Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mango Salsa and Smoothies

So I wanted to give you 2 recipes for two of my favorite things. Both are great summer treats and are the perfect snack on a hot day!

Mango Salsa
1 cucumber
3 mangoes
1 red onion
1 red pepper
A pinch of salt and pepper
Lime juice
Optional: handful of chopped cilantro

All you do is chop it all up and eat! Using a blender makes it a little bit soupy, but it goes quicker than chopping it by hand. Chopping by hand helps you taste all the flavors a little more though. 



Smoothie
1 cup of yogurt (whatever flavor you prefer)
1 banana 
A handful of frozen fruit (I like peaches and pineapples because it makes it sweeter)
Some fruit juice

Just blend and enjoy! 


Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Golden Coast

Here are some pictures from my recent trip to California:







View from the Pacific Coast Highway (we took it from LA to San Francisco)






Grapes in Napa- Cakebread Vineyard and Winery



Me, Daniel and Lorien tasting wine




The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco


Riding a cable car in San Francisco




I got to meet up with the Middle Eastern family I stayed with while they were visiting the States for the summer. 



Thursday, July 15, 2010

I AM Bootylicious.

So one of my guilty pleasures is blog-stalking. I do it religiously, to the point where I might require medical help in the immediate future. It's somewhat of an obsession, but I justify it because thats where I learn to do everything from tweeting to painting to redecorating to growing plants. I. love. blogs.

And today, my love for blogs has been renewed and refreshed by my FAVORITE blog: Young House Love.  Today I woke up with an exciting email in my inbox. Much to my dismay, I was the winner in their most recent giveaway! Cheers to me. I have entered almost every week for the last year or two, and the incessant blog checking and contest entering has finally paid off.

And I have won this:


A Booty Bean Bag for two! I can't wait to get it in the mail and curl up on it with a good book. And if I'm lucky, Bailey the cat or Patrick will join me in enjoying this fabulous prize.

Check out these awesome bean bag chairs here and make sure to take a look at their other products. They look fabulous and would make any room more comfortable and inviting.

Happy reading my friends. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What I'm Chewing On

This summer I feel like I've become an avid reader. I read the 4 Twilight books, then "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert, and most recently I've finished "Same Kind of Different As Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.


And this was one book that I didn't want to read. 

I read a bazillion reviews, talked to lots of friends and family members, and even googled the story to find a reason not to like it or that would turn me away. Surprisingly, not one person said anything negative about the book.  Under hundreds of scrutinizing eyes, every review seemed to glow in admiration. And yes the story looked grand and inspiring, but what could I possibly have in common with a wealthy art dealer and a homeless man that grew up working on a plantation? 

A lot. 

This book touched me in a way that I hoped it would not. I hated that I found myself relating to certain characters and caring about the homeless in Dallas. I didn't want to be encouraged to believe in the homeless more. Or to see that they could be trusted and empowered to change a city. I didn't want to see a homeless man become a part of a wealthy white family. I didn't want to see a husband and a wife serving alongside the poor every day, taking them out to coffee, celebrating their birthdays, and taking them on camping trips. Or fixing their hair, clipping their fingernails or washing their feet. 

So what is it about this inspiring, gut-wrenching, overcoming, and compassionate story that made me want to hate it so much?

It's because it made me uncomfortable. Challenged my "status quo." Showed me love that I wasn't yet ready for. 

"Same Kind of Different As Me" casted doubts on my present "need" for comfort. The story blurred the lines of what it means to be poor or to be rich. And it scared me because in some ways, I feel as if the former describes me better. 

I'm not Deborah or Ron Hall. I don't want to go serve dinner several nights a week, or have to give up my free time to be around men and women that smell bad and drink. I want to sit in my den or on my porch, watching television, reading books or making crafts. I want to be comfortable. 

But Ron and Deborah sacrificed their comfort. And an entire city changed for the better because of that sacrifice. All because 

they

just

cared. 


I want to live a dream that's bigger than me. I want to care so much that it changes a city. I want to be more comfortable in an unfamiliar place because I've become convinced of my purpose on this earth. I want to be a dreamer. To have compassion beyond comprehension. That inspires the masses and moves people out of complacency. I too, want to just care. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Prized Possession

I've been saving for a couple of weeks, and have finally accumulated enough cash flow to buy this:



A Canon Rebel xsi.

Of course I can't take photos like this:



Or this:




But everyone has to start somewhere, right? Even Frankie had to start somewhere. But in all fairness, she might be the only one I've ever known to legitimately start out this good from day 1 on a point-and-shoot 2 mega pixel camera. I want to be her. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yeah I'm a Runner

So several months ago I succumbed to peer pressure and registered for the Peachtree Roadrace. Its the biggest 10k in the world with 55,000 participants and 3,500 volunteers. I've heard stories that its just a big party and that you don't even think about the running. Well whoever told me that was WRONG.

The morning of the race we took MARTA to Lenox and walked right up to the starting line at 8:55am. Since Patrick and I had never run the race before, we were stuck in the second to last starting group. I was really nervous because I didn't exactly "train" for this. Most people around me seemed to be calm and collected, so I made sure I looked the same. Do some calf stretches, make small talk with nearby runners, and make subtle comments about the last race we did. I'm sure I looked like a professional.

When the race started, I learned that I easily revert back to middle school in my music tastes. They were playing Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" on every speaker at the starting line and I almost wet myself in excitement. I wanted to jump and run and skip and wave my arms in the air because the music pumped me up that much. I knew I could do the race if this was the music that played the whole time. I probably embarrassed Patrick.

I liked running with so many people, and we kept a great pace for the first few miles. At mile 2 I was really having fun and had convinced myself and Patrick that this needed to be a 4th of July tradition for our family. I liked the sights and sounds and smells, and hearing the Cupid Shuffle on every 3rd street corner kept my morale pretty high.

Then we got to mile 4. And that fun family tradition I had envisioned earlier no longer seemed fun. It had been a good idea 2 miles ago. Now that plan seemed to vaporize and disappear. My legs hurt. My feet hurt. My abs hurt. My back hurt. Running through fire hydrants, water guns and misters weren't cooling me off enough to make me believe that finishing the race might actually happen. But Patrick kept reminding me that "We're doing this for the t-shirt." So I kept on.

Mile 5 and 6 would have been fun if it wasn't hot and I didn't feel like death. I did get a second wind at mile 6.1 (would have been awesome had that kicked in a little bit sooner) that carried me 1/10 of a mile to the finish line. Finally finished. 90 minutes. Clothes soaked in fire hydrant water and sweat, and I could feel that my shoulders and neck had gotten a sweet sunburn. But nevertheless, it was over. I had finished the race.

And waiting for me after the finish line was a well-earned t-shirt right?  Wrong.

Well, I did get a t-shirt, but they were OUT OF SMALLS when I got up to the table. I DID THE RACE FOR THE FREAKING T-SHIRT AND YOU'RE OUT OF MY SIZE??!! I almost cried. All that hard work for a medium shirt that won't shrink enough for me to actually wear. You're kidding me.

Oh well. At least I accomplished something I never thought possible. And at the end of the day, I was really glad I did it. I needed the exercise, the experience, the snacks and the music. My muscles hurt, but I knew it was good to push myself. So maybe I'm open to considering next years race after all.