Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hellooooo Number Nine!!

Okay, so the title of this post is an inside joke (in fact, it's so inside I'm the only one who gets it), but nonetheless, it's our ninth anniversary! Just thinking about our beach wedding on this cold, snowy day in Utah makes me long for a vacation (which is actually coming up sooner than some people might think! Shhh, don't tell - more to come!). But since we are in Utah, we celebrated with sushi at Takashi* and dessert at the New Yorker - and we enjoyed every minute of it!

Negril, Jamaica, 2003

Ten years, coming right up. Already planning that one!

* I love the great service at Takashi. We sit at the bar (yeah, our favorite local bar is a sushi bar) and almost always have the same sushi chef. He knows what I want and in what order, so I don't even have to ask. It's so nice to hear "would you like an Imagine roll next?". Yes, please! And seriously, we haven't been there since June. It's just awesome.


Friday, November 9, 2012

A Sign?

I hope today's weather is a sign of things to come. While I'm not a big fan of winter, if it absolutely has to happen, we might as well be able to ski! Makes life a bit easier to endure.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Just in Time

...for the holidays - an absolutely perfect pie crust!

I love making pies, but sometimes the crust just drives me insane. It falls apart; it sticks to the counter, the wax paper, the rolling pin...augh! Lately, I've caved into the convenience of the store-bought pie crust from Pillsbury. In a pinch, they are great - flaky, easy to use. But I've wanted to revisit homemade crust, and found this recipe from Bon Appetit. I then set about making an apple pie (I like Braeburn apples for my apple pie - a nice combo of sweet and tart).

It. Was. Perfect.

Seriously. Easy to make, easy to roll out, nothing stuck, it didn't fall apart. And, it tasted great! Buttery and flaky. Sigh. I love it. I followed the directions, but only had to use about 1/2 cup ice water to achieve the correct consistency. And I would probably delete the sugar if I were making a savory pie, like a chicken pot pie. I cannot wait to try this with my chocolate pie. So, here's to the holidays! May your pie baking be stress-free!


Saturday, October 20, 2012


A seasonally named music selection, the Beethoven piano trio "Ghost", was a perfect start to this lazy Saturday:

Checking things off the "40 Things" list. This falls under the "coffee and classical music" heading (#29).

I also recently watched one of the American Film Institute's "10 top 10" movies, "Anatomy of  Murder", with Jimmy Stewart and Lee Remick (#39).A fabulous courtroom drama. Loved it. Had it on while organizing all my crafting ribbon. Good thing it was a long movie! This trailer is pretty good, in its own right:

Cheers, and happy fall!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 24th in Utah

Yesterday was a state holiday here in Utah. July 24th. It was National Tequila Day, you see, so we all got the day off. There was a big parade in the morning, and lots of fireworks at night! We just go crazy around here celebrating what some might say is an obscure holiday.

Mark and I celebrated by making Raspberry Margaritas:

Recipe (makes one cocktail):
2 ounces tequila (Roger Clyne's Mexican Moonshine, in our case)
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce raspberry liquor
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 fresh or frozen raspberry
1 lime wheel

Pour all liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake! Pour into a glass (with a salted rim, if desired). Add raspberry and lime garnish. Enjoy!

You may also blend this or substitute other fruits and liquors. 

Happy 24th!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thank You, A Poem, and Mendelssohn's Octet for Strings

Catherine from Hello, New Day, has graciously awarded my blog the One Lovely Blog Award! Thank you, Catherine!

Of course, there are rules that go along with this award. They are as follows:

  1. Post the award logo and link back to the person who nominated you. 
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to up to 15 blogs you enjoy reading.
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

7 Things about Myself:

1. I hate flying. Love airplanes, hate being in one when it's in the air, doing what it was built to do.
2. I love traveling. Yes, I see how this doesn't actually go with the first one. Maybe I don't love traveling. But I love arriving.
3. I wear my lambswool-lined leather slippers year round. My feet are always cold. Always. (I am aware that I may have offended those who do not support the use of animals as footwear/clothing. Therefore, I will not share the fact that I recently purchased five [five!] pairs of leather shoes. Oh, wait...) Fortunately, this blog has few readers.
4. My husband and I got married on a beach in Jamaica. It was perfection.
5. I hate my oak paneled refrigerator and dishwasher. I mean, really...are we trying to pretend there isn't a fridge in the kitchen? Fortunately, I am actively planning their removal. It's only been 9 years.
6. I could spend all my free time reading. Sometimes I even do.
7. I cannot stand listening to the radio. Drives. Me. Insane. I am very happy with the USB connection in my car.

That's it!

And now, I pass the award along to....

So that's just two, but I love their blogs. And maybe they aren't interested in this award, but I pretty much think they rock and wanted to share them with you!

And now, for a check in on the 40 Things...

I memorized one poem. I chose a short one to start. This is probably my all-time favorite poem. I see a lot of me in it.

The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.

And, in reviving a weekend tradition that Mark and I used to share, last Sunday we sat on the couch with our coffee and hot chocolate and listened to Mendelssohn's Octet for strings. Quite lovely, really, and a very relaxing way to start the day.

Here's a version:

Checking a couple things off the list.

Well, that was a long post. Thanks for hanging in there!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

40 Things Before I Turn 41

Last year I made a list of 39 things to do before I turned 40. I had fun with it. So I thought I would try it again. Some of these are repeats, some are one's I didn't get around to last time. Here's the list, in no particular order. And since I'm already a month into this cycle, I best get working on things!

1. Plan 6 date nights – not just “out to dinner”
2. Learn to style my hair. Seriously. Something besides straight or ponytail.
3. Make a will (in progress)
4. Girls’ weekend!
5. Learn six poems by heart
6. Go on a cruise
7. New paint in the condo
8. Begin to learn Spanish (I have the Fluenz CD course)
9. Go camping
10. Read one non-fiction book a month - any ideas?
11. Spend one weekend “unplugged”. No computer, TV, etc.
12. Have a professional portrait taken
13. Buy myself a bouquet of flowers
14. Choose a color palette for our condo
15. Tea at the Grand America
16. Update one section of my wardrobe
17. Go on a picnic
18. Have a homemade dinner by candlelight
19. Skate ski 10 times this season, snow permitting
20. Do one unassisted pull up
21. Make a new friend
22. Have Sunday brunch – six times
23. Throw a party
24. Attend a conference dealing with a hobby/craft
25. Make one new recipe a month
26. Take a gun safety class
27. Store seasonal items/clothes – and rotate!
28. Get a new pair of glasses
29. One Saturday a month: Coffee, cocoa and classical music with Mark
30. Make the storage unit a functional space
31. Work on the sewing project I started 12+ years ago
32. Continue work on the t-shirt quilt
33. Watch 25 of the American Film Institute’s “10 top 10” (ones that I haven’t already seen)
34. Take the canoe out!
35. Read (well, re-read) “The Odyssey”
36. Try a new hair style/color
37. Do something epic for Mark’s birthday
38. Read my professional journals
39. Give someone flowers
40. Celebrate the above with a bottle of fancy champagne

 What are you doing over the next 11 months?


Friday, June 8, 2012


Yep, that's right. The big 4-0 happened over the weekend. I celebrated with a bike ride and sushi. How perfect is that?

I thought I'd post an update on my "39 Things Before I Turn 40" list. I accomplished some, completely ignored others, but all in all, I have to say it worked out! I did some things that I might not have otherwise.

1. Pass my NP boards (7/10/11)
2. Start a new job (7/18/11)
3. Visit Germany (June 19-26)
4. Start Spanish lessons - Rosetta Stone? Ugh. Just. Do. This. Pronto!
5. Do some volunteer work  Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (8/2011)
6. Take a photography class - didn't happen
7. Visit a high school friend - wasn't in the cards
8. Take up a new exercise…barre classes sound really fun played community rec basketball! (12/11-2/12)
9. Visit Yellowstone - didn't work out this year
10. Go on a backpacking trip (9/30-10/2/11)
11. Organize the storage closet (8/2011)
12. Make one new friend made a couple
13. Try a ballroom dance class
14. Frame my diplomas
15. Make a will - actually have this planned for June
16. Visit the Oregon coast - Have a trip planned for possibly this summer! yay!
17. Buy myself a bouquet of flowers - for no reason! Umm...sadly, didn't even do this! What a goofball!
18. Have professional portraits taken of me and Mark - not sure who to go to
19. Take a sewing class - did an online tutorial. Count it! (2/12)
20. Update one section of my wardrobe Updated my socks. Seriously. (3/12)
21. Throw a party - had a few dinner parties..does that count? Sure! (11/11, 12/11, 3/12, 3/12, 4/12)
22. Buy an “investment bag” (Thanks, Mark! 9/10/11)
23. Try dim sum In San Francisco, no less! (8/20/11)
24. Get ripped shoulders and arms - didn't even try
25. Buy a dress for everyday wear (and wear it)! (5/12 - see photo, above)
26. Learn to change a bike tire
27. 39 scrapbook layouts Think I only did 15 or so.
28. 39 cards - well, I made all my xmas cards, so that covers that! (12/11)
29. Watch a sunrise (4/12)
30. Watch a sunset (5/12)
31. Read the plays of Shakespeare Read one....gave up. Yawn...
32. Visit a state I’ve never set foot in (South Carolina! 5/12)
33. Go on a horseback ride
34. Take a gun safety class - got some info on it, though. 
35. Write and send 39 letters/postcards (not including xmas cards or email, of course). Not even one...
36. Buy a new desk chair - didn't do this, but I did fix my old one! 
37. Do 10 pull-ups (right now, I can't do a single one) - Didn't attempt. Still cannot do one. 
38. Go to tea at the Grand America
39. Celebrate all of this with a bottle of Dom Perignon on my 40th birthday! It was amazing!

This was quite fun. I think I'll make a list for next year. It might be hard to come up with 41 things, let alone attempt to accomplish all of them. I'll let you know!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

And the winner is...

Using the random number generator at, the winner of the scrapbook supplies is...


Congrats! I will get these to you as soon as possible! Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. See you soon, I hope

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's Giveaway Time!

(Edit on June 6 at 4:40pm: Silly me, I thought today was the, for those of you waiting for the winner of the giveaway, I will be drawing the name at 8pm MST! Sorry!)

Hi all!

In the spirit of sharing, I have some fun scrapbooking supplies for one lucky reader. You might remember that a few weeks ago I won a few magazines from a woman whose blog I read and love. I thought it would be fun to pass on the good vibes and promised a give away on my blog. Recently, Mark and I attended a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls' Club, and we came away with a few prizes, one of which was a basket of Stampin' Up supplies. I would like to share some of that goodness with one of you!

This assortment of all-new supplies includes the following:

1 - 12x12 scrapbook album
1 - 8x8 scrapbook album
1 set of wood mounted stamps
1 - 1 3/8 circle punch
1 package of assorted ribbon
1 package of rub-ons
2  packs of assorted eyelets
80+ sheets of solid colored 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock

All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment on this post! I will randomly select a winner the evening of June 5th. (Giveaway is open to those in the continental United States only...thanks!)

Not a scrapbooker? Surely you know someone who is!

So leave a comment, and check back on June 5th to see who the lucky winner is.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May Photo A Day Updates

Here are my photos for the last 11 days, May 8-18:

A Smell You Adore: Coco Mademoiselle - my favorite!
Something You Do Everyday: Yep, contact lenses. Ugh.
A Favorite Word: Defenestration: A throwing of a person or thing out of a window. How great is that?!
Kitchen: A favorite wine, and a pig from Costa Rica
Something That Makes You Happy: Getting together with friends!
Mum: My mom!
Grass: Well, no grass around our place, but at least there are greens!
Love: No explanation required.
What You Are Reading: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith
Snack: These pretzels are making me thirsty!
Something You Made: I made these pillows as Christmas presents. Found the idea here.

Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned, that giveaway I mentioned before will be up soon!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Photo Prompts, Days 3 - 7

Playing catch up with the photo a day challenge. It's been fun!

Day 3: Something you wore today

May 03: Something I wore. Favorite jeans & slippers

Day 4: Fun!

May 04: Fun! Something Mark does for fun.

Day 5: Bird

May 05: Bird. A bird on a piece of artwork we received as a wedding gift.

I saw a beautiful heron on a bike ride this day, but couldn't get my camera out fast enough.

Day 6: You

May 06: You. Me! Photo by Dad.

Day 7: Someone who inspires you

May 07: Someone who inspires you. Amy Tan, AKA Amy Tangerine

This woman has got it going on. Seriously.

Have a fantastic week!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Photo A Day Challenge: Skyline

Today's photo a day challenge prompt was "skyline". Pretty doable around here.

May 2: Skyline - Salt Lake City

Thanks for stopping by - Cheers!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Photo A Day Challenge

Two posts in one day? Simply unheard of.

It's May Day, and while other people choose to riot, I choose "Peace"!

My sister, Catherine, over at "Hello, New Day", has been participating in a Photo a Day challenge by Fat Mum Slim. Basically, there is a prompt for the day, you take a picture that relates to the prompt, and post it. I have enjoyed looking at Catherine's photos, and decided to play along this month.

Today's prompt is "peace", and here's my photo:

01 May Photo a Day: Peace.

I may not post every day. Let me rephrase: I will not be posting everyday. There. I said it. But I will post!


Well, that went by fast...

Okay, so it's May already. Sheesh.

I must say, I successfully rocked my April goal, following the Atkin's diet. Of all the meals I ate in April, which we can assume to be 90, I only strayed on three of them. Yeah, that's right. Three. And it was okay, really. I missed dessert and bread, but I didn't crave either one. I found a great alternative to potato chips - Parmesan crisps. Salty and crunchy. Thank you, Harmon's. And I love my new breakfast protein shake that uses almond milk instead of 1% milk. I dropped a few pounds, lost a few inches, and my skin complexion is so smooth, it's freaky. Of course, you know what that means. Guess I'm going to have to continue cutting back on those nasty carbs. Maybe not each and every day, but certainly most of the time. 

Atlantic Cafe-inspired salad. 
Which brings us to May's goal...

May is "add weights to the workout routine" month. It's pathetic, I know, because I should already be doing this. But I dread lifting weights. I do it once a month (why I even bother, I have no idea). To me, it is more boring than the treadmill. And I hate the treadmill. It is a necessary evil, however, and this month, I'm giving it a good faith effort. Maybe I should hire a personal trainer to help me out. 

In other fun news, I wanted to give a big "thank you" to Lisa Dickenson, of one of my favorite blogs, "Gettin' By". She is a fantastic scrapbooker who has a great writing style and never fails to make me laugh, smile, or be inspired by her posts. She recently hosted a giveaway on her blog, and I won! Yay! I will be the recipient of two issues of Scrapbooks, Etc. magazine, which will be a nice way to get inspired to get my craft on. Go check her out. She's a hoot. And in the spirit of giving, I will be hosting a giveaway on my blog this month. So stay tuned! 

And finally, a few weeks ago Mark and I participated in a couple of the events that were part of the Salt Lake City Marathon. Mark ran the 5K:

And I rode in the Bike Tour:

Thanks for stopping by. Cheers!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April: A Month of Atkins

Mark's and my goal for March was no eating out. It wasn't too bad, really, but we sort of missed the social activity that eating out brings us. Which leads us to April. Last year, I picked a month to be "low-carb", and it was challenging, but certainly doable. And so I'm doing it again. I find that by really reducing the carbohydrates I eat, I see the following benefits: more energy, some pounds come off, and, interestingly, my skin complexion improves. I'm sure it's from not eating sugar, but I think the highly refined grains found in pasta and bread are just not that good for you. So, I'm giving it another go this April. Mark, however, is not participating, and as I write this he is pulling two loaves of homemade bread out of the oven and getting ready to make some strawberry ice cream. I know, right? Thanks a lot! But, I will persevere.

An Atkins Protein bar. Perfect for those days at work when lunch just doesn't happen.

Here's a great research article from the Journal of the American Medical Association about the health impact of low-carb eating, Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish and LEARN Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women. Basically, the authors of the study followed women who ate the Atkins diet versus the others (which included other low-carb diets, low fat vegetarian diets, as well as the LEARN program), and found that those who ate the high protein, high fat, low-carb Atkins formula had more weight loss and bigger decreases in the levels of triglycerides, increases in HLD (good cholesterol), decreases in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, insulin levels, glucose levels, and blood pressure measurements.

I by no means consider myself to be overweight. But I have my trouble zones and would like to get rid of them!

So, it may not be for everyone, or for everyday, but I thought I'd give it a go. So far, so good. And it's already 4pm.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Menu Planning Made Easy

It's 5:30. Do you know what's for dinner? Is it a mad scramble to the grocery store for something, anything, to throw together? When you get to the store, do you buy a bunch of random stuff and still don't have anything to make? Does this happen to you Every. Single. Day? Uggg! That sounds horrible! With a little bit of planning, set-up, and creativity (actually, creativity is optional), you can save yourself a ton of time, money and frustration.

There are many meal planning websites, often with a fee attached, that make a menu for you and then generate a grocery list for you. I've looked at some, and really wasn't that impressed. I just didn't eat the kinds of meals they were suggesting. I wanted something more personal that suited my tastes, health considerations, and schedule.

I'm not an expert, but I think Mark and I have a great plan for getting good meals on our table. We spend maybe 10 minutes planning a weekly menu and less than 5 minutes putting a grocery list together. We only go to the grocery store once a week, unless we need fresh fruits or veggies toward the end of the week, and then it's just a quick trip, very little thought required.

It took some tweaking of the system, but this is what we've been doing for the past 5 years and it still works great. And I would like to share it with you. Nice, yes? Feel free to make it your own (this is where you can be creative, if you wish).

First, make two Excel spreadsheets (don't worry, no fancy Excel skills required). One, a simple grid with the days of the week across the top, and the meals down the side. Like this:

Now, what to put in all those empty spaces? That's where the next file comes in. It's the key to the whole system, and it does take some time to put together. But, man, it is so worth it. And it doesn't take that much time, really. You could get a good start with just one hour of work. This file is the Menu Planner (vs. the Menu). Simply, it's another Excel worksheet. On the top row, the column headers are Main Dish, Sides, and Ingredients. Simple, yes? It looks like this:

Okay, so now you have to do a little work. Simply start by filling in the first column, Main Dish, with...well, the main dish! Start with dinner items, since that seems to be the biggest problem for most people. What do you like to eat? What do you like to cook? The key is to include only those meals that you and your family actually eat. This is not where you list everything you wish you knew how to make, or that one recipe you've always wanted to try. That's for later. For now simply fill in that first column. It is easy to do this is you have your recipe file with you (recipe box, favorite cookbook, computer file, however you keep track of your recipes).

Next, go to the ingredients column. Using your recipes, or off the top of your head if you are certain you know all the ingredients you need, list the ingredients. I will sometimes add the quantity if that is important, but this doesn't need to be a copy of the recipe itself. Simply putting "1lb ground beef" is enough - whether it's going to be made in to patties or sauteed isn't important for this project. I generally do not include things I usually keep stocked in the fridge or pantry, like butter, flour, salt or pepper. But be as inclusive as you need to be, especially if your pantry is not well supplied. Or if a recipe calls for a large quantity of something. One recipe I have calls for 8 (eight!) cloves of garlic. I usually have garlic on hand, but for that one I like to get a fresh bulb.

The "sides" column is an extra that makes life a little easier. What side dish do you need to make this meal complete? A salad? A veggie? Tortillas? Rolls? Go ahead and brainstorm a few things and add them to the list.

Here's what my menu planner looks like filled in:

We have a list of over 60 meals that Mark and I like to make and eat. When we try a new recipe that we know we'll want to make again, we add it to the list.

Each week, we check our schedules and decide who should be responsible for the meal on any given night. It makes sense for us to have Mark cook most week nights, since he is typically home earlier in the day than I am. I usually handle cooking on the weekends. This may not seem fair to Mark, but we have a rule - if you cook, you don't have to clean up. So I do more dishes during the week. A lot more. Mark makes a mess. But he makes great meals. Anyway. Once we decide who is cooking when, we each decide what we want to make (cook's choice). We simply look at the menu planner for ideas, and fill in the blanks on the menu. I know, right? Easy. And then I usually fill in some breakfast and lunch items, which makes it easy to make the grocery list. Some weeks we have a leftover night. Not all. Just depends on what we make. Here's an example of a completed menu:

Now that you know what your making, it's easy to make a grocery list. Simply add the items from the "Ingredients" column of the Menu Planner to your grocery list. Don't forget to check the "Sides" category to see if you need anything like a salad, or asparagus, or something. Then add any other items from the menu, and anything else you need (basics, such as milk, bread, bananas; or shaving cream, laundry detergent, etc).

And then go shopping! That's it. Simple, yes? So go ahead and give it a try. Save some time. Save some money.

If you eat 5 smaller meals, or include snacks in your day, just add a couple of rows to your menu and fill them in. If you'd rather plan out a whole month in advance, go for it! I personally don't like to plan that far in advance, mainly because our schedules are somewhat random. But it certainly works for some. It usually involves shopping for nonperishable items once a month, then buying perishable items weekly or as needed.

Please let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment. And if you give this a try, let me know how it works for you. Do already have a good way to plan meals? I'd love to hear about it!

Eat well, my friends! Cheers!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

10 Things

10 Things on the 10th of March.

A list of any ten things I'd like to mention on my blog! And I get to link it up at Shimmel's blog

I thought I'd list my TEN favorite songs by one of my favorite bands, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers. As I start thinking about this, I know I'm going to miss a great song by only listing ten! To make it easier, I will not include any Refreshments' songs. (I know, I know. How can you exclude Banditos, Mexico and Down Together from this list? Sigh.)  Here we go, with a few lyrics in italics:

1. Switchblade (Yeah dumb and drunk as I was you know I'd do it all again...)
2. Mexican Moonshine (I fell under the spell when I stumbled over the line...)
3. Love is the Road (This you already know...)
4. Better Beautiful Than Perfect (Life is grand, love is real, beauty is everywhere...)
5. Play On (Let's leave the judges standing slack-jawed on the lawn, play on...)
6. Wake Up Call (So special ops issued us flip flops, a guitar and a week or two...)
7. Contraband (That's how I make a lot of easy money, baby - the hard way...)
8. Tell Yer Momma (It's been hard to teach an old dog new tricks...)
9. Counterclockwise (The breeze is blowin' me a new perfume, giving my heart a little elbow room...)
10. All Over The Radio (Flyin' down the freeways, high above the airwaves, to rock and roll we'll always be true...)

All songs are from these albums:

No More Beautiful World
Unida Cantina

Honky Tonk Union

Sonoran Hope & Madness


Roger. Gotta love him. Check 'em out - fantastic songs with fantastic lyrics!

Friday, March 9, 2012

What's for Dinner? A Goal for March

Mark and I have a goal this month: no going out to eat. Not that we eat out a lot, usually just Friday nights. But eating out can be expensive - so why not take a break? (I was going to say that eating out is usually unhealthy, which is true, but then I realized the quantity of butter I consumed tonight, so am leaving that part out in order to not sound like a hypocrite!) It can be a bit inconvenient, especially on the nights where we both work a bit later than usual, and are tired and hungry when we get home. We planned ahead, though, and had some homemade meals ready to go in the freezer. Tonight we had time to cook, and I just wanted to share this meal.  It comes up on our menu about once every other month. It's delicious and easy. And has a lot of butter.

Sole Meuniere and Wild Rice Cranberry Almond Salad: 

The fish recipe is from Bon Appetite, and can be found here. I usually cut back on the lemon juice, using about 3/4 of a tablespoon. I do not cut back on the butter. 

The wild rice recipe is from Simply Recipes, and can be found here. I don't care for pecans, so I substitute almonds.

Serve it up with a salad and some Pellegrino water, and it's a perfect meal! 

This weekend, I'm planning on posting about the way Mark and I plan our meals. It takes a bit of preparation and set-up, but then it's so simple and saves us a ton of time. And money at the grocery store. Stay tuned! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

You have the right to remain fabulous

March 22nd. Finally, the new City Creek Center is opening. I'm looking forward to some excellent downtown shopping!

Here are the stores I'm most looking forward to:

Tiffany &Co:

Tiffany & Co.




I do, however, think it's completely lame that these stores won't be open on Sunday.  Oh well. I guess that's what Saturdays are for. I will reserve Sundays for chores, drinking, and gambling.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The City Beneath the Sea

Flashback 1997: As a huge fan of Harry Connick, Jr., I had heard of a contest his fan club was holding - a trip for two to Mardi Gras, including riding on a float in the parade. Of course, I then had to join the fan club, just so I had a chance to win. Imagine my surprise when I received a phone call informing me that I had won and asking if I would be able to make it! Ummmmm...yeah! After the shock wore off (and after calling Catherine and Jon, to see if they had been playing a horrible trick on me), it sunk in... I was going to Mardi Gras, and I was going to meet Harry!! The following is a description of our time in New Orleans, written in 1997, and published in the Fan Club Newsletter. Edits are in italics:

I still can't believe what an incredible four days we had. On February 8, 1997, my sister, Catherine, and I left Salt Lake City, Utah filled with anticipation for the excitement ahead. As guests of the Harry Connick Jr., Fan Club, we were going to Mardi Gras, "the greatest party on Earth"! Unbeknownst to the fan club, Jon flew out and was able to join us for most of the events. He didn't ride on the float during the parade, but I think he walked almost the entire route, taking pictures of us!

Upon our arrival in New Orleans, a driver was waiting to take us to our hotel. We were impressed with our accommodations at the Hotel Inter-Continental, located on St. Charles Avenue, overlooking the parade route. The lobby was bustling with people, all wearing colorful Mardi Gras beads. Anxious to get out and explore (and get our own beads!), we headed off to a quick dinner then watched the Endymion Parade. To end the day, we spent a relaxing hour in the hotel lounge listening to a great jazz band.

Sunday we toured downtown New Orleans and the French Market, where we fell in love with Jambalaya and sampled Beignets, a French pastry, at Cafe du Monde. After spending an exciting afternoon on Bourbon Street, we returned to our hotel and learned we had been invited to a party at author Anne Rice's house to watch the Bacchus Parade! At the party, we had the opportunity to meet actress Delta Burke, film director Francis Ford Coppolla, and Kevin Griffin, the lead singer of Better Than Ezra. We missed meeting Harry at the party by just a few minutes!

Monday arrived, the day of the Orpheus parade! Catherine and I were both excited and nervous - we were going to meet Harry today! We met with Harry's assistant, Kathy, and drove to the Convention Center, where we were shown our dressing room and told we would be riding on the very same float as Harry Connick, Sr.! We then had the pleasure of meeting Harry's step-mom, aunt and cousins. After having lunch with Kathy, who introduced us to Tracey Freeman, Harry's producer, we returned to our dressing room to get into costume. On our way to the float, we were honored to meet Harry Connick, Sr., who could not have been more gracious or attentive.

Once aboard the float, our fellow float riders, good friends of the Connick, Srs., proceeded to "show us the ropes" - they helped us set up our "throws" (beads), made sure we understood parade protocol (e.g., no unmasking once the parade begins), then recounted a few anecdotes about Harry, Jr. They made us feel so welcome and kept us laughing during the two hour ride to the parade starting point.

The parade route began at the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Napolean, the site of the legendary music club Tipitina's. Harry, Sr. escorted Catherine and I into the bar, giving us a brief history of the many musicians who have played there, including Harry, Jr.

Finally, the moment I had only dreamed about arrived. It is difficult to describe the range of emotions I felt as we followed Harry, Sr. to Harry Jr.'s float. In a word... YEEEOOOOW! Dressed in an elaborate costume, Harry, Jr. greeted us with that charming smile and genuine kindness. We chatted for a minute, posed for a picture, then returned to our float (hearts racing) as the parade got underway.

The parade itself was an intense four hours of throwing beads to screaming parade-goers and taking every opportunity to peek behind us, hoping to catch a glimpse of Harry, Jr. whose float was behind ours. At midnight, we arrived back at the Convention Center, where the Orpheuscapade Ball was underway! As Catherine and I approached our table, we froze - we could not believe with whom we were seated. We checked and re-checked our VIP pass, and yep! It was true - we were sitting with Stevie Wonder! And if that were not a total honor in itself, Quincy Jones was seated at a table to our right, the group Better Than Ezra was seated in front of us, and the Connick, Srs. were to our left! In this elite company, we enjoyed Harry, Jr.'s performance, including a song he performed with Stevie Wonder. The Ball ended at 3am, and the magical day had drawn to a close.

A simple thank you does not seem enough to express the gratitude which Catherine and I feel toward the Fan Club and everyone we met during this incredible time. We were treated with such hospitality and warmth by all, and we will never forget it. It was a true honor to celebrate Mardi Gras in "the city beneath the sea" with Harry, his family, his friends and his associates.

A totally fun trip and a one of a kind experience! 

Happy Mardi Gras, 2012, everyone! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

12 on 12

Happy February 12th! I thought I would participate in a photography challenge, which is to take 12 photos on the 12th of the month. That would be today. I took all of these with my iPhone. I even downloaded Instagram today and was messing around with that. Here are my 12 photos:

1. Spin class!  2. Some new makeup from Estee Lauder (free gift with purchase!)  3. Protein shake #1  4. Protein shake #2  5. Me, drinking aforementioned protein shake  6. Worked on a sewing project today (t-shirt quilt)  7. Mark made bread  8. More sewing project stuff  9. Dinner - shrimp scampi, rice, bread  10. Reading and goofing around with the Kindle Fire  11. Pile of magazines on the coffee table  12. Mark made an espresso.

I had fun playing with all the different Instagram filters. All in all, it's a nice representation of the day. With a very heavy emphasis on breakfast.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome 2012!

I love the New Year! There's just something so, well, new about it. It's a good time to re-evaluate, plan, and refresh. Here are a few things that are motivating me and that I am focusing on in 2012:

One Little Word: Bicycle. Basically, you choose a word that you can focus on, mediate on, and reflect upon as you go about your daily life. And what I want to do this year is become a cyclist. So I chose a word that would  seriously emphasize that point. I chose this word primarily because I have plantar fasciitis, and I cannot run, but I must do something. Plus, I want this cute necklace, and now I can justify buying it. It has purpose.

(Image from

Move More Eat Well: An online wellness class, with (of course) a scrapbooking component.

Twelve: An online class, entirely focused on scrapbooking. How fun is that?

Still working on my 39 Things. I will post an update soon.

And of course, various other yearly and monthly goals. The yearly ones are pretty easy, such as participate in the above online classes, and buying zero candy around all the holidays. I didn't buy any candy for Halloween or Christmas in 2011. It didn't seem to decrease my consumption of crap. But maybe for the whole never know.

My monthly goal for January is to pack my lunch for work on clinic days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday). No matter how you work it, there is no possible way that Cafe Rio is good for you on a weekly basis. Even if it is, technically, a "salad".

I share these things with the few readers of this blog (you know who you are!), so that I am accountable. I cannot, dear reader(s), let you down.

Happy New Year!