Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Day To Day

Here's the problem. It's not that I don't want to be on here. It's that I'm genuinely at a loss of what to say. It's not so much writer's block, as much as the only feelings I've had to share are motivated by stress from work. And I don't want this to be a negative outlet. While I certainly don't want to keep it sunshine and roses all the time, we'd all get bored if all I talked about was how mentally, physically, and emotionally drained I am at the end if the workday. 

Now, it hasn't been all rain clouds, either. My outlook at work is improving. I'm working out again. I'm visiting family and my new nephew. But I'm still struggling with the mental and creative stamina required to walk in the door after working 10 hours in my cubicle, workout for an hour, make and eat dinner, maybe catch up on reading blogs, and pretty soon it's 10 pm and I haven't stopped moving all day. Yet the laundry pile doesn't get any smaller, and the dishes don't wash themselves, and my husband can't always entertain himself. 

So it gets to be 10 pm and all I can think about to write is whining about how I don't have time in my day to fix that chipped nail polish or iron that blouse. So instead of complaining about it here, I've stood up and done it. 

These moods definitely come and go with the seasons. The days are getting longer and warmer here in the PNW, and we finally had our first hot day. I am so looking forward to getting one more excuse off my back and get back into sharing here. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Stitch Fix Review


The following review is my own opinions, I did not receive any compensation - I just like fashion and shopping. :-)

Have you heard of Stitch Fix? You can sign up through their website, input your style and size choices, then get a box of 5 mystery fashion items to try on and buy, if you want, all from your home. I have received 4 shipments, and until my latest one, I was ready to write them off. At the end of last year (my 3rd shipment), my Fix was late, I had some rough hits with customer service, and the Fix contents were SO BAD. But then the 4th one came earlier this year and it was like fashion heaven in a box, delivered straight to my feet.

I know lots of people who have been disenchanted with the Fixes, feeling that the stylist never quite "got" them, or maybe the sizing was consistently a bit off. While I was never completely displeased with my box (except for shipment 3), I had never loved EVERYTHING until shipment 4. For the first two shipments, I kept a 2 pieces and set the rest back. Bit of a mixed-bag experience...

The Brands: I haven't seen many of the brands in big retailers. There are a few I've seen at Macy's or Nordstroms, but never the same pieces there that Stitch Fix provides. I've been able to update my wardrobe with a few unique pieces, and I get compliments on them every time I wear them. I like the conversation pieces. And since everyone's Fix is different (depending on timing, size availability, price preference, and style choice), there's still a big of a surprise every time!

The Price: The pieces I have received have ranged between $28 and $88 (website lists their average at $65) for all types of tops, bottoms, dresses, and jewelry. Now, let me start by saying that this far exceeds my normal clothing budget. However, for a few fun pieces, every now and again, I think it's worth it. The pieces have all been high quality, so I still feel like I'm getting value (even if not cheapness).

The Style: Because I so thoroughly loved and lost my mind over my 4th Fix, I wanted to share it here! Now, it hasn't all been winners...
Exhibit A: Failure from Fix #3
Exhibit B: Like, it was so bad.

My latest fix was 5 keepers. And the bonus is that if you keep all 5 pieces, you get a 25% discount on the entire purchase! 
Top #1: Royal blue with lace detail

#2 Dress: Teal, jersey cowl. The belt is my own, but I love the dress so much

#3 Top: Olive Jersey Tunic. I love the shirring and length on this! It is so soft and comfortable, but still styled enough for the office with a pencil skirt

#4 The Jewels: A long, delicate, rosey/bronze necklace that is so versatile (and a better look at the olive top)

#5 Top - a royal blue silk tunic-peasant with cut-out detail on top. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!
The other fun thing about the style is that each piece comes with photo and fashion layouts with two different options to wear each piece. I've kept these for the pieces I keep, although I normally love the pieces so much that I don't need much inspiration to keep wearing them.

I wear these pieces quite a bit, and have considered them an investment in my professional wardrobe. You can get more casual, or even fancier options if you list it in your style profile, too. 

I will probably sign up for another for my birthday before taking an extended break (my closet is pretty full), but I so enjoy the surprises!

Are you interested in trying Stitch Fix for yourself? You can sign up here through my referral link!


Do you have a favorite wardrobe staple?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Office Building Ladies' Room

Warning: this post is lewd, crude, and probably not socially acceptable. But I've learned something interesting and I need to share it. It's about potty time. And dealing with Crohns has given me a LOT to learn about. You've been warned... 

Pooping in public restrooms is a very real challenge and struggle. It is never more present than in the ladies' room. For some reason, women don't want to poo with anyone in the same room. Oh, we'll chat right through a pee, but someone lets out a warning fart and the room clears for privacy. 

But my office seems to have a... Code? We've all been part of the pooping stand-off, but there is something different I've noticed here. 
We have a two-stall restroom at my office. When someone walks in and notices that one stall is occupado, the newcomer will either (1) turn around and leave, or (2) wash her hands and then leave. The leaving is a less subtle "Hey, looks like you need some privacy." The hand washing appears to mean "I, too, need to poo. Hurry up."

I don't know how this started. But every lady seems to understand it. Seriously, so bizarre.

Also, given that there are 7 women working upstairs, two stalls is not enough real estate. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Code Word: OKMHHOU

Last month, after more than a year of dreaming and planning, we finally had a live, in person One Kitchen Many Hearts meet up. 

And it was more than I could have imagined.

PIE!

The seven of us had met in parts in the past - I obviously knew Megan in college, I met Mads last fall when I was visiting my grandparents, and I met Allison on our Alton Brown Tour De Force last October. That left the other half of the group - Kat, Kirsten, and Jeanne - to be new people. I have to admit - there was a lot that could go wrong here. Jeanne welcomed a bunch of people into her home (bless her husband). You would hope that any "crazy" would have come out over the years as we chatted, except that psychopaths are pretty smart. Did she really know what she was welcoming into her home?? We have gone more than a year, as a group, with ZERO inter-group drama. I mean seriously - when was the last time a group of seven women could be friends for so long without any drama? And my real fear? What if, when we finally got together, we discovered that the internet was a great cover and we actually didn't like each other?

We met a special guest while antiquing... She was kind enough to help us out with a selfie.

That turned out to be a stupid fear.


In fact, the weekend went so fantastically, that we came home to realize that we'd forgotten to take more pictures. Instead of a weekend when seven bloggers got together, this transformed us quite simply to seven friends. It added some realism to our friendship, or at least ended any doubt there was about what kept us together. 

The only van with enough personality to haul us around

To be honest, the weekend was such a blur of friends and laughs, that I don't have much else to say about it (I mean, what would you say about your girl's weekend?). So here are a few more pictures.

One of the bomb-diggity breakfasts
We went antiquing, and happened across a scrap metal shop. Well, they had a series of flying pigs and I fell IN LOVE. Jeanne went all the way back after we left, just to make sure Al Porcino could make it home. Confession: I'm ordering a second one. Herd of flying pigs? YUP.
VAN SELFIE!

One of the best surprises of the weekend was a pinata donkey, who became our mascot. We even took him to meet his real-life baby donkey counterparts.

Seriously - daily pinata selfies. He was our 8th muskateer.
MY PEOPLE!!
Are you my mama?
Hi.

Even Donkey Pinata likes beer...

Belly rubs!

I cannot wait to see any one of these ladies again. Love you all so much!!



Check out with the other gals have said, too:
Allison from Decadent Philistines
Jeanne (our beautiful host) from Inside NanaBread's Head
Kirsten from Comfortably Domestic
Kat from Tenaciously Yours
Megan from Wanna Be a Country Cleaver
Mads from La Petite Pancake

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Part of my day, Part of my thoughts

Throughout much of my adolescence, I had quite extensive braces. As my mouth would try to get accustomed to a recent fitting, tightening, I would frequently bite my tongue or cheek.

While normally nothing, I whined about it a bit (after it happened twice in a row!) while I happened to be around my grandmother. As an accomplished nurse epidemiologist, she informed me that once you bite yourself like that (usually accidentally), the area swells up. And once it swells (INSIDE your mouth), it is so much easier for you to accidentally bite yourself again! That was a complete revelation to me at the time.

I must have been around 10 or 11 when she told me this, back when I spent most summers with her and my grandpa, taking sailing lessons. And to this day, every time I bite my lip or tongue or inside of my cheek (it happens more often than I'd like to admit), I always cautiously feel it and try to determine how much swelling there is, always fearing the imminent second bite, as Bub always warned me.

I have advice from her that I remember every day. Embarrassing moments she witnessed that I remember more than I care to, if only to save my own humility. Family history she listed off that I wish I remembered more of. Or scientific ramblings that she'd listen to me rattle off. Things come up almost every day day that either remind me of Bub, or remind me of some sage advice she waved at me on the way back from a rant on my end.

As we approach 6 months since her passing, there's still things that make me think of Bub almost every day. I think of all the wisdom she passed on to me in common place conversations. I miss the way she called me "shana punim". Even more so -- I miss how my future children will never hear her coo that to them. They'll never hear her coo how perfect they are, even though no one is perfect except HER great grandchildren. I'll miss her telling stories about how she snatched my future babe, like she did me, IN the delivery room, before my hubs even gets a chance. Just as I smiled at her, her first great grandchild would have smiled and spoke to her, in a way only great grandchildren can speak, minutes after birth.

And just as she would wax poetic to me, all my life and right up until my last visit, about her mother (who I am named for) would have loved me, so will my mother have to tell the story about how much HER mother would love whoever comes along next. As Jason and I approach our fourth anniversary next month, I do think a little bit into the future (no buns in the oven, yet!). And while I didn't have a lot of references for the stories she'd tell me, I cherish them now as they quickly fade from my memory, and I selfishly am excited for the day when I can share about where I learned the curse of biting your own cheek.

As Bub still flows in and out of my every-day life, I wonder, both hopefully and sorrowfully, when these things will start to fade from the every day. How soon/long before I remember back only a week? And then it's only a month at a time? How long before I have to be reminded of her yartzeit because the year passed too quickly without her memory? But how long before every day has the weight of mourning on my chest?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pizza Week - Clam and Bacon Pizza

Happy Pizza Week, everyone!


Pizza is ubiquitous. It is consumed in such high quantities, that it's practically American food, rather than Italian any more. Although, if you've ever had true Italian pizza, from the source, it is ethereal and life changing. Pizza can be an art form, a quick weeknight take-out, or a family-friendly meal assembled together. There's hardly a wrong way to do pizza.


I met this pizza recreation from Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. While the recipe wasn't posted online, the flavor combination is in no-way my own. The original used garlic paste as a base, and used way more cheese. While it sounded fantastic, it was definitely gut-bomb worthy. Hopefully this version is a little lightened up, and great for an easy assembly at any time of year.

I used my dough pre-made from Trader Joe's, and my clams were actually from their freezer section. If you have access to affordable fresh ones, I would highly recommend that.


When you're done reviewing mine, be sure to take a peek at the other fantastic options this week!

Monday
Tuesday
Kat – Taco Pizza
Kirsten – Cornmeal Pizza Crust

Wednesday
Thursday
Kirsten – Greek Pizza
Friday
Clam and Bacon Pizza
Makes: 1 Medium Pizza, good for two hungry people
Ingredients:
  • 1 ball of your favorite pizza dough, risen
  • 4 pieces of bacon, diced
  • 1/3 to 1/2 pound in-shell clams
  • Few TBSP butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. Ciliegine (tiny balls of mozzerella)
  • 2 cups (ish) fresh arugula

  1. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Allow your pizza stone to heat up, if you're using one.
  2. In a pan, cook the diced bacon to render the fat. Once cooked, remove from pan.
  3. To the pan, add the clams, butter, and garlic (my frozen kit from TJs included the sauce, so omit if yours is included). Put a lid on the pan and steam per package directions (about 8-10 minutes, generally). Remove the pan from heat, and allow to cool, then remove from the shells. Discard the shells (or save for seafood stock).
  4. As the clams are cooling, prepare your dough. Stretch into a 12-14" circle(ish). Par cook the crust for about 3 minutes.
  5. Pour the butter-garlic sauce from the clams over the dough. Begin to layer the other ingredients - clams, bacon, cheese, then shallots.
  6. Bake (on pan or pizza stone) until the cheese is melted and the rest of the dough is crispy (6-10 minutes, depending on your oven).
  7. Once you remove your pizza from the oven, top with fresh arugula and enjoy immediately!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

OKMH 2013 - December!

The last OKMH of the year!

This month I received from Kat. I feel a special soul connection with Kat - like I do with each of the Kitchen Gals. Early this year, we both (separately) went to Israel to experience the wonders of The Place. We both enjoyed it immensely, and felt special connections to the food (duh). Between Israel and our cruise last year, I am in love with Mediterranean food!

When I first got back, I went out and purchased Jerusalem - I even recognized some of the places that I had just been to. It fit right into my cookbook hoard collection. 

And in our enabling helping group, Kat sent me another beautiful regional cookbook for my box this month: Balaboosta. This book is just absolutely stunning. I was hoping to cook something from it to feature in this reveal, but I had work and my sister-in-law's baby shower that got in the way. But I am looking forward to sharing many things out of it. It is beautifully written, with some touching stories around some of the recipes, which is really what makes some of these meals all the more special. I absolutely love the book, and cannot wait to cook just about everything in it! 
Cookbook soul sisters!

Be sure to check out what Jeanne thought of what I sent her!
And check out the other girls, too!
Kat
Allison
Megan
Kirsten
Mads