from multiple sizes to fit your blogging/room/dimensional needs. If you're wondering how to be a blogger & influencer, this prop is a good place to start.

Faux Marble Contact Paper



This beautiful wine, marble, & succulent set up is A LIE!!! I taped this white & grey glossy faux marble contact paper onto a poster board & it works wonders. Spill something on it? Simply wipe it away with a sponge. Gets too dingy? Replace the used contact paper. I've had the same sheet for over a year & haven't needed to swap it out. The roll is worth it!

Gel Pens



Flashback to the 90s, right? Okay, hear me out here. This gel pen pack comes with 48 pens to suit any rainbow your heart desires. Pick & choose colors to go with your theme or Instagram feed. Style the pens with stationery for any blog-related photography. Personally, I write with gel pens too since the colors keep me organized.

Wall Tapestry



These plant wall tapestries are enormous & beautiful. I pinned mine up & I use them all the time. Stand in front of them for a selfie. Hold your coffee up for a cool background. The options are as limitless as your imagination. Plus, I get compliments on them all the time. I got the banana leaf wall tapestry & the cactus wall tapestry.

Did any of these Amazon props inspire you? What's your go-to prop? Tell me. Leave a comment. :]

Bunkers del Carmel Turó de la Rovira Barcelona: Things to Do + The History

Friday, November 16, 2018

What if I told you there's a magical 360° view of Barcelona that's completely free?

Free dollars. Free euros. Free o'clock.

Free things to do in Barcelona? Count me in!


Hike Bunkers of Carmel on Turó de la Rovira for a panoramic view of Barcelona.

Imagine a panoramic look at Barcelona from 262 meters/859 feet above sea level. Picture yourself looking out at the Mediterranean Sea, La Sagrada Familia, & the entire city of Barcelona from up high. Find this unforgettable location at Bunkers del Carmel on the hill known as Turó de la Rovira, the site for the defense of Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War.

Dying for more hidden gems from across the world? Sign up for travel tips, hacks, best photo spots, & behind-the-scenes designed for blogger, influencers, & travelers.



The History of Turó de la Rovira

Turó de la Rovira is a Museu d'Historia de Barcelona (MUHBA) heritage space, which officially opened in 2011 after undergoing restoration. It once contained the anti-aircraft battery used to defend Barcelona from air attacks. Pretty historic, eh?


The View of Barcelona, Spain from Bunkers Del Carmel

Perhaps you're a sucker for savoring spectacular sights. Me too, my friend, me too. If you want to take a selfie, get the best Instagram shot, or snap a memorable photo, this is the spot to check out. The view of the city is incomparable from the top of Bunkers del Carmel. On one side you can see the Mediterranean Sea, La Sagrada Familia, & all the Barcelona hot spots. On the other side, stare out at the Barcelona homes.


Things To to Do at Bunkers Del Carmel on Turó de la Rovira

Remember that it's free of charge to explore. Who doesn't love free things to do in Barcelona, Spain? Everything adds up: the museums, the cathedrals, the parks. Why not add something free to the list? So you made it up Turó de la Rovira, now what?

Have a picnic on top of the world.

Take snacks & drink so you can have yourself a merry little picnic. It goes without saying to pick up after yourself & dispose of any trash.

Have you visited Bunkers del Carmel? Have a question? Want to share your experience? Leave a comment below!



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