International Day of Happiness & A Recipe

Greetings and Salutations!

How is everyone’s week going?? Mine is fantastic! Today is the first day of spring and international day of happiness! I am so glad to see spring, which will hopefully come with warmer weather, and I was even more excited when I learned that today was dedicated to being happy. On the website, they talk about the importance of focusing on happiness and well being than craving/searching for material possessions. I couldn’t think of a better way to uplift the human spirit and remind everyone AROUND THE WORLD that despite our circumstances, things could be a lot worse. For those unfortunate people who are in horrible situations,  emotionally or physically imprisioned by their government or life’s problems, I pray that you soon find peace and hope. Don’t give up!

international day of happiness

Anywho…on to the recipe part of the post. This is one of my favorite fish recipes. I think I found it on the ever popular Skinny Taste, but I’ve been cooking it for so many years that I honestly can’t even remember. This recipe is so super easy it’s disgusting. It’s very light and for all of the food/meal preppers out there, it’s even good two days later. One of my coworkers and a friend of mine is giving up meat (red meat, pork, even chicken) for Lent as well as millions of others who practice the Catholic fate, so this is a quick recipe that you can enjoy.

Pan Seared Tilapia in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • 5 Tilapia filets
  • One small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic (i happen to love garlic, so you can use less if you like)
  • Two 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes (one regular and one Italian diced tomatoes)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • Red pepper (ground or flakes, but either is optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parsley

Directions:

Add the onion and garlic to a medium to large skillet and cook on medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes and spices and cook for another 5 minutes until the fresh veggies have started to soften.2013-03-12 004

Place the tilapia into the skillet on top of the tomato, making a little bed or section for the fish. Salt and pepper the top of the fish and then spoon a little bit of the tomatoes on top of the tomato, but don’t cover completely.

COVER and cook the tilapia for another 15-17 minutes until the tilapia is firm, but flaky.

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Garnish with parsley and serve with white or brown rice.

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So you tell me…what do YOU have to be happy about!? 🙂

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I’m Baaaaacccckkk…..

Anyone out there? Bueller…..Bueller?

This may be my longest hiatus ever. Pretty sure I haven’t blogged in about a year. In my last post, I talked about  some of the things that I was working on, had been up to, etc. All of which are pretty true, but that’s not the true reason why I stopped blogging.

I took a step back and assessed what I had blogged about since starting this little online journal in 2011. Let’s be (Lisa) frank shall we? This ish was depressing. I was just constantly complaining about my sad little life. Was it rough? Absolutely. But why did I feel the need to talk about it in 800+ words. #firstworldproblems

The last few months, I’ve been able to really evaluate the last six years of life. Why six years? Because that’s how long it’s been since I graduated from OU. Good Jesus. Time is flying by right? My point exactly. I needed to start living and stop dwelling in my own misery. I’m all about being transparent. Heaven knows I can’t stand it when these bloggers document their lives like they are the star of their own series on E!. That is so annoying. However, maybe I went a tad bit too extreme in the opposite direction.

I’m not going to take those posts down. No, I think it’s important that you see every side of me, peaks and valleys. But we won’t be going back to Debbie Downer Land, not even on a short road trip.

Back to our regularly scheduled blog posts all about things that make me happy. This list has changed a little bit since I first started, but hey, that was three years ago right? People can change.

With that said, Welcome back to Vicky D’s Delights where I eat, drink and live through all of life’s sweet and sour moments. Let’s hope it’s more of the former.

Ta ta for now,

Vicky D

Life’s Choices and Dallas Food Nerd

Goooooodd Morning!!!

I am in particularly good mood this morning!! Not exactly sure why…hehe! Is it because Christmas is almost here? hmmm..maybe. Is it because I have all of next week off? No, because I only have Christmas Day off next week. Womp Womp! Is it because the weather is warm in Dallas? Nope, it’s all of a sudden freakishly cold here AGAIN.

So, what is it? I’m choosing to be happy! I’ve realized that life really could be A LOT worse than I think. I have so much to be thankful for and frankly complaining is becoming annoying ot everyone around me.

Yesterday, I met up with Clare at Paradise Bakery for a little going away lunch. Clare is one of the first people I met in the blogging world. Ironically, I met her before I even had a blog. She basically commented on another blog that I read (or something like that), and I figured out she was moving from St.Louis to Dallas. I wanted to show her some good ‘ol Dallas hospitality. I hope I achieved that. that was nearly 1.5 years ago. Anywho, Clare has decided to move back home and go back to school. While I will miss her so, I can’t help but be proud of her for leaving her life and family behind to move to a city that she had only flown through. I can’t help but be inspired by the way she handled all of life’s situations with a good attitude. She might not have always been happy, but she always found a way to find the positive aspects of life.

If you read her blog, you will see that transitioning to Dallas and a new phase of life wasn’t an easy process, but she did it. It’s hard to balance everything and everyone. Heck, her blog is called Fitting It All In. I always admired the fact that she was transparent about her life. She entertained her readers (friends), but also educated them and made them think a little bit. I’m going to miss her, but hey, that’s why there are planes, trains and wait, St. Louis is far, so probably no automobiles. hehe!

Life is all about choices. We choose to be sad. We choose to be angry. We choose to be happy. Trust me when I say this is NOT easy to do. In the last 6 months, I have experienced some difficult situations, and it was even more challenging to not fall into a despondent state. It was a constant, daily struggle. I found myself wanting to commiserate over life’s whoas. Stop it, Vicky D. I overcame it. Praise the Lord.

The “Whoa Is Me” complex is really unproductive. I’m over it. I’m too old for it now honestly.

Now, I continue on my original mission, to find the good in all of life’s little delights, like the cookie display at the front entrance of Paradise Bakery near the Galleria. Puts you in the Christmas spirit and includes a complimentary tasty treat.

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Or there’s my little friend, Bob, who I bought at the Dollar Store for $4 four years ago. He only comes out during the holidays, but it makes me happy.

bobOf course, there’s always my favorite delight, FOOD. Yesterday, I ate a BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad and Sonoma Chicken Stew at Paradise. Now, I saw them put cheese in my salad, and I’m 100% sure that my soup had cream in it. Thankfully, I didn’t get sick. There’s nothing better than sharing tasty food with good company. (I didn’t take a pic of Clare because she was sweaty. i knew better.)

paradise lunchI chose to enjoy the sweet and sour moments of life. Granted, I’ve had a lot of sour moments lately, but as someone recently told me, sometimes you have to put up with a whole bunch of sh&^ to get the sweet stuff.

Oh, I almost forgot…my very first article on Dallas Food Nerd was published yesterday! Yaaaay!!! Super excited!!! The Boy and I tried out Pepe’s & Mitos on Saturday night. I originally was going to write a review for this blog, but since I’m a new contributor to DNF, I decided to share the love with them. Go check out my post AND the restaurant!

Have a great day and as my mom used to say, make good choices!

Vicky D

I Wish Life Came with a TI-86 Calculator

If you know me, like in real life, you know that I am always sick. Now, I don’t mean to jinx myself, but historically speaking, I do tend to get sick quite a bit. No idea why. Well, yeah, I do know why.  It’s simple equation. The fact that I’m extremely prone to allergies combined with the fact that my sleeping pattern isn’t always consistent equals sickness.

Which is exactly where I am today, sitting at home on the couch SICK. I’ve actually been sick since Tuesday and have been working from home on and off since then. Ugh. So annoying. But, if I want to get better, than I need to rest.

The question you’re probably asking yourself is: if I know that equation, than why don’t I change one of the variables.

Twiddling fingers wondering if I should even type what I’m about to say, but I pride myself on being truthful and honest, so here goes.

I desire to have a perfect life. In turn, I end up living a false life, one in which I sometimes have no true concept of reality.

The ironic component of this mentality is that I have experienced so many trials the last four months that one would think I would have outgrown that very childish way of thinking. However, that’s not the case.

I never sleep because I’m always working. I’m always working because I want more money. I want more money so that I can live a fabulous life. I want a fabulous life because I have honestly watched way too many episodes of Sex & the City and Girlfriends.

Surely, I’m not the only late 20-something year old gal who doesn’t struggle with this cycle. Surely, I’m not the only woman who doesn’t compare the current reflection of our life with some unrealistic fairytale.

I recently moved into my own 1BD/1 Bath apartment…by myself. From my hip, urban, chic and near downtown apartment with two other girls to an older, near North Dallas apartment by myself.

Depressing.

Friends and family come over and ask me what I think of my new place. My immediate response, “I hate it.”

Now, I am grateful to the Lord above for providing me an awesome cost-efficient apartment literally 24 hours before I am supposed to move. I am even more thankful to have a job where I can afford to pay for expenses all by MYSELF!

But, I really don’t like living alone. Why? It forces me to accept my reality.

Every day I walk in my door, I remember that it’s just me. No one greets me. No one asks me how my day was or what exciting things happened. No one prepares a delicious healthy dinner. It’s only me.

It’s lonely.

So, to avoid dealing with that, I sometimes just avoid going home. I spend countless hours at the gym. (Working out can’t be that bad for me as I have big health goals ahead) I go to the mall or local department stores (my favorite is T.J. Maxx) to window shop or see if I can snag any good deals. I participate in countless happy hours and networking events. I avoid the feeling.

Talk about being childish. There’s no worse way to live than to avoid life.

Five years ago, life was so simple, like algebra. Five months ago, life complexities appeared with all their various variables. In high school, I hated calculus; in college and grad school, statistics made me want to vomit. But in both cases, I had my trusty T.I. 86 calculator, the ever-loved course curve and amazing friends to get me through it.

Today, there is not a calculator smart enough (or programmable) to give me the answers to life’s questions. There’s no index with the answers in the back. And unfortunately, the only curves I’ve experienced witnessed are on my hips.

But I still have friends and family to at least help me figure out. I still possess the determination to keep trying when I have no idea where to start; and luckily, S.C. Johnson still makes Kleenex for when I don’t know what else to do, but cry.

Life is a not a poly or a quadratic equation. Variables are exponential and sometimes never reveal the answers for years. I sure as hell can’t keep running from something that I will inevitably have to face, like coming home and growing up. That is no way to live. My apartment may be older, but it has beautiful crown molding, my modern couch fits perfectly and slowly, but surely, I am adding little pieces of décor that just scream “Vicky D.”

“Running the streets” every day and weekend is not good for my bank account or my belly. Emotionally running away is worse. Sometimes, it’s important just to sit, reflect and listen to my own thoughts. Perhaps, if I did that when I was well, I wouldn’t be forced to do that when I’m sick.

Hmm…Maybe I just solved one of my equations.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some recovering to do in my beautiful apartment and “He’s Just Not That Into You” came on.

It’s the little things.

DUH! Running Lessons, Moments & Epiphanies

Running is no joke. This is probably why people just don’t hop on a treadmill and decide to start running. They know better. I should have known better, but I didn’t.

One thing I knew for sure about my half-marathon training- I did NOT want to use the group training/running classes such as Luke’s or RunOn. Yes, I know it is a great program. Yes, I know it’s better to run in a group because there are people to keep you motivated. I was fully aware of all of that. Simply put, I hate exercising with people. Going to the gym with strangers is one thing. Going to the gym with a friend is completely different. I am extremely competitive, and I end up pushing myself too far. I don’t want to increase my injury rate any higher than it already is. It’s just better for me to do things alone.

So, I did what everyone does when they need advice, I Binged it.  (#thingsnoeversays). I did Google it and stumbled upon Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Novice Training. It seemed perfect. I calculated 12 weeks back from my ultimate race in December and determined September would be the official start to my training season. In the meantime, I needed to be able to run 3 miles at least 3 times a week without wanting to pass out. Luckily, I was already able to do, three wouldn’t be that bad right?

When am I ever going to learn?

I carefully pushed myself slowly but surely to the 3-mile mark. I worked out nearly everyday. I ran 4 times a week just to keep my body warm. I changed my eating habits a lot and started drinking more water because I quickly realized when I’m hydrated, I run better. Duh, Victoria.

That faithful day in September was quickly approaching. Hmmm, I thought to myself. The race is going to be outside. Perhaps, I should try running outside a few times to see how I feel. So, I headed to the famous Dallas landmark, Katy Trail. What a difference it is?! There is no belt pushing you to move faster or you’ll get flung off the machine. Nope, there is only your feet and the pavement.

After the first 1/4 mile, I AGAIN realized, there had to be a rhythm to my breathing, my pace, everything I did or I wasn’t going to make it 1 mile, much less 13.1. I felt defeated for another 1/4 mile, and then I changed my thinking.  Best decision ever.

Well, hello there epiphany. Running is an equal combination of training your body and your mind. Once I figured out what I needed to do physically, I had to get my mind right to make it all 13.1 miles. Little did I know how important that epiphany would be for not only my training, but also my BIG race!

Fashionably Fierce, Consciously Conceited

There is no such thing as a “season” in Dallas. Sure, fall officially started a couple of weeks ago, but it was sort of warm for a while there. Sandals were placed in the back of the closets we all anxiously await the first chilly day when we can break out our boots. We’ve had very cozy weather, requiring longer sleeved shirts and maybe a light scarf, but not much besides that.

Until this past weekend…

Meteoreologists predicted a high of 53 degrees this past Saturday and a low of 47.That’s what I call fall weather.

It was kind of cold this weekend though. Not gonna lie.

Of course Dallasites are overacting to this “cold front.” Dozens of women, including me,  were in DSW on Thursday night trying on pair after pair of riding boots. I don’t blame them. By the time, we actually need the heavier footwear, sandals and peep toe shoes would have returned to shelves.

Anywho, with all this change in weather, I thought this would the perfect time to talk about my new take on fashion and appearance! The cooler months are my favorite time of the year because there are really so many options with accessories, layering pieces and of course BOOTS!!!! Is there anything better than boots?? I don’t think so either.

I like the fact that with a few staple items -blazers, cardigans, boots, scarves, etc.-one can have a plethora of outfits for the brisk season. That previous sentence makes me sound like a fashionista. How funny.  To be completely honest (which is a phase I use often here), I never really even cared about my outer appearance to this extent until maybe a couple of years ago. I have NEVER wanted to be viewed as high maintenance, conceited, vain, all of those words that basically mean obsessed with the way I looked. I appreciated the fact that I had more to offer the wold than just a cute face.

Pretty cute face though, if I do say so myself. 🙂

How shallow of me.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking the time every morning to get dressed and look maybe even more than just “presentable.” Clothes are supposed to be an outer expression of our personalities. I think that’s a good thing because my personality is pretty amazing. lol So instead of just throwing some clothes on to run errands, I put thought and consideration into everything I have on before I leave the house. I call it consciously conceited. My style is definitely colorful, fun and fierce. I like to dress like I am in charge, confident, but completely approachable. Is that a contradiction?! I like to incorporate trendy items into my wardrobe, because it gets me out of my comfort zone, and I also like to wear items that accentuate my curves. I got it. I flaunt it. It’s the Kim K./Beyonce in me coming out. I try to subdue her as much as possible.

Back to fall fashion…like I said…I like fashion, but I don’t consider myself an expert on the topic, at all. That’s why I am so happy to see these adorable female bloggers offering ways to look fierce every day. Here are a few of my favorite style resources:

  • J’s Every Day Fashion–I think I discovered her blog through Pinterest, like everything else in the world lately. J does an excellent job of taking inspiration from photos, celebrities, magazine, etc. and translating them into affordable outfits that the every day woman would be able to wear. Plus, she tells you WHERE you can buy them. I am really amazed by how easily she combines colors and textures into cohesive outfits. I visit her blog daily and pin the comparison photos probably weekly. AND…I usually am able to replicate most of them in sort of way. It’s really neat.
  • Marion Berry Style–Ironically, I found Marion on J’s blog! HA! Marion is just adorable. She’s currently with child, a boy to be exact, but is still just the cutest thing ever in her dresses and blazers. My fave part about her blog is her Casual Friday post where she basically gives you great ideas of what to wear on that wonderful day BESIDES a race t-shirt, jeans and those god awful yellow box sandals (apologies to fans of those shoes.) These outfits are perfect because they are usually simple pieces that she accessorizes, blazerizes and of courses complements them with heels. My kind of outfit.
  • Fitting-it-all-In–Clare is amazing! I know her in “real life.” lol her blog is very well rounded, but she is very passionate about healthy living and exercise. Still, every day, she post an outfit and it is always completely doable. It’s so funny because sometimes I own most of the items that she shows. She and I both have a love for LOFT! Many of her clothes are purchased from Forever 21, Target, J Crew, etc. Stores that many of us frequent, so that’s convenient as well.
  • Pinterest–not a blog at all, but I have found SO MANY great outfits on this lovely tool. I have several style/fashion boards No Space in My Closet But…, Fall Fashions, Comfy Chic, Summer Styles, Accessories and several others…wow, I didn’t realize I had so many. I try my best to pin all kinds of interesting items that any woman could use. Polyvore is also a helpful tool and a frequently scene source for my fashion pins.

Besides blogs, I also read lots of magazines to see what trends are happening for the current and upcoming season. How girly of me.  I am honestly so proud of myself for growing and realizing how important it is to look your best. I no longer dread the mall because I know there are outfits out there that will look great on me; I just have to work at it. I feel pretty every day. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to take an outfit and make it work for my body type. When I compose a really good fit, I will definitely show it here on the blog. If I can do it, in all my awkwardness, so can you!

Stay warm out there!

Do you like fashion/consider yourself a fashionista? How would you describe your style?

One Year of Delights-Time to Play

Leave it to me to completely forget my 1 year blogiversary! (that is such a strange word) I went back to a previous post to check out something I said and realized my very first post was September 27, 2011. GAH!!! What kind of blogger am I to forget that special day!??! To be completely truthful, I have really struggled this past year to maintain this lovely online journal. I started it because I was in a weird spot in life. I wasn’t quite sure how to find happiness because everything seemed to be in disarray.

Shortly after I committed to this journey, everything sort of shifted. To be blunt, life got better. Months would elapse between posts. I was busy. I was happy. I was struggling. I wrote a post called “I Need Me To Do Better” where I basically called myself out for being a slacker. That lasted a whole minute. Whoops. My bad.

In the last couple of months, it did get better. Ironically, life got worse. The irony.

I have spent the last year venting about various issues that I’ve had. I did hoping that someone may be able to learn from my mistakes or may find some encouragement in their own life. Initially, I said that this blog would be all of the fun things that brought me delight, primarily food. This is not a motivational blog. It’s not a fitness blog. It’s not completely a food blog, a lactose free blog or running blog. But those are a topics  I really enjoy them or they impact my life.  I have never fit into a “mold.”  The more I tried to deny myself of who I really was, the faker I got. It’s easier just to be me.

Before I even realized it was my one year blogging anniversary, I was thinking about ways to enhance the blog and life. My dear friend Abi asked me one day “when do you have time to play?” Good question. I spent way too much time working and trying to advance my career that I didn’t even take to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I have two degrees at 26. I hold a management title. I live by myself. I am proud of the woman I have become. I am ready to evolve into the woman I know I can be. BUT I am NOT going to obsess over these goals any longer. Life is too short. My grandparents are getting older. My parents are getting older. Hell, I am getting older. I need to live, not just breathe.

What a thrill and joy it has been to live in this mentality. My mind feels free. I am so excited about these changes and what they will mean for my livelihood. There is lots to look forward to on Vicky D’s Delights:

  • You will start to see even more fun recipes-lactose free and regular-on the blog! Cooking and baking is such a HUGE part of my life, and I love to share the tasty treats I make with you. The goal is to not only make recipes that I find on various sites (Pinterest, FoodGawker, Food Network, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), but also come up with some original dishes. I’m really excited about that challenge, especially since I’ll be able to EAT most of those dishes.
  • You will start to see more good exercise tips and tricks! As I approach 30 (screaming!), I have been told that my body will start to change every year, so it’s important that I take really good care of myself now, so I don’t have to suffer later.
  • You will start to see me trying to new things and hitting the streets. I am going to be traveling all around! I love traveling. I have the PTO. Time to use it.
  • Of course, you’ll hear about my random falls, because they are just hilarious. Hey, that’s just me.

I see so many people my age talking about their careers and spending every moment working. I even read somewhere that a person “can sleep when they are dead.” Been there. Done that. I am beyond ready for this change. I will be successful, but not obsessive.  You have the challenge of keeping me accountable for these declarations. You have the challenge of maybe following my lead yourself.

In the end, what really do I have to lose? Time to play! Carpe Diem, YOLO and all that other jazz…. Here’s to another fabulous year!

Vicky D