Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Party

Our company holiday party is tonight, November 30th.
Yep - it's not even December yet, but we like to get it in good & early!

I joined some of my fellow employees for lunch today, and we started talking about Christmas Parties Past... and how it seems as though every year our employees goof off so badly at the Holiday Party, that more & more things get taken away in the years to come.


They used to rent buses & go up to Central City for gambling & drinking fun. That plan died because a couple of people got a little too rowdy-drunk, & got kicked out of the casinos. Since everyone took the buses there, they had to sit on the buses & wait for everyone else to be done partying before they could ride home & pass out.

The next year they tried to go out in Denver at Dave & Busters. They made such a ruckus, and caused so much trouble, that our boss received a phone call the next day politely asking for us to never return again.

The year after that (and my first year at this job), the holiday party was held at our office. I didn't notice anything too crazy happening that year - except the part where I got completely drunk off my ass, and had to have a friend drive me 40 minutes away from where we started the evening to get home. Oh, and I almost tried to make out with him... even though he's about 15 years my senior. Yah, that wasn't a low moment for me or anything!

The next year we had it at our new location, just South of Denver. It was fun & good times, but the evening ended pretty early so that nobody had time to get into too much trouble....

This year, to prevent any possible mishaps of the past - we are being allowed a 2-drink MAXIMUM. Yep - that's right... nothing past 2 drinks.

Now I know I wasn't at any of the earlier parties, but could anything really have been so bad that we're limited to only 2 drinks? Not saying that I have to have a bunch of drinks to have a good time, or that I don't think the party will be fun. But what will happen next year? No drinks at all? A 7:00pm curfew? Yikes.

Then again, I do have a pretty active imagination... I'm wondering what happened in those previous years now....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving is almost here!

I'm SO excited that Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away.

It's not just that I get a 4-day weekend, or that I get to eat as much as I want without guilt. Well, let's be honest here - those things are pretty awesome!!

But I'm also looking forward to spending the time with my family. I haven't been home in a while, and my parents only live 40 minutes away! I'm looking forward to snuggling my kitty, laughing with my mom in the kitchen, watchin' some football with my pop, talking with my little sister over spiced apple cider, giggling with our family friend Deb about anything & everything.

I guess those are the things I'm truly thankful for in the end. Family, friends, and good times....and a shit-ton of delicious vegetarian grub. Yah, it's pretty easy to make me happy!


Monday, November 23, 2009

My Sigg

I gave up plastic water bottles a long time ago in exchange for a SIGG Bottle that my little sister bought for me for my birthday.

The reason why I love my SIGG bottle so much is because you can put anything in it - OJ, alcohol, water, soda - and it won't retain any lingering flavor after you rinse it out. Pretty fantastic, eh?

SIGG is now recalling all of their old bottles (you can tell if yours is old or not by looking inside to see if it's an orangey-gold color) in exchange for new ones for FREE!

Just take your old SIGG into Whole Foods, or any other retailer and pick out a new design. They should be able to exchage it for free! I just did it this past weekend, and although I loved the cranberry colored one with fireworks, I know have a pretty purple one with silver swirlies (pictured).

So reduce your waste, and use a refillable water bottle instead! It's one of the easiest things you can do to be gorgeously green. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I love you, friends!

In response to my email about not being able to give Christmas Gifts this year (see "Christmas This Year..." post below), my friends have been so completely awesome. I have received nothing but positive & encouraging notes, and so many people saying that the holidays are not about giving gifts.

It's amazing how much society has burned into our brains that it's all about presents and money and buying things! It's wonderful to know that I'm lucky enough to have friends that get the true picture.

All you guys out there - I can't say it enough. I loves yas.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Beth's Cheapie Mocha

I don't know about you guys, but my work brews the skunkiest coffee.

It's just cheap is all, and leaves that sour icky aftertaste in your mouth. Well I've recently discovered the best remedy to get a little daily coffee kick for free - while simultaneously eliminating the burnt-coffee taste, AND satisfying your sweet tooth! I know, hard to believe, eh? What's great is that this works for if you're on a tight budget and have to pass on the high-end coffee for a while, as a box of store brand hot cocoa packets usually only go for just over a buck.

Beth's Cheapie Mocha (makes 1 drink)
- brewed cheap coffee

- 1 package of hot cocoa (any kind)

- creamer (any kind)

Fill your mug 1/2 of the way with coffee, and about 1/4 of the way with creamer, then dump in your hot cocoa packet & stir. Top with whipped cream if your heart so desires!

Yep - it's that simple! Lucky for me, my work comes well equipped with all of the ingredients. I'm gonna be a happy girl this winter...

Christmas this year...

A letter to my friends:

It's that time of year again!
I don't know about you guys, but it has been quite another amazing year for me. I've had some hard times, but more awesome times - and every moment of the latter I credit to all of you.

This December marks my first official year living in my apartment downtown and as many of you know - paying for rent, food, and to quote Destiny's Child: Bills, Bills, Bills (while also having a good time and divulging in our spontaneous youth every now & then) can take quite a toll on the old bank account. I'm sure there are many of you in worse circumstances than me - as I still (thank GOD) have a job, and an (albeit modest) income. However I was recently reminded of how poor my financial situation has become - not necessarily due to carelessness, but more so due to unforeseen events that have caused my checking and credit card accounts to plummet. Most of which had to do with a certain elderly kitty cat, and a poor little blue car that died.

And after that long-winded explanation, I come to my conclusion. I unfortunately will not be able to give Christmas gifts this year. There I said it! Ugh!
In an effort to make this holiday season a little less strenuous on your finances as well - please do not worry about getting a gift for me! I hope that you can all understand my situation. The good news about all of this? I will instead be spreading my usual Christmas cheer around even MORE this year for all to hear! Just because I will not be able to give traditional gifts does not mean that this holiday season will not be as wonderful as it always is. I will be baking lots of cookies, wearing lots of red & green (and my santa hat), embarrassing you all by singing carols at inappropriate moments, and trying desperately to show you all how much I love you.

Just think about Mister Grinch. Well - not the Grinch at the beginning of the story - but the Grinch at the end! It's not about all of the gifts and wahoozits - it's about family, friendship, and love! Well, and lil' baby Jesus of course, but it's still all in the spirit of the season. :)

Thank you all for being such wonderful people, and such amazing friends. I love you all so freakin' much.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What a nightmare!

I had a terrible nightmare last night!

It involved me, my little sister, and my friend Mindy being trapped in a glass elevator, way up high on the roof of some building. We were in there for a really long time, and my dad was trying to help us get out, but he couldn't. Suddenly something cut loose, and we began to fall. We fell forever and ever, and hugged each other and said how much we loved each other. We hit the bottom, and I felt like we didn't die instantly but in a horrible twisted mess of awfulness.

It woke me up at 2am this morning, and I tossed & turned until 3am trying to get back to sleep. I don't know where it came from, and I don't think I've had a dream so awful before!

Luckily I had my trusty stuffed lamb pillow to snuggle, which helped.

Of course, I don't think I'll be able to get in an elevator again anytime soon!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Need a drink?

Do you ever just have those moments where you think: Gosh, I could really use a cocktail!

I'm having one of those moments right now!
I guess it comes with the territory that you're going to have to deal with assholes every now & then when you work in the entertainment business. And not that I'm being driven to drink by one silly little situation. We'll it's certainly part of it, but not the whole reason.

I guess it's just dealing with a couple of jerks lately, and feeling in need of a vacation. A bit of a break. Getting away from it all!

But all I can do at the moment for that (since I'm pretty darn broke right now) is the economical thing - and have a drink. Which I can't even do until I'm done with work, because I consider myself a responsible person.

Just another 3 hours & 35 minutes to go....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Breckenridge Opening Weekend - YEAH!!

I'm super duper excited about this snowboarding season - really super duper excited.
Breckenridge resort opens this weekend, and I couldn't be happier! I started the season late last year, out of sheer laziness and didn't take full advantage of what my Colorado Pass had to offer. This year is going to be different though - I can feel it!

I've only been up once so far (to A-Basin), so I'm hitting up Breckenridge this weekend for some snowy snowy fun. Best part? I get to stay in town for FREE on Friday night! YEEEE HEW!!! The company I work for is promoting the Craig Robinson show that is happening that night. So for a mere 3-4 hours of easy-peasy work in the beautiful town o' Breck, I get a free comedy show & a place to stay overnight!

Golly, I love my job. :)

This pic is from a few years ago, back when my hair was super long! If any of you are going to be in the town of Breckenridge on Friday night, be sure to check out the show at the Riverwalk Center. Full details can be found on It's gonna be FUN!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

It's recipe time again!
I found this one on one of my favorite recipe websites - The recipe was featured in Bon Appetit - November 2009 issue, and is by Jill Silverman Hough.

This is a great recipe to bring to a fall potluck - or as a different & filling side dish for Thanksgiving! (not that you need things that fill you up MORE on Thanksgiving!) I made it for our Halloween party, and it turned out pretty well. However, if you aren't a big fan of Kale (which I realized I am not!), then definitely substitute something else such as spinach. I will definitely make it that way the next time because the Kale was icky to me.

OH - and do NOT use vegan butter to grease the dish! Everything stuck to the sides, and was hell to get off - it was as though I hadn't greased the dish at all.

Without further ado - here is the recipe!

Butternut Squash & Cheddar Bread Pudding

2 pounds peeled seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
7 large eggs
2 1/4 cups half and half
6 tablespoons dry white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 day-old baguette (do not remove crust), torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 large)
2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 1 pound), ribs removed, kale coarsely chopped - OR spinach (which is what I would prefer!)
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt; bake until squash is tender, turning with spatula occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.

Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add half and half, wine, mustard, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; whisk to blend. Add baguette pieces; fold gently into egg mixture. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add kale; cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and stir until kale is wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes (kale will be a bit crunchy).

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Generously butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Using slotted spoon, transfer half of bread from egg mixture to prepared baking dish, arranging to cover most of dish. Spoon half of kale over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and kale; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, kale, squash, and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread pudding.

Cover bread pudding with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until custard is set and bread feels springy to touch, about 20 minutes longer.

Preheat broiler; broil pudding until cheese browns slightly, about 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thoughts on Love...

We're reading this lovely book for my book club this month called "Love Walked In" - it's the first novel from writer Maria De Los Santos, and it's a beautiful story about how love hits you when you least expect it.

There's a moment in the story where this 11-year-old girl (Clare) looks at two people and understands what it's like to be in love. She sees that they behave like they always did, but the connection is there, the way they see each other is more than they see other people - and she gets it.

There was a moment when I saw this last night between my married friends - Nikki & Matt. We had just watched the guys' hockey game, and Matt was sitting on the bleachers near us, telling us all about what happened while they were playing. I looked over at Nikki, and saw her looking at Matt while he was talking. I don't think she noticed, but I saw that look on her face. The complete calmness, the slight smile, the shine in her eyes - it was all there. In that one look she felt so much love for him that I felt fortunate to be in such close proximity to such a beautiful moment. Knowing that Matt sees all of those wonderful things in Nikki too just fills my heart, and gives me hope for so many things. Not only the hope that I can find that kind of love someday in my life, but that that kind of love exists.

It's beautiful, and really simple when you get down to it. Love. Love, love, love. It's a good thing.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The "Safety Bicycle" - Why it's good for you

I've been riding a "road bike" for a while now. It's awesome - really fast & easy to steer, although I always wear my helmet as I'm terrified of hitting some unforeseen obstacle (pothole, cat, whatever), and careening head first over my handle bars.

Turns out, my cruiser bike is actually a much safer design, and the reason why I don't feel as at-risk of head trauma as I do on my road bike. I found a post on one of my favorite blogs (Copenhagen "Cycle Chic") that was all about this phenomenon of the "Safety Bike". It's a simple design, and the most used type of bicycle in the world. Here's an excerpt from the post:

Why is the upright bicycle safe? First of all, have a look at the two girls in the photo at the top. Look at their posture. Not only pleasing their mothers, it is elegant. But more than that, this upright posture means that their center of gravity is in much the same spot as it is when they are walking. Homo sapiens have been around for about 200,000 years and prior to that, other upright-walking species have spent around 2 million years evolving this all-important centre of gravity to near-perfection. In other words, our center of gravity is quite handy in helping us get around. In addition, it is something that we use every single day in almost every move we make. We're quite good at using it.

Compare this to the riding position on, for example, racing bikes. The upper body is pitched forward, which causes the center of gravity to shift. In this position the point is dangling in mid-air somewhere over the crossbar. Just think about braking sharply. Your body must battle to keep the weight of your upper body from chucking you forward, which is unnatural for homo sapiens. In an upright position, your body knows how to readjust itself for this sudden stopping motion, much like when you stop suddenly when walking or jogging.

The racing position is great for people who... well... race or who like to go fast. Works perfectly for them, which is super. If you look at established bicycle cultures, the majority of people don't wish to adhere to this way of riding, preferring to merely use the bicycle as a quick and easy tool for getting around and wearing the clothes they have in the closets to do so. Not surprisingly, the upright bicycle is more often than not their vehicle of choice.

There's much more about why these bikes are rockin', so if you want to read up more on it, be sure & check out the blog (I adore all of the photos on it - they're lovely all on their own)! I'll always adore my hand-me-down Raleigh road bike (thank you, Amber!), but now I just love my Raleigh Robin Hood Cruiser even more. Thanks for keepin' my noggin safe, buddy.

(photo courtesy of

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The 'Burbs

Tom Hanks, Suburbia, Creepy Neighbors, Pooping Dogs, Breaking & Entering, Dead Bodies, Explosions, and Corey Feldman. Doesn't get much better than that.

Just re-watched "The 'Burbs" last night and laughed my a** off. Sometimes you just have to dust off those 80's movies & enjoy them all over again!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Figuring it all out...

I'm halfway through a book called One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way (by Robert Mauer), and it's really helping me get a perspective on things in my life. He says that it's all about baby steps towards change, because if we make huge goals or try to make drastic changes - our fear response will kick in and we will most likely fail.

He talks about thinking positively, and asking small questions to accomplish big goals, and taking small movements towards bettering yourself every day - even if they seem like the silliest tiniest little steps. It's really brilliant, and the funny part is - I started practicing it with flossing every day... and guess what - now I floss every day!!

Here's how I did it.
Baby Step 1: For 2 weeks, I simply left my floss out on my bathroom counter so that I would see it every day.
Baby Step 2: For the next 2 weeks, I only flossed a few teeth at a time before brushing.

Baby Step 3: For the next 2 weeks after that, I only flossed the top row of teeth, then alternated that with the bottom row (every day).

Baby Step 4: I started flossing every day.

The crazy part is that it has actually worked!! Ever since I started that, I floss EVERY day which I have never been able to do before.

I'm trying to get this all to work with my fitness routine now, because that's something I've always had trouble sticking with. I get on a kick where I work out like crazy for 3 months, then get lazy, and stop working out for 3 months and gain all of my weight back. It's a terrible cycle, and I have always wanted to be the kind of person that just HAS to workout every day, and feels good about it.

So I started ridiculously small - I started marching in front of my TV while watching the weather forecast in the morning for 2 minutes every day for 2 weeks. It sounds ridiculous, I know!

The next 2 weeks, I marched & stretched for 5 minutes.

The next week I started lifting a 5lb weight, and stretched for 10 minutes.

Today I went for a 15 minute walk before work.

I really hope this means that I'm working my way up, because I didn't feel fear about going for the walk this morning, and I didn't feel bummed that I had planned on getting up to do it. It actually felt really..... good. So wish me luck! And be sure & pick up this book - it's a great read, and really super helpful.

And if "baby steps" didn't make you think about the movie "What About Bob?" with Bill Murray & Richard Dreyfus, then I don't know what to say. Re-rent it, 'cause it's hilarious!