explore in color.

Adventure is a path. 
Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky– 
forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. 
The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. 
Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. 
In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless 
kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind– 
and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. 
This will change you. 
Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.

Mark Jenkin



i've never been a huge fan of hair products.  i guess you could call it laziness (i love me a ponytail) or maybe i haven't found anything i've been crazy about.  until now.  my hair is naturally wavy.  not super gorgeous wavy, but enough that it's not straight.  and just this weekend i decided to put some new products to the test.

our good friends are packing up and moving to boston (sad news for us but happy times for them), so to say goodbye, we decided to go on a wine tour last weekend.  with a lot of memories to be made, many photos were necessary.

a couple weeks before this vineyard extravaganza, i got a haircut (thrilling, i know).  anyway, i walked away with a fab new 'do and bumble & bumble's thickening spray and a sample of their texture creme.  while i've used the thickening spray before, i was a bit hesitant to try the texture creme (it claims to have grit in the formula...like exfoliate for hair??).  well, long story short, i love it.  

it gave my waves the perfect undone, beachy look without the wild and untamed mane that usually accompanies my style of choice.  so without further ado, i say run out and pick this product up asap.  i'm telling you, if you love an easy style that can hold up to the ultimate test (i.e. looking good in pictures throughout an entire of day of wine tasting)...these products are for you!  enjoy.


note from the hub.

totally. made. my. day.

from a. via facebook:
the best part...is that we've already finished the hard part. Never again will we have to be apart for this long again :):)
...I kinda like hanging out with you...
i kinda love him.  ain't that the truth.


ah weekends.  how i've missed thee.  i know this sounds overly dramatic- but after working over last weekend and jumping right back into a busy, busy week- i was drained.  so i decided to take full advantage of my two days of bliss.  

in an effort to say adieu to two of our amazing friends, we planned a wine tour as a final send off on saturday.  we rented a mini van (yep, you read that right- a mini van) and picked up a sub platter, chips, fruit and some other snacks for our picnic lunch.  the day started gray, rainy & a bit cold.  but that wasn't going to stop us.  

by the time we reached the vineyard, the sun was peeking through the clouds and around 11am, we ventured into our first winery and the day began with some awesome tastings at fox run vineyards.  we spent the afternoon visiting the wineries we've never explored and had a blast enjoying the sunshine and amazing wine.
{wine tasting}
{pear trees}
{seneca lake}
{wine glasses and picnics}
while enjoying the landscape of the finger lakes, we ran into thousands of bushes of lilacs and fields of tulips- a perfect backdrop for wine tasting.  once the wineries closed for the evening, we enjoyed the last few hours of daylight on a picnic bench drinking local beer and playing apples to apples.  it was the perfect day with the perfect people.
{lilacs and finger lakes}
{complete with game night}
sunday was a day of recovery and catch up.  i know what you're thinking...but believe it or not, the day began early and consisted of weeding and yard clean-up.  i didn't get as much done as i had hoped, but that's what happens when you wait until the end of may to start cleaning your yard-  you feel like you're removing a jungle.  since it rained in the afternoon, i took the opportunity to relax and catch up on a few shows i've neglected over the last couple weeks.  

it was the perfect balance of relaxation and productivity.


11 days of may.

thats' all we have left.  can you believe that?  and wanna hear something even crazier?  in 18 days, a. and i will be meeting up in costa rica for 2 ah-mazing weeks.

that's right...costa rica for 2 weeks.  so excited!

this past week has been nothing but a whirl wind.  on saturday i flew to san antonio for a few site visits for upcoming conferences.  i was there for less than 24 hours and hopped a plane to orlando on sunday.  don't get too excited for me.  i didn't see much of orlando other than the inside of the orange county convention center and a few restaurants.  i attended a conference as a networking opportunity- and man, it was unreal.  fours days of non-stop meetings, chatting and networking with over 15,000 people.  yep.  fifteen thousand. no typo there.

one of the best parts of the trip was the sting concert.  the companies sponsored a concert to have him there and he not only played a ton of classics but also put on an amazing show.  since i couldn't find anything decent on youtube, please just enjoy the music...

while it's always so good to be home, i still have so much to wrap up over the next 18 days.  so things are gonna get crazy.  but no worries for me.  only good- very, very good- things to come.


in my shoes.

to you, these may just look like dirty running shoes.  but what you can't see is the endless road of pavement beneath their soles.  the newly sprouted leaves against the bright blue sky and the fields upon fields of soft grass scattered with dandelions, purple flowers and fallen white petals.  the huge white clouds floating with the gentle breezes and the butterflies gliding from bud to bud.  the red, yellow, green and blue trail markers that so carefully connect the trees & the squirrels, deer and birds that litter the trails and neighborhoods.  you can't see the puddles they have jumped or the streams they've forged.  you can't feel the warmth of the sun's rays or the cool pockets of shade beneath the tall pine trees.  the sting of thorns from the blackberry bushes against your legs and the slosh of mud in your shoes.  and you can't hear the whoosh of cars zipping by you or the kerplunk of a tree frog jumping into the puddle your darting around.  the crunch of gravel and sticks beneath your feet, your steady, rhythmic breath and the jingle of the dog collar from your four-legged companion.  you miss all of this.

to me, these are more than just dirty running shoes.  they're my experiences.
what have you & your shoes experienced lately? 


a weekend breakfast.

i love lazy saturday mornings.  this breakfast was inspired by my trip to australia.  every morning i'd have roasted vegetables (usually mushrooms and tomatoes), steamed greens, baked beans and toast.  & i loved every minute of it.  so this weekend i opted to try my own version- and while i missed the beans, it was otherwise a perfect way to start every day.



years & years ago, when i first started eating solid food, my mom learned that i liked carrots- a lot.  so, she fed them to me all the time.  and as the story goes, her fair-skined, red-headed little girl, started turning orange.  of course, as a brand new mama, she had no idea why.  so she rushed me to the doctor.  the doctor took one look at me and pulled his stethoscope up to his ears (insert doctor smirk here) and asked what i liked to eat.  

carrots, said my mom.  she loves carrots.
how often do you give her carrots? asked the doctor.
well, that's all i can get here to eat... replied my mom.
hmmm. responded the doctor.  i bet if you fed her something else, she would probably stop turning orange.

happy mother's day to all the mama's who have and currently are, learning to raise us through trial & error.  to all the moms who have spent countless hours loving and teaching and listening to each of us as we grow.  to each of you who spend countless hours setting guidelines, teaching manners & morals and stressing the importance of safety & heathy lifestyles.  and of course, to the moms who sacrifice so much so we can have amazing, life-changing experiences so we can grow up to be the people you dream for us to be.

and to the one mom, who not only did all this, but also opened me up to a world of veggies outside of carrots.  i love you.


bug off.

as a bona fide southern california gal, i love my sunshine.  now that it's finally starting to warm up, jackets and jeans are turning into summer dresses & i'm spending way more time outside.

but one thing this southern california transplant can't get used to is this.  with warm weather and warmer nights, come bugs.  lots 'o bugs.  the blood-sucking kind.  and they attack in swarms.  last week while playing ultimate frisbee, i looked into the sky and saw at least 100 pesky mosquitos swarming over me.  and of course, silly me, i didn't think to bring bug spray.

in keeping with a holistic lifestyle, i stay miles away from the deet ridden bug sprays.  don't fret- i'm not about to turn into a walking billboard for west nile.  i found a great spray last year for our camping trip- and not only did it smell decent (my friends might disagree), but it actually worked.  and trust me, if you can spend a week in the forest in new york without getting eaten alive, you know you've found gold.
so this year, plan a was to rely on my new-found gem.

but, get this.  one of my co-workers is really into essential oils and is about as nutty as i am about all-natural products.  when she told me she makes her own bug spray, i squealed with joy.  really?  you can make bug spray?  who would'a thought.
she brought me a batch of her "bugs be gone" and i'm so excited to give it a try.  basically, it's made with essential oils and distilled water.  some recipes call for an oil-based spray, but her version goes on clean, smells great & keeps the bugs away.  just for kicks, i spent some time googling "homemade insect repellent" recipes- and there are quite a few out there.  since i've yet to use it, i can only rely on her opinions- but that's the best part of today...the weekend is here and i can give it a try!

so with new ammo at hand, enjoy your weekend and the great outdoors (even it's only as far as your backyard)!


fresh start.

i love the idea of lists and goal setting.  and to be honest, this year i haven't been very good at it.  that's what happens when you get into a bit of a funk- you loose all motivation.  then, just when the timing couldn't be more perfect, i read this article.  and man, did it resonate with me.

may is my two o'clock.  it's the perfect time to restart my year.  spring is in the air, the days are longer and in one month, i have so much to look forward to.  whenever a. deploys, i feel as though my life goes on hold and it takes a while for me to get my footing.  but this deployment, my life stopped and i fell flat on my face.  the problem is...i don't know why.  

i felt so good about this last deployment.  & was so determined to get so much done and live the life of a "'single' married gal."  so i made lists.  and plans.  and as of now, nothing has been completed.  and it's frustrating.  don't get me wrong, sure i'm traveling, and working in a new career path, and keeping up with life- but that's the problem.  i'm just keeping up. i'm not growing and learning.  well, not yet anyway.  like i said, may is my two o'clock and i'm excited to take charge of the second half of my year.

so dear may, bring your flowers & sunshine.  bring plans of summer & the first warm days.  i'm ready to enjoy you and love this time- regardless of deployments, or stress, or poor footing.  it's going to be a great month, i can tell!


aarp & a sammy.

{aioli, avocado}
{with asparagus}

asparagus, avocado & red pepper aioli sammy 
(get it, aarp?!  hahaha.  don't mind me, i have a tendency to crack myself up)
serves 2

roasted red pepper aioli
1/2 cup mayonaise
3-4 roasted red peppers
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

2 thick pieces of artisan bread, toasted
4-5 stalks of fresh asparagus
1 avocado, scored

to make aioli, combine mayo, red peppers and garlic into a food processor and pulse until all items are pureed and combined.

meanwhile, heat oven (i use my toaster oven) to 400 degrees.  cut asparagus into 2 inch pieces, lay on tray and sprinkle with olive oil and roast until tender (about 20 minutes).  let cool.

take the two pieces of artisan bread, and generously spread red pepper aioli on both pieces.  cut avocado in half and gently mash one half on each piece of bread.  then place a layer of asparagus on top of each half of the bread.  sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste & serve open-faced.

you know, this would be great paired with a spring salad and a glass of white wine. 


easter. a week (or two) later.

easter weekend was spent in michigan with my grandma and moshu, aunt, uncle and cousins.  believe it or not, the drive from syracuse isn't long at all.  about 6 1/2 hours via canada (not including a few stops for gas and wait time at the borders).  but when push comes to shove, it's not all that bad.  even when riding solo.  

after a great drive- despite the weather, i made it over the bridge from canada and onto the home stretch.  then, 6 miles from my grandparents house, my car died.  seriously.  i had to call a tow truck to get it to an auto repair place.  and of course, because if it wasn't already bad enough, i got in a) late enough that everywhere was closed and b) on a holiday weekend, guaranteeing no one would be open.  needless to say, i was planning to drive home monday, so this was just fabulous*.

despite the car issues, the weekend was outstanding.  spring was in full bloom & i had so much fun spending time with the family.  we ventured to ikea and i picked up some great duds for the casa.  a duvet cover, candle holder, shelf, and a colander.  my grandma and i drove around michigan looking at homes and neighborhoods.  i watched dumb & dumber with moshu.  easter brunch at la sala (i convinced the cousins to dip bacon in the chocolate fountain.  i totally would have, but the vegetarian thing go the best of me).  hiked for miles with radley and saw deer, wild turkey & peacocks.

it was such a great time that i'm determined this will become an annual tradition.  i figure next year, in addition to radley, i'll have my favorite travel buddy with me and the road could go on forever and ever.  our car could die (although this wouldn't be preferable) and with our easter baskets packed, and a long weekend ahead of us, it'd be another adventure in the making.

*my car got fixed.  luckily, it sounded worse than it really was.  the nice guys at the auto shop took the time to fix it first thing in the morning since i told them i had to get on the road.  long story short, the guys back home didn't put my calipers on right after fixing my brakes.  with a short adjustment in michigan, the car was up and running in no time.