Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Meal Prep: Chile Lime Chicken Burgers, Blueberry & Spinach Smoothie & Honey Greek Yogurt Cups

It's a short week- yay! Therefore, I didn't have the drive to slave in the kitchen for hours on Sunday making lunches for us. However, I still gotta watch those weekday calories which means I gotta put together a little something. Enter: Trader Joe's. Here's how I quickly organized lunches for us this week with little effort & without sacrificing my wellness plan.

Chile Lime Chicken Burgers with Corn Chile Salsa, Onion & Avocados
Cook burgers in pan, top with all other ingredients. Yum, yum, yum!

Blueberry & Spinach Smoothie +
 Honey Greek Yogurt Cups
Smoothie = Blueberries, spinach, greek yogurt, basil, 2 bananas & 1 apple
Yogurt Cups = Greek Yogurt, blueberries, unsweetened coconut shreds & a drizzle of honey

And that, my friends, is how you eat healthy at work in record time.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Happenings, Thoughts & Overdue Legal Wins

1) Chandler's ER visit
^Left: Jay carrying a very sick Chandler into the vet's office so we could say goodbye for the night. Right: Chandler recouping at home on my chest.

Last Wednesday, Jay came home from work to white-frothy vomit all over the house and found Chandler laying on the bed, panting & drooling heavily (he's not a drooler) while being totally uninterested that Jay had just arrived home. Anyone who has ever heard of the concept of a dog knows that that is a tell-tale sign of something off. As he was trying to figure out what was happening, he went into the bathroom to discover our pharmacy/first aid drawer had been opened and Chandler had chewed through various drugstore med bottles (Tylenol, Imodium & Biotin hair pills- Which don't work at all btw! You lied to me GNC 15-year-old sales boy. You lied to me.) and had eaten a lot of the pills. Gulp. Scary. I came home quickly after and we immediately put Chandler in his crate and carted him to the dog hospital (Sidenote: Another reason I love living downtown, the DH is located a few blocks away- much like everything else. We didn't have to panic while waiting at a red light or drive across town. Downtown life wins in everything but space, I tell you.) Anyway, to make a long story short, Chandler had to stay the night in the ICU and receive IV fluids all night. He came back to us the next day and after 24 hours of him sleeping and still refusing food/water - he started to return to his normal self. Phew. That was scary, awful and sobering. Looking back on it, I am thankful for vets, pet insurance (they covered $800 dollars of the $1,000 bill & took less than 24 hours to finalize our claim and mail the check. Color me impressed. We use this company.) & the kind people at Dove Lewis hospital who treated us amazingly as we freaked out.

I'd like to think that I have gotten the whole 'Night Owl' thing down so well that it never has any effect on me. But I've noticed that whenever I write a blog post late at night, even after doing a double-check before scheduling it to load the next morning at 5 AM, I ALWAYS have a huge grammatical error that I would certainly notice had I written it during normal hours. I generally check my own blog on the way to work (I take public transit so this doesn't mean I drive & read!) and am astounded that I missed something so obvious (like in this post, the original sentence about the Wicked Witch made no sense- how did I not notice that on reread?). Anyway, I guess I actually am tired late at night, as much as I think I'm not after years of rockin' insomnia. Thankful I can edit!

3)Authentic Blogging
When I first got really into blogging without the education of the whole ordeal, I got realllllly into trying to get followers. I saw that as super important. This manifested itself in posts that I thought would cater to a certain audience but really had nothing to do with me or why I like to write. For instance: Recap fashion posts after award shows. Do you think anyone in God's name thinks: "Omg, I can't wait for effing Caitlin from Portland, OR (who always talks about wearing sweats) to post her thoughts on all these gowns?". I'll answer: Haaayyyll no, they don't. And they shouldn't because I don't know much about things like that from a writing standpoint. I do know myself though and I'm qualified to write about that. When I took a blog hiatus after feeling super overwhelmed by how much time it took - I reevaluated why I wanted to blog. I really like to post pictures & write about things I do. I also like to go back and read my own blog and reflect on the thoughts I had during that point in my life. And I love reading blogs of people posting the same. These things bring me joy. And while bloggers inherently want followers, I'm not interested in faking my way to the top. I just like to write. Once I told myself to just write what I want, the desire to blog & the joy that comes from it came easily thereafter. So since I came back in December, this has felt like anything but a chore. I'm happy to be doing it again.

4) The importance of being young & stupid
^Left: Us on Saturday night. Right: 2005 memories.

I hung out with four of my oldest/closest friends on Saturday night (seen here). I have more to post on that next week but one sliver of the night that I loved was when we all decided to look at the #TBT Instagram post I had done on the prior Thursday (seen here). In 2005, we all headed to the annual DMB concert in the Gorge for one night of hilarious fun. As we sat at brunch the morning after, ready to head home, we all started discussing that maybe we should just stay another night ... so we did. With no tent, no food (there's not stores around there so we couldn't go stock up), no sleeping bags, etc. we decided to let the day carry us and see where it went. We ended up having one of the most memorable times of our lives, met a host of random people who hooked us up with stuff and made jokes that still make us laugh out loud. That was 10 years ago. The ability for any of us to throw our agenda to the wind and just extend a trip by two days is close to nil now. That's why those stupid memories are important. That's why youth is vital. It's such a fleeting point in time where you can break the rules. And you'll reflect on it, with hilarious dialogue, for the rest of your life. 

5) Gay Marriage
^Our amazing officiant-Jay's 'cousin' but called an Uncle- & his partner with us two days before our wedding. 

Can I get a hip-hip-hooray??! And did that take long enough? About.dang.TIME. We all deserve the right to look over at our spouse when we hear chewing to see that they have tilt a nearly empty bag of chips to a 145 degree angle and think: "Omg, I'm legally bound to this idiot for the rest of my life...". Can I get an 'amen'? And on a non-funny note: Since marrying in September, we have had various legal benefits as a couple ranging from insurance to beneficiaries to tax credits. Everyone deserves that. I'm not special because I married a dude. I don't deserve less or more than anyone else. Happy, happy, joy, joy that after 17 years together, the man who legally married Jay & Me could marry his own partner (if they so choose). What an antiquated, insane world we have lived in before where people would deny anyone that right. If you're south of age 80 & still are anti-gay marriage: Girl, bye. I'm open for discourse on various topics but not on this one. I don't respect people who don't respect others' choices for their own life and their inherent right to love especially when it has zerrrroooo effect on anyone else. Zero. You could shut down any complaint about gay marriage with: "But ... how does that affect you?", no matter what was even said that sentence will apply, I promise you. Live and let live. Life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Love is love. And that's all the cliches I got. 

Anyway, so that's my spiel today! It's Sunday afternoon as I type. I'm sitting on the back patio with my feet in the redneck pool while Chandler dunks for balls. Jay is within sight watching TV in a house we cleaned on Saturday. It's really hot but overcast. Life is good today. Oh and did I mention we only have a 3-day work week? :)

I'm only posting Mon-Wed this week as I'm not a weekend blogger & Wed is my Friday. Enjoy the start of the holiday week!
Friday, June 26, 2015

Little Things Lately ...

Cuddling// Chandler. This week had a nice big interruption of Chandler's first visit to the ER & overnight ICU stay :( hence my lack of posting last couple days. I'll explain more next week but holy heck, I'm so glad he's okay. That was terrifying.

Watching// "Orange Is The New Black" and just a couple eps away from the end of season 3. Funny to hear Lori Petty talking away, one of the other prisoners needs to tell her to lay off of those high ones.

Dreading// Heat wave this weekend. Supposed to hit 106 degrees on Saturday! What the ... If you need me, I'll be melting with the Wicked Witch of the West.

Typing// with company! I took my new laptop to a local bar, enjoyed the company of the bartender I know quite well and knocked out some blogs. Not too shabby.
Toasting// One of my longest friend's engagements!!! When you've been kickin' it with someone since the GD nineties, it's exciting to reach these milestones together. 

Working out// Six days a week and eating right during the weekdays. Finally in my sweet groove while still gorging myself on the weekends in the spirit of that 80/20 logic which I love so much.

Coveting// Large pieces of art. Want. Want. Want. Like the pictured one in my building. I also half wonder if I could just make something like that myself by slinging paint at a canvas, signing my name in the corner and faking everyone into thinking it's a very sought-after, famous piece of art.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

3 Men. 3 Dogs. 1 Gal. 1 Cabin.

So over here I posted about my plans for Memorial Day Weekend. They were to head up to my dad's cabin, wear comfy a$$ clothes & gallivant around in the woods for a few days in a generator-powered cabin with minimal cell service. And I'll never complain about plans like that after sitting under neon lights most of my weeks. Get me to the fresh air! We made the decision to head up there fairly last minute and were only able to wrangle two other people to come hang out with us a couple days before the weekend started. One was Jay's brother & the other was our good friend, Jeff. So a cabin weekend with 3 dogs, 3 guys, 1 girl and the NW landscape looks a lot like this ...
^My 2 favorite dogs & me at the lake! You know Chandler & the other pup is my family's dog who I was petsitting. She's 15.
^Food, dudes & dogs.
^The cabin is nestled deep into the quintessential NW woods.
^Sipping on local ale down at the dock.
^Nippy enough to need warm boots & a jacket. But perfectly pleasant once you're outfitted correctly.

^Cabin views.
^Doesn't get much better than a day off work, a fire pit & some friends.
^Apparently my cabin lounge clothes are all incredibly LOUD & hippiesh. 
^Left: So, so cute. My canine versions of a son & a sister. Right: My dog is my favorite thing. We are very much attached like this much of the time which is why he manages to sneak into every post I write. That's just the way the cookie crumbles over here ... woman's best friend indeed. I've waited my whole life to own my own dog and he has lived up to every single grandiose image I had of what it would be like. 
^Recreating the picture from last year. Same cabin. Same dog. Same owner of truck but he clearly upgraded in 2015.

We drank good beer, ate great meals (seriously, Jay is such a good cook - it's always impressive to me!), played horseshoes, hiked a waterfall, dealt 500 games of cribbage and sipped coffee with our feet in the lake. It just wasn't too shabby at all and the only downside of the entire weekend was the sad trek back down the mountain to reality again.


Monday, June 22, 2015

5 Random Thoughts

^My friend Tracy & Me. A random pic I love for a random post.
1) Last week, someone said to me that the problem with Yelp! is that everyone thinks their opinion matters when really, no one's opinion matters. What a simple sentence but I sat on that for a bit. And perhaps it's true. "Matter" is certainly in the eye of the beholder and how much does anyone care that so and so had to wait 10 minutes for fries?

2) There's a guy who is always sitting on the bench outside the public library at the same time I get off the train and walk the two blocks to work in the AM. Every time I pass he waves and says "Hey Kiddo! Have a great day! Gonna be a nice one!". Perhaps it's the warmth of 'kiddo' or the kindness in his smile but I'm genuinely excited to see him every morning. I wish I knew a bit more about his story. Maybe one day I'll tell him how his little gesture positively contributes to my morning outlook.

3) I had a tortoise when I was a little girl which, to this day, was the best christmas present I have ever received. I've always been animal-obsessed but never once even thought of owning a tortoise until I sprinted to the tree one Xmas morning to find Santa had showed up. He had given me my very own tortoise. Not my family's pet. Not my sister's pet. MY pet. And I named him Pinkie and loved him like 50 Cent loves celebrating birthdays. Anyway, I really want one again! I can't wait (but at the same time, I really can due to the fact that that will mean we are fully setttttleeddddddd, ugh) until we live somewhere with ample space and I can become the crazy pet lady I've always been on the inside. Lions & Tigers & Tortoises: Oh my!

4) I love holidays on Facebook and seeing everyone's little celebratory posts. E.G. Father's Day. Sometimes social media makes me want to rip my eyes out and throw myself over a waterfall [see also: election season] but dang it if I'm not a sucker for an endearing post about love.

5) I'm convinced Clay Matthews has time-traveled here and is actually a viking. A beautiful, Nordic, ethereal viking. Hamada-hamada-hamada.

In other news, after 5 months (okay, like two weeks) away for work- my husband is back. And that makes a gal really happy. I just hope he doesn't read number 5. And if he does, I'm sure I can see his point and raise him one pretty girl in our building who always jogs by when we're walking and he catatonically stops listening to me until she turns the corner. Uh-huh, I notice things.

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Creative Musings

^Siena, Italy 2013

I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.” ~Robert Henri
The reason that art (writing, engaging, and all of it) is valuable is precisely why I can’t tell you how to do it. If there were a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map.” ~Seth Godin

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. ~Rumi

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Backyard Oasis

^Ugh, he is so cute! Looks like he's smiling in some of the pictures.

Being an adult is expensive. Everything that one wants to do costs money, which is primarily why I like spending so much time at all the parks around town in the summer (we have two parks really close to us and we're often there on the weekends with a full lounging spread). That and the fact that laying on the grass with a magazine is a delightful way to pass the time.  The only problem with our favorite area parks is that there's no water source and as the temperature has steadily heat up since May, we've been struggling with finding simple ways to stay cool as we lounge. We don't have an air conditioner and it seems like the inside of our home just sucks in all the heat and doesn't let it back out. It's definitely been a "damp wash cloth on our forehead" kinda sleeping arrangement lately (we've been known to sleep outside when we're in this predicament!)

But last week, instead of spending money on a pool visit or spending money on packing a bag with expensive goodies to head to a lake or river- we just went to the grocery store and got a $6 inflatable pool for our back patio. We filled it with cold water, threw in some toys for Chandler and chilled outside that Sunday with some fresh fruit and magazines. All from the comfort of our own downtown, beloved yet teeny-tiny home.

It was small, it wasn't fancy- but it was nothing short of our own little personal spa. And since Jay is in Texas for work this week, I've enjoyed dipping my feet in it and watching my shows all from the back porch - as well as watching Chandler paw at the water repeatedly and then get scared at the resulting splash.

Cheap activities for the win.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Will You Be My Bridesmaid?" Brunch

After Jay and I got engaged (story here), I knew one of the most important things (outside of picking a date and stomaching that about 150 people would soon be staring at me all at once, watching, judging, look at the baby) was asking my bridesmaids to be just that. I knew this would be as easy as can be. My entire house is a complete replica of Pinterest aspirations. I'm a great cook. And entertaining comes super easy to me with my huge inventory of brunch accents and home decor.
Oh wait, no. None of the above is true at all. I don't even have a dining room at my place let alone a bevy of adorable platters and glasses. However, all those sentiments ring true for my sister. So I implored her help in this very sacred, sweet cause and openly used her for all her Martha Stewart qualities.
When I started thinking about how I wanted to ask my bridesmaids to be my bridesmaids, I really determined I wanted to narrow it down to drinks, food, gifts & a little toast. Being the like-minded individuals they are, I knew these were things they all hold dear just as much as me as it's pretty much all we do when we hang out.

After determining a date that worked for everyone in what turned out to be an unusually beautiful day in January (this was January 2014, when I took a hiatus from blogging), I worked with my sister to create a menu and asked everyone else to bring nothing to the brunch. I emphatically reiterated to them that they were to abandon all other customary Miss Manners rules and not bring bottles of wine for the hostess, no side dishes to contribute, no flowers as a guest thank you: I wanted to celebrate them and since I was the one asking a big favor, I wanted to be clear that the brunch was a gift from me to them.
My sister did such a cute job decorating her house for the occasion. She has since moved from this home (and the one she has now is insanely adorable as well) but I really loved the space of the dining room and am excited that it gets to live on in our memories in this amazing display she did. I hadn't even asked her to be my Maid Matron of Honor yet and she was already all about it. PS - I feel bad that married women are 'Matrons' of honor. They ain't matronly, yo! But I'll try to be proper and use the correct term since Brides are supposed to be proper.

But really, look at the sweet presentation she did. Left to my own devices, I probably would have just had a keg, some solo cups and a DIY bagel station available (all of which my friends like by the way) so I was grateful that day to be related to such a talented idiot who makes her home look this good.

After a lot of "ooooo'ing" & "aaaah'ing" and taking lots of credit for the set-up in the moments when my sister was out of the room, it was time to eat. We had homemade muffins, bagels, lox, capers, cream cheese, espresso, fruit, mimosas, jams/jellies- the works! We sat right down and got to eating.

After the meal, I invited everyone to join me in the living room and ensured that everyone had a topped-off drink. On the shelves in there sat the baskets I had worked on for each girl.
I used World Market for much of my pillaging for the baskets, including the ribbons, plastic wrap & the baskets themselves. Each girl was given a little framed photo of the two of us plus some of the fun things that WM has: Decadent soaps, mini-champagnes, wine, a card, candles, treats among other things. I had a lot of fun putting them altogether.
Before I gave them each their basket, I said a little speech. The contents of which I don't fully remember but it touched on how important each girl was to me, how much I appreciated the role they had in my life, how I cherished our highs & lows of friendship (which I had with each girl there) which speaks to the commitment in remaining friends through it all. There were tears, lots of smiles and in many ways, it felt like the first official event of my engagement. I know being a bridesmaid is a huge honor but it's also an expensive imposition. I wanted them to know I really recognized both.

And that was how, on my wedding day, I had 6 pretty little ducks all in a row behind me.