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Showing posts from 2011

Great Moments of 2011

I compiled a short little slide show with photos from every month in 2011! Enjoy...


Moments of 2011 from Eatplaylove D on Vimeo.

I feel compelled to share that is the very edited version. The first version I created was 17 minutes long, oopsie. I'll be burning that version to DVD to mail to our family!

A Pinky Swear With Friends? Catalyst For New Year's Change... 2012 Mind Body Challenge

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I believe ringing in the New Year is a great time to set intentions. I like to reflect upon the last year, think about where I would like my year to go, where I want to focus my energy. Typically my thoughts return to the same pillars of my daily life, spending money, healthy lifestyle (how I eat, exercise), focus on my family, as well as new interests to take on.

I'm not so great at making lists, checking off must do's, one by one (I'd call that Resolution Style).

As J and I were sitting around the kitchen table at our friends' house the other night, the discussion came up about a Whole Living magazine article, 21 Day Mind + Body Challenge. I had just read the article that day and it definitely peaked my interest. My friend asked me if I wanted to join her taking the challenge and after some brief discussion, I was on board. Lucky for both of us, our husbands wanted to join in as well. Which also makes me wholeheartedly grateful for my friends, the people I chose to …

[Food Friday] Eat Out, Boulder! Brasserie Ten Ten

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This may sound funny, but the Brasserie Ten Ten is one of those restaurants in Boulder that sometimes escapes the forefront of my mind when choosing a place to go out to eat. After we sit down and start looking over the menu, I'm always reminded of how much I enjoy the food at the Brasserie. The Brasserie was opened back in 2003 by the Executive Chef of the Med (same owners). The food is French inspired and well executed, while the atmosphere is friendly and casual. My favorite meals at the Brasserie have always been for lunch. I like the price point, as well as enjoy the fare for mid afternoon.

J and I reserve the Brasserie for lunch dates when we are without the girls. Kids are definitely welcome here, but I think I can escape to a Parisian Brasserie much easier in my mind when I just have my love across the table from me. Lunch on this day, happened to be a bit on the conservative side. The Brasserie has a diverse menu, with plenty of options from vegetarian to the classic frui…

Happy New Year, Meet My Favorite Bento Packing Inspiration!

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The bento blogosphere is full of such amazing talent. For months now I've been wanting to share one of my favorite bento bloggers, but just haven't seized the moment, until NOW! Sheri is someone I found via Twitter and I instantly started following her blog. Her bento packing style is top on nutrition and amazingly beautiful. I will admit, I am in awe of her! Not only am I inspired by Sheri's bento skills, but she has a wonderful warm hearted spirit. Go check her out!

How to find Sheri:
Happy Little Bento (blog)
Flickr Photostream
Twitter 

Thank you Sheri for allowing me the use of your photo:
Original Photo link from Flickr

Unique Knit Cotton Scarf: Raspberry Stitch

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I've decided to add a record of some of my knitting projects here, so I can use the posts as a resource for future projects. I started knitting when Sj was a baby and I know the very basics. I'm really good at scarves, blankets, and cotton washcloths aka anything square or rectangle. I have been known to knit a hat or two as well, but not very often.

I love the raspberry stitch because it's unique and fairly easy to knit once you get into a rhythm. I always use natural materials such as cotton or wool. This is a Sugar 'n Cream 100% cotton scarf, I made for a gift. I decided to keep it narrow because it makes for easy wear and also versatile for many seasons, not just winter.

Clover Takumi Size 5 needles
1 full skein of green, 1 partial blue, 1 partial green

The pattern takes 4 stitches to complete, so you can determine the width you would like, you must add 2 stitches for the knit stitch that starts and ends a row.


Cast on 18 stitches Row 1: K1, P next 16, end K1 Row 2: …

Easy and Unique Knit Scarf, Farrow Rib Scarf

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My husband returned from Norway with some beautiful Dale wool yarn for me. He purchased two skeins of the exact same yarn, but different colors. Since one skein did not work for a scarf, I decided to create a striped farrow rib scarf. Even though I have been knitting for gifts, considering the source of the yarn (a gift to me from Norway), I've decided to add this one to my personal collection.

 I think it turned out lovely.


Chunky wool yarn
Clover Takumi Bamboo needles size 10

Cast on multiple of 3 (15 shown above)

Row 1: slip 1st stitch purl wise, k1, p1, *k2, p1* across

Rows 2 through infinity: repeat row 1.

For stripes, I switched colors once 10 rows were completed.

My Birthday Wish, A New Year and A New Journey...

I never gave a second thought to my December birthday growing up, even though it is less than two weeks before Christmas, they never really meshed in my mind. I'm counting my blessings my mom and dad never stuck a birthday candle in a hockey puckesque fruit cake and belted out the birthday song. I have fond memories of homemade round layer cakes, always adorned by those hard sugar Happy Birthday letters you can still purchase in the baking aisle of the grocery store.

I don't think the birthday gifts wrapped in Christmas paper started happening until I was in my twenties. Living in Colorado with all my family in New York, a birthday slash Christmas package would arrive in one fell swoop. Really it wasn't to take away anything from "my special day" it was just practicality. I've had long conversations with other fellow Sagittarians and I'm always amazed at how some people feel robbed to have December birthdays.

What's the famous saying, it is what we ma…

I'm Warning You, Beware of Cowl Neck Sweaters

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Today I reached a new level of public embarrassment. I usually have bright red cheeks a healthy glow, but today my flushed skin went from hairline to chest. So what in the world did I do?

This morning I was out doing some birthday shopping for my soon to be 5 year old when I just quickly perused the women's sweaters in the shop I was in. I tried on a cute sweater and it was a steal, so I decided to buy it. I got home ripped the tags off the sweater and tried it on. I looked in the mirror and was confused. Somehow I had brought home the wrong sweater.

Did I set down the sweater I wanted while looking at other things? I mentally traced my steps in the store to think when such a switch would've occurred.

Then I thought, how in the world did I buy the wrong sweater? It was the same color and brand, but I didn't even try on a flowy sweater like the one I saw draped on my body in the mirror. Odd, just odd.


I decided to head back to the store and look for the sweater I wanted. Wh…

Tuesday Tips: The Broken American Food Supply

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With great eloquence and candor, a mother (Robyn O'Brien) tells her story about why she started paying attention to the broken American food supply. She doesn't know me, but I am on her team. Join us.

Eggnog Cake with Eggnog Buttercream Recipe: Fabulous and Easy Holiday Dessert!

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Invited to dinner and want to whip up something easy and fabulous to wow your friends and family? The possibilities are endless, but it's November and a great way to celebrate the season is with an Eggnog Cake. While I was surprised to find that there were very few eggnog cake recipes online, I was also surprised that the ingredients were so varied. I actually came up with this recipe after not finding exactly what I wanted. It turned out wonderfully. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
From the picture of the buttercream, you can see it was made with love! What a moment to capture. 


Eggnog Cake with Eggnog Buttercream Frosting

Cake batter:
1/2 cup butter soft at room temperature (NOT melted)
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp rum extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 cup eggnog

Frosting:
2 sticks butter soft at room temperature (NOT melted)
1lb Confectioner's Sugar
1/3 cup eggnog
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
*1 t…

A Post Wherein I Judge Another Mother

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Eight years ago, I left my full time teaching job to stay home to raise my daughter. Over the years my absence from the classroom was lengthened after the birth of my second daughter. This decision never came lightly, but I can wholeheartedly say I have never regret my decision to stay home to raise my children. While I wish I could candidly say it's been all rainbows and Rockwell moments, I don't think I could go that far. There's some witty quote about the hardest job you'll ever have just waiting to be thrown in here. I definitely have my fair share of hard days, but I guess how I choose to handle it varies differently from my experience today.

While I was running a few errands in the morning, I was walking down the aisle of a store when I came across this mother...


Let me break down what you are seeing. A mother on her cell phone talking so loudly, that I gathered she was speaking to her mother about the wonderful pillows she just found. The search was over for pil…

Hike Boulder: Mallory Cave from NCAR

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I'm a creature of habit. I have trails I like and I pretty much hike from two trailheads in my neighborhood. On Sunday J and I went for a hike without the girls and when we rolled up to one of our go-to trailheads, it had more cars parked than I've ever seen before. I suggested we drive up to NCAR and hike from there. NCAR is the sandstone building you see perched on the mountainside in South Boulder. If you drive west on Table Mesa Drive, the road will dead end into the NCAR parking lot. There is no fee to park here.

If you proceed to the backside of NCAR, you will find the Walter Orr Roberts Trail which leads to the Mesa Trail. The Mesa Trail can take you from NCAR to Eldorado Springs if you head south or to Chautauqua Park if you head north. In between there are many routes to take and on Sunday, we hit the Mallory Cave Trail.

J and I had a short window of time for our hike, the most important one was it was late afternoon and I wasn't sure what time the sun would be dr…

Where To Buy Bentos in Los Angeles [w/ Photos]

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There's a great little section of Sawtelle Boulevard in West Los Angeles that is referred to as Little Osaka. While you may find yourself wandering around a number of shops in the area, including a great grocery store, I wanted to share the best spot for bento supplies I found.

Tokyo Japanese Outlet is like a dollar store, it's stuffed with all sorts of unique goodies like skin care products, stuffed animals, stationary goods, bento supplies, and many household items. You can see what some folks on YELP enjoy about this particular location. The bento boxes they carry are very plain, but super affordable (average $5 or less). I didn't pick up any bentos, but rather some accessories such as rice molds and small hand towels.







Tokyo Japanese Outlet

West Los Angeles, Sawtelle Center 
2109 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA Tel: 310-914-5320
Hours of Operation: Sun-Th 10:00-23:00 Fri & Sat 10:00-24:00

Sometimes Lunch Packing Isn't Awesome!

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One of the biggest mistakes of being passionate about packing healthy and cute nutritious lunches Monday through Friday, is not having fresh ingredients on hand. I'm being honest when I say as someone who LOVES packing lunch, it can be dreadful with an empty pantry. This morning it was crunch time to get the girls out the door for school and we were out of bread (well except for 4 heels). I'm not usually thrown back with no bread in the house, I simply reach for a tortilla or pasta leftovers.

No tortillas in the house. No leftover pasta, only stuffed peppers. I just couldn't see packing stuffed pepper leftovers to my 8 year old. Not only did it have a food safety issue, I feared the social impact would've been greater.

I did what anyone does in a pinch, I cut off as much of the hard end of crust as I could and threw together gently crafted a sandwich with almond butter and jelly. I included some frozen edamame and an apple with a little sprinkle of Italian Volcano Lemon …

My New Unicycle Riding Elephant Fetish

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Really Chris Martin? You had to one up this bizarre intrigue I have with you by skillfully riding a unicycle in an elephant costume? I didn't know you could peak my interests any further, but they're totally tuned in. I'm going to call this one, check mate. Hot, hot, hot.

photo credit


Interview with Mat Whitecross the Director of the Paradise Video! Great Story.

Tuesday Tips: Contemplating a Conscious Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner and knowing some of you are already done shopping, my thoughts are just turning to how I want our Christmas to be. I've taken a few different approaches during the holidays, one year avoiding items Made In China (that is tough work), another year keeping a tight budget per child (that is tough work), and others just picking up things here and there that caught my eye which I like to refer to as mindless Christmas shopping. I remember one year on Christmas Eve feeling as if I hadn't done enough and running around trying to find something meaningful for the girls. I can guarantee I did not accomplish what I set out to do on Christmas Eve. I never feel good about the mindless approach, especially in January when my bank statements arrive and I see toys strewn about.

Here's where my intentions are going into this Christmas Season:

1. Handmade items, for example my oldest daughter has a special blanket called, Silky,  that a friend of mine …

Mom, I Need A Break From Carrots

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I've always wanted to post a photo collage on Fridays of what my daughter's bento looks like when it arrives home everyday. At her school, they aren't allowed to dump leftovers in the compost from lunches that were brought from home. I'm not sure if this is a new rule or if it's even a rule, it's just what my daughter has mentioned. So I believe what comes home to be a true representation of how she ate that day.

The only problem I have with posting "how'd she do" today photos is that I actually have to follow through with taking them. I'm not so good with that. I see a lunch box return home and I just want to get it into the sink. I'm going to work on my follow through because I do find leftovers interesting.

I recently purchased a 10lb bag of EarthBound Organic Farms carrots from my wholesale club. I feel like we have carrots coming out of our ears, which also may be represented by the photo below.


While I love Laptop Lunches for their wast…

I swear that hot dog is a penguin... Bento

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Back in March I picked up two different hot dog shape makers. One turns a hotdog into a penguin, the other into a crab. Today I tried the penguin, can't you tell...

Organic chicken hotdog, bun, organic ketchup (joyful bear) strawberry hearts veggie booty red pepper flowers raspberries

Wordless Wednesday: In Awe of Murmuration

Fruity French Toast Bento

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It doesn't take much thought when you glance over and see an extra piece of French Toast just sitting there. My reaction is to cut it up and put it Sj's lunch for the day. Easy enough.


Vanilla yogurt with fresh raspberries in the thermal container grapes, carrot flowers, heart strawberries french toast (no syrup, I figured the yogurt was sweet enough)

Tuesday Tips: Genetically Modified Foods, Americans Are In The Dark

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Did you know that the United States of America is one of the only developed countries in the world to NOT label GMO's (genetically modified organisms) or GE (genetically engineered) foods? You can find  labels on foods in Europe to Japan, but Americans are still in the dark on this issue. ABC recently reported that 93% of Americans polled are in favor of labeling GMO's in our food, but the FDA continues to drag it's feet. Do you know how incredibly amazing it is to have the support of 93% of Americans surveyed, Wow! Could we actually call this a true bipartisan issue?!?

What is standing in our way? Corporations that buy elected officials which skirt the concerns of everyday Americans. I believe it's time for our voices to be heard.

Sign the Just Label It Petition now, let the FDA know we want action.

Do we really want to be the family represented in this video? I certainly DO NOT!



More GMO related posts I've written, can be found here NOgmo.

PROUD Like There's No Tomorrow

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After climbing three flights of stairs, the last being much tighter and steeper than the previous, I arrived at the open balcony of the Wheeler Opera House. As you would imagine, the spring loaded seats are velvet covered, the balcony railing is serpentine shaped rich wood, most likely a mahogany. I couldn't help but reflect upon the history of the space I was occupying, as my eyes were drawn to the beautiful chandelier hanging overhead. The walls are intricately painted with stencil detailing, the mahogany runs in lovely organic curves through out the entire theater. There's no denying it's a very special place.

I wasn't in the Opera House for a live theatrical performance, I was there to catch the latest release of Warren Miller's annual feature length ski movie, this year aptly titled ... Like There's No Tomorrow. The ellipsis is a part of the title, allowing one to fill in the blank with how they would like to seize the moment. For some reason my first thou…

To Do: New Winter Boots! A Stuck Foot Lesson...

Camera Girl Credit: Miss GL

200 Hikes Day 199: Sparkle Snow

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The title of this post is facetious. At some point the number of times I went hiking just got replaced with, I want to go out for a hike. My desire to take photos varies, sometimes my phone or camera is always in my hand and other days I like to hike with no stopping or distractions. Yesterday we received a nice snowstorm and today the sun was out in full force. I was drawn to the trails, to get out there and crunch around on the ice pack and get a little rush of blood to my cheeks.

It was delightful.

This is in my backyard. The view from the start of the trail.


As I was walking back down the trail, the sun was blazing in my face. I was looking down off the trail on the right and the magnificent beauty of the snow sparkling from the sunshine was breathtaking. I tried to capture a photo, but it's hard when the sun is so bright to see exactly what is being captured.

Here's my attempt at remembering the moment, sparkle snow in all it's glory.

Chipotle, Food WITH OUT Integrity

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Please see updated link from May 2013 at the bottom of this post! 

As I sit to write this post,  I am conflicted by what I need to say. While I could instantly take the straight forward fact stance and simply publish the response I received from Chipotle in regards to my inquiry, I feel like it's just not that easy.

In my family food matters. Nourishing my daughter's growing bodies in a way that is wholesome and void of additives, chemicals, preservatives, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms, and other laboratory created substances is a tough job. But a job I embrace. I'm the first line of defense and I wholeheartedly understand that every dollar I spend in the market or at a restaurant drives what items that market will in turn choose to sell me. Consumers drive supply, it's a simple proven fact. Convincing everyone of this fact is a different story, but again I often take on the conversation with friends and acquaintances convincing them their dollar has powe…

Quick and (Almost) Easy Half Bathroom Re-Do, With Before and After Photos!

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The neighborhood my husband and I purchased a home in was originally built in the early 60's. The footprint of our home when it was built was a 950 +/- square foot home, 3 bedrooms, one full and one half bathroom. The half bath is in our bedroom, making it an official "master suite". Since the 60's our home has been added onto and our square footage has doubled. But interestingly enough, the people we purchased the home from didn't do much updating in the two decades they lived here. Our half bath when we moved in contained all 1960's original components (sink, mirrored cabinet, light fixture, toilet, light switch, and towel bar).

As you can see from the photo below, our 16 square foot half bath (which I am truly grateful for) is basically a closet with a toilet and sink in it. It gets the job done, I was adamant about having a second toilet when looking at houses. The bathroom isn't just open to our bedroom, we installed French Doors, in the photo I have…

Dearest Chipotle (Say it isn't so)...

Dearest Chipotle,
  I desperately need some clarification on your stance on serving particular ingredients to your consumers (including myself and my children). I am a mother of two young girls and quite frankly I've adored the Chipotle "front", sustainability, hug a farmer, know where your food comes from. The Willie Nelson video was at the crux of beauty! Right after that kumbaya moment, this awful feeling crept into my mind. Something I had never questioned before.

I was standing at the counter last week, this thought came over me. Intuitively I recognized that there are no claims as to what type of corn you use in your tortillas and chips. I am not referring to the whole sweet corn in your salsa.  I wondered if the corn was the exact opposite of natural, but rather LABRATORY CREATED GM corn?

I avoid Genetically Modified food products and crops at all costs. I can rattle the % of GM soy, corn, and cotton that has taken over the agriculture landscape in the USA. We all…

Homemade Egg Roll Bento

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I'm huge on sandwich alternative bentos. Sandwiches day in and day out just get boring to pack, not to mention to eat! We made egg rolls last night for dinner, so I just heated it up a bit and added it to the bento. In the small container above it is some Organic Tamari (wheat free soy sauce).

To make the egg rolls, we buy the pre-made egg roll wrappers in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, typically near where you'll find tofu. We shred carrots, purple cabbage, saute some Shiitake mushrooms with tofu, fresh ginger, garlic, salt and pepper, add sesame oil and tamari, and then use the filling to stuff the egg rolls. The best part of home made egg rolls, you can bake them in the oven, they get nice and crisp and it's easier to do a big batch that way! Tip, brush the outside with a little sesame oil, then they bake up wonderfully.

This is what my workspace looks like, which I typically don't show!
Egg Rolls: vegetables and tofu. Tamari in small container. Strawber…

Tuesday Tips: Seven Indoor Plants Which Eliminate Indoor Air Pollutants

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Did you know the average American spends 90% of their time indoors and that indoor air quality is the 4th greatest contributor to a person's health? While I would love to have my windows open year round, I just don't live in a climate which makes that possible. There are many houseplants which have been proven to remove pollutants such as VOC's or Volatile Organic Compounds from the air.

I love house plants, I once went through a phase where I bought a plant every time I went to the hardware store. Once we moved into our house, I had the pictures hung on the walls, the curtains up, but something was missing. I had yet to buy houseplants. I only have plants from the list below because I love that they not only add softness to my house, but they work very hard to help keep our indoor air quality healthier! It truly motivates me to keep my plants healthy, knowing they are helping me keep the air in my home cleaner.

Here's a list of 7 plants with photos and which pollutants…