17. do a polar bear plunge

For everyone wanting to say warm
poker night!

it was wild, colorful & cold.  we were team fozen fanta and there were five of us.  We were the only team with enough guts to dress to the nines & had a huge crowd cheering us on as we raced into the water.  We raised over $1,000 for local charities.  

our purple fanta teammate came out to plunge even though she dislocated her knee the night before (a real trooper).  & i even took our team mascot in for the plunge- yep, the orange fanta went under water with me!  we plunged for less than 10 seconds but we dove in head first.  it took the rest of the night to warm up.  but we did it.  we plunged!

so there you have it.  i can officially cross off one of my to do: 2011.  i did a polar bear plunge!


enjoy your weekend.

here's a sneak preview of mine...

check back later to see what all the hype is about!


egg, basil & avocado sandwich.

after a long day of work, some days it's hard for me to find the motivation to make dinner.  especially for one.  i generally try to cook something, freeze half and eat the rest for the remainder of the week.  this way, come the final week of the month, i can live off the meals i have stashed in the freezer.

most nights, if i haven't thought ahead and planned what's for dinner, i spend at least 20 minutes opening all the cupboards and the fridge hoping someone answered my prayers and made me dinner while i was working.  it's hasn't happened yet- but, i'm optimistic.

so on those particularly difficult nights, i'm always so proud of myself when i come up with something both (semi) healthy and delicious.  this was one of those nights.
egg sandwich.
makes 1 sandwich

2 pieces of thick artisan bread, toasted
1 egg
cheese (optional)
5 basil leaves
1/2 fresh tomato
1/2 avocado
salt & pepper to taste

toast the bread.  if you decide to use cheese, put it on the toast while it's warm so it melts slightly.  cook the egg (i prefer mine over easy with a well done center).  place the cooked egg on top of the warm bread and add spinach, basil leaves, tomato & avocado.  season to taste.


easy-peasy and an oh-so-delicious dinner for one (or two!).


a wednesday love story.

there is something truly epic about love stories.  as a hopeless romantic, i'm always on a quest to find stories of love & happiness. i stumbled upon this video here

isn't it amazing?  never underestimate the power of a true love story.  & hopefully this will brighten your day. 


the perfect pillow.

i'm looking to add a bit of color to our home.  

in true military fashion, we opted to paint our home in neutral shades should the army move us within the first couple years we were here (we actually had our house on the market for about three months- luckily the army thought better of letting us go).  now in our fourth year in this home and no end in sight, i'm dreaming of color.  and lots of it.

and pillows are an easy way to bring in some color and change the look of a space without blowing the bank (well, in most cases).
it would be fun to make these:
this one is my favorite, but waaaaay out of our price range.  maybe one day.  ah, a girl can dream can't she?
i've been loving anything and everything yellow.  mustard, not lemon.


weekend roundup.

i spent most of the weekend cuddled under blankets with my good friend roku.  it wasn't supposed to be this way- but somewhere between the stressful week and lack of sleep, i managed to get a fever.  blah.

on sunday, things improved and my schedule resumed as planned.  i played tour guide for the afternoon and took my co-worker (who is currently visiting from south africa) around the town for a day of sightseeing.  unfortunately, there isn't much to see on a sunday afternoon in central new york- especially when the temperature stays below 2 degrees.  after we walked and froze and drove and froze and ate and froze, we headed to a friends house so she could experience her first american football game.  i wasn't much help with the rules, but did a great job cheering.

my weekend to-do list is still as long as it was on friday.  but i'm feeling healthier, warmer and revitalized.  i guess sometimes your body knows best.


a birthday to celebrate.

today is my mama's birthday.  mom, you are one of my very favorite people and one of the loveliest women i know.  i feel so honored to be your daughter.  & while i wish i could be there to dance, celebrate and eat chocolate cherry cake with you, just remember- i will be thinking of you- all day.  you know, even if we weren't related, i'd want to be your friend.  

thank you for inspiring me to constantly think out of the box and strive for greatness.  for loving me always- and encouraging me to embrace the person i am- not change into the person everyone else thinks i should become.  for standing beside me when i made bad decisions and celebrating all the great ones.  for being awesome and fun and amazing.  i want to be just like you when i grow up.

we love you mom.  happy day & happy birthday.

I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine - she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights.  ~Terri Guillemets



it's freezing here.  not cold, not kinda cold- but freezing.  don't get me wrong, i'm sure anyone originally from san diego (or somewhere consistently warm) would consider the temperatures we've been living in, unbearable.  however, on sunday, it got colder.  and the crazy part is- it's gonna stay for a while.

that said, it's the perfect soup weather.  i'm dreaming of chili and miso.  carrot ginger and lentil soup.  but most recently, udon.  i've had udon noodles sitting in the pantry for a few months patiently waiting to be used.  after a long day and no willpower to cook, i decided to give japanese fast food a try.

i used this recipe as a base and liberally played around with what i had left in the fridge.  i used broccoli, carrots, fresh ginger, green onions & tofu.  i also used soy sauce to add a bit more flavor and some red chili sauce for heat (i love my food with a bit of a kick).  it made a ton, so i have some to freeze and enough for dinner a couple more nights this week.

it's a great, simple and fast recipe that will warm you to your core.  so make some- you won't be disappointed!


weekend roundup.

it was an amazing weekend.  much to my surprise.  it was one of those weekends where i didn't have much planned but so many last minute events kept popping up.  as my good friend gump always says, it's feast or famine.
{avocado toast inspired by rachel}
i hope yours was equally as wonderful!



my snapfish order arrived!  i took advantage of their 365 free prints holiday promotion (thanks lindsay!) and managed to order over three hundred photos from thanksgiving, australia & my trip home over the holidays.  i'm so happy to finally have them in-hand.  needless to say, i have a lot of mini books to make.


twelve things.

1. grapefruit and blood oranges.  they are my favorite afternoon pick-up.
2. my office chair, aka yoga ball.  who'd-a-thought bouncing all day would be so much fun.
3. robbie, the newest addition to our home.
4. kashi u.  it's one of my favorite breakfast cereals these days.
5. this adorable engagement video- love it!

6. urban outfitters boyfriend flannel shirt. i could wear it every day.
7. tandem bikes.  all this snow makes me wish i could ride one.
8. these posters.  if only they made one for san diego or syracuse. sigh.
9. mini books.  & i just ordered a ton of pics from snapfish...can't till they arrive.
10. a cute, new hairstyle.  i'll be trying this, this weekend.
11. still can't get enough of this song.  but it makes me miss a. terribly.

12. a good cause.  a really good cause.


wall art.

at the moment, i'm currently obsessed.  as part of my 2011 list, i'm revamping a few rooms and finally taking the plunge to not only buy prints, but frame them.  i know, i know....i've gone off the deep end!  (i have two prints sitting in my basement that i've had since 2003- unframed & unhung.  litterally, just sitting there.  so, no more excuses.  only more framing!)

over the past 5 years we've been in our home, with the exception of photos, our walls are bare.  and i can't take it anymore!  so dear friends, i'm on a mission.  to add a bit of character to our cozy bungalow.  i would love to incorporate homemade pieces from family & friends and things that i've both collected over time and purchased recently.

i'm a huge fan of whimsical prints (specifically those reminiscent of the beach).  here are the two pieces i'm currently dreaming about.
{image found here}
as a huge fan of typography & a self-proclaimed foodie, i thought this was so fun for the kitchen.  not to mention, this print lists all the ingredients in a ham & cheese hot pocket!  ha!
{image via}
i also adore maps (as does a.- or should i say, he thinks they're cool).  i would love to place this behind our couch.  as of now, it's a big, bare wall.  my sister is going to laugh, but i would love to rearrange this so it actually hangs upside down.  how neat would that be?  also, i have to think of a cute way to denote where we've traveled.

so i guess the house is undergoing some new year's changes of it's own.  i'm excited to revamp & refresh the space.  hopefully a. will be okay with the changes i'm making.  well, you know what they say, while the cat's away...

i'll be sure to keep you posted on the progress!


the weekend briefly.

it was a mellow weekend.  full of falling snow, movies, and a bit of beer making*. 
*it's not as easy as it sounds.  there is a lot of cleaning, sanitizing, boiling & pouring involved.  the beer actually' exploded' the first night (yikes)- but hopefully as the fermentation continues the beer will settle down and the process will continue.


apple squash soup.

part of a fresh start is fresh food.  this week i've been trying very hard to cook often and eat as clean as possible.  one of the recipes i found is this soup recipe in terry walters' book clean food (which i love by the way).

i made a few modifications to the original recipe and it was so yummy!  now i have enough to enjoy the rest of the week and weekend.

4-5 cups butternut squash cut into 2" pieces
1 large yellow onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large apples, peeled, cored and quartered
5 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
balsamic vinaigrette


in a large pot over medium heat, saute onion in olive oil until translucent.  add apples, squash, stock, coconut milk & nutmeg.  cover, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes or until squash and apples are soft.  puree with handheld blender and remove from heat to cool slightly.  serve in bowls and garnish with a swirl of balsamic vinaigrette.

serves 6

*i was too excited to eat the soup that i forgot to take a decent picture.


one of those weeks.

you know those weeks that fly by leaving you wondering where the time went?  and those weeks that leave you stressed because it feels like you don't have enough time to do anything?

well, unfortunately, it's been one of those weeks.

sorry for the lack of posts, and i'll be back this weekend- promise!


organizing christmas cards.

this was the first year i didn't put up any christmas decorations.  i battled with this idea for a while and then, as the stress of leaving for three weeks piled up, i decided it really wasn't worth the extra anxiety.

the one thing i really missed more than the wreaths & ornaments & sparkly lights were christmas cards.  i love opening them as the arrive to our house and reading about our friends & family (and an added bonus are always the cards that include pictures!).  i save these cards year after year and love to look back on our christmas history.

so, to preserve these christmas memories, i decided to use a bit of mini book inspiration (my sister-in-law & mom helped with this idea as well) and i love this christmas card book.  


happy 2011!!

'tis the season for resolutions and new beginnings.  i'm not a fan of new year's resolutions since they tend to fizzle come march, so in leu of these, i make lists of things i would like to do each year.  kinda like a mini bucket list if you will.

at the moment i currently have two running lists.  my twenty seven while 27 and my lofty to-do list that i started when a. left.  i decided today would be the perfect time to re-address these lists. 

part of me thinks i should keep the lists separate so i can revamp & reassess come march and october, but another part thinks if i merge these lists and keep them together & organized, i'll be more inclined to complete everything.  so, in the spirit of new beginnings, i've decided to merge the two.

and here is the new list for 2011.  

1. learn to play one song on the guitar
2. walk dogs 365 miles
3. go cross-country skiing
4. take a floral design class
5. scuba dive
6. volunteer for an organization
7. find a church
8. learn to roll a kayak

9. finish honeymoon scrapbook
10. bake bread (and no, banana bread doesn't count)
11. partake in three triathlons (sprint, olympic & half iron)
12. learn to use a sewing machine & make stuff
13. get a library card & use frequently

14. get comfortable using clipless petals
15. read 6 biographies
16. join a biking club
17. do a polar bear plunge

18. organize the basement
19. reduce my reliance on paper towels

20. go on a vacation (passport required)
21. decorate our bedroom
22. learn photoshop elements

23. embrace snail mail & write letters more often
24. start/join a book club
25. backpack
26. learn to snowboard
27. take a letter press class
28. go rock climbing (indoor & out)
29. plant a garden
30. learn to can
31. learn to use my camera

32. sugar-free for 30 days
33. skydive

so there you have it.  i only had a few things left from my twenty seven list...and i have to admit this is rather intimidating.  but everything listed is fun or will be an improvement to me.  and really, over the course of 365 days, why shouldn't i be able to complete everything on this list?

what are your resolutions for 2011?