2012 / Carmen Varner // Travel Influencer, Blogging Coach, Social Media Consultant


Q&A with Lizzie Armanto

Friday, August 10, 2012

NAME: Lizzie Armanto
AGE: 19
LOCATION: Santa Monica, CA

Photo by: Ken Hada, used with permission

How long have you been skating? 5 years.

Why do you skate? People tend to do what they like and for me skateboarding is one of those things.

What do you having coming up? There's two contests coming up this month, one in Portland, Oregon and another in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Schools coming up and filming some more. Hopefully getting to the beach and surfing more. Other then that, lots of eating and sleeping.

In terms of skaters, who do you look up to? I look up to my friends but I mostly look up to Pat Ngoho. There's tons of people who can skate and do tricks but not everybody has a nice style. Pat's got it down, without trying. He's rad.

What do you do when you're not skating? Well, I'm probably eating, sleeping, or on my phone. Other then that I like cooking. I am learning how to surf and getting driving down. I finally got my license this year. I have a blog that I share with two of my close friends [somethinggreatpurple.com]. I sometimes draw. Film adventures/trips and edit videos.

So you were in Thrasher. How did that feel? It's just a building in the sketchy part of town, so pretty good.

What's the next step? Forward.

What advice do you have for the skaters reading this? Do what makes you happy and have a passion for whatever you do.

What's one unknown fact about you? If I told you it wouldn't be unknown.

What's your favorite TV show, musician and movie? Don't watch TV enough to have a favorite show. My favorite musician is Kate Nash/Katy Perry, I like them both. For movies I'd have to say the Original Pink Panther Series.

It's Carmen gets interviewed

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The past couple days have been good for It's Carmen, for two reasons.

Free swag makes me happy!
1. I received a complimentary package in the mail from General Electric as a token of appreciation. It was a lovely vegan-friendly food basket including roasted unsalted cashews, roasted unsalted jumbo Israeli pumpkin seeds, Oriental rice cracker mix, dark chocolate granola and eden mix, which includes various dried fruits. Sounds munch-worthy, no? 

2. It's Carmen got interviewed by Eliza Gale Interviews where she talks "to people about the jobs they have and the jobs they want!" Check out It's Carmen's interview. Working my way up the Ladder of Success. 

Thanks for being a part of the journey. 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Change. Oops, made you cringe. Why does change stir us up so much? Change is a part of life. Everything undergoes change. Think of a butterfly. At first it is just a cool caterpillar doing its thing, living its life. Then there comes a time when it has to leave its old life behind and move on. Does it want to change? I don't know, I'm not a caterpillar. But it's the natural way of life. The little guy must build a cocoon and then metamorphosizes into a butterfly. 

Today I underwent a huge change in my life. So I guess I'm a butterfly too. If I'm being honest with you, I'm not completely stoked on it. However, I can't let that get me down. And don't let change get you down either! Change happens. Actually, change already happened. 

We can be stuck in the past and spend the day/week/month/eternity thinking about how things used to be. Unfortunately, there are no time machines (that I know of). The past is the past. Don't be saddened or bummed by it. Learn from it. Grow from it. Keep living your life and drive forward not backward.

Art of the Streets: Seattle Edition

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Street art is awesome. Art is on walls, the back of signs, the ground. It's all public, like an enormous free museum. Someone took the time out of their day to make it and display it anonymously. Some are stickers, some are stencils, some are drawn by hand, but all are rad. Kick back and take a look. Enjoy the art of the streets.

Hey! What's up, guys? For this installation Art of the Streets, I've got street art from the wonderful city of Seattle. It's definitely a change from super sunny California, but I'm always down to mix it up. So I was trekking the streets and kept an eye out for graffiti and street art. Here are my favorites. Hope you enjoy. Keep smiling. Have an extremely legit day. 

Murder is unacceptable. Don't do it.

The Delirium Diaries: Part II

Thursday, July 12, 2012

As you may or may not know, I am a writer. What I write about, however, ranges dramatically. I can conjure up a well-researched news article. I can interview cool folks for a feature. But I can also get creative. My mind wanders and I'm often lost in my own world. All the books and movies really aided my imagination, I'd say.

I keep a notebook where I  collectively pen my thoughts. I've noticed that the later I stay up, the crazier and more intriguing I write. And I created a special title for those late night (or is it early morning?) writing sessions. I called it The Delirium Diaries. 

Where is The Delirium Diaries - Part I, you ask? Well, it's tucked safely in my notebook, for my eyes only. Why? Not everything I come up with is a masterpiece, sometimes it's just silly or stupid or simply too personal. But some I will share and Part II is a prime example.

50 Things To Do When You're Bored

Sunday, July 08, 2012

We're human. We all get bored from time to time. But don't waste even more of your life by sitting on the computer. Stay psyched with this rad list of things to do when you've got nothing better to do. It's okay. We all have those days. Sometimes you feel like you aren't accomplishing anything. Sometimes you feel slightly unmotivated. Now it's time to get up and do something! Here's an idea: cross off all 50 things from this list. Try to do as much as you can in one day or take it slow. It depends how bored you are.

1. Walk in the park- The weather is nice. The sun is out. The temperature is warm. You'd be a fool not to spend the day outside! Put on some comfortable shoes and get trekking! You can do a simple stroll through the neighborhood or venture farther. Locate your nearest park and enjoy the scenery. 

2. Pick fresh fruit - Take a break from your ordinary trip to the grocery store. Hand pick your fruit from a tree, bush, plant. Blackberries, blueberries, cherries, figs, grapes, lemons, nectarines, oranges, peaches, raspberries and strawberries are in season right now.

2. Pick fresh fruit - Can't go wrong with fresh strawberries.

8. Take a trip to the library - Run on down to Seattle Public Library for example.

14. Write a letter - Katie was stoked when she received my letter.

16. Make a sandwich - Experiment with the ingredients in your fridge. Mustard? Spinach? Avocado? Olives? Cucumber? Strawberries? Hummus? Falalfel? Try something new!
17. Make a smoothie - Same as above. Add a variety of fruit, ice and some soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk and you're practically there. Snazz it up with cinnamon, flax seeds or vanilla.
19. Read the news - Are you aware of what's going on around you? What happened yesterday? What's happening right now? Read a newspaper and find out. 
20. Play a board game - Life. Monopoly. Cranium. Scrabble. Clue.
21. Visit a botanical garden - There's such a vast variety of flowers, trees, plants and shrubbery out there. Take a trip to a garden and view some of nature's most beautiful creations. 
22. Try a new food - Seitan? Swiss chard? Surinam cherry? Broaden your horizons. Be adventurous. Eat something new!
22. Try a new food - Vegan chili fries? Don't mind if I do...

23. Go to the dollar theatre - Maybe it's $1 or $3, doesn't really matter. It's cheap and just as good. Going to a regular theatre can cost over $11 these days. That's ridiculous. 
24. Drink a glass of water - It's good for you. It's great for you! But how much do you drink per day? Water is imperative to all living life forms. Water flushes out toxins from vital organs and carries nutrients to cells. Go grab a glass and gulp.
25. Count your change - Sort your quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Then count them  out and put them in rolls. Next time you're at the bank exchange the rolls of coins for cash. Ca-ching!!
26. Learn a new word - Expand your vocabulary. Dictionary.com has a Word of the Day. You could also flip open a book until you find a word you don't know. Look it up!
27. Play with your pet - I'm sure your dog, cat, bird, rabbit, snake, rat, turtle would adore some attention from you. If you don't have a pet, I know you know someone who does.
27. Play with your pet - Pebbles appreciates the lovin'.

28. Invite a friend over - Have a spontaneous day or night (or both) with a pal. What's the point of your cell phone if you don't utilize the contacts that you've been hoarding all these years? Call people up until someone agrees to hang out with you. 
29. Jot down a To Do List - Grab a pen and paper. Scribble down everything you want/need/must get done within the 7 days. Buy groceries? Do laundry? Wash the car? Finish building the toolshed? 
30. Do what's on your To Do List - Chip away at the list. Cross each one off once you're done. Prepare to feel accomplished.
31. Donate your clothes - Go through your wardrobe. Get rid of the items you haven't worn in over a year (and can't see yourself wearing anytime soon).
32. Pen a poem - You've got feelings, right? Express yourself...with words. You'd be amazed how thoughtful you can be once you take time to write down how you feel. It can feel silly if you aren't comfortable writing a poem, but try. If you're feeling up to it, write something deep, something personal. Let it out.
33. Smell the roses - Literally. Go sniff a rose or a flower of some sort. They smell heavenly. Pick one petal as a souvenir. 
33. Smell the roses - They smell bomb!

34. Jam to some music - Close the computer and listen to some music. Use an iPod, CD, radio or any music player. Blast your favorite tunes, the louder the better. Jam! Thrash! Mosh! Dance! Do whatever the music tells your body to do.
35. Volunteer - Don't have a go-to organization to volunteer at? Click here to search. Simply input your interests (example: animals, military families, hunger) and your area code and they'll match one that suits you. 
36. Buy a plant - It just livens up the place a bit, gives you some fresh air. You can get a succulent, flower or whatever catches your eye. Some are quite cheap. It's a fab way to decorate the house as well as help your health.
37. Do a mini workout - Get your heart pumping for a few minutes. Do this: 50 jumping jacks. 50 squats (25 with each leg). 50 crunches. 20 pushups.
38. Clean out the fridge - How old is that salsa? How long have those leftovers been there? Yeah...it's time to clean and toss.
39. Take a self-portrait - You'll look different in a year. You'll look way different in  10 years. And you'll look extremely different in 20 years. Document your life. Aim the camera at your mug and smile. Remember what you looked like today.
39. Take a self-portrait - My beautiful face.

40. Make handmade popcorn - It's super easy and even more tasty! Click here to learn to make your popcorn. All you need: corn kernels, pot, oil. Add salt and pepper, vegan butter or my personal favorite, chocolate chips. 
41. Read a book - If there's a book that's been sitting unread on your bookshelf for years, today is the day to crack that baby open. Flip to that first page and dedicate 20 minutes to reading.
42. See a foreign film - Practice your Spanish. Watch that strange French movie you heard about. How about a German film? There are a lot of options out there.
43. Doodle, draw or paint - Get your creative juices flowing.
44. Recycle your bottles and cans - Don't toss them. Recycle! Keep them separate from the trash. Be sure to rinse them out to prevent gnats and stinky smells. Search online to find the nearest recycling center to you and you can earn a few bucks.
45. Meditate - Turn everything off. Turn off your cellular device, the computer, the tablet, the music makers and other electronics. Do your best to clear your mind. Close your eyes. Listen to the silence. Really listen to it. Pay attention to your breathing. Be aware as you inhale and exhale. Know each breath. 
45. Meditate - Let peace wash over you.

46. Save $10 - Save $10 for later that is. Stash your cash or get some to stash. Put $10 in a jar, tighten the lid and save it for another day when you're really, really bored.
47. Develop some photos - Choose some photographs to get developed. It's more personal to have one physical photograph hanging in your room than 10,000 images on a computer screen. You can frame a couple or scrapbook them, if you're into that sort of thing.
48. Create a craft- Be a tree-hugger and reuse what you currently possess to concoct something new. I have three ideas for you: 1. A picture frame using trinkets you've been collecting. 2. A do it yourself aroma spray to freshen up your room. 3. A reconstruction to liven up an old shirt. Here's an archive of everything from Carmen's Crafts.
49. Go on a hike - No, not just a walk. Go on an arduous, lengthy, sweat-inducing, uphill battle hike.
50. Sit on a bench - Search until you find one. When you do, sit your bum down. Perch yourself on that bench and just ponder.

3. Make your bed - Is it made? If you're anything like me, probably not. Start your day off in a productive mood. Straighten your sheets. Fluff your pillow. Display your stuffed animal collection.

4. Wink at a stranger -  Take it a step further than simply smiling at a stranger. Wink!

5. Smile at yourself -  “If you smile when you are alone, then you really mean it.” ― Andy Rooney

6. Go to a record store - There are some excellent records out there. You just have to spend some time flipping through them. I got a Van Halen record for $1 at Burger Records. What a steal! It's practically a crime. 

7. Call a relative - Phone up a family member or try to see them in person. It's a fabulous day to chat with your aunt or grandpa. How are they? How's the family? Where are they working now? Anything new and exciting going on in their life? I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.

8. Take a trip to the library - Remember when you used to go to the library all the time when you were a kid? Continue your literacy. Traipse on over to your local public library and take a gander at the thousands of pages of literature at your disposal. Check out five books.

9. Get a haircut - Snip. Snip. It's been getting too long anyway.  Just go for a trim or get a completely new 'do. Switch it up!

10. Go on a jog - Okay, you may want to save this for a non-scorching day. You can do this in the evening, once it starts to cool off. Get some cardio. Break a sweat. Remember: exercise is a good thing. You don't have to sprint, just do enough to raise your heart rate.

11. Nap in the sun - The definition of perfection, no?

12. Watch the entire _____ series Lord of the Rings? Godfather? Matrix? Indiana Jones? Back to the Future? Harry Potter? Star Wars? Die Hard? Jurassic Park? Pirates of the Caribbean? Austin Powers? Twilight? Watch an entire series. That ought to occupy your mind for many, many, many hours.

13. Organize your closet - There's got to be a more efficient way to store all those clothes. And there is! It's called organization. Take everything out ― yes, everything ― and start fresh. How do you want to store your stuff? By color? By garment-type? By season? It's up to you.

14. Write a letter - When was the last time you did that, huh? After you're done writing the letter, get an envelope. Put a stamp on the envelope. Put that envelope in the mail.

15. Have a pool party - Invite your friends and neighbors. Bring some sunscreen, snacks, drinks and tunes to stay awesome. Then you can splish splash all day. Pools rule!

18. Breathe - Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and then exhale. Do that 10 times. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

That's all, folks. Tell me which ones (if any) amuse you!
Peace. Love. Good vibes. Seize the day.
All photos by Carmen Varner.

Strawberry Summer Salad with Key Lime Vinaigrette

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Salad doesn't have to be boring! It's not all lettuce and tomatoes! If you're tired of salad, you're doing it wrong. This is a sweet out-of-the-ordinary salad perfect for serving on a hot summer's day. This refreshing salad pairs fresh fruits with fresh ingredients. The fragrant strawberries and tart juice of the limes tantalize the taste buds. Try this easy cheap vegetarian recipe! 

Strawberry Summer Salad with Key Lime Vinaigrette 

For the salad:
4 Persian cucumbers
2 carrots
8 strawberries

Key Lime Vinaigrette Dressing:
2 key limes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of salt & pepper

  1. Simply chop cucumbers, carrots and strawberries. Mix together and add to a bowl.
  2. Cut key limes in half. Squeeze into bowl of minced veggies.
  3. Toss in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  4. Add a pinch of salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Bon Appétit!

Sparkling Grapefruit Juice

Monday, July 02, 2012

Here in the U.S., specifically in Southern California, the temperatures have been on the rise. Sun-kissed skin turns to sun-baked skin in this heat. Stay cool during the summer with an invigorating drink. Sparkling grapefruit juice is a fabulous choice to go with if I do say so myself. It's more tart than other juices, which is refreshing. It's perfect for serving for a gathering with family and friends or at a picnic at the park or just chugging at home.

- Grapefruit juice
- Sparkling water
- Ice
- Your favorite glass

I prefer my drinks less sugary. To make it the way I did: add 1 part juice, 1 part sparkling water. If you like your drink sweet, mix 2 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part sparkling water.

Enjoy this with friends over a movie. Add vodka for an adult night!

DIY Aroma Spray

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The times are changing. Multimedia is in, so I made a video. It's not with a fancy-schmancy camera, but it gets the job done and the point across. I only did the voiceover on my first try. No practice. Let's face it, it's amazing. Okay, I jest. Just watch this video and now you can use up those old body sprays or perfumes you totally never wear.

I decided I didn't like these perfumes enough to wear them personally, but they sure as heck make my room smell nice! Here's to recycling old items into something refreshing.

What you need:
- Old spray bottle
- Perfume / body spray
- Water

For further instruction...refer to video. 

Have fun! Smile often! Send good vibes!

DIY Trinket Picture Frame

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's summer now, so it's time for some fun. Here is another easy DIY project for the summer. This involves items that you probably already own. If not, I bought the frame and glue from the dollar store.

I tend to hoard little trinkets I find. I decided to liven up a plain black picture frame I had hanging in my room. This is a great way to utilize your random collection of doodads. 

You can use corks from all those fun wine nights. You can glue coins from your travels. You can do anything your imagination conjures up. This is an incredibly easy project that you can view every day.

What you need:
- Picture frame
- Super glue
- Trinkets 

Now just arrange the knickknacks and then glue accordingly. It's a no-brainer. Believe it or not, all these objects were found. I legitimately found them on the ground throughout the years. Some I distinctly recall, some not so much. But even these pointless doodads hold a certain amount of memories.

If you think it looks stupid, that's cool. I'm glad these random thingamajigs aren't dispersed about my room anymore. They all reside together in one spot where I can look at and have a wave of remembrance wash over me.

Have fun! Smile often! 

Obtain trinkets + super glue
Begin arranging. Now glue.
Close up so far.
Finished product. Suhweeet.

T-Shirt Reconstruction

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Do you have a bunch of old shirts that you never wear? Why go buy more stuff when you can create something new from something you already own? For this craft, I took an old t-shirt and reconstructed it into something totally awesome and refreshing. I should have taken a "before" photo, but oh well. I'll do it next time. This was a basic fitted white tee with a peace sign in the middle. It needed some sprucing up because I rarely wore it. Now I can't wait to sport this during summer!

Follow these guidelines to revamp your closet too! Remember: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Create a boat neck - Cut directly around the collar. Stretch it out. Now you have a larger neckline that can show off your shoulders. Woohoo! 

Close up of the boat neck cut.

Cut slits - I did simple slits in the back. Nothing complicated. I just cut about five slits in the back and pulled them the same way I stretched the collar.

The slits aren't crooked. I just stand crooked.

Watch this video for some other slit-cutting options if you want to be really cool.

Make natural dye - 1. Boil some water in a pot.
2. Add the outer skin of an onion (the crispy, crunchy part that you don't use). Let it boil, so the colors emerge. You'll see that it's a yellowy color. I added some turmeric to make it more vibrant. Keep it at a rumbling boil so the water gets nice and colorful. 
3. Now you can add the shirt**. I twisted it up and restrained it with hair ties because I wanted a tie-dye effect. Cook the shirt for about 20 minutes or until you can view the color adhering to the shirt. 
4. Wring it out. Let sit overnight. Wash with cold water.

Close up of the tie-dye look (also visible in above photos).

**Note: This works best with a white shirt made of natural product (cotton, silk).

Oh wow! That's it. Now I have a shirt that nobody else has. And now you have some inspiration. Revitalize your wardrobe! Get to it! 

Hello Kelowna! - The Wedding

Friday, June 08, 2012

* I love to travel. I get such a thrill out of visiting new places and experiencing life from another perspective. As a writer, I'm constantly chronicling everything. Here's a play-by-play of my adventures to Seattle, WA. and Kelowna, British Columbia.

So the main purpose of the entire trip was to watch my cousin, Meshkat, wed his lovely bride, Ashlee.  Obviously, I've known my cousin for quite some time. But I met Ashlee last year when I went to Vancouver for their engagement party. It hasn't even been a year and I've only met her twice, but I'm ecstatic to add her to the family. I'm so happy to have been a guest at their wedding and hopefully get to come for the baby shower (whenever that will be). Woo! Congratulations you lovebirds!

My photos are very bad quality. I don't have a cool expensive camera. If you want to see some top-notch photographs of the wedding and ceremony, check out Ronnie Lee Hill Photography. Otherwise, here's some proof I was there.

Hello Kelowna!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

* I love to travel. I get such a thrill out of visiting new places and experiencing life from another perspective. As a writer, I'm constantly chronicling everything. Here's a play-by-play of my adventures to Seattle, WA. and Kelowna, British Columbia.

Hello Seattle!
Hello Seattle! - Day 2

So this was my last day in Washington. I truly enjoyed the greenery, the crisp air and the fluffy clouds. It doesn't get so pretty in Southern California; one must go a bit more north to see that. I visited Pike Place Market and took some photos to prove it. Pike Place has fresh flowers and fruit, seafood, colorful veggies and a countless amount of handmade crafts and items. It's a must-see.


I was looking at one vendor and we got to talking. I told him I was vegan and he informed me of Cinnamon Works, a place where I could find some sweet treats that fit my needs. I immediately departed from him and made my way over for dessert, an enormous chocolate chip cookie with walnuts. I am not joking when I say this cookie lasted me three days. 

After perusing the market a bit more and stopping to pick up some food for the airplane, it was off to the airport. Destination: Kelowna, British Columbia. They gave me free beer. SCORE! Here's the view from the sky. Nice, huh?

I've ventured to Canada before, but never Kelowna. Kelowna is perfect for an outdoorsy adventurer. It's lush, green and gorgeous. Check out the photos from my stroll around town, the Okanagan Lake and the lovely surrounding nature.

Okanagan + Blue


For dinner, it was Earls Kitchen & Bar. Kara was our server and she was simply excellent. Basically, there was nothing vegan, so I modified the roasted vegetable quesadilla into an amazingly fat ciabatta sandwich. It's okay to be jealous; it was marvelous in my mouth. My taste buds were ecstatic.


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