January 31, 2011

Dip Dip Hooray!

 With the Super Bowl coming up I am pretty darn excited.  I have to confess though that my excitement doesn't really stem from the football.  Sure it's fun to watch, and of course I love the commercials, but what I really love is having an excuse to eat appetizers for a meal!  It is literally on my Top 10 list of Favorite Things.  YUM! 

This year I have other plans so we aren't having a get together like we usually do, but I am definitely leaving Garrett a few munchies so he doesn't starve while yelling at the television.  I was thinking up my menu the other day and it dawned on me that I should share my recipe for the easiest most crowd pleasing dip EVER.  Despite its humble ingredients, I've never met anyone who didn't love this.  

Dill Dip
2/3 Cup Sour Cream
2/3 Cup Mayo
1TBS Dried Dill 
1 TBS Dried Parsley
2-3 TBS minced green onions
1 TBS Beau Monde   (Super random spice, but readily available in grocery stores.  Also good just mixed with cream cheese as a spread on crackers!)

Mix the following together in a small bowl.  Then place in serving dish and Enjoy!

And because it is the season, here are a few other places where you can dunk those chips, crudite, or baguettes.

Caramelized Onion Dip from 101 Cookbooks

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip from Paula Deen

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa from Tyler Florence (Garrett will eat this with a spoon!)

Do you have a favorite dip I can add to my arsenal?  Do tell!

January 27, 2011

Good Reads

Some stuff from around the web that I think is interesting:

How To Keep Facebook From Humiliating You Today
I mean, it can't hurt to read it, right?

Yes.  Just Yes.  The Question.  The Answer.  The point this raises.  Yes. 

Food for thought about needing less and living more.

My Tree & Me
How cute are these Custom Family Trees?

Free Online Tools For Tracking Your Goals
This one is pretty self explanatory, yes?

Janet Fitch's 10 Rules for Writers
I love this article and think about it a lot.  I don't practice these things as much as I should, but some of these are just so lovely.

Give Me Something To Read
Are you really bored at work?  Click here. 

I have no idea from where I found most of these links since I generally just bookmark them for later (the first is from Not Martha this morning though, so there's that).  If you recognize one that I probably got from you -- Hey, Thanks!

January 26, 2011

I'm Baaaaaaaaack

So we are back from our Great Road Trip That Wasn't!

Oh, hadn't I mentioned that?  Yes, we ended up having to scrap The Great Southwest Road Trip of 2011.  Well, sort of.  

(And it wasn't for any lack of fabulous suggestions mind you, because many of you got a A+ when it came to making recommendations for that trip and I thank you for that.  They are stored in my little idea book for the future!)

The short story is that the whole thing ended up being much more complicated (read: expensive) than we originally anticipated.  Especially when you are trying to drive SUV rentals over 2 state lines.  We were Last Minute Larrys about the whole thing and in the end we realized that we were looking to drive about 2900 miles in 5 days (we wanted to make sure we had about 5 days to spend with The Parents before flying home) and after that realization the trip just started looking more like a comedy of errors and less like a vacation.  We ended up just buying plane tickets to New Mexico and hanging with Garrett's parents for 6 of those 10 days instead, and can I tell you -- buying last minute plane tickets saved us like $1,000 compared to renting a car (not to mention all that time) so seriously -- YOU ARE RIDICULOUS, RENTAL CAR COMPANIES!  But that is another story for another time.  

For the 4 day weekend that preceded our New Mexico adventure, we ended up scratching the Road Trip Itch by driving down to the Central Coast to visit with my good friend Sarah which turned out to be a fantastic idea.  There were scenic drives, ice cream at the beach, steaks and sunshine, bike gangs and olive oil tastings.  I mean, it basically had all the fantastic things you need for a fun mini-weekend getaway.  We took a scenic route home that included trips to two different bookstores, repacked our suitcases, slept for a few hours and then flew our tired tookuses out to New Mexico.   

The sacrifice of flying there for 6 days was that we ended up having to save the northern part of the state for our next trip (Oh Taos, I will see you one day!)  Since Garrett's parents live about 3 hours South of the Albuquerque Airport we concentrated our exploration in the Southeast part of the Southwest.  It was a more relaxed trip than we would have had trying to do all that driving so in the end I'm so glad we made that decision.  I guess I am getting old because there is just something so alluring about a vacation where you just get to go home.  Even when it's not your home.  Having Garrett's parents cook for us, laying around and chit chatting in person instead of on the phone, reading books, hiking and playing with the animals was just awesome.  And we even squeezed in some touristy things to boot, which I will totally tell you all about once I have the energy to upload the pictures.  
Obviously we are still in the recovery phase of vacationing you know?  Monday was all about getting back to work and just surviving (Note to self:  Stop schedule flights that land at 10pm on Sunday night when you have to go to work Monday morning.)  Yesterday afternoon our house turned into a ceremonious post-vacation laundry jungle, and last night I went to the Grocery Store around 9:30 and absolutely filled my cart to overflowing levels because otherwise we were going to be eating toothpicks and wilted spinach for breakfast today.  Though I was smugly proud of going through all of our perishables before we left, our kitchen was a bit post-apocalyptic when we got home, which was inconvenient since we immediately jumped back into CrossFit and started our Half Marathon Training.  Obviously, it was only a matter of time before we starting eating each other. 

Even though it was freezing ass cold last night I diligently looked at my weekly grocery sale papers, created a menu plan and made a grocery list.  Of course then I got to the eerily deserted store last night (duh! It was almost 10 at night!) and realized that all of the sales that I had just carefully ogled didn't actually start until TODAY.  Which, really? Is such a rookie mistake.  The upside is I did manage to make it home with some food so we are no longer eyeballing each other post workout like those scary cannibal gangs in The Road

So ANYWAY, this is my long winded way of saying Hello!  I'm back!  I can't wait to sit down and chat and tell you about my adventures!  But a girl has got to catch her breath a minute and since Garrett is having dinner with a friend tonight, I plan to spend the evening ignoring The Internet and making out with my DVR if that's alright with you?  I hope you will forgive me but I may just go a little crazy if I don't confirm that Camille Grammar is still a nut-job.  We all have our quirks. 

It feels good to be home.  

January 20, 2011

Greetings from Deserts of New Mexico ...

...where we are hanging out with:

5 horses
10 Chickens
15 Goats
4 Cats
1 Dog

Oh, and also?  Garrett's parents.  

The weather has been lovely and cooperative (clear skies with absolutely crisp air) but the elevation has done a number on us and we've literally been sleeping 12 hours a night like drunken teenagers.  

His parents have a ranch on 200 acres out in the middle of nowhere the state and it has been peaceful and full of adventure all at the same time.  Today I got a lesson on guns.  I'm hoping there isn't a test later because I will fail miserably, but it has been fun learning the paces of a totally different lifestyle.  I feel like Pioneer Woman but less internet famous.  

It's been a blast.  When I have the patience to upload some pics I will, but out here in the Wild West the internet is dial up, so don't hold your breath.  Hope you all are having great weeks as well! 

January 11, 2011

On Happiness

So I am fully admitting to stealing the idea for this post from Maggie's comments section, but when I read the questions I just thought to myself -- I must think about this and write it down!  And now here we are.  Thanks Maggie! 

If the questions sound familiar it is because they are straight out of Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, which is a book I read last year and highly recommend.  There is something worth marinating on for everyone in that book I think, and it is especially timely when we are all thinking about resolutions and such, and how we are all going to make our lives better (ie happier, right?)

So here are my answers -- what are yours?  If you end up blogging about it too, leave me a link so I can read your thoughts.  I think everyone can benefit from a little sharing about happiness.

What is a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?
Exercise.  It's not always the same exercise, but I feel consistently happier when I am exercising regularly.  Part of why I have been enjoying CrossFit so much is because it has really streamlined my exercise routine -- I don't have to think about it, plan it, and then also execute it.  I just have to show up and try hard -- and this seems to be a recipe for results for me.  That said, even if I am just going for a run because I want to get outside, or taking a walk to clear my head, exercising ALWAYS makes me feel happier. 

As for smaller things with less commitment:  crossing things off lists, taking bubble baths, reading in bed, and drinking good coffee consistently make me happy too!

What's something you know now about happiness that you didn't know when you were 18 years old? 
That it is my choice.  As I've gotten older I think I have stopped looking for people to blame for my unhappiness or for the difficulties in my life and I have started to look at every situation that makes me unhappy and find a way that I can either change my perspective or change the action that is making me unhappy.   I can't control those around me, but I can ALWAYS control my reaction.  I can always choose happiness.  Now that doesn't mean I always do that, but deep down I know it to be true. 

Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
Taking on too much.  Because I enjoy crossing things off lists, I often make my lists extra long.  There is a tipping point, though, where the list goes from happiness inspiration to anxiety inducing chore chart.  I am not always clear on where that tipping point is until I have gone way past it.  I am trying to be better about this at work and in life.  It is a work in progress for sure.   

Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you've found helpful?
Well I love the good old Eleanor Roosevelt adage that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.  It is not directly about happiness but it definitely is a nice reminder that we choose our feelings, and happiness is no different.

If you're feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost?  Or like a "comfort food" do you have a comfort activity?
My comfort activity is definitely reading.  I love nothing more than diving into a new book, whether it is fiction and I get to spend some time in an entirely made up world, or non-fiction/memoir where I get to learn about something or someone.  I really do just love to spend time with words.  It is also an escapist activity though, so I can lines between me being unhappy and me reading a ton certainly run parallel. 
I also almost always call my mom when I need a happiness boost.  Sometimes you just need a the parental rose-colored glasses to recalibrate you know?  It's almost always a sure thing!
Is there anything that you see people around you doing or saying that detracts a lot from their happiness?
Watch your thoughts, they become your words.  Watch your words, they become your deeds...right?  I love to vent as much as the next person, TRUST ME, but I know if I stay there it's not my most meditative happy place.  I try to spend an equal amount of time solving a problem if I'm complaining about a problem.  Note that I said try.  Also a work in progress.  

Have you ever been surprised that something you expected would make you happy, didn't -- or vice versa?
Last year surprised the hell out of me because we reduced our income by half when Garrett quit his full time job, yet our happiness increased exponentially.  I did not expect that AT ALL.  I expected to feel challenged and deprived and a little jealous of others at times.  What I ended up feeling instead was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.    We were no longer struggling with the stress of his job daily and the blissful return of normalcy felt like taking a deep breath after being trapped under the sea.  Prioritizing happiness over money was one of the best decisions we have made as a couple yet.  Yes there was panic, but the relief was so palpable that it just made everything else seem manageable.  Even easy in comparison.  It has changed the way I view my work, my life, my family, our future marriage, money, and most importantly my priorities. 

Really, it changed everything. 

January 10, 2011

Well would you look at that...

I'm interrupting your regular broadcast here to point out a few features of our Boeing...

....wait, where is this metaphor going?  Oh right, Blog Navigation!

So I've updated a few things here and there for better-ish navigation.  It was about time, really.  Frankly it is about time for me to burn this baby to the ground and head over to wordpress but there are just so many steps to that in my mind, so that is coming eventually.  But for now -- a few quick fixes. 

1.  A New About Page -- Who the hell am I?  What the hell am I doing here?  All of these deep metaphysical questions are answered there.  Also -- my email address! For love notes!  I am currently accepting them.

2.  A Recipes Tab -- As it says, there is not a lot in there right now.  This is sad considering how much I actually cook.  I'm hoping to add some more original recipes in the near future so stay tuned for that.  

3.  My 2011 Goals --  Because who doesn't like to look at the things other people are pushing themselves to do?  Isn't that the best inspiration?  Anyway, this is what I'm up to and thinking about this year -- have any solutions?  I'm all ears.  

4.  My Cooking Bucket List -- I hate the phrase "Bucket List" almost as much as I hate the phrase...well, let's not even go there.  But how else do you say "A List of Stuff  That I Would Like To Cook At Some Point In My Lifetime" in 3 words without it?  Necessary Evil I guess.  

So that's the story, morning glories.  Take a look around, stay awhile.  And while you're at it, let me know what you think!

January 09, 2011

Shut In

This weekend I:

  • Read two books
  • Enjoyed the Free Showtime Preview Weekend and watched dumb Twilight movies to my heart's content (and to Garrett's dismay)
  • Ran a few miles
  • Watched Whip It and wondered if I still knew how to roller skate
  • Made The Perfect Roast Chicken (and it was!)
  • Spent $65 at Whole Foods and left carrying only one bag
  • Watched a ridiculous amount of football
  • Experimented with The Oil Cleansing Method on my face
  • Took 3 baths
  • Took 2 naps
  • Watched the sun come up
  • Drank a LOT of coffee
  • Contemplated running a half marathon in Seattle in June 
  • Only did what I damn well pleased

And it was awesome.

January 07, 2011

I Don't Even Think I'll Have To Use My AK

I slept an extra 30 minutes this morning because it was Friday and I didn't have to think quite so hard about looking professional.  When I got out of bed I realized Garrett had left the heat and the Christmas tree lights on for me when I woke up.  Tonight is our last night admiring the tree, tomorrow it is being picked up by a Boy Scout Troop doing a fundraiser.  The house looked pretty all lit up and it was toasty and warm. 

The coffee was already brewed and in the carafe since Garrett worked early so I sat down with my new book and leisurely enjoyed my first cup.  I checked my email and it wasn't full of spam.  I checked out the CrossFit WOD for tonight and it didn't look overwhelming.  The shower was piping hot and my new shower gel smelled delicious.  I got dressed in a pair of jeans that I haven't worn in years and they are a little big.  I put on my hot pink shoes.  

It's not payday but we aren't broke.  It's Friday and Garrett and I have the weekend off together (which doesn't always happen now that he is back at Peet's.)  We're grilling flank steak tonight for dinner in our favorite marinade.  The weather appears to be cooperating with that plan so far.  New netflix showed up in the mailbox yesterday so we have two movies ready to be watched (random choices, I know!) 

I'm feeling exceptionally creative and inspired, like the weekend is my oyster. 

Today has been a good day, and I guess I just felt like that was worth mentioning.

January 06, 2011

What I Talk About When I Talk About Reading

There are two things that I can talk about endlessly:  Books and Food.   And just ask Garrett, I do.  It still surprises him that I can be eating lunch and already discussing the dinner menu.  I can also be in the middle of a page turning thriller that I don't want to put down and see the another book out of the corner of my eye and go crazy with anticipation about what's next on my To Read List.  Cooking and reading -- I guess you could call them my passions, but if you did I would roll my eyes at you because I hate when people talk about "passions."  It's cool, you can just roll your eyes at me back when I tell you how much time I spend online updating my Library Reservation List. 

Actually, I take it all back, let's just be friends okay? 

I'm going to be talking about books a bit more around here this year.  I'm constantly reading and last year I resolved to document and at least write a note or two of commentary on all the books I read over on Goodreads . While I did a pretty good job of it, this year I'm going to force myself to actually write some legitimate reviews.  I sort of hate to call them reviews because who am I, The New York Times?  But I can't think of anything better to call them.  How about we just say we will be talking books a little bit more because my little English major brain is getting dull and that makes me bitter when I send off my student loan payments every month.
If you are going to stick around and read some of these reviews I figure I should give you a little context about what I think makes a book enjoyable.  So here is the mythical formula:

1.  Good Writing
*Would the dialogue sound stupid if I listen to it on audio book?
*Does the narrative arc make my head spin or need to take notes to follow along?
*Is it full of passages that make me say "Damn, I wish I would have written that!" or "Shit, I need to write that down."

2.  Page Turning
*Do I want to read this while I am standing in line somewhere?
*Do I make sure it is in my purse whenever I leave the house?
*Am I reading this under the covers late at night when I should be sleeping?

3.  Engaging Premise
*Is this a story I want to hear?
*Is this a topic I find relatable?
*Is this something I am curious about?
*Are these characters I care about?

I think the best books have all three of these things, but that is pretty hard to find all three in the same book.  If I find 2 out of 3 I'm usually happy, but when I find all 3 it is mythical!  Like El Chupacabra!  So now you know where I'm coming from.   

So tell me, what do you think makes a great book?  Or better yet, what was the last one that you read?

January 02, 2011

2011 Goals

2010 was a fantastic year full of new adventures and accomplishments, but the biggest lesson I learned was that I needed to slow down a bit.  In 2011 I want to focus on a few big goals and some small fun goals.  My inner drill sargent thinks this list is too short, but I'm trying to listen to him a little less and keep in mind that if I get everything done, I can always make another list right?  

So here's what I'm focusing on this year:

Lose 50 more lbs
Run another 5K (under 35 minutes)
Run a10K
Run a Half Marathon
Do 10 Non-Girl Push ups
Continue Paleo Cooking/Eating
Sleep 8 Hours Per Night

Visit all of the following places:
New Mexico

Merge finances with Garrett
Add to Savings
Open Roth IRA
Rollover old Retirement Account
Make financial life more automated

*I know you are probably snoring after this category, but I must chime in really quick and note that I made my last credit card payment yesterday and I am OFFICIALLY FREE OF ALL CREDIT CARD DEBT!  So it really makes me happy to not be writing "Pay off credit cards" on this list for the first time in probably 10 years.  WOOT!

Home Improvement
Re-do Guest Bedroom
Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Paint Living Room, Office
Re-do Master Bedroom  

Random Other Stuff Thrown In For Good Measure
Find a good red lipstick
Buy a pair of boots
Make a Cooking Bucket List   (added above)
Read 50 books
Start Fertility Charting 
Entertain at least once a month
Write somewhere daily
See one of my favorite writers speak
Go to the ballet
Wine Taste in Amador
Move website to Wordpress

I think it's going to be a good year. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails