Y2-Day7 – New Year’s Eve – 2013

Well, it is official.  You CAN gain weight over the holidays!  Gratefully, my daughter has led the way to ‘detox city’ and I stocked up on juices, fruits and veggies.  I just need to lay off the sweets, starches and oils.  Gosh, don’t we all?  Mañana?  Isn’t that the traditional day of reckoning?

Here are my top ten resolutions for 2014 – I suggest you make your own anytime this week just so you can see the direction you want your life to take, just so you can put it into black and white, just so you have something to refer to when you want to remember.  However simple or daunting – they become a reference point.  It is not the only day of the year to re-evaluate and set intentions but it is a fine day to start or continue your inward/outward journey to self.

Action #1 – First of all – I am copy/pasting this into Word and printing it out and will place it over my desk, keep a copy in my car, purse and tape it on my vanity mirror.

2014 Resolutions

To be the best Cecilia I can become to the best of my ability.

To commit to self-discipline.

To have extraordinary compassion and gratitude at all times for all of life and its creatures.

To have the courage to change when my attitude or perspective needs altering.

To live the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

To keep my intentions close and at hand, ever reminding me of integrity.

To write, to exercise, to eat healthy, express my love freely, listen deeply and to be of service, gracefully.

To forgive readily, think non-judgmentally and speak thoughtfully.

To communicate from my highest self with clarity and kindness.

To love unabashedly, comprehending from the heart.

                    Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Happy New Year and May 2014 be full of joy, prosperity, love and awareness!

Y2-Day 6 – V’s Orange Cake

Two of the desserts I absolutely adored and ate every day after Christmas were my daughter’s vegan creations: Her vamped up Vegan Orange Cake with Buttercream Frosting and her Vegan Baklava.  I finished off the Baklava yesterday and just had a piece of cake with a cappuccino from my husband’s gift –  an expresso, coffee, cappuccino, latte, etc. maker.  MMMMMMmmmmmm.

Here’s her recipe for yummy, no eggs or dairy yet out of this world moist cake!!! It is a hit and you should have it in your repertoire even if you are not vegan, especially this time of year when oranges are falling off the trees here in sunny CA.

V’s Vegan Orange Cake – All organic

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil less 2 Tablespoons
  •  2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or finely grated vanilla bean)
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest

1.  Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8 inch round or 8X8 inch square pan or line with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt – dry ingredients -in a large bowl.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk OJ, oil, vinegar and extracts and zest.

4.  Pour the wet into the dry and whisk till smooth.

5.  Release the batter onto the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Let cool and serve with or without frosting.


1 stick of vegan butter, room temp.

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

1 Tbs. non-dairy milk

1 tsp. finely grated vanilla bean specks (optional)

 Beat all ingredients till creamy and smooth onto cooled cake.  Keep refrigerated.

Quick note:  You can find the vanilla specks in the raw food baking section of fine health/whole food stores or speciality baking shops.  

Also  – Don’t read if you do not want to be grossed out but…. I just found this out from my daughter V this season:   Did you know regular (even sometimes organic) sugar may be unless specified it is not… ground with bones…that is to say it is refined through activated charcoal, most of which comes from animal bones?   That’s why we use vegan, organic sugars.

Christmas Orange Cake decorated with fresh Thai Basil (that’s what we had growing-but you could use mint) and fresh cranberries, sprinkled with organic vegan powdered sugar.

I could totally see this in a heart shape for Valentine’s, substituting the orange juice with cranberry or pomegranate juice perhaps or… at Easter in the shape of an egg and decorate it with fresh sliced fruits, berries and mint leaves.

Good thing my husband bought me a huge bag of organic decaf beans, because I would be bouncing off walls, right now and had no sleep, otherwise.

Y2-Day 5 – Cat-astrophes

I am not naming any names but “somebody” knocked over our teeny tiny adorable second and back-up Christmas tree on Christmas Eve day.  Really?  It had been up and decorated since the day after Thanksgiving and now is when you decide to collide with the holiday decor?  Whichever cat did this?  I have my suspicions.

It took about three hours to  create this magnificence and I had each small, color coordinated, breakable ball spaced just so, avoiding too much of one texture or design in any one petite section of the diminutive, vintage ‘throwback’ white twenty inch tree.  Each of the three twenty red lighted battery operated strands, encircled the short ivory feathered limbs, with accurate visual distance apart so as to cover the compact tree entirely. And, I hid the battery packs under a little round diameter of a wee tree skirt embellished with red sequins.  Around the Lilliputian trunk, I had cleverly disguised the base with a Christmasy scarf I unwound from the neck of a stuffed Christmas polar bear (now shivering, I suppose).  I punctuated it with gold and shiny red slender garland, winding it around and around with care and finesse.

We all know who it must be.  It must be the Christmas cat.  It just has to be Cappuccina.

The other two were otherwise engaged. Nightlight was snug as a bug by my daughter’s head sleeping.  I checked.   Sunset was also supposedly upstairs (or says his alibi but I did not corroborate).  By process of elimination and likelihood, I deem the guilty cat to be our fine furry friend, Cappu.  Some Christmas spirit. Bah hum cat!

Y2-Day4 – December Bouquet

Fangio lilies, Green Fashion roses, green and white Anastasia Fuji mums, red Chicago alstroemeria, and pink wax flower.

Magnificent in its finery, impressive in its mass and fancy in its presentation –  Flowers are gifts from nature; soothing, intriguing and radiant to the eye, enduring and bright to the nose, and revealing to the touch.  Bouquets are an ancestral heart and mood uplifter.  Have a wonderful Saturday!

Y2 -Day 3 – Medii Kitchen

Medii Kitchen is a one year old Mediterranean Grille restaurant established by Chris Sarkissian, owner of Pepz Pizza chains.  My friend, J the dog rescuer, had recommended it highly. It is located at 116 South Fairmont Blvd. in Anaheim Hills.  714-974-4633.

When we spoke, the owner explained he wanted to open up something traditional and native to his Armenian and Syrian roots, an ode to his ancestors.  His mom makes the Bahklava, his friend makes the Bombay Ball dessert.  The scene is upbeat, exotic music, ornate with a Moroccan, low-light and welcoming vibe.Olive tapenade with freshly fried pita chips served while you peruse the menu.

At once, you feel at home yet pampered as they whisk in an olive tapenade with pita chips, their take on salsa and chips if you were dining a la Mexican or bread, olive oil and balsamic if you were at an Italian eatery.  

We highly endorse the Medii Trio.  It is an appetizer of hummus, babaghanoush and muhamara.  The hummus is a fine version of this now popular smooth spread of  garbanzo beans, sesame oil and lemon juice (on the left).  The babaghanoush (on the far right) is whipped up roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon juice and garlic.  It was smoky and tangy.  The muhamara (middle) is a spicy walnut dip with pepper paste, olive oil, spices, pomegranate molasses and bread crumbs.  It was absolutely outstanding and filling.  Tabouleh with chopped parsley, cracked wheat, tomatoes and red onions tossed with a traditional house citrus olive oil dressing.

The menu runs the gamut from quail to salads, wraps, paninis and soup to filet mignon, lamb and sea bass.  There was plenty and a variety for the vegan and non-vegan alike.  We had a good time chatting with the owner, Chris, and enjoyed all the special attention.Chris lighting lamps with candles.  Dessert and wine selection lit up in glass encased cooler.

Bombay Ball – Chocolate Mousse atop a chocolate cake wrapped in chocolate.

Mom’s Bahklavah proudly presented, special delivered to our table by her son.

Truly a family affair, Medii Kitchen is a well appointed locale, you will surely be well fed and leave in a happy, intoxicated mood.  Hookah’s and outdoor seating abound.

Y2-day 2 – Unconditional Love

As I understand it – Unconditional love is the willingness to give of yourself freely.  I need to be both the happy teacher and the happy learner/receiver of this life instruction.  Since I am responsible for my thoughts, then I am responsible for my attitude.  What I give, I receive and I can opt to make it a win-win every time by inserting unconditional love into my every action.  The only thought in my head I ought to entertain is “What can I do for others?”  My only intent must be to heal, comfort or bless.  I hear you, I see you, I listen and empathize with you.  The language of the heart circulates between us.

My family shows me unconditional love, support and encouragement.  They validate my worthiness to be loved, cherished and forgiven.  They teach me by example and do not withhold their kindnesses towards me.  I am truly gifted by exceptional souls in my life  traversing this moment and position in time and space.  My cup runneth over this holiday season.  I am imbued with gratitude, understanding and gifts of sight I call miracles.  I have the pleasure and the honor of bearing witness to great acts of selflessness that stimulate my creative juices and set my visions on fire!

Thank you


a rose

“You learn to speak by speaking, 
to study by studying, 
to run by running, 
to work by working; 
in just the same way, 
you learn to love by loving.”

St. Francis De Sales 
(1567 – 1622)

 A simple turn of phrase proves to be true.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

12/17/13 backyard peach colored rose

Odd how both these men were living in the same era.  One was an actor, poet and playwright, the other a bishop, saint and mystical writer.

Christmas in NYC

There is absolutely nothing like Christmas in NY.  From the minute you arrive/leave the decorated airport to the minute you walk the streets with the smell of fresh cut pine trees as you quickly pass by (everyone walking fast and looking straight ahead or down) and roasted chestnuts wafting from small outdoor vendors, to the minute you hear the snow falling silently, as you warmly watch from an inside window, warm cup of tea/coffee,  hands clasped around the mug.John F. Kennedy Airport Decor

City sidewalks

Night and day at Columbia University, ManhattanGood Luck to both my munchkins during finals!!