Dec 27, 2010

Holiday Handmade

This year the mister and I decided on trying our hand at a set of completely handmade Christmas gifts. This is how 50 apples, 3 bottles of tequila and some yarn turned into 6 delicious gift baskets.
{BBQ rub}
{BBQ sauce}
{Apple butter}
{Everlasting vanilla extract}
{Jalapeño infused tequila}
{Dark chocolate truffles}
{Salted caramel candy}
{Key lime meltaways}

+{winter headbands and a tiny owl friend}

 happy holidays.

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Dec 8, 2010

eat, drink, live

I got this Indian tiffin or dabba lunch box at a fair trade store called Ten Thousand Villages. It's awesome. In Mumbai, India, there's a whole system for delivering hot lunches in these to kids at school and businessmen at work. The Dabbawallahs or delivery men, will pick up the prepared lunches from hardworking wives and mothers and carry upwards of twenty of them speedily to their recipients, all on a bicycle. Kind of like the Jimmy John's delivery boys...

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Dec 6, 2010

crafts for poor people

In the spirit of the holiday and in training to try to keep at least one of my goals in the new year, I've been crafting a lot. Of course, I am way behind on the handmade gifts everyone will be getting, and am instead making wreaths that look like children's projects.

This one was fun, super easy, and cheap to make. I made the basic wreath using this tutorial. I used old t-shirts so I cut the strips shorter and tied them real tight so that they would stay fluffy. Then I made some pom-poms out of yarn and sewed them on.  I topped it off by adding this classy ransom note style greeting with stamps. Maybe I'm just channeling how much I want Amy Sedaris' new book...
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Dec 2, 2010


I went to a, let's say "different", sort of school in my grade school years. It was called The Waldorf International School. Waldorf Schools around the world are based on a creative education developed by Rudolph Steiner and rooted in Anthroposophical ideas. I think it's such a crucial point in a child's life to nurture natural creativity and individual development that this type of education couldn't be more fitting. We learned such a broad spectrum of things and in so many different ways. 

We learned about Pythagoras by doing math, acting in a play, and reading. We learned botany by doing field work and making our own books. We celebrated May Day with a May pole dance and Advent with a spiral wreath ceremony which I remember fondly every year and wish my friends didn't think I was bonkers for suggesting we do our own. 

Advent today is much more associated with Christianity, marking the beginning of the Christmas season and Church year. But Advent has also signified the days before the winter solstice and the representation of life and light in the dark times of winter. This is the way it, and all festivals, are celebrated in Waldorf. They are not taught, but offered in ways that allows children to assign their own significance. For this reason, there is a nature table on which children progressively add more "life" - rocks, plants, etc. to the Advent wreath. The Advent spiral, made of evergreen, represents the kingdoms (animal, plant) of the earth. Children walk around it, lighting a candle from the center and leaving it on their way out, creating  light in preparation for the winter.

In keeping with craftiness and the holiday spirit, I made an Advent calendar, slightly more light-hearded and silly as the mister can only tolerate so much hippyness from me. We'll see if I can sneak in a wreath. But this one hangs at our entrance and there is a little activity for each day. All sorts of things from drinking hot buttered rum to advice from favorite poets.

See the easy tutorial after the jump

Nov 5, 2010

creations of the yarn variety

About a year and a half ago my friend from the far off land of Alaska came to visit me in the bubble of Boulder, CO. I made her an iPod case for her monolithic original iPod. To keep it warm in the cold winter months of course. I knocked it out in the short while she was visiting. As awesome as she is and as hard to resist as Colorado is, she came back to visit me this year, in my new home. Her iPod case was looking a little weathered. In my lack of craftiness in the last year, I still somehow agreed to make her a new one. Two new ones! What was I thinking right? Needless to say they were not complete, not even started, in those 5 days. I lost count of how many times she had to remind me of what I was supposed to be doing with that yarn stuffed in my desk drawer that the cat sometimes gets to. Four months later (I'm on top of things, I know) here you have it: Francis (thanks to my talented brander) the lackadaisical owl iPod case, a little personalized furry flap case, and an update to the worn original. 

Here's hoping the craft bug stays.

Nov 2, 2010


Another treat! One of my favorite bloggers, Ez of Creature Comforts, just released Gifted, a fabulous online magazine of holiday projects, interviews and more. Every page is as inspiring as her blog posts. Start reading! And If you ever need a little beauty and inspiration in your life (who doesn't?) or just a little artful eye candy, check out her blog!

Oct 21, 2010

a little kick

I made this incredibly delicious bourbon pumpkin cheesecake from a recipe adapted from Gourmet by  the talented blogger of Smitten Kitchen. Which, by the way, has got to be my all-time favorite food blog, I just want to make every recipe on there!

Oct 20, 2010

Do more than just wear purple

Students Across the Country Pledge to be Allies to LGBT Youth During GLSEN's Ally Week

Ally Week Kicks Off in More than a Thousand Schools

New York, NY (Vocus) October 18, 2010

Thousands of students from more than 1,000 middle and high schools across the country began participating in GLSEN’s Ally Week today to identify, encourage and support allies in addressing anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying in schools.
A student-led and student-created event, Ally Week is a way to build upon the unifying work of Gay-Straight Alliance student clubs by encouraging people to be allies against anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.
“Everybody deserves to have an education, and everybody deserves to feel safe at school,” said Moriah Rahamim, a 17-year-old senior from Cleveland. “I am an ally because of empathy, and by working to ensure the safety of students who face stigma due to their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, I believe that we are really fighting for the safety of all students, everywhere.”
Students participate in a number of ways but usually encourage their peers to take the Ally Week pledge, which students and adults sign either through pledge cards in school or online at ( The pledge reads:
I believe all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression deserve to feel safe and supported.
That means I pledge to:

  • Not use anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) language or slurs.
  • Intervene, if I safely can, in situations where students are being harassed.
  • Support efforts to end bullying and harassment.
Nearly 9 out of 10 (84.6%) LGBT students experience harassment at school and 61.1% feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, according to GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey of 7,261 LGBT students in middle and high school.
“Recent tragedies have brought attention to the longstanding public health crisis of anti-LGBT bullying in our schools," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. "Allies can make a huge difference in creating safer schools for LGBT youth. GLSEN’s Ally Week offers students and adults an opportunity to show their support for creating a world in which all students are valued and respected, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression."
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit (

Oct 8, 2010

"We just do what we can and trust that the effort matters"

Educated as a biologist, Barbara Kingsolver is a detailed, well-read writer. Her collection of essays Small Wonder ranges from her response to 9/11 to her speculations on our culture’s “scientific illiteracy” to some of the personal lessons in her own life. It has the gems of wisdom that run throughout all of her works; truths like “We are all in the same boat. It’s the same struggle for each of us, and the same path out: the utterly simple, infinitely wise, ultimately defiant act of loving one thing and then another, loving our way back to life.” 

Kingsolver reminds us of the war every person fights and shows us the beauty in the world we still have. If there is anyone that can make genetic engineering interesting and understandable to the least science-minded of us, and add poetry to the every day, it is Barbara Kingsolver. I’ve found that even if I don’t agree with all of her insights, I am still fascinated by them. Her practiced patience in revering nature and her connection to the people and world around her are enviable. 

And best of all, she very honestly and humanly practices what she preaches: “Since it’s nonsensical, plus embarrassing, to be an outspoken critic of things you do yourself, I set myself long ago to the task of consuming less. I never go to India, but in various stages of my free-wheeling youth I tried out living in a tent, in a commune, and in Europe, before eventually determining that I could only hope to dent the salacious appetites of my homeland and make us a more perfect union by living inside this amazing beast, poking its belly from the inside with my one little life and the small, pointed sword of my pen. So this is where I feed my family and try to live lightly on the land.”

I think we could all take a bit of advice from Kingsolver's mighty pen and humble garden.

Oct 5, 2010


shirt: J.Crew
skirt: Top Shop
shoes: Target
ring: nOir
necklace: thrifted
hairpin: Etsy
clutch: thrifted

I don't know why I stand so weird but apparently it's not new. Ran errands like a housewife then blinged it up for a night out with the necklace and heels. How wonderful would it be to just rock outfits for a living? I should put that on my resume.

On another note, my lack of posts is due to the fact that I've been busy walking around the house talking to myself while I teach an imaginary yoga class because teacher training is making me nervous. In a good way.


Sep 21, 2010

Little Doodles

I love this illustrator's drawings. There's something sassy about the birds, and she has several other smart ones with cute animals as well as some gorgeously simple fashion watercolors. Take a look at her Flickr or Blog. Makes me wish I could get myself to sit still long enough to start drawing!

Aug 31, 2010

bikes & drag

This past weekend I rode in the Venus de Miles ride which is a fundraising ride to benefit Greenhouse Scholars. It's an all women's ride, hence the free drinks, massages and manicures after, but the maintenance team consists of men in drag. Naturally, we made an excellent team...

and this is the 51 mile course I did. So nice and much more relaxed than the SPAN the Rockies course. My man in drag had to chase after mountain bikes and cruisers on the 33 miler.

Aug 30, 2010

weekend fashion

t-shirt: Fluxus
shorts: Wet Seal
bag: Tulu
shoes: Sperry
bandana, ring, bracelet: who knows, somewhere in Russia, gift

dressed for a scorching but fabulous sunday morning of bike rides, brunch, and sitting by the river reading and having photos taken of me which will doubtlessly make their way over here eventually.

I will admit I am (hopefully flatteringly) stealing this idea. If you like it you should check out What I Wore, Jess Loves Fred, and FancyTreehouse.

Aug 24, 2010

slightly bored & severely confused

The easiest and most blissful thing for me has always been to be alone and to be on the move, always with some great adventure or destination in view, even if it was just dreaming. For the first time since I can remember, I have no plane tickets purchased, no trips planned.

I am more scared than I was getting on a nameless bus full of chickens in Costa Rica. I am more terrified than I was when I got on the first of three planes to Cambodia, completely alone and with nothing to turn back to. This time I'm not running anywhere. Not because I know this is where I want to be, but because I have no idea where to go, who I want to go with, or what I want to do.

My friend, 10,000 miles away, as always, has the best advice. He tells me that when he was in high school he had no idea what he wanted to do or who he wanted to be. So he says he started small. All he wanted to do then was smoke weed and skateboard, so he did that. Then he came to the point where he didn't want to do that anymore so he found something else. He went to University. He learned to build a banjo and fix bikes and cook mac n cheese from scratch and speak Chinese. Little by little your purpose gets clearer. He still doesn't know exactly what he wants to do, but he's speaking Chinese and Mongolian and teaching kids in China and he's more true to himself than anyone I've ever known.

I want to not fight. I want to learn to draw, knit, make preserves, take an aerial dance class, practice my Spanish, practice my French. I want to have time to read. I want to know what I want and go through with making it happen. I want to know how to forgive.

What do you want?

Aug 23, 2010

ooshy gooshy

I've always left pies for winter desserts but this one, if you add a few different types of peaches, is still fruity and light enough for summer, with or without some vanilla ice cream!

There's something about baking. Making everything from scratch, setting out and prepping the ingredients. I could do it all day. I don't know what it is about the really basic stuff that fascinates me, but I've always wanted to go even more basic.

Making your own crackers or preserves is far more impressive to me than baking a pie. I want to learn to can and jar. And all those simple tricks from Cook's Illustrated or Real Simple, I wish I had those catalogued in my brain. 

That Animal, Vegetable, Miracle lifestyle, I want that. That, and that 50's demand for style and class where I get to prance around in pouffy dresses and have it be perfectly acceptable to sass everyone. 

Aug 16, 2010

burgers & bikes

In attempting to save money as well as make sure we don't waste food, we've been trying to plan weekly meals so that we use up as much as we buy. So, we made burgers 3 ways. The other two ways don't photograph so well so use your imagination.

First, we made a veggie Big Mac: Gardenburger with cheese, tomatoes, pickles and thousand island. Whoops, I mean "special sauce". 

Then, I made a gardenburger with cheese, ketchup and, bear with me, a fried egg. I know, weird, but so incredibly delicious. The best veggie burger I've ever had, ever, was in Cambodia and it was covered in shredded white cheese and a fried egg. Oh, and it cost $1. I often try to recreate it but nothing has lived up to it yet.

Finally, we made a variation of this recipe for portabella burgers with balsamic mayonnaise. We used chive cream cheese and altered the herbs a bit. So good, you could just make the portabellas and serve that with rice if you're too fancy for burgers.


On another, possibly just as irrelevant note, I completed the 130K SPAN the Rockies race yesterday in 6 and a half hours. Slow, and painful, but fun. It wasn't at all what I was expecting. Lance Armstrong was not there, waiting to demoralize me for not being competitive, and though the first 30 miles were a tough, slow climb, the rest was much milder. And soaring through a canyon at 30mph is just as fun when your knees are in excruciating pain. Boulder to Ward to Lyons to Hygiene to Niwot to Boulder. Beautiful! I can't wait for the even more laid back Venus de Miles ride in two weeks!

Aug 5, 2010

coming together

Our new place is still coming together, we're almost there! This is our latest addition, the new bike racks. We'll be racing the 130K SPAN the Rockies course in a week and a half and I'm terrified. I haven't trained at all and I will likely not survive. That's all.

Jul 30, 2010


This blog now has direction! Well, kind of. At least a little more. Baby steps...

In the never-ending and exhausting quest to find a job, I keep wondering why I don't just do what I do best? Run away. I know, genius. But really, it's always easier to go find something more exciting to spend the time doing in some far-off land than to deal with being a grown up in boring old "I can understand everything everyone is saying and nobody is looking at me weird" land. Where is the fun in staying somewhere "comfortable"? Honestly. Let's see if I can't find out.

I have climbed rocks, run from bulls, and lived in Spain, I have danced under the Eiffel Tower and all across the South of France, partied at Pride London, rallied in Amsterdam, eaten my way through Italy, been surprised in Slovenija, been a tourist in Russia, Austria, Hungary, explored Colombia and Mexico, road tripped Costa Rica, circumnavigated the globe on a ship, played circus in Brazil, Sandboarding in Namibia, gone mountain biking and on safari in South Africa, fallen in love with India, wandered Malaysia, offended in Singapore, eaten pho in Vietnam, hiked the Great Wall, slept in a capsule hotel, froze on Mt. Fuji, participated in a tea ceremony, and was ridiculous in Japan, have become permanently attached to Cambodia, hiked glaciers in Alaska, glitzed and glammed in New York, tried to like Pittsburgh, never wanted to leave the Redwoods, always wanted to leave Miami, now, I find myself in Denver and let's see how long I can keep it interesting.

Talk about run-on sentences.

So what is this direction? Well, an adventurer takes her most daring feat yet! Wait for it... staying put!

*P.S. my man takes some rockin' photos that you should check out before he finds out I stole a bunch of unedited ones...

Jul 23, 2010

The Perfect Pizza

The other day, in a lazy state of recipe-planning, we decided to just make an improv pizza... and it turned out to be the best homemade pizza ever. Really. Want the recipe?

1 can of Pillsbury pizza crust (I bet it'd be even better if you made your own)
2 tbs. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup of spicy red bell pepper pasta sauce
1 cup (or more) of mozzarella cheese
8 oz. crimini mushrooms
chopped fresh spinach
pepperoni (we just bought the prepackaged gross kind so I'd guess some fancy one might be better)
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese

- Roll out the dough onto a pre-heated pizza pan, making sure to keep the center thinner than the outside.
- Saute crushed garlic clove cloves in olive oil until brown then brush entire crust with your fancy homemade garlic olive oil. Make sure not to make it too soggy or the center won't cook all the way.
- Spred the pasta sauce on the dough, again making sure that the center doesn't get too piled down with sauce or toppings so that it gets crispy in the oven.
- Sauté the mushrooms and spinach in a saucepan with a little oil.
- Put the toppings on: mozzarella, mushrooms, spinach, pepperoni, and lastly, cheddar.
- Bake according to dough instructions, until the crust and cheese are slightly browned.


Jul 7, 2010

Red, white & blueberry

For the 4th of July this year, my boyfriend and I had a small party at our place. We made veggie sloppy joe sliders (always a favorite, and they can fool any meat eater!), and red white and blueberry cupcakes. For the cupcakes, I adapted this great red velvet recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I picked that one specifically, not because those recipes are usually incredible anyway, but because I agreed with her thoughts on red velvet; It's red food coloring cake. I don't get it. But in this recipe you can actually taste the cocoa and they are so moist and delicious! I also discovered a mess-saving cupcake tip: To fill the cupcake pans, use an icing bag or a ziplock bag with a point cut off instead of just spooning or pouring the batter in. This gives you more accurate filling control and a whole lot less dripping! Bon appetit!

Jul 5, 2010

Take me out

Newsflash: Deadlines really get things done. Like planning a party for 4 days after you move into a new place. That'll make you organize everything the night before AND give you time to cook and prepare day-of. It's true.

The reason I couldn't unpack and organize over a few days like a normal person was that I was busy getting to know my new neighborhood. You know, like taking a BYOB historical tour of the city on a wooden bus with bullhorns decorating the hood and sofas as seats. Enter Banjo Billy's, a place to learn where Denver's big blue bear came from, why the Brown Palace Hotel is haunted, and tons of other things that make Denver so great; sunshine anyone?

I had been wanting to go on Banjo Billy's for a long time both in Boulder and Denver and I'm so glad I did! There's so much to get to know here and every part of it makes me love Denver more.

Along the lines of crossing things off the "when I have time" list, that's the purpose of this blog isn't it? Kind of? I also went to my first Rockies (maybe my first baseball game) game. And what a first! We beat the Giants 7-3 AND we did the wave 3 consecutive times around the stadium. I'm easily impressed. 

So far, in these few busy days of trying to get organized and keep getting at the endless list of things that I have all the good intention of doing, I have managed to enjoy crossing off some of them, and with that, counted myself as one of the many that has fallen in love with Denver.

"...newcomer to Denver as I am, and threading its streets, breathing its are, warm'd by its sunshine, and having what there is of its human as well as aerial ozone flash'd upon me now for only three or four days, I am very much like a man feels sometimes toward certain people he meets with, and warms to, and hardly knows why" -Walt Whitman from Specimen Days and Collect, November Boughs and Good Bye My Fancy

Jul 1, 2010

Home sweet mess

It was my impression that after graduating, I would have plenty of free time this summer. I mean, there's no real schedule to follow and no assignments, so wouldn't that make sense? Apparently not. I've never been busier in my life. Most of it though, is a good busy, like moving in to a new place.

There has to be some real talent involved in moving, unpacking, and putting everything in its place within a few days. I, it seems, am completely lacking in those skills. Our rooms are nicely divided by half-opened boxes, some natural disaster seems to have occurred in my closet, and with a bike in every corner it looks like the Tour rolled through here early (which would actually be pretty awesome).

Regardless of the mess and the fact that I can't remember where I've put anything in the kitchen, so far there has been time to do the "practice cooking" part. Last night we had a lovely dinner of asparagus mushroom risotto and tomato & herb bruschetta, both recipes from my Vegetarian Times cookbook which is a favorite whether or not you're a tree-hugger. Both came out delicious. Bigger bread for the bruschetta would have been nice, but I put holes in the tops of the slices to fill them with more tomato mix. The risotto never comes out looking as good as it tastes so it didn't get a photo shoot. Something to work on!

Jun 26, 2010

Step 1: Start a blog. Done!

After spending a month stressing about being a new graduate, which, along with having to grow up, also means not being able to find work in a field I actually want a career in, I've decided to do something about it. Well, sort of.

In the spirit of well, pretty much everyone else in the world, I'm going to start a blog. Because I'm sure that the whole world must hear my ramblings and actually cares what I think. Stay with me here. The endless job hunt will continue, but I am also trying to make the best of all of this free time and that's what this will be about.

You know how people always say "now I finally have the time to start that tomato garden/learn to make cheese/become a pro at wiffle ball" and what have you when they finally get some time? Well I'm actually going to do it. Not necessarily wiffle ball but you get the idea.
So far, my list includes things more like cooking more often and getting better at it, learning how to sew, and mastering The Electric Slide. So here goes...