July 2011


Two of my daily reads – Lynn and Katherine – tagged me for My 7 Links. I’ve been having fun checking out others’ posts (and who doesn’t love reading through their old archives?!), so I decided to give this a go!

THE GOAL

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

THE RULES

1) Blogger is nominated to take part. 2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category. 3) Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part. 4) These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers.

Here are my 7 links:

Most Beautiful – Seeing Clearly – This post includes photos taken from the morning I received my new Nikon camera. Every single one of these pictures makes me supremely happy.

Most Popular – Blogger “Blind Date” – We all know that bloggers clearly love to read about other bloggers, but when they meet up in person, bam! Everyone tunes in. I had a great lunch with some gorgeous LA ladies! We were very snap-happy.

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Most Controversial – Eh. My blog is my happy space, and therefore controversies are kept to a minimum. But, for the sake of linking – Buh Bye Detox. After Julia and I stopped our detox on the 5th day, we actually felt guilty. We both called our moms for “permission” to quit. Something about not sticking to our commitment? While everyone was so sweet and supportive, I am calling this controversial because why oh why did we think we needed to eat like this for a week??

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Green juice + green soup.

Most Helpful – Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas – I’ve made these for most everyone I know. I’ve emailed the recipe to numerous people. I’ve even fed them to a 3-year-old. I’m nominating this post because I am HELPING you create a foolproof meal. And no one likes to fool around when it comes to a good dinner, right?

Suprise Success – A Fishy Experiment – Apparently sardines are an intriguing ingredient. Or, as the boy would clarify, a firm “no” when it comes to cooking. I kind of liked them though!

Not Enough Attention – Reflections – I think a lot of bloggers struggle with messaging. What does your blog say about you? Is it accurate? When I first started blogging, I wrote about every single bite, lick and taste. In this post, I talked about how much I hated this recounting and the pressure I was putting upon myself. Today, I’ve found what works for me. Although, I would like to write more…but that’s a goal, rather than an obligation!

Most Proud – Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Brunch on the Beach – When my sister moved to LA, I got to treat her and my best friend to brunch at Shutters, thanks to Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24. It was so great bringing my two “families” together, and I felt like such a hotshot for getting to do so!

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And here are the 5 people I tag:

Natalie @ Will Jog for Food
Kristen @ The Swanky Dietitian
Lesley @ Leslie Lifting Life
Biz @ My Bizzy Kitchen
Kristie @ Lighter Portions

You’re it!

One of my favorite parts about blogging is this fabulous community. While I have only met a few fellow bloggers in person, our posts, comments, and general admiration for one another has given us all dozens of virtual friends. After finding out that the beautiful, spunky and talented Susan had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Janetha of Meals and Moves went above and beyond to create a live auction and bake sale scheduled for July 25 from 8:00 AM (EST) to 11:00 PM (EST) to help raise money on Susan’s behalf. Yes, it’s happening now!

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If you haven’t already started bidding, check out the auction here!

To bid on my donation – click here. The bidding starts at $10.00.  The winner will receive the full Fall/Winter Touring America collection by OPI.

I have a friend from college who is a breast cancer survivor. When I found out she had been diagnosed at only 25, I remember being in shock. What could I do? How could I help? Above all, how could this happen? This time around, I am so grateful to be able to do a little tiny something to help Susan. There are over 100 items up for auction, so whether it’s food, fitness, books, travel, or entertainment, there’s something for everyone!

Here are the official rules, as per Janetha:

  • Auction Date & Time: Bidding opens Monday, July 25, 2011 at 8 AM EST and individual item closing times will be staggered throughout the day. MAKE NOTE OF EACH ITEM’S CLOSING TIME! It will be noted within each individual listing. The staggered closing times has been implemented to prevent a site crash!
  • Payment Methods: Paypal is the only method of payment accepted. If you don’t have a Paypal account, you can pay through the Paypal donation page which allows you to use any major credit/debit card.
  • Starting Bids: Bidding on all items starts at $10 USD unless otherwise noted.
  • Bidding Increments: Bids go up in whole dollar increments. For example, you could bid $1 or $10 higher than the previous bidder, but not $1.50 higher.
  • Bidding Procedure: Bids are to be submitted via comment on item page.  Click the category above OR on the sidebar to the right, OR click on the item from the home page. It is your responsibility to refresh the page and see what the current high bid is!!  You must bid at least $1 above the current high bid. A valid name & email address are required when leaving a comment bid.
  • Winners: If you are the winning bidder, you will be notified within 24 hours of the auction ending. The notification will include payment instructions.
  • Making Payment: Winning bidders must make payment and send their mailing address to me within 72 hours of the auction ending. If payment is not made, winner forfeits item and the next highest bidder is awarded item. Once payment is made and shipping address is received, winning bidders will receive contact information of individual in charge of shipping their item.
  • Shipping Information: Items that require shipping will be shipped within one week of payment/submission of address (unless otherwise noted). SELLER will cover shipping costs!
  • Items That Don’t Require Shipping: If your item is an online service or online gift card, once payment for your item is received, you will get an email with all the information you need to retrieve your item.

Ready, set, bid!

My trip to Minnesota was followed by a trip to Madison, Wisconsin, to visit my college friend Becca. She and I met freshman year, which we figured out makes our friendship nearly 10 years old. What the heck?!? Is that even possible? Looking back at the weekend though, it’s much easier to see that we really have grown up from the fact that this trip, we only went out one night, and spent the other in comfy clothes drinking wine.  I’m quite happy that we’ve graduated from jungle juice and house parties to be honest!

While we didn’t try to jam the trip full of touristy attractions, we did hit a few key spots to get the Madison experience. On Saturday morning, we bought food for that night’s dinner at the downtown farmers’ market, which circles the entire Capitol building.

We also bought breakfast on-the-go from one of the bakery stands. I got a hearty tasting oatmeal bar topped with slightly sweet baked rhubarb. It was delicious! And not sugary at all, which I prefer for breakfast.

Our trip also yielded the ingredients for a really beautiful caprese salad. In LA, the temperatures are a cool 75, but Madison was (and still is) HOT. At home, I will gladly still use my grill and oven, but it was nice to have a no-cook option. Well, minus the balsamic reduction. Totally worth a few minutes over the hot stove!

In addition to the farmers’ market, we also ate lunch at the Memorial Union Terrace, which is apparently THE spot to sit and drink a beer. Well, we had Chipotle instead of booze, but it was a nice, albeit hot, space. I especially loved the view! I’ll always pick oceans over lakes, but being right on the water is great no matter what.

We also got ice cream! More specifically, Babcock Dairy ice cream, which is apparently also famous in its own rights. I especially liked the vanilla with cherries and chocolate chips. I’ve been on such a cherry kick lately – dried or fresh! Although shh, don’t tell Becca, but I prefer Malibu’s “Italian Kiss” gelato/frozen yogurt the best.

While in Madison, we also wandered down State Street for some shopping. I totally lucked out because my visit just so happened to coincide with Maxwell Street Days, with tons of sidewalk sales and cheap prices. I have been trying to buy a few higher-quality pieces that I really love and that will last a long time. However, it literally pains me to spend more than $20 on any article of clothing, so I am constantly battling between my desire to be frugal and the idea of buying something that looks amazing/fits well/becomes a wardrobe staple. Keeping all this in mind, I flipped to find cute Sparkle & Fade sweaters at Urban Outfitters on sale for $5 each! My love for cheap AND my desire for quality, combined:

I broke out of the $20 comfort zone to buy a not-on-sale dress because it had a sweetheart neckline with a white, gauzy overlay – such a pretty style and the cheaper versions never look remotely this elegant and girly.

In case you thought that all we did was eat and shop, don’t worry. There was plenty of True Blood watching and cat snuggling going on as well.

Hmm, I guess it’s pretty obvious from that statement to see that we are ten years older after all!

I can’t believe I’ve been missing in action since the end of May! Since my last post, I have moved to Malibu, started a wine club, went with my sisters to Vegas to celebrate the youngest’s 21st birthday, went BACK to Vegas twice more for work, traveled to Toronto, celebrated three additional birthdays, spent nine days on a lake in Minnesota, and flew to Madison for a long weekend with a college friend! In July alone, I have been in LA for only 7 of the past 19 days. So, hopefully my disappearing act makes more sense. To be honest, it has been really nice just going about my day and not worrying about when/where blogging will fit. But, I’ve missed it all the same!

Since I’m from the East Coast, vacations that don’t involve going home to visit family don’t happen very often. For my lake trip, I mixed it up slightly and went to visit the boy’s family instead! We got there just in time for the annual 4th of July parade, where costumes are a must (and where I got to ride a 4-wheeler. I wasn’t all that impressed until I actually got behind the wheel, then thought it was awesome).

The rest of the trip went something like this:

  • Wake up. Eat Kashi cereal with milk and bananas.
  • Read on porch swing.
  • Sit on dock and read some more.
  • Play tennis, or hop on the boat for tubing, kneeboarding and water skiing.
  • Enjoy a fend-for-yourself lunch (leftovers, fried egg sandwiches).
  • Play with kiddos. Read some more.
  • Back on the lake.
  • Start drinking gin & tonics or mojitos around 6PM.
  • Take turns making dinner for the group (I made sweet potato black bean enchiladas and pizza – both were a hit!)
  • Enjoy dinner together on the porch.
  • Play cards. Eat popcorn. Chat.
  • Sleep and repeat.

Since pictures speak louder than words, I’m glad I have quite a few photos to illustrate. Here are just a few of the hundreds I snapped!

One of my favorite things in the world to do is curl up with a good book, and at the lake, I managed to read seven of them. The day before we left, I stopped by the library and searched the shelves. I much prefer to read recommended books, but because I didn’t want to have to buy so many, I just scanned the new release and fiction sections at the library. Some of the books were pretty bad, but there were a few I really liked! The best was definitely The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, which took me three days to read and prompted me to grab his new book, Freedom, when I got home.

Speaking of home, I am back and so excited that I have a schedule and a meal plan for the week. Crazy talk, right? I’m sure I’ll be jonesing for another trip before long.

Three cheers for summer!

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