travel: door county, wisconsin 

24 Jul

looking for a peaceful, beautiful summer vacation? head to door county, wisconsin.  where? DOOR COUNTY!  yes- trust me.  


egg harbor, fish creek, sister bay- just to name a few of the quaint cities that seem to just keep coming as you drive along the coast.  yes, I’m talking to you, dear texas friends. when it starts to simmer in dallas – head north! the high today was 78 degrees.  

but, don’t take my word for it.  they say that door county is the “cape cod of the Midwest“- read it from:

travel and leisure magazine

new york times

the travel channel

new jersey dot com

i love the midwest.  love.  the crisp morning air, the twists and turns of the drives, the lush green summers and the distinct evolution of the seasons.  it’s part of who i am.  my mom, ROF and i spent a weekend here in door county recently.  here are our snaps. 

stay: orphan annie’s schoolhouse in bailey’s harbor.   Beautiful, renovated schoolhouse with attentive owners and comfortable accommodations. 


eat: fish boil at white gull inn


 coffee: bearded heart coffee


4 reasons not to strive for perfection

23 Jul
striving for perfection has always been seen as an admirable goal.  whether it’s getting into the right schools, cleaning your house just right or toning your body, perfection is what we want.  or is it?
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here are four reasons not to strive for perfection:

1. when we are hyper-focused on perfection, there is a chance we may miss the things that would truly make us happy.

In her 2012 article in Harvard Magazine titled “Effortless Perfection”, Isabel Ruane wrote:
“Last winter, I had wondered how I could ever reconcile my guilt at having relaxed my work ethic with my certainty that doing so had allowed me to grow in other ways. I had worried about where my duty lay: to Harvard, for offering me an education and paying a great share of its cost; to my parents, for raising me, guiding me, and making sacrifices for me; or to myself, maybe more in need of reflection and friendship than a spotless transcript. Now I realize I was worrying about the wrong “duty.” My duty to the world isn’t to be perfect. It is to take care of myself as best I can so I can give back to the world the love and care it has given to me. If slacking off was what I needed to make myself happy and available to help others, then this decision reflected no disrespect for my parents, for Harvard, or for my own work ethic.”
 

2. perfection is subjective and abstract.

there is nothing wrong with having personal goals and wanting to achieve them.  i try to achieve my personal best every day.  with my career, with my personal life – everything.  having goals is what guides my day-to-day living.  on sunday, i write out goals for the week and if i achieve them- to me that is perfection!  But this is MY personal best with which i connect with perfection, not yours.

it becomes judgement when we start projecting our “strife for perfection” on others.

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perfection is subjective because with social media and just media in general, everyone can photograph and video their best foot forward – always.  some blogs that i follow, you’d think they only live a life of crisply curated +  snapped recipes and coiffed living rooms.  they can build the perfect career and host the perfect dinner party – NO! – not a boring dinner party but a bollywood-themed movie night complete with belly dancers. to me, the takeaway is  that they are PERFECT.  and that un-truth can bring someone down.  ok, sometimes i’ve been brought down by it.  ok, sometimes i contribute to it.  <sigh>

so good for danielle guenther  who photographed brilliantly the not-so-glamourous life of parents.  she says “capture the moment, because in the end, all we have are the memories.”

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 and lastly…

2. perfection is unattainable.

you’ll never get there – ever.  as a Christian, we believe that only Christ is perfect.  why oh why can’t i remember that?
“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.
Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” 

4. if you strive for only perfection, you may fly by the lessons that failure teaches us. 

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
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spicy pickle gin martini recipe

21 Jul

you know you’re already thinking about happy hour.  whether it’s you and your sig other or maybe you’re looking for something swank to kick off a dinner party this weekend – this is your drink!

recipe:

1-2 oz dry gin

splash of dry vermouth

splash of juice from jar of  spicy pickles

get a martini glass and fill it with glass and ice, set aside.  in a martini shaker, pour in gin, then dry vermouth, then spicy pickle juice.  give it a good shake.  empty glass of ice and water and pour your drink.  garnish with spicy pickle.   enjoy!  for more ROF cocktail videos, click here

 

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RUM AND PUNCH

14 Jul

https://youtu.be/C9aFIERW6kg

sunday chilled

2 Jul


1. i can’t stop listening to this guy.  amazing for background music while you work.  helps me focus.  the song “primavera” rocks my world.

2. no business is safe. mark my words… this is only the beginning.  imagine what will happen in retailing when Amazon’s competitiong starts playing ball more in the US.  note that the competition is not current American businesses that just may move too slow, be too cumbersome or just plain too comfortable and blind to see the future.

3. just bought these. now i can’t wait to sleep.

4.  watch this to see how to pull together a make shift counter bar for a dinner party. 

5. my sister-in-law (and bestest of friends) used this cookbook to whip together many of the recipes she served at her dinner party friday night. don’t be scared that it’s vegetarian because the recipes are on fleek!


6. i have never heard someone say this about friday and i completely agree!  
happy 4th!

the only grilled shrimp recipe you’ll need

29 Jun

run, don’t walk to the store, buy what you need to make this today.  i found this awesome recipe here .

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HONEY GARLIC GRILLED SHRIMP

1 bottle (8 oz) Italian salad dressing (get the good stuff) 

1 cup honey

1/2 tsp minced garlic

2 lbs uncooked medium shrimp peeled and deveined (we didn’t use frozen) 

that’s all the ingredients folks!

combine the salad dressing, honey and garlic and set aside 1/2 cup for later.  pour the marinade into a large baggie and dump the shrimp in.  put the baggie in a casserole dish so you don’t dribble in the fridge.

**see my note below on how long i marinated the shrimp in the fridge.  directions say for 30 minutes, but i did overnight + a day.  no biggie here.  reserve the 1/2 cup marinade reserve and put that in fridge too.

drain and discard the marinade.  throw the shrimp on the barbie and throw the reserved marinade on top of it.  this is what ROF did although the recipe called for much more delicate maneuvers.  worked for us.  grill on each side only about 1 – 1.5 minutes per side.  when they start to turn white but get that nice honey char on the outside – they’re done.

we had couscous and grilled corn on the cob on the side.  plenty left over for lunches the next day.  i also picture this to be a fantastic appetizer.

easy, flavorful + scrumptious grilled shrimp!  my new shrimp go-to recipe.  i can’t believe i just used the word go-to.  i hate that phrase. #saveit #loveit

if you try this, snap some pictures so i can fancy this blog up with some step by step pics.

moving outside your comfort zone is living!

29 Jun

the other day i was cleaning out my office closet and came across all the journals i wrote in my 20’s.  there are tons of them.  all funky colors, dog-eared and written in different color inks.  i love these books.  i can transport myself back to my 20’s which were oh, so far away <sigh>

i don’t often open them up and read them, but when i do, it makes me smile.

may 13, 2001

today was an excellent day.  this whole weekend was wonderful.  it’s not too often i write about such great times.  i usually am too busy having fun to sit down and write about it!  today i had my ‘level c’ improv performance on the main stage at second city in chicago!  on the main stage!  it was awesome!  the place was packed full + we rocked it.  everyone laughed!  i think i am still nervous.  the lights, the stage, the people – !

i remember that like it was yesterday.  it was so much fun but completely + utterly nerve wracking at the same time.  i felt so alive and present because of it.  i found these pictures:

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all in all i believe i took 40 weeks of improv classes.  it sure did get me out of my comfort zone.  it certainly helped me learn how to present with confidence and conviction in my ad meetings.

to be a person living with passion, you have to get out of your comfort zone.  for some that means jumping out of a plane.  for others it means taking a walk after dark.  doesn’t matter.  do one thing today that is out of your comfort zone.  otherwise you may grow old just “being.” you may think there is nothing wrong with just “being” but i say you will never know what you were meant to BE without stretching past what you know.  just do it.

i would love to hear about something you did that was outside your comfort zone.

party of one

27 Jun

if you have to eat alone, do it with confidence and have fun.

here are 4 things you can do other than stick your face into your mobile phone and text people stupid things:

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  1. sit at the bar.  don’t be afraid, ladies.  men have this down but they don’t own it!  move in and make the space yours.  great way to meet new friends and at least exchange words with the bartender.  at the bar, you can check out other loners and try to guess their story.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 1.19.10 PM2. write.  i actually did this a lot in my single years in my 20’s and 30’s.  grab some paper and writing utensil and write about what you see, where you are (like literally…where you are) what you’re feeling and what is going on in your life.  these are great to put away in a box and open it up years from now.  i have a ton of stuff i wrote as far back as 25 years ago and i can read it and totally remember what i was up to… because i wrote it all down!  also, it makes you look important.  the guy next to you at the bar is thinking ” she must be an author!”

3. strike up a conversation.  if this sounds terrifying to you – all the more reason to do it.  everyone is afraid of person-to-person conversation now.  everyone texts!  what will you say?  here are some great openers:

  • been on any good vacations lately?
  • fred, it’s great to see you!  oh!  i’m sorry, you’re not fred!  (the embarrassment wears off quickly and you’re left chatting it up)

4. be observant.  just look around and think of it as an adventure.  you can only do this if you’re uber confident because everyone else will rely on their trusty cell phone and google stupid song lyrics or worse, the menu at the restaurant they’re sitting at! <gulp>  pull your shoulders back,  sit up straight, smile.  order a drink and enjoy it!  check the room out, chat it up with the wait staff.  boy this sounds stupid doesn’t it?  i take this all for granted for as much as i (used) to travel.  i realize their might be some women out there that don’t have to eat by themselves.  and that is fine but if you get the chance DO IT.  it may be an adventure.

the grass is greenest where you are now.

25 Jun

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i’ve been accused of having a positive attitude.  i’ve heard it several times over the years.

i’m not sure if that’s good or not, but i would say that it beats the alternative.  there is nothing i hate more, in business or life, than a complainer.  actually, that’s a lie (i don’t hate liars…ha!) i hate whiners.  everyone’s got to complain now and then.  that is just venting, letting it out – letting it go.  that, every now and then, is no big deal.  it’s whining that i can’t stand.  don’t whine in America.  go whine in a country where your freedom is limited, go whine in a place where you don’t have a choice.  i’ve been in a leadership position now for over 15 years and my advice to someone who whines or gossips about their job is – for crying out loud – leave!

my positive attitude stems from this: the grass is greenest where you are now.

think “what if.”  this just doesn’t have to do with your career but your life in general.  think to yourself “what if this is as good as it gets and it is only my attitude that sucks?”  do a check on your attitude and outlook on life in general and if the answer then is – no this truly sucks, then move on.  it’s taking ownership of your life.   by switching your thinking that the grass is actually greenest where you are right now should change your perspective from pointing to external circumstances and pointing the finger at yourself.  how am i in control of this?  

“i know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor”  – Henry David Thoreau

i think it’s important to be hyper self-aware before you make sudden moves.  my positive attitude stems from the question i  try to ask myself: “did i make a positive contribution to my surroundings, my goals and my team today and did i do my very best in this situation?”  i’ve trained myself to think this way.

it also stems from something i learned in advertising almost 22 years ago: a good account executive shows what they are made of when they are under fire.  i learned that when i was 22 years old and it stuck with me.  when the shit hit the fan, i wanted to be the leader -even if i was the intern! –  that rose above the anarchy (that ad has to go out tonight!! the client hates the font, the meeting was moved to today, she quit and went to the competition!!!) and said “BUCK UP, LET’S DO THIS AND DO IT WELL!”

while i may have a positive attitude most of the time, it doesn’t mean i’m a pushover or pollyannish.  but it does make me realize that someone’s else’s crappy or bitchy attitude probably has more to do with their outlook on life than on me.  <hopefully!>

if you don’t already, start thinking about your life in the terms that the grass is greenest where you are right now and see where it takes you! oh, and read this book asap.  i promise it will change your life!

happy tuesday!

25 things to do with blueberries

24 Jun

if you’re like me, you walk into whole foods or your local grocery store of choice and walk right into the fresh produce section.  there sits beautiful mounds of blueberries all nicely packaged and wrapped with care.  i tend to daydream as step closer to them – thinking of all the hard work that went into getting those blueberries to us.  you know… how they have to  be picked, sorted, packaged, shipped and then they have just a few days (if that) of shelf life.  yes, i know, that goes for all produce.

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but i never end up grabbing a pint because i  just can never finish a whole one and they end up going bad.  and then i feel guilty.  so i walk past the blueberries and think …next time…

NOT ANY MORE!

i’ve specially curated a batch of 25+ blueberry recipes for you from some of my favorite bloggers and pinners.  don’t miss the one here – a hysterical v-logger that i love!  those little blue nuggets of goodness will never get wasted now!  i’ve only collected recipes that look good to me and that i would make.  or i liked the name of the recipe like cloufouti.

here are 5 blueberry recipes and for the rest, go to my dedicated pinterest page here.

be sure to click on the “by” for the recipe.

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baked blueberry oatmeal

from cupofjo blog

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blueberry chopped chicken salad

from us highbrush blueberry council

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blueberry sauce crepes with honey whipped cream

by diethood.com

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summer corn + blueberry salad

by food.com

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blueberry lemon cake

by food52.com

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 1.18.39 PMand if you’re looking for 25 things to do with peaches…. click here!  or check out this awesome recipe for a tried and true delicious peach cobbler recipe.

DRINK RECIPE: THE TIDAL WAVE

17 Jun

back again by popular demand is our weekly drink recipe by ROF.  if you are headed out to a sporting event, sitting by the pool, hanging out on the lake, this one is for you.  recipe is below the video.  enjoy!

 

the tidal wave: makes 2

1 wheat beer

2 shots of vodka

3 oz limeade or lemonade

squeeze of lemon

mix all together and pour in two glasses over ice.  garnish with lemon.

love you woody allen. yes, i mean it.

14 Jun

listening to harry janes & his orchestra – the i’ve heard that song before” – takes me right back to age 22 when i first realized that woody allen’s movies were the slice of life movies i loved.  especially this song in hannah & her sisters.    i know. i know.  lots of controversy on WA.   i don’t care.  you know why?

oh these movies are so good.  but let me explain why.  these aren’t cliff-hanger, sensational movies.  no.  these are really deep “love ’em or hate ’em” character movies.  it’s honest.  they are hard to watch sometimes.  once again, they are a bit slow but it’s meant to be watched like you are just an observer – a fly on the wall.

i probably have written this before but i got into woody movies from an awesome class i took at columbia – urban life in media & film. thought it would be a blow-off class.  not so much.  but when we watched the movie MANHATTAN in that class -that was it for me.  done.  sold from the opening scene:

at 24 years old, i can’t even believe how much i watched his movies.  to the point that my clients gave me as a going away gift, a CD collection of all his movies (love.) 

take this scene my chicago roommate and i watched over and over again in his movie HUSBANDS AND WIVES.  i think judy davis won an award for this role.  this scene comes from her first date after she separated from her husband who was cheating on her.  her acting is brilliant, funny and sad all at the same time.

but my favorite movie of all time is annie hall.

la dee da.  the greatest part is that annie was from… wisconsin. chippewa falls.  i love it.

well, i just heard that song.  and this is what i thought about it.

happy wednesday.

NATIONAL GIN DAY!

10 Jun

let’s celebrate with a GIN GIN drink recipe from COCKTAILS WITH ROF!

 

1oz dry gin like Bombay

1oz gin liqueur

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 slices of peeled cucumber

3-4 fresh mint leaves

Splash of ginger ale

put all but ginger ale in a tall glass and muddle it (smoosh it with a muddler), pour over ice, top with a big splash of ginger ale and garnish with a slice of cucumber or lime.

Enjoy!

music you must immediately add to playlist

30 May
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if you know me, which you may and may not, you know that one of the key tenets or drivers in my life is music.  always has been and always will be.  read here and here if you want to know more.
certain songs or albums hit repeat or epic status with me every now and then.  it’s those songs i can remember exactly what i was doing, who i was with and where i was.
ok. quit the small talk and get to it.
i’m in love again.
spoon’s new album (is it new? i’m usually a little late to the game!) is unbelievable.  but the song CAN I SIT NEXT TO YOU is epic.  i would love to link to the video but it’s a little weird.  but play it like, real loud.
in your headphones as you tackle the treadmill, as you commute in the grind,
as you stretch in the morning and say your morning THANK YOU FOR BEING ALIVE prayers.
ROF, be warned, this is the new foster the people repeat craziness you endured when we first got married.  
it’s in here if you want a listen:
back to the more important 10 WAYS TO SAVE THE WORLD reads.  i’m hoping to make your day brighter with this quick add.
happy tuesday!

hello in the hotel

27 May
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checking out of our hotel this morning, i was running behind as usual.  had to fill my coffee up some more for the hour trip to INDY.
a woman about my age was filling up too.  she asked how i was doing this morning.  i said so far so good.  how about her?  well, it’s early but (little laugh) going well so far.  i put a pump of hazelnut sugary badness in my coffee, threw a lid on and wished her a good rest of the day and left.
small interactions happen like that all the time, right?  stupid for me to write about. WRONG.  they don’t happen that much anymore.  are you a talker to strangers?  or can you go through your entire day without interacting with anyone?  why did this small nicety chit chat at the hampton inn coffee counter capture my attention?
because we don’t do it.  ok.  i don’t know about you.  but i don’t.  i’m going to pay more attention to talking to strangers – more specifically, being nice to strangers.  why not?
last night when we were checking in to the hotel there was this HUGE storm.  it had tornados and it was real dark.  i was scared to death because i have always been terrified of storms since i was little.  grow up.  anyway, we couldn’t check in because there was a woman trying hard to get a hotel room for her family.  she was all in black, in tight shorts and a tank top with a chain securing her wallet to her belt.  Her husband was wearing all black too, heavily pierced and spikes and was playing with their kids.  she was holding up the line. the storm was coming.  i needed a sip of wine to keep my nerves in balance.  ROF and i were making comments about the family to each other once in our room but it made me think.  i said “what if they couldn’t get a room this late on a holiday weekend because someone in their family died and they were in town dealing with that?” ROF agreed and our comments ceased.
you never know when you can be an angel to someone just by saying some kind words.  i’m going to try!

MOVING + CHANGE

30 Apr

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”– Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay


today’s SUNDAYCHILL read is about change.

tomorrow movers come and we’re moving to wisconsin. this isn’t a surprise to many of you, my friends, because for the last year i’ve spent 80% of my time commuting from texas to wisconsin.  thats a lot of time on a plane. in january, i was home for 4 days total.  

bottomline, we wanted to see if the job i took (which catapulted me in a new direction) would be one that would be a good fit for both ROF and me.

it was.

ive moved my entire life.  here are the places I’ve lived (that I remember): cleveland, boston, grand blanc mi, brookfield wi, naperville, il, cincinnati,oh, chicago (3 different places over 11 years, dallas (7 different places over 14 years), birmingham mi, now madison. 

3 things i love about moving and change:

  • KEEPS YOUR EYES AND MIND FRESH AND AWAKE everything is new.  like everything.  i’m talking about – going to your fridge and pouring a little OJ in the morning – that’s a new experience.  it cleans out your brain from daily habits and gives you an opportunity to build new ones.
  • MASSIVE EXPLORATION TRIPS ROF and i have a blast hitting the road and checking out the sites.  we love finding hidden gems, talkative bartenders and doing new things. 
  • EXPANDING YOUR CIRCLE OF GREATNESS i have some pretty unbelievable friends. i was able to connect with many of them over the past few weeks.  and together ROF and i know some really cool people that we love very much.  that group is going to grow with this move.  hands down, our favorite part about moving to michigan was getting to know my cousin and his family real well.  also getting to know ROFs college friends the holbrooks and my boss ron and kathy better.  when you are on your deathbed it is these friendships you remember, not the power point presentations you put together – right?

so tuesday morning think of us making the commute one last time via two day car trip with pup in tow.  we will miss being close to my mom and our friends but we’ll be a short 2 hour direct flight away.  

Xxoo

WIN-WIN NO-FAIL ROASTED ASPARAGUS

19 Apr

raise your hand if you love asparagus!  

if you didn’t raise your hand, it’s probably because you don’t cook it the right way.  no offense.

my friend, terry brown of roswell georgia, showed me the easiest, most fool-proof delish way to roast asparagus (or any veg!).

 

500 degree oven

spray pan with pam

arrange your asparagus on sheet pan, sprinkle with kosher salt

5 minutes.  done.

BE YOUR UNAPOLOGETICALLY WEIRD SELF

18 Apr

i think you could safely say that i’m obsessed with this book:

hands down, most actionable book i’ve ever read.

i’ll get back to that.

when i was a kid, my brother and sister and i used to have to walk our lab, maggie, out “to the dirt” to do her business.  it involved hooking her leash up and walking through our large backyard to a big empty space with just…dirt.  doing this at night before bed was never fun and we used to argue about who had to do it.  plus, it was a little bit scary.  strange noises and it was dusk or dark out.  i’d throw my ski coat on over my long minny mouse nightgown with the ruffles around the bottom and begrudgingly take my turn.

when maggie and i got to the dirt and she was sniffing around, i would stare up at the sky.  and as a young 8 or 9 year old i would look at the stars and think to myself  i can go as far as you are high in the sky.”  i had this in me that life isn’t something that just happens to me but something i make happen.

i still believe that.  forty-some years later.  there is something that drives me forward.

in reading this book, i discovered that (i think) what i might have in me is two-fold:

a) a God-given ability or drive to serve but not sure what that is yet (itch that hasn’t been scratched)

b) driven to discover what my PEAK PERFORMANCE level is. 

more on that later.  the sub-head to the book is:

the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers.

like, why wouldn’t you want to study this?  my favorite part of the book is that it is written simply (even though it is HUGE) by highlighting these habits from tim ferriss’ podcast notes.  which is how i take notes.  so it is easy to quickly glean these tactics.

so in re-reading the section on chris sacca (for the 10th time), i love what he told a graduating class in a commencement speech.  he told them:

“Weirdness is why we adore our friends…gets us hired.  Be your unapologetically weird self.  In fact, being weird may even find you the ultimate happiness.”

damn, that is the truth.  and no one tells you that until you’re older.  you’re in grade school and high school and peer pressure is so huge.  you want the same brand shoes, the fancy purse or the house in the hills. because that is what everyone else has.  i remember those days of fitting in being the most important thing ever.

flash forward to now.  i don’t like my closest friends because of that stuff.  i like them because they ADD something to my life or teach me something or they show me how to think differently.   maybe they have experiences that are different from me.  weirdness.

i was super inspired by reading this.  chris sacca is an early stage investor in dozens of companies including twitter, uber, instagram, kickstarter and more.  he is a recurring guest shark on shark tank.

weird is what makes you…well…you.  and while i’ll be honest, fitting in was always very important to me (validation?) but that little girl in her micky mouse nightgown with her ski coat wrapped around her shivering out at “the dirt” looking at the stars knew something too.

weird, isn’t it?

 

INSPIRED: ALICE IN PARIS

16 Apr

oh wow, i can’t even tell you how much i love this.  

as you probably remember, i love the movie AMELIE.  it’s in my top 5 (maybe 3) favorite movies of all time.

if you haven’t seen it yet and consider yourself a friend, watch it. watch it now.  anyway… i bring this up now because there is a tastemade series called ALICE IN PARIS that is for sure modeled after this movie. i can’t tell you how much i love this.  take a look – they’re short…

ok, here’s another.  love her.

i’m so inspired.  why? well, i’m going to tell you:

  1. i’m relatively old.  i know what i know. i have loved content and writing and creative things for all of my <40 cough, cough> years.  we get used to 30 minute sitcoms and writers spelling stuff out for us and it is SO BORING.  this is quick, fun, a little hard to understand but easy to follow – different.
  2. who doesn’t love this city?  paris is so alive, so vibrant and beautiful
  3. this is informational!  if you are going to paris – go to one of these places! look at all my exclamation points!
  4. she is so much fun.  not your typical beauty but darling nonetheless and that is so refreshing to see
  5. love the format, the colors, type, short intro and little snippets at the end
  6. if you’re not hip to TASTEMADE, get into it! say goodbye food network channel and cooking channel – this is how it’s done.

until next time, stay inspired!

 

the community tree of remembrance

30 Nov

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i’m on the board of an organization called Faith & Grief Ministries, Inc.   it’s a ministry of compassion and connection.  it is non-denominational because grief knows no denomination. it just hurts.

during the holidays, it is especially harder than usual to work through the loss of a child, a husband, a wife, a mom, a friend – any loved one.  it’s a season of contradictory sensory feelings.  your eyes see a beautiful lit tree but your heart hurts.  your nose smells cinnamon and sugar breakfast smells and your body feels the welcome chill in the air but your mind remembers being with your loved one during this time.

Faith & Grief Ministries, Inc. was launched in 2008 and it’s near to my heart for two reasons: first, i grieve my dad’s death in 2005 and one of the wonderful women that started the organization married ROF and me: fran shelton.  it started by hosting luncheons for those hurting over the loss of a loved one to share and heal together.  to date, there are more than 700 individuals have benefited from these events.

this year, the organization wanted to help those in dallas that are grieving.  they are placing a tree of remembrance in thanksgiving square in downtown dallas and from december 1st – december 21st you can sign a ribbon with the name of your departed loved one or one in honor of first responders on july 7th and other events close to you.

on december 1st, a multi-faith service of remembrance will be held at thanksgiving square and the Community Tree of Remembrance will be lit.  on december 21st, the longest day of the year, another service will be held at 6pm.  get more information here.

here is a news story that was recently on FOX NEWS:

if you have lost a loved one, you could benefit from this organization.  i spoke at one of their luncheons a long time ago and while it’s a room full of extremely sad and hurting people there was a feeling i couldn’t put my finger on.  i felt shared compassion, hope and relief. for all of us to be strangers but share this common journey that many of our other friends don’t understand is oddly comforting.  i urge you to check out the resources here.

i can speak with certainty that God is working through my dear friend fran as i’ve never met someone with so much passion to help others grieving.  if you’re in dallas, i hope you take advantage of these services and the ribbons honoring your loved one.  if you’re not in dallas, i hope you find some comfort in your community during this holiday season or use this non-profit’s resources.

what’s up wit me?

5 Nov

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hi.

it’s been so long since i’ve posted anything of true substance i bet you’ve gone away.  come back, cuz i’m back!  i started a new position on january 1st this year and have been heavily consumed with it.  i’ve decided to re-energize and focus this personal blog because it’s so much fun to write.

my life has changed a great deal over the past 10 months and i’m thankful to say for the better.  actually, better isn’t the right word.  i’ve always liked where i was but i guess the direction i’ve been going has just been right and built on top of what i’ve had before.

does that make sense?  saying “better” implies before wasn’t great.  which isn’t the case.

moving on… (geez)

in any case i’m happy.  real happy.  happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect.  i hate the word perfect because perfect =  boring.  it means you’re done – poof- it’s perfect.  perfect can be a napkin that you fold into a duck for a dinner party like – now that’s a perfect duck – but not applicable to your life.

being happy means that i’m recognizing and basking in the fact that i’m:

  • surrounded by great people. people that make me laugh, challenge me to be better, love me and want to call me early on a saturday morning to talk.  people that are thoughtful towards me by doing things like filling my car with gas or dropping a postcard from their travels in the mail to me.  people that appreciate the ideas and thoughts i bring and the work i do.  people that inspire me  – to practice yoga, to write and create.  people that are just damn cool – they get promoted, start a business, entertain effortlessly and are great at what they do.  these people do things with their lives that egg me on – run marathons, throw a charity event, throw a martini party, buy a new house and are just plain inspirational.
  • loved deeply and love wholeheartedly. i’m so glad i waited 39 years to get married.  my dad told me since i was way young to never settle.  he was talking about getting married – because he knew several men through work and the years that got divorced and the woman didn’t know what to do. he swore he would tell me “how men really were”  which he didn’t (what does that mean anyhow) but nonetheless i waited until i knew i wasn’t settling.  and i got a winner! 
  • loving my career and the direction it’s taken.  i did the same thing for 24 years.  worked my way from an intern at JTC Advertising on wells street in chicago to soon-to-be partner in a marketing venture that starts january 1 complete with 24 clients ready to go.  this shit is real!  what has driven me throughout my career is my love of marketing, being relevant to consumers and working with excellent clients that aren’t afraid to pave new roads with me.  i’m so passionate and driven about what i do that it makes every day fun to be alive.  i know.  i’m super cheesy.  shut up.
  • having fucking fun!  yep, just dropped the f bomb because it’s my damn blog.  i travel in one of the most beautiful places on earth, meet up with ROF in detroit to visit great friends, madison to visit great friends, chicago to visit great friends, florida to visit great family, atlanta to see great family.   as most of you know, we don’t have kids and guess what?  at 40 something years old – ROF and i are having the time of our lives.  we play cards (i’m winning…), get room service at fancy hotels, enjoy each other’s company without watching TV (unless we’re binge watching breaking bad), go to football games and cabins up north and the hill country down south.  we made salsa in santa fe and learned about wine in paris.  we laughed at a cramped comedy club in new york and played gin in toronto.

i felt like writing all this down because i know that happy will change as we get older.  i know that unhappy times are near.  and hopefully i am equipped to handle those times.  i can think this way for many reasons – first off – i always have.   second off – i had the experience of watching someone i loved die.  not a lot of people can say that.  make shit happen… today!  it’s getting your head around the fact that every second of every day you have a choice.

and people close to me know that i say this all. the. time. 

you have a choice to:

love where you are RIGHT NOW, not where you want to be

leave your shitty job

do something fun

kick needy people out of your life

decide you need boundaries that protect you

go on a dating site

say – THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR ME.  I’M OUTA HERE

wake up and be productive

wow. this is really a lot for a saturday morning.  (sigh)  look forward

 

drink it: blood orange martini

29 Oct

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hey!

happy saturday night.

watching the cubs game (sniff), drinkin’ this spooky blood orange martinis with my girls – amy & ruby.

dropping a huge steak on the grill.

life is good.

i hope this finds you well.

happy halloween + go cubbies!

MAKE IT:

  • 1 shot vodka
  • ½ shot limoncello
  • ½ shot ginger liqueur (expensive, but you’re reuse making this)
  • 1 – 1½ shots fresh squeezed blood orange juice (found them at Central Market)
  • ¼ shot simple syrup (make it here or buy it!)
  1. Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add ingredients and shake well. Make sure you make a face while you shake and hold the shaker like i do.  That’s just for fun.  Strain in a martini glass that you’ve filled with ice and water to chill and then throw it out before you pour the drink in.
Original recipe from cocktailsdrinkrecipes.com

cook it: yogurt parfait with mint and pistachio 

25 Aug

if you’re like me, you eat the same breakfast every morning.  except those days you get the bacon, egg and cheese mcgriddle from mcdonalds…just kidding…of course i don’t eat that crap!

this week’s episode of COOK IT comes with a tasty twist of routine.  it’s the best combo ever.  watch my lovely sister (in law) and one of my bestest friends prepare this scrumptious delight.

making martinis

20 Aug

and you thought you knew how to make a martini…🍸

throw around words like “dirty”, and “up” with confidence.

by popular demand, here’s ROF’s martini making magic for your drinking pleasure!

make it happen today

10 Aug


MOST PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO DOWN SHIFT THEIR FOCUS AND DRIVE ON A WEDNESDAY – YOU BETTER HUSTLE.

GET AT IT

YOU ARENT EVEN CLOSE TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE YET.  STRIVING AND DRIVING IS WHAT KEEPS US PRODUCING.


have a great day!


JUST WAIT. IT ALL GETS BETTER. I KNOW.

5 Aug

i grew up in the midwest.  in ohio, michigan, Illinois and wisconsin.  in fact, I went to three different high schools in three different states.  


and i’m not sure how to describe it, but it just feels like home in the air whenever I land up here. the smell in the air, the beautiful scenery and it seems like my body instantly recognizes the familiarity or connection.  last week we were in michigan and this weekend we are in upper wisconsin.  yep, it is 60 degrees right now – jealous my fellow dallasites?


i straddle living “in the south” and working “in the north” and have the unique perspective of getting the best of both worlds.

i love where i am in life. and if I had a child in their 20’s struggling with their career or situation i would have the unique ability to give sage advice. 

i guess that’s called getting old.  

the advice is this. just wait.  life changes.

15 years ago i worked at j walter thompson in chicago and was single.  i worked with clients in wisconsin and traveled the whole state.  i kept a journal and it was filled with pages of loving my life and job but, truthfully, being painfully lonely.  i never thought i would meet someone.

flash forward 15 years.  now, i am on the client side (same client!) and married to my very best friend.  had to go all the way to texas to get him but it was worth it. this weekend I get to show him this beautiful part of the country and smile, thinking about my 30 year old self.  oh what good comes to those who wait!

hustle and hit it in august

1 Aug

thanks gary vee for an inspiring message this morning – the 1st of august. 

Inspirational Gary Vaynerchuk Quotes

Wake up before everybody else and work into the night. Hustle” 

“Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.” 

“No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story.” 

“Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, what do I want to do everyday for the rest of my life…do that.”

“There’s no reason in 2016, to do shit you hate. NONE.” 

“The truth is that finding happiness in what you do every day is so imperative.” 

“You didn’t grow up driving…you figured it out.” 

“All your ideas may be solid or even good .. But you have to Actually EXECUTE on them for them to matter.” 

“Love your family, work super hard, live your passion.” 

“I’m just always looking forwards. I spend very little time, looking backwards” 

“Effort is grossly underrated.” 

“Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.” 

“I put zero weight into anyone’s opinion about me because I know exactly who I am. Can you say the same? When” 

“I failed all my classes and that’s why I’m winning. In hindsight, the fact that I was considered a failure for the first 18 years of my life has become the foundation of my success.”

“Stop focusing on dumb shit. Don’t be afraid to break things. Don’t be romantic. Don’t take the time to breathe. Don’t aim for perfect. And whatever you do, keep moving. Reread this a few times . . .”

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Cook it: gazpacho 

27 Jul


get it:

4 vine ripe tomatoes, skin removed and chopped

1/2 cucumber, diced

1/2 green pepper, diced

1/4c red wine vinegar

1/4c olive oil

1 tbsp black pepper

1 tbsp garlic powder (we love bolners fiesta brand)

2 c zing zang bloody mary mix

6-46 dashes of tabasco

make it:

prep all your ingredients. Put them all in a bowl.  add more of what you like and less of what you don’t. mix well.

cover and put in fridge for at least a couple hours – these folks need to spend time getting to know each other in the bowl.

when ready to serve, you can serve as-is or puree half of it in blender and pour it back in the bowl. Gives it a more soup-like texture but with some chunks.  serve in a bowl with dollop of sour cream, some croutons and chopped scallions.

75 things to do with peaches

25 Jul

i have written over 350 blog posts in the past 5 years and the blog post i did on 25 things to do with peaches is still my biggest hit.  i think it comes up organically in searches.  so of course, i’m no dummy, i’ve upped my game.

this is a post on 75 things you can do with peaches.  ha.  this is going to sky rocket.

it is summer after all, and really nothing beats a perfectly ripe, juicy peach.  except maybe crisp michigan roadside corn.  yes, that’s a type of corn.

 

peaches

i’ve curated 75 things you can drink, eat and make with peaches.  you can grill them, mix them with savory items like pork chops or wrap bacon around them. you can make smoothies, salsa and jam.  you can drink them up in lemonades, tea, slushes or make a peach collins.  pair peaches with bourbon, bacon, vanilla, crab and ham.  it’s really quite versatile.  you can even make it into a sugar scrub and smear it on your face.

i’d rather each peaches though.  remember this recipe?

you can write about peaches, like this:

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or change your name to “peaches”

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or you can learn about peaches.  here are some cool facts you’ll feel smarter for knowing:

  • the top four peach-producing states are california, south carolina, georgia and new jersey
  • this fruit is a member of the Rosaceae family and is a close relative of almonds
  • a large peach has fewer than 70 calories and contains 3 grams of fiber. It’s also a good source of vitamins a and c
  • it is a good stress-reliever, helps to reduce anxiety – it is often referred to as the ‘Fruit of Calmness’ in hungary
  • in the world, china is the biggest producer of peaches and italy is the second

who knew?  now you do.  so go make some of these delicious peach recipes right now – before peach season runs out!

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XXOO

the 5 best reads in the morning

23 Jul

this sounds ridiculously optimistic, but i can’t wait to wake up in the morning.  not because i can’t wait to run on the treadmill or make my first cup of coffee (nepresso, yum) but it’s because i can’t wait to dive into the 45 minutes i give myself to read in the morning.  here are the 5 best things.

this is my morning routine for reading articles and news (books are for night time reading) and i can’t wait to share.

1

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TWITTER.
i’m a twitter lover.  the best way to get a hold of someone – really anyone.  i’ve given entire talks on the positive attributes of twitter.  i skim it first thing in the morning and look at the trending hashtags to quickly see if i missed anything overnight.  sometimes it’s scary because a hashtag takes you right to the people involved in whatever is going on and you get this much bigger sense of what is happening versus just watching a newscast.  i’ve gotten to know some great thought leaders via twitter just by reading them and retweeting.  they see that i forwarded their work on and then check me out.

twitter

i could go on but we have four more apps to read…

FLIPBOARD.

flipboard was designed to read holding your phone in your one hand.  you use your thumb to flip through the stories and click to read more.  you can follow thousands of topics and people – friends and writers.  you can organize categories for yourself and it’s easy to share articles and quotes.  i read a ton of stuff on productivity and leadership here. i find that INC has the best stuff to read .

flipbook

THIS IS HOW I HAVE IT ORGANIZED ON MY PHONE…ha ha

my mind

MEDIUM.

oh my goodness.  my newest favorite obsession.  i can’t wait to start writing here but reading is just too much fun.  for example, just read this article here that i found – SO GOOD.  people are so f*ing cool!  i consume this content like peanut butter on the tip of my dogs tongue.

mediumHIGHBROW. 

this is a website that you can sign up to get little “bite sized” lessons every day from a short-lived subject of your choice.  i just started a SEO “class”.  you get this delivered into your in-box every day at a time you choose.

highbrow

FEEDLY.

some people watch tv shows, i read my feedly rss app religiously.  this is all fun stuff – nothing too deep.  i follow hundreds of my favorite bloggers for interior and graphic design, beauty and fashion (you don’t think i know how to dress this fashionably on my own, do you?) and recipes and food.  it’s like a little present waiting for me every morning.

sometimes i get so excited to read it that i put it off – so i have something to look forward too… i’m so stupid.  love it!

Texture feedly

TEXTURE.

you know how much i obsess over magazines, right?  if not, read here.  oh, or here.  and i am blown away how awesome reading magazines is with this great ipad app.  it not only gives you hundreds of magazines monthly at or before they are on the news stand but they summarize the top reads from most of them and puts them in a highlights section for you.  AND (this is best) you can search across ALL MAGAZINES.  yes, i get all in a wad over this.  i can search CHICKEN and anything written about chicken across not only all the magazines but…wait for it…. all issues of magazines.  like a GAZILLION recipes on chicken come up.

that’s it!  gotta go read!

cook it: chicken florentine artichoke bake

21 Jul

cook it

thank god the weekend is almost here.  i’m ready for it.  while i haven’t been traveling too much this month, i find it hard to work from home.  anyone else think that as well?  i seems i need people, action and inspiration.  that’s why it was so much fun to have my sister-in-law hang out for a while this summer.  we had a lot of fun together.  we cooked up a storm, both at home and while taking a cooking class at sur la table.  

this week’s episode of COOK IT is a casserole and it’s perfect to make on sunday.  just saying that word, casserole,  is comforting.  one dish of love wrapped up with all the things i love.  pasta, artichokes, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, paprika.

just kidding, who loves paprika?

Cook

chicken florentine artichoke bake

6 servings

get it:

bow tie pasta – 8 ozs

onion – 1 small, chopped

eggs – 2

butter – 2t

milk – 1 1/4c

crushed red pepper – shake

dried italian seasonings – shake

chicken  -2 c cooked + chopped

monterey jack cheese – 2 c, shredded

artichoke hears – 14 oz can

spinach – 10 oz , fresh

oil packed sun dried tomatoes – 1/2 c drained and chopped

panko  bread crumbs – 1/2 c

paprika – 1/2 tsp

parm cheese – 1/4 c

do it:

preheat oven to 350.  cook pasta according to directions, drain.  in medium skillet cook onion in 1 t of butter over medium heat about 5 minutes, stir every so often.  remove from hear, set aside.

in a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, seasoning, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  stir in chicken, cheese, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, half of the parm cheese, pasta and onion.  get in there with your hands and stir it up – a spoon can’t do it justice! transfer to a 13 x 9 baking dish.

fix a glass of wine.

bake, covered for 20 minutes.  in a small bowl combine remaining parm cheese, bread crumbs, paprika and 1t butter melted.  sprinkle mixture over pasta.  bake that puppy for 10 minutes more until golden!

eat it!

here is susan showing how to make it!

adapted from better homes and garden

cook it: crab cakes w/lemon dill sauce

14 Jul

cook it welcome to the first installment of “COOK IT!”  i’m so thrilled to bring you this new blog post series that is designed to be for the person or couple who wants to cook but have a hard time deciding what to cook and frankly, how to cook.

sometimes you just gotta say “cook it!” and dive right in.

our first recipe is crab cakes with lemon dill sauce (are you excited?!?)

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this is a perfect recipe to do this saturday.  so read the recipe, buy the ingredients and then saturday mid-morning, after you’ve slept in a little bit and had your coffee:

grab all your ingredients

read the recipe again

put together your mise en place and

make your sauce and your cakes

then you just put them in the fridge.  when dinner time rolls around, well, aren’t you fancy?!  just pop those cakes in the oven, prepare a little baby spinach salad with a light vinaigrette and plop two cakes down on top, swirl your lemon dill sauce on the side and you’ve got one hell of a fancy dinner.  easy.

this recipe is from my wonderful sister-in-law susan who is an excellent cook.  she visited us last week and was nice enough to make these for ROF and me and …<wait for it>  filmed a video of her making these for us. check it out at the bottom.

****

yield: 4 reasonably sized people

prep time: 30 min

total: 2 hours and 30 min

lemon dill sauce

get:

mayo – 1 cup

buttermilk – 1/4 cup

dill – 2t chopped fresh

italian parsley – 1t chopped fresh

lemon zest – 1 t

lemon juice – 2 tsp

garlic – 1 clove minced

make: combine all the ingredients above in a bowl and stir well.  put in fridge and let it chill out.  sauce will thicken as it chills. 

crab cakes

get:

butter – 3t

scallions – 3 chopped

red bell pepper – 2t chopped

garlic – 1 clove minced

heavy cream – 3t

dijon mustard – 1t

egg – 1

italian parsley – 1.2 t chopped fresh

cayenne pepper – a dab’ll do ya

bread crumbs – 1 cup

parmesan cheese – 1/4 cup

crabmeat – 1 lb.

make: melt 1t of butter in a skillet over medium heat.  saute’ the scallions, pepper and garlic for about 3 minutes. in a bowl, mix together the cream, mustard, egg, parsley, cayenne pepper, 1/2 the bread crumbs and the vegetables you just sauted.  gently fold in the crabmeat.  form mixture into 8 patties.  in a mixing bowl, combine the remaining bread crumbs (1/2 c) and the parm cheese.  pat this topping onto both sides of the patties.  refrigerate until firm – at least 2 hours. 

you can cook these on the stove in a little bit of oil or bake them which is what we do. top each patty with a small pat of butter and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.  serve on a bed of spinach with a dollop of lemon dill sauce on the side. 

are you ready to impress your loved one with this awesome dinner?  here is susan making both the lemon dill sauce and the crab cakes.  make them this weekend and post a pic to instagram and tag me.  i dare you…!

3 apps, 3 podcasts + 3 instagrams

10 Jul

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three apps

remember:  this app automatically populates where you are via GPS.  just enter the person or thing you want to remember and when you return to that place, the “remember” app sends you a notification with what you had entered.

use it:

  • when you want to remember a bartender or waitstaff person’s name at a new or favorite restaurant.  the app will send a notification when you walk back into that bar.
  • when you meet someone new.  while you may not be going back to that conference again, you might remember that you met the person there.  so the app remembers that person’s name and information and stores it under the conference name so you can grab it.  “who was that SVP we met at the IMG conference…”

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medium:  thanks lori for introducing me to this one.  it’s one i read every morning.  the app describes itself better than i could:

At Medium, we are creating a network that enables people to make an impression on others. To make them think or change their minds. To teach them something or connect emotionally. Where the quality of the idea matters, not the author’s qualifications. A place where conversation pushes ideas forward and words still matter.

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li.st: i’m having fun discovering new content with this app.  i especially like following mindy kaling and bj novak on this app. here is what it is in their own words:

With li.st, you can:
  • Get inspired by travel recommendations, reading lists, recipes, and life musings.
  • Share your experiences and opinions through richly formatted lists with text, photos, and locations.
  • Request lists from your friends and your favorite musicians, athletes, and public figures.
  • Find the most popular, exciting, and useful lists from around the globe.
  • Search the topics that matter most to you and save lists for quick access.
  • Stay informed and up-to-date with news summaries, film and music reviews, TV highlights and more from top publications.

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3 podcasts

podcasts have gotten so much better lately.  maybe because serial was so successful.  it sure makes doing anything – walking, driving, trying to fall asleep… more fun.  here are some podcasts i like:

dear sugar: plain and simple, it’s an advice program.  people email real life and relatable situations and cheryl strayed and steve almond respond.  it’s entertaining and i love the research they do to answer the question. they will bring someone else on the show that has been through that particular situation and give their 2 cents.  pick any of these that strike your fancy.

embedded: another great offering from npr.  this podcast takes a story from the news and digs much deeper.  listen to it from the start, to “the house.”  you can listen in here.

this is your life with michael hyatt: 10 million listeners can’t be wrong.  michael hyatt is a best selling author and the founder of a leadership development company. he covers topics like how to be more productive, how to merchandise your blog and yourself and many other topics.  the free content he puts out is amazing.  he is your virtual mentor.   i recently bought his latest book and loved it.  it’s about coming up with a plan for your life.  i’m all about planning and this was right up my alley.  check it out.

3 instagrams

here are three outstanding instagram accounts to follow.  why?  because i like them.

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if you like sushi and new york, you’ll love following bond st.  the best sushi restaurant i’ve ever had the pleasure of dining.  check out this fish!

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so much fun.

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do not follow if you’re hungry.  best snaps ever.

 

over and out!

early morning emoji banter

26 May


can’t blame him- my coffee is the best!  Yes this really happened this morning!

inspiration for today

15 Apr

today i’m in naples, florida with people I love. ROF arrives today and i can’t wait to see him!

i’m thinking about my wonderful aunt jeanie.  she passed away on wednesday. i loved her.  I used to stay at her house in columbus ohio when i handled the buick account at JTC Advertising.  she was always so excited to see me and hear about what i was doing.  she and I shared a love of books and movies.  she had so much life and interest in people and places!

she also could play the piano so well.  i snuck a video of her playing the last time I saw her.



i’m thinking of her sisters- my mom and aunt sally- and her kids, my cousins and her many grandkids.

oh! here are some things i’ve been meaning to tell you.  pass it on + be inspired!


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

favorite instagrammers

8 Apr

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for me, instagram started out to be just an app to run a filter through my photographs.  i didn’t pay attention to the fact that other people could see them.

IMG_1578but that was 6 years ago and now instagram is a tremendous marketing tool.  like they say, a picture says 1000 words!  and people are sooooo creative.  here are just a handful of people i love to follow:

CHRYSTAL PEARL

her instagram is so inspiring.  even though i plan to eat a cinnamon bun as big as my face that ROF got me from bucky’s, i love to stay connected to her.

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PARIS IN FOUR MONTHS

carin olsson has the most beautiful photos of paris.  my heart skips a beat looking at them.  i’d love to go there again.  live there?  in a hot minute!

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OVERHEARDLA

ha.  they just post stuff they overhear at bars and cafes all over LA.  or they take submissions.  pretty funny stuff.

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BONDST

best sushi in the united states of america.  hands down.  if you are ever in NYC – eat here!  but they also have a very creative instagram feed.  i’m drooling.

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100LAYERCAKE

amanda dawson, co-founder and CD of 100 layer cake in los angeles has an awesome feed.  i want to jump right into any of her photos.

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what are your favorite instagram feeds?

listening to this…

7 Apr


hey! happy thursday. i’m jetsetting around wisconsin this week…it’s almost spring!

here is what I’m jamming out to in the rent car this week.  don’t get all crazy and shuffle it.  start at the top the ole fashioned way.

on the #road: 3/16/16

16 Mar

snapshot:
rockford, il

COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT

hotel restaurant

seriously – no one here…

except the waitress, who is from Mexico

we bonded because I knew the word

si.

red wine, first and only glass, listening to “baby it’s cold outside” on stereo

christmas in march.

awesome day today on the wide open road visiting kind, smart, cool 

  
clients, well, peers now – not in agencyland anymore.

reading a sassy book, sending friends goofy dubsmash videos and winding down from a day that started at 3am. get to see my husband AND niece + boy tomorrow! 

 #perfect

#grateful

moodboard

13 Mar

i found this awesome site to create moodboards (super) easily.  it’s fun to do and bring your visions to life.  check it out here and see my dream bedroom and office boards below.

dreamy bedroom (2)working from home (4)

3.inspiring things 4 thursday

3 Mar

it’s important to be inspired. being with someone, watching something or remembering kind words is like a glass of cold water on a hot, humid day. they comfort but can also lead the direction to a bigger vision for yourself or for the world.

here are three inspiring videos. watch when you can, you won’t regret it!

and the last one deserves a little dialogue from me.  this video really spoke to me.  i absolutely love how she dug into what she needed to feel complete and then turn it into something that benefits others.  i think about this daily…constantly.

“my own definition of success has become more than anything about freedom to do different things…”

that sounds like such a luxury, doesn’t it?  true freedom?  but the new thinking for me is that i can have that luxury.  i’m not putting kids through school, i’m not saving to pay for weddings.  it doesn’t mean changing lifestyles, it’s about changing mindsets and taking your abilities to a whole new, exciting level.

 

heart attacks + fries

22 Feb

happy new year!

yes, i realize that it’s almost march but i haven’t posted since december.  i got a new job and started it in january and have been running ever since. (new job is awesome, by the way)

right now, i’m on an early morning delta flight out of dfw headed first to minneapolis and then to duluth. the cabin in this small plane smells like freshly brewed coffee and morning breath from the several men around me sleeping with their mouth wide open and head back.  from duluth i will rent a SUV and drive an hour and half to ashland, wisconsin.  otherwise known as God’s country.  look it up on a map.  it may be only 6 degrees up there but i consider it to be a huge perk of my job to experience the beauty which is northern wisconsin. then i turn around and drive back, stay by the airport and am on an early morning flight out of duluth to minneapolis and land back at dfw tomorrow at noon.

living healthy.

so at my age (46) i just realized i could die someday.  as a gen x’er (i’m stereotyping) the thought of dying or coming up on serious health issues could not have been further from my mind.  i was invincible and could smoke as much as i wanted (after all, the kids from my favorite movies did like st. elmos fire and singles.)

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drink wine as much as i wanted like carrie bradshaw in sex and the city and not care about how it affected me and my body.

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now i know.  and it’s a sobering fact of life.  you get old and your body and organs go along for the ride.

my brother who is four years younger than me had a couple massive heart attacks around thanksgiving. they had to shock him 19 times and his heart stopped beating for over 15 minutes.  my brother and i have a very strained and challenging relationship but it has made me sad for him.  it has made me think of me too.  that maybe it isn’t enough for me to just drink my trader joe’s super green powder drink every morning and “try” to walk 30 minutes before slumping back in front of my computer for the rest of the day.  maybe i have to do more and maybe it’s urgent.  maybe i better stop thinking that all there is what makes me happy now and think about the fact that what i do now will make me very happy in the future.

so i’m not a complainer or a whiner, i’m a doer and so i got a physical.  i’m on a plan to lose weight and eat right.  it is not going to be easy.  in fact, i forgot about eating right when i ordered a BLT sandwich and fries at st. pete’s dancing marlin this weekend. i only ate half.

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baby steps.

i also have a cardiologist who is going to run all the tests and wants to see me every 6 months.  she’s awesome.  my mom had her first heart attack at only 49.  and i’m 46.

it’s a journey,right?  that’s what they say.  i hope that i can do this and have encouragement along the way.

happy new year!

wine to buy for casual get-togethers

28 Dec

ever want to grab some wine for a casual get-together, but aren’t sure what you should buy?  do you grab a bottle of expensive wine thinking that the more you pay, it must be good?  then you wonder if that will be enough and you grab another bottle and before you know it, you’re spending double what you planned?

don’t you hate that?

a colleague asked ROF for his recommendation on what wine he should buy over the holidays for some out-of-town guests.  i thought it was pretty solid advice, especially if you frequent costco as much as we do.

plus i thought it was kind of funny.

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Hey-

Sorry this has taken me several weeks. Just did a big shop at Costco on Saturday, so this is still top of mind.

White – Huge fan of the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – it’s over in the cheap section in the cardboard boxes – not the wood crates. It’s $10.99 or $11.99 a bottle. Great wine – we drink a lot of this @ mi casa.

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Other White – Le Crema Chardonnay – Good stuff at around $12 a bottle. This is the house white @ The Mansion on Turtle Creek (no joke).

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Red – My favorite red that Costco sells is Coppola (Francis Ford Coppola – how bad ass is that?) Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. It’s great wine and both are a great bargain at Costco for between $11-$15 a bottle. And anyone that bad mouths Merlot is a dumb-shit and doesn’t know wine, they only remember the movie Sideways which sent Merlot sales sliding for years.

Another red to try – Dynamite – either the Cab or Merlot – a little cheaper than Coppola but real good. It also has a cool label.

Dynamite Vineyards 2012 Merlot 750ml

Hope this helps.

Happy Holidays and bottoms up!

ROF

december playlist

4 Dec

i’m sorry, i don’t mean to brag, but this may simply be the best playlist to date.  i’m just saying.

i don’t know why all my playlists are named with something having to do with wine.  i think it’s because when you’re sipping wine with friends, you need to have just the right music.  duh.

anyway, i followed some of my favorite djs on spotify and curated this list of eclectic songs that should make you happy.  i’m happy!

i put a song on here that will make my sister think of me.  another one really reminds me of hanging with debbie and jeff cummings in chicago over 20 years ago (can they guess which one?) also, melissa glick will smile at a couple of flashbacks some songs will give her.

what are your plans for the weekend?  we’re going to a fun wine tasting tonight, heading to a dallas best new restaurant saturday with friends we love and chilling, playing cards (i’ll be winning) on sunday.

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happy friday!

it’s great to be alive!

18 Nov

read this if you believe it’s great to be alive.  or if you don’t.

my favorite radio station in the whole world is 93.1 or 93XRT in chicago, as everyone calls it.  i’ve been listening since i was in high school living the burbs of chicago.  i continued listening all the way through my 20s and 30s living the single life in downtown chicago to streaming it for the past twelve years (INTO MY FREAKING 40’s!) down here in dallas.

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i’m not going to go into how eclectic the music selections they play are – just trust that i have good taste.  anyway, i grew up with lin brehmer.  he’s on the morning show and ROF won’t be mad by me saying…. i love him.  he’s genius, wonderful, funny and insightful.  and i LOVE his signature “IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE” phrase he got from frank zappa.  i wonder if lin knows someone in dallas thinks this about him.  ha!  hearing that reminds me to tell you that i truly – and maybe cheesily – think that IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE every single day.  if you know me, you know that is true.

can you even comprehend for one single minute, sitting in a cafe enjoying a nice dinner – maybe it was impromptu – maybe it was planned for weeks – who cares.  but you’re sitting there and a gunman enters and starts shooting off an automatic gun.  like you, i’m sure, hearing about the events in paris rocked our world this weekend.   you don’t have time to say goodbye.  you don’t have time to “work on those things that you want to change.”  that’s it.  was it good?   did you make every single day count?

sometimes i have to remind myself and my close friends that we have #firstworldproblems.  that sometimes the things that SUCK really don’t SUCK at all.  this is what having this mentality is all about.  for example…. having a hard time at work?  you’re not appreciated or maybe not being used to your capability?  well, you’re getting a paycheck, you have a roof over your head and an opportunity to change your situation.   so guess what – IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE!  you’re upset that you’ve gained weight and clothes don’t fit and you’re depressed?  well,  if your legs work and you can walk – then IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE.  so change it, dear.

i spent a lot of time with my dad when he was dying.  every single day as a matter of fact.  so, yes, many times your situation really does SUCK.  dying of cancer SUCKs.  but my dad for the nine months he lived after finding out he had cancer in his esophagus, then brain, then finally his spine is that he truly had the attitude of how knowing IT’S TO BE ALIVE.  he used his last days on earth to hug life.  to make wrongs right, to make us laugh, to squeeze my mom tight and tell her he loved her always, to encourage my sister, brother and i and to really embrace life.

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he had the opportunity to do this where so many do not.  he knew this.

if you ever need a reminder how great it is to be alive go here and do something about it.  one of the best websites i’ve ever seen.  ever.  thanks JG for sending.

 

101 ways to get your house ready for guests – friends weigh in!

15 Nov

i love having house guests.  because it is just ROF and me (and ruby!) having our house abuzz with family and friends really gives me the feeling of home.  i love making our company comfortable whether it’s a home cooked meal, special conveniences or little surprises.

so i reached out to my friends to find out what they do to make the visit special.  i love these ideas!

have some of the guest’s favorite things on-hand; e.g., snack, coffee, liquor/beer. Female: fresh flowers, magazines, candle, comfy bedding, beautiful glass for bottled water, something silver in room Male: good breakfast food, James Patterson-type books, late night snacks, bottled water – marinell roe

i had my sister and her boyfriends initials monogrammed on hand towels. – megen decker

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get a collapsible suitcase holder at bed bath and beyond to get their suitcase to a place they can easily use it. put a small surprise on the bed. if kids are visiting get a little something about the city or candy treat.  if they are coming to see your city print an agenda like u and britt did when we came to chicago.aunt sally nilsen

for me, the thing that makes having house guests easy is organization in advance.  whether it is room prep, meals or activities, if you plan ahead, make an itinerary, buy and prep in advance, you can enjoy your guests and feel less stressed.  – susan prendeville

i like to put a goodie bath basket on their bed or in the bathroom. something luxurious, soap/body wash, loofa, plush washcloth and candle maybe to help them feel at home and little gifts they can take home with them.- katie ballard

hotel toiletries.0

since the guest room also doubles as storage when there are no guests, i typically organize the guest room closet and find extra non-wire hangers to put in there.  – meredith conte

i frame my wireless network and wifi password and put it on the bedside table.  Like what they would see in a boutique hotel.

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i always buy fruit, juice, banana bread or croissants and set up coffee and tea so they have a little continental breakfast waiting for them in the kitchen. people wake up at different times so even if I go back to bed, it’s there waiting for them and they don’t have to feel weird searching through the pantry.  I like doing this even if we have brunch plans because like I said…sometimes people wake up really early and i’m always hungry as soon as I wake up.

i always buy chocolate and set it out in candy dishes.  People like to munch and snack and it’s nice being able to grab a few pretzel M&M’s on your way to bed!

i let them sleep with riley, if they are really good friends… he’s a snuggle bug. – jackie grubb

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i love to cook for guests and a few special items I will pull out like chicken enchiladas or a lasagna that’s made with pepperoni (yum!) we also love to make a brunch for the first morning complete with mimosas. my go-to brunch casserole is pioneer woman’s sleepin’ in breakfast casserole.

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when we go out, we try to look for unique spots that the guests might not have at home. i love to try new restaurants and want to share that experience with others. – jennifer anderson

i love to leave a small vase of fresh flowers, nothing fancy (I can usually run outside and find something pretty in bloom) by the bedside.  ordering out from a local pizza place that first night makes things casual and easy and gives people time to relax. – lindy stagnaro

have a box of matches or a nice room spray in the bathroom and other accoutrements like nice simple soap in the shower and q-tips on the counter. set up a power outlet by the bed for phones and ipads to charge – sarah beth prendeville

i also asked my friends what games they like to play with guests and i heard about these several times:

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dani crowder’s friends and guests have a blast playing this game and we have had great success learning from jamie hare’s family playing this game

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but the most creative, interesting and fun suggestion came from christine warren.  her husband likes to whip up molecular gastronomy creations (invitation, please!) and she suggested purchasing this fun thing to do with guests!

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i have also gone to the local unique chocolatier and bought a sample box of chocolate and had guests guess what is in the chocolate (whiskey, bacon etc…)

lastly, here are some of my tips:

  • give people “jobs” to do.  everyone asks what they can do to help and typically they really do want to help – so delegate roles such as setting the table, writing out place cards, helping keep people’s drinks filled and clearing the table make people feel helpful and play a part
  • have the coffee pot ready to go – just press a button and hot coffee is on the way so your guests don’t have to wait if they wake up early
  •  plan for some down time.  time for people to do their own thing – take a walk (have an extra house key made), read or just hang out and not feel like they have to be “on” the whole time
  • plunger in the bathroom.  no one wants to ask for one and if you have a finicky toilet like we do – just keep one under the sink
  • give guests permission to help themselves to snacks at any time.  drinks in the garage fridge and chips and nuts in the pantry  – help yourself!  i love trader joes salt and pepper pistachios

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  • in the winter, keep comfy socks in guest room drawer and extra blankets by the bed.  sleep in your guest room so you can experience what they will

thank you to all my fun friends who contributed to this!  i can’t wait to have a house full of family this thanksgiving and they are sure to be the recipients of your great ideas.

november playlist – all you need

10 Nov

forget pandora, i hand-picked each song specifically for you.

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this is a november-only playlist.  it will go away dec 1, so play it now.  play it loud.

encouragement for today

30 Oct

my encouragement for today is for you, girl.

yes, you.

the woman who does it all.

chin up.  don’t get discouraged.  don’t get down.

if you don’t get encouraged by me, at least listen to one of my heros at the end.

have a great day!

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now, if you’ve made it this far, listen to maya.  miss you.

 

project child save – please read!

6 Oct

i want to announce my friend kelly’s non-profit organization: Quest 4 Recovery.  Quest 4 Recovery supports the recovery of children that have been kidnapped for exploitation purposes.  i’m so impressed with this organization and mission, i can’t even tell you.

wait, yes i can.

before i jump into my interview with kelly and talk about their next benefit, watch even a minute of the documentary that inspired them to start this nonprofit.  in fact, proceeds from their upcoming backyard benefit are going to project child save and ty ritter will be at this event in dallas!  warning:  this video is disturbing.

 

i caught up with kelly and gabby at their first fundraiser at kendra scott in preston center.

1. who is all involved in Quest 4 Recovery?

Gabriela Garcia, Tara Banda and you!

2. why is this a passion of yours?  

While pregnant with my second baby, I watched the A&E documentary on Project Child Save .  It affected me so much that approximately 18 months later, I was still thinking about their organization.  I wanted to help and felt it needed to be more than just me writing a check.  I mentioned it to Gabby and she was just as inspired as I was and we came up with the idea of starting a non-profit.  A charity for charities, if you will.  An organization that supports and champions for all non-profits trying to help kids escape exploitation.

3. what is the mission?

To raise funds and awareness for nonprofits that are helping children escape sexual slavery and exploitation  Whether it’s an organization that assists in physical recovery of a child or helps with emotional repercussions after the rescue.  We can be their advocate.  

4. where do donations go to and is there a goal that you’re aiming for?  

After our costs for a fundraising event are recouped  (I.e. venue rental, food, beverages, etc.) all funds will go back to the non-profit we were highlighting.  

For example, on October 24th, 2015 we are hosting a fundraiser for Ty Ritter’s Project Child Save.  They are a group of ex-military men/women that rescue children from foreign, hostile, and often corrupt territories.  Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, you name it.  Child pornography and trafficking of children is so profitable that many countries will turn a blind eye if not fully support it, albeit covertly.  These children must be taken back by these brave men and women because they are never going to get out unless someone goes and gets them.  The local law enforcement won’t help and is often in on the operation.  Project Child Save fills in the gap.  If they could buy back a child, they would.  Unfortunately, with the internet you can sell a child a hundred times over with little to no risk and it’s only going to get worse unless there are more organizations like PCS willing to take the risk to save the kids.

5. what has been the most challenging thing so far in starting a charity?  

Just the trial by fire we’re going through now!  We’re four women that are passionate about helping Ty’s group but we aren’t professional fundraisers.  However, neither was Susan G. Komen when she started out.  Passion and commitment is what we have and so far it’s working. Awareness is everything.  It leads to all good things when trying to raise money for the true heroes taking real risks.

for those of you in dallas, please consider coming to an awesome event supporting project child save.  ty ritter is flying in from california, excited to have others supporting his cause of saving kids.  it would mean so much to me, kelly and the team to have you attend.  click here for tickets!

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WEEKEND IN: SANTA FE

6 Oct

hi.  thanks for reading.  i’ve taken some time off to start a new job but anxious to jump back into appreciating life in this blog.  i’m starting a new series based on all the travel we’ve done recently.  it’s a quick weekend itinerary in cities worth visiting around the country.  While these we “tested” with us – a couple – these are perfect trips for singles, girlfriend getaway or families.

we’re going to start with beautiful santa fe, new mexico.  want to head there for a getaway with your loved one for a weekend?  here is where to go, what to do and where to stay.  follow this, like we did, and i promise you’ll have a great weekend!

arrive friday afternoon and stay here:

la posada de santa fe

this place is utterly breathtaking, unique and perfectly located.  stay here and you don’t need to rent a car because you can walk everywhere.  and it’s different… not a typical resort.  instead of one big hotel, these are separate buildings that hold four rooms each with their own outdoor space.  every late afternoon, they light up the outdoor fire pits with that distinct fall smell of pinion wood.  most importantly, the bar is fun, lively and from popular talk…haunted.  we used points to stay here – it’s a starwood resort.  located walking distance from the plaza and my favorite place – canyon road.  also- this place is dog friendly!  in fact, one of my good friends from my chicago years drove down with her adorable pup drove down and met us for dinner

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photos courtesy of la posada de santa fe

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 5.38.47 AMfriday night dinner:

COYOTE CAFE

132 West Water
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 983-1615

after you’ve settled into your beautiful room at la posada, maybe had a delicious jalapeno margarita at the bar, head out by foot to coyota cafe.  this is one of ROF and my favorite restaurants in the country!  we’ve been here several times and it never disappoints.  get there about a half hour before your reservation and have a drink at the rooftop cantina connected to the restaurant and the views of the plaza won’t disappoint.

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really weak photos, i know.  sorry.  ROF won’t let me use the flash because i take too many pictures (haha) but here was a snap from our walk to the restaurant.  i’m told that the reason why santa fe is so magical (best word to describe) is that the light dances.  and it does – amazing!

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now, walk home, go on, it’s safe and believe it or not the sky is still as bright as the picture.   hold hands walking through the resort to your room (not required, but recommended!)

saturday morning breakfast:

what?  still full from the night before?  no way!  sleep in a little bit, go to the resort spa or workout then head here.  and plan to wait but it is worth it.

cafe pasqual’s – 121 don gaspar road

just walk there.  we walked everywhere.  here are some pics from pasquals.  i bought a long sleeve tee which seems to be my thing to collect now….

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saturday afternoon  – things to do

take a open air bus tour.  it’s a great way to see a city and ROF and i do this everywhere we go.  walk over to the loretto chapel – through the end of october only – jump on this tram and tool around and hear some great tidbits about sante fe.  my take away?  people paint their windows and doors blue to keep the bad spirits away.  there… worth the couple of bucks.

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saturday later in the afternoon ….

ok, enough of that, now let’s have fun.  sign up in advance for a cooking class at the santa fe school of cooking.  they couldn’t be nicer here and we are so glad we did this.  we met fantastic families from all over the country, learned a lot and got to get our hands dirty.  plus, now we are expert salsa makers! 

santa fe school of cooking 125 N Guadalupe St

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saturday night dinner:

geronimo… a must go.

from the owners book on the restaurant:

Featuring huge overhead beams, creamy stucco details, and a fireplace sporting oversized moose antlers, the 250-year-old hacienda that houses Geronimo restaurant is a welcome addition to Santa Fe’s trendy Canyon Road. Restaurant owners Cliff Skoglund and Chris Harvey along with chef Eric DiStefano have created a refined retreat in this once rough-and-tumble town, serving exquisite contemporary cuisine that rivals the best in the country. …Geronimo restaurant is named for Señor Geronimo Lopez, the former owner of the hacienda in which Geronimo is housed.

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sunday – all about art

santa fe is the oldest capital city in the us.  did you know that?  did you also know that georgia o’keefe is from santa fe?  i’m a bevy of information.  so, it’s sunday, you’ve slept in and are ready to get some exercise.  walk around the corner and hike all the way up canyon road.  here there are over a hundred contemporary art galleries in one half mile.  there are also restaurants and boutiques.  it is so much fun to stroll through these galleries and look at the art and figure out our “art style” together.  ROF and i have the same taste, which is awesome to discover.

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hope you get a chance to visit santa fe soon!  let me know if you have a favorite place there to visit.

5 lovely links (you’ll love!): pumpkin

23 Sep

Flashback to posts long ago…pumpkin, it’s more than just a latte!

the appreciator

i think you get the point by now, i love fall and everything that goes along with it –

cool weather, sweaters, squash, chili, the holidays.  i especially love starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte.  it’s the only time of year i like starbucks.  but pumpkin flavor, color or the actual vegetable i’m all over.  here are some links to everything pumpkin: 

link #1:  better homes & gardens shows some creative ways to decorate with pumpkins

link #2: pumpkin pancakes.  to-die-for!

found these on a blog called “annie’s eats”  .  and you can get the recipes there too.  just look at these…

link #3:  skinnygirl pumpkin pie dip

here is link to original post at skinnytaste

Pumpkin Pie Dip
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 12 • Size: 1/2 cup • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 102.9 • Fat: 0.1g • Protein: 1.8 g • Carb:…

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