Showing posts from 2013

Happiness in the mailbox.

I wrote a different post and it bored me so much, I decided to start over.

Have you guys found this yet? It's called Birchbox and it's a monthly subscription to happiness!

Okay, that may be overselling it a little. But it's a subscription to at least a smile or two!

Each month this box arrives, usually inside of a PINK box -- so you immediately know you're getting free stuff!

The suspense builds...

...until you finally see the goodies inside! This was November's box, and I'm telling you that the tube of blue face cream is miraculous!

Basically, they're trial sizes of (mostly) high-end products. [I say mostly because my first box had a new formulation of Chapstick in it!] The tiny tube here is CC cream, which I've been wanting to try, and now I make bargains with myself about when I can use it -- it's a tiny tube, after all, and I don't want to waste it! I took this hairspray on a recent trip, and it passes the airport check.

See that blue box? Let'…

Christmas this and that.

We're not discussing how it's been two months since my last 

Instead, let's see what Christmas looks like this year!

First, there was this a couple of weeks ago:

That's solid ice, people, NOT snow. Even the dogs couldn't walk on it.

That was followed by this:

... in which I dress up like a man and proceed to hack at the ice like it's my job. I really wanted to get out the blow dryer, but sanity (aka, the husband) prevailed.

Moving the party indoors, I took a day and did this:

Holiday baking, otherwise known as "cheap gift giving for a million people." Snickerdoodle, chocolate chip, and molasses cookies, and chocolate covered pretzel sticks. There was banana bread at one point during the ice storm, but you can't prove it now. 

In the midst of all this, I changed jobs for the first time in nine years, and had about 3 days to finish all things Christmas before jetting off to Chicago for a couple of days, where I was greeted with this:

I'm back, for the moment.

We've officially begun the crazy part of the year. I always think April/May is when I can't catch up, but then October hits and I remember those earlier months fondly. Just a sampling of what I've been doing the last three weeks:

Volunteering at a cancer fundraiser:
Spending a morning with my girl getting her senior pictures made (and spending hours before that picking out clothes for it!):
Prepping for the same senior's 18th birthday party:
Dealing with this, two days before her birthday:

The party itself was a hoot. The photo booth was a hit:
Now it's time to put the house back into fall (that nice tablescape had to go away for the party), deal with my own birthday (NO party!) and Halloween, and get ready for a business conference in a couple of weeks. Did I mention that I also have a full-time job? And Christmas prep is just around the corner. 

But now, I'm getting on the treadmill and watching Buffy. And maybe it won't be weeks before I'm back to writing. 

My next 20 presents.

I have a new toy, and I better like it a whole lot, because it's all I get for the next 20 present "events."

For anyone who is new let's recap:

I started running a couple of years ago. I live in Texas.I ran through one of the hottest summers on record. Then I did it again the next summer.I got up at the crack of dawn during those hot summers to avoid some of the heat.Here we are at the beginning of fall and what do I do? Buy a treadmill. So I can run inside when it's cold. I never claimed to be very bright.
And this baby is nice. It's iFit compatible which means my workouts are tracked and available online. But that's not the coolest thing.

This is the basic screen. Default track running is boring, but when Buffy the Vampire Slayer is on the TV, I don't need much. 
HERE is the coolest thing:

It has videos of runs! This is the Hana Run - a Hawaiian path along the coast! Notice the time and distance noted here, but the runner controls the speed. And as you ru…

A list of stuff.

Apparently I have a habit of making lists to clear out my brain when I haven't blogged for a week or more. I've had time to blog, but nothing to say. I know, it shocked me too.

The weather cooled off, finally. Saturday morning I hit a new personal best for a run. It was only 59 degrees here when I left the house, and I got a wild hair to run for an hour and see how far I could go. The result: 
I was ridiculously excited about this. Also, sweaty and parched! I didn't start this running thing with any distance ultimately in mind -- not a marathon, or a half-marathon, or anything like that -- but knowing I CAN run almost five miles at once if I want to is huge. And I might survive the zombie apocalypse.

RDub was gone for about 5 days on a men-only camping trip. I had grand intentions of having a girls' weekend here, but plans, timing, blah blah, didn't work out. Instead, I did stuff like this:I had most of this stuff already - new this year are the napkins ($10 for 8) an…

Tasty Tuesday: Grilling Asparagus

Wow, a Tasty Tuesday post ON a Tuesday! Miraculous.

I've got an easy one for you today. It's my attempt to prove that even vegetables you don't really like are yummy when they're grilled!

Let's take asparagus. NOT my thing. They are shaped funny (although I liked the ones on Veggie Tales), they're green, and they make your pee smell weird (TMI, but it's true). All in all, not a food I'm going to seek out. 

But this summer, in my attempt to expand my food horizons, and to make my hubby happy - he'll eat anything - I ventured into asparagus land, mostly due to a grilling recipe I read. After a few times, I tweaked it and now it's in regular rotation. 

Start with the basics: Olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Oh and the asparagus. I recently discovered frozen asparagus spears that work great - you take out as many as you want. If you buy the fresh bundles, you need to break off the "less fresh" part -- just bend the stalk and it will…

On my mind.

I came across this quote in the lovely notebook I told you about here. I'm not sure how much time I've spent cherishing my visions and ideals -- maybe sometimes I do a bit more cherishing of other people's visions and ideals for me. Something I need to think about.

Have you seen this video yet? [Maybe someday I'll figure out how to actually embed it...] A Silent Message for All of Us
Talk about convicting. I'm still trying to find the right balance of all the things I should do and all the things I want to do...oh, and all the things I should want to do. Thoughtful week ahead. 
Do you find yourself on certain days just becoming more introspective? Mondays seem to be that day for me.


End of summer, start of school. Books. The Walking Dead. Goals for fall. Cooking. Eating. Trip to Seattle. Unplugging. Decorating. Movies. Consistency. Blogging.

Just a random sampling of the million things floating around in my head at any given moment. I have half-formed blogs, plans, notes on all of them -- and then the paralysis. 

Let's just grab one (or four) and go.

My baby girl is a senior in high school. A. Senior. How in the name of all that's holy did that HAPPEN? We're dealing with college apps, financial aid, 6 AP classes, and figuring out her future. No pressure or stress there.

I've been working to find the fine line between "doing stuff online" and just "wasting my life online" - harder than you might think. At any given moment, I might be listening to a movie or show on one laptop, checking Facebook on another, and playing that stupidly addicting Candy Crush on my phone. THAT, I believe, is over some line of sanity. So I took a week and …

Tasty Tuesday: Chorizo on the grill!

I'm going to have to rename the series to "Tasty Some Random Day of the Week" if I keep this up. For whatever reason, I want to do the cooking ON Tuesday, and then I don't have time to write it up the same evening. I need a different strategy. Whatever. So I made this last week and skipped the post until today. You're welcome.

And apparently I'm on a shrimp kick on Tuesdays. For you shrimp/fish haters, hang in there and eventually I'll write about something else. 

This was honestly the easiest meal. You could make it with chicken instead of shrimp, but the combination here was really, really good. Check out the easy ingredients:

Peeled shrimp (or cubed chicken), EVOO, chili powder, salt and pepper, and chorizo sausage. I know, the sausage looks like it doesn't belong, but trust me that the flavor it gives the shrimp is divine. 

Just brush the shrimp with the olive oil, then sprinkle the chili powder and salt and pepper. Toss it around to get it mixed. Sli…

Gathered Thoughts.

It's not news that there are things about Facebook that aren't ideal. You hear all kinds of crazy stories of people getting ripped off and identities stolen, etc. Who knows if they're true. But one thing Facebook does really well -- reconnects old friends who would have very little chance of renewing a friendship otherwise.

It has been fun catching up online, but the in-person meetings are my favorite! A few months ago, I met up with a friend from 8th grade -- we'd literally not seen each other since then. Different high schools, colleges, lives... This girl just makes me laugh. I got to see her last weekend when I went to visit my mom. And this came out of it:

My friend has a shop that sells lovely things. She's closed on Saturdays, but we got a special opening just for us! I scored a nice Washington state chardonnay, and this notepad. I have a fetish for paper. THIS paper just makes me happy. Look inside:

My brother-in-law said it was like a fancy Big Chief tablet, …

Tasty Tuesday: Kitchen Stuff

In lieu of a recipe posting today, I've got some random kitchen stuff to share. Let's see where this goes.

Mesquite Country Seasoning - I discovered this seasoning mix at a home show last year. I had been looking for flavor with no sugar or MSG or any of that stuff that's bad for you. I use this almost every time I roast vegetables - it's spicy but not over-the-top - and I've tried it on everything from chicken to pork. I'm running low so I either need to go to another home show or get online.

Iced coffee - Pioneer Woman has this recipe that I thought was ridiculous and too much trouble. I didn't try it until a few weeks ago, and now I don't ever want to run out. I use her process, with 4 ounces of coffee and 2 quarts of water (less than she makes at a time). I tried a recipe out of the newspaper last week and it was a disaster. So I'm sticking with her recipe. Thanks, PW!

Mrs. Meyers cleaning products -- BASIL scent! This one is still hard to find in…

Tasty Tuesday: Grilled Shrimp

I know it's Wednesday -- I've been technically challenged this week and couldn't get this to post! Oh, and I procrastinated a bit...

I've written about this place before:

I found a new spice mix there that I used to make these beauties:

It's the "Coastal Blend" and it is light and lemony and garlicky and all the good things that shrimp needs. And very, very easy.

I put about a dozen cleaned shrimp into a Ziploc bag and added about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mixed that around to coat the shrimp, then sprinkled in about 2 teaspoons of the spice. Tossed the shrimp in the bag and took a look -- they all had visible spices on them, so I decided that was enough. (Like how exact I am?) Then I added a couple of teaspoons of lime juice and let the shrimp sit until the grill was hot.

This time, I just put them in a grill basket. Sometimes I'll skewer them, but was too lazy to work that hard. About 7 minutes on the grill, tossing them around a bit, and they were don…