May 31, 2011

2011 Goals -- Mid Year Check In

I know mid year wouldn't technically be until the end of June but who wants to get technical anyway?  I've made a lot of progress in some areas and just about none in others.  It will be nice to have a little direction moving into the second half of the year.   

Lose 50 more lbs *I've lost about 80 total, not too shabby.
Run another 5K (under 35 minutes)  *I've slowed down on all my running endeavors -- the back story is here.  But I am still going to run a bit more before the year is out.  
Run a10K
Do 10 Non-Girl Push ups *Man, I can still only do about 2.  Come on upper body! 
Continue Paleo Cooking/Eating *Yep, and still loving it
Sleep 8 Hours Per Night    *I'm doing this 95% of the time

Visit all of the following places:
Austin  *Planning on it for The Blathering in October!
New Mexico *Done!  And it was a blast!

Merge finances with Garrett
Add to Savings
Open Roth IRA
Rollover old Retirement Account
Make financial life more automated  *And I'm pretty much failing this whole category.

Home Improvement
Re-do Guest Bedroom
Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Paint Living Room, Office
Re-do Master Bedroom   *Failing this category too.

Random Other Stuff Thrown In For Good Measure
Find a good red lipstick   *No surprises, Chanel Glossimer (Spark) is still my fave.
Buy a pair of boots
Make a Cooking Bucket List  (done!)
Read 50 books  *Holy hell I've already read 37
Start Fertility Charting *Yep
Entertain at least once a month (January:  New Year's Brunch with Kelly + Gee, February: No one - but two in March counts, right?  March:  John + Janine, Jeremy + Katie April:  No one  May:  Garrett's 30th Bday)  *Pretty good on this one, I think.
Write somewhere daily *Yep, and how awesome it has been!
See one of my favorite writers speak *Planning on trying to swing David Sedaris in November
Go to the ballet
Wine Taste in Amador

All in all, I am feeling pretty good with my progress at the halfway point. Health and Random Stuff are definitely earning A's.  I'd give Travel a good solid B-.  Finances is currently getting an F but mostly I'm just being lazy about that.  Home Improvement is definitely getting an F but this should not come as a surprise to you.  We'll see what happens.    

Looking forward to checking items off this list along with my Summer Bucket List and maybe a few things off of my Cooking Bucket List

I better stop typing and get busy!


May 27, 2011

May Is The Cruelest Month

Obviously T.S Eliot and I disagree on that point, but since this is my blog I'm going with it.  This year May has absolutely been the cruelest month and if I could bottle the excitement I have surrounding this long weekend, we would never have to find another alternative energy source again.  It is the gateway to June and let's just say Mama needs a new month!  Although I am not even a mama, by the way, so I don't even know what possessed me to even say that.  My brain is fried like an egg in those 1980s drug commercials.  Please send help! 

It all started at the beginning of the month (and if that's not the most uninformative sentence I've ever written, I'll be damned!)  You see the first week of the month was last minute preparations for Garrett's birthday party,  which means for at least 7 days I was a curious cross between  domestic whirling dervish and a chicken with its head cut off.  It was just as ridiculous as it sounds, I assure you.  But then on May 7th we had the party!  And we survived!  Hell, we even had a good time! Our stress was over, right?

Not so fast.

For starters, my kitchen sink backed up first thing that next morning.  And there is nothing quite like waking up hungover to a house full of food covered dishes in the sink as you watch the water back up.  Obviously this made the 11 AM Sunday Brunch, to which 10 people were going to be in attendance, seem a bit more complicated than it needed to be.  Thank god we have a sink in the laundry room that is deep and I had a good friend staying over who not only wakes up early but also knows how cracks good jokes in a shitty situation or I may have just killed myself right there.  But brunch prevailed -- even if I did burn a few bagels -- and it seemed like there was going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. 

On Monday May 9th we called out a plumber and he talked us into spending $300 to hydroflush our pipes in order to remove the clog.  Upside:  Having it fixed.  Downside:  Spending $300 the day after you throw a food + booze filled party for 50 people.  But whatever.  Life would go on.  Well until the following morning when we woke up and tried to shower and that was now backing up.  It hadn't been clogged AT ALL the day before, but suddenly it is plugged tighter than Rick James' Jheri curl.  Coincidence?  Yeah, we didn't think so either.  Especially since the plumber had warned us that hydroflushing sometimes moves grease and debris to other areas of the house, but never enough to cause damage. 

So we called the plumbing company again and they were just shocked!  And boy did they try to convince us that it MUST BE a coincidence.  But they would be glad to help us out...for $175 more.  And then when Garrett asked to speak to the person in charge we were told he was "far too busy" to talk to us.  Ahem, noted.  From now on I am far too busy to recommend Bonney Plumbing.  What actually was a coincidence though -- an awfully timed coincidence, in fact -- was that some seal on our guest bathroom toiled busted that day too and started leaking.  We were a hot plumbing mess and at this point, I pretty much tried to convince Garrett to move to a plumbing-free yurt in the woods, where we could braid each other's hair, marinate in our natural musk, and eschew all of society.  After he puked in his mouth a little, Garrett talked me out of it and the short story of the plumbing problems is that they are now all fixed:  NO THANKS TO THE STUPID PLUMBING COMPANY.  But I trust no one even wants to hear the long drawn out verrsion of that story, because I am still telling this story and so far we are only May 10th.  Are you exhausted? Because I'm exhausted just remembering it. 

Speaking of exhausted, when I woke up the following morning I felt like I had been hit by a truck and proceeded to need to call in sick to work for the next 3 days because I was fully convinced I was either dying or that a Brazillian Rainforest had settled in and made its home in my sinus cavity.  Something useful to know about me at this point?  I don't EVER call in sick.  I'm just not a person who does that unless I physically can't make it in.  And I couldn't.  For those 3 days, plus the entire weekend following I was a giant pit of deathly sickness who could not move about the house without duct taping a box of kleenex to my face.  It was very pretty.   

So since I was teetering on the brink of death, you can assume that our house was just full of life and beauty and energy and rainbows for that entire week.  But then one day it was May 16th!  We were halfway through the month and I was beginning to feel normal.  So normal, actually, that it was almost blissful.  There was breathing!  THROUGH MY NOSE!  I mean it was a miracle, happening right there on my face.  Is there a more grateful feeling than that of being returned to health after a yucky illness?  I argue there is not.  And I was so damn happy that Monday to go back to work.  Our house had returned to its stasis of awesome, and we could finally get back to the regular routines of our lives.  But on Tuesday when I woke up, Garrett was perched on the precipice of death threatening to jump unless I got him some duct tape so he could go to the damn bathroom without flooding our house with snot.  He was very pretty too.
That ass-shaped dent that I had left in the couch was apparently just a primer for the ass-shaped dent that Garrett ended up leaving the following week.  And we are completely out of duct tape.

Just when you'd think all was lost though, finally last Saturday we were both able to go to the same BBQ at the same time!  Garrett was just starting to recover and it was lovely to have a nice night out.  Our gym had an Anniversary Party so we showed up and put our party shoes on and it was a blast!  Also, it was the night I decided to try Sweet Tea Vodka and Lemonade for the first time, which was experience.  The jury is still out on whether it was a pleasant experience.  I mean, it was definitely pleasant while I was drinking it.  But the morning after?  Um, not so much.  A Paleo diet has improved my body in every single possible way, except in its response to a wild night of drinking. 

Hangover city, baby.  The entire next day was a wash.  And then it was May 23. 

I was staring down the barrel of a long week, ready for this month to just be over already, when my back started to mysteriously hurt.  Not my lower back, mind you, but the middle of my back on the upper right side.  It felt like a crappy pinched nerve in the neck, except right smack in the middle of my back.  Luckily my uncle is a retired chiropractor, so I had him adjust me and things were ok for a day or so.  Then, on Tuesday it popped right back out of place, only this time it was SO. MUCH. WORSE.  It wasn't just a twinge of discomfort, but major pain (no Wayans Brothers in sight) that could not be relieved.  It hurt to stand, it hurt to sit, it hurt to lay and most inconveniently -- it hurt to breathe air.  No big whoop, you know, if you are an sea creature, but the last time I checked I WAS NOT.    

It was back to see my uncle again who asked what the heck I had been doing to throw my back out in such a grandiose manner?  My back was crunch-tastic!  Obviously there had been some major trauma in between my first adjustment and my second.  So you can imagine my embarrassment when I had to tell him this second injury was brought on by this new eXXtreme sport I'm doing called:  getting dressed.   Yeah, it happened when I was putting on a pair of pants.  It was so quick and awful that I walked by a rack of jeans this morning and had PTSD flashbacks just thinking about.  I'm lobbying to go into work pantsless from now on, but so far nobody is in my corner.  

Three days, and many Advil later, I would say I'm feeling 90%.  But that 90% is about to go into a 4 day weekend where I plan to do nothing more than read a stack of trashy magazines, take bubble baths, go to brunch, babysit my adorable baby cousin, pour through library books, and watch as many episodes of DVR'd Bravo TV as my little brain can handle...and it can handle A LOT.  I'm so thrilled that when I come up for air it will be a new month, a new season and I'll have a host of new things to focus on

So Goodbye May, and good riddance!  

Don't let the door hit you on the ass...

May 25, 2011

Caramelized Italian Pork Chops with Sweet Onion Jam

Pork chops are such a fantastic blank slate and this is such a great way to spice them up. 

Like chicken breasts, they can be a bit bland and dry out easily, but with a few tweaks they can also be a superior weeknight supper. Seasoning and Steam are the keys here. 

I served these up with a salad and some simple roasted broccoli last night (toss broccoli with olive oil, garlic powder, salt + pepper at 400 degrees for 40 mins) and our mid-week dinner turned into quite the treat. 

Ingredients for two servings:

4 boneless pork loin chops sliced about an inch thick
2 Sweet Yellow Onions (or any onion, really)
Salt + Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder 
Italian Seasoning
Herbs de Provence
Fat of Your Choice
Balsamic Vinegar

For the pork chops:
Heat a pan over medium high and add your choice of fat (I used ghee here.  YUM.)
Liberally Season both sides of your chops with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. 

Drop them in the pan:

(I like to buy in bulk and butcher it myself just like my friend Sarah taught me.  Easy and cheap!)

Allow them to develop a nice brown crust (for about 5-7 minutes) then flip and repeat on the other side.  Don't worry about them cooking all the way through, we are going for crispness and color here.

When they are dark and gorgeous, drop 1/8 cup of water in the center of the pan to do a little deglazing of all of those bits.  Then quickly cover and allow them to steam for 3-4 more minutes just until they are cooked through.  They will be crispy on the outside but still juicy on the inside.
For the Onion Jam:

Peel onion, cut in half, then thinly slice and throw into a pan heated on medium with a fat of your choice.

Toss them around and let them get nice and golden.  Patience is a virtue here.

When they get a little color on them toss in some salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence.  Herbs de Provence sounds so snooty -- it isn't, I promise.  It is worth procuring though, because it gives them a magical little kick -- I think Giada taught me that.  She also taught me how to pronounce Limoncello.

Thanks Giada! 

So, now that we've cleared that up, once the onions begin to really caramelize (about 25-30 minutes in) drop in a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar. No need to measure, you can't screw this part up.

Allow the vinegar to reduce a bit (3-5 minutes) to make your onions nice and jammy. 

Top your chops with the jam and serve along your favorite vegetables.  Tons of delicious flavors, beautiful presentation, weeknight simplicity.  

Now that is something I can get behind!

May 23, 2011

Summer Bucket List

Though we aren't doing anything super exotic, like heading to Maui which we did two summers ago, I am definitely planning on enjoying the next few months.  And it just wouldn't be like me if I didn't make a To Do List to celebrate (Hot damn, I love a good list!) Yes, I am still working on my overall 2011 Goals but I'm just considering this a short term subset of that list.  

Here are some ways I plan to enjoy this summer.


Go miniature golfing with Garrett (can you believe we have never done this together?)
Hike Feather Falls (our favorite local hike.  OMG, can't wait!)
Go Wine Tasting (if we hit up Amador, I can cross this off my 2011 list too.  Multitasking!)
Have a picnic in the Plaza in Sonoma  (Gina and Jim, consider yourself invited)
Get to San Diego to visit my cousin (Hi Jen!  You are missed!)
Pack Dinner and a blanket and head to McKinley Park
Spend a weekend in Chico with my family
Go to the beach (um, and wear sunscreen!)
Have a rollerskating date with my cousin (Flashback!)

Superficial Goals  (hey, we all need some)

Buy a cute new bathing suit (old ones are still cute, but no longer fit, woot!)
Find a maxi dress that doesn't look like a tent when you put it on (Help!)
Make a ridiculously delicious Paleo dessert
Cook something with Bison
Finish redesigning and migrating website (this will involve calling a professional, I'm sure)
Get over my flabby arm phobia and just buy some damn tank tops in which to work out
Get a few pedicures (for everyone else's sake.  ;)
Have a dinner party in my backyard before it gets sweltering


Read outside as often as humanly possible
Spend an evening drinking Mai Tais and (finally!) put your Maui photos in an album
Make an effort to get 8 hours of sleep per night (so hard in the summer because it's SO DAMN HOT)
Enjoy your garden and can your little heart out when those tomatoes get overwhelming
Make Jam

Honestly, I can't wait.  

What are you up to this summer?

May 16, 2011

I Never Promised You An Herb Garden

Well my herb garden is pretty much looking like a disaster, friends.  This feels sort of like a betrayal because you always hear that herbs are the gateway garden, right?   A full fledged garden sounds sort of overwhelming, but anyone can grow herbs, right?  You don't need garden beds, or rich soil, or mad skillz.  Everything I've read tells me I can them on a ledge in my kitchen, on a balcony, in little pots.  Herbs! You can grow them ANYWHERE!  

But I'm finding out the hard way that this is shameful propaganda.  Unless I am totally doing it wrong (and I just may be) the rest of my garden is thriving but most of my herbs are dead or wishing they were.  

Exhibit A:  The Dill

Y'all, this dill is either dead, or in hospice.  I won't be sprinkling this on my salmon anytime soon!  (Good thing Garrett hates salmon.)

Exhibit B:  The Basil

While this isn't quite as brown and dead looking as the dill, it is definitely looking far more like swiss cheese than I think it should.  Ina Garten's basil in her backyard garden doesn't have holes in it, WHY DOES MINE? 

Garrett calls Ina Garten "I'm a Gardener" in a snooty little Southampton voice whenever I make one of her recipes just to be obnoxious, but I feel like it is extra salt in the wounds lately because it is another reminder that I am completely NOT A GARDENER, INA -- what is your secret???

He also calls Alton Brown "Alton Bunghole."  I don't know why I'm telling you this.  Dinner conversation around our house is lively, I promise you.

Maybe I just need to come to terms with the fact that the rest of my life will be full of store bought basil.  But you guys, I can hardly keep store bought basil alive.  I AM DOOMED.
Luckily, some of my tomato plants are looking pretty good.  

Actually they all look pretty good, but these are the only ones that I have responsibly put tomato cages around so these are the ones I'm going to show you.  Elizabeth came by this weekend (who you know, is my garden fairy) and I thought to myself "The Horror! She will see my uncaged tomatoes AND ALL OF MY FAILURES WILL BE EXPOSED"  and she totally didn't judge me.  But I'm not sure I can trust the entire internet to do the same, so you only get that one picture.  It's neat to see them grow though, they have all these cute little flowers on them which I am taking as signs that I'm NOT a totally lame gardener!  

So take THAT, Ina!

But the herbs, well, they continue to disappoint!  Have you encountered this before?  Am I doing something wrong?  Enlighten me, internet.  I know you are full of advice.  

Have you had success growing herbs?  TELL ME YOUR SECRETS...

May 11, 2011

Calling In Sick

So -- for the past few days I have been sick as a dog (or...erm, a cat?) and curled up on my couch feeling sorry for myself in between episodes of blowing my nose.  Obviously no one wants me to expand on that anymore than necessary.  You are probably also sick of LOLCatz, and I am agreeing with you in spirit, but it was either a cute picture or an entire post on THE SICK, so I think you will agree that I let you off easy.  Anyway, I thought I'd post some links to some random oldies but goodies in case you are new around here and may have never read them.  

For example:  

I think almost everyone here in the States are experiencing nice(ish) weather, but in case Mother Nature is being a bitch in your neck of the woods here are 12 Songs to Download When You Need Some Sunshine.  It's an old playlist, but a good one. 

Are you feeling like something in your life is right outside of your reach?  Maybe you are closer than you think.  Always something good to keep in perspective. 

Need some dinner inspiration?  I Can Make Anyone Love Brussels Sprouts.  And I have. 

Speaking of food, you've read my weight loss story haven't you?  If not, it starts here.  

Have you read the story of the biggest coincidence of MY LIFE, thus far?  (Pretty pictures of Maui included.  Oh, how I wish I was in Maui?  Are people even allowed to get sick in Maui?)

One of the biggest (and scariest) things I learned last year was that Living with Less Really Can Be More.  Intention really is sort of a radical act of self- love.  Re-reading this post one year later, I'm happy to report it is all still true except IT'S BETTER! 

Hopefully I'll be back on my feet by the end of the week.  Cross your fingers for me, will ya?  My red little nose can't take much more of this!

May 09, 2011

Partyin' Partyin' Yeah! *

I put together a little BBQ on Saturday night that started out as an intimate evening with family and a few friends.  We were celebrating the fact that Garrett was turning 30 and what better way to do that than with some hot dogs and beers and a cigar bar for the boys, right? 

By the end of the evening, however, there was a lot of this going on: 

I hadn't even realized what a good dance floor our patio made.  But once I did there was no stopping me.  And there was a lot more of this:

I think it is safe to say a good time was had by all. 

I started out in a cute party dress but the weather didn't cooperate so eventually I ended up in capris and a sweatshirt.  The latter outfit ended up being way better for shaking your booty to Snoop Dogg though.  

I have lots of things to say about the night:  how I have some of the nicest and most considerate friends on the planet, how I really feel about party planning (OMG!), and about HOW RAD MY WHOLE FAMILY IS, but I am about to go throw my 11th load of laundry in the washer and the plumber is going to be here any minute to fix our kitchen sink and guest bathroom toilet, so ya know -- real life is calling.  

In the end though, Garrett had a fantastic time!  Since that was the overall goal, I feel pretty happy about things.  The only thing I am bummed about was that I wanted at least one picture of us together looking happy in our cute outfits to commemorate this birthday milestone.  When all was said and done, there was only this:

But damn if we were happy as clams at high tide in this picture.  See also: maybe a little tipsy.  But frankly that too is worth commemorating. 

*Apologies if you now have a Rebecca Black Earworm

May 05, 2011

You Grow Girl

Remember how we redid our front and backyard and I was like "Hey, now I have to take care of 120 square feet of garden, how the hell am I going to do that?"  Well it turns out I am actually responsible for 198 square feet of garden, and since I obviously can't even do the math correctly, you have to understand my trepidation.

Who has two (brown) thumbs and no innate gardening skills?  THIS GIRL!

Luckily, the internet is full of smarties so I can just steal there ideas and come here and pretend like I'm competent.  You know that's not how I roll though, so instead I will expose my ignorance!  and then of course reveal my saviors and sources. 

So here's the story...

(...of a lovely lady.  Who was bringing up 3 very lovely girls...Brady Bunch earworm, FTW!)

Currently the garden looks like this.  And all things considered, I feel pretty happy about it so far. 

These beds are filled to the brim with the following:
*Tomatoes (courtesy of Elizabeth who did the dirty work of growing plants from seeds and then feeling sorry enough for me to give me some.  She's so nice and didn't even laugh that hard at my novice questions.)
*Lemon Cucumbers (OMG, I die for these)
*Crook Neck Squash (since that is what my Grandma Marian always grew and it makes me think of her.  And hope that her green thumb will rub off on me in spirit.)
*Spaghetti Squash (I feel like that shouldn't grow in the summer, but they had it at Home Depot so I'm trying it.)
*More Tomatoes
*More Tomatoes
*Some More Tomatoes (did I mention we really really like tomatoes?)
*Herbs (basil, rosemary, dill, and thyme)

I took a picture of the rosemary because the dill looks dead and that is sad: 

What?  I'm just keeping it real.

There were two things we needed to contend with before we got all WOO-HOO-EY about the garden -- the soil situation and the water situation.  This Situation  has to fend for himself:

For the soil I wanted to test it.  The first time I ever read about soil testing was last summer when I read this.  I laughed hysterically at that post, tucked it in the back of my mind for later, and continued to pour my Miracle Grow on my garden.  It seemed to work fine, but this year I wanted to try my hand at modifying my own soil because thinking about Miracle Grow having pee in it kinda grossed me out.  What can I tell you, I'm the kind of person who won't eat mushrooms on principle because they are a fungus.  And fungus can grow between your toes?  Or on POOP!   Pee Fertilizer was pushing it for me.  So I bought myself a soil test kit and followed the instructions and actually it was quite easy.  

It sure made me feeeeeeeel fancy, but let me let you in on a secret:  it's easier than mixing a cocktail.  Which I totally did while I waited for my soil samples to turn colors so that I would know what my soil was lacking.  Turns out the beds needed some Nitrogen and Phosphorous, so I went down to my local hardware store to pick up some Bone Meal and Blood Meal to add to amend the soil.  And then I realized that adding bone and blood to my soil so that I didn't have to add pee because, um ew gross, wasn't really sound reasoning but we were already in the thick of things, so I forged ahead!  

Spoiler alert:  Bone and Blood meal don't look gross.  But then again Miracle Grow doesn't really look like pee, so again my rationale is sort of floating in the wind.  Take that for what its worth.  

So with the soil amended I had to figure out how I was going to water all 198 square feet of Garden Beds,  and when I brought it up to Garrett he said "Oh, do you need a bucket?"  And when I finally picked myself up off the ground from laughing so hard I said "Sure get me a bucket.  And the next time you want to shower I will bring you a bottle of eye drops so you can GIT'R Done."  I may have also added in an expletive or two, but I am experiencing some selective amnesia about that entire exchange.  What I do remember is that I sent him off to Home Depot and said "Bring me a drip system" in my very best evil villain voice.  But hey, now it looks like this:  

Garrett feels proud of himself and we have thirsty plants no more since he magically hooked it up to our automatic sprinkler system!  Symmetry and irrigation get me all hot and bothered so you don't have to worry that Garrett is being abused in this situation.  He's just fine.  I promise. 


So the soil is tested, the plants are planted (Thanks again Elizabeth!) and  the garden waters itself.  All in all I am feeling pretty good about things.  You know aside from our dill plant being all dead and stuff. 

I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop, but for now I am feeling like I've got kind of a handle on things.  I mean of course a loose handle hanging off the side of a jalopy, but a handle nonetheless.

So while we are talking gardening:

What are you growing in your garden this summer?

Do you know of any fun gardening websites I should be reading?  

I mean I can't ask Elizabeth all of my questions or she might figure out start to think that I'm a total garden loser.

May 04, 2011

Smooth Is The New Skinny?

I basically hate Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 and, poor thing, it isn’t even his fault.  I actually blame it all on Santana and that god awful song "Smooth" that was officially 1999’s Most Overplayed Hit. If you just had to click on that link to remind yourself of the song I am talking about, know that I am envious of your ignorance. 

Fun Fact:  I just fell down a Rob Thomas rabbit hole and found out that he originally wanted George Michael to collaborate with Santana on that song (Thomas originally wrote it for someone else)  and man if I don't feel like I just dodged a bullet since I probably would have grown to hate George Michael too!  Then instead of throwing away all of my Matchbox 20 albums what if I had thrown out all my Wham! Records?  OHMYGAWD, a world without Wham! is not a world I want to live in.

(Collective sigh of relief for a minute.  Wham! Rap FOREVER. )

So all the Rob Thomas talk is because I heard "Smooth" this afternoon and not only did I NOT feel even one iota of rage, but I listened to it all the way through!  I KNOW.  Are you dead from shock?  Don't Die! Come back to me!  Please?  Because I am about to tie this into weight loss and cross-dressing, and that is fucking impressive I think.  Besides, what else are you going to do right now?  Fall down a Rob Thomas rabbit hole?  I Do Not Recommend. 

So I didn’t turn the station because it reminded me of a text message I once got from my cousin Kelly when her in laws came to visit.  They were driving up from LA one weekend and upon their arrival Kelly sent me a text that said:  OMG, my father in law just rolled into my driveway in a shiny new mini-van blaring Rob Thomas and Santana’s “Smooth.”  And this struck me as so hilarious in that moment.  I mean, right now, I want you imagine your in-laws rolling up in your driveway in a brand new shiny minvan bumping Rob Thomas and Santana? Or bumping anything for that matter IN A MINIVAN?  I dare you not to laugh.  And when that song came on today I had a little perspective shift.  Instead of having PTSD flashbacks to 1999 as per usual, I thought of Kelly’s awesome Father-in-Law and his (obvs) awesome mini-van and enjoyed the entire song. 

Perspective shifts are magical!  Like Unicorns!

And speaking of laughing hysterically and perspective shifts, two people called me skinny at work today.  This has happened with an increasing frequency over the last few weeks and I drop dead of shock Every. Single. Time.  Mostly because the truth is, whether I have lost weight or not, I could still give the majority of NFL Linemen a run for their money if we were standing on scales next to each other.  I definitely do not associate the word skinny with myself.  I am not even close to my goal weight, and at 5’10 and NOT of tiny bone structure, I'm not afraid to tell you that my goal weight is somewhere around 175lbs. I KNOW!  That probably makes some of YOU want to drop dead of shock.  But here’s the thing, at 175lbs I will look strong and hot as hell, so don't die!  Get out your smelling salts one more time and come back to me, would ya?  Pretty please? 

(Boy all of this dropping dead is getting a little exhausting, but I have to admit a part of me just died inside just telling you about my goal weight in like, actual numbers.  But we're all friends here, right internet?  So why shouldn't I let you in on that goal!  175lbs it is!) 

So this other thing that I wanted to let you in on?  Was how I made Garrett try on women’s clothing the other night.  I know *kinky* right?  Speaking of dropping dead, Garrett just dropped dead of embarrasment because I told THE INTERNET that he wears women’s clothes.  All of his fears that his girlfriend is a blogger without boundaries have come true. MWAHAHAHAHA. 

Seriously though, it was only jeans, and I made him do it out of sheer curiosity that I promise to explain.  He is a good sport, that Garrett, that’s why I keep him around (see also: The Cuteness.) He goes along with these flights of fancy that I have and doesn’t even really look at me funny anymore when I write about it on the internet.  Can you believe I never even put that on my wish list of Character Traits In My Dream Man?  Single ladies, this trait is underrated.  Add this to your lists immediately.  It is worth its weight in entertainment value alone. 

So I made him try on women’s jeans not because I am crazy/kinky/cool, but because we were hanging out with my family the other night and everyone kept telling him how skinny he was and how he is going to waste away to nothing and OMG DO YOU EAT?  THE HORROR.  Yes, he has lost some weight.  Actually over 10% of his body fat since we started CrossFit and went Paleo, and now at 5’11 he weighs in at just about 175 lbs.   And, whoa whoa, wait a second -- that number sounds familiar doesn’t it? 

That is THE number. Only, you know he's a boy.  So of course I made him try on a bunch of different jeans to figure out what size he would be in women’s clothing.  And guess what?  HE FITS INTO A SIZE 12.  I mean what a freakin' waif.  You better watch yourself, Kate Moss. 
No one can get over how svelte he looks, but you know if he was a woman, he would technically be a Plus Sized Model and most brands of “Investment Jeans” wouldn’t even sell his size, FATTY FATTY FAT PANTS.
And those Size 12 jeans he was trying on?  Are the jeans that I *hope* to fit into when I get to my goal weight.  My own personal skinny jeans.  But the truth is, I don’t even know how I feel about that word skinny anymore anyway?   Do I really want to be *skinny*?  I don't know.  I’ll tell you what I do know though:  I am working hard.  I am a work in progress and that is okay.  I am doing my best to become a healthier person so hopefully someday we can have kids and I can tell them about how their dad used to dress up in womens’ clothes.   Well okay, maybe not that exactly. 

I know I’m doing my best to learn about how my body works and what is healthy for me.  And I’m also working hard to make sure that throughout this process I continue to look in the mirror and like what I see.  Not just physically, but emotionally.  And most of the time that last part involves some serious shifts in perspective.  It's a process, you all, but I'll tell you what -- if I can shift my perspective enough to listen to an entire Rob Thomas song after 10 years of wanting to stick my finger in my eye every time I hear it, then frankly I can probably shift my entire perspective on almost anything.

May 03, 2011

Paleo Banana Bread Muffins


My friend Katie (who is as talented in the kitchen as she is when it comes to music) sent me this recipe for grain free, dairy free banana muffins and it was so good I had to pass it on.  Especially for all of my friends at ARCFit who are currently doing a 6 Week Paleo Challenge.  Sometimes we all want a little treat for breakfast or with our coffee and one can only have eggs so many times before it gets old right?  (My second favorite breakfast:  this smoothie.)

Confession:  the first time I made these I threw in a few dark chocolate chips so they weren't 100% Paleo, but the next batch I made was just plain and they were still so good! Flavorful and moist (god I hate that word, but it's a necessity when describing recipes like this!) it tasted just like my favorite banana bread.  I even served them to my mom and aunt last weekend (who aren't even Paleo) and they raved.  

Also, they're a cinch! 

(Recipe makes 12 servings)


1/2 cup coconut flour
6 eggs
1/3 cup honey or agave -- whatever floats your boat
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup crushed walnuts (optional)
2 bananas
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda. 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix all together adding finely chopped bananas last 
Pour into silicone muffin cups, or greased and lined muffin tins 
Top with some nuts 
Make a juvenile joke about your love of nuts
Bake 20-25 min.

Hot out of the oven, these will knock your socks off!

May 02, 2011

April Books

So I know today is historic and momentous and all of us are either cheering the fact that Osama Bin Laden is dead or judging the people on Twitter who are cheering the fact that Osama Bin Laden is dead, so I thought to myself:  Holly, why don't you talk about books?  I mean, if Kelly Ripa can remain the #1 Trending Topic on Yahoo despite Bin Laden's death, then I can talk about books, right?

More specifically, the books I read in April. Six of them, actually.

(If you are looking for less Bin Laden and more books, check out my lists for January, February, and March.)

This Is Where We Live by Janelle Brown
So when we last left off, I told you about how much I enjoyed Janelle Brown's first book All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and I'm happy to report this one was very entertaining also.  Brown writes really character driven novels and this one had to do with an artistic married couple living in a very hipstery part of LA and how the housing market crash affects them.  They both end up reexamining their priorities, career goals and even their relationship.  It was emotional, interesting and full of colorful characters and I think I had a soft spot for it because I lived in LA for about 5 years and seriously, THE STEREOTYPES ARE ALL TRUE.  I mean, to even a larger degree than you would think.  Some of the characters in this book may seem a bit cliche, but that is exactly why it captures the essence of Los Angeles.  It was a relatable, well-written story.  I am looking forward to her next novel.

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
I really wanted to love this book, and there were parts that were really brilliant, but it also dragged for me in places which ended up making it a bit of a slog to get through.  A collection of tales told in the perspectives of different staff members of an International Paper set in Rome, I had high hopes of stories being woven together to tell an even larger story.  I think that was the intention, but it fell a bit short in the execution so the entire thing seemed a bit fractured at times.  I am completely in the minority on this book, so take that for what it is worth, but this book didn't particularly speak to me.

 The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
So hey, since we are talking about books that didn't particularly speak to me:  THIS WAS ONE.  I actually sometimes enjoy reading business-y books or cheezy leadership books because underneath all that formulaic crap there are often really simple but valuable take-aways.  I had hopes that this book would be the same, even though the title alone set my douche-o-meter on high alert.  I was hoping it would perhaps provide some insight into how I could start moving towards my own entrepreneurial dreams, or provide an interesting perspective shift on the value of work/life balance.  But honestly this book is mostly an arrogant ego project about how to get around the rules, how you are unintelligent to believe in hard work, and how everyone can have a Ferrari and Travel The World!  YOU get a Ferrari, YOU get a Ferrari, and YOU TOO, get a Ferrari -- you know, if you want to outsource your life to India and sell your ideas to people who aren't smart enough to think of those ideas themselves.  I don't know, it probably did have some good insights, but I felt like I had sat down at a bar and was hearing it all out of the mouth of a guy drinking a vodka red bull and wearing an Ed Hardy shirt.  Not my cup of tea. 

The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Hey wait, you already know what I thought of this.   

Hint:  I loved it.   
Did you see they have a cookbook out now?  I have totally reserved this at the library.  I am such a sucker for these two!  I have been thinking about this book and all of it's stories about Martha Stewart a lot lately since I have been planning Garrett's 30th Birthday Party. I don't know how Martha is able to be Martha without giving herself a gigantic ulcer.  I am decidedly UN-Martha and I think I have one.  

Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow by Chip Conley
So after that Tim Ferriss debacle, I picked this up at the library on the recommendation of my aunt.  She loves Chip Conley and I was excited to hear about how he made his business so successful.   Being that I work for a Giant Corporate Overlord, I have heard quite a bit about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and how it is useful in the workplace.  The idea itself wasn't particularly fresh to me.  But something about Conley's delivery made me feel like he was more earnest in his discussion about how companies really can and should take these concerns to heart -- not only in how they do business, but in how they treat their employees.  It was filled with lots of interesting case studies about companies who are doing things differently.  All I can say, is that the book was a though provoking read, oh and also -- Google:  Hire me! Please?

The Devil's Teeth:  A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks  by Susan Casey
This book was FASCINATING.  It is primarily about the Great White Shark activity that surrounds the Farallon Islands just 20 miles west of San Francisco.  I found it surprising how little I knew about the Farallones, given that they are very close to where I grew up.  This book delves into the history, and covers her 8 week stint living out at the research station on the island.  I am a sucker for all things Great White (hair metal, included) and found this book compulsively readable.  Garrett was looking over my shoulder the whole time asking me questions about it, so I'm thinking this is sort of a universal theme.  I love reading books by journalists because there is generally a lot of research and information involved, but spoon fed through a really good story.  These are my favorite kind of books! 

So tell me, what did you read this month that was the bee's knees?


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