Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Doodle: Giving Thanks

Here's another glimpse into my time sheet doodles from the Fall! The unicorn was the very first one I started to try to get more creative with, which is also a pitiful representation of a unicorn. I also took photos of the books from around the floods, interesting to see how I tried to lift spirits those two weeks (not pictured)! 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cinnamon In My Coffee

When I sprinkle some cinnamon on my morning coffee, it certainly is to reap the rewards of the health benefits. But, mainly I choose to participate in the ritual because it brings me closer to a friend I don't get to see often enough. Apparently, cinnamon is believed to improve cognitive function and memory, but I believe it triggers moments of happiness in my brain. The sight of the jar and aroma brings me back to her kitchen, a cup of hot freshly brewed coffee in my hands, her lifting the jar of cinnamon and sprinkling in just the right amount. The conversation just carries on.


A few health benefits of sprinkling some cinnamon in your morning coffee:
  • It can lower your LDL or bad cholesterol. 
  • Cinnamon has anti-fungal properties.
  • Cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar.
  • Helps eliminate headaches and provides migraine relief.
  • Brings back good memories (okay, that's a benefit for me). 
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Monday, January 27, 2014

What's Cooking? Almond Crusted Paiche With A Whole Foods Market Giveaway!

In our home, fish gets into the dinner rotation about two to three times a month. I love pretty much the entire gamut of seafood, but our girls are a bit more particular. We tend to cook white, mild, buttery fish for them.  I noticed a fish called Paiche at the seafood counter during my last trip to Whole Foods. Paiche comes from South America and fit our criteria, so we decided to branch out and give it a try! We  (and by we, I mean Josh) "breaded" the Paiche in egg and crushed almonds and pan fried it lightly, which gave the white flesh of the Paiche a lovely crunchy texture. We served it with a roasted sweet potato and sautéed shaved brussels sprouts. If you'd like to learn more about Whole Foods Seafood and their sustainability efforts, please check out their wealth of information here.


I have a $25 Whole Foods Market Gift Card to giveaway!
To Enter:

1. A comment equals one entry, comment as much as you wish. Please leave a valid email address if you comment as anonymous.

2. Contest will close on Thursday January 30, 2014 at 10pm MST. 

3. 1 winner will be chosen from comments by Random. Org and notified via email.

4. Address must be provided within 24 hours or a new winner will be selected, the gift card will be shipped directly by the supplier of the giveaway.  

5. Open to US residents only. 
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Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post and giveaway! Content is purely at my discretion. 


WINNER:
Comment #7 Kelli D from FB! I will be emailing you for your address!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Boulder Says Good Bye To Yet Another of Suburban America's Favorite Chain Restaurants

Casual dining restaurants have been shuttering for years now in Boulder. This weekend the Olive Garden has joined the ranks of many of it's competitors, citing Boulderites loyalty to their favorite locally owned eating establishments (oh and we hate crappy chain restaurant food). Every time I drove by the Olive Garden on Pearl Street, I thought oh yeah, Boulder still has an Olive Garden and then my thoughts immediately went to, how in the world is that place still bringing in customers?

The Olive Garden is not alone, here's my best attempt at recalling our disdain for America's most beloved restaurant chains. A McDonald's on Table Mesa was shuttered over a decade ago and now houses a locally owned drive-thru coffee shop, Que's. A Chili's on 28th Street was replaced by the Baker Street Pub which has also shuttered, I mean how can a place like that compete in Boulder's deeply rooted brew pub scene? The Applebee's was completely razed for a brand spanking new building that will house our very first Trader Joe's, slated to open on Valentine's Day. The TGIFriday's or Friday's or whatever the heck it's branded itself to be now closed and was replaced by locally owned Turley's. A Wendy's restaurant was also leveled to create parking for Hazel's Beverage World which is locally owned. Now that I am on a roll, I recall on Canyon Blvd there was a Black Eyed Pea, which shuttered to make way for The Original Pancake House, which is now the new home to The Buff Restaurant one of Boulder's beloved breakfast spots. Red Robin shut down so a HomeGoods store could take over the plaza, but opened a place close by called Burger Works, it doesn't look like it will last much longer. Boulder was also home to Dunkin Donuts, which was a local coffee shop for years, and now is home to a herbal medicine dispensary. Dunkin Donuts is setting up shop again in North Boulder where a KFC/A&W closed this past summer.

I do love that Boulder has continually embraced locally owned restaurants, I can't say I miss any of the restaurants that have moved along to more bustling generic suburban locales, they do love their chains just east of us (I know, I lived there for 8 years). I think we should add to the Boulder City Limits sign, 5,430 ft elevation, Home Of Real Food.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mother Daughter Girls' Night: Animal Crossing New Leaf Style

On Friday afternoons our school has early release for a regularly scheduled faculty meeting. Sometimes outsiders of our community gasp at the notion of their children being released at 12:30 for the weekend, but I absolutely adore it. Recently my girls have been playing with my office mate's girls for a couple of hours while we continue to work. The four girls (ages 7 to 11) all have their own Nintendo 3DS and Animal Crossing New Leaf which they have started to play cooperatively on Friday afternoons.  By cooperatively I mean, the girls can actually connect within the game, and interact. Each of the girls bring to the table their perspective of the game and it turns into this incredibly fun filled couple of hours. Of course I wanted in on the fun, so I had to run out and buy Animal Crossing New Leaf for my 3DS.

I am absolutely head over heels about ACNL (that's what the cool kids like to call it and hashtag it). Animal Crossing New Leaf is a joyful world where you have a character that lives in a town, you design your own house, earn bells by actively contributing to society, buy and trade common items, spend your days chatting up neighbors, and tending to your community (that doesn't even capture a tenth of the experience). One of my favorite things to do is take trips on a fishing boat while being serenaded by Kapp'n to an island where exotic fruit grows, beautiful insects thrive, and where it's safe to encounter many types of sea creatures. Truthfully, I am not a huge swimmer, but there is something about slipping on my wetsuit (mandatory to enter the water) and taking a relaxing swim around the island capturing creatures like sea slugs or crabs with my own bare hands. Yes, I am referring to the joy I feel playing Animal Crossing New Leaf. Trips to the island most certainly bring me joy.

In the very best of intuitive Nintendo design, I easily picked up the simple routines that have enhanced life in my town, Harperly. BUT… the most wonderful aspect of ACNL is that I can game with my girls. I've learned so much from them, they've had the game since Christmas, and in turn I've quickly picked up my own repertoire of tips and tricks. On Friday night the three of us plopped on the sectional and instead of watching a movie, we played ACNL together. I need to create a short video of us, it is unbelievable fun! I had to take a family portrait from when I invited the girls over to my town, here we are in my house:

(left is Sj standing, then G and I are on the couch, yes that's my swollen eye from a bee sting)
Are we not adorable?


It delights me to share gaming with my girls, it delights me that Nintendo has created this beautiful space that I can frolic, laugh, and present myself in the most authentic teachable moments as a mother. My daughters' personalities have come out in their style of interacting in ACNL. My oldest daughter has lots of bells saved in the bank and works hard to pay off public works projects, valuing her community, and interactions with her neighbors. She doesn't let weeds grow and waters her flowers daily. She's also very tight with a bell and won't gamble them away at the Stalk Market, but does have a frivolous side when it comes to fashion. On the other hand my 7 year old loves to spend a bell as soon as it hits her account. She has items dropped all over town, weeds are growing, she rarely digs up fossils, and she is in it for the bells and whistles, hardy har har. I take pride in teaching her different strategies and how to keep her closet organized, talking through what seems like a fair price for an item or how to set the price on a personal item at the Flea Market. I've witnessed both girls working together to trade items one has in their town that the other one really wants. Of course, I've spoiled my girls, fishing for them, tidying up their space, and buying them dream items (hey I work hard for my bells, I like to spoil). I may be playing, but I am always a mother.

Stay tuned for the next post, where I'll share a photo of us in head to toe matching outfits and we even went fishing together!

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Disclosure, I am a Nintendo Brand Enthusiast, but all ACNL games were purchased by my family. This post was not written as a campaign for Nintendo (all words and squeals of delight are my own), it is simply too much fun to not share with everyone I know! I can guarantee more ACNL posts to follow! 



Friday, January 24, 2014

Bread Baking Success

My father has been working on baking bread for years, with mixed results. I think sometimes the internet can provide too many resources. I was browsing a kitchen shop online and came across the Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit, so I decided to send it to my father, Joe. It was sort of a joke, but from the reviews I read I was hoping he'd find success with the bread kit.

Well, he's moved on from the ingredients that came with the kit and using supplies from the grocery store. I am happy to report, the bread baking is a success! Take a look at his latest loaf.

Now I need to convince him to ship us a loaf from NY.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday 13: Shit I Want To Blog About

Maybe you've noticed I'm actually blogging on the regular again. Let's flashback to 2008 and relive the good ol' days by revisiting one of my all time favorites, Thursday 13. All my blog posts have labels, you can click on a label and see other posts I've written over the years on the same vague topic. The last Thursday 13 post I wrote back in 2009 was titled, Thursday 13: Ways Bloomberg Could've Spent the 100 Million Dollars.

Thanks to a combination of iPhone notes and the voice memo apps, I am able to quickly write down snippets of ideas I have to turn into blog posts. Well that's the idea anyway. Let me confess, at the time they seem brilliant. Sometimes looking back over the list I have to grasp at what in the world I meant by my three or four word whim of inspiration. Today, I am revealing the inside scoop on random thoughts that have yet to transpire in this space, but they will. I swear they will. 

Please note, no random thoughts have been edited or modified to make any sense for this Thursday 13 revival. means those ideas were published! 

1.  I know how to walk into my future

2. NURTURE 

3. no more closed doors (keeping a clean house) ✔ (kind of)

4. Escaping internal dialogue

5. Phones away kids at play

6. Worst words to say to a child, I'm bad at math

7. Does integrity matter?

8. Screen Time (insert chuckle)

9. Applesauce   ✔ 

10. Facebook validation


12. What does passive aggressive in social media look like?

13. Fashion is NOT a reward 

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Post Announces Grape Nuts NON-GMO Project Certification

While I did enjoy my fair share of sugary cereals as a child, Honeycombs being one of my favorites, I gave up the cereals from my childhood when I became an adult. My body can't handle a ton of sugar in the morning and I really need to go heavy on the protein to make it through until lunchtime. We really try to keep sugar content and ingredients to a minimum when selecting breakfast cereal for our girls. I consider cereal to be a backup breakfast plan, we typically love a hot breakfast in the morning, but we know that's not always realistic.

Grape Nuts was a cereal we always had on hand growing up, that was known as my mother's cereal. I laugh thinking about pulling any random box of cereal off the shelf to find them near empty, but the Grape Nuts box always felt solid, it was a go to.  I grew to love Grape Nuts with a sliced banana as a teenager. When I read that Post had decided to take one of my all time favorite cereals and certify it GMO Free via the NON GMO Project I ran out to buy a box. I haven't bought Grape Nuts in about two decades. Let me also clarify, you'll be hard pressed to find any other products by Post in my pantry, but I do have a nostalgic weakness for Grape Nuts. I can guarantee, with the addition of a very small label I have grown to love, it will always be in my pantry.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Being Present, Allowing Myself To Be Alone

There once was a time when I had a few hours to myself in any given week, I would desperately fill those hours up with things to do and people to see. I hated being alone, I avoided being home alone like the plague. The night before I would send out texts, want to meet for coffee, should we do lunch, hey want to hike and then grab a bite, how about shopping? Then after my meet up, while I was out, I'd just run in to Target to pick up a few things. Oh hey, look at that, it's time to pick up the girls, ALREADY! I didn't really understand the pattern I had fallen into at the time, but now I see it very clearly.

I see how I filled my precious alone time with shopping. I didn't know how to nurture myself. 

There's not much arguing that there is always something that can be picked up for the household. One day I opened the cabinet where I stored cleaners and noticed multiple full bottles of the same product or say, 5 types of multipurpose cleaners. There were boxes of dusting cloths and packages unopened sponges. My bathroom must've had no less than six specific cleaners, I mean who gets their bathroom clean with one product? I do, now. At the time, I didn't have any hesitations about shopping (or buyer's guilt) because I was purchasing essentials for our home. Essentials, a distraction for being all by myself in the house for a few hours. I ran from household duties and I ran from my internal dialogue. It took that cabinet of cleaners for me to start looking at myself closer in the mirror. 

The good news is, I'm not afraid of being alone anymore. I'm not afraid of my thoughts, I can happily spend an entire day at home just puttering around. I spend my one weekday off savoring a cup of coffee through out my morning, tending to tasks to nurture my home, going for a hike alone, reading, and allowing myself to slow down without guilt. I embrace the opportunity to listen to thoughts or concerns that may be arising within me, instead of continually pushing them aside with distractions. 

My favorite lesson from this pivotal self reflection is understanding that being present takes practice

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Farewell, Wasteful Applesauce Pouches

A little yellow plastic cap drops on the floor, I can hear it clink and bounce, all the way in the kitchen where I am preparing dinner. My daughter doesn't respond to the cap falling, she just continues writing in her journal on the sofa. The green plastic pouch now flat after consuming the applesauce contents, gets casually tossed onto the coffee table. I've fallen victim to the convenience in snack food trends, those damn applesauce pouches. After the girls go to bed, I head into the family room to catch a movie, and wind down for the night. SON OF A… I bite my lip. You may have guessed what happened, but if not I'll tell you. My bare foot stepped right on the pointy twist off side of the applesauce pouch cap.

In that moment I decided that's it, I'm done.

Applesauce pouches are overpriced and wasteful. Is it really that hard to open a glass jar of applesauce and spoon out a bowlful to our children? Is it hard to pack it in a storage container with a lid in their lunch or school snack? No it isn't. If you've totally fallen for the convenience aspect of it (I get it, I truly do), I recommend buying reusable pouches. These plastic pouches of 3.2oz of applesauce create absurd amounts of waste in favor of convenience, not to mention how long will it take for a pouch to break down in the dump? I have also confirmed they are not organic[1] anymore, over the past year or so the price has gone up about $3 at Costco and the label now states, all natural. Boo, hiss!

I just spent $9.99 for 4 jars of ORGANIC applesauce at Costco, which is 189 ozs (or 11lbs). You do the math comparing that to 18- 3.2oz pouches! If you don't know, apples have been ranked #1 on Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen produce list, meaning they have consistently carried the highest load of pesticide residue. I highly recommend only giving children organic apples. Plus, we all know that the apples that turn into applesauce aren't handpicked from a tree, they are the ones that have fallen and are blemished on the ground (aka seconds). What a profit these applesauce pouch companies are turning! Joke is on us!

I'm done, no turning back. Good bye wasteful applesauce pouches, I won't miss you!

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[1] The brand of applesauce pouches they sell at Costco rhymes with YOYO, they do sell 4 packs of organic applesauce at Whole Foods. Organic pouches retail for about $1.10/ea. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Avocado + Honey Face Mask, Spa At Home in Minutes!

My daughter and a friend wanted to recreate a Spa experience while they were having a playdate. I couldn't say no, I thought it was a very fun idea, so I turned to the internet for natural face mask recipes. I have no idea why avocado and honey make a good face mask, but I will say the honey certainly helps to keep the avocado sticking to your face. Our mask did not turn out anything like the photo, so I would suggest using an immersion blender or throwing the mixture in a Cuisinart, as our mask turned out very chunky and well the chunks would slowly give in to gravity.


Dissolve the honey in the hot water, mash in avocado (or use a mixer). 
Apply to face with fingertips or a brush. 
Avoid your eyes and mouth. 
After 10 minutes, rinse with warm water. 
Enjoy the glow! 


This photo shows the texture of the mask. Next time, I will use tools. 

Not pictured, the girls using the cucumber slices to dip into the avocado mask, apparently it even works as an appetizer. Talk about double dipping. 



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Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Doodle A Week

One of the tasks of my job is to maintain the weekly time sheet notebook where the part time staff record their hours. I've whittled down the list of names and finally gotten into a rhythm with the process. The jest of it is, I simply swap out of dates from the previous week to the new week with my favorite shortcut, replace. I have a strict rotation of 4 different colors of paper I print the time sheets onto. The front page of the time sheet is just a landing spot, so I have decided to fill it with something whimsical, typically a quote and a doodle. Although I don't love my printing and most weeks I turn to the internet for inspiration, I've received a wonderful response from my coworkers. Now they look forward to what the next week will bring! I've come to realize that this is a small way I can nurture those I spend my days with. I want to make my office mates smile and know I appreciate them. If a doodle does that, then I shall keep at it!

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Struggling With Public Vs. Private Expression

Even though I have a surplus of thoughts and words that dance in my head, sometimes I struggle with which ones I should put out into the world. Many times I grapple with how to best craft words together to create harmony. But… the bottom line is, I don't feel like I can be completely open and honest here.  I always take into account the ramifications of being an open book when it comes to relationships, family, and many aspects of my life. On those occasions when I bravely have the courage to put words here that I may want to hide, it feels like the smallest most sunshine filled triumph. 

LeSigh. I'm torn, one way or another. 

It is truly the worst feeling when I have burning thoughts, but recognize the space I created can't house them. I've become completely dependent on writing to express my emotions, to dump the reeling thoughts out on paper. Luckily the journal I started this year fills the void. It's a safe place where I don't have to hide behind what others will think. I'm still learning how to accept that locking them away in a private notebook is a wonderful compromise. 

The upside is that my thoughts are released and validated, they have the potential to make it into this space someday. Honoring expression with a pen in hand, onto the lined pages of my Moleskine is more satisfying than keep them bottled up.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lemon Sorbet WallFlower

Before the lights went out, I rolled over to pull my down blanket up over my shoulders when I became acutely aware that my t-shirt matched the color of my bedroom walls. Currently that is Benjamin Moore Lemon Sorbet or see through Uniqlo cotton yellow. My bedroom is the only room in our entire house that has yet to be repainted, the last hold out, a lingering reminder of the former occupants. I don't care for the color, but haven't quite mustered the energy to select a new color because I'm so darn particular about paint.

Achingly particular.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hey Look At That Bunny... No It's A Pink Totoro Birthday Cake

The intentions were set, a glimpse of a bunny shaped pan turned into a request for a bunny 7th birthday cake. After the cake was frosted in pink, the bunny part became fleeting and an inspired Totoro was born. Inspired is the key word here because we know Totoro doesn't have a mustache, all the same color fur, or holey ears. Now that I think of it, our pink Totoro is missing whiskers, feet, arms, and our favorite Cheshire smile. Never mind with those details, just use your imagination.

It made the birthday girl happy, the bunny-Totoro cake will definitely be one to look back and laugh at remember.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Body: I'm On A Journey, Not A Mission

When you step on a scale and the number seems so incredibly disjointed and foreign from the last time your bare feet curled up and stepped on, I absolutely hate that feeling. I experienced that this weekend and it left me disheartened and confused. The only connection I could make was that I went out with friends on Friday night and had a few drinks, definitely a couple more than my normal one or two. My body clearly held onto every ounce of water I inhaled on Saturday in an attempt to swing the pendulum back and hydrate. Gross.

Just one little number from a digital display surrounded by stainless steel and my bare feet, leaves me feeling defeated and disappointed. One number and a night out washes away the positive and conscious changes I've been making. Which is probably why I haven't owned a scale my entire adult life until I finally broke down and purchased one last year. For some reason my weight can change dramatically in a day or two. I go through phases where my scale either gathers dust sitting under my bed or I use the thing constantly, stripping down to naked to see what number appears before me. Shame or celebration, over and over, tied to a number.

This time, I'm trying to not feel shame, but just recognize I am on a journey not on a mission. My journey shall teach me lessons about how I treat my body and help me guide my way to a better self. I haven't quite found that balance, but know my rewards come in many forms such as how I feel at the top of a climb on a hike that once left me breathless and needing a water stop on my way up. I've always gauged how I'm feeling by how I feel in a pair of jeans. Right now, I'm not happy in jeans. I just want to wear yoga pants, which is a sign to step up my commitment.


At bedtime I was reading the latest issue of Real Simple, I was struck by this advertisement by a big cereal company. I think it's one of the most brilliant marketing campaigns for women I've ever seen, but I don't eat their products. I'm starting today to stop the fat talk, the negative self talk, the fat shaming.

I am brought back to NURTURE, not a number. My journey starts with me, it's time to honor that.

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Here's the related campaign video:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Golden Globes, Out With The Older In With The Younger

The Golden Globes have always appealed to me because the up and coming actors get to hob nob with Hollywood royalty. Television's gems sit across the table from Martin Scorsese's muses. While over the decades I've watched my favorite Hollywood actors take over for the powerhouse generation before them, last night I felt like I was watching my generation step aside. I know it's just me, but the new comers filling the shoes of Gwyneth and Julia, just don't seem to have the same depth and brilliance. Maybe it's Hollywood losing it's depth and brilliance. Overall, I think the night was a wonderful representation of Hollywood, kudos for a well rounded representation of the finest.

These women will always be my favorite, they embody my generation:

(could't find a shot of Gwyneth solo, wink wink)

While these, I'm still learning their names:


(I may confuse Amy Adams and Emma Stone, oops. Where's Ryan Gosling?)
(FTR Amy is 39, but very much a new comer to me)

I've never seen 42, 41, and 39 years old look so good. Bravo to my favorite Hollywood men:

(Hard to believe, Jared Leto is the oldest in this group!) 
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Saturday, January 11, 2014

GMO Roundup: What is a GMO? Fox News Explains

This is a great segment explaining GMOs and why there are concerns. Kudos Fox News!

 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Imagining All The Places To Escape To

Across the room, I was drawn to calm and peace, among dense noise and chaos.

Weightless,
floating,
surreal blue, reflecting light. Easily lost in the tranquility.

Imagining all the places to escape to.

I return to my chair, heavy.

Carry on, carry on.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Photo Tutorial: Fast and Easy Custom Twitter Background With PicMonkey

Creating a custom Twitter background takes mere minutes. The only hang up you may have is aesthetics because there are so many options and filters, it's easy to get hung up on what you like best! I did a little research and found that creating a background with the dimensions of 1280x1024 works great. 

Now let's get started! First choose a photo that appeals to you! I HIGHLY recommend using a personal photo and not "borrowing" one from Google images or someone's website, unless you ask for permission. 

This is the photo I chose:

I uploaded it to PicMonkey (click edit a photo top left):

Click the very top left menu resize tool to set the size of your photo:

Two options here: CROP (with scissors in menu) or RESIZE.
Unclick scale photo. This way you can set dimensions to 1280x1024.

I prefer resize, I didn't want to lose any part of my image.
Reminder, unclick keep proportions and percentages! 
1280x1024 and Apply green button! 

Next up, playing around with filters! 
I used textures, left menu square 2nd from bottom:

You can play around with any texture and just hit discard if you don't like it.
I chose, SPACE for my background photo! 

You can adjust the saturation and fade with the little slider buttons, 
all the settings will undo to your liking, don't be afraid to explore!

Next click the Tt in the left toolbar. 
That adds text!
Tip, keep your text in the box highlighted, 
then you can click various fonts to see which one you like the best! 

Next play around with the color, which color works best with the feeling you want to create?
Don't forget about BLEND MODES under the color selector, I really like Lighten. 

Next rotate your text by clicking at the center ABOVE your text box, until the white circle appears!

Drag it to where you would like it. 
I highly recommend putting text on either side close to the edge, that way the Twitter format won't cut off your text (see very last photo). 

Add as much text as you would like, change the colors up! 

Save! You can save with 3 different qualities. 
You already set the size, so you don't have to worry about that! 

My PicMonkey custom background! 

Go to Twitter, Profile, Settings!
Left Toolbar, click DESIGN (not in photo, I scrolled down).
CHANGE BACKGROUND, select your saved PicMonkey file.
Don't forget to SAVE CHANGES once it uploads:

My custom background:

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Comments are open, in case I can answer any questions! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Removing The Laundry Obstacle

Laundry has always clouded my ability to feel like an accomplished housekeeper. Over the years when Josh and I lived in apartments (for about 6 years) that didn't have a washing machine, we would take our laundry to the laundromat in trash bags. I know, we were super classy. Imagine me literally lining up 8 black trash bags and filling an entire row of machines. It pains me to even think about those days. We finally rented a house that had a tiny apartment sized washing machine, I had such visions of it changing my life, but I kept on with my same bad habits. Sometimes I would just load up all the laundry and hit the Laundromat for old times sake, how pitiful.

This may be the appropriate time to blame my mother for my struggles. MY MOTHER IS THE MOST AMAZING LAUNDRY GODDESS. Her whites are whiter than when they were opened fresh from the package. She can fold a Queen fitted sheet to fit into a sandwich bag. Her stacks of folded laundry look straight off the page of a professionally styled photo shoot for Martha Stewart Living. She washed, dried, folded, and promptly put away. Laundry didn't sit in my home growing up. It was just done with precision.

On the other hand? My style is to let a mountain of laundry pile up, do a load, and usually forget about it. I open the machine a day or two later, take a few extra whiffs, notice it may smell a bit rank, so I have to wash it again. On the second go around it gets to the dryer in an appropriate time frame, where it lingers in a ball to wrinkle up, long after the permanent press beeps have ceased. The other method to my madness is to do all the laundry in a day, like 8 loads. Put all of the dried clothes on a flat pile and watch Netflix and have a folding marathon. Everyone has their own laundry basket and I toss them in the appropriate room when I am done. Sometimes I get around to helping the girls put their laundry away, but more than likely they just get dressed from the laundry basket.

Cue, laundry shame.

On days when the girls need particular clothing like soccer uniforms or ballet leotards and I have to search piles and laundry baskets or the drying rack or the dirty laundry pile to find them? 20 minutes later I feel so incredibly frustrated because I am such a disaster about the laundry...

Cue, laundry shame.

On December 28, 2013 I decided to fight my laundry complacency. I washed all the laundry in the house, including sheets and blankets. I paired every sock possible with deep searches under beds, dressers, the couch, and at the bottoms of every closet. I threw away all the unmatched socks, we said good bye to them once and for all. I promptly folded all the laundry and then put it away. Of course before I could successfully put away all the laundry, I had to reorganize all the closets and dressers for the entire family. I pushed on through the task at hand and ultimately concluded I would tame the laundry beast once and for all.

A mere 10 days later and I have maintained my commitment to keeping up with the laundry. The girls had ballet this week, leotards and tights were folded and easy to access in their dressers. I've been throwing in about a load or two every other day. I do one load of darks and one of lights/whites. I can't believe how incredibly freeing it is to have a handle on such a everyday task that felt like such a heavy burden for so many years.

When I committed to nurturing my family and my home, I had no idea laundry would be the first obstacle I removed in 2014.

Onward…

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Create To Hydrate

Create, produce, collage, write, dream, organize, maintain, nourish, hug, attend, please, exert, honesty...

leads to:

...replenish, moisturize, renew, rest, snuggle, relax, hydrate. 

In these:

I'm turning in early tonight, with my sock monkey footy pajamas.
Don't be jealous.
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Monday, January 6, 2014

After The Floods, Losing My Hair, But Gaining My Resilience

After Boulder's 1,000 year rain/100 year flood in September, I fell head first into a deep dark place. I'm not even sure when I started to recognize myself, the beauty in sunshine or daylight again, but I am most certain it wasn't until late October. While people around the world were seeing images of Colorado's devastation, I had grown numb to seeing my community being washed away. I first recognized how being bombarded with images is incredibly damaging on one's psyche during the heart wrenching Fourmile Canyon Fire in 2010. News outlets and social media feed upon dramatic photos during a natural disaster and when they are of places you know inside and out, it's like being punched over and over again with out being able to run away from your assailant.

In September, I physically couldn't escape because my neighborhood was affected by the floods. My husband was out of town, I had to remain strong. I recognized when you endure times of crisis without your partner that has held you up more times than you can count, it takes it's toll. I became acutely aware of the conditions surrounding me for a week straight, while also monitoring the town where my daughter was on an Outdoor Education trip 3 hours away from Boulder. Sometimes that meant listening to police scanners and weather alerts throughout the night. I woke many times half asleep with my clothes on, iPad scanner app still humming at 4am. I did what I had to do, I pushed on through, and we got to the other side of this natural disaster that fell into our laps on an unsuspecting Monday afternoon. 

Which leads me to a personal crisis I faced in September and October. One day I noticed I had lost a patch of hair. Maybe it was dime sized, but it was right in the front where my scalp meets my forehead. Let me tell you, when you notice you are losing your hair, it does not help that you become anxious about losing your hair. Guess what also can make your hair fall out? High levels of anxiety. 

I didn't tell anyone, not one person, not my mother, not my husband for weeks and weeks. I could not muster the courage to say, I am losing my hair. Every time I went to the bathroom or showered or walked by a mirror, I would pull my hair back to see the spot was growing. I started obsessing about it and desperately wanted to see one sign, one little bitty hair that had broken against the norm and was growing back in. But there was no sign of growth. I developed a method to blow dry my hair to hide the bald spot and felt like EVERYONE COULD SEE MY SECRET. 

I finally made a Doctor's appointment with a new Doctor that I had never met before, due to a change in my insurance. I was so scared the receptionist that booked my appointment was going to ask me why I needed to be seen. I couldn't come to grips with the pain and stress of holding in my secret. The morning of my Doctor's appointment Josh knew something was up and all I could do was walk out the door while holding back tears. I hadn't even told him yet that I was going to the Dr, no less why. I don't know what came over me, why I could not find the words to talk about what I was going through. I'm not sure if it was depression, stress, anxiety or a combination of all three. But none the less, I had met a wonderful new Doctor. She prescribed the world's most expensive bottle of shampoo that I feel incredibly fortunate my insurance covered (or I will still have a bald spot). The special shampoo had very specific instructions including rinsing it out while avoiding it coming in contact with any other part of my body, essentially hello toxic shit. I needed help from Josh to rinse my hair the first few times I used it. 

I cried like a baby on the bathroom floor the first time he saw my bald spot, I had to push him out of the bathroom and lock the door. I felt so incredibly vulnerable during this process. I felt ridiculously vain. Once again, I pushed on through, and here I stand on the other side basking in my resilience. Today I have wisps of hair growing back in that spot and I have never been so excited by the sight of grey hair in my life. 

October
Today

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Vision Board In The Making

Light was streaming through my picture window in just the perfect way this afternoon to highlight the dust collecting on a stack of current magazines I keep on the shelf of my coffee table. I reached down to clear them off and put them away in a basket, when I realized my magazine storage basket was so stuffed to the gills that it was pulling apart on two sides from being too heavy.

Immediately I thought, time to deal with the magazines. I'm not even going to get into how old my stack of current magazines are, but let's just say my pile was at least 50 deep.

I grabbed an armful, a pair of scissors, and decided it was time to make a vision board. A cold and snowy day turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to sit around with a hot cup of tea and chop up magazines. I sorted a few piles of clippings, one for my vision board, one with recipes, one with quick workout routines I could try at home, and one with house inspiration.

My vision board is to inspire me, help me focus positive thoughts, and stay on track with my goals to NURTURE many aspects of my life. I found great quotes, photos of beautiful places, and images of women living in a healthy body. Below is a glance at my vision board components, it's just not fixed onto a surface yet! 

Finding your roots
Stronger connections
Make 2014 your year to shine
Better love your everyday life
Loving your body begins with what you feed it
(heart) yourself
Create sexy
Treat yourself
Simply delightful
I want my jeans to go on easier
Poetic wanderlust
Artful blogging, creative blogs
Art is (love) life
Get out there
I want my jeans to come off easier
This is your moment to be beautiful
Save a lot splurge a little
Never stop exploring
Living your life's purpose happens when you begin choosing the state of mind that feels the most ...fundamentally correct for you
Simplify, simplify
Set your soul free
Turn a little money into a lot
It will be a love, love, love relationship
No more excuses
Get real
Explore everywhere
Make it happen

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Absolute Peace, A Walk In The Storm {with audio}

Looking for Audio, scroll to bottom! 
As I pulled back the curtains and paused to see snow heavily falling in my backyard, I felt delighted. I walked over to my closet, perched myself up on the very tips of my toes and blindly stretched my arms to the top shelf looking for my buried long underwear. I pulled them out, along with some wool knee high socks, a pair of Josh's synthetic outdoor pants, a scarf, hat, gloves, my insulated boots, and down jacket. Bundling up always reminds me of my childhood when I learned how to embrace the long winters by making snowmen, sledding, carving out forts in snowbanks created by plows, or ice skating. For some reason the appearance of huge dense snowflakes gently floating to the ground just brightens the nostalgia inside me.

I hit the sidewalk smiling.

There was a wintery chill to the breeze that was blowing unwelcome snow off the trees onto my cheeks, the only part of my body that was exposed to the elements. Before I even reached the end of my block, snow began to collect on my hat and subsequently my eyebrows. Occasionally a snowflake would gently cascade onto my eyelashes before my body heat would melt them away. I trudged my way through the calf deep snow collecting on the concrete sidewalk. I lost my footing a few times, not really being able to tell where the sidewalk ended and the road began, the snow just created a dense white path.

My steps felt rhythmic as I plotted my way around the lake. My eyes gazed west, looking for a picturesque reward, but the beautiful mountains were socked away in low hanging storm clouds. Instead my attention was brought closer to the foreground. I made my way off the path towards the shore, embracing the solitude and peace that was surrounding me. A few dozen cattails were holding strong this winter and they looked so lovely against the calm surface of the lake. Standing there I realized how the snow beautifully created an acoustic insulation and for a few moments I allowed myself to feel so happily alone in the world.

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If you'd like to listen to me read through this post, click below:

Friday, January 3, 2014

GMO Roundup: General Mills Announces Original Cheerios Are Free of GMOs

Last December General Mills found themselves in the middle of a PR nightmare, food activists and concerned consumers put the pressure on Cheerios about their usage of Genetically Modified Organisms in their cereals. It's common knowledge that the majority of consumers look to Cheerios as a "healthy" first finger food for their babies. What many consumers were disappointed to learn was that General Mills uses GM beet sugar (cheaper than non-GMO cane sugar) and also GM corn starch in Cheerios. The main ingredient in Cheerios is oats, which are not GM.

Over the past year, General Mills has worked to create a GMO free version of their Original Cheerios. I was blown away to find an entire  GMO FAQ on the Cheerios website, I advise you to skip the comments found on that page.

Apparently the GMO free original Cheerios will be hitting grocery store shelves very soon (it's in production). General Mills also makes their FAQ very clear, stating that no other versions of Cheerios will be labeled GMO free, apparently they aren't quite ready to bite the bullet and say good bye to cheap ass beet sugar for all their cereals.

Progress indeed, still a long road ahead? Yes. I will offer up a round of applause to consumers for demanding corporations do better. We are the voice of change in an age when the government is not interested in protecting us. As for General Mills, you can do better but I am proud you took the first step.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Favorite iOS Setting: Do Not Disturb

I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I absolutely love the Do Not Disturb setting on my iPhone. I will admit, I might be a tiny bit distracted by my iPhone throughout the day. I find myself picking it up to check an email alert I just received and then I'll click on Twitter for a moment, oh and I better see what's happening on Instagram. Or I'll plug in my iPhone to charge in the living room and as soon as I step foot in the kitchen, I'll hear a text message alert. Of course, I have to walk over and make sure the President of the United States isn't trying to reach me and then before I know it, 20 minutes has passed. I do silence my iPhone, but it never fails that out of the corner of my eye I'll see the moment that my iPhone lights up with a notification.

I have no willpower to ignore the notifications, whether they are beeps or flashes. 

Isn't the old adage admitting you have a problem the first step? That's why I adore Do Not Disturb. It has a variety of settings that work for me, plus it's easy to turn on and off. So let me explain what the Do Not Disturb setting is. When the setting is turned on, it silences your phone from ringing, alerts, and pop up notifications (your alarm in the morning will go off if DND is turned on). You will still receive text messages, calls, notifications, and emails, you just simply won't be alerted. It is possible to have Do Not Disturb set to allow for calls to always ring through from your favorites list or when someone calls you more than once in 3 minutes. Do Not Disturb allows you to be in control of when you check in with your iPhone, rather than notifications distracting you from whatever you are currently engaged in.

First up, in settings you will find Do Not Disturb, click on it. You'll want to decide to use it manually or scheduled. You could pick certain hours to have DND set, like from 8pm-8am, that would be scheduled. I keep prefer manual and you'll see why in the last photo.


Next up, you can choose if you want to accept phone calls when Do Not Disturb is on from your favorites or whomever you choose from contacts. This is also where you will find the setting allowing calls if it's from someone repeatedly in a short timeframe, concluding it's an urgent situation. Lastly, you can decide if you want it to always be silenced or only when your iPhone is locked. Basically if you are texting with someone or if you are engaged with your iPhone, you will get alerts, texts, etc. I keep mine on only when the iPhone is locked. If I'm using my iPhone, I do want to receive notifications and calls.


For me, ease of use is the best part of Do Not Disturb. If you simply swipe up from your home screen, the shortcuts menu pops up like an overlay. The little moon icon will turn DND on or off. If the moon appears in your bar at the top of your phone, DND is on. Once you have your settings honed in on you can simply decide to use DND at your own discretion. 


Do Not Disturb is the simplest way to have control over your iPhone rather than notifications controlling you! 
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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Colorado's Legalization of Recreational Marijuana, What About Our Kids? A Mother's Perspective

Today Colorado made history, the very first recreational marijuana shops opened to the public. Now, let me emphasize these retail establishments are the very first of their kind in the United States of America and they just opened in my backyard. It's truly a historical day, there were media outlets from all over the world descending on Denver to get the story, from print media to cable news networks.

I've been keeping a pulse on the coverage, watching conversations develop. Naturally with any hot topic in the media, you can learn quickly where people fall on the spectrum of their support or disdain.

One of the most common questions that arises is, what are you going to tell your kids?

Now let me clarify a few pieces of pertinent background information before I go into my perspective on Amendment 64. Medicinal marijuana has been for sale in Colorado in dispensaries that are in plain sight all around our town (and the state) for a couple of years now. When my girls inquire about a dispensary, we simply tell them they are an herbal pharmacy where patients get their medicine prescribed by a doctor. The discussion has not gone much deeper than that, they don't ask if I've ever taken the herbal medicine or why their doctor doesn't prescribe herbal medicine or what is used to treat, etc. I would absolutely discuss any topics that came up surrounding dispensaries if they were to arise.

Now, onto legalized recreational marijuana. What in the world am I telling my kids? I didn't sit down today and throw out the topic of legalized pot to my 10 and 7 year old daughters. I will definitely have many conversations about pot use with them, as well as alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs. I do not want my children to use alcohol before they are of legal drinking age (21 years old), I certainly don't want them to be smoking pot. I'm assuming within the next five years, there will be Amsterdam style coffee shops in our community and not just retail establishments that are like liquor stores. My children will definitely be more exposed to a marijuana culture than children that are being raised in other states. Do I think this will impact their ability to make clear and informed choices when they are old enough to do so? I think the biggest impact growing up in this culture will have on my daughters is that marijuana won't be taboo, there won't be an intrigue and level of curiosity that does exist in other places where it's only purchased through illegal methods and people have to sneak around to use. I want my daughters to understand how their developing bodies need the best nutrition coupled with exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle and drugs/alcohol don't fit into that picture. The most important part of my job as a parent during this new era, is to keep an open line of communication with my daughters about all the hard topics that will eventually arise, never skirting any topic they need to discuss.

There are some basic facts that come with Amendment 64 and I have familiarized myself with them, so I am prepared to talk at any moment. We all know these discussions arise when we least expect it, parenting at it's finest!

Amendment 64 FAQ

If you are 21 years of age:
Grow up to 6 plants in your home
Possess marijuana (up to 1 ounce)
Consume marijuana on private property

Not legal:
Use marijuana in a public space
Drive under the influence
Provide marijuana to anyone under 21
Take it across state lines (it is illegal to possess marijuana at DIA, Federal property)

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