Monday, February 27, 2012

Dinner this week.

Over the past few weeks more than one friend has noted they miss my "Dinner this week" feature. I'd take pride in the fact that I'm inspiring others to plan and cook dinner for their families, but we all know I'm just providing pictures and links. A virtual grocery list if you will. 

Nonetheless, I've missed it too. I have fallen off the meal-planning wagon. Meals have been quite unplanned the past couple weeks. The hubs has traveled quite a bit, and I may have passed off hot dogs and brownies as "dinner" on more than one evening.  The kids have certainly not missed the variety. They prefer tried and true. 

Well, sorry kids, Mama is back on her game this week.  

1.  Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs, 2. Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage, 3. Chicken Alfredo, 4. Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli.

If you try any of these recipes let me know what you think. If all goes as planned {big IF since the only consistent thing about this blog is its inconsistency}, I'll report back next week.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


The irony of following My Boyfriend post with one about Lent is not lost on me. Maybe it is because of My Boyfriend post that I feel obliged to share a bit of my less lustful side. 

Because I'm not all about fast cars and tattooed men. 

If you've always wondered about Ash Wednesday, Lent, or why some of us walk around with crosses on our forehead for a day, take a look at this very simplistic video.  I think it aptly summarizes the significance of the ashes {we are not wearing our religion on our sleeve - or in this case forehead - but are acknowledging our sin and need for repentance} and the season of Lent {a time for fasting, praying and giving}. 

My kids talked about giving something up this year for Lent. Little Miss Thang suggested chocolate {gasp} and Boy Genius considered his 3DS {video game}. But then they realized their birthday falls during Lent as does a family vacation. Little Miss Thang wants chocolate cake pops for her birthday and Boy Genius could not imagine a plane flight without his 3DS. 

I wanted encourage the sacrifices but also saw their points. 

And I have never believed that Lent is all about giving up something. 

Though I know that is a popular notion. 

Truly, for me it is more about being introspective, exercising humility and acknowlding my reliance on God. 

So as for me and my family, we decided we would keep our chocolate and our video games. Instead, we plan to use this season to practice humility by speaking only nice words {now that is a challenge for my duo}. By loving each other more and criticizing less {a-hem - a tad challenging at times}. By focusing on what we have. Not what we want {constant challenge}. And by cleansing our hearts and minds of pettiness.

Yes, giving up chocolate and video games would be a challenge, but I do not think it would impact our lives quite as much as simply focusing on what is and what is not important in our daily worlds. 

You may think this sounds like a cop-out. And maybe it is.

But my hope is that we can form a habit or two that will last long after Easter.

Do you or your families have any specific Lenten practices?

Monday, February 20, 2012

My boyfriend.

I played coy last time I extolled the praises of The Voice. The show truly is inspirational. I believe I was quite clear in that regard. I did not, however, come clean about my other motivation for watching:  I'm in love with Adam Levine.

And this spread in Architectural Digest only deepens my belief that in some alternate I'm-married-to-a-rock-star universe we were meant to be together.


A Porsche 356 has always been my dream car. Though I've never been able to justify a six-figure two-seater. Darn kids {as if they are the reason I've never spent over $100k on a car}.

My primary residence {a-hem, or only} is quite traditional, but mid-century modern is exactly how I'd furnish a 1940s Hollywood Hills home too! And who doesn't love a man confident enough to prominently display a purple velvet sofa?! Swoon. 

I've also always wanted a black room -- a black lacquered study with a lucite desk and lime green accents. Red accents work too. And baby grand pianos. And lots and lots of guitars. Swoon.

The rosewood details in living room and kitchen just scream my name.  


Hear it?  Screaming my name.  

And the minimalist kitchen is perfect, because clearly, a private chef is preparing healthy meals while we practice yoga in the studio {Not pictured, of course, because we like our privacy}. 

And I'm extremely flattered to see that he already framed my portrait bedside right between his other idols: Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, and Curt Cobain.

When watching The Voice live follow me {@amyeatlivelaugh} and #TheVoice on Twitter. It is a bit manic, but really adds to the experience! 

And, of course, I'm also following @adamlevine

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Salad in a jar.

One more item to file under: Why didn't I think of that {yes, the list is quite long}.

salad in a jar
salad in a jar via bookofjoe
Stack it right and it will last up to four days!  What a great way to pack lunch or encourage healthy eating at home!

Here's the official {it works we've tested it} stacking order:

1) Dressing.
2) Hearty items that can withstand contact with the dressing.
3) Then lighter bits.
4) Finish with your green of choice.

salad in a jar
salad in a jar via lifehacker

When it’s time to eat just shake, dispense and enjoy!


via likecool

Friday, February 17, 2012

Travel fantasy.

We have less than 30 days until we visit the gorgeous Colorado mountains for a little Spring skiing. Knowing a wonderful trip is on the horizon does not, however, always sate my internal travel bug {so spoiled, I know}! And truth be told, skiing is less a vacation and more of an extended workout. Don't get me wrong: I'm certainly not complaining about my posh ski vacation on the horizon {first world problem}. Today my mind just needed to wander far, far away from here. 

And look where it landed: Australia.

Nothing could be more relaxing than a secluded, waterfront getaway to a surreal tree house. The private vacation home situated on the Bouddi Peninsula, just north of Sydney, is actually called The Pretty House, because it sits perched atop Pretty Beach {truly - I  couldn’t make this up if I wanted}.

The exclusive seven-acre property encompasses three one-bedroom pavilions that surround the main home. The pavilions are rented out to guests who are lavished with an in-house chef, treetop views of the sparkling Brisbane waters, private decks for sunbathing, a wine cellar, heated pool, and a stunning 38 foot yacht to explore the waters. 
Stop it.  
No, seriously, a 38' yacht.
At your disposal. And did I mention a chef?!
Sorry, that's just my inner dialogue. Sometimes I cannot for the life of me turn it off. 

The pool is sunken below a surrounding teak terrace, which has openings for tree trunks to pass through to avoid disrupting their natural trajectory.

You had me at teak terrace.  Gorgeous!

The interiors are modern and saturated in warm, earthy color tones. It’s as if an old world traveler visited once and left his 1930s travel trunks, hand crafted tables, and fine Belgium linens behind. 

Dear old world traveler, please feel free to visit me stateside. 


Do not click through and check the rates.


This is a travel fantasy.


And in travel fantasies we can travel half way across the world {without the children} and spend oodles of money to lounge right here.


Or here.


Or enjoy a little night cap right here.


What are you dreaming about today?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Memories captured.

It's Boy Genius's turn this month. 

I cannot claim this gorgeous shot as my own. 
All credit goes to the amazing Nicole of N.Cole Photography

She has captured the very essence of my children every year 
starting when they were only four months old. 

I probably owe her my first born. 

But she can't have him. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day.

via Paperless Post

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Peace at last.

I was lucky enough to see Whitney Houston perform in concert during the summer of 1992 in a small-ish concert hall in Austin, Texas. The gospel music sequence was my favorite - she brought so much life, soul, and vocal range to the music.

This song, though, never fails to bring tears to my eyes. 

And this is how I'll remember Whitney. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Review - Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

Last night my book club discussed Lisa See's book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It is an old book which I am sure many of your enjoyed years ago. I did not reread it for this book club so my memory was slightly challenged as we discussed the details of the book. However, the haunting overtones and stifling emotional components were still quite memorable to me even 5 years later.

Lily grows up in 19th Century China, the second daughter of a farmer. Her future changes when a matchmaker looks at the six-year-old girl's feet and informs Lily's mother that, if bound properly, these feet can make Lily the most beautiful of women. For that is how a woman's beauty is reckoned, in Lily's culture. The fact that girls often die during the agonizing process's multi-year course makes no difference, because the mother who does not bind her daughter's feet guarantees the child an impossible future.

Snow Flower is born on the same day as Lily into a family of much higher status. The matchmaker makes for them a different kind of pairing - that of laotang, or "old sames." A match between two girls that will last throughout their lives, and draw them closer emotionally to each other than to anyone else. The two communicate through nu shu, women's writing, which is different from men's writing and is supposed to be kept secret from men. They send their messages back and forth on a fan, for women spend their lives in upstairs chambers.

Lily and Snow Flower grow from the seven-year-olds who sign a laotong contract into betrothed young women - into wives - into the mothers of families. Their lives become exceedingly different, and one day a misunderstanding so powerful comes between them that Lily believes their bond is broken forever. But love turns out to be stronger than Lily understands . . . and that, really, is this book's theme -- the nature and the strength of love.

Although Lisa See does a beautiful job of depicting the time and place her characters inhabit {which is far, far away from the time and place we inhabit}, this story of women and their friendships has universal echoes.

Our discussion last night centered on those themes: the immeasurable bond of certain friendships, the position of women in society {even today}, the inherent strength of women even in the worst conditions, the ability to bear the unthinkable, and the fact that while cultures may vary old sames and same-olds really don't change.

As a fitting touch to the evening, our sweet hosts had a fan for each of us. As we discussed the book we passed our fans around the room and wrote a short note on each. It was a lovely gesture. We all left with our own secret fan inscribed with encouraging words and lovely sentiments from friends.

Reading my fan when I returned home I was brought to tears. Women really are amazing. Yes,we are at times frustrated by the inequalities and injustices that still exist in our world. But one of these inequalities or stereotypical sexual differences also provides, in my opinion, one of our most mirific traits: the amazing beauty of and inherent ability of women to love and encourage each other. 

Thank goodness that trait endures the test of time.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

This game called Life.

My duo loves a good video game. 

Actually, I think they love all video games {they really are not that picky}. 

We do, of course, monitor their exposure and limit their screen time. But we also believe that technology is a language in and of itself and one in which we hope they develop fluency. {side note: I add this out of mommy guilt  / fear of mommy judgment - it in no way adds to or explains the story.}


The games which currently pique their interest are becoming more and more complicated. There are multiple levels which become increasingly challenging. 

My duo playing side by side. 
Little Miss Thang, who normally dominates their twin existence, often asks her brother for assistance getting  past particular obstacles or challenges. She becomes quite frustrated when she does not swiftly succeed or progress. 

It pains her, I'm sure, but he is always happy to oblige - thankful for the opportunity to shine. 

I love watching these interactions. 

And truly, it is a good thing for the balance of power to occasionally shift. 

A very good thing. 

Last week we were waiting for gymnastics to start. She was playing on my phone. But suddenly stopped. Looked at me with an eerie intensity and asked: 
"Is life a game and each year a new level?" 
Neither of us spoke for what seemed like an eternity as the immensity of that concept permeated our thinking. 

Immediately a plethora of thoughts began swirling about in my head -- yes it does some days feel like that -- getting through the day, each stage, each year. It does feel like the bar in life is constantly raised. Just when you get comfortable with one challenge you are presented with another. And then another. Some levels or stages present more challenging obstacles than others. Some are easy to surpass and many are quite frustrating. And it does indeed seem that some people have a natural penchant for the game. 

I attempted to rein in my thoughts so I could formulate a suitable response. I realized it was time to dispense some extrospective morsel of wisdom. 

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, she beat me to it when she concluded: 
"Probably not, because no matter what, you cannot lose at life."
Well said my sweet girl. 

Well said. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

A letter to my fellow bloggers.

Dearest Bloggers, 

Once upon a time I said I would never, ever call someone I only know online a friend. I have plenty of "real" friends and have no intention of bonding over a lengthy rant regarding your husband's penchant for football or your child's inability to use the potty. 


This is not how friends are made. 

Friends are made by knowing each other. By talking face to face. By sharing your deepest, darkest secrets and fears. And friends require a fair amount of time and commitment. 

I feel strongly about this!

Exclamation point!

However, as many of you know, I failed at holding up the front. 

I fell prey to your quirky tales and your friendly "atta girls". 

You reached out to me when I wrote a weepy post. You tweeted that you missed me when I didn't post. I prayed about your breast cancer. Your divorce. And about your daughter's adenoidectomy. I worried when your mother was hospitalized. I thought about you when you disappeared for a time. I was worried and then glad when you returned. 

You see, as it turns out, blogging, tweeting, Facebooking {or whatever your medium} is - like it or not - the new face-to-face. We do share stories. Our lives. Our successes and failures. I admit a few tidbits are only shared with my BFF. But you understand.

Of course, not everyone who lands here is a friend. Some do not linger long enough. And it does indeed take an enormous amount of time and commitment. Writing. Sharing. Reading. Commenting. Tweeting. Retweeting. Helping. Advising. 

And yes, friends do indeed come and go from time to time. That is inevitable whether IRL or URL. 

But life has changed. And you are now a part of mine.  

For better or for worse. 

So thank you. 

Thank you for your support. 

Thank you for your encouragement. 

Thank you for being a friend. 


P.S. Now that we are friends, can I ask that you stop using Pinterest to promote your blog? You are driving me crazy with your buttons for every post. You already permeate my reader, by Twitter feed, and my Facebook feed. Is it too much to ask that you leave Pinterest for fun, pretty pictures and witty quips and quotes. An occasional DIY is wonderful, but let's draw the line there. Deal?

P.S.S. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. See, this friendship is so lovely. I adore how you never disagree or talk back. Thanks for that too!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Blog Design by Sweet Simplicity