Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Little Word Blog Hop

This year I participated in an online class called One Little Word. The idea behind this class is that you pick one word to focus on for the year. My word was - move.
I had a couple of things I hoped would come from focusing on this word - moving more physically, moving my physical location by building or buying a new house and also get moving on a small business of my own. The thing that I saw the most movement on was the small business. I picked a name and had a logo designed. I also sold honey and other items at a farmers market. It was so fun! I have a lot of plans for this in 2012. So excited!

The biggest move I made in 2011 was one that I really didn't see coming and one that was not part of my intentions when I started this in January. My family went on vacation to Hawaii in April and on the last day of my vacation I went to the beach near our house and read the book 127 Hours. After a couple of hours sitting in the sun without any sunscreen, which made for a fun sunburn on the flight home, I got to the last page where I read the following -
"When we find inspiration, we need to take action for ourselves and for our communities. Even if it means making a hard choice, or cutting out something and leaving it in your past."
When I read this I knew immediately that I was going to leave the part time job where I had worked for 13 years. At that moment on the beach in Hawaii I knew that it was time to move on, create space for something new to come into my life. I have to say I am so happy with this decision. I have been able to do so many things that I would never have had time for before - participated in a Farmers Market, planted a huge garden and really enjoyed Christmas for the first time in a really long time.
I really believe that just putting that word out there into the universe made it possible for me to move on from a job that was no longer inspiring me. I am so happy I participated in this class. I am so looking forward to taking it again in 2012 - still not 100% sure of my One Little Word for 2012. I am sure it will come to me soon.
You can read experiences from other One Little Word participants by following the blogs on the blog hop.
The next blog on the blog hop is

Here is a list of all the blogs in the blog hop in case you get lost.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Brunch

A couple of days before Christmas we went to the Little America for bunch. It was so much fun! After brunch we went over to the Grand America to see the new toy store Jou Jou and La Bonne Vie patisserie. We also went on the shop window stroll - they had a bunch of shop windows decorated and you had to find a star in each window once you found all of the stars you could pick up a star shaped cookie at La Bonne Vie and a sticker from the toy shop. Such a fun day. Hoping this becomes a new tradition.

The toy shop had this great candy organ. The organ pipes were filled with candy and when you stepped on the keys they would play music. Riley loved running and dancing on it.

Here they are lined up like little soldiers in my fridge. I am so excited to start the 3 day blueprint cleanse.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Candied Bacon Cashews

I tore this recipe out of the Southwest airlines inflight magazine this summer. The recipe is from Colin Lynch the executive chef at Drink in Boston.
I finally had time to try it out this week and I loved it.

Candied Bacon Cashews-
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 pound raw cashews
1/4 cup cooked diced bacon -this was 3 slices - I think when I make it again I would add more.
half the bacon fat from cooking - this was 1 ounce
1 tablespoon cold butter
smoked salt - I used hickory smoked sea salt from williams sonoma

1- Combine suagr and water in a saucepan and heat until boiling.
Add the cashews and stir continuously. Use a pastry bruch to occasionally wipe the inside of the pot. When I make this again I need to pay more attntion to thiis. My sugar did crystalize a bit but they were still delicious.
2- When the water evaporates and the sugar is caramelized, stir in the bacon. Turn off the heat and add the bacon fat and the butter and the smoked salt to taste. Transfer to a greased cookie sheet to cool, the break apart.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Few More Cookie Exchange Recipes

Here are the final few cookie exchange recipes. I am sorry to say I don't know who brought these cookies. If you notice that you brought any of these cookies please let me know and I will attach your name to the recipe.
Again, thank you to everyone who came to my cookie exchange - I am so excited to see what you all come up with next year.
White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups craisins
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups all purpose four
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
2 cup white choc chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer cream together butter, brown sugar and sugar until smooth. In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients. Beat in eggs and vanilla into the butter mixture. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture. Finally, mix in the oatmeal, white chocolate, and craisins. On a greased cookie sheet spoon on cookie dough, about 1 tbsp in size. Bake cookies 10 to 14 minutes.
Yields 4 dozen cookies.

Gina's Glazed Ginger Cookies
1 1/2 c butter
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c molasses
4 c flour
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Directions -
Preheat oven to 350
Cream together butter and sugar
Add eggs and molasses
Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture
Chill one hour
Form into balls and roll in cinnamon and sugar (1 part cinnamon to 4 parts sugar)
Bake 8 to 10 minutes
Cool a few minutes and then brush with glaze while cookies are still warm.
Glaze: 2 tbsp water, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1 c powdered sugar. Stir until smooth.

Double Tree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 c rolled oats
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 cup crushed heath bars
Grind oats in a food processor or blender until fine. Combine the ground oats with the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla and lemon juice in another medium bowl with and electric mixer. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and blend well. Add the chocolate chips and nuts to the dough and mix by hand.
For the best results chill the dough overnight in the refrigerator before baking the cookies.
Spoon 1/4 cup portions onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until cookies are light brown and soft in the middle.

Kiffles (Hungarian Cream Cheese Cookies
16 oz cream cheese softened
1 cup butter softened
2 cups flour
1 jar of preserves of choice

Preheat oven to 350
1-In a food processor combine cream cheese, butter and flour until the dough come together. It will be soft.
2- Separate dough into four sections, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
3-Working quickly, roll out each section of dough on a well floured surface into and 8 x 8 inch square.
4-Using a knife or pastry wheel cut into 2 x 2 inch squares.
5-Top with a dollop of jam, then pinch 2 opposing corners together and fold over.
6- Bake on greased cookie sheets for 18 to 20 minutes.
7- Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Spritz Cookies
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Mix thoroughly:
1 cup butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
Fill cookie press with 1/4 of dough at a time; form desired shapes on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 6 to 9 minutes or until set, but not brown.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Andes Mint Cookies
1 package devils food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 to 1 cup milk chocolate chips
Andes mints - about 2 boxes
Mix cake mix, eggs, oil. Batter will be thick. Add chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 for 7 minutes. Put mint on right after taking out of oven. Wait 1 minute and swirl over cookie with a knife.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Additional Cookie Exchange Recipes

Here are a few more cookie exchange recipes
Peanut Butter Blossoms - Amy Dunkley
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 cup Bisquick 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until smooth.
Add Bisquick and vanilla
Mix well
Roll into balls - roll into sugar
Bake at 375 for 8 - 10 minutes
Put Hersey kiss or Reeses mini cup on the top immediately.
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Santa's Boot Track Cookies - Angie
1/2 cup salted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat a nonstick (not Belgian) waffle iron
Cream butter and sugar in medium bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa powder, oil and espresso powder (if using). Beat until combined.
Drop the batter by rounded teaspoons about 1 inch apart on a preheated ungreased waffle iron (to avoid burnt fingers, use two fingers, one to scoop and one to scrape dough onto the waffle iron)
Close and cook until the cookies are puffed and cookie through, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Waffle irons vary so watch closely and don't let the cookies get too dark. Transfer to wire rack and cool until just warm. Dust the cookies with powdered sugar while still slightly warm.

Dutch Cheese Wafers - Brooke B
3 oz Pkg Cream Cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
Blend softened cheese, butter, sugar and flour. Shape into rolls. Wrap in saran wrap. Chill then slice thin. Fill with jam and bake at 350 degrees.
To double use 8 oz pkg cream cheese.

Orange Molasses Cookies with White Chocolate - Samantha D
Cream together-
2 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup crisco
zest of 2 oranges
4 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
Roll into ball, dip in sugar and bake at 365 degrees until the edges are barley light brown, about 11 - 12 minutes. Melt 1/2 bag white chocolate chips and drizzle on top of cookies once they are cool.

Cheesecake Cookie Cups - Joy B
1 pkg (16.5oz Nestle Toll House refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough
2pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, room temperature
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can cherry pie filling
Preheat: oven to 325. Paper-line 24 muffin cups. Place one piece of cookie dough in each muffin cup.
Bake: for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookie has spread to edge of cup.
Beat: cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla extract in medium bowl until smooth. Pour about 3 tablespoons cream cheese mixture over each cookie in cup.
Bake:for additional 15 to 18 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Top each with level tablespoon of pie filling. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Polish Jam Kolaches - Michelle H
Bake at 375 for 15 minutes
1/2 cup butter softened
3 oz cream cheese softened
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup jam
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1-Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add flour gradually beating well.
2-Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness on lightly floured surface. Cut into 2 inch circles. Spoon 1/4 tsp jam in center of circle making a line. Fold opposite edges together slightly over lapping the edges. Place on greased sheet. When cool sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar. Makes 1 - 2 dozen.

Kahlua Gingerbread Cutouts - Heather C
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons kahlua
2-1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 f. Cream shortening, butter and sugars together. Beat in eggs until fluffy. Stir in molasses and Kahlua. Sift together flour, soda, salt and spices. Mix well into creamed mixture. Divide dough into fourths. Cover and chill for 2 hours. On well floured board, roll out each portion of dough to 3/8" thickness, keeping the other dough refrigerated. Cut with cookie cutters and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake about 8 minutes. Let cool one minute then remove to wire rack to cool. Decorate with Kahlua frosting.
Kahlua Frosting
1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup kahlua
3 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
food coloring
In a large bowl mix all ingredients until smooth. Decorate cookies using a pastry bag and decorators tip. If you want spreadable frosting, use an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of Kahlua in this recipe.

Rum Balls - Nicky
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate finely chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
coarse sanding sugar, for rolling
vegetable oil cooking spray

1- Preheat oven to 350. Caot a 12 x 17 inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
2- Melt butter and chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.
3- Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate mixture, then fold in flour. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until top is shiny and a cake tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
4-Break up brownie into small pieces; transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With machine on low, pour in rum, and mix until crumbs start to come together to form a ball.
5- Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in sanding sugar to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet, refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about 2 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Rumm balls can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Indian Fennel Tea Cookies (Blck Licorice Flavored) -Anna P
1 tbsp fennel seed, crushed
2 tbsp boiling water
3/4 c butter softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
Powdered sugar
Candied fennel seeds - optional
In a small bowl, soak fennel seeds in boiling water; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Drain the fennel seeds. Combine the flour, baking soda and fennel seed; gradually add the cramed mixture and mix well.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls; (I topped with candied fennel seeds) place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 min. or until lightly brown. Roll in powdered sugar while warm.
Yield 3 dz cookies
Fennel seed - McCormicks or Bollywood on University Ave
Candied fennel seed - Bollywood on University Ave or India.

Best Ever Brownies - Breeann
2 squares butter, softened
1/3 c cocoa
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 c walnuts, chopped (optional)
1/2 pkg mini marshmallows
Beat butter and cocoa together. Add sugar and eggs. Add flour then vanilla. Fold in nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Frost when slightly cooled.
Mint Frosting -
1 1/2 squares butter
2 eggs
1/2 tsp mint extract
2 tsp vanilla
1 pkg powdered sugar
Mix everything together to the desired consistency. Enjoy

Colorful Swirl Cookies - Courtney W
2 cups flour, plus possibly a few more tbsp
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup unsifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (cut in chunks)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp of food coloring of your choice (and/or 1/2 tsp of any desired extracts)
1 1/2 cup holiday sprinkles
1-In a stand mixer, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugars with paddle on medium until well blended.
2- Add butter in, gradually, and continue mixing. Add in vanilla extract. At this point, your dough will form a ball on your paddle.
3- Remove all your dough and divide into two equal parts. Return one potion back in the mixer and add the food coloring and any extra extracts. If you are using liquid food coloring, you will need to add a few tbsp of flour to keep the dough from becoming too wet. Mix until the color is spread out evenly.
4-Roll out each portions of your dough, between two sheets of wax paper until it reaches about 11 X 9 inches and is 1/4 inch thick. Slide both onto a cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
5-WHen firm, remove the top sheets of wax paper from both. Brush the uncolored vanilla dough lightly with water using a pasty brush. Then flip the colored dough onto the vanilla uncolored dough so they are stacked atop each other and even. Press the edges lightly with your fingertips to seal them together. Using a small paring knife, trim the edges of the dough to make straight, even lines.
6- Pour out sprinkles onto a large platter and set aside. Be sure your dough is still cold but flexible. Once it's ready, begin rolling the long side of the dough into a swirl, jelly-roll style. Now, don't get nervous if the outer layer of uncolored dough tears a bit. It's no problem, just pinch and pat those tears and voila, then just keep rolling.
7- Now gently lift your dough log onto the sprinkles and roll away. Cover the log completely with your sprinkles. Wrap the colorfully decorated old in plastic wrap twice. Depending on when you want to bake the cookies, either place the wrapped dough into the refrigerator for about 3 - 4 hours or you can put it in the freezer and keep it there for up to 2 months. If freezing, give yourself time for the dough to defrost in the fridge overnight before cutting.
8- Slice your dough into 1/4 to 1/8 inch slices and bake on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until edges are slightly golden. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move them to a cookie rack to finish cooling. Enjoy your whimsical Christmas cookies.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cookie Exchange 2011 And the winners are.....

Here are the winning cookies for this year- made by Tyra, Glenda and Ramona.

Best Overall made by 1st time attendee Tyra Orton - beginners luck right?

Holycraptheseareamazing Cookies
Makes about 3 dz cookies

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Corn Syrup
1 jar (8 ounces) peanut butter - creamy or smooth
6 cups Corn Flakes
3 oz good quality chocolate

Combine sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and stir until the mixture comes to a full boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the whole jar of peanut butter. Mix well.
Add corn flakes to a large bowl. Pour peanut butter mixture over corn flakes and mix well, taking care to coat all of the corn flakes.
With a tablespoon or cookie scoop, scoop out and form into 12 inch balls, depending on your preference, and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.
Put the chocolate in a small bowl and melt in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies.
When cooled eat these cookies with reckless abandon. Be careful though we would not want anyone to get hurt.

Most Beautiful -Glenda Bringhurst
Cream Puff
Recipe to come

Best International Cookie - Ramona Pearson
English Almond Crescents
1 cup of butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of almond flour
1/4 cup of powdered sugar for sprinkling

1-Cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the extracts and mix.
2-Add the flour and almond flour. Mix thoroughly.
3-Take generous tablespoons of the dough (it will be slightly crumbly) and roll into a small ball, about an inch in diameter and then shape into a crescent. Place on parchment paper and bake at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes or until a light golden brown.
4-Dust with powdered sugar.
For added decadence let the cookie cool and dip one end of them into some melted chocolate.

Cookie Exchange Favor

My favorite part of the cookie exchange is making the favors. This year I put together a little box with a collection of goodies I gathered throughout the year. I included this little message inside the box
-----As I traveled around this year I wanted to bring a little taste of each place I visited back to you. Inside this box are treas traditional to each city or manufactured by some of my candy friends from these cities. Included are 1)San Francisco honey and cherry lovers from Gimbals Candy. 2) Hawaii- chocolate covered macadamia nuts, pineapple chews and drops from the Dole Plantation, white rabbit candy (Japan) gummy watermelon with li hinge mui powder 3) Boston Necco wafers from the new england candy company. 4) Maine dried wild blueberries and chocolate beach stones (the mold for these chocolates was made from actual stones from a beach in Maine) 5) Rum and Cherry Cordials from Koppers Candy (a large chocolate factory in the middle of New York City - Soho I think)6)Toronto chocolate bars 7) San Francisco (again) ghirardelli squares 8) minneapolis granola from bliss gourmet foods in st paul. 9) Atlanta gummy peaches. 10) New York (again) caramel apple.

I put everything in a clear little box and wrapped it with map paper and orange butchers twine.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fwd: Cookie Exchange St Judes Donation

Cookie exchange 2011 is now over. This year we had a little charity raffle for St Judes Childrens Hospital. So excited we raised $217. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, October 31, 2011

November on $200 or less

I just returned from another work trip to San Francisco and the Napa Valley area. On the last night of my trip I realized how expensive work trips are for me. When I go on one of these trips I spend all of my free time shopping I find lots of cool things but I really need to slow down on the spending. For example on my San Francisco trip here is a list of what I bought in the short 3 hours between my meeting and picking up my car at the airport - poncho/sweater at Anthropologie, hair stuff at sephora, new boots, a new dress, paper at the paper source, a dress at disIgual, Pastries and misc items at Miette, lunch at the Ferry Building, honey at the farmers market, honey sticks at the farmers market, books and stationary at lola north beach in ghirardelli square, cupcake from Kara's Cupcakes.
Clearly I have a problem. So I am going to see how far I can stretch $200. I am hoping to make it all the way through the month of November. Here are the rules I am going to try to stick by -
Purchase of fuel, medical and home related bills do not count towards the $200 dollars
Any money I make at the farmers markets, holiday sales, or anything I sell on Amazon or ebay or purchases I have made then returned can be added to the $200.00
To accomplish this i am going to have to do without dinners with friends, pass up new clothes purchaes, no massages no hair appointments, no treats for Ruby Foo. Now is the time to use up Cafe Rio free meals, McDonalds Monopoly food prizes and Kneaders points and gift cards.

I am excited to see how far I can take this and how long I can stretch out the $200.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Carzy week of Travel

The week of October 10th was one of the craziest weeks of work travel yet. It started Monday with a flight into Boston, a flight to NYC on Tuesday and then a flight to Toronto on Wednesday night.

Purpose of Trip: Visit 3 customers.

What I read: Vanity Fair and people magazines.
I also picked up what might be my favorite book of the year - You Had Me at Woof. I purchased it in the Boston Airport and could not put it down until I finished reading it late that night in my NYC hotel room. Totally inspired me to work in animal rescue someday.

Favorite Purchase: A few new fun dresses during a fast and furious pop into the new, huge Forever 21 at Times Square. A fantastic coat and a skirt at a store in Toronto that my super cool friend Susan G told me about called Joe Fresh - located in a big grocery chain. Loved it. Other than that not much time for shopping.

Best Thing I ate: Sad but true story - I did not eat anything great - most of my meals were at airport restaurants - yuck..

Inspiration - As always, any trip to Toronto would not be complete without visiting a Chapters or Indigo bookstore. They are one of the customers I usually visit in Toronto. They are basically a Barnes and Noble but with a much larger gift section. I usually spend hours there looking at all of the amazing products and the European magazines. They do such a great job merchandising our products.

Remember for the next trip: Element Hotel is awesome - even though it is next to Port Authority bus terminal. You may walk out onto 8th ave looking for a place to eat and get to watch a girl sitting on the street curb vomiting into the gutter - but I guess that is just part of the charm of staying near Port Authority. They have a roof top terrace that is fantastic.

Freak of the day: Hands down I had the strangest cab drivers on both the way in and the way out of the city. The driver on the way in really wanted to be facebook friends and hang out together in the city. The driver on the way out hated all forms of the US governement, big corporations, the war and on and on - not really sure of 85% of what he said or what I was agreeing with. I am just hoping I did not join some radical extremist group.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Loving life today!

I am in San Francisco looking at the ocean eatting an apple danish
waiting for a meeting to start....awesome day so far.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Sent from my iPad

Friday, September 30, 2011

Unique For Sure!

"Embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to be living someone else's life."

OLW Blog Hop - October

Welcome October!
My favorite month by far.
I am still involved in the really fun online class One Little Word. As a reminder my word is MOVE. There are only 3 months left for me to focus on my little word so I have been reflecting on the changes that have come about in my life that were inspired in part my my little word and also the things I still want to accomplish before the year comes to an end..
1- I moved on from a part time job, after 12 years, that I no longer felt inspired by. I am amazed at how much energy this was draining from me. I had one of the greatest summers ever partially because of all of the freedom and stored up energy I felt.

2- I made some significant movement on finalizing packaging for my line of honey and honey related items. I have decided to name the line Honey House 585 and here is my logo.

The inspiration for the 585 in the name came from part of the address where I grew up. Where I learned to love gardening and where a few of my beehives are located. I am going to move to finalizing all products and packaging during the month of October.

3- I moved my gardening plot from a small, little spot to a huge spot and I planted the largest garden I have ever planted. I planted 15 varieties of heirloom tomatoes among many other things including flowers which has been quite the source of controversy among many of the older neighbors. My favorite part about gardening this year was getting to know all of the neighbors, some days it was hard to get anything done because of people stopping by to chit chat. It was great. I made a ton on mistakes that I am hoping to learn from and not repeat.

If you are here for the blog hop please move on to Jill's beautiful blog, you will not be disappointed
If you get lost along the way you can stop by any of these other blogs to get back on track.
Julie Ann

Thursday, September 29, 2011

St Paul Minnesota

Purpose of Visit: A fantastic creative conference in St Paul. I also feel a bit silly saying that flying out of the Provo airport for the first time on Frontier was part of the motivation to take a tip eastward. It was fantastic. Parking was $14.00....for the whole trip and we just waked across the street to get to the terminal. I am already dreading my next flight out of SLC.

Best Thing I Ate: Eggplant Parmesan at Tucci Benucci in the Mall of America. It was so good - breaded and fried with only a bit of mozzerella melted on the top. The 3 pcs of eggplant were placed on top of a pile of pasta . We also drove out to the fantastic little town of Stillwater MN to the store/studio of a paper company mara mia. They had a fun little cafe in the store and I bought a salted nut bar -wow it was tasty.

I need to figure out how to replicate both of these recipes.

Favorite Purchase: Hard to say - I bought cute vintage paper and a few things at an antique shop in Stillwater, and a couple of dresses at H&M.

Inspiration: So much inspiration on this trip - I took a steel jewelry class and an art journaling class that both inspired me to learn more. I also discovered a new blog they sew a new dress every week - I know nothing about sewing but this might be a fun way to learn to sew.

Freak of the day: No freaks - everyone at the conference was nice and so friendly.

Biggest Disappointment: Mall of America - sad to say.

Favorite Airport Find: At the St Paul airport the have a big baggage scale. I love that I was able to find out that my bag weighed 52 lbs before I got to the ticketing line.

So happy to fly back to the Provo airport - the trip from the airport to home was only 15 minutes
and when did Frontier start serving warm chocolate chip cookies as the inflight smack ---yumm.

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Babysitting Recap

My time with Jake Kaycie and Riley has come to an end.....well a few weeks ago. We were having so much fun I did not have time to record all of our fun. So here is a brief recap-
Day 4-
Kaycie and I went to SLC to see the musiclal Joseph at the Hale Center Theater.
Me: What was your favorite part of the play?
Kaycie: Joseph was hot. Did you see his 6 pack?

Saturday also brought the grand return of Jake. We all went to my parents house, ate nachos, and watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (old school version) and the Lady in White.
Before going to bed Kaycie, Riley and I made worry fun.
Day 5 -
Sunday - day of rest for sure! Riley slept until 11:30, Kaycie was not feeling well and stayed in her room until around 3. I went home to do some work and ended up taking a long nap with Ruby Foo.
After we were all rested Jake, Riley and I went down to my garden and picked some food for our chickens. We also caught grasshoppers to feed to the chickens....sorry peta it had to be done. I hate grasshoppers.

We made zoku ice cream pops in the following flavors - pumpkin pie, chocolate malt balls and orange creamcicle.
Day 6
Labor Day
Jake and I removed the honey from 2 hives and then extracted it. I have 3 more hives to take the honey from and Jake has 2. Jake spoke in a British accent for most of the day.
Day 7
Last Day
Exhausted - I watched an episode of Happy Days before i left for home......that made me super happy.
So excited to get back to my own house and my own bed!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Adventures in babysittting day 3

Today Kaycie called me at work to tell me she had been elected class rep. She was super, excited and kept saying she was so proud of herself. It was awesome. So to celebrate Kaycie's good news we went out for dinner at cracker barrel. After dinner they each picked out a $5 toy. Riley got a dinosaur encapsulated in a chalk like egg. We took it to my house and excavated it - Riley named it lovey and carried it around all night. He said he was excited to have his own pet. He told Kaycie whe already had her own pet "and it's name is coco"

While we were at my house we continued to work on the birthday countdown calendar - there was more talk of Jesus -(being with Jesus is more fun than a carnival) and lots of excited talk about student government - meetings, t-shirts, service projects ........she is going to have so much fun. I am so excited for her.
While we were sleeping Riley woke me up and asked me if I could breath less loud. He then demonstrated how I was breathing and then how he would like me to breath.

There were a couple of phone calls from Jake today - he has been a bit MIA. In one phone call he was speaking in a British acent - he was pretty good at it. He ended the conversation with Pip Pip Cheerio

Friday, September 2, 2011

Adventures in Babysitting Day 2

Kaycie made scrambled eggs for Riley for breakfast.
Me - kaycie is so sweet to make you breakfast.
Riley - not as sweet as Jesus
Who exactly is his Sunday School teacher?

Driving around in my car Kaycie and I were talking about our chickens -
Kaycie - I sure wish our chickens would lay eggs.
Riley - I know I really want baby chicks.
Me- Riley, there will not be any baby chicks. We would need a boy chicken to have chicks and we only have girls.
Riley - Why do you need a boy chicken?
Kaycie - Oh my gosh I can not believe we are having this conversation with him.
Riley - Let's just get a boy chicken and he can marry all of the girls and they can all have babies and live happily ever after.

We went to my house to work on a birthday countdown calendar for Riley - because September is his birthday month. On the way into the house we were attacked by a swarm of mosquitos and it totally freaked Riley out. He started crying hysterically because he was going to die from mosquito bites.

Fighting off mosquitos is tough work!

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Adventures in Babysitting Day 1

I am staying with Jake, Kaycie and Riley for the week and I am going
to record our daily happenings here on my blog-

Kaycie and Riley were doing homework and Riley told her - she was not
as smart as Jesus

While we were getting ready for bed and talking about going to
Kindergarten the next day-
Riley - I wish I was 2 years old
Me - why?
Riley - then jack and I could play all day long and have a much easier

Riley singing - chick a boom chick a boom

Riley made hats to wear while doing homework.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A little lesson in chemistry

Question: What happens when you use your new, fabulous Williams Sonoma juicer to juice a basket of freshly picked apricots, you then put the juice in a clamp top water bottle from Ikea, take the bottle to work, forget about it sitting next to your desk for a few days including a weekend, leave it in your hot car for a day?
Answer: When you finally flip the clamp top lid up there is the loudest explosion you have ever heard, you cover your head and wait for police officers to rush to your door to investigate the gun shot coming from your house, then you look up..........

Then you make promise to never try to be healthy and bottle your own juice again and then spend the next 2 hours washing every surface in your kitchen.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Zucchini Pizza

So, I must confess I spend an unhealthy amount of time on Pintrest. Pinning all sorts of great ideas. Today I realized what is the point of all of this pinning if I don't ever do anything I pin. So I decided to start with a simple pin. I have tons of squash in my garden so the timing was perfect. It was delicious and super easy I think it will become a summer favorite for sure.

Here is a short quiz -

True or false - it is snowing outside

Or could it be in that in the 5 short minutes I left Ruby Foo alone on the balcony has she chewed a hole into a down comforter?
Reminder she has been labeled an indisciminate chewer by the vets at the critical care hospital.

So far there are no signs that I need to rush her to the SLC critical care hospital for feathers in her lungs or stuck in her nose. My savings account is grateful for that.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Atlanta - Giveawy

I am in Atlanta at the Gift Show with Sarah. We are having a great time. We are getting a lot of samples from vendors and we thought it would be fun to share the wealth. So if you go to the Kara Chocolates facebook page and answer the question - what is your favorite Southern food in the comment section you could win a bag full of goodies from the the Atlanta gift show. We will pick a winner when we return to the office on Wednesday.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Los Angeles June 2011

Purpose of Visit: quick fly out in the am return in the afternoon trip for Halloween and Christmas with one customer.

Best Thing I ate: Heirloom tomato and watermelon salad. The eggplant was also semi amazing!.

Favorite Purchase: happy to say I did not purchase anything, however, I did spend a couple of hours at the airport looking at the Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma web sites in preparation for my big purchasing extravaganza.

Freak of the day: the couple sitting next to me on the plane coming home - fighting, making up, then making out - uncomfortable to say the least.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


This year at the candy show in Chicago the marshmallow peeps company brought in this yellow bug with a giant peeps chick on the top. When we were traveling through Hawaii Kaycie was always playing the slug bug game....and she is really good at it. So I took this photo so I can always have a reason to shout out yellow and slug her.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Strutt Your Mutt 2011

I finally did it! After years of trying to get to this event I finally did it and it was so much fun.

Riley, Kaycie and I took Ruby Foo, Cocoa and Armani and met Kat and Ziggy in West Jordan and did some strutting. While I loved it and thought it was great Riley hated it......"are you having fun Riley? Not very much fun" which later turned to "no I am not having any fun" So despite Riley's lack of enjoyment I thnk Kaycie and I, will be joining Kat and I am hoping the dog groomers seen in the photo below at Strutt Your Mutt 2012.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

San Francisco June 2011

Purpose of Visit: Visit 3 customers - 1 at a food vendor summit and 2 other customers. One will be talking about Halloween and Christmas the other will be Easter and Valentine's Day -can you see why I never know what the next holiday is?

Best Thing I Ate- Mama Chia drink I purchased at Whole Foods. Cherry Lime juice with whole Chia seeds in it. It is pretty good.

Favorite Purchase: Shoulder and Neck massage at Bliss Spa. Wow I totally needed that after all the crazy plane rides I have been on the last week.

Something to remember for my next visit: Remember the Mark Twain quote about summers in San Francisco and bring an umbrella and a jacket. I am soaking wet, freezing and the proud owner of another $5 umbrella.. Also, establish a budget before I leave. I have spent a boatload of money.

Creative Inspiration: The Ferry Building - from baking, gardening and beekeeping I was inspired by everything and can not wait to get home and work on some fun new projects.

Freak of the Day: Not so much freak of the day but heartbreak of the day - I hate seeing the homeless with their dogs.....breaks my heart. More for the dogs than the people....maybe that makes me freak of the day.

Books Read during this trip-
Rachel Ray Magazine- Not a huge Rachel Ray fan but I am now in love with this magazine.
Vaniety Fair - Great as always -my favorite travel magazine
Kipplingers Guide to Retirement - Boring but necessary
Live it, Love it, Earn it,- Not sure how much I like this one yet.

Special Note: I missed the Pride parade by about 40 minutes- I would have loved to see it. The streets were totally decked out this rainbow flags. A lot of the retail shops had changed out their displays to rainbow colors. Tons of people on the streets in rainbow clothing. I think they go all out here. I have been in NYC a couple of times for the parade and it never seemed like as big a deal as it does here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Toronto June 2011

Purpose of Visit: Customer visit - one current and one hopefully new

Best thing I ate: cherry tomato focaccia from SOMA chocolate maker.

Somehing to remember when I come back: i went to the dufflet bakery on
east queens street and found lots of lovely little shops I need to
explore next time.

Favorite Purchase: the greatest gardening boots ever - in red gingham

Creative Inspiration: Chapters bookstore near Sherway Gardens. I love
this store I could spend hours here. Their product mix, european
magazines and merchandise displays get me everytime.

Books read during this trip: there have been a number them of because
of my stupid itenerary (SLC, Las Vegas, Toronto - and back again) I
have lots of time for reading -
Thirteen Reasons Why -Liked it
The Everygirls Guide to Life - Maria Menous-Really liked it even though I am not much of a Maria Menous fan.
People Magazine

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

29 Gifts

On the plane ride home from the Chicago Candy Show I read the book 29 Gifts. Our flight was held on the runway due to thunderstorms for what seemed like hours...good news is I was able to read the book from start to finish during the flight. Loved it! The author changes her whole outlook by giving a gift a day for 29 Days. So of course I decided I wanted to give it a try. Like many things I do I started strong but struggled around day 9 and then gave up. Even just doing it for 9 days was awesome and I want to try it again in a couple months. ! When I decided to do this I knew that one of my gifts would be to Kiva. I have always wanted to make a donation and have just never sat down to do it. So one night I started looking through all of the people asking for loans. I knew I wanted to loan money to a female in retail or agriculture. I am happy to report that my donation went to Rizza who operates a fruit stand. My small donation added to the donations of a few other people help Rizza get her money and she has even started paying it back.

Rizza and her Fruit Stand - I love how all of the fruit is stacked in perfect pyramids - I am guessing she knows a thing or two about visual merchandising.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I am not ashamed to admit that I am fairly obsessed with the show Sister Wives....ok maybe a little ashamed. But not ashamed enough not to take part in a tour of the Sister Wives hot spots in Lehi. Highlights included the home of Robin.

The bigger house - which I must say was so much smaller than it looks on TV

Good times were had by all and we are thinking a trip to Las Vegas, the new home of sister wives and the Williams Sonoma outlet, is in our future.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

One Little Word - on the road edition

Our one little word challenge this month was to take ACTION. Shocking
as it may be I have yet to take any sort of action on anything related
to my word MOVE. I have spent the last few days traveling in New
England for work. My action item was going to be to narrow my focus on
exactly what I want to move towards as far as a small business to
start. I was sure I would find inspiration while here. No luck until
today made an impromptu trip to Maine to visit the stonewall kitchen
store. It was very inspiring and I have a bunch of ideas.......stay
While I was at a mall in MA and I found these signs in the window
display at Lululemon. They are all so it now, do it
now, do it now.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

know to be an indiscriminate eater.......

Last week Ruby Foo made a return visit to the critical care hospital in
SLC. She had been breathing weird all night and then the next morning
she started vomiting and shaking. The vomiting and shaking stopped
after a piece of a Williams Sonoma dish cloth came up. She passed out
on the bathroom
floor. I picked up her limp little body and shook her a bit then she
peed on me and snapped out of it.
I rushed her to the hospital in SLC and they diagnosed her as having
aspirated when she vomited causing pneumoina. She had a catheter with
antibiotics for the pneumonia. She also 2 barium tests
and radiographs to check her intestines for addional pieces of dish
cloth. I am happy to report that she is feeling better and sad to report that I will not be getting a new spring handbag. In her medical report under her history they wrote "Ruby Foo is know to be an indiscriminate eater" Here is a list of the what classifies Ruby Foo as an indiscriminate eater-
Fabric on my couch
Wooden legs on my bed
2 Bedroom pillows and 3 large pillows -corners chewed off and feathers everywhere
Hard cover books/soft cover books
Christmas Tree lights
Shoes - tons and tons of shoes
Cardboard boxes
Dvd Cases -project runway seems to be a favorite.
The list could go on and on.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

I love this quote.....need to find a "go to the moon" project

John F. Kennedy at Rice University, Houston, Texas, Sept 12, 1962 - photo from NASA

John F. Kennedy at Rice University, Houston, Texas, Sept 12, 1962 - photo from NASA

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962, at Rice University, Houston, Texas

Monday, February 28, 2011

OLW Blog Hop-February

One Little Word Blog Hop

The February assignment for our One Little Word class was to take photos
 that reminded us of our word.  My word is MOVE. I must confess I did not do very well in taking photos.  There were a couple of beautiful days in February and I was able to get out and MOVE.  I spent time hiking in the mountains with Ruby Foo.  It was great to be in the peaceful quiet of nature.  Here are a few photos I took with my phone during a morning hike by the pond.   

You can follow the journey of my fellow One Little Word classmates by going to Holly's fantastic blog and then following the next link.
Here is a list of everyone in the blog hop if you get lost.