Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm going to be at the parent's house for a few days, but before I left I wanted to be sure to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!! 

Do you want to know what I'm thankful for?  
Well, I'll tell ya! 
I'm thankful for... 

- beautiful snowy mornings
- giggling babies
- wagging doggie tails
- cupcakes
- family 
- friends
- love
- sympathy
- really good hugs
- comfortable shoes
- a warm bed
- sunshine
- rain
- juicy apples
- home

....and oh so much more.  I'm so grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life, and to be just who I am.  My heart is so filled with love & happiness right now! :)

Hope you all have a wonderful & safe day!  

Images found via Pinterest or We Heart It. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tom's Urban 24 - a visit to the new downtown diner!

The other day I met up with a few friends from my old job for an early happy hour at the brand-spankin'-new Tom's Urban 24-hour Diner on the corner of 15th & Larimer in downtown Denver.

Look at these lovely ladies!

They had some pretty awesome stuff on the menu, and some crazy drink cocktails that we absolutely had to try!  My favorite was the "WTF;)" - I can't remember all of the ingredients, but it contained whiskey, Coors light, red wine, orange juice, etc.  Sounds weird, but MAN it was good!

Susan got herself a "Coffee & Donut" - maple bacon doughnut, a shot of doughnut vodka, espresso, and espresso liquor.  Wowza.

And I think these may have been probably the most delicious deviled eggs I've ever had.  Truffled Deviled Eggs?  Yes, please!!

This one was my drink #2 - I can't remember the name, but it was champange with rose water syrup and some other yummy goodies in there too.  OH so good!!

How about that happy girlie!  And that pizza was friggin' amazing - cheese, arugula, mushrooms - YUM!  SO good.

Anyway, you guys should definitely check this place out if you have a chance.  It really is open 24-hours too!  And the menu is freakin' huge.  I kinda wanted to try everything!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Coffee stop

Last week on my day off I took a little coffee break with a few friends! 

I think I was the only person who didn't bring a laptop, but ah well!  It was nice to hang out and chit-chat over a good ol' cuppa joe. 

It was a pretty lovely Wednesday morning to hang out!  

And on top of it all?  The coffee shop was giving away FREE seeds!!  How awesome is that?  Our garden is going to be bigger & better than ever next year, and I am totally excited about it.  I may have grabbed a bit much, but hey, might as well stock up. :) 

Mmmm - coffee time! 

My hair is really starting to grow out, huh? 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall walk in the Park with Katy

Yesterday I had a day off so Katy and I went for a long walk in the park!

It was a beautiful day - the sun was out and warm, but there was a bit of a chill in the air.  It was just lovely!

Katy didn't make good friends with the geese (but man, it was fun to see her chasing them off!  Ha!)

We are a couple of colorful girls!

Stretchin' it out!

Well Katy made friends with at least one animal that day!

I saw this pile of leaves and I told Katy "Let's walk over here!" - we actually walked single file for a block or so, just so that we could both crunch through the leaves and kick them all around.

It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with a good friend!
We're going to enjoy as much of this weather as possible before the real cold weather hits! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Oh my gosh - only 1 more week until my favorite holiday!!  THANKSGIVING!! 

If you remember, I posted back in early September about my Thanksgiving menu.  Yep, I had it planned all the way back then.  And man, it's gonna be delish!!

Here's my full play-by-play for the big Thanksgiving Meal: 

Egg casserole - This I'm going to make the night before.  John and I are heading down as soon as I get off work to start prepping everything! :) 
Scones!  (sticky fingers mix) - I'm trying to keep things simple this year, so breakfast will be fast & easy! 

Homemade Pimento cheese dip (with rice crackers) - I'm going to make this the night before too.  It has been hard planning for my little sister (who is gluten AND lactose intolerant), but I'm doing the best I can so that she can enjoy as much as possible!  
Roasted nuts - A family favorite!  It makes the house smell SO GOOD. 

Roasted Beet Salad with pears & almonds - I'm hoping our lovely family friend Deb will be able to make this to bring - she always does such an amazing job with the salad! 

Side Dishes
Carrot Casserole - I haven't done a carrot dish in a while, and I think this one will be a nice change! 
Mushroom Wellington cups - This is a new one for me, and may be a bit of a challenge.  I'm hoping it will be a fun one though (and hopefully a hit!)
Mashed potatoes (vegan) - Another one I'm hoping to get completed the night before.  The potatoes are always the easiest ones to make milk-free for Taryn! 
Brussels sprouts with white beans & pecorino (on the side) - I'm kinda lovin' on Brussels sprouts right now.  I think this will be a fun veggie instead of green beans! 
Gravy (vegan) - hoping to get this one done the night before too - it's always a huge hit at Thanksgiving. 
“Sausage” stuffed red onions - Another new recipe!  I hope it's not too complicated... 

Turkey (Dad / John) - I never do the Turkey - I don't even think I would know how to cook meat anymore! ha! 
Maple Glazed Tofurkey - A new recipe, but it looks pretty easy! 
AND Currant Maple Citrus Loaf - Ditto on this one, but it sounds delish.  Tofurkey's are pretty small, so we usually do two meatless-loafs instead of just 1 (so that we have plenty of leftovers!)

Apple “Cream” Pie – This will be from my Southern Pies cookbook - another first for me!  I can't wait to give it a try though.  I'm making a small gluten-free apple crumble for the little sis.  
Toasted Coconut pie (from work!!) - Yep, I recently found out that the bakery is going to give each employee a free pie for Thanksgiving!!  How totally rad is that??  I am so excited. 

And there you have it!  I'm so excited to have a couple of days off to spend with the fam.  I just love this time of year!  Man, if Thanksgiving snuck up on me this quickly, Christmas is going to be here even quicker! Holy moly!  

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!  :D 

All images found on either Pinterest or We Heart It. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

America the Beautiful 2 - and thoughts on body image

Last night I watched the documentary America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments. If you remember, I've actually watched the original documentary America the Beautiful, and I really enjoyed it!  This one was pretty eye opening as well. 

Now, there are some things that got me frustrated about how Darryl Roberts approached this.  In the beginning it seemed as though he was supporting people being overweight - whether they were healthy or not.  

But as the film progressed I realized that he was actually making a really good point.  Diets don't work.  I'm living proof.  I've been on every diet possible (South Beach, Weight Watchers, Total Body Transformation, etc.), and I've always either gained the weight back - or MORE than when I started.  The people out there who can actually lose weight and keep it off by dieting is a very small number.  He goes on to argue this point, and I definitely agreed with him. 

What annoyed me is how he tried to do the "Raw Food Diet", and how he couldn't even bring himself to eat the food (or even try to enjoy it).  I know that the DIET can be difficult, but I truly believe that most of what that "diet" preaches is probably what we should be eating.  Low sodium, lots of veggies & fruits, low or no dairy, no animals, etc.  I think the reason why he hated it so much was because he was used to eating high sodium CRAP with no nutrients!  Of course it will taste weird at first, because your taste buds and your body have been overloaded with shit your entire life!  Ugh - that was frustrating.  

But many of the other points he brought up were very valid, and very interesting.  Especially the part he brought up about BMI and how that measurement is out dated, and kind of ridiculous in determining if you're actually overweight or not!  I didn't even know that they lowered the original "normal" BMI number that they had in the 70's.  It used to be 28, and now it's around 24 (at the high end)!  If I had been born back then, my weight would have been NORMAL in the 70's, but now I'm considered overweight.  Are you kidding me? 

They also had a great interview with a professional dancer that just happens to be a bigger girl.  She was saying that it's fascinating how our culture loves "thin" so much, that no matter how unhealthy the person, they're OK.  They're not bothered - they're still seemingly "healthy" even if they eat like crap and never work out.  But the heavier person, who is actually healthy - is looked at as unhealthy.  This girl who works out 5x a week, eats healthfully but just happens to be larger is criticized because of her size.  So interesting, and so sad.  

I was obsessed with dieting at one point in my life.  I actually started a blog about one of my other many diet attempts, which is where this comparison picture comes from: 

Yeah, that picture on the left?  I was the thinnest I've ever been - 135 pounds.  I worked out obsessively.  All I ate was chicken, broccoli, and maybe a different vegetable every now and then.  No fruits - fruit was sugar and that's all I saw it as.  

I also smoked a pack of cigarettes a day. 

In the picture on the right (which is basically the size I am now - my natural size), I was practicing Roller Derby at least 4x a week.  I was eating a healthy vegetarian diet, but still enjoying pizza & ice cream every now & then.  I also stopped smoking. 

Yet when I looked at these pictures, I was dissapointed.  I beat myself up over my lack of discipline.  Only because I wasn't "thin".

Now that I've finally learn to love my body the way it is, I know that I was one of the many American women that fell victim to societal judgement.  I'm so glad that I finally learned that I'm beautiful just the way I am - and that I don't have to kill myself with crazy restrictive dieting or over-exercising to be healthy and happy.  

Watching this documentary kind of helped confirm that for me.  I hope that everyone can learn this about themselves in one way or another!!  You are amazing and beautiful!!  Yes exercise, healthy foods, and healthy mind are all VERY important parts of living your life to the fullest.  But being "thin" isn't necessarily the key to it all. 

And there's my two cents, folks! :) 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Piano / Holiday Teas!

Oh-Em-Gee - the piano is HERE!! :D 

She came yesterday, and I am just completely in love.  Fudge has already found a new favorite spot (sprawled across her bench), and I've already begun plunking away on her keys, trying to refresh my memory of the years of lessons through my youth.  

I rented piano books from the library, and holiday music books as well.  I'm hoping that with a little regular practice over the next few weeks I'll have a few Christmas songs nailed down for the holidays!! :) 

I can't even tell you how wonderful it is to have a piano in the house.  I feel very lucky that I got to grow up with one in our house, and that my parents had me take lessons so that I could learn how to play it.  I remember how wonderful it was on a lazy afternoon to just sit and play beautiful songs to my heart's content.  My heart is just swelling!! 


On a completely different note (haha, note - get it?), HOLIDAY TEAS ARE BACK!!  

Oh my goodness, I could not WAIT for these guys to come out again!!  I made John stop at TWO different grocery stores just so that I could get some of them!  Nutcracker Sweet is my favorite (it's a very vanilla-ey black tea, and oh so good), and I haven't tried the other two yet, but I will very soon!  

I just adore this time of year, and I know it may seem a bit ridiculous but I just love these teas!  There's something so warm & comforting about their flavors, it just makes me so happy. 

Be forewarned, not all stores sell them!  But luckily, you can go to the Celestial Seasonings website and search for stores near you that do.  They might not be in the actual tea aisle either (since they are a seasonal item, they could be in a separate location), so don't be afraid to ask!  They're worth the extra work, trust me. :) 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Winter Beautiful

I am so glad that I live in Colorado where I can enjoy all of the beautiful seasons!  Right now I'm looking forward to snow and wintertime.  

I know there are people out there that think I'm crazy, but I absolutely love snow!!  There's something so beautiful and peaceful about it, and it can turn any landscape in to a magical wonderland.  

Snow turns cities quiet and peaceful.  It makes everything look clean and pure and sparkling.  

I love coming in after running around in the snow to a hot cup of cocoa or tea!  I love watching the snow fall through the window while I'm snuggled under a big thick blanket.  

I love bundling up and walking while snowflakes are gently falling from the sky.  I love watching dogs leap into snowdrifts and burrow their noses underneath!  

Although I absolutely adore fall, I just love winter too. :)  

All images found via Pinterest. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Perfectly Pink Drink!

So I just recently discovered the magic of cake-flavored Vodka.  Someone left a half-full bottle of it at our Halloween party, and I've been thoroughly enjoying it ever since!!  It's awesome mixed with orange juice (it tastes like a creamsicle), but today I discovered the best way to have it EVER.

We didn't have any more juice in the house, so I decided to use my juicer to make my own mixer!  :)

Perfectly Pink 
Serves 1 
2 apples (I used Honeycrisp)
1 cup fresh raspberries (or frozen raspberries, thawed)
2-3 oz of cake vodka 

Juice the apples and raspberries in your juicer.  Add ice to your glass and dump in the vodka.  Top with the apple/raspberry juice.  Mix well & enjoy!  


I think the only thing that could make this drink better is topping it off with a splash of champagne for a little fizz at the top.  Holy guacamole!

I'll be enjoying this the rest of the afternoon. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Living Room Arrangement - With room for PIANO!

On my day off this week, I decided to rearrange our living room to fit our new-ish upright piano that's coming in just a few days!!

I'm SO DARN EXCITED!  I rented a bunch of books from the library (piano for beginners, Piano for Dummies), so that I would be ready to get started when we finally got it.

I kind of like my little book nook on the side now too.  I still have my office in the back room, but I just love the light out here - and it's nice being close to the kitchen in the morning so that I can make breakfast and blog / pin / Facebook at the same time.  You know, really important work stuff. :)

We got a bunch of Honeycrisp apples at the last farmer's market, and man, that was all I wanted for breakfast that day.  I had some peanut butter with it for protein, and a cup of coffee (that I really don't have that often, even though I've been Barista-ing at work)!  It was delicious, and filled me up just right. 

Fudge has a new favorite place to sit too (he's sitting there right now as I'm typing this in fact).  I think he just loves that he can be close to someone AND look out the window if he wants to!  

And man, those bookshelves were dirty.  It was good to go through everything and clean up during the process as well - there were a lot of books / movies I was hanging on to for no particular reason.  Oh how easily our lives get cluttered.

Pics of the piano to come soon!  I can't wait!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Excited about... the fact that my favorite holiday THANKSGIVING is coming up next!!  WOOHOO!!

Feeling... laid back and relaxed. I've been trying to take it easy the last week or so whenever I have a day off from work.  Not scheduling much, and just enjoying some peaceful time to myself!

(By the way, wouldn't you just love to have a cozy little spot like this to read in?  What a super cute book nook!)

Listening to... Eva Cassidy.  She has the most amazing voice, and I just love singing along with her.  She really knows how to put soul into some gospel songs!

This is one of my most favorite songs that she does (People Get Ready).  If you like this, you should definitely get her album Songbird.  It's amazing. 

Grateful for... a house that is properly heated (FINALLY).  After going through 2 winters at my last apartment that had no insulation whatsoever, it's nice to be living in a house that's toasty.  It has been getting cold outside too!

Reading... Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.  It's our next book club book this month, and I'm looking forward to seeing the movie when I'm finished!  It's a bit slow to start (the language is difficult to read), but hopefully I can stick to it.

Loving... soup.  I know, it's getting redundant.  But I really am loving soup right now. :)

Hating... my seemingly uncontrollable ability to avoid sugar.  I may have to do another cleanse starting in January!  (And yes, I'm waiting until then.  It's too late now)!

Really wanting... a sweet little doggie!  I am still not sure if I'm "ready" for one, and I know they take a lot of time and dedication when it comes to training and giving them enough attention.  But I would really love one someday... I love doggies so much!  I never grew up with a dog, so it'd definitely be a new experience for me.

Enjoying... the chilly weather, and the beautiful sunrises & sunsets.

Watching... GHOST HUNTERS!!  They did a marathon on Halloween day, and I watched an obscene amount of episodes.  Love that show!

Noticing... that I'm getting older, and things are changing.  Not in a bad way, just a new & different way!  I have realized that I would rather enjoy a night with a few close friends rather than a big party with a bunch of strangers.  I know now that I'd rather get a good night's sleep and get up early, rather than stay out all night.  Things are changing, but I think in a very good way.  I like where things are going, and I'm excited to see where they go next!

All images found on Pinterest or Google Image search.