Monday, March 31, 2014

Rumours.....No More

No one ever thought it would happen, even the band members "nicks-ed" it.  Then, whispers, hopeful thoughts and rumours....

Fleetwood Mac is back on tour this year  ~ all of the original members!


We decided to gift ourselves a belated anniversary and early Christmas!!! 

I LOVE Stevie Nicks!  I have wanted to see her in concert for so many years!  She performed at the Red Rocks, here in Colorado, a couple years ago, but we were still living in Indiana and it would have been very costly to fly to Colorado, rent a car, rent a hotel and buy concert tix.
I am giddy!!!
It is historical!  They are magical!  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Flax & Oat Muffins 2.0!!

Back in early February, I posted this recipe.  These muffins have been in regular rotation since I discovered them from Ashley at Oh She Glows.  I have made them my own, however, by the addition of cinnamon (which I have also increased from the previous post to 1 1/2 tsp) and, now, quinoa!  When making them yesterday, I decided to add 1 cup of cooked quinoa ~ just to amp up the healthfulness to 11!!!  I do think they are now simply perfect! 
You could "indulge" even more by adding unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer the Special Dark version).  Maybe 1 tablespoon, more or less to your liking.
You can not go wrong with these babies!  They are very dense and will not rise, so be generous when filling your muffin tins. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

HEALTH Care Not Disease Care

Medicine in this country is not about health or wellness or vitality.  It is about disease and drugs.  It is not about prevention, repair or restoration; it’s about maintaining the status quo, not getting any worse but usually not getting any better.  It isn’t proactive; it is reactive.  It should be focused on nutrition, exercise, balanced hormones and adequate sleep, but instead, it is a moneymaker for the insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and doctors.   
I am completely onboard for universal healthcare; however, we are all now forced to pay higher insurance premiums, to cover the expenses of those with pre-existing conditions and the eventual expenses of those who will be/have been given “one size fits all” medical care.  This means more money for the insurance companies!  What bothers me: if more people are enrolled in insurance plans that means more money in premiums (i.e.1 person at $100 vs 10 people at $100), then why increase premiums across the board when there is already more money flowing into the coffers ($100 vs $1000)???
As the standard of care in the United States is disease-focused and patients have not been given advice or instruction on the basics of healthy lifestyles over the years, doctors, bolstered by the drug companies, are quick to write out prescriptions to cover the symptoms of ailments.  But let’s not forget, the first drug will have a host of side effects, which require their own slew of prescriptions.  And the cause of these medical problems, why aren’t they being addressed!!!  Perhaps because it is more financially beneficial to insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and doctors to keep you on the drug wheel!!  It doesn’t help your bottom line, in finances or health!  You are paying for each prescription to be filled, while you are not getting any healthier. 
I am taking my health, wellness, longevity and vitality into my own hands.  I am reading about anti-aging, from the inside out.  I take vitamins and supplements.  We eat well.  We exercise.  We try to get, at least, 7 hours of sleep each nite.  I am reading about hormone loss and how greatly our bodies and, therefore, our lives are impacted.  I believe many of us are walking around suffering and chalking it up to other areas of our lives; we are in denial.  The stress we put ourselves through, live under, practice almost daily is killing us, on so many levels!  I intend to find a doctor who specializes in “breakthrough medicine”, get lab work done and have my hormones balanced (all of them: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, pregnenolone, adrenal, cortisol, DHEA, human growth (HGH) and thyroid).  I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder, which requires me to take a daily dose of hormone to maintain proper thyroid balance; however, if I can take a bioidentical instead, I will do so.   
Together, we can become a healthier & happier country!  We will have fewer who suffer disease or require long-term end-of-life care.  We will pay less in healthcare costs!  We won't be bankrolling the drug companies because we will no longer need their poison!  Doctors will see that we are educated & hold them accountable to treat us individually and that we won't stand for a 15-minute visit that ends with a flurry of prescription papers!!!
Eat real food!  Get moving!  Have restful sleep! 
It all begins with us taking the step toward longer & healthier & active lives!!!
Please be your health care advocate!  Do the reading and research!  Ask the questions!  Find the right doctor for YOU!  Work together to restore your youthfulness and live with vigor & energy & happiness. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Healthier Alfredo Sauce

A few weeks ago I followed a recipe from Self magazine for Garden Chicken Alfredo.  Today, I am going to loosely use this recipe to make Garden Shrimp & Spaghetti Squash Alfredo.
I am a fan of alfredo sauce, but I know it is one of the worst things we can put into our mouths! is the healthier version from the magazine:
2 T olive oil
3 T cornstarch
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 c fat-free half-and-half
1 c low sodium broth
1 c grated Parmesan, divided
1/2 c plain nonfat Greek yogurt
In a bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 1 T cold water.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook olive oil, onion and garlic until onion is soft, 3-5 minutes.
Add half-and-half and broth; boil, then simmer 5 minutes.
Mix in 3/4 cup Parmesan and yogurt; simmer 3 -5 minutes more. 
Remove skillet from heat; slowly add cornstarch mixture until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
You can use any veggies and protein, along with pasta, quinoa or, like me, spaghetti squash.
Combine everything in a bowl or on a platter, sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve! 
{I subbed plain almond milk for the half-and-half because we simply didn't have it on hand.}

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Fabulous Life???

Some women's lives are a juggling act, while others are a 3-ring circus ~~ they often keep everything afloat to my amazement and admiration.  And then there are the ones who seem to do just the fun stuff.
Whether I am working or not, I always have a house to clean, clothes to launder, groceries to buy.  When possible (or maybe feasible), we add in the fun factor. I doing something wrong?  What am I missing?  We don't have any kids, like these other couples.  Until our move, we both worked decent-paying full-time jobs.  We have taken vacations.  We have some retirement investments.  We have a savings account. 
Is it that we are too risk-averse?  Or, since we don't have a hereditary bankroll to fall back on, we aren't comfortable spending money willy-nilly?  Like the trapeze artist sans safety net under the big top in this scenario!
We are searching out the areas of Denver where we want to move in August.  We are mulling over how much we can downsize in apartment square footage.  Not moving into a home which requires yard maintenance was a big plus when we sold our home.  We want more time to do the fun stuff...not the "must" stuff.
Yet, are we?  Doing that?  The fun stuff???? 
Sure, yes, we have attended a couple concerts and discovered the cities around us in our new home state.  We've enjoyed several restaurants and breweries.  But, I still feel tied to responsibilities!  I know I am not the only one.  I know the ladies who are juggling career & family also have routine "To Do" lists and dreams of exotic vacations, crazy weekend getaways and/or successful self-businesses. 
I know I will never be utterly unencumbered, but I guess I am just envious of the one who goes out for food & drinks EVERY week, who indulges in one hobby after another, who doesn't appear to cook or clean or launder.  I suppose it all boils down to the adage "It takes a village," and the population in my village is 2 (well, 4 with the furry ones). 

It just leaves me curious...
and wanting to move into Sex and the City, where I can live the fabulous life in perfect 30-minute spurts!!!

What's that I hear?  Oh, right, I have a load of whites in the dryer!  Better get to it!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Who's Your Daddy?

Well, this morning, it was Big Daddy Bagel in the New Prospect neighborhood of Longmont!
After noticing them off Highway 287 on our way home from Lafayette on Friday, and then reading about them in the Yellow Scene magazine I picked up in Lafayette, we just knew that part of our weekend would include a visit. 
We made a quick decision this morning, Sunday, to give them a try, so we could have bagels with our eggs and Sprouts chicken sausage.
New Prospect is one of our favorite subdivisions, here in Longmont.  It seems to be a planned community, with unique homes that are situated rather close together, along with commercial establishments.  From summer thru fall, there is a food truck night at the open air park.  This is exactly the type of residential area we would like to live...just not in Longmont!!  We plan to hit the food trucks this year.  We also plan to take many walks to enjoy the feel of the area. 
Back to Big Daddy Bagels ~
Cute & casual, sort of modern feel
15 types of bagels, along with cookies, muffins, huge cinnamon rolls and sandwiches
Coffee, soft drinks
Day Old offerings
We got 4 bagels, 2 each, and coffees.  While Chris was making his coffee, he mentions the chocolate chip cookie on the Day Old rack.  Only 75¢ ~ we must have one!  I get back in line!  While Chris is getting the creamer refilled, I decide to check out the Day Old and elect to buy a dozen bagels for $3!!!!  Back to pay, I go!!!  Every once in a while, we like to have a selection of frozen bagels on hand.  I picked a winning bag: 2 each of the same 6 bagels!!!  We now each have an initialed bag of bagels in the freezer!
Big Daddy Bagel, and New Prospect, are now at the top of my list for spending time during the week when I need to get out of the house, while Chris is at work.  I can park over there to walk around and to hang out online. 
The only downside: no egg bagel....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Taste of Springtime

The other day I posted this recipe.  While making my cake today, for Ostara, I realized that any citrus fruit would be a delight.  Use low-fat lemon yogurt with lemon zest or low-fat plain yogurt and orange zest.  I don't know if there is orange yogurt, so add in some orange juice to punch up the flavor and decrease the oil by the same. 
While contemplating how to garnish this year's cake, I was thinking about what pairs well with lime.  Well, we like cherry limeade....but I don't think I will find any fresh cherries.  I wasn't going to look for the gummy lime wedges I used the first time.  I figured I would just thaw some of our frozen strawberries, as the original recipe suggested.  Then, inspiration hit when singing to Luna the other morning.
You put the lime in the coconut! 
I am really looking forward to the zesty lime and sweet coconut taste of this perfect First Day of Spring cake! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Doin' Denver

Almost two weeks ago, we spent most of the weekend in our next hometown, Denver.  It all began several months ago when we found a concert to attend, another NOLA band!  From there, things just magically fell into place!
Let's begin...
Chris bought our concert tickets at the Fillmore Theatre for Galactic and Robert Randolph & the Family Band.  We were already fans of Robert Randolph and it was his band that drew my attention.  I assumed they were THE band, but soon realized they were opening for another band, Galactic, with whom we were completely unfamiliar.  No worries ~ I hit the library to get my hands on their CDs!  Immediately, we knew they were our kind of music.  Eclectic, to say the least!  And a true New Orleans treasure...I was sold right then & there!
I receive email deals (Groupon, Living Social, etc.).  A few I look at, most I delete b/c we aren't into needless spending.  One catches my eye, about a bed & breakfast in Denver.  We have stayed at many B&Bs over the years and they are one of our favorite ways to enjoy a short getaway.  This one, for reasons unknown to me, perhaps I am more psychic than I give myself credit for, I don't delete this email. 
Because our concert is going to run very late, we decide it will be best to stay in Denver for the nite.  I remember about the B&B email, so I check out their website.  Looks like a place we would like.  I check the map and see that it couldn't be more perfectly situated near the Fillmore Theatre!  Serendipitous!!
We talk it over, I tell Chris how it's only blocks from the theatre, we look at the descriptions & pics of the rooms.  I send an email to ask which rooms are available for March 8th (I couldn't get the online reservation system to work with me!).  Almost immediately, I get a response.  Nice!!  We again look at the website, armed with which rooms from which we can choose.  I call the B&B to make our reservation and chat with Tina, who is very professional and remembers that she had just been emailing with me!!!  Great!! 
This little getaway is also going to be a sort of belated birthday celebration for Chris, so we need to have dinner somewhere.  Well, wouldn't you know, also within walking distance, and right between the B&B and the theatre to be exact, is Hamburger Mary's!  We have dined at one in Chi-town, so we knew it wouldn't disappoint. 
This plan is just coming together like clockwork, right??  I then remember that our new friend, Mark, who is an old college pal of my cousin, Kyle, might like to join us for dinner and/or drinks.  I send him a text and he quickly responds in the affirmative!  Sweet!!!
And, let me not forget, that VooDoo Doughnut is close and open 24/7 now!  Might we make a post-concert run for some sugar-filled doughy bundles of heart-unhealthy goodness?  Hmmm....
March 8th arrives.  We get our fitness in, get showered & packed, kiss the girls and head out into the sunshine-filled, albeit chilly, day.  We know we will be about an hour early for check-in, but we can always park there and stretch our legs.
The Queen Anne Bed and Breakfast is located in Denver's Uptown neighborhood.  I head into the B&B to see where it would be best for us to park.  I am quickly informed that our room, The Tower Room, is ready and we can go ahead and check-in a wee bit early!  Great!  I get instructions on street parking out front and run to tell Chris the good news.  We can unpack a bit before heading out to discover the environs, rather than making a couple round trips. 
The Queen Anne is 2 homes, both old, side by side.  One house is rooms, the other is suites.  The décor of the common rooms is simple and tasteful.  The dining is one large communal table, not always one of my favorite ways to eat. 
Our room is on the 2nd floor and is just as pictured on the website.  We have a large bed, a loveseat, large armoire and a wooden desk & chair, all seem to be antiques.  Our bathroom is big, with a long vanity.  Our room is located below the turret, so we get to enjoy a bay of windows, which  are opened for us to help cool the room.  We also open the bathroom window and lower the blinds (the Colorado sun is hot, even on the coldest days!).  As we are getting things unpacked, Chris notices there is no TV.  Huh, guess we didn't notice anything about that online, but it didn't matter as we would be spending very little time, other than sleep, in here.  I mention it here, tho, for anyone who is thinking of considering a stay.  However, there is so much to do in Denver that I doubt the boob tube would be missed!  They do have free wi-fi access!!!
Queen Anne offers a side table in the dining area with coffee and hot teas.  It is also the place where, from 5:30-7PM, Happy Hour cheeses, crackers and Colorado wines are served!!!  Free wine ~ it did help tip the scales in selecting these accommodations, I'm not gonna lie!!
Our bed was super comfy (upon which we finally arrived after 1AM, which because of the time change became 2AM!).  I don't sleep well away from home, generally, and here was no exception.  But it is a very quiet place, considering it is an old home, which could easily be filled with squeaky steps and creaky floors.  We had breakfast at 9, which meant we would awake about 7/7:15 to shower.  I did sneak down, during the 8 o'clock breakfast folks, to get me some coffee.  My throat was super dry from the concert and I needed the caffeine jolt having gone to bed so late and not getting much quality shut-eye.
When it was our appointed breakfast time, we descended the stairs to partake in the community dining experience.  The side table was filled with cereals, yogurt and some bite-size baked goods (tho, not homemade...from Costco, but still delicious) and the coffee & teas.  We shared a small plate of baked goods and our own coffees before the real meal was served!  A veggie quiche with some kind of yummy bread and a serving of sliced bananas and strawberries. 
The food AND the conversation with our fellow B&B-ers was a true delight!!!  There were four other couples that eventually came to the table and all, but one, were talkers!  We learned about Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming!  Topics discussed ran the gamut!  We stayed for what felt like hours, as in after the 11 check-out time, but discovered it was 10:30 when we had returned to the room to collect our things. 
I would stay here again and do give it a strong recommendation.  As a matter of fact, I sent a text to Kyle to let him know, as he & his girlfriend, Stacy, will be making a quick visit in May (for my birthday!!!).
We felt energized and ready for whatever the rest of our day held.
Which will be continued in another post....

Good Morning, Colorado-style!!

It's a chilly but very sunny mid-March morning here in Colorado.  Not a single cloud mars the bright cotton candy blue sky. 
Just before 9AM, as I head over to the complex fitness room what catches my eye, up in the sky ~~ a rainbow-colored hot air balloon! 
I am instantly transported to Sedona, Arizona, early September 2008 when Chris and I took our hot air balloon ride.  A last-minute, spur of the moment decision that we will never forget!  Coincidentally, we have a framed 8X10 picture Chris took of one of the other balloons in our group that morning.  The Red Rocks in the background, the lush landscape in the foreground, early morning clouds amid a blue desert sky.  It was so peaceful and surreal up in there! 
After finishing my workout and leaving the "gym," I look around to find the hot air balloon is beginning its descent.  I know the landing will be in the empty field right by us, so I decide to extend my cool-down with a little walk.  As it & I get closer, I turn off my iPod to hear the balloon's pilot (yes, they are called pilots!!) working his magic to gently lower balloon-basket-riders to the hard ground.  Superb!!  Just the slightest bounce!  (Our landing was a bit bumpier and included several of the other employees jumping & hanging onto the basket to bring us to a stop!) 
We have seen them periodically in our six months here, usually when we are driving off somewhere, and I am never less than mesmerized.  The winds in the Foothills have been blustery recently, tho, so I doubt any have gone up.  This is the closest "interaction" I have had here. 
I implore you...if you ever get the opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon, especially in a location where the backdrop is breathtaking, seize it!!!  And don't forget your camera!!!

She's 4!!

Happy Birthday, Luna Pixiedust!
You have brought an energy to our lives that we didn't know was missing ...and weren't, at first, sure we wanted! 
Your big sister, Icey, loves you ~~ and thanks you for helping to keep her young & active!
Hope you enjoyed your Treats for Breakfast birthday meal! 
We love you, Lula, Baby Tuna, Sweets, Sweetpea, Littlest!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

You Call It Spring Cleaning, I Call It Living Simply & Minimally

Is it coincidence or fate that on the same morning that my cousin posts on Facebook about clutter & chaos in her home that my email inbox holds an Oprah blog article entitled: 13 New Rules of Decluttering??
I know that seasonally this is the time, so it makes perfect sense for magazine and blog articles to be focused on Spring Cleaning.  But, for my cousin to post about wanting a way to bring peace to her place, via clearing & organizing, is rather serendipitous.  I am going to share, privately, with her the online article and hope that she can take 5 -10 minutes to read it.  More importantly, I hope she can use many of the suggestions to bring her, her girls and her home to simplicity, which leads to happiness.
We have been downsizing and releasing since we put our home up for sale in 2011.  We then got rid of lots of things in a couple garage sales, 2012 and 2013, as well as donated many other things to Goodwill (over the years).  It was certainly hard to part with some of it and there are a few things I really wish we had held onto, but, you know, it's really okay.  They were just things, after all. 
We are doing a good job of not buying stuff since our move, especially since we do all the moving on our own and don't know where or how big/little our next place will be.  We also still have so much of our décor in boxes.  While I often see things in the store that are totally "us," I know that we have enough.  I also have plans to print travel photos, frame them and place them throughout our next abode.  We have been collecting frames from Goodwill in preparation.  I am really looking forward to seeing memories from our vacations everyday!!  Our life is more about experiences than collecting items.
Only a few of the 13 decluttering tips in and I was motivated to go through some of my clothes, many of which we have in totes because we don't have any dressers (sold our entire bedroom set pre-Colorado move).  With not working a full-time job, a lot of my clothes, shoes & accessories haven't seen the light of day in well-over six months!  Who knows when I will wear some of them again...they are missed!  Anyway, I definitely had shirts and tanks that I know I simply won't wear.  They are some that I have held onto through several purgings!  I even sent a text to Chris (who has far far too many shirts, for one!) saying we need to go through our closet this weekend.  I have a few slacks I set aside to try on and then make a decision, tho I think I already know into which pile they will be placed.
I think back to my decorating style when we first moved in together and how it changed from our first apartment to our second, being carried through to the house we rented.  Then, we made a big move from Indiana to Florida and needed to get rid of things; this was our first major purge.  Our place in Florida was sparsely decorated and we were moving in another direction.  Once we owned our home back in Indiana, we cultivated another style and enjoyed over a decade "perfecting" it.  I look back and appreciate each of those places in our lives. 
I am very glad and thankful that I have had the chance to move around and lightening our load has been mandatory several times.  Neither of us have parents with whom we could/would have stockpiled our belongings over the years, either. 
I won't be owned by my things and I want to own things which hold meaning to me and us.  I truly enjoy knowing what we have.  I am glad that I don't need to buy every little thing I might like (be it clothes or things for the home).  I don't desire a multi-room home that requires filling up.  I don't need my own huge closet.  Actually, I get an uncomfortable feeling when I have too many clothes that I don't wear.  Yes, there have been 2, maybe 3, pieces of clothing I wished I hadn't donated, but I get over it.  I usually don't like to add without getting rid of something else.  Another thing I really want to practice is only buying and keeping clothes which truly fit, make me feel good about myself and reflect my personal style. 
Spring cleaning, purging, organizing, releasing is a continual & personal process that we must go through.  I can guarantee that once we land somewhere for more than a year or two, we will have accumulated personal possessions, some of which we will eventually let go to move along on the next leg of our journey. 
So, open up those windows to let in the spring breeze, take a good hard look around you and see what you can pass along.  While simplifying, you will be opening up yourself to a more abundant life!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Beautiful Boulder

We had a simply gorgeous day here in sunny Colorado yesterday.  So after Chris got home from work, we headed to downtown Boulder, where we were planning to meet a friend of Chris's from his days at Valparaiso University that evening for dinner & drinks with her & her husband. 
Well, everyone must have had the same grand idea as Boulder's pedestrian Pearl Street Mall was jam-packed!!  Along with the beautiful weather, parking is free on Sundays!  People were everywhere: all of the outdoor seating at restaurants, pubs, coffee houses were taken; street performers were out in full force; families, college students and couples, like us, filled the brick corridors from East End to West End of Pearl Street.
We finally nabbed ourselves a small table at a small pub.  It was perfect timing because we were both ready for a break and we both wanted a beverage.  Chris got us a beer and a Long Island Ice Tea, which was made VERY well.  This girl was feeling good!!!  We were also lucky enough to have a band of horns & drums right in front of the pub whose music reminded us both of New Orleans!!! 
But, as it does out here, when the sun begins to set (or you are seated in a shaded area), it can become cold super quickly.  When your beverage is full of ice and you left your sweater in the car, cold becomes even colder!!!  The band ended at the right time...our drinks were finished and we were ready to move along to somewhere warmer.
That somewhere warmer ended up being my car!!!  We went to retrieve our sweaters and stayed in the car for a few minutes!!!  We still had about an hour before meeting our dinner companions. Starbucks was on the way, which meant a tall coffee was in order, and the warmth of the café.
Our dinner & drinks, per the suggestion of our invitees, was Mountain Sun Pub on Pearl Street.  I was familiar with the location because we have walked past it and the outside bar seating was always full...a very good sign!  It wasn't long before our table was ready.  I sampled their Belgian trippel, called Number One, and Chris their stout.  We each ordered a glass (mine came in a 10 oz snifter because it is 9.0%, while Chris got a 16 oz pint).  We both got burgers, which were perfectly fine.  The best part of the evening were Jen & Tony!  Jen was actually Chris's first boss at VU, but later became a co-worker, one he always liked and spoke well of.  Somehow, tho, over Chris's four years there, Jen & I never met.  She said she felt as if she already knew me from talking with Chris.  Awwww!!!  I am so glad that Jen wanted to see us during their quick Colorado trip!  I look forward to seeing them about this time next year.  Perhaps we will meet up at The Vine, in Denver, which is a sister pub to Mountain Sun, but much larger!! 
I have been suffering thru a cold for about a week.  Most of the congestion has gone and now I am dealing with a cough.  Having beverages at hand is a must!!  That Long Island and the beer sure helped keep me hydrated (the Long Island made me the good way), along with lots of water! 
So this morning, I did a 40-minute, 4-mile pre-breakfast elliptical workout to torch those liquid calories!!!  I did one elliptical workout last week and then snuck in some ab/core here & there, but I felt like garbage and wasn't sleeping well.  Exercise was just not part of my repertoire last week, as I would have liked.  It's a new week!  I am back at it!! 
A Happy Slainte to ye!  Celebrate St. Paddy's Day responsibly!!!   

Thursday, March 13, 2014


So, I have used the illuMask about 15 times, which is half the uses for which it is programmed.  I do think it works to keep the smaller pimples from forming and dries up some of the oil.  I have not used it for 15 consecutive days, however, tho I know it might work its best if I were to do so.  I have decided to space it out (and, in all honesty, some days I have forgotten until after I have applied makeup or my nightly moisturizer combo!!). 
I think I will go back to taking Pycnogenol because it will work for my cystic acne that forms along my jawline.  The illuMask is not meant for cystic acne and, besides, it doesn't reach under my chin even if it did. 
As for my new "moisturizer," coconut oil, I can't yet say that it is as moisturizing as other actual moisturizers, but I did read in one of my recent Self magazines that Jillian Michaels recommends it for its anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties.  So, if it's good enough for Jill, by damn, it's good enough for Jen!!!  And, as I said in my previous post, I am going not going to waste the jars I have on hand. 
Anyone else using natural oils for moisturizers?  Your thoughts?  Do you have more success with one over others?
BTW, because I suffer from acne, I don't use it on my face because it is oil.   I have read conflicting info on the use of oil on oily, acne-prone skin.  I am choosing to not add more oil.  Rather, I use a Vitamin C lotion every morning and evening.  I top it with a moisturizer with SPF for the day and a thicker cream at nite.  (I find myself much more dry here in Colorado, than Indiana, so the thick cream was an addition almost right after we arrived!!)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Necessary Maintenance

While sitting here at Meineke getting some necessary maintenance on my ride (trans flush), I thought I would share with you my most recent personal maintenance product trial.
I have been into eating healthy, exercising and practicing various facial regimens (acne & anti-aging) for many years.  I have also had coconut oil in my cabinet for some of those years.  I have cooked with it, now & again, but just didn't really get used to the flavor change from olive oil.  I LOVE the taste of coconut; however, the oil I have almost seems to have the yucky fake chemical-ly coconut taste that I detest!
When I got my new (FREEEEEEEE!) tattoo from Enchanted Ink last year, the suggestion was to use coconut or olive oil over other moisturizers.  I decided to use my coconut, since I had 1 1/2 jars.  It worked great!  I can't say if it was JUST the oil, but this shop uses only nature-based inks, which could make a huge difference, too. 
I was finishing up some body lotion and intended to buy Neutrogena's Rainbath Oil.  Then, it hit me, I should try my coconut oil!  Besides, the use by date passed in 2012!!  Didn't want to be wasteful, right?!  So, I have used it several times, applying it right after showering but before drying off, just like the Neutrogena product.  I like it thus far.  And I will continue to use up all 1 1/2 jars!!! 

Just be careful if you get in my shower ~~  it might be slippery!!  

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pieces of Me

The divorce affected my brother and I differently, yet equally profound.  I searched for affection in all the wrong people; Ry sought refuge in all the wrong places.  
Our choices were reckless.  Many of mine could have changed my life forever.  Most of Ry’s…did. 
While we had already begun to drift apart as a result of our living situation, when I had to leave Ry at the airport to fly to Florida to live with our mom, my heart, which had been fractured by the divorce, my mother’s departure and my father’s absences, finally, completely shattered.  Our family was officially broken. 

Today's Gift

Today, in Colorado, we are going to hit almost 70 degrees!!  The temp and precipitation will change come tomorrow, so I MUST be outdoors today!
As my mom (and now my husband) says:
"Get out there and blow the stink off ya!"
I think I'll take that advice! it is 2:45 and I don't think we even hit 50 degrees!!!  The sky has been overcast, so the sun has not been able to bring the predicted warmth, I guess.  I wanted to head to Boulder to walk Pearl Street Mall and sit outside at B&N, but that doesn't seem like it's on my horizon any longer.  I just don't get how these weather people keep their jobs when they can be soooo wrong!  I should probably catch the weather reports on three channels and then take an average!  Sheesh! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lime-Basil Sugar Cake

St. Patrick's Day, Vernal Equinox, Easter
This cake would be a perfect dessert for any of the upcoming spring holidays and birthday brunches!!
Lime - Basil Sugar Cake
1 c flour
1T basil sugar
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
2/3 c sugar
2 egg yolks
3T oil
1/3 c low-fat lime yogurt
2 t finely grated lime peel
2 egg whites
1 recipe Lime Glaze
powdered sugar
candied lime slices (jellied)
Lightly coat an 8" round cake pan w/ non-stick spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In small bowl, mix together flour, basil sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In large bowl, combine sugar, yolks and oil; beat with mixer for 2 minutes.  Add yogurt and lime zest.  Add flour mixture until just combined.
Thoroughly wash beaters.
In medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Stir 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten.  Fold in remaining whites.  Spread in cake pan.
Bake 25-28 minutes.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Pierce cake with fork.  Slowly drizzle lime glaze over cake.  Cool completely. 
Invert to remove; turn cake top side up.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Top with candied lime slices.
Lime Glaze: 3 T lime juice and 3 T powdered sugar
You can cover with sliced strawberries, rather than jelly lime slices.
If you can't find basil sugar, it can be omitted.  Or, perhaps, you can make your own!!
Spring is coming!!!!  I can feel it!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Carnivale Time

I left my heart in New Orleans!
Yep, we have the beauty of the mountains and the clear, starry skies out here in Colorado.  But I still long for the Crescent City...
Brass bands, zydeco, jambalaya, red beans & rice, po' boys, beignets, the Mississippi, masks, beads, parades, streetcars, live oaks with Spanish moss, gas lights, iron balconies.
It's Carnival!  It's Mardi Gras!! 
We are decorated with beads, masks and a Mardi Gras banner.  Chris made a killer Mardi Gras design on our big chalkboard!!!  We have been enjoying King Cake since Lundi Gras.  We plan to get good Cajun eats and music tonite at Oskar Blues.
I'm going to listen to Galactic, Kermit Ruffins, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Dr. John and so many of the other Big Easy doctors, professors, kings & queens today!!
So, do a lady a kindness and hand me that parasol o'er yonder, I see a Second Line headed my way!
Laissez les bon temps rouler!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

It's Easy

It's easy to get caught up in our own lives.  Our routines of work, housework, grocery shopping, laundry, bills, emails, Facebook!  Add in taxes, extracurriculurs, holidays, before we know it, another year has passed.  Right? 
We look back and wonder where time went, with whom we spent it, or without whom.  We might realize we haven't heard from a family member or friend in some time and wonder how in the hell that person is doing or we see that we didn't run that 10K, write a novel, take the ultimate vacation!!
It's also easy to forget how good we have things.  That web of busy-ness keeps us in a state of suspended animation. 
It's easy to be reminded how tenuous our lives are.  At these times, it is easy for me to be thankful for what I have and where I am.  I don't have a lot by some standards, but I don't live in that world.  I have enough, which is more than others. 
I have seen friends & family members brought to the breaking point financially.  I can't share details; they are too personal and particular to those I care about.  I will share that it's hard to know when to offer help. 
Charity begins "at home" means, to me, family & close friends.  Tho being closer to the situation, then, say, feeding the hungry in third world countries whom we assume are completely unable or lacking the necessary resources to help themselves, the situations our loved ones find themselves in might be easy to judge.  Like, "Where did their money go?" and "Why didn't they put away savings?".  We assume they could have done something to avoid their current circumstances; that where they find themselves is 100% their fault, but sometimes, that just isn't the case. 
Yes, we each have to accept our part of the responsibility for the choices we make in our grown lives.  For sure!!!  Rarely is one placed in a financial disaster without having played some part.  It is easier to offer help to the ones who own up to their role and actively want to move forward with different priorities. 
So, it's easy to fall into daily life.  It's easy to be grateful for that daily life. 
It's also easy to practice compassion & kindness.  Being a caring ear or shoulder is a simple and easy way to help out your loved one, when you don't have the resources to give them a hand up. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dr. Phil Advice

“Happiness isn't a one-size fits-all proposition. You must define what it looks like for you and then make a conscious effort to access whatever gets you to your unique definition of joy.”

Read more:

This quote really struck a chord with me.  If you read this previous post, you will see why.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

A little green history:
~Celebrated on March 17th, the death date of St. Patrick, who is hailed as bringing Christianity to Ireland.
~Lenten restrictions, food & drink, are lifted for this day, which has led to its equation with alcohol.  One Irish priest has lamented the holiday's demise into "mindless alcohol-fueled revelry." 
~The shamrock was used by St. Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans, whom he wanted to Christianize.
~It is a national holiday in many European countries, but not the U.S.  (Though, it sure seems like one in the City of Chicago!!!)

I raise my glass of green beer and wish you Slainte!  May your revelry not leave you green from over-indulgence!

Holidays Across the Cultures

While watching an episode of "Northern Exposure" this morning, I learned an important historical and cultural tradition of the native Alaskans regarding their late December celebration.  The story of the Mighty Raven was told during a ritual performance, in the form of a short play.  The Mighty Raven lived in darkness because the Big Chief had greedy possession of the ball of light.  So the raven transformed itself into a spruce needle and floated along the river where the chief's daughter usually gathered to drink.  She took a drink of water from the river and swallowed the spruce needle.  She became pregnant with a son, who was the raven in disguise.  The boy would cry and cry and could not be consoled, until, one day, his grandfather, the Big Chief, gave him his ball of light to play with.  The boy then transformed back into the Mighty Raven and took the ball of light to the sky for everyone to enjoy.
This was celebrated alongside least, in Cicely, Alaska!  The town was adorned with greenery, colorful lights, Christmas trees and ravens!!!  The local general store sold outdoor and tree decorations with the traditional Native raven design.  The residents wore tees & sweatshirts with the raven design, too.  And Chris, the local radio DJ, read from Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven." 
The whole town, both Indians and non, turned out for the performance piece which was beautiful, filled with meaning.
It got me wondering, what are the many ways the different holidays and traditions are celebrated by the varied people, populations, cultures?  And also, what were the historic origins of the holidays I acknowledge and how have the celebrations changed from then to now??  Would they even be recognizable to our ancestors?  

To Everything There Is a Season

But have you noticed in television shows that this is not the case?  That all four seasons are not often incorporated?  Even season after season, no matter how long the show remains in production?? 
Recently, while watching reruns of "Sex and the City" it came to me that spring, summer & fall in New York City are expressed throughout the show, but never winter.  Those of us who KNOW winter know that snow isn't always pretty, that we can't dress all cute when we are outdoors, that the roads fill with old snow and dirty slush ~~~ not things that make for good tv sometimes, right?  Definitely not the place where the Carrie Bradshaws could be seen wearing Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks on the sidewalk and her fashion was its own character of the show!!  For me, I would really only care to visit NYC in winter and that is to see it all aglow and decked out with holiday decorations!!
At least "Will & Grace" had that episode where Grace saves Jack's behind by designing a Marshall Fields' Christmas window!  Those same iconic windows Chris and I made part of our anniversary weekends in Chicago many a year!!
One of my all-time favorite shows, "Gilmore Girls," is most often set in fall.  I suspect that is one of the many reasons I fell for the show!  The charm of Stars Hollow, aflutter with fallen leaves and autumn activities, made me long for my own home amid the cast of characters in this sleepy little town on the east coast.  But I still find it funny, a little odd, maybe, that we never saw summer in Stars Hollow.  Never saw Lorelei and Rory in shorts, bathing suits.  I loved the style selected for Lorelei: wrap dresses or pants with a cute blouse, topped with a cardigan or light jacket for business and jeans or casual pants with a tee and fun jacket for play!!  All of which screamed fall-wear. 
There are probably other shows out there, then & now, which do the same.  Think of how few holiday celebrations, be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, that aren't part of the episodes.  We may not even see any decorations.  I don't know if this is simply to avoid any religious criticisms from those organizations whose holidays aren't represented and then they just extend it to not portraying any secular holidays. 
It's just one of those things that made me go "Hmmmm." 

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