Monday, January 25, 2010

Chip the champ

The University of Colorado may not be anywhere near defending a National Championship on the football field, but have you seen our mascot in action?

Last weekend the beloved CU mascot, Chip, won the Mascot National Championship title for the second year in a row! Now we're not talking the CapitalOne text in your vote type of challege. This is an actual routine with music, props and ....I guess you'd say talent! While the dance moves aren't too complex, it's pretty impressive that someone is dancing in that huge costume. When you set that to songs like Hammer Time and Party in the USA it's an unbeatable combination! Check out the winning routine here.

In my opinion, Chip has always been a winner. It's nice to see him getting the street cred' he deserves!

Go Buffs!

I might never leave the kitchen

Jess and I modeling our new aprons

My sweet friend Melissa made these adorable aprons as holiday gifts. She made each apron completly unique to the recipient; different colors, fabrics and patterns for each apron. I could not have picked out more perfect fabric or design for myself. And it feels extra special knowing she made it just for me!

I received many thoughtful gifts, but this one is one I'm going to have a hard time taking off. I might never leave the kitchen so I can keep it on!

Sweet Melissa has hinted at selling them.
I've encouraging her to sell them on Etsy. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Run Happy

i made a goal in november to sign up and train for a half marathon. i'm happy to write that i've been logging several miles lately, working towards my goal. my friend debbie made me a handy half marathon training schedule that hangs right next to my computer. it serves as a reminder to run and a reward to mark off the completed runs! i've also successfully recruited my friend and workout buddy, heather (aka frans), to run the half as well. it's been nice to have someone to do those long runs with, especially because she's a GREAT story teller!

last friday we did an eight mile run up into the hills of piedmont. i felt great while running and didn't necessarily want to keep running, but if i had to run five more miles i could have mustered up the endurance (especially if frans had more stories). at that point i realized, i can do this. i'm ready. bring it on golden gate park! while i still have more pavement to chase to be physically ready, mentally i'm set!

one other important detail i completed this weekend was purchasing some new shoes. i've been very loyal to asics but after a thorough shoe fitting, test run through the store, and side-by-side analysis, i chose brooks. while they are not nearly as cute as the pink and silver asics, they are very comfortable and felt like they offered the best foot support. function over fashion? i know, i was shocked too! i even told the friendly shoe fitter that this was BIG for me :) final tipping point on the decision was the brooks were on sale!

as i carried my new shoes out of the store, i noticed the shoe box said 'Run Happy' which made me smile. i am happy with my shoe purchase. i'm also happy to have stuck with my goal to train for this half marathon. as i finish up my training in preparation for february 7, i will remind myself to run happy because that's what these shoes were made to do.

i'm sure you're dying to see the brooks, aren't you?
from my view, they're cute in their own way.

besides, this is all anyone will really see...

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase," Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Leaving Piedmont

Dear 533 Blair Avenue,

As you know by now I've left Piedmont. It wasn't you, it was me. I'm moving on to new, exciting adventures. Well technically I've "moved" on to Cragmont Avenue, but it's a step towards something exciting. It's been bittersweet. We had some good great times. I am so glad I had the opportunity to live in Piedmont and on Blair Avenue.

I remember the first time we met. I was so eager to get out of my crazy living situation that I replied to your posting the first day. I was impressed by your charm, nice owners and although the apartment was small it felt like a perfect fit. I'm glad your owners thought so too; getting out of my living situation was a much needed breath of fresh air! And we worked out a pretty sweet exchange of babysitting for lowered rent. The kids were cute and seemed harmless.

Turned out that the kids were cute, mostly harmless and taught me so many lessons that I'll never forget. Remember the time R locked herself in her room because she was soooooooo mad at me? I never thought I could be so defeated by a 7 year old. Turns out she wanted to be my friend just as much as I wanted to be hers; it just took time for her to trust me. We had so much fun in that short time before her bedtime reading books, play games, braiding hair and making paper dolls. I'm so glad we became friends!

Did you ever keep track of how many times E told me I could "go home" because his parents were there? I think I lost count. Poor guy didn't make the connection for quite a while that I lived there too. Once he realized I was there everyday, he would come out on the porch in the morning to say BYE as I left for work.

You know what I still don't remember? The words to the song Blackbird. You know it's one of a handful of songs R and E liked to sing before bed. No matter how hard I tried, I never got ALL the words right. It was fun to giggle with them when I messed up.

How crazy was it when that old lady was found mummified in the house down the street? Creepy! I'm glad you're on the other side of the street and farther up the hill. It's better that way...except when I'm riding my bike or trying to reverse my car into a parking spot. Did you ever think my car was going to just give up on that hill? Yeah, I did too.

Do you remember how I asked if I could take the huge table out of your kitchen, thinking I'd get a cute cafe table to entertain? That huge table turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the apartment. Who says you can't have a craft room and kitchen all in one? It was a multitasker's dream come true!

What wasn't a dream come true was how many times I blew a fuse while using too many outlets or couldn't for the life of me get an internet connection. I don't think Brian will miss having to duck so he doesn't hit his head on the stairwell. Or having to shut all four doors in my room to keep the boogy man out HEY....mummified body? Yeah, you never know.Although there were lots of doors, I was grateful for all the storage space behind two of those doors. The cheerful yellow walls made it a perfect little bedroom.

Do you remember when I hadn't received my new Real Simple and I thought maybe your owners were upstairs reading it? Ok, I didn't REALLY think that....but I was wondering where the heck it was. I know, silly me! Such nice landlords, neighbors and friends. I remember the night they came home from their date night, the kids were in bed and I'd had having a rough night. I tried to keep it together but being the kind intuitive people they are they said...everything ok? That's when the water works started on my end and the hugs and open, sympathetic ears on their end. I always knew they were a little more than just my landlords, they were like family.

You can see why it's been bittersweet. Change brings opportunity and excitement, but it also takes some adjustment. It's funny how much more emotional I am leaving you than I was leaving my crazy situation on Oakland Avenue. I know I had a great situation and I have you to thank. I'd always wanted to live alone and it was nice to have that opportunity, while having a family close by, just in case.

This isn't really goodbye, it's see you soon...only this time I won't blow any fuses!

Take care! 

Love always,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

You Are My Sunshine

This one's for you, Mom. 
Happy Birthday!!

The Fray, You Are My Sunshine 
Red Rocks August 2007
Although this is not my viedo, I was at this concert. I will always love this song because it reminds me of my mom! When it's sung by The Fray...added bonus!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

I love...

my new PS wall calendar! Makes my carpeted cubical walls much more bright and cheery. I know we're only 8 days in, but 2010 is looking GOOD to me.

Thanks, B!


this morning as i rode the #11 bus into work, i realized today is my last day riding this bus. over the last two years i've built a love/hate relationship with the 11. Here is a glimpse...

i love that i'm able to get to and from work without a car. i love that riding the bus is not only saving the environment, but saving me money (i pay $4/day to ride the bus vs a minimum of $7/day if i were to drive and park in downtown oakland AND my work provides me with a quarterly reimbursement). i love that it only takes 20 minutes to get to work. i love that i can completely zone- out, listen to music or check facebook updates while i ride. i love the people watching, especially the junior high kids that go to school in downtown Oakland. i love the people i've befriended on the bus, especially the bus drivers (there have been a handful of times they've waited for me in the morning as I come running down the street).

i hate waiting when the bus just doesn't show up. thankfully this has only happened after work, so its never made me late but its still frustrating. i hate when i've been running to catch the bus and it drives right past me (i realize this is more my fault than the buses but go with me, please). i hate riding the bus when its monsoon rainstorm. people get extra feisty and it smells pretty gnarly. i hate seeing how some people treat the bus drivers (i try to be extra nice to them on those days). i hate not being able to run errands during the day or right after work.

all in all, the love outweighs the hate. this is the first time as a professional i've relied solely on public transportation and i'm hooked.

it's been a great ride, 11. i look forward to the adventures that await me on my new bus/BART train!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"We know truth, not only by reason,
but also by heart." - Blaise Pascal

{via Celestial Seasoning Peppermint tea}

Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday Highlights, Part Two

Holiday Highlights
Part Two: Friends

I love go to Colorado for several reasons. In addition to seeing family and visiting my favorite places, I get to see so many friends! During the holidays I'm always extra lucky because even out of staters are in town. This year was no different and for that I'm thankful.

Highlights include:
Baker's Street Tradition ~ Brunch at the NEW Snooze
Running at Belmar in the snow ~ Scarf Exchange
Brainstorming our reunion boot camp ~ Benny's & Govs
Dinner & over night down in the ranch
Mimosas and Dress Shopping
SURPRISE birthday dinner
New Years Eve ~ Skiing at Copper Mountain

While I don't have photos of all my adventures with said friends,
I do have this fantastic reindeer antler photo montage ...

{photos courtesy of JNelly}

Chicken Piccata

I wanted to share a family favorite, Chicken Piccata. Growing up I was not a fan of capers. I don't think I'd ever tried them, they just looked weird. A few years ago my mom made Chicken Piccata and I realize those little odd looking green capers are actually delicious!!

For the past two years we've had Chicken Piccata on Christmas Eve. Paired with a nice salad, crusty bread and wine, it's a great meal! While the recipe includes a splash of wine, we have made it without the wine and it's just as good.

Chicken Piccata

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
Splash of white wine
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup capers (we use the caper juice too, for extra flavor)
1 pkg whole wheat spaghetti
1 glass of wine for the cook (optional but strongly encouraged!)

1 Cut the chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.
2 Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Rinse the chicken pieces in water. Coat them thoroughly in the flour mixture.
3 Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces, do not crowd the pan. Brown well on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve to a plate. Cook the other pieces in the same manner, remove from pan. Cover to keep warm while you prepare the sauce.
4 Add the chicken stock, splash of white wine, lemon juice, and capers to the pan. Use a spatula to scrape up the browned bits. Simmer while the sauce thickens to approximately half. If sauce is looking thin, add a pinch or two of flour. Add chicken to the sauce and simmer for a few more minutes.
5 Serve over whole wheat pasta.