Making my list

23 Jan

It’s home cooking Sunday, and my first full week on WW. So I’m making my plan for the week, and checking the pantry and figuring out what I’m going to make.  I’m also going through my bookmarks in my cooking folder where I tag things that look good, and then never make them. I’m going to make at least one this week.

Cauliflower Dal with Panch Phoran from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. That should give us a dinner and a few lunches. I’m also going to make Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos from Moosewood. I’ve made these many times, and with a jicama salad will be a good easy dinner after work one day (I’ll make the filling today so they’ll just need to be assembled and warmed up during the week).

We have a lot of fish in the freezer, so there will be a few nights of broiled fish with veggies and some kind of grain side dish. And I still have quite a bit of turkey bean soup in the freezer, so I’ll have that for lunch a few times this week.


Best day ever

22 Jan

It’s the middle of another Midwestern winter and my thoughts drift to past vacations in warmer locations, and to my favorite day. Yes. My favorite day. Ever. I spent my 36th birthday in Queenstown, New Zealand. We were staying in a range of accommodations on that trip, and woke up in a very shabby, communal bathroom, backpacker lodge. Not a room that encourages lingers. So we quickly got up and got moving, heading to our adventure of the day. Hang gliding.

Launch site

It was amazing. I’d never done anything like it, and loved it. We then got into our rental car and drove around the area, stopped at a few vineyards, watched people bungee jump (we’d exhausted our adventure budget – that kind of fun doesn’t come cheap!), lunch at a brewpub, then onto Wankaka, a smaller town that friends told us was not to be missed. They were right. It’s on a lake and is stunning. I’d decided that we were not spending my birthday in a backpacker lodge, and booked us into what is still one of my favorite places on earth. River Run.

We checked into our room, opened the door to the patio and met our neighbors.

Just outside our door

We went for a walk around the grounds, following a creek through the woods. Came back to the room, cleaned up, and went to the communal happy hour. There were about 8 other guests, from around the world, including a local couple celebrating their engagement. His family owned a vineyard, so we stopped there the next day, and discovered a favorite wine that we can find here occasionally.

A gourmet dinner was served around a communal table. The company was interesting. The setting was amazing. The wine was fantastic. My husband gave me a pair of earrings from a very cool jewelry store we’d found in Wellington a few days earlier.

The rest of the trip was incredible, but that day stands out as THE BEST EVER (said in booming announcer voice). A picture from the next day is too beautiful not to share tho – so I’ll end with it.

The start of our hike, the day after the best day ever

Ask and ye shall receive

21 Jan

I have fairly specific taste in accessories. Once you get a handle on my style, it’s pretty easy to decide if I’d like something. My husband has mastered this.

My parents, after buying me presents for my entire life, have learned that it’s best to ask if there’s anything specific I want for my birthday. And they’ve done a great job getting me exactly what I want. This year it was a necklace from Hillary Hackey. I saw her booth at a craft fair this summer and bookmarked her site for future shopping. And pointed my parents to this.

It’s a great every-day necklace. Delicate but interesting.

My father-in-law also asked for direction, and I also pointed him to someone I’d seen at a craft show – Erin Tracey. I’d visited her at the One of a Kind Show in Chicago and Toronto and loved her layered rings and cement jewelry. I now happily wear these in silver (polished and matte), purple acrylic and wood.

Brew in the hood is good

20 Jan

Wait long enough, and your neighborhood will turn. If you’re lucky.

We bought a house in an ‘emerging’ neighborhood 8+ years ago. The kind of place where you woke up to the sound of helicopters overhead reporting on the latest gang murder. Where the houses had a lot of potential if you didn’t mind a little scare every now and then. You had your pick of great places to get an authentic, hearty fried meal of the various cultures that were well represented in the area. (I don’t do well with fried food, and I’m very vegetarian leaning, so these places didn’t have much for me). There was a basic bar and grill with better than average bar and grill food, and the pioneering foodie outpost. And that was about it. We went to the grill often, and the foodie place occasionally. And often left the neighborhood to go out.

We realized recently that we hadn’t been to the grill in months. Because suddenly we live in the new hot dining neighborhood. We have a new sushi spot, a pizza place, a café, a French bakery, and the hipsteriest of hipster restaurants opened in the last year and crowds waiting to get in there (I’m not a huge fan – maybe another post for another day…), and to the now more popular than ever foodie place are common sites. We also got a microbrewery within walking distance. I find myself there every two weeks alternating between the best burger in the city (the Workingman), and my favorite brunch (and birthday meal of choice this year, the Breakfast From Scratch). RevBrew uses really good ingredients, prepared simply. Everything tastes like what it’s supposed to be. The entrees I’ve had have been very good. My only complaints are that they’re a bit heavy handed across the board with the salt, and that everything does not need blue cheese. Mussels with blue cheese in the broth doesn’t work. The beer is generally really good. I don’t think I’ve tasted anything they’ve brewed that I don’t like. My favorite might be the Workingman Mild. It’s a low alcohol beer (3.5% I think), yet has a ton of flavor. I don’t know why anyone would ever drink a Miller Lite when you can drink light beer that tastes this good.


I knew it was going to be bad, but this is just silly

19 Jan

I didn’t even make any impulse purchases. Today’s mission was restock on basics (foundation, concealer and eye shadow), and get something to tackle my aging face. I’m fixating on a big forehead wrinkle, as well as my crow’s feet, and I believe there’s a magic product that I just haven’t found yet. So I’m searching.

Stock up day at Ulta. Scary.

So what did I get? My tried and true basics. I love Smashbox. I’ve been using their High Definition Healthy FX Foundation for years. It’s light, yet covers well, and it smells like cookies or some kind of baked goods, but in a subtle way. And I always go back to the vanilla and sable shadows as my neutrals. I augment them with different colors depending on my hair color or the seasons/trends. But these are my standbys.

I decided to try the Olay Pro anti-aging regime. We’ll see how that goes. Here’s my start forehead wrinkle (makeup free).

Untreated, naked forehead wrinkles. Before.

I hope to post a smoother photo in a few weeks.  I will admit to googling “botox”.

My best friend is a crabby bitch

18 Jan

with a secret past, a fear of strange men, and a snack-stealing habit. She’s an approximately 4-year old mutt that we adopted from New Leash on Life 3 years ago. She’s some kind of pit-bullesque dog.75 pounds of love. Mostly for me. She still follows me around like a little puppy, and mourns when I leave the house if she’s not in her crate. I think she’s gorgeous and she thinks I have thumbs and can give her food, and praise and love. Right now, I think she’s mad at me because I haven’t been able to take her for a walk in weeks. I tell her that I miss it more than she does, at least she gets to go for walks with other people. I don’t. I don’t know that she has any idea what I’m saying.

She’s not the most exuberant waggy happy dog (that’s our other one), but she’s my girl. I wish she could tell me what happened before she came into our lives. Why her hackles rise and she cowers when a man in a hood walks towards us. Why she still inhales her food after years of steady meals. Why she snores like a 90 year old man. Why she makes that same fantastic moan when she settles into bed that her predecessor dog used to make (but that our other dog doesn’t make).


Sweet Ms. Lo


She’s chewed through pretty much every toy we’ve ever given her, but a friend gave her one of these and it’s been a huge hit.  I’ll be sure that she always has one to chomp. And plenty of kisses and treats.



I’ll show you my playlist…

17 Jan

Monday is running/exercise day. I’ll start every week with a focus on moving, since I know lots of people start their exercise program on Monday. Or next Monday.

Why do I run? I run because I’m a list maker and project planner. I like breaking big jobs into small tasks and then checking them off a list when I’m done. Sounds like marathon training to me! I like the measurability of it. I like how it gets me out into the world around me. I like how I see so much more when I’m running than when I’m driving or riding my bike. I like how endurance events redefine. Redefine yourself and redefine how others see you. I like how it gets me in shape like nothing else. I like how it gives me an excuse to listen to music I would never listen to in another context.

:30 running playlist

My current favorite :30 run playlist

I like how you need some gear, but not TONS of gear. I like how a cute little pouch can make your running life so much better. I like how you can do it anywhere. How you can run around almost any city (I have found myself in very congested cities where the sidewalks are used as restaurants and shops and the streets are used as motocross tracks leaving nowhere to run), and how all you need to take with you is a sports bra, shorts, shoes and socks. And you’re good to go.

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