Do you care what people think of you?

15 Apr

I’m on a girls trip in Florida this weekend and we’ve had some fun nights of “deep” questions to each other. One of the questions asked was “Do you care about what other people think of you?” I thought this was such a good question.  My first inclination was to shout “NO WAY!” but that would be a bold face lie.  How you answer this will most likely reflect your age. I believe the older you get, the less you care about what people think of you.

To me, it’s one of the biggest lessons we can learn from those more experienced than us.  Everyone wants to have friends and be liked but there is a difference between seeking those friends out by trying to please them and drawing people towards you because you are authentic and yourself.

I think sometimes people mistake caring about what people think about you for caring about yourself.  There’s a big difference.  One interesting thing I’ve read recently said that caring what people think about you actually shows a lack of self-love.   You get your approbation from other people.  And what’s wrong with that is that other people see life and things through their own filter and that may not be right.  Let’s just be so bold as to say, it won’t be right.  Instead of caring what others think, think more about yourself.

I’m no expert on the subject but I have been a perpetual people pleaser in the past. So in that regard, I can speak with authority on how completely imprisoning it can be to care about what people think about you. Thankfully, with age (and wisdom) I’m shifting my thinking.

And I don’t care what you think about that – ha!

Wayne Dyer said this on the subject: An important teacher of mine, Abraham Maslow, always counseled that it was necessary for the self-actualized individual to be “independent of the good opinion of others.” Listen to the voice you hear, and the drumbeat only you can feel, and honor it, while honoring it in those you love as well. It is the ultimate act of unconditional love. In being true to your inner calling, you may ruffle some feathers but you’ll have the peace and satisfaction of knowing that you fulfilled your divine purpose and encouraged others to do the same. Another brilliant nonconformist, Dr. Seuss, is credited with saying, “Be what you are and say what you feel because those who will mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

So – do you care what others think of you?  Do you let it run your choices or do you make choices FOR YOUR BENEFIT?

Fun Stuff I Found!

14 Mar

I don’t know if you do this or not, but whenever I’m reading something or I see something online that I love, I screen grab it.  Are those two words or one?  Screengrab?

Anyway, I’ve been doing this for years and now that the iPhone actually separates your screengrabs out for you in iphoto – all the things I’ve been saving are right there in one handy album for me!  It’s the 2018 equiv to what I used to do in my teens and 20’s. I would read a shitton (that is a new word I’m making up) of magazines and rip out articles and ads that I liked.  Then I’d either pin them up on my wall (that would be directly on to the wall – no bulletin board or the like) or make photocopies of them and pass the article out to people at work with the date written in at the top.

I digress.  On to the stuff I found. 

This isn’t in any kind of special order because I’m too lazy to actually think about that.  I just uploaded these babies.  Ready for some fun?  ok… read on.

This first one is pretty self-explanatory.  Damn good.  Do you NOT want to make these right away?  Notice, it doesn’t say “yogurt,” it says “cheesecake”.  Get in my tum-tum right now!  The recipe can be found here.

If you know me, you know that the minute the Dane County Farmers Market opens up in Madison – this is me every Saturday morning gathering the homeland’s finest flowers and bringing them home.  Oh, I can’t wait.  I can smell the early morning lake scents wafting into the state capitol and feel the summer against my cheek!  <sigh> I love this photo, so I grabbed it but don’t know where it came from.  IG, I’m sure.

 

Girls, have you heard of this “capsule” idea?  Boys do this automatically, I believe. If I had the body for it, I would jump on this like white on rice.  Is that politically correct to say?  LOL, I don’t know anymore.  Geez.  Anyway, check this out!  For those of you that want to just throw something on and not think about it but still look super cute – get a capsule!  This is a curated bunch of basic clothes you can mix or match all season long.  I know who would like this of my friends (Megan & Connie?)  Read more about it here and here.

Do you know who this is?  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this photo!  OMG (insert girly scream here) Click on the link if you didn’t catch that.

 

I grabbed this above because ROF and I play cards EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Not kidding.  and YES YOU ARE WINNING, ROF!  And to me, accessorizing is key.  Can you say WANT THIS?!

Someday, I will buy one of these kits and do it.  I really want one.

A long time ago, I bought my friend Susan a similar kit from Anthro and I’d love her tell the story of what happened with that birthday gift that I bought her.

Susan, if you’re reading, please comment below! xxoo

I didn’t have just one pair of these shoes, I had at least three pairs of these shoes.  Not at once but because I WORE THEM OUT!

Who knew?  By the way, you can do this OR pay over $500 for it to be done by a nutritionist. 

 

Mom?  Wouldn’t this be awesome?  Let someone else figure out the meds.  And yes, this would work perfectly for me too!

 

Ok, that’s it for now.  I haven’t even been able to make a dent in the things I’ve grabbed so more later.  What have you found?

Be Passionate to Have Focus

13 Mar

I had an entirely different post scheduled for today.  It was a post of all the fun things I’ve found and screen grabbed over the past few months.  However, there is something bigger weighing on my mind.

woman-2696408_640

It’s kinda deep so feel free to wait for the fun post tomorrow.  

These thoughts come in the wake of the #metoo movement.  Also:

  • after I heard a disturbing question on a podcast, I heard today and
  • being overwhelmed by social media and all the available CONTENT that is out there waiting for me to consume it

the comment on the podcast was depressing.  I’ve thought about it all day today on my drive up north.  A 19-year-old girl left a message to the “Forever 35” hosts wondering if the “urge to crawl out of your own skin goes away as you get older.” 

First of all, this is a podcast on face serums for women who want to be “Forever 35.”  The misplaced question from the girl came out of left field but was honest and in search of an honest answer.   It made me think about how different kids have it now compared to when I was 19 years old.  The same pressures exist – school, boyfriends, parents, what-are-you-going-to-do-with-the-rest-of-your-life, drinking, boyfriends.  Did I already say that one?  However, now on top of that, you just have MORE crap shoved in your head from Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and more.   All from people you know and don’t know.  It’s now not celebrities that have it all anymore.  According to social media, EVERYONE has it all!

abstract-1233873_640.jpg

Someone as old and mature as me can (sometimes) keep it in its place.  But, it can make anyone want to crawl out of their own skin.  No matter what your age is.  Nowadays, bullies don’t just exist on playgrounds shoving their face into yours, they lie in snarky comments on newsfeeds.

We don’t really know exactly what she meant by that comment. But my answer to her would have been this:

Yes.  Hopefully.  You recognize that you want to crawl out of your skin, so here is where you don’t want to be.  Where do you want to be? This is important to figure out because there is one thing that can shift your focus from wanting to crawl out of your skin to loving the skin you’re in.  

And that is passion. Passion gives you focus beyond yourself.  At <cough cough> years old, here are some real-life passions of my friends and family:

  • YOGA.  Either going to yoga regularly or becoming a teacher, an expert
  • MARKETING.  Selling consumers in a relevant way
  • CARDS.  Yep, playing cards, socializing and laughing is a great passion to have.
  • SAVING KIDS.  Fundraising to stop the sex trafficking of children in the US
  • CAREER.  Passionate about learning and climbing up the ranks at work
  • FAMILY. Building one starting with the love of their life and then kids
  • BEING HEALTHY.  Snubbing the nose at chocolate chip cookies and loving feeling good
  • FAMILY BUSINESS. Growing the family business.  Contributing!
  • ENTREPRENEUR.  Doing it for yourself!  See how far you can go.
  • BIKES.  Building them, selling them, showing them
  • DOGS.  Loving them, saving them, volunteering to help them
  • ADOPTION.  Passionate about bringing children into their family as their own
  • BLOGGING.  Writing and sharing about life and whatnot
  • MUSIC.  Creating a feeling, a show
  • COOKING.  Mixing, making and sharing
  • ENTERTAINING.
  • IMPROV.
  • DANCING.
  • VOLUNTEERING.
  • CREATING.

SHALL I GO ON?  I can give you one or more person I know with these passions. 

It’s ok to feel like you want to crawl out of your skin.  For now.  But don’t stay there.  Grab a passion and blow it out.  Let it become bigger and bigger.  Hopefully, before long, your focus will not be on getting outside of yourself but loving the fact that you’re exploring things that you’re passionate about.   

 

Getaway: Burlington Vermont

10 Mar

Want a fun little girls trip itinerary?  or this could be a lover’s getaway.  Just kidding, I hate that word – LOVERS! (ha)  I’m going to admit though, it isn’t the easiest place to get to really but it’s worth it!

If you’re like me and a wiz at geography (insert ROF laughing here) here’s a map for reference:

I would make this a two night trip.  Fly in on a Friday afternoon and out on a Sunday.  Here are a couple of ideas of where you could go and do.  First, just Uber it from the tiny airport to your hotel.

CHECK-IN:

HOTEL VERMONT:  Preppy Swank.  Loved!

41 Cherry Street
Burlington, Vermont

WEBSITE

This is the perfect place to stay.  Friendly and lots of attention to detail.  Every floor had a shared coffee/water/tea area.  The warm fire with woodsy smells greets you the minute you walk into the lobby.  Your modern but comfortable room is outfitted with locally made soaps (lemony!) and lotions.

Drop your bags, run a brush through your hair then hit the town  – it’s happy hour!

DRINKS:

THE ARCHIVES: Is it an arcade? is it a cocktail lounge? It’s both!  Grab a Shinebox or a Shakedown cocktail and belly up to Ms. Pac Man or Tetris.  You’re sure to work up an appetite.

photo cred: The Archives website

FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER:

Head over to The Farmhouse Tap & Grill on Bank Street.

I had the Cast Iron Seared Atlantic Salmon with butternut puree, red quinoa, endive, sage and pecan pesto.  It was out of this world!  They have a great selection of starters too including a raw bar.  It’s casual like the whole town – jeans and boots – are fine!

Walk back to the hotel through the quaint downtown that looks almost identical to Boulder, Colorado.  They were designed by the same company!  Zig and zag down the Church Street Marketplace – so cool.   Maybe stop at the hotel lobby bar for a nightcap by the fire or turn in!

THINGS TO DO ON SATURDAY:

Now, you don’t need me to tell you to head back to the hotel.  Rest and relax.  And get ready for a wonderful dinner out with your lovely or friends.   Head here:

 

This place looks fantastic. Very Vermont.

Check it out if you get a chance.  Buy some maple popcorn at the airport on your way home.  I didn’t (wink) but it looked good.  Let me know if you have other suggestions.

February Playlist: Leonard & Frost

15 Feb

Not my typical playlist. That’s my disclaimer for –arguably– the best playlist for this dreary, tepid, news-saturated month.

So turn off the boob tube. Go on. Open this playlist and start at the top. Damn it’s good, if I do say so myself.

I’ve made it collaborative so you can add a song or two if you want. No AC/DC. I’m gonna call out some peeps here to contribute – you know who you are: AH, JG, DS, KK, CH, JG.  Yep, you.

You’ve gotta follow May Earlewine on IG. I love her morning pour over coffee jams.

Enjoy! It’s my Leopard & Frost playlist on Spotify.

Sisters

14 Feb

There are big times I miss my sister, who lives in Huntington Beach now, and small times. The big times are like when she gets engaged and I can’t give her a big squeeze. Or when I’m driving for a few hours in my car and think back to some of our epic memories we’ve had together.

One of those memories is when my dad died, she and I stayed at the famous Broadmore Hotel and Spa in Colorado (she paid!) together and just laughed and cried and breathed in God’s peace in those beautiful mountains.

Mostly when I think of Katie, I think about how hard she makes me laugh. In typical younger sister fashion, she liked to embarrass me – intentionally or unintentionally- and sometimes it just made me laugh so damn hard.

My sister is one of the most caring and passionate people I know and I wasn’t very nice to her growing up. As the oldest, I guess you could say I was into… myself. <shocker> Do you like how I blame that on being the oldest? And I hate thinking about that because she truly is one of the most very very important people in my life.

So this very morning, a small thing happened that made me think of Kate. This:

Ain’t no one who can get shit like this done like my sister. Probably the only girl out there that has a green electric screwdriver that she named “Lucy.” Lol. And she could untangle this mess of necklaces in a hot minute.

Here’s to an epic sisters weekend SOON! It’s been a year since I’ve seen my sister and I’ve cried through writing this whole damn thing. Happy Valentine’s Day, sissy. Xxoo

Awesome Birthday Traditions

7 Feb

I love this tradition (plus I love steak see here and here!) After hearing about this a couple of times, I decided all of you needed to know about it too.  Make this tradition your own!  There are so many ideas.  I share some of mine after the interview. 

I interviewed my friend, Sean Sivore and his son Aidan on their favorite thing to do on their birthdays:

Tell me a little bit about why you go to so many Steakhouses(how many?) – what is your tradition and how did it start?  I’ve always loved the experience at steakhouses.  The service and atmosphere are a big part of what makes a great steakhouse great.  My Dad loved great restaurants and since Aidan and I have birthdays one day apart, I thought it would be a fun “father/son” tradition to research the hottest steakhouses around and the two of us go to one for our birthday each year.  We’ve been doing this since Aidan’s 7th Birthday.

Musso and Frank Grill, Hollywood, CA – August, 2016

Now, let’s talk to Aidan.

Is steak your favorite thing to eat? Yes!

What are your top 5 steakhouses and why did you like them so much?

  1.  Bavette’s – Chicago, ILAtmosphere was a little like a bar (dark/quiet),  But the steak was so good, it didn’t matter.
  2.  Prime and Provisions – Chicago, ILSteak was perfect.  The atmosphere was awesome.  The bacon appetizer is off the chain! The service was the best of any steakhouse.
  3. Gibson’s – Chicago, ILFirst steakhouse I went to and finished an 18oz Rib-eye at age 8.
  4. Benjamin’s Steakhouse – New York, NYOld School looking steakhouse, but not that old.  Steaks were awesome.
  5. Chicago Cut – Chicago, ILCool steak place, atmosphere, and great food.

Do you order the same thing at all the steakhouses?   No, I usually order whatever the house specialty is.  When in doubt though I order a Rib-eye.

What is your favorite thing to eat? Steak by far 

Sean: This is a picture of our first annual “Guy’s Steak Night Out.”  This was before the ladies of the family started muscling their way into our tradition.  He finished the whole steak!

December 2012, Gibson’s Chicago

Prime and Provisions – Chicago, 2017 
Thanks, Sean and Aidan!  This is so much fun – what a great idea!  Here are some of my thoughts on how to make this your own.
  1. If steak is not your thing, make it sushi, Italian or even pizza!  Hit up your own city or travel.
  2. If food is not your bag, what about a class?  Take a class with friends or your S.O. on your birthday.  Learn something new every year on your birthday and keep track with a photo.
  3. Do something crazy out-of-the-ordinary every year on your birthday.  Research it.  Swim with dolphins, skydive, bungee jump, swim to Alcatraz * – mark the years you get older by something cool.  *scroll down to read about my mom’s close friend Nancy Moore and what a bad ass she is!
  4. Make it a point to travel to a new place on your birthday.  One year it may be a new town driving distance from you and another might be Europe!  Document it, write it down, snap it up.

Let me know what your traditions are for your birthdays!

Check this out…

6 Feb

Some people say that I’m curious about everything and they would be right. I’m always striving to know new things. And trying to avoid monotonous daily activity. Which can be one part comforting and one part boring. I believe that to be alive you have to jolt your body and mind alive every day. That could mean going for a brisk walk or just reading something that takes your mind to new places.

One of my easiest “hacks” if-you-will is having curated blogs I like on Feedly. This is for those that think they could never have the time to be curious and explore new things- Feedly makes it easy. Puts everything in one place for you. For me, opening this app each day brings to me a gazillion ideas and things to explore.

If you like what I like or at least think you do- then I have screengrabbed my blog list below and you can copy it. Just look up each blog in the search tool and add.

Here is some of my found nuggets this week:

  • SAY WHAT? This is my new favorite comedian that will make you run down a million rabbit holes with the fun stuff she mentions
  • Thanks, but I’m staying with my good ole face wash! This might be too much for me
  • I’m gonna make this next week. I love the crispy edges
  • Digging these jams. As a sidenote, I’ve dug up some cool NYC restaurant playlists on my Spotify- follow me!
  • Simply awesome! Her mom looks just a few years older than her! She is stunning!
  • Will you accept this rose?

Here are the blogs I follow via my Feedly app. I know it’s obnoxious.

how to fly like a boss

5 Feb
  1. KNOW SECURITY

if you want to fly like a boss you can’t be one of those people holding up the security lines, loading up bin after bin after bin at the bottom of the table.  this is how you do this like a pro:

  • grab three bins if you have a laptop or other electronic item
  • walk to the very front – where you put your stuff in the chute – or walk as far forward as possible.  do not stop and take off your shoes or your belt too soon.  this holds everyone up
  • Note: unseasoned travelers get so excited for security that they start undressing while still in line.
  • when you are very close to the top, now undo the three bins and put your laptop alone in one, your carryon in another and plop your shoes and coat in the last
  • DO NOT WEAR JEANS WITH METAL ON THEM – oh lordy do they light up the machines.  i do know this because i learned the hard way

2. PLANE PREP

  • get your favorite water and snacks
  • this is a good time to give electronics a break.  get some good mags to flip through!
  • or download your favorite show- I loved Portandia and the Mrs Maisel show while traveling this past holiday
  • other good things to bring to airport === ear plugs, portable charger, don’t forget your ear phones!

3.  LOVE FLYING

this is for nervous flyers.  i used to be one too – a long time ago.  i came close to telling my boss that i couldn’t fly any more.  i felt so out of control.  but here’s the deal:

  • you are always out of control.  you’re not in control driving your car.  not in control of other drivers or weather or road hazards
  • flying, is a gift from God.  it really is.  appreciate every single moment of it.  you are flying around in a capsule above the clouds.  it’s amazing and awe-inspiring.  it doesn’t matter that i’ve been on hundreds of flights, i get very excited every time. my favorite part is when the plane breaks through the clouds and the weather below to blue skies.

Super Bowl Cocktail Video “Boston Cooler”

3 Feb

Since the Cowboys aren’t in the Super Bowl, this isn’t a big deal to me.  ROF is rooting for New England.  In fact, he is giving us all a refreshing cocktail to sip along with this scrumptious dip or these awesome sliders.

sometimes you gotta just float!

29 Jan

Just some musings on Tuesday evening.  I am obsessed with my morning routine.  It looks like this:

  • Wake up before or at 5 am
  • Rinse face and go downstairs to office
  • Do bible study (via bible app on phone)
  • Read devotional: my utmost for His highest (been reading every year for 15 years and counting)
  • Write in my new productivity journal  – see what I have here
  • Write out my daily work and personal to-do
  • Read Brendon Buchard’s High-Performance Habits bookSidenote: I also have the audiobook so I can finish listening to it in the car!
  • Meditate using app on my phone – 5 min top focused on mindfulness
  • Pray – 5 minutes top
  • Skim about 100 blogs in my full FEEDLY app (this is my “tv”)
  • Catch up on news by reading the annoying “THE SKIMM” email blurb or flipping through Flipboard app
  • If I’m being honest, and I am, I spend a good 15 minutes flipping through Instagram at the end

Then I get ready and start my day!

However, admittedly, at the end of the day, I get simply exhausted with how creative, cute and clever everyone is on social media.  I’m overwhelmed with the number of “good advice” business books I read and how much I have to remember in order to perform at the highest of levels.  Instead of feeling inspired or motivated, I’m just damn tired.  Even though all of it is something I want to do.

At night, I have to give myself a break and just mentally float.  Have you done that?  I close my eyes and think about nothing at all except floating atop the warm water. I know that sounds stupid but it is a great way to disconnect from distraction.  I visualize my hands dropping under the water and then resurfacing.  I feel the sun hitting my face and top of my knees.  I clear my head.

Then I get up at 5 am and do it all over again.   

Daytripping from Madison

28 Jan

Come with me on a daytrip to New Glarus, Wisconsin!  

We moved to Madison, Wisconsin in May of 2017 from Dallas, Texas and I have to say I love living in Wisconsin.  I loved Dallas too and one isn’t better than the other – just very different.

First, we found a great place to live.  I think ROF and I say daily to each other “I LOVE OUR PLACE!”  It’s a condo inside a subdivision with rolling hills and while close to everything – still feel like we are in the country (a little!)  One of the best things about our place was our real estate agents – the Lessing Team!  Being a new build, it wasn’t the simplest of things to navigate and while I’m a believer in the “do-it-yourself on-line” mentality – buying this was not something we could have ever done it alone.  Better yet, Amy Lessing has become a great friend and certainly made the transition to Madison smooth.  In fact, ROF and I both use her hairdresser, have met a ton of new people via her summer party and favorite things party, use her recommended dog boarding and daycare place.

You’re going to see a lot more blog posts on living in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin but today I want you to come with me to New Glarus. Not only is it the home of the famous SPOTTED COW brewery but it is America’s Little Switzerland and is modeled after Glarus, Switzerland (hence, NEW Glarus.) However, New Glarus is SO DECEIVING!

Why do I say deceiving, you ask?  Because in and among the historic buildings which are over 150 years old, is some of the best food I’ve ever had.  Friends of ours actually just got back from Switzerland and said that actually, the food in New Glarus was BETTER.

So did I tempt you enough to take a scenic drive to New Glarus? 

Here’s where you should go:

First, take the scenic route which looks like this:

You must eat at Cow & Quince.  This is our favorite restaurant possibly in the entire Madison area.

The food is amazing!  Full disclosure – we’ve only been there for breakfast.  To give you an example of their locally-sourced menu, check out my favorite breakfast sandwich:

Breakfast Sammie* 

Fox Heritage Farm bacon, sweet chili cream cheese, arugula, Edelweiss grass-fed Gouda, aioli, 1 egg, MSCo country sourdough bread, choice of side add pickled jalapeños $0.50

but i’ve heard throught the grapevine that their savory french toast is not-to-be-missed:

Savory French Toast*

Thick cut MSCo brioche, gouda, apple-onion jam, Lacinato kale, Door County cherries, pork belly, sunny side duck egg, maple roasted garlic vinaigrette

They also have fun pizza nights and guest chefs.  Cow & Quince also has plenty of options for my vegan friends.  Check out their menu here.

Check out their website for a brief video and full menu!

Another outstanding place to eat is at Glarner Stube.  

This place is the shizzle.  I’m not joking.  Sunday nights is a special night with a Swiss flank steak specialty (can’t remember the name!) and there is typically ALWAYS a wait to get into this tiny restaurant with a big bar.  The service is so friendly and if you have to wait at the bar and sip on water (read: brandy old-fashioned sweet) and wait a bit, there are worse things you could be doing.

the cheese fondue is to die for!  If you and your S.O. get just this – you’ll be good!  Typically, cheese fondue, to me, is kind of flat.  This has multi-dimensional flavors going on and is not super heavy like it will just re-form in your stomach.  The rest of the food here is fantastic.  Being from Dallas and a foodie – I found myself scratching my head several times in New Glarus thinking – I don’t think I’ve had better food!  PS.  The rosti potatoes are epic!  One order for a table of eight works!

Plus look at how cute this darn town is:

One more place to eat.  So yesterday, we took some friends of ours to Cow & Quince for breakfast and they were closed for a winter retreat!  Snap!  But lo and behold, we found another incredibly cute and delicious breakfast place: Fat Cat Coffee Works!

 

this place was so cute!  In a little house with casual order at the counter, pick any place to sit was really quaint.  We sat at the beautiful oak bar and watched the cook make our breakfast.  I had a yummy fig, goat cheese, and bacon quiche.  My maple spice latte was delicious!  This is a great place for breakfast or lunch.

On this unseasonably warm day, it was fun to walk across the street after breakfast to a 118 year old tavern called Puempel’s Tavern.  Complete with a bloody mary bar and big windows letting the sun stream in, it was a perfect place for us to play a friendly game of Euchre.  Which, I have to say, if you’re not into cards, you’re missing out!  There is nothing more fun to pass the time and indulge in some healthy competition than a good mid-morning game of Euchre.  We had so much fun!  And we even lost at cards.

In addition to all this food, New Glarus has some adorable shops including a couple of fantastic specialty food stores like butcher and cheese stores.  The New Glarus Hotel boasts authentic Swiss food and polka dancing on Friday and Saturday nights.  This.is.not.to.be.missed.  You’re not in Madison anymore!

May I suggest you and your S.O., handful of girlfriends or even escape on your own on the beautiful drive to New Glarus, Wisconsin for fab food, great shopping and even a tour of the world-famous (or Wisconsin famous…) Spotted Cow brewery.  Have fun!

I’m Coming Back!

25 Jan

overheard on flight 3523

17 Dec

before takeoff, an older gentleman and his wife walked down the aisle struggling with their two carry-ons each.  after taking their seat behind me, a woman in first class got up out of her seat, walked down the aisle and knelt down behind me, addressing the older man:

“pardon me, sir.  but i overheard your conversation in the airport with the gentleman serving in the armed forces.  i wanted to thank you for your service in world war 2.  also, this is my card.  we own a fish farm called rushing water fisheries and we have a restaurant too.  the owner is also a world war 2 veteran and i would like to offer a complimentary dinner for you and your wife with our owner to thank you for your service.   we would be blessed to have you be our guest. “

encouragement for today

17 Dec

and we’ll call it encouragement for the season!

the appletini cocktail recipe

15 Dec

i think this may have evolved into a cocktail blog! no, i will be back eventually. to be honest, while i love writing and appreciating i am just a little tired of the whole blogging thing. i read a TON of design blogs and lifestyle blogs and everything is …well… styled. and styled to me is starting to get … well … boring. stop gasping. i know – shocker. i want to aspire to something different and i already know what it is. but it’s secret. tell ya later.

now, on to my main squeeze- ROF. happy friday! he’s been doing these awesome cocktail videos for me. you know why? he makes damn good drinks. he makes what we call “sipping” drinks (insert a wide-eyed “KATIE” here!) this is the perfect cocktail to mix for an intimate holiday get-together. it’s festive with green and red coloring and it’s delicious. remember what they say about martinis:

here’s ROF:

2 oz vodka

1 oz simple syrup

1oz apple liquor like this

for other drink recipes, see ROF’s page here!

The Cranberry Moscow Mule Holiday Cocktail

7 Dec

the weekend is almost here <sigh> and i’m ready for it! i’ve got a fun weekend planned which includes:

– wisconsin chamber orchestra rendition of handel’s messiah

– five hours of DIY bliss with herbs and essential oils and bath products at a class at the botanical gardens

– ROF making his tasty wintertime meal: beef stroganoff and we might crack open a bottle of caymus.

it’s also Thursday so ROF has mixed up a holiday cocktail for your weekend indulgence!

 

 

Recipe:

2oz Vodka

4oz Ginger beer

squeeze of lime

frozen cranberries

Pour, squeeze, stir, dink!

cocktails with ROF jack-o-fire cocktail

30 Nov

all month long , we’re going to feature a signature holiday drink and release it on thursday.

one thing that is fun to do if you’re having a holiday cocktail or dinner party  is to start with a pre-made signature drink.  typically just one to hand people as they come in.  when people come over, try to engage all the senses.  for example, your house is infused with scented candles that have already been burning a while or a tasty dinner in the oven, a holiday playlist with regular music mixed in with holiday music and a signature cocktail!

this first cocktail is the perfect holiday sipping drink.  you’ve got cinnamon flavor with the whisky, vanilla, pumpkin and irish cream all together.

all this month, if you post on social media, send us a photo or comment here on the blog of one of ROF’s drinks you made, we’ll enter you in a drawing to win a sleeve of these:

JACK-O-FIRE

  • 1 part Fireball Whisky

  • 1 part vanilla vodka

  • 1 part pumpkin spice liqueur

  • 1 part Irish cream

Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick and ground nutmeg. Recipe from here.

2017 WISH, I MEAN, GIFT LIST

28 Nov

my mom used to say that as a child i could want to buy something in a gas station.  i don’t understand why that is even worth mentioning.  duh. of course i could!  i think the important thing for all my loved ones around me to grasp about that statement is that shopping is a PASSION for me and has been since i was a child.  in a gas station, no less!

is it shallow to like…things?  i say no.  i say it plays a part in cultivating, evolving and curating your style.  i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again – i LOVE it when someone says to me “THIS IS SO YOU!” that means i’ve developed a style and look that people pick up on.

my good friend, jackie grubb marshall, is so thoughtful and has always through the years given me things even outside of birthdays and holidays that were “so me.”  for example, she got me slang flash cards that i have hung up in my last 3 office walls.  also, white porcelain bulldog salt & pepper shakers and a pillow with our dallas zip code on it.

anyway, back to shopping. this list started as a place for me to gather things i saw on-line that i wanted to buy myself or someone else.  i started it a while ago and after looking at it, think that you might like some of these as gift for someone over the holiday.  here is a link to the whole collection.

APRES SKI DRINK COASTERS

for all design lovers, dig on these coasters that are $35.00 for 50.  i use paper coasters i snag from hotel rooms around the world for bedside drinks, sink-side glasses and as spoon rests in the kitchen.  i love the font on these.  get them here. 

TRIBE OF MENTORS by TIM FERRISS

by now you know what a big tim ferriss fan i am.  i carry tools of titans around with me everywhere i go which is not easy because it is a million pages long!  his latest book just came out (dying to buy!!) and it is all life advice by the best in the world. $17.85 buy it here.

BECAUSE JESUS EATS WITH EVERYONE picture

i love this picture and everything in this store.  Jesus wasn’t about exclusion, He was about inclusion and love.  and he eats with everyone! this sign is $130.00 and you can get it here.

CARBON STEEL GRIDDLE PAN

i just read about this in this month’s bon appetit magazine’s gift guide.  it says: “A carbon steel pan gets ripping hot super fast and retains heat evenly, just what you need for getting that crispy crust on the outside of your smash burger or the golden-brown exterior of a perfectly-cooked pancakes. And, just like a cast iron, you can stick it directly into a wood-burning fire or on top of your grill.”  $31 (on sale!)  get it here

PALOMA TURTLENECK SWEATER

i’m a sucker for white in the winter and nothing looks more chic and comfortable than this oversized sweater.  i like all three colors it comes in, actually.  now that i think of it, i like every single thing in anthropologie. every damn thing.  $130 buy it here

WATERMELON SLEEPING MASK

supposedly, this is what will give you that dewy, fresh glowing skin you covet.  quite the buzz on this mask you apply at night (like a moisturizer) and wash off in the morning or use as a 10-minute mask. $45 – run, don’t walk here.

happy shopping!

black friday highball: cocktails with ROF

23 Nov

happy thanksgiving!

i’m so thankful for you.  i appreciate you letting me be creative and you reading and sharing.  i certainly am thankful for ROF who makes living life so much fun.  today is thursday, so it’s cocktails with ROF time.  today, he is celebrating BLACK FRIDAY with a Jim Beam Black drink to sip after you get done with shopping, crowds and malls tomorrow.  recipe is below his video:

2 oz bourbon

1 oz ginger ale

2 oz coke

squeeze of lime

fill a glass 2/3 with ice, pour in bourbon, add in the ginger ale and coke.  finish with the squeeze of lime.  enjoy!

how to make world class scrambled eggs

22 Nov

scrambled eggs?  am i off my rocker?  what about turkey, cranberry sauce or harvest rolls?  nah, you’ve got that covered...it’s too late for that.  but what you really need to know is how to make world class eggs.  guys, listen up.  and by that i truly mean guys.  you have an opportunity here to master this art and win over your kids hearts every saturday morning.

at least that was the case with me.  my dad cooked a few things real well.  steak and eggs.  not together.  he was the world class scrambled egg maker.  in his slippers, saturday mornings, MTV blaring in the family room next to the kitchen.  TURN THAT CRAP DOWN!  sorry, i digress.  now, these may not have been the best eggs i ever had but i would never know it.  my dad talked everything he did up.  so when he served the eggs and bacon he’d say “have you ever seen anything more beautiful than that?”  and “you’re in for a real treat today, kids” – always matched with an eye roll from my mom.

now, i’m married to ROF and he really does make the best scrambled eggs.  i would have loved to have a scrambled egg challenge with him and my dad.  that would have been fun.  but ROF cooks me eggs a lot – even during the week! and i have to say, they are the best.  (shout out to my sis who makes the best over-easy eggs and egg sammies in the world!)

watch ROF at work here and how to make scrambled eggs.  oh, and of course, you girls can master this too! 🙂

pumpkin pie martini recipe – for thanksgiving!

16 Nov

one week until thanksgiving.  are you ready?  ROF and i are staying in angelic madison and spending the holiday with good friends.  this week’s “cocktails with ROF” is given to you early so you can properly prep and serve this at your thanksgiving weekend activities and BE THE HIT OF THE PARTY!

we first had this drink in NYC here.  one of the very best places to have a cocktail in the city.  we had started dating in april of 2009 and by thanksgiving i was already headed out to meet his family outside of NYC.  he took me here and we ordered two pumpkin pie martinis and i think they cost $18 each.  i kid you not. luckily for us, the recipe is on their website which you can see here or i pasted it below.

here is ROF:

2 things for tuesday – maple + einaudi

14 Nov

it’s 2 for tuesday.  here’s a little sumethin-sumethin for you on this most lovely tuesday.

these are two things i feel like talking about and since it’s my blog, i will.  you’ll thank me for it.  if you like to eat and like to listen to good music, you’re in for a treat. keep reading…

forget you, pumpkin spice. i want maple.

sure, i love to light a pumpkin soufflé candle from anthro like the rest of you, but i’m in love with another fall flavor.  it’s a flavor that takes a backseat to what we’ll call PS from now on but is (in my humble opinion) so much better.

why should maple be relegated to just a sunday morning pancake topper?  brace your taste buds for these snaps:

starting clockwise from upper left:

  1. creamy maple brie and cheddar apple soup// thanks to kevin lynch and the closet cooking website

  2. pastry wrapped baked brie with maple butter roasted apples//thanks to tieghan and the half-baked harvest blog

  3. maple glazed bacon wrapped roasted carrots//thanks again to the closet cooking website

  4. maple dijon chicken thighs//thanks to budget byte$ blog

if those recipes don’t make your mouth crave some maple… i’ve collected 15 others on my pinterest board that will!  see them here!

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2 for tuesday – #2

get hip to ludovico einaudi

inspired initially by reading my favorite book and learning that listening to certain types of music and the SAME music while you work over and over again increase productivity (it works!) i stumbled upon this brilliant italian composer and pianist.  if you want to play a soundtrack to:

  • enrich the background of your life
  • make you think, make you happy, make you contemplate
  • help you concentrate
  • force you to meditate, let go

listen to einaudi.  i have done 2 things for you.  i’ve cultivated a playlist to listen to IN ORDER here:

also, here is a playlist that is my work playlist that i personally love.  you might love it too! then again, you might need more of a motley crue type of playlist!

make it a great tuesday!  i’m grateful for you!

encouragement for today

11 Nov

there’s something i want to remember every single morning.  

but i don’t.  i wake up and go through my programmed routine and i forget.  in the beginning i didn’t forget. and i made myself promise that i wouldn’t.

i don’t want to forget to remember to live this day as if i had 4 months left to live.  

like so many people out there, i learned this lesson the hard way.  it happened to someone close to me.  in fact, now that i think about it, it has been a similar situation for several people close to me.   why should you listen?  because i promise that if this news hasn’t crossed your path yet, it will someday.  

do you know what my dad did when he found out he had 4 months to live?  he moved, within weeks, two doors down from me in an OK apartment complex in dallas, texas.  do you know where he was living?  in a million dollar or so house on a golf course on hilton head island – away from his children – away from his family.

when he got the word that he was dying, his very first thought was me, my sister and my brother.   and my mom.  he didn’t give a shit that he was going to a rented one bedroom apartment – all that mattered was he was close to his family.  he didn’t care about feeling uncomfortable about asking our forgiveness, he did it.  and quick.

i could go on more about this but this encouragement for today isn’t about my dad.  it’s about you + me.  how can we live each day with this mindset?  here is what i thought about:

1. close your eyes.  you just got this horrible news.  what is very most important to you?  make it that important every single day and act as such.  pick up and move to dallas, so to speak.

2.  make it right.  if there is anything off kilter, make it right, now.  don’t wait for this day to come.  make it right RIGHT NOW.

3. make other people important.  taking a lesson from dad, i absolutely became the center of his life.  and i wasn’t before.  he was genuinely interested in what i was doing, saying, learning.  my favorite memories ever were in the morning before work, i would see his bald head bouncing down the outside walk to my house for coffee.  i loved it.  he couldn’t wait to wake up and talk to me about my day and what i was going to do.  i need to be like that every day with everyone i encounter.

4. get over yourself.  and your fears, insecurities and inhibitions.  it’s not about you.  it’s about your time with people important to you.  big difference.  so say i’m sorry, say i’m scared, say let’s pray, say i love you – stop with the inside voice telling you stupid things.  you only have a limited time.

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COCKTAILS WITH ROF: Brandy Old-Fashioned Recipe

9 Nov

living in Wisconsin is just plain fun.  it really is.  there are so many things that are unanimously loved throughout the whole state that it’s like one big club.  here’s a little sample of what i’m talking about:

  • cheese curds
  • friday night fish fry
  • euchre
  • going up north
  • bar dice
  • beer and…
  • BRANDY OLD FASHIONED!

of course, i called it “brandy old fashion” forever until i noticed the error of my ways and quickly changed.  google “wisconsin and brandy” and you’ll see the articles on how no one can really explain why ALL OF WISCONSIN DRINKS SO MUCH BRANDY!  one article went right to the source  – Korbel and got this quote:

Wisconsin is our number one state,” says Margie Healy, director of public relations for the California-based Korbel. “We export 385,000 cases a year, and 139,000 go directly to Wisconsin. That’s one-third of our total production.”

all i can tell you is that they are darn good drinks!  my girlfriends and i tried the “sweet” version this past weekend and loved them!

so here is ROF with another drink for you to try out this weekend.  make it for you and your loved one and send us a picture! recipe is below.

Brandy

Orange

Lemon

Cherries (jar)

Cube of sugar

Angostura bitters 

Sweet: 7-up or Sprite

Sour: Club Soda

Ice

Put cube of sugar in class and squeeze the juice from one slice of orange and add a cherry.  Muddle it together – just press and break up the sugar cube and cherry.  Put 4-6 dashes of bitters in the glass and add some ice cubes.  Next, put in about 2- 2.5 ounces of Brandy.  Korbel is most popular.  Lastly top with either 7-up for SWEET or top with club soda for SOUR or a little bit of BOTH for a PRESS.  Add one more cherry to the top.  Take some lemon zest and squeeze the oils into the top and rub zest along rim.  There you go!  Enjoy!

Share your pictures with us!

 

WHERE TO GO IN NYC

7 Nov

i recently sent my friend an email with my recommendations for places to go and things to do in NYC.  this is a city that we try to go to at least 2x a year.  i thrive off the energy and creative vibes that seemingly ooze from the sidewalks and radiate from people there.  we were just there a couple of weeks ago and ate here – YUM-O!

we’re headed back in december for my birthday and to spend christmas with relatives and we are staying here (the benefits of traveling for work and collecting points all year) and having dinner with 3 other couples here.  also, i’m totally into the “secret” restaurant scene and are currently trying to get the password/reservation to this place.  CAN’T WAIT!

so here was my advice to my friend who was headed there for the first time recently.  please leave your favorite places in the comments below!

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i’m so excited to hear about NYC through your eyes.  promise me you’ll have fun!  don’t worry about ANYTHING  – just take it all in.  There is NO MORE BEAUTIFUL CITY IN THE COUNTRY!   here are a couple of places/ideas.  Take it or leave it, you won’t be able to see it all! .

for me, i’m all about experiencing what a city has to offer – no chain restaurants/stores – goes without saying, but i said it anyway.   these are totally random ideas.  my biggest advice about NYC is this… it is an anything goes city!  do not be afraid to walk into places, say hello, leave – whatever.  this city is more casual and friendly than you think – they have SEEN IT ALL.

FRIDAY DINNER SUGGESTIONS:

MARY’S FISH CAMP: http://marysfishcamp.com/home.php

nestled deep in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, you won’t believe you’re in a big city.  every time i’m here, i think, i could totally live here.  OMG.  The brownstones etc… this place doesn’t take reservations so we have put our name in and walked across the street to Greek place and grabbed a drink at the bar.  NOTE: you could even eat here – just as good!  When I was there with my niece, nice boys next to us said they had the best sangria and they asked if we wanted to try it so we did.  later, we were like, we didn’t even know them!

MERCER KITCHEN: http://www.themercerkitchen.com/

Ok, not sure you can get in here. But I LOVE THIS PLACE!  It’s in SOHO (south of Houston pronounced HOW-ston, not like the city) and this hotel is awesome.  They have a great restaurant in basement – make reservations now, if you want.

this area is my favorite in the world and you could walk to the bar at the SOHO GRAND http://www.sohogrand.com/dining-nightlife/ upstairs (saw Reese Witherspoon here) and it is so happening and great people watching. ROF and I played gin rummy for hours in the afternoon here.  Walk up the funky stairs and order a drink at bar.  I’ve been here like 28.5x.  (maybe not that much)  This would be a fun night.

TAO: Downtown: https://taodowntown.com/

meatpacking district –  this place is wild!  Very fun and another area to go to.

Saturday – before show

OK, so before your show, you gotta go to Central Park!  You may want to have brunch here.  I think I ate here  https://www.yelp.com/biz/sarabeths-new-york-10

have a great brunch/breakfast and just cruise Central Park!  Whoop!  Take a horse carriage through there!  No doubt – !!  You will be like – No way am I in NYC!

Other favorite places:

washington square park – can’t beat it.  i have spent hours here with ROF.  Just grab a coffee, grab a bench and hang out!

Ok  – here is some “only in NYC” experiences:

 

i’ve also blogged about my other NYC trips here and here.

where are some of your favorite places in the city?

more Jim car stories, tomorrow it’s all just a memory

3 Oct

judging by over 1200 people reading my blog post yesterday, you liked my dad’s stories too.  i imagine most of you coming by way of facebook and linked in, so you’re in the business and understand or knew my dad.

i found some more of his stories written down.  i don’t think that these were published, they were in the bottom of a moving box under random bits of ticket stubs and paper clips.  excuse the spelling errors but i have no way of fixing.   also, weird ending which is what makes me believe these were just drafts.

once again, i sat down and read these with a huge grin on my face.  know why?  because he (my dad) is remembering his first job that he had and his memories after 37 years of working for General Motors.  just like you and me, he was in the grind, probably not realizing that some day he’d be writing about his experiences and then another day  – some 50 years later – his daughter blogging about them.

this reminds me to live for today.  gosh, you hear that a lot.  but reading this drives the point home.

because in the tomorrows, you’ll be talking about today.

what did you do that made a difference (either to you or to someone else?) what did you experience? what did you see?

when you are in your rocking chair on the front porch, or like my dad, getting chemo in a stinky hospital room – you’ll smile and think to yourself “NOW THOSE WERE THE DAYS!”

Here…. read on… straight from my dad:

al capone, 75 years of Buick history in one family + me

1 Oct

this morning i woke up at my usual time of 4:45am.  does that mean i’m getting old?

i like it anyway because i get so much done.  sometimes i tell myself (quite literally) to chill out and just read or something.  today, i pulled out a box of old photos and there was a folder on top.  it was a draft from an article my dad wrote (i helped) for a publication.

if you’re into cars, in the business or not, you might appreciate this.  i didn’t know my grandpa but he was a pretty cool dude including being Buick’s General Service Manager for the whole country but also when he was single, he fixed Al Capone’s henchman’s cars.  #badass

but the most fun for me today (already) was reading this.  most of all because i could hear my dad’s voice in this draft below.   he wrote this about my grandpa.  if you’ve ever had someone you love for years and years pass away and then read something they wrote and hear their voice in it – it’s like they are reaching out from the grave and talking to you.

here you go – it’s three pages.  this was published in a couple of car publications.  for those of you in the business that think i’m just another ad chick that doesn’t know anything about anything – know that at my very core i come from 75 years of very smart and passionate car people!  🙂

 

making inspiration real.

19 Sep

sometimes i’m overwhelmed by inspiration.  ha.  what a problem to have.

i mean it.  of course, i seek it out.  my rss feed, podcasts, flipboard all stream inspiration constantly.  i love it. even the music i listen to during the day is what i call “epic inspiring” – check it out here.  helps keep me in the zone as does the geranium essential oil i infuse my air while working.

it is a basic need that i have to be inspired. to remember the dreams i have for myself.  to hold on to them so no one takes them away.  to fine-tune them and evolve them and push myself to limits i didn’t know existed.

here are 3 other (somewhat surprising) things that can be inspiring:

DISAPPOINTING NEWS

i don’t always follow this, mind you,  but it’s important to note.  how can you be inspired by the disappointing news?  if the news relates to you like:

  • lose your job
  • didn’t get that house you wanted
  • test results weren’t expected
  • trip was canceled

then allow yourself to feel the news.  kick, scream and know that “it sucks.”  then be inspired by the fact that this is what is called a CLOSED DOOR.  and a closed door, to me, is an opportunity to find your real calling, a better house or even avoid unseen disaster down the road.

i’ve seen this played out many times in my life and in others.  about 20 years ago, our ad agency lost all the

about 20 years ago, our ad agency lost all the buick business.  i was 3 of about 15 people left and had to let go many of my colleagues and friends.  it’s easy for me now to paint you a picture of what happened with one of those people:

LET GO:  someone who reported to me, who took the job to learn from me and who had taken a step backward in her career to do so. THIS STUNK.  for both of us!

NEXT STEP: she considered this an opportunity to follow one of her favorite bands to NYC and at over 35 years old, up and moved herself to NYC.

WHAT HAPPENED:  became a VP at the world’s largest ad agency working on a global account.  Way surpassing me and the agency that let her go.  whoop!  whoop!

true story.  you know who you are.  

(then there was the guy we let go where we found a pot “bowl” in his desk drawer after we cleaned it out.  probably different story for him…)

THE ORDINARY AND MUNDANE

when things are ordinary and mundane – it means you are not present in your own life.  it means you are on auto-pilot or simply don’t think big enough for yourself.  maybe things happen to you versus making things happen.  just saying.  maybe?

when things are this way, it is an opportunity to be inspired by this:

someday, you will wish for the ordinary and mundane things in your life!

wait, did that depress you more?  sorry.

i meant.  WAKE UP!  here are two ways to drive to work:

  • get in car, buckle up, listen to news, yawn, drink coffee, get to work or –
  • get in car, buckle up, listen to inspiring talk or music, be interested in what is going on around you on your drive.  appreciating the crisp fall weather, the smell of pumpkin syrup in your coffee, smiling at the driver next to you.  noticing the older woman waiting for the bus hunched over made you sit taller.  saying a prayer and thanking God for the car you are driving, the family that loves you and the full day you have ahead of you.  calling an old friend just to say hi before work with a quick ‘HEY THINKING BOUT YOU message, get to work

and lastly, get inspired from:

PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE YOUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART

how is this inspiring?

be inspired that you recognized this fact about them and be inspired to move on and not care.  put on your blinders. be inspired to get focused, get energized – this can be one of the best motivators.  the day you finally realize that what other people think about you matters very little.

 

 

grill your pizza, yo!

29 Aug

 ROF was not happy about the idea of grilling pizza.

we were doing our pre-dinner ritual of playing cards when he kept saying things like:

“so i don’t get it.  how does it work?  i mean, do you roll the dough out?”

trust me, love.  look at all these recipe books that have done it – it can be done!

i have to say – on behalf of both of us – it was not good – the pizza was AWESOME.  y’all do this – this weekend!  this is what you do (not a recipe, just directions)

go to whole foods or trader joes and buy pizza dough in the freezer section.  you can buy dough anywhere but i can’t then vouch for how good it is.  thaw it out in the fridge. ours was in there for a few days – no biggie.  get your toppings together.  we fried up some onions and mushrooms from the farmers market on the stove.  might have thrown in some garlic too.  take the dough and just stretch it out with your fingers.

now, get your toppings together.  we fried up some onions and mushrooms from the farmers market on the stove.  might have thrown in some garlic too.  take the dough and just stretch it out with your fingers.  ROF and i did this together and (he won’t admit this) i think he may have had some fun.  his dough turned out much better than mine.

get the grill nice and hot and oil up the grates, oil up the pizza dough on both sides and throw those puppies on!  Cook for about 2 minutes on each side.  bring all your toppings including sauce and cheese down to the grill, open the lid and after the dough has been flipped twice, go to work.  we both decorated our pizza the way we wanted it.  one way is to put the cheese on the bottom, no sauce and then throw the veggies on top.  but we used sauce.

Cook for about 2 minutes on each side.  bring all your toppings including sauce and cheese down to the grill, open the lid and after the dough has been flipped twice, go to work.  we both decorated our pizza the way we wanted it.  one way is to put the cheese on the bottom, no sauce and then throw the veggies on top.  but we used sauce.  i dropped some ricotta cheese on mine because that’s how i roll.   then eat!

SEPTEMBER JAMS – playlist for the weekend

18 Aug

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you’re going to love this playlist, i promise.  just start at the beginning and roll through it.  i’ve searched and stolen and sung and smiled in the making of this.

play it this weekend and add songs to it for me.  i made it collaborative.

happy friday to you!

 

oh my chicago. how i loved you

13 Aug

RETRO POST! this was one of my first posts back in 2011.  Oldie but a goodie…

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so i can’t sleep or i guess i should say i woke up too early – like 4am too early.  is this what happens when you get on the wrong side of 40?  oh well, my  mind is going like crazy with the scent of possibility for the day.  so i’m cruisin the world wide information superhighway and i find this great article over at apartment therapy.  i realize that THIS IS MY OLD BUILDING ON ASTOR TOWER IN CHICAGO!  those of you who knew me then will see it too!

from apartment therapy: Teresa Goldberg’s apt

this is a bertrand goldberg designed building and i loved staying here for 6 years to death.  the first place i had was on the 7th floor.  look at this place!!  i lived here from about (fuzzy on dates) 1994 – 2000.  this is about as elite as you can get in chicago – in the gold coast – one block off lake shore drive right by all the action on rush and division streets, around the corner from oak street beach and i could walk to my job at j walter thompson on michigan avenue.  i absolutely loved living here.  the second place i had in this building was on the 5th floor.  it faced astor street, one of the finest streets in chicago and i could see lincoln park.  here quickly (have to start my saturday!) are some experiences i had in this phenom building:

Continue reading

back to school

10 Aug

i miss going back to school.  not the school part, but the new clothes part.  my memories of back-to-school shopping are vivid and thinking back to that time makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

there are a few places in life where you feel totally yourself.  where it’s safe to be silly and maybe even a little bratty (if called for) and be surrounded by unconditional love.  back to school shopping with mom and my sister was one of those times.

starting in grade school and going pretty much into college, the three of us would designate a day in August to hit the stores and pull together outfits for the coming school year.  the excitement started in late july when the august issue of seventeen magazine was sent to the house.

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it was thick with serious knowledge and crisp pages of what we were to expect for style that season.  that magazine sat in its wrapper on the kitchen counter like a present i was too excited to open.  when the time was just right, i’d take it upstairs, close my door, lay on my bed (on my stomach), open it up and slowly review each ad and editorial.  only after i was done and i’d let some time pass would i let my little sister take a look.

we were totally spoiled.  i’ll admit that right now.  it was the one time of year where we just went crazy and stocked up on all the fall and winter clothes, shoes, bags – everything.  it was GIRL POWER all the way and dad always insisted on a fashion show once we got home.

so to understand the comment i made above about back-to-school shopping and being totally yourself – you have to know joan.  joan is my mom and you can read more about her here and here.

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my mom doesn’t mince words… at all.  she tells it how it is.  not one of those people that will say “looks so cute” and then say in her inside voice “not so much.”  her inside voice is her outside voice.  and the best part about that is she is my mom.  not someone who could be swayed by other intentions.  i know my mom has my best interest in mind.  so B-T-S shopping became this time of extreme family bonding. we laughed, joked and threw clothes over doors.  we tried on millions of clothes. the best was all three of us getting in one dressing room.  sometimes we laughed so hard that we had to gather ourselves together – wiping smeared mascara and tears from our eyes before exiting the stall. 

mom would sit on the little stool and direct:

“katie, give that top to amy, that color looks better on her.”

“amy, those pants are very slimming but the top is too short.”

“amy, stop standing on your tippy toes and making that silly face.” <laughter>  

“oooh  oooh, i like that!  that is cute, let me get more colors.”

together we went through the preppy phase where it was all about wide wale corduroys, button-down shirts and penny loafers. then we struggled through the grunge phase of ripped jeans.  we trampled through the limited and the limited express.  in high school, i ended up working at the limited because i knew their inventory better than they did.

we always had lunch at the food court and did a recap of our purchases and then hit it again.  at the end of the day, we got a diet coke at the mcdonalds drive through, went home and proceeded again to take inventory of our purchases by laying everything out by outfit on mom and dad’s bed.  only then did we start to think about which one would become the big FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL outfit but we had time for that.

my favorite part of the day was at dinner when at the urging of my mom, my dad would INSIST on seeing everything in the way of a fashion show where he would put on some duran duran or loverboy <whatever us kids listened to> and we’d parade up and down the stairs and into the family room, pivot, step up on the mantel and show off our goods while dad ooohed and ahhhed.  it made us laugh because we knew it wasn’t his cup of tea but he always played along.

how very blessed i was to be able to do that and have those clothes but most of all it’s the memories i cherish the most.

Word.

7 Aug

maybe you had to hear these as much as me?

cook it: crab cakes w/lemon dill sauce

4 Aug

cook it this recipe is designed 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.

it is the perfect time of year for this recipe!

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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 dinner.  easy.

this recipe is from my wonderful sister-in-law susan who is an excellent cook.  check out the video she filmed of her making these for us 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 sautéed.

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 fabulous + easy chicken meals

2 Aug

wanted to share with you a delicious + easy way to stretch out a chicken dinner.  this is great for:

it’s too easy to get into a habit of ordering take out or running through whole foods to get something quick and somewhat healthy to eat. but why?  i’ve got something more delicious and quick and easy for you.

so… meal #1.  go to a specialty grocery store on a sat or sun morning and get a couple of marinated chicken breasts. you’re going to get 2-3 meals out of this so buy accordingly.

you could marinate it yourself and if you do there are some good marinades here and here.  but if you’re busy – why?   if you live in texas, go to central market where they have a lovely choice of millions of kinds of marinated chicken breasts.  maybe not millions.  In Detroit area go to papa joe’s or here in Madison, go to metcalfs.  you know what i’m saying…

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meal #1 -DINNER –  grill or bake those chicken breasts, add rice and simple roasted vegetable.  done.  easy.

(SIDENOTE: to roast your vegetables just heat oven to 400 degrees, wrap a cookie sheet with tinfoil, throw some cut up brussel sprouts or broc or cauliflower (um yum!)  a drizzle of olive oil, some kosher salt and sprinkle of pepper, toss, throw in oven. watch them after about 15 minutes and take out when crispy with blackened edges.  if you want to get fancy, throw some of this on the veg before roasting.  i’m always fancy and i love this spice!)

brussells

ok that wasn’t the fun part.  big whip, you’re thinking.

so now, you should have some extra cooked chicken breast.  cut them up into tiny bite size pieces.    put them in a airtight container.  i start my year with tons of these.

meal #2 – LUNCH THE NEXT DAY – Chicken and cheese quesadillas!  oh, these are so good and actually kind of fun to make.  buy flour tortillas and keep them for exactly this purpose.  these can be as healthy or fat-laden as you want them to be.  the technique is the same.  the tortilla has to be big enough to fold in half.

here is the step by step:

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  • get a big fry pan  – i use a cast iron skillet
  • spray it with PAM and also drop a pat of butter in there. get it nice and hot!
  • take your tortilla, and put a thin layer of cheddar cheese on half
  • top with your leftover chicken
  • cut up some green onion and sprinkle on top of that
  • finish with a little more cheese.  this is key – there must be cheese on the top and bottom – that’s the glue that holds everything together.
  • Fold it in half and put in the pan.
  • VARIATION: you can also use two tortillas like i show above.  as your butter melts, swirl one tortilla around in the butter and pull it out and place butter side up on a plate.  put another tortilla down and fill cheese- chicken-onion-cheese and place the other tortilla butter side up on top.
  • let the tortilla cook for quite a while.  i wait until i smell slight burning… but you don’t have to do that.  then flip!  take a big spatula and flip quickly using your hand as a guide.

meal #3 breakfast

use that small amount of chicken breast you cut up to throw in scrambled eggs.  chicken and scrambled eggs?  yes, you heard me correctly.  lots of protein in the morning is super good for you and keeps you less hungry throughout the day, says this.

let me know if you try the quesadillas!  i adapted my technique from the one and only pioneer woman here.  she rocks.  i’m making shrimp ones later today!

5 things i’ve learned during my career

31 Jul
i’ve had a career in advertising over the past 24 years (i’m old!)and i’ve learned a thing or two that i’d love to pass along.  i’ve been mentoring and talking with girls in college and it made me think to do this.
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1. don’t become irrelevant.  

work hard to stay relevant.

and what that means is less about keeping up with the jones and more about staying knowledgeable and curious. this has always been a big deal to me.  it was when i was young and now that i’m in my 40’s.  it should have been a big deal to brands like radio shack and blockbuster video – right?

in my career of advertising this couldn’t be more true.   it’s important to be up on how marketing is evolving and being aware of how consumers are communicating with brands is changing.  when i hear people in business almost brag about not being in touch with social media it makes me sad for them.  it’s sad because it’s like saying “no” to knowledge.  when i hear that someone is too busy to learn modern technologies to better their lives, i know they are slipping down the path of not being relevant.  and that is their personal prerogative, but for my career, it has served me very very well to strive to be relevant.

2. be passionate

if you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, then you’re going down the wrong path. turn around.  change.  figure it out.
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we were made to do what we are passionate about, you know.   you can’t hide passion.  it doesn’t matter if you’re running a company or driving a bus – passion AFFECTS people.  it gets you noticed – and not from your words, smarts or know-how.  people feel passion and passionate people always win.
one time, ROF and i went to the nespresso store to buy espresso.  it was our first time in the store and we were helped by dan.  let me tell you, you would have thought that dan owned nespresso and was part-timing in the store in paris.  he was fantastic.  he gave us an experience of the store that will make us come back for sure.  he knew what he was talking about but delivered it in a way that got us excited about coffee.  he bagged our coffee, taught me how to really make espresso (whoops, doing it wrong), made me a coffee and gave us his opinion on machines.  we can’t wait to go see dan again when our coffee gets low.  be dan.

3. have a POV

this is the difference between an A and B player in business.  one of my favorite bosses and people of all time told a group of people this and it has always stuck with me.  when you think about it, it goes along with having passion.  having a point of view spiked with passion is awesome.  kinda like this:

knowing when to speak up with your point of view is key.  just because you have one doesn’t mean the people around you want to hear it or you should necessarily express it.  but always have one.

how i start to get a point of view on something is i run it through this filter:

– do i know anything about this subject?  
no – read up + formulate.  
no – don’t care (by the way, this is a POV too)- does it ladder up with any of my morals/values/beliefs i have in general?

throughout life, you will be strengthening and building upon the point of view you have on things.  as i get older, i find that my POV on some important topics changed just because i experienced something first hand.  for example, you can have a POV on how to react to death but until you experience the death of a loved one, you can’t truly have an opinion.</

4.  be a great leader

you don’t have to be a boss to be a great leader.
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this comes from the POV that to whomever you come in contact with on a particular day, be an example of love.
people can hear advice and reprimands and they can do a to-do list but they FEEL love.  just like they feel passion.  being an example of love means simply caring about people and their lives.  and i do believe that to be a quality of leadership.   even though we’re talking about a career, work is just a part of life.  if you care about the bigger picture – the person – the smaller picture – work – always benefits.
whether you are the boss, the entry-level person, the walmart greeter, the cashier, the fashion icon – you can be a leader.  lead with love.  i personally follow the tenets of servant leadership.
always lead with love.

5. be true to yourself

why is this good career advice?  i don’t know, really.

what i do know is that throughout my 23 years, i haven’t always been true to myself.  like most people, you just want to do an outstanding job and when i was in my 20’s, i was willing to stay the late hours to get the job done.  i went in on the weekends and checked voicemail constantly (before mobile phones, if you can imagine that!)  And there is nothing wrong with that.  working hard is good!
but if you’re in the game long enough, that work hard philosophy evolves ever so slowly.  going the extra mile for work can, if you’re not careful, turn into sacrificing what you really want in life.  WATCH THIS!  it sneaks up on you.  a mid-life crisis can ensue where your old self – the one that was there all along but got smooshed down way low- says WAIT A MINUTE!  HOLD UP! i’ve been working so hard my whole life but i’m not doing what i’m passionate about!    what happened to…me!
i’ve seen this happen with colleagues and friends and it’s such a wonderful thing to see their real passion come out when they choose to pursue it.
thankfully, i’ve always been very passionate about my career and what i’m doing.  working with creative people, leading the way in new technologies, having a strong POV and striving to be relevant have been cornerstones for me the past 24 years.  
i can’t wait to see what the next 25 years hold.

travel: up north

30 Jul

in my teens and 20’s, i wrote in a journal almost daily.  i would describe in detail where i was, what i was doing so that when i read it later on in life, i would be able to go right back to that very place.  and it worked.  so i’m going to do the same here.

last week i posted about beautiful door county, wisconsin.  well, i haven’t even left my new home state and can post again about “UP NORTH.”  this isn’t my first time up north.  in fact, we’ve been going up north since i was a kid living in michigan.

that phrase means something totally different to my dallas and texas friends than it does to my wisconsin friends.  so come with me to where i am right now…

go on.  close your eyes.

ok, can’t read and close your eyes at the same time.  i get it.  read on…

it’s 7am on sunday morning.  i’m sitting in my favorite reclining leather chair in front of a big picture window.

it’s 60 degrees and the end of july.  i am listening to the massive eagle mamas (or dads, geez, i don’t know!) talk to their babies.  

i’m watching the eagles fly around  – like that is just normal to see.  caught one with my camera:

we’re at a place, i would call my very happiest of all places.  up north.  in this case, we’re in a town my husband and i will never be able to spell without help: minocqua.

that is to give you an overview.  we’re about 3 hours north of madison.   here is a better view:

we’re talking lake after lake after lake (called a chain, because many of them are connected)

this is such a different kind of place.  for example, it’s not a one week vacation that forever lives in your head afterward (nothing wrong with those!)

this is where i truly feel appreciation for our country, God and a place that is just part of who you are.  if you have a place up north and are reading this right now, please leave a comment at the bottom if you agree or add to what i’m trying to describe.

this does a good job:

back to me describing what’s going on right now.  so i don’t forget…

coffee just finished brewing in the kitchen that is a couple rooms over.  that faint, welcoming smell is amplified by the cool summer morning breeze whafting in from the picture window.  the sound of birds waking up, eagle babies screaming and just now i can hear a motor boat in the distance getting closer.

ROF and i dream about having a place up here or near hear or…just north someday.  where we can play euchre (another freaking word we can’t ever spell!) with our friends placing bets with apple pie shots,  heading to one of a million supper clubs like we went to this weekend:

what is strange about my love of up north is that i’m a big city girl.  having lived 11 years in downtown chicago, i could (and have) written about the joys of the big city.  

but in my ripe old age, i’m leaning towards the north.  but i tell you… nothing beats both!  going between the action of the big city and the serene up north is something people have done for ages.  a girl can dream.

have a great sunday!

5 ways to get ready for guests

29 Jul

are you a planner?  if not, hosting out-of-town guests would be daunting.  even though they may be low maintenance, it never changes how special i want the time to be.

so i thought i’d write out how i plan since i’ve had several friends ask me for advice.

first, start a pinterest board for your event.  even if it is just a dinner.  make it private if you don’t want people to see.  or not.  pinterest is hands down one of the best places to get recipes, decoration ideas and thoughts on entertaining – everything!

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second, having a game plan is key.  it’s funny how this spilled into my work as well.  i’ve seemed to become a stickler on timing and i’m like that at home too.  it’s not enough to have a couple recipes printed out and the ingredients.  ROF and i found that out the hard way when we made boeuf bourguignon with my sister.  we found out that the mushrooms had to marinate for like 8 hours and the beef had to cook for 4.  we ate at 2am in the morning (and after 3+ bottles of wine) – so timing is everything.

be crazy about it.  i keep my game plan in an app called evernote.  that way i can replicate it.

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I have a notebook called visitors itineraries, then inside it is the event like “christmas 2017” and then inside that i have folders for grocery list, menu/recipes and game plan.  the plan tells me exactly when to do something and that way i can plan ahead and make sure food gets hot to the table on time.  i am very literal – kind of like an idiot talking to herself…-

“take meat out of fridge at 3pm”

“put meat in marinade at 3:30pm, preheat oven 400”

“meat in oven at 4pm”

“cook at …..”  you get the picture.

third, do as much as humanly possible in advance.  make the salad dressing, trim the veggies, bake the cake – anything at all that can be done in advance – do it.  this is something my mentor (from a distance), the barefoot contessa, has said many times.  make it in advance.  in fact, her new cookbook is all about doing just that.  unless the cooking can be a fun group activity and you’ve got some casual, hang-around-the-house-time, limit what you’re doing while your guests are there.  of course, this depends on the guests you’re having.  if it’s family or close friends – have them join in and help – no biggie.  if it’s more formal, don’t be chopping the veggies while your guests feel helpless staring at you!

51hcOrWFjQL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_fourth, set up a bar away from the kitchen.  it’s where everyone congregates and if you’re trying to get food prepared, it can be challenging to work around everyone.  don’t feel as if you have to have a fancy bar.  anything can become a bar.    the more quirky, the more fun it is.

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get a big basket and fill it with basic booze, couple bottles of wine, already open, glasses an ice bucket and some lemon/lime wedges – there you go!

fifth –just work your plan.  when i have guests for a couple of days, just extend the itinerary and the plan.  i typically have a lot of fun with our guests…ha… and can forget that i’m supposed to make the breakfast casserole for tomorrow!

hope this helps!  please add any tips you have.

best flank steak recipe

27 Jul

just in time for the weekend and back by popular demand…

need a “go to” steak recipe?  this is it.

i call

it the “girlfriend steak dinner” because it’s what ROF served his girlfriends if they made it to date #4.  i know this because one saturday while we were visiting in his kitchen (let’s call this date #5), his friend came over and asked if ROF had fixed me “the famous flank steak yet.”

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huh?

ROF’s face turned a shade of red i hadn’t seen before as he tried to shrug the comment off and grab his friend in a head lock to shut him up.

the previous weekend ROF had indeed fixed me this famous flank steak recipe along with his butter noodles and some nice red wine.  evidently this is what lover boy did to pull out all the stops for his lady friends!  i’m glad that those lady friends now are my mom, sister and his wife!

well, here it is.  transcribed from a handmade and passed down cookbook.  you can’t go wrong.

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ROF’s GIRLFRIEND FLANK STEAK

2 tsp unseasoned meat tenderizer

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp dry sherry

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tsp accent seasoning (see photo below, in case you don’t know what i’m talking about)

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honey (to drizzle on steak)

  • pierce surface of flank steak at 1 inch intervals with sharp fork.
  • combine ingredients except honey
  • put steak in pan flat and drizzle with honey on both sides
  • put steak in large baggie and pour ingredients over steak and let stand at least 1 hour at room temperature
  • grill meat over high heat for about 5-7 minutes on each side (use a timer, flank steak is bad when well done!)
  • slice with sharp knife into thin slices carving at an angle against the grain

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IMG_5122518b32b3aeeca5f0762bea7edb0fee8ffor more steak ideas from ROF, click here!

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.

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