Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tweet Tweet Come Out Please Wherever You Are...

Twitter found me, no wait I found Twitter. I would love to follow you, if you also Twitter and I haven't followed you yet. Please leave me a comment or message with your link. My google email connected me with the majority of you, but if not, please share.

If you'd like to follow me, you can find me babbling in 140 characters or less, right here.

Or you can just share you're link so we can create a chorus of tweets!

Insert Head Under Pillow, Now!

Quite often I dodge the weather conversation with those that haven't spent much time in Colorado. The majority of the time the question arises, don't you get so much snow, how do you handle all the snow? You see, it's sort of a fallacy that Colorado is a year round winter wonderland.

Snow sometimes in June, like the day before my wedding, yes. Snow of mass proportions two years ago when I had a newborn and needed to get to the doctor, yes. Snow on Christmas Day this year, no.

Now don't get me wrong, the snow that falls in the Rocky Mountains keeps the rivers flowing from the Continental Divide all the way to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans respectively. But I live on the Front Range. Nestled close to the Foothills, not in the mountains. Our weather is desirably milder and we even boast over 300 days of sunshine a year.

But last night, was a miserable night. We had the most intense winds that I recall in quite sometime. Or like ever. Our location to the mountains creates intense wind when there is dramatic temperature change, fronts, and all that meteorological lingo I can't quite recall. In my terms, the windows were flexing, the lawn chairs were flying, tree branches were reaching their rubber-like capacity. Eventually they are going to snap. So I barely slept in fear that a limb from our ginormous Cottonwood Tree was going to break and land on the roof above my head. Our bedroom is in the back and we have lost a couple hundred pound limb before during a bad ice storm. It did some damage, but more importantly left a mental scar.

Wind arrives, fear sets in. I should be calm and settled knowing how difficult it was to actually remove a Cottonwood Tree over the summer from our front yard. The darn thing didn't want down. The roots of a Cottonwood are deep, the strength and beauty of the tree is admiring, but I still fear mother nature when she unleashes her wrath in the form of wind.

Those lovely news weather forecasters, predicting more wind tonight. 11pm to 11am, high wind advisory for my town. Gulp.

Head under pillow, I am off.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snippets From a Lazy Holiday

If you could peek inside my house right now you'd find, half of a lovely egg and potato frittata sitting on the stovetop, ready for a nibble by any passerby. Sj and J playing Wii boxing, it's hilarious and may even warrant a little video footage. GL fresh out of the bath running laps around the house, naked of course. There's a Christmas Tree bag full of unwrapped gifts in our downstairs (the one we don't use) bathtub. It looks like a body bag. Some laundry is haphazardly strewn about near the washing machine, calling out in it's own way, wash me. All the ingredients for the Peppermint Cookies are sitting on my kitchen counter, as I am on the cusp of baking. It's our job to provide dessert tonight and I have decided to make Peppermint Cookie ice cream sandwiches. Yum.

My hair is in pigtails and I am still wearing 50% of my pajamas. Time to get a move on. Celebrating awaits us.

Hope your holidays will be lazy and lovely. A big smile and hug to all my lovely friends around this world!

Monday, December 22, 2008

FAT MINT COOKIES (The Best Chocolate Peppermint Cookies Ever)

(update, December 2014, I've renamed these cookies FAT MINT cookies because well, they blow any skinny door to door sold chocolate peppermint cookie out of the water)

This weekend, I donned my festive apron. It has a European Holiday feel, complete with some faux fur trim and decorative ribbons. Only the best for holiday baking. I scoured recipes far and near, looked over all the recipes everyone shared with me (thank you!!!). I made my specialty list, ran out to the grocery store, then settled in for a baking marathon. Surprisingly it didn't take all day, within a few hours I had seven dozen cookies made and a bit of a stomach ache from overindulging.

When honing in on what exactly I wanted to make I couldn't let go of the fact that I really have a thing for chocolate and peppermint. Well, peanut butter and chocolate isn't so bad either, but chocolate and peppermint is HOLIDAY to me. I found a few recipes, but actually tweaked them to my liking and came up with this recipe. When baking if you pull them out of the oven right after cracking on top, they will set up nicely. The taste is like candy canes with fudge, but the cookies have a delightful brownie texture. Soft and chewy. 

I kid you not, this may just be the best damn cookie I have ever baked. EVER. Please enjoy, pass it along, it's fabulous. 
Denise's FAT MINT Cookies

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped Andes Thins: Creme de Menthe Candies OR 1 Lindt Dark Chocolate Mint bar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a mixer beat together the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, 2-5 minutes. Fluffy is key. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl. Add in the vanilla and mint (if you don't have mint just use all vanilla, but the mint extract makes a nice touch). On a low speed beat in the flour mixture about a 1/2 cup at a time. Gently mix in with a wooden spoon chocolate chips and Andes candies. 

On an ungreased cookie sheet, drop a tablespoon of the batter about 2 inches apart. Bake until just cracked on top, about 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake! Let set on the cookie sheet for five minutes then transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely. 

Enjoy! Beware, you may over indulge on these. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

What Happened When I Sent My 5 Year Old To The Shaun White Drawing School...

It's a beautiful thing that a young man like Shaun White has become a household name. Snowboarding and skateboarding are so mainstream, I don't bat an eye when my mother says did you see Shaun White win the Gold Medal in the Halfpipe? My mind instantly races to think, did my mom just say Halfpipe and Shaun White in the same sentence??? Not to mention the obvious "Gold Medal- Snowboarding-Olympics". Crazy! When I was younger and very much intrigued by boys that rode skateboards, they always got the thumbs down. Skateboarders were nonchalantly categorized into the group of kids that were up to no good. If the grown men that I grew up with had anything to take away from their youth, it would be skateboarding is not a crime.
Early Fall, we decided to purchase our new skiing/snowboarding gear for the upcoming season. While perusing the clothes for my five year old on the Burton website, I came across The White Collection. Oh, very cute stuff. Collaboratively designed by Burton and Shaun White. The twenty two year old, single gold medal toting playboy, now designing jackets for women. Seems like a perfect fit, if you aren't a thirty something, mother of two. But you know, I was once hip, I thought I can rock the White Collection. My new Lady Windsor's Finest Jacket came in a big brown box along with some very hip snowboarding clothing for my daughter. Both of us, lucky ducks.
Then I proceeded to hang my new jacket in the closet for over a month. I busted it out on the first chilly night of the season. When I arrived at my destination, I noticed something in an inside pocket of my jacket. That something which caught my eye, was "The Complete Guide To Drawing A Dog Farting". I thought, does that say drawing a dog farting??? Sure enough it did. See what I get for buying a jacket designed by a twenty two year old...

So what does any good mother do with such a piece of literature? Throw it away, make others laugh, or get the best chuckle of all, pass it along to my five year old. Yes, indeed pass it along to my five year old, who enjoys all sorts of potty talk these days. Just say the word poop and her face lights up.

I must admit, she's got her parents artistic talent. Thanks Shaun White and Burton, we had one damn good laugh. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Scattered Holiday Update...And a Plea For Recipes

Currently I am home. It's frigid outside, so going out isn't really an option. Well except for school drop off and pick up. After the big Birthday weekend, reality hit me like a brick. As of this morning, little things have yet to be done. Like Christmas cards. If I was on the ball, I would have spent hours picking out cards, but not this year. It's Costco cards all the way. They have some cute selections and better yet, they'll be ready tomorrow! Considering we took the photos of the girls last week, I am not really sure what my excuse is. Other than I am a slacker.

The biggest thing to do right now, is to cocoon myself into baking mode. It's festive around here, but not festive enough. Not with out the smell of something, anything baking. I need sweet treats to get me through the day, the kind where I can just reach my hand in as I walk through the kitchen and give myself a little pick me up. Maybe the type of sweet treat I can sneak when two pairs of little eyes aren't watching my every move or asking me what the smell is on my breath!

So what's baking in your kitchen this holiday season? Any sweet treat recipes? Anything yummy in your crockpot that would save the day? Please share!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Jaunt to Australia...

This weekend, I found my way to Authorblog in Melbourne, Australia. Stop by and see what I divulged in my interview!

Time to get some sleep, I am jet lagged.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Synergy, Law of Attraction, Or Just Birthday Luck...

This morning I headed out to breakfast with one of my oldest friends. We have a birthday breakfast thing, with out our kids. Just the two of us and good food, oh and plenty of conversation. But it was such a great time I am thinking twice a year is a travesty, that maybe we need to have the birthday outing every month.

As we strolled into the South Side Walnut Cafe this morning in Boulder, we didn't find a wait and were seated promptly. Luck was on our side. I ordered the Eggs Marcos with bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar, a side of rye toast and fruit. You can't really go wrong with that combination. They serve a wonderful local Chai Tea at the cafe as well, Bhakti Chai, made right here in Boulder. Oh wait, lets not be modest, it may be the best Chai I've ever had, or pretty darn close to it. If you're a chai fanatic, check it out.

Then the magic just kept on happening.

Our waitress comes over singing Happy Birthday to me. To my embarrassment, thank you very much. But she placed this gorgeous piece of cake in front of me. Today's "Birthday Cake of the Day" flavor, just happened to be Chai. I thought to myself, is this for real because I felt like I was dreaming. The cake was beautiful, divine, and quite possibly a slice of heaven. As I am eating my meal simultaneously with cake, a Coldplay song came over the speakers.

Splendid. Ear to ear smiles. Aging, it's not that bad after all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

then Santa patted the velvet bench, wanting me to join him...

Almost Wordless Wednesday, Not exactly what I had in mind for our trip to see Santa. Although GL wouldn't have it any other way (note look of terror on her face). Next year, right? Wait, that's what I said last year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday Tips: What's Your Holiday Message?

Now while some of my views may differ from this video, I would say the overarching theme speaks loud and clearly to me. It was posted by Domestic Accident and I think it's brilliant. 

$450 Billion Dollars spent on Christmas in the United States. Gasp!

It's funny to think if I agree with the message then how do I always wind up getting caught up in the commercialism? Right now I can tell you I am fighting it! Gloves on and out of my wallet. I'm stepping away from my credit cards.It's just so hard to have discipline to not just go for it.  

We did very simple and thoughtful gifts for the grandparents and the girls are getting a short list. By the way, if I only want a Wii, that's not being selfish is it? Just Kidding. I'm really not getting a  Wii. I am content with my new boots for my anniversary, birthday, and Christmas present. Content as a clam. 

Spread your love, give someone something unexpected like your time, or a home cooked meal. Try baking cookies, bag them up, and hand them out to strangers. Strangers, I said it. You may just make someone smile. Isn't that what we all want, to spread the sunshine? (Oh and give the corporate banks a big, HA-HA!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is A Nice New Wii

Dear Santa (cough, cough Nintendo), 

 Your elves have been working overtime this holiday season. Especially in the marketing department. I can only imagine the team of geniuses in that department, the ones that devised the plan to hire four women to tour around the country hosting "Wii Fit Enthusiast" Parties. 

Your elves took over a Denver house, dressed in black Lyra and green t-shirts, filled the kitchen with catered food, and best of all set up a few televisions complete with Wii's and Wii Fits. All of us that were invited, played with much laughter and a raised heart rate. Seriously. I think while boxing I broke a sweat. Then I was even sore the next day. From playing a Wii Fit. Wow!
Honestly,  I was uncomfortable trying out the Wii Fit for the first time with a group of women that I had met moments before. But I just went for it, weighed myself, BMI right there in front of the crowd, let it all go. Really, I haven't played many video games in the last decade and I have never participated in a full body video interactive experience. I joked many times that my hands were pissed off, for they wanted in on the action. But with the Wii Fit, it was all about balance and full body integration. 
The night was capped off with a special announcement. All guests would be receiving a Wii Fit to go with our Wii Fit Black Lyra outfits, green Wii Fit yoga mat, and a cute black Wii Fit bag to carry it all in. I felt so darn special, giddy really. 
Now my only problem, I don't own a Wii

So Santa, if you read through my archives you can see I have been a very nice girl this year. All I want for Christmas is a nice new Wii. Or maybe a surprise birthday gift (hint, it's this week), if Santa has already purchased my gifts.I want to get passed the awkwardness I felt that night and build balance, improve my posture, and get Fit, Wii Fit. They are so cool. I am sure I don't have to actually say it, as so many people already know. Keep the elves touring around the country, they really know how to spread the cheer and put a smile on everyone's face!

Denise aka EatPlayLove

(Thank you to Greeblemonkey for the invite, photos,  and the gentle nudge to join Twitter, for now I am following almost all those wonderful women in that photo)

(For the record, I have a deep rooted love for Nintendo, just read this. Boy could I take it to the next level!)

wii fit photo credit

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happily Breaking Some Rules

Oh the bloggy awards. I see them as a friend stopping by with a muffin and a chai just because. Or like a little pat on the back. Now I will be the first to admit that most awards have rules of what to do and how to give the award, yada yada yada. 

I had two awards come my way last month and had yet to pass them out, no better time than the sleepy weekend, to stop by give a fellow blogger a muffin and a chai a little bloggy bling. 

Now if you like to play by the rules, than click on the link that I provided from the person that passed the award onto me, I linked to their "proper" post. If you are a little non-traditional and throw caution into the wind, please pass it along as you see fit. 

Jen at Never A Dull Moment (my blogger friend that lives 5 miles away that turned into my real life friend) passed along this Superior Scribbler Award to me. Now I suggest stopping by her place if I pass this on to you, because this award comes with a linky loo thing. You can add your name to the other famous Bloggy Superior Scribblers. 

Drum Roll Please.. This award is being passed along to:

VeryBusyMomWith4- Lisa is a great read. We both love Whole Foods and Apple Computer products, among other things. Although I am a Yankee at heart, Lisa is one of my favorite Texans!

All Who Wander Are Not Lost- G has a great story to tell and an even bigger heart. I love her honesty and openness! She brings a wonderful perspective to the blogging world. 

The Young and The Relentless- Connie has a special place in her heart for Colorado, but currently she lives in Utah. She makes you feel like you've known her forever, even if she's just a bloggy friend!

The Norwindians- Kirsten who just went through a little blog switch over, seems very at home in her new place. I adore her insight into life with three kids, including twin girls. 

To The Manner Born- Toad just so happens to have a connection to me outside of the blogging world. I find his writing to be a delightful departure from my typical reads. Stop by and browse for a bit,  you'll enjoy his whit, I promise. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Looking Through the Lens, passed this award on to me. Jaina has a huge heart and when you read her blog, it shines through!
This award is going on to my three blogger friends, that were really friends of mine long before EatPlayLove was born. We all have five year old children that have grown up together and I can't imagine my life with out them, they are precious gems!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sing Happy Birthday Again, Again, Again...

Light barely filtered through the blinds as my youngest daughter climbed up into our bed. I glanced over at the clock, 6:15. Although I momentarily wished for an extra hour, I realized it could be worse.

I whispered in GL's ear, "Good Morning Birthday Girl". She giggled and whispered back, "Sing Happy Birthday Mommy". We sang Happy Birthday time and time again, our voices escalated with happiness during each new round. Big Sister, Sj, awakened to our giggles. She also climbed into bed with us. We snuggled. It's our thing, the morning snuggle. Happy Birthday continued once again.

It doesn't take long before Sj happily discovered a fresh blanket of fluffy white snow had fallen overnight. I smiled knowing the snow, which continued to fall was a wonderful reason to spend a lazy birthday at home.

A monkey birthday cake is baked (a comical monkey, wouldn't you agree), a new baby doll nursery took over the living room, the Christmas tree glowed, the girls danced under the streamers in the dining room, daddy came home for the day at lunchtime, they explored the fresh fluffy powder and put up the inflatable snowman. GL embraced the sassiness of being two by sitting on the floor eating chocolate chips directly from the bag as she proceeded to dump out a pound of confectioner's sugar onto her lap, but cheekily smiled when she said," Oh, No, Big mess Mommy"! Then she topped off the night by refusing her dinner, but demanded cake. Cake, cake, cake...Pleeeease!

We laughed and giggled. We sang Happy Birthday a few dozen more times. I can't quite escape how beautiful it is to listen to my two year old sing Happy Birthday. Once again, I remembered time sure does fly.

Happy Second Birthday my sweet GL.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

the LOVE captured...

I should have included this with my post! This is from Spring of 1992, a few months into the start of it all...

Soft Brown Leather, Seventeen Years, and A Little Mariachi

Little did I know years and years ago that opening the door at a party would change my life forever. On the other side of the door was a teenage boy from a neighboring high school. Someone I had never met before. Someone I would in turn become friends with, then really close friends.

A few years after we met, we started "going out". From that moment of going out, our lives just continued on together, with out ever taking a break from our relationship. We officially consider our anniversary December 2, even though we were together before that. I suppose when a relationship blossoms out of friendship, it's really hard to pick one specific day.

Yesterday was that day. The day we chose years ago to celebrate our anniversary. Seventeen years later. Our December 2nd anniversary always trumped our wedding anniversary because we were together for six and a half years before tying the knot. It just didn't seem right to forget about our original anniversary.

Now quite honestly this is where I admit to my faults. I forgot it was yesterday. It would have hit me like a bag of bricks on the head when I saw the date or heard December Second! But none the less, the day and it's meaning came out over a series of emails between J and I. He casually slipped in, you know I didn't forget about today. Then my mind thinks, today, today, what is today? Damn it, December 2nd!

So we agree on dinner out. It was Mariachi night at our local favorite Mexican Restaurant. As we sat there eating dinner, being serenaded in a language I can grasp bits and pieces of, my eyes welled up. I looked across the table at my husband with our two girls and really felt the moment. I felt how incredible it is to be 34 and to have spent half of my life with my man.

To top the night, J bought me a pair of boots I've been drooling over on the Anthropologie website for a couple of months now. The same boots that were out of stock online (and no longer on the webpage). They fit like a glove and are even more glorious in person...

Now if I could have only done so well in the gift department. My past trials and tribulations trying to buy him a special gift! Sigh...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday Tips: "Made With Love Project" A Perfect Gift!!!

At the Coldplay show I recently attended, someone ahead of me in line bought a pack of bracelets. I decided to buy a pack as well. At the time, I had no idea they were made by a non-profit charity or that Chris Martin wears them. I get so many compliments on my bracelets. I wanted to suggest them as gifts to anyone in your life that likes something unique and that supports a great cause. Personally, I would buy the twenty pack and grace a few friends with them. I adore mine. They have a unique odor, which I smell through out the day. I can't quite help myself when thinking, Chris Martin smells this same smell everyday. I know I am a bit kooky, but it's a good thing.

Made With Love Project
The bracelets are made from recycled rubber by a women's cooperative in Djenne, Mali. The women are paid three times the going rate for the bracelets, thus providing them with viable means of support. The money made from the sale of the bracleets goes to L'Empire des Enfants. L'Empire des Enfants helps homeless children from the streets of Dakar, Senegal by providing them with shelter, meals, education, and training.

That's what I would call a Win-Win gift for everyone! Bracelets are 10 for $12 or 20 for $20, through the link above.

Just because I adore this song, you can see Chris Martin playing the piano with his bracelets on. Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Eggs, Milk, Bread, And A Surprise For My Car...

There's a new grocery store on the block (so to speak) and it's of the natural variety. To me, it's not quite up to par with the Whole Foods standard I have come to enjoy and expect, but none the less you can find a good bargain right here in the neighborhood. For the record there is not a Whole Foods in my town and I most prefer the one in Boulder, which is about twelve miles away.

When it's a lazy Sunday afternoon and we need eggs, bread, and milk I run to the new local Sprouts Market in a heartbeat. It's nice to not have to drive on the highway to get to the grocery store for just a few things. The atmosphere is better than the traditional neighborhood markets and they do offer some great sales.

Then something strange happens and I rethink the likability of Sprouts. Like I mentioned it was a Sunday afternoon. A quick in and out to the market, for a few things. Oddly enough as I am walking out to my car about to load the groceries into my vehicle, I noticed a shiny wet spill on the back of my car. Upon closer inspection, the shiny wet spill was egg white and there was yolk and shell sitting on my bumper. Not only did my car get egged in the Sprouts Market parking lot, but more importantly, my Barack Obama HOPE sticker was egged in the parking lot. Intentionally.

Can I just say, I can almost guarantee by like 99.8% that there is no way in H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS that this would happen in a Whole Foods parking lot.

I have no ill feelings towards the market itself, but I find it rather odd. Residual anger? Maybe the bag was packed poorly, the egg was broken so they thought it would be a perfect time to deface my car. Or maybe it was kids riding around with some extra eggs, getting a thrill.

More than likely to me, it was a customer of Sprouts. Some asshole still angry that Johnny boy lost the election. Personally I still can't quite comprehend, egging a persons car. But that's me, I've been known to mature with age and that may be too much to ask for everyone. I find it odd that I choose to shop at a market with such morons. Which makes me disappointed in Sprouts. So the guy likes natural meat, but not the President Elect. Join a web group or go to the gym, don't egg other's cars! It seems like there are more proactive ways to vent. But then again that's me.

Who do you think did it or why do you think someone would do it??? I am looking for insight...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday THANKSgiving Thirteen

OOh, it's been quite sometime since I've participated in the lovely Thursday 13, so today I give some reflection in the honor of THANKSgiving Day!

I'm thankful for...

1. Being home, listening to the laughter of my girls, kitchen brimming with delightful smells, dryer clanking, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on the television.

2. Homemade pumpkin pie, made yesterday.

3. Chris Martin's voice playing on my iPod.

4. This little blog, a place to say what I need to, connect in a way I didn't know possible. All my delightful blogger friends scattered around this country, that put a smile on my face everyday. How did I get so lucky?

5. My hubby being home more than away the last few months. I know the busy season starts up in January, but this time has been so wonderful. I have almost forgotten about the time he has to spend away.

6. Beautiful weather, we've had delightful sunny Autumn so far. A few precious little snowflakes fell earlier, just to warm my heart.

7. Tomorrow I am going to take out my Christmas decorations. The excitement that is oozing from my girls for the holidays makes it all worth while.

8. Online shopping. Enough said on that one!

9. Two more weeks of Graduate School and then winter break. I feel so accomplished and proud, I did it. One semester down, oh and 27 credits to go. Focus on the positive, right?

10. The festive season that is upon us. Birthday celebrations, dinners with friends, gatherings, wonderful live music, outtings, everything is all merrily, merrily, merrily Life Is But A Dream!

11. A huge heartfelt wonderful warmth is with us this holiday season, knowing the change that is coming to America. I wish I was traveling to DC in January.

12. My house is not immaculate and I'm okay with it. Seriously. (oh, and the DVD is still there, and I'm okay with it)

13. My family, even though they are thousands of miles away, today they are in my hearts. I will be recreating family recipes so they feel like they are here with me.

I wish everyone who reads this a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. I hope you have a full belly and a warm heart today! Love You!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

She Happily Types As Chaos Ensues...

There seems to be a huge disconnect between the person I really am and the person I think I am. I think I am organized, on top of things, and like to run a tight ship. I love baskets to house things, everything in it's place, neatly organized closets, empty hampers, fresh sheets, empty kitchen sink, and sparkling floors. But in all reality, if you could look around my house right now, in this very moment, you would see the evidence of anything but the person I just described.

I believe it has been one day of running around and my house looks like I haven't picked up in a week. At least a week. Maybe longer. I happily piled the dishes in the sink this morning when making my pumpkin pie. Sort of in a passive way, pretending as if they didn't exist, merrily humming along to my blaring iPod and enjoying the aromatherapy from the pie baking. I emptied the dishwasher, but left it open and never quite got to all the dishes from the sink, before it was time to head out.

Even though I just put away three baskets of laundry on Monday morning, there are two folded baskets that have already replaced them. Neatly folded laundry, just sitting in a basket, not in a dresser drawer or closet, in a basket. In a basket that I can almost guarantee will be rummaged through within the next twelve hours for some crucial piece of clothing, possibly upsetting the nice folded nature of those piled high in the basket clothes.

In case you've been humored so far, by my reality of chaos in the home, I'll let you in on another secret. Sometimes, I purposely avoid doing a particular task around the house, just to see how long it would take for someone (anyone) to notice it needs getting done. Take for example the Baby Einstein Santa's Music Box DVD that's been sitting on my stairs, right in the middle of the third stair from the bottom, for about a day now. I can guarantee everyone in my family has passed it at a minimum of five times, but it's still sitting there. It's my experiment. How long will the DVD sit until someone moves it? Does anyone else wonder what in the world is a DVD doing there? Maybe I'll have a surprise gift for the first person that actually moves it. It can be anyone, even my 2 year old that is happily crawling by it with her swift motion down the stairs. I wait and wait.

Which leads me to tomorrow. We have some friends coming by. Not a house full, just a few friends. The kind of friends I don't exactly have to clean for, but given the evidence I have just divulged, the kind of friends I better clean for. So tomorrow, I'll spend the day in a whirl wind, pretending like my place was not a strewn and wrecked mess just moments before they arrived.

If only I could break this vicious cycle. I'll take advice at this point, I need it...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh Little Blue Box, You've Outdone Yourself...Seriously

Now that the eight political glossy mailings are no longer gracing my mailbox, there's a new culprit force feeding their products to me via mail. I am at the point where this is just darn right silly. Absolute hilarity. It involves a little jewelry store known the world over as Tiffany and Company. Now don't get me wrong, there's a whole dreamy side of me that likes girly sparkly things, complete with diamonds, platinum, and a little blue box wrapped with a white satin bow.

Typically a nice little catalog would come my way before the holidays every year. It's always a delightful smattering of realistic items (sterling silver) with a touch of the Tiffany's high end, touch I said. I would always browse the catalog, then place it in my husband's bathroom, as a joke. I really don't expect jewelry from Tiffany's. I just have fun thinking his regular reading has been replaced with a Tiffany's catalog while taking care of his business in the Loo.

For my tenth wedding anniversary, my husband made a purchase at Tiffany's for me. It was a bit larger than his previous sterling silver purchases, yes the item included diamonds and platinum. It's delightful and I smile whenever I put it on. I also constantly check my neck to make sure it's still there when I am wearing it, it makes me slightly nervous. I am a sterling silver kind of girl, but I am not going to balk at diamonds and platinum for a gift. EVER.

Now here's the funny part, Tiffany and Company has bumped up our catalog status, because of that one purchase. Weekly we receive a new HIGH END catalog in the mail. For example the soft bound catalog that just arrived had a $6,500,000 dollar ring on it's opening page. Bwah, ha, ha! The cheapest item in the catalog was a dragonfly broach that cost about two years of mortgage payments. I find this all very odd.

So, if the marketing folks over at Tiffany and Company happen to read this, I think we need to change our catalog status. You seem to have us confused with people who are dripping in money and drop hundreds of thousands on jewelry. Is there any chance we can get back on the sterling silver customer list?


Friday, November 21, 2008

Artist (check), Left Handed (check), Blue Eyes (check)...

Pisces (check), Sensitive (check), Sexy hands (check), Long and Lean (check)...

Sounds like my kind of man. But he's not my man. I adore my man, but tonight I'll be taking in all that this other man has to offer. And all of those attributes above Chris Martin of Coldplay shares with my husband. Funny enough. Although my husband doesn't have the musical side to him, I wonder if Chris enjoys going for a bicycle ride?

Now if I could only convince my husband to write me a love song, complete with lyrics and music. You'd be picking me up off the floor, seriously. I am sure my husband would follow with, if I could only be a waif like Gywenth and bring home an Oscar or a multi-million dollar paycheck. Guess we're stuck with each other.

There are so many things that intrigue me about Chris Martin, one especially being that he divulged in a recent Rolling Stone interview that he spent many years having lots of female friends, but no serious relationships. This man, who is married to one of the most beautiful women in the world, had women issues. Gotta love it. Kudos to the underdog.

Two epic concerts in 10 days, I have to admit life is good. I can't wait to escape into the fantasy that Coldplay will create tonight. Oh please woo me with the graceful elegance of a man's strong hands playing the piano and a voice belting out mellow dramatic lyrics, like only Chris Martin can do. I'm off...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How I Adore The Pilgrims

Motherhood has been a journey for me. When my first daughter was born, I spent close to near every moment with her or close by her for at least the first few months. Slowly I was able to let go and you would find me out at Target (five minutes away) for huge half hour jaunts. I never took my commitment to motherhood lightly.

Then came along daughter number two. My time with her wasn't so closely coveted. I knew she would be okay with her daddy or nana or the plumber that came to fix the toilet (just kidding, kind of). Seriously the second time around, I didn't feel like Momma Bear protecting my new cub. Granted we still spend almost every waking moment together, but I have come to embrace my independence.

Time is to be cherished, with your children and decompressing with out them. A few months ago, I happened upon a perfect situation. One morning a week, my girls go to a dear neighbor's house for a few hours, so I can get some time to myself. Now granted, I will be the first to admit that my husband is a full time dad, when he's not at his full time day job. He loves being with the girls, which allows me plenty of free time on the weekends or evenings. But sometimes it's nice to just get out during the day, run errands without all the in and out of car seats and complications of dragging children around aimlessly. Or maybe even a cup of chai with a friend. Or a visit to a private opening of a new store, that I was invited to.

My girls have such a wonderful time with my neighbor, that they usually ask to stop by there most days of the week. They do little craft projects, like the photo above. I feel content that my girls can develop relationships with other adults in their lives. I cherish my little time away and I cherish my time with them even more. To top it off, I have cutesy little crafts adorning my house, just in time for whatever holiday is up and coming. Oh, how I adore the pilgrims, they represent so much to me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Tips: Thrifting

Through out my childhood, I grew up going to garage sales on Saturday mornings with my mom and her friend. We'd have a list from the newspaper and our hunts would take us all around town. I learned to decipher the nuances of what sets special things apart from the usual garage sale junk. Nowadays, I am sometimes tempted to pull over to the side of the road when I see a garage sale sign, but honestly it's not like it was back in the day. Now peoples twenty year old discarded items are mainly plastic or mainly overpriced, but there's nothing like the rush of a good find. Once a year, I always find a true garage sale gem.

During my teenage years, I discovered thrift stores. I became enchanted with vintage dresses and looks that you could only really find by digging though endless thrift store racks. I would say on average about ten trips to various thrift stores, I would walk away with only a few decent pieces. Thrifting for me became all about the hunt.

Thrifting takes patience and thrifting takes a good eye.

On occasion, I still get the thrifting bug. I don't particularly have the patience to hunt through racks and racks of clothing to find that one vintage t-shirt anymore or the vintage wool Campagnolo bicycle jersey, which all have made my true finds list. But I do have a few absolutely must scour racks, for each visit to a thrift store I make.

So what's my thrifting weakness?

Vintage tablecloths.

My love of vintage tablecloths began when I was handed down a few special pieces from a Great Aunt. I began to have an eye for them and vintage combined with floral is just my happy aesthetic. Most of my finds cost no more than $5.00. Typically the tablecloth section is overlooked. I also have a thing for vintage sheets, but they have to be in pristine condition, I use them around the house for drop cloths or to sit on in the grass, not on our beds.

Here's a glimpse at my collection:
(the bottom one, that Tiffany Blue with white stitched floral, is my Favorite!)

Here's the tablecloth being used right now:
(I don't believe in letting collections sit in a closet to gather dust, we use them!)

So why is this a Tuesday Tips? Because people discard and donate items for a variety of reasons. It's not just because they are old and worn out. Thrifting is a great way to save a penny, reuse something in good condition (usually many name brands), and make a donation to charity to top it off. Most of our thrift stores in the area are run by non-profit charities!

Check out your local thrift store, find a gem. You may just love the thrill of a hunt or the rush of a good find.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

He Chases Snow

When people ask me what my husband does for a living, I typically quip with "he chases snow". Sometimes that's enough for most people, maybe with a raised brow. But of course, there are always further inquiries. When my husband chases snow, it means he has to have skiers (aka talent), a camera man (or two), guides, helicopters, lots of fresh pristine snow, and just the right timing. Obviously that's the simplified watered down version, but it's true. My hubby has his hands in all aspects of the making the film from budget to post production. Hundreds of hours of film, turns into one feature length Warren Miller Ski Movie that tours the country right around now, every year.

Living in Colorado, everyone gets so excited when the snow starts hitting the mountains. We have a few resorts already open. But me, there's always a part of me, that feels sad when fall ends. I am sad because I know how busy chasing snow makes my husband. Even though it's been ten years, I still dread him being away. Off to Japan, off to Whistler, off to Austria, off to Utah. Off to chase snow. Another year, another movie to make.

Having just returned from our traditional Friends and Family Show in Boulder, the ski season has officially started. (Thanks to my friends that made the night complete!)

This year, it's Warren Miller's Children of Winter! Enjoy the trailer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Didn't Know How Lost I Was Until I Found You

Let's time warp back to December 1984, what would we find? Definitely a cassette tape of Madonna's Like A Virgin inside my Sony Boombox. I don't recall owning the album, you know I was high tech, going cassette all the way. Black rubber bracelets and potentially some big hair, maybe when no one was looking a faux mole above my upper lip and some of my mother's red lipstick, singing into a wooden spoon in the mirror of my bedroom dressing table. My bedroom was adorned with one Madonna poster, it was black and white and she was complete with the hair, lace, Boy Toy belt buckle, all of it. All of 1984 summed up in one poster.

Madonna was the first musician I looked up to. No wait, the first musician I IDOLIZED. I practiced her choreography from Lucky Star and Holiday over and over again. Wanting to get the pop of my feet just right. Although Madonna is quite the dancer and no matter how many thousands of times I watched the video, I could never perfect it.

I'd never seen Madonna live. Growing up in Upstate NY, Madonna never took her tour north of THE City. I am a firm believer in, I don't think I have truly lived with out seeing Madonna live. What a huge part of my musical history. I love seeing live music, so when Madonna came through Denver on her Sweet and Sticky Tour, I jumped at the chance to see her.

Tuesday night I headed to the Pepsi Center (for the first time!) to see Madonna. Considering Ben Harper is my favorite musician, it won't come as a surprise when I say I have never, ever in all my life seen such a production. I think we counted 20 tractor trailers in the parking lot. Twenty! Madonna had 8 major costume changes during the show. The production was beyond my wildest imagination. Madonna had a crew of dancers, support bands including a group of string players, amazing projection screens, insane lighting, conveyer belts, and a little jump roping.

Through out the entire show, Madonna rocked the guitar in between her choreographed moves in heels (HIGH HEELS!). Her body is beyond what I could dream of at 30 something, no less at 50. She's hot. She's sassy. She played old and new songs. My brain didn't hesitate to recall the lyrics to Into The Groove, Borderline, Like A Prayer, many of which she rocked out with a guitar for a new rock version.

If Sweet and Sticky rolls through your town, don't walk, Run. Go see Madonna, you won't regret it. And in case you were wondering I didn't see any highlighted hair, buff New York Yankees. 

What was life like before You Tube?
Her Political Driven, Get Stupid:

and for fun Like a Virgin:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One Black Trash Bag....Later

This past weekend, my house was brimming with house cleaning. Not just tidying up, but getting into closets, sorting toys, sheets, mounds of laundry being tackled! Oh how do I love a cleaning groove. But it was during this groove that I had a personal moment of clarity. 

When I am in the zone, I find myself calling out to another member of the family, usually Sj to bring me something I am in need of. Take for example my huge pile of discarded clothes from my dresser and closet, it out grew my shopping bag and a white kitchen trash bag. I needed someone to bring me in a big boy, a black yard trash bag! Oh that feels good, just thinking about it.

After moving into the girls' bedroom, I decided I needed yet another black trash bag. This time to conceal items that were disappearing from their room. Not necessarily permanently disappearing, just needing to be moved out of the current space. Sometimes I find it's easier to just remove things that are ready and sort into trash, giveaway, store for a later time, or move back to their proper place in another room. If Sj sees me with the black trash bag, normally her you better not be getting rid of MY stuff radar goes off in her head, so I decided to get the trash bag from the garage myself.

Enter break in the groove. My moment of clarity occurred when I realized it's actually very beneficial for me to ask for small assistance with such tasks as grabbing a new trash bag or else the groove ceases to exist.

For when I went to walk down stairs, through the kitchen, then dining room into the garage to grab a bag and walk back upstairs maintaining the groove, this sequence of events occurred instead. I walked downstairs, decided I was thirsty and that I should grab a glass of water. But I knew I had a glass going somewhere, so I walked back upstairs to my bedroom. Looked around, didn't see my water. Walked back downstairs poured a new glass of water, when I saw the washed grapes on the counter. I stopped to have a few.

Then the dryer beeped, so I went downstairs to switch out the laundry and fold the load fresh out of the dryer. Although I needed a laundry basket to put the clothes in from the bedroom. On my way back up, I poked my head into the office and sat down at my computer to just quickly check my email. Bwah ha ha ha. If you are reading this, you know for certain there is no quickly checking email, it's one of my greatest distractions. As I sit at the time warp, time in the groove is ticking away. After I get up from the computer, I find myself distracted from my original intent time and time again.

May I even share, I forgot about the trash bag I originally walked down the stairs to get. So now when I call out to a family member to help when I'm in the cleaning groove, I know I am not being selfish, but trying to stay on task!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday Tips: What's In Your BOTTLED Water?

Bottled water is everywhere. If you really break it down, it's pricey to our budgets and more so to Mother Earth. So what's better bottled purified water, bottled spring water,  tap water, or filtered water?

If you don't know, us Coloradans take water consumption very seriously. A bottle of water is as important of an accessory as a cell phone or designer bag. But on a more serious note, hydration is crucial at our elevation (5,400 ft), not to mention the dry climate and blazing sunshine.

Recently I was sent a report from the Environmental Working Group about the quality of bottled drinking water. Considering there is a lack of regulation on the bottled water industry, I was shocked to find out what types of contaminants were found in major brands of bottled water.

Walmart's Sam's Choice bottled water was purchased in various parts of the country and then independently tested, by the EWG.  Hands down Sam's Choice Purified water, received the worst offender award. Everything from trihalomethanes (disinfection byproduct), bromodichloromethane (cancer causing chemical), and chloroform (known human carcinogen)! Wow! So people are choosing to drink bottled water, thinking it's better and safer than tap water, but they are actually putting known carcinogens and chemicals into their bodies. Shame on the FDA for not regulating the bottled water industry. I'm just floored by this.

Bottled "Purified Water" differs greatly from Bottled "Spring Water". Spring water comes from a natural occurring source. Companies like Eldorado Spring Water, Evian, and Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, are truly committed to a higher quality product. They use a quality control system to maintain a high standard.

Beyond paying to put toxins into our bodies, the plastic water bottle industry also pollutes the Earth. Here are some interesting Bottled Water Facts (from Reusable Bags):
  • Americans will buy an estimated 25 billion single serving plastic water bottles this year. Of which only 3 billion will be recycled, meaning 22 BILLION plastic water bottles are being buried in landfills this year alone. Gulp. 
  • 1.5 million barrels of oil are used annually to produce plastic water bottles just for us, bottled water loving Americans, which is enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year. 
  • Plastic water bottles don't biodegrade. They break down into smaller and smaller bits, contaminating our soil and water. Nice!

In our home, we use a Multi-Pure water filtration system. It's a unit that sits under our sink, but dispenses through a spout that sits next to our faucet, we placed ours where the sink sprayer would normally be found. We chose Multi-Pure because of their commitment to high quality in home filtration systems. Multi-Pure is certified by NSF which is a internationally recognized not for profit third party testing organization. NSF annually conducts testing to make sure Multi-Pure is maintaining their quality standards.

A Multi-Pure water filtration system is a Solid Carbon Block. The water is forced through densely compacted carbon, where filtration of a wide range of contaminants takes place. For example, cysts (cryptosporidium and giardia), VOCs (pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals), certain endocrine disruptors, Trihalomethanes, heavy metals (lead, mercury), MTBE, Chloramines, and asbestos. Interestingly enough natural occurring minerals are not filtered out. I am not sure what type of quality standards refrigerator companies (filtered in door water dispenser) or Pitcher water filter companies claim, I suggest a visit to their websites and see if they compare to Multi-Pure.

Our filter needs to be changed every six months, but it depends on the amount of water you consume in your home. I believe Multi-Pure claims their average customer uses one filter annually. Recently, I signed up for auto delivery, so I don't have to think about when it's time to change the filter. The cost turns out to be about .08 cents a gallon with our filter.

Not only are we doing our part to lessen our impact on the environment we are also saving money. If you are wondering what type of water bottles we drink our filtered water in, click here to find out. 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

1 in 1,216,793 Wanting A NEW DAY

One million, two hundred sixteen thousand, and seven hundred ninety three people voted for Barack Obama in Colorado, and I couldn't be happier to be one of those. One of those embracing the importance of women's rights, fiscal discipline, ending the war, education, new forms of energy, and being progressive (gay rights, separation of church & state, proponent of Stem Cell research).

This is more than likely my last political post. Mind you, I still have what my father would call a "shit eating grin" on my face. I saw Wil.I.am on Larry King the other night and was waiting for this song to appear. And it did over at my pal's Blog, so thanks for sharing.

I definitely feel like it's A NEW DAY.

This is the one day I wish I lived in Hawaii, where 72% of the votes went to Obama, largest margin in the USA, second place lovely Vermont with 67%. Election Facts, on cnn.

**In case you were wondering, 1,020,135 Coloradans believed McCain/Palin was the right fit for our country.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Insurmountable Joy

Exactly eight years ago, I became a bit jaded about elections in the United States. Hanging chads, voter fraud, and "my brother the governor" will rule me the winner of Florida. I still believe that election was unfairly won. Maybe it was or maybe it wasn't, but that's just how I was left feeling. Four years later, I was left feeling absolutely disenchanted by politics, staring at "too close to call", and once again Democrat's defeated.

The beauty of the United States is that we all are entitled to our opinion, sometimes driven by emotion or sometimes driven by fact, but most generally speaking for myself, always heavily driven by emotion. I believe the leader of the most wonderful country on earth should do what's best for the American people, the greatest good for the greatest number philosophy. Not what's best for corporations, destroying the environment in the name of widening the profit margin. Clearly we know who came out on top of eight years of Bush's policies, corporations. Oh and China, for they own hundreds of billions of dollars in our economy. Why doesn't that worry Conservative Americans, why, why, why???

Now I believe the time has come for people. Barack Obama has always captivated me. He's eloquence and intelligence were enough to reel me in from day one. Considering our current leader lacks both of those qualities, Obama is a fresh breeze coming through the window, clearing out the old stagnant corporate air, clearing out the lobbyist back pocket air, clearing out the closed door back room deal air. Barack Obama doesn't scare me. His middle name doesn't scare me, his resume doesn't scare me, and the color of his skin doesn't scare me.

Last night I shed tears of insurmountable joy, for the first time in years, I felt the vitality that Americans deserve. I felt the greatness that we once again can be known for around the world.

I felt HOPE.

Thank you to everyone that went out and exercised their right to VOTE. Democracy truly is a beautiful thing. And if today you are feeling left saddened, worried, or unsure, I have to say just give President Elect Obama a chance come January, to change your mind.

P.S. Colorado, excellent job. I've waited 14 years to see you go BLUE.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Feel Proud To Be American

Exercise your right to VOTE. It's a beautiful thing. Oh and one more thing, you won't be able to wipe the smile off my face when they name Colorado a BLUE state tomorrow, it's been a long time coming...* taken in NYC by me! Isn't it cool?

Monday, November 3, 2008

We Like The Straight To The Mouth Kiss

Have you ever felt someone squirm inside, when upon greeting them you embraced them in a hug? Or better yet, moved right in for a friendly kiss, feeling the other person's anxiety as you moved closer, then found a quick turn of the head. I completely understand the concept of personal space, an invasion of personal space, and the boundaries that some people feel too worried about crossing concerning their personal space.

See for me, I grew up with minimal personal space boundaries. As we, Italian Americans (yes, I am generalizing here), love a good straight to the mouth kiss when greeting someone we know. So from toddler hood, I anticipated a pinch on the cheek and a big wet sloppy kiss to follow the pinch. It's always been the signature move of elders in my community. Let me clarify, not only elder relatives, but family friends of my parents that I hardly knew. We love a good embrace, a nice kiss, distinctive signs of love and caring.

Living in Colorado, one can imagine the population is a real hodge podge of cultures and backgrounds. Let me just tell you how it is, Colorado is not the place for straight to the mouth kiss, even with old buddies. Colorado is definitely a warm hug kind of place, sometimes a handshake turned into the pat on the shoulder, a this is as close as it gets gesture. I can't tell you how many uptight friends i've seen move into, stiff body and slightly uncomfortable when they saw me coming. For they know, I am an overzealous greeter, full of defying boundary breaking personal space. Now I would like to clarify, I am not a straight to the mouth kisser with my friends (unless they are Italian in descent), but I certainly do enjoy a longer than necessary embrace. I little bond to show them I care.

So now, tell me, do you squirm when the arms of a friend approach or goodness be, a face pulls right in to yours, or do you embrace the love?

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Natural Cobweb Look Achieved

As we were walking into our front door yesterday, SJ commented to me,
" we shouldn't wipe down those yucky cobwebs stuck with bugs. They are
so Halloweeny!"

I quickly replied, "the natural look is what I was going for." So on
my to do list for tomorrow is cleaning the entryway of inhabitants.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

When Toothbrushing Goes Awry

Yesterday morning, I was in a bit of a rush to get out of the house worrying about being on time for the girl's flu shot appointment. We were brushing teeth in the bathroom, moments from walking out of the door. I was crouched down at GL's level to give her teeth one final swipe. As I reached out to pick her up and stand up at the same time, a pain radiated from the center of my spine and shot out to my sides. I immediately reacted with a yell.

My brain's initial reaction was to just keep on moving and pretend like the pain didn't exist. But it did. My eyes were welling up from the waves of pain that would come from the center of my spine if I moved in a particular way or any way really. I tried desperately to forget about it and we all headed out the door. To GL's dismay, I could not bend over and "Zip It", it being her jacket. She must have chanted "Zip It" about twenty times.

By the time we made it to the Doctor's office, I was literally in tears. I begged the receptionist for ibuprofen. I am not really the type to take any pills, so when she called out two or three, I was shocked that I didn't hesitate to respond, "THREE!!!". Luckily the pills kicked in and about an hour later the pain turned to an annoying throb. After a little begging, I convinced J to come home and help with school pick up and ballet duty.

Then I lucked out when I made my way to see a dear friend to help with my back problem. It's odd to say, back problem. I've never had a back injury and really this one has thrown me for a loop. My friend just so happens to be an Acupuncturist. He called me earlier in the day to discuss my situation and mentioned he could fit me in at 6. I jumped at the chance for relief.

After arriving at his office, my brain was slowed down a bit from the racing and constant focus on the pain in my back. His office was calm and settling. Before I knew it I was on the table, needles were in, and a dramatic calm had come over me. I was given a full gamut of treatments to help ease the pain I was experiencing. I left the office feeling completely different than when I walked in the door. I didn't need to take an ibuprofen before bed last night.

I am feeling sore this morning, but the pain isn't the same. I anticipate a few more days of moving a bit slower, snubbing my nose at bending over, and no funny twisting moves (that's when my body gives me the, NO!). But overall, I feel lucky this isn't anything to put me out for longer than a few days.

Special thanks to Kevin for helping me get through the day!

Check him out, Boulder County Acupuncture if you are in the area and need some non-traditional healing to help harmonize your mind and body.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday Tips: Mother Earth Must Be Cringing With Election 2008

Although I half heartedly attempted to gather some real facts for this post, I came up short. I'm sure they exist, so for this Tuesday Tips, we are getting an emotionally charged post. With "Being Green" being the overused buzz word of the year, my goodness wouldn't we all agree that the Presidential Campaign of 2008 threw the notion of Being Green out the window?

Here's a list of my gripes with the Election Waste:

Junk Mail, glossy color paper advertisements wasting valuable resources and paper. Even if they are recyclable they are terrible. Every day in the last month, I must receive no less than 5 politically charged mailers.

Jet-setting around the country. I know the environmental impact of flying on private jets is horrific, not even jumbo jets. I can't imagine the atmospheric destruction that was caused from McCain/Palin and Obama/Biden visiting a different state every single day. With their ticket typically in different parts of the country in a single day. Then all the press flying around to follow them and interview them. Gulp.

Let's just throw in the poor folks on the bus, touring around following them. I haven't met an eco-friendly non-gas guzzling Greyhound Bus, have you?

Plastic, cardboard, and metal yard signs. Sometimes being stolen, just to anger the owner to go out and get a few more signs to replace it. Where are all these damn signs going to go on November 5th?

Electricity drains for every aspect of the campaign. Television advertisements, computers running 24x7, campaign phone calling, production of the junk mail, schmancy $1,000 a plate dinners, rallies, speeches, town hall meetings, all energy drains. All the people getting in their cars to come out and see both candidates. Although sometimes it's 100,000 people and sometimes it's only 4,000. Ouch!

It goes on and on. If you have a good one, please don't hesitate to share it!

Let me share some background into why this post came into fruition. When I flew into NYC last week, I was stuck over Pennsylvania just looping in airspace for about 45 minutes. Want to know why, Obama and McCain were both in mid town Manhattan that night for that televised comedic dinner they had. The air space needed to be cleared. That's when I realized what a huge impact this Campaigning has on both sides, clearing airspace, the trickle down effect just from an aviation stand point for that one situation is just mind blowing!

My proposal, I've come up with a brilliant idea, demand a horse and buggy presidential campaign for all future elections. They can get into those hard to reach areas, stopping by small towns and unchartered territory making the entire country feel special. Not using a drop of gasoline or compromising the environment. Splendid, don't you think?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time To Watch and Wait...

The next ten days may be incredibly long, but for me, my duty is done. Friday morning before heading off to Aspen for the weekend we cast our ballots. Here's hoping true change sweeps the country November 4th!

Although there is a part of me that loves voting on Election Day, I didn't want to take any chances this year, so we decided to go early. Of course we took the girls, I grew up going to vote with my parents. I thinking voting is such an important value to embrace with our children. I love America and I love being an active part of a Democracy!

No matter who gets your vote, I hope you value your right enough to go cast your ballot!

Friday, October 24, 2008

What's Up With Cupcakes...

Sometimes New Yorkers tend to be a bit snarky (a witty mannerism, personality, or behavior that is a combination of sarcasm and cynicism). One fine day, we were walking down the street and I overheard someone say, "I just don't get cupcakes, what's the big deal?". Of course, the popularity of cupcakes was being called into question by someone residing in New York City. How typical.

Let me share what the big deal about cupcakes is, they are delightful little manageable treats. Cupcakes are portion control at it's finest. Cupcakes are portability at it's finest. Cupcakes need no forks or utensils. Cupcakes need, two free hands, one to peel back the paper wrapper, one to place up to mouth, and one open mouth ready to indulge.

Why in the world do we need to get down on cupcakes, I think they are brilliant. 

So where did I indulge in cupcakes on my New York City getaway? Two places, but I have a third cake experience to throw off the competition. First, the Magnolia Bakery was literally a stones throw away from the place where I was staying. And the crowds were completely unbearable. Every time we passed by, morning, noon, or the wee hours of the morning, drones of people were spilling out of the space. And at their West Village location, the cupcakes are out on the shelves, you hand pick them yourself. Which seems wonderful from a logistical point of view, but I will throw into that reality, EWW- gobs of people breathing and potentially handling my cupcake. Not so much thank you. The eve of my departure I wandered into the Magnolia Bakery in Rockefeller Center, was served right away and purchased a few cupcakes to go. The cupcakes were behind glass for the record. The employees, well they were robots. 

The second bakery where I indulged in the portable dessert, was Billy's Bakery. Now Billy's on the other hand was bustling, but delightfully so. Talk about a kid in a candy store, their layer cakes were stacked beyond my wildest imagination. The employees were beyond friendly, I actually wanted to hang out with a few of them, even when ordering at about 9:45 at night, fifteen minutes before closing on a Sunday. Not one crabby stare down, but rather some very happy employees. Funny enough, on my first visit a few days prior, I was chatting up some lovely NY Police Officers out front, who wouldn't let me buy them a cupcake, but I had a feeling they may inquire for my phone number. It was funny and I regret not getting a photo of that moment. 

My third cake experience, was a beautiful slice of Coconut Cake from Balthazar's bakery. This cake proved why cupcakes have taken the lead in the portable dessert department. I didn't bother to grab a fork, so the three of us just went to town on the cake right out front on the street. I had the meringue frosting and coconut all over my face. My hands were covered in the smooth and rich filling, but it was worth every chuckle and stain. 

And the results? Well, Balthazar won it hands down for me. I regret not indulging in the layer cakes at Billy's or Magnolia's. I know a little unfair of me. The Balthazar cake was moist and delicious, it had a beautiful meringue feeling frosting, like nothing I have ever tasted before. In the cupcake department, my first choice is Billy's. Their cake was moist and the balance of the sweetness of the buttercream frosting was just perfect. For taste testing purposes, I always eat a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. I found Magnolia's cupcakes to be delicious as well, but just a tad too sweet in the frosting department. It tasted as if I was spooning confectioner's sugar straight into my mouth. 

Overall any disappointment, no way! Loved them all. Loved the atmosphere and employees at Billy's hands down. I highly recommend a stop by the next time you are in West Chelsea! Oh and the cupcakes are very well priced, $2.25 at Billy's and $2.50 at Magnolia's. I have paid $2.75 for what tasted like a cupcake from a box in Denver before, which wouldn't even compare to these!

Next time I am in NYC, I must seek out Crumbs. I missed that one completely.Although J has mentioned they boldly opened one just doors down from my Beverly Hill's favorite, Sprinkles. So many little bakery gems, so little time!

Here enjoy a laugh to go, sorry it's not a cupcake...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just Wondering??? A Google Reader & Blogger Blog Following Talk

If you don't use Blogger or Google Reader, please delete. This email will contain not one piece of relevant information to you. If you do, please read on, for I am confused and a bit mad. 

If anyone else out there gets frustrated when you "follow a blog" then that blog gets put into a special folder in Google Reader. A special folder you don't realize exists until a week has gone by. Then you try your hardest to figure out how to just get all your blogs in the INBOX of Google Reader, but they want a damn folder of their own. A blogs I am following folder, seems kind of silly doesn't it. I mean all the blogs in my reader I am following, Duh?

Does this sound crazy or remotely familiar to you? Because I really just want all my blogs in one folder, not two. 

Carry on...

Repressing Granolaville To Fit In The West Village

Packing my bags for NYC, I left most signs of Granolaville (that's what my host in NYC calls where I live in Colorado, it's not that far off in all honesty) behind me. I valiantly attempted to leave my fleece jackets, stainless steel water bottles, and synthetic layers back home in my closet. Instead I planned outfits I thought would be most appropriate for hitting the streets of the West Village. 

After our arrival to the West Village on the lower side of Manhattan, our host informed us that we had a 9:30pm dinner reservation. Aah, was that announcement echoed with laughter, for KS and I are usually in bed by that time or definitely in our comfy cozies for the night. But we were game. We were taking this, on vacation living it up, thing very happily in stride. That same evening turned out to be the biggest night for us. The city was permeating our beings and we were definitely ready to hob knob until the wee hours of the morning. 

The beauty of the days following was not having an agenda, but rather thoughts and ideas of how to spend the day. One day we found ourselves taking the subway to Brooklyn, so I could experience Williamsburg, the hipster scene, and catch up with some friends. For those of you that don't know, Brooklyn is about a 20 minute subway ride from the West Village, but if you live in the West Village the trip mentally feels like hours away. Talk about location, location, location. One of my biggest lessons learned is that those West Villagers certainly covet their location. 

Now don't get me wrong, it took me about 5 minutes to understand why the West Village is so coveted. It's full of beautiful brownstone buildings (think Carrie Bradshaw's apartment on SATC, which was literally across the street from where I stayed). The neighborhoods feel calm and serene, the honking is almost non-existent, and most tourists have other places on their must do list. Well except for the Magnolia Bakery, where you can literally find tourists spilling out onto the street, guidebooks in hand, cupcake in another with a camera lens capturing the moment. For those of you that enjoy feeling like insiders, most West Villagers snub their nose at Magnolia and prefer the cupcakes at Billy's Bakery (more details to follow on those two bakeries!). 

One day, just strolling down the block to meet my local friend for coffee, I was caught in paparazzi cross fire. Before I know it, five men are on the ground hiding under cars, large lenses in hand, to snap a shot. I was like, WHO IS IT??? It took a moment, but within seconds, Uma Thurman was having a conversation with her boyfriend Arki literally steps behind us. Photos here or I am sure in this week's edition of the Celebrity Gossip Magazines. I can see why celebrities chose to call the West Village home, they walk through the streets (with the exception of paparazzi moments) like everyone else, with no one going out of their way to bother them. 

I did pinky swear to my host, that he would have to crawl into a cave and die if I saw Sarah Jessica Parker out walking her dog, because I would have to stop her and ask for a photo. But it didn't happen, maybe next time.

As I sit writing, I am back in my comfy cozies, back in Granolaville. My thoughts longingly are brought back to just a few days ago, when the energy of New York City was coursing through my veins. When I lived rather absurdly carefree embracing the moments like a true local. I created the most wonderful new memories, with friends that have been in my life for decades. A smile graces my face when I think of our belly filling laughter that we couldn't escape, a laughter that made my trip complete. A laughter that hugged my soul. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Most Comfortable Bed On Earth

The weekend getaway to New York City, left me teetering on the edge of under slept, hungry, and somewhat foggy. After a day of travel, I had to pick myself up by the bootstraps and get my ass to Grad School for my class that evening. Lucky for me, my hubby was kind enough to actually drive me both ways, I think he was concerned about my conditional fogginess as well. I am happy to report that I did not fall asleep in class, although I felt myself about to nod off when asked to skim a long article. 

My head nestled right into my pillow when I collapsed into bed, after what felt like the longest day on earth. Nothing really compares to resting in the comfort of your own bed, the one I take for granted night after night. But last night I relished in it's comfort, my favorite sheets and comforter wrapped around me. I awoke refreshed, thank goodness, ready for my first day back on the job. 

I know you are wondering, how was it, how was the weekend away with no kids?

There are so many things to share, I'm still working through the details of how to journal my few days away. But overall in the most general terms I can say, it turned out to be a fabulous weekend. The experience was so completely different than my everyday life, I felt like I was living a double life. I laughed so much. I walked back into a friend's life that I hadn't seen in a decade like no time had passed whatsoever (is that not what you would call true friendship). Oh and I pounded pavement, I can't tell you how many times I wished I brought along my pedometer because I know I took at minimum 10,000 steps a day, and that may just be a low ball guesstimate. I had a couple celebrity sightings. I ate delicious food. I browsed the finest clothing racks in the country. I lived like a New Yorker for a weekend. 

Details to follow...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Notes From THE City

Growing up, New York City was always referred to as "THE city". Before my departure in conversation I would just casually mention how I was off to "the city" this weekend. Now that I think of it, some of my friends in Colorado probably were like, huh the city? 

Delightfully enough, the city has been wonderful, the west village is incredibly quaint and charming. I've fallen right into the culture, with my swift pace on the street, dinners after 9 pm, and plenty of window shopping. With not being on a tight schedule, just being free to meander through the streets, we've happened upon wonderful spots. Yesterday I quite randomly found a mini pair of Tretorns to match my pair for Sj. How stinking cute is that?

Although I have yet to set my eyes on Balthazar, we've managed to find some wonderful culinary gems. Today Balthazar is in the cards for me. Last night, we had fish and chips, from A Salt and Battery which was once featured on Bobby Flay's Throwdown. Although, no details here as food will have it's own post after my return to Colorado. (oh and for one friend of mine, I did follow the fish and chips up with Minstrels from the cute British Shoppe next door)

I must share one more quick tale. Even though millions of people call New York City home, as I was walking down the street yesterday, I saw a familiar face. I caught a glimpse of a beautiful mother and her two girls crossing the street. Turns out that mother was none other than, Mama Bird Diaries. I love that I am in Manhattan, but I can say what a small world. Amazing. 

Now I am off to get my serious shop on...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Funny How That Happens, Five Years Later

The passing of the last five years has almost completely gone in a blink of an eye. Obviously there were the moments that felt like they lasted forever (hello newborn phase!), but for the most part I am still in awe that my oldest daughter is five. Long ago, I would measure time by school years, throwing in the oh, that was in "fill in the blank" grade when that happened. But now I happily measure time by the milestones in my daughters lives. Funny how that happens.

The other day I was packing my suitcase for a trip I am taking this weekend and it hit me, this was the first time in five years I was packing my suitcase just for myself. It was five years ago and a couple of weeks when I first packed a suitcase with little itty bitty newborn baby clothes in my hospital suitcase mixed with my comfy post-partum leave the hospital clothes, some fresh socks, toiletries, and my favorite music. Over the years it slowly turned into diapers, toys, books, way too many pink outfits, oh and is there room for any of my things in this suitcase? Funny how that happens.

Hesitant excitement fills my mood tonight, before I step on a plane and wave goodbye to my hubby and two girls. Five years have passed and I am taking the leap with a dear friend, to have a weekend all to our grown up selves. We shopped together picking out clothes for fun fancy dinners. The kind of dinners I only dream of with out children picking off our plates or our purses full of distractions to just get through the quickest snarfing of food, so we can get out of the place before meltdowns ensue. I envision leisurely dinners this weekend where the wait staff gives us the stink eye, wondering if the damn party of three in the corner is ever going to leave. Probably not, for we will be on no one's clock but our own. Funny how that happens.

It's amazing, to not feel one moment of regret for the last five years of spending so much wonderful time with my girls. Coupled with not one moment of regret that the girls can spend the weekend with their daddy. Their daddy that they just adore so much, he'll be theirs until Monday afternoon. Considering it was just this week, that my 22 month old pulled on J's leg while he was getting dressed for work, looked up at him and said, "Don't leave Daddy". What a milestone. How precious are all the moments really. I'm glad J is going to be creating some with the girls. And I am thrilled I am going to be creating some new memories with old dear friends, friends that I am so happy to share my life with. Funny how that happens.

Five Years ago, October 2003

Fast forward, October 2008

(On a side note, I may try my hand at mobile blogging, but I make no promises, there sure will be plenty to write when I am back!)