Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thank You . Merci . Gracias

It is no surprise that I love getting handwritten notes. There is just something special and exciting about receiving a handwritten letter in the mail. One thing I love about the older generation is that I can always count on getting a thank you note in the mail. I have an entire box under my bed of thank you notes from my grandma, mother and auntie. It is so fun to look back through my collection and feel their appreciation and love whenever I want.

When was the last time you received a thank you note in the mail from someone under the age of 35? With twenty-somethings and teens, handwritten thank you notes rarely happen. When I send a gift to my teenage cousin, months later I find myself wondering if she ever received the gift. This whole generational gap has left me really appreciating the meaning of saying thank you and writing it out. Now, I take extra time to write out thank you notes to everyone that goes out of their way to make me feel special. Next time you receive something thoughtful and nice, put a thank you note in the mail. The recipient will appreciate it!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pinkberry Love

I have always preferred ice cream to frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt tastes artificial so I drown it with a million candied toppings. This, however, changed over the weekend when Pinkberry entered my life. Know for their swirly goodness, this yogurt isn't your average frozen yogurt shop quality. They only have a few flavors, and each one is fresh, tart and delicious all by itself. And if you prefer to add toppings, there are many fresh cut fruits, rich chocolates, and even cucumbers to indulge. I loved the texture and flavor of the chocolate and pomegranate so I ate it plain, while Jimmy opted for pomegranate and fresh cucumbers and melon. We went twice this weekend, and I can't wait until the new location opens up in my neighborhood. Something tells me I will become a known customer.

What is your favorite dessert?

Pomegranate and Chocolate Cone

Fresh Fruit & Cucumber toppings

Pomegranate and melons

Friday, August 27, 2010

Food Friday: Rocky Road

Auntie did it again. Almost all the recipes I share originate from her kitchen. I love this rocky road because not only is it a delicious and gooey dessert, it takes 20 minutes and is very easy. There is also a lot of room for creativity to mix in whatever ingredients you like. Now that school is starting, try Auntie's rocky road at your next bake sale. I guarantee you will be a favorite among the kids.

If you try a different variety of this delicious dessert, email me the photographs. I'd love to hear what you think.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Want

"It's not having what you want. It's wanting what you've got." Sheryl Crow

I title this post, "the want" because lately I want so many things. I am not sure if the want is more predominate now or if I am just paying more attention because my closet is busting at the seams. Everywhere I go, I see advertisements telling me what phone to carry, what purse to buy, what shampoo to use. I am even being told what to clothes to sweat in. There are expensive creams promising to make me younger and sneakers swearing they make my legs toner. The common thread is that these all are things that I already own, yet I feel constantly compelled to upgrade.

I categorize these temptations as my want. How can I have a perfectly great pair (or 10) of shoes, yet I am salivating over Christian Louboutins and feel the desperate need to buy booties? How is it that I own six amazing winter coats, yet I am pining over the latest green military jackets? We all know that to want is different than to need, and I am not at all suggesting we live in the clothes until they become so tattered they are publicly inappropriate. I do enjoy the occasional indulgence, especially when it comes to fashion. But why must I feel compelled to make fifty purchases at the start of every season?

When is enough really enough?
And . . . is the answer never?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Favorite Place

Every time Jimmy and I head downtown, I always have to go into this bookstore. I just love everything about it. I dream of one day owing a quaint little bookstore exactly like this one. I love the smell of the old used books, the colorful shelves, and the warmth that overcomes me as soon as I arrive. I prefer used books because they are broken in and give me a sense of authenticity and charm. I especially love children's books. My latest purchase was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I read this book by the hours as a kid and was so excited when I found a good deal on a used one at this store.

Do you have a favorite place?

Outside window view of the bookstore

Favorite author Emily Giffin

My favorite section

Even four legged friends are allowed

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Goodnight Sun

Dusk is unquestionably my favorite time of day. I love it when the dust settles and the stresses of the bustling day melt away. It is true wind down time. When Jimmy and I are on the farm, we love to sit on the back porch steps and watch as sun disappear behind the mountain range. One of the great things about country living is the unobstructed view and ability to really enjoy this time of day. Equally as wonderful are the beautiful colors that line the sky at dusk. In the summer, shades of orange, pink and purple litter the sky as the sun says goodnight and fades into the horizon. What is the best part about dusk? The fact that I know tomorrow I get to enjoy it all over again.

Here are some photos I took this weekend on the farm.

Goodnight Sun

Monday, August 23, 2010

Family Collectibles

Nickel gumball machine

I recently read an article on Time that discussed the top 10 things the children of today will never experience. This got me thinking about what I relied on when I grew up and how much has changed since my parents were kids. I went home this weekend and immediately started rummaging through old photographs and keepsakes that my family has stored over the years, and I came across some very cool yet outdated items. My favorite find is the rotary phone. Granted, it takes longer to dial someone, but it allows me to slow down and take a breath. I love thinking about the endless conversations my grandparents had on this phone. I am happy to report that it has found a new home on my nightstand. What are your favorite family collectibles?

VHS tapes with oversized covers

Stapler used at my grandparent's store

Vintage cash register

My grandma rolled coins by the hour

My "new" old phone

Friday, August 20, 2010

Food Friday: Summer Supper

When I think of the perfect summer supper it includes garden veggies, barbecue, and fresh cut flowers. On Sunday, Jimmy and I were invited over for dinner at our friend's house that included all of these summer staples and more. We are always beyond excited go to Ashlie and Grant's because the food is consistently over the top incredible, and this summer supper was no exception. We dined on delicious peach barbecued chicken, fresh garden veggies (radishes with sea salt is my new love), a Cesar radicchio salad with homemade croutons, and French potatoes gratin with Tillamook cheddar. The meal was capped off with vanilla bean fruit cheesecake (and yes, I ate my entire ginormous slice). Warm nights accompanied with great wine, food and conversation make me realize that summer just might be my favorite season.

Peach BBQ Sauce

Doctor & Master Chef

Beautifully set tabletop with fresh garden flowers

Radicchio Salad

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To Know . . To Like . . To Trust

Friendship is defined as a person whom one knows, likes and trusts. I can't imagine any life is fulfilled without having some type of friendship in it. I was inspired to do this post on Tuesday when I read The Pioneer Woman's photo contest on Love. It started looking through my photos to find the perfect one that symbolized love in my life, and it got me thinking about friendship.

Whether a friend is your mom, child, spouse, dog, or a person who was once a stranger, friends enrich our soul and make life worth living.

Jack & Jim

Gabe and Valerie

Nikki guarding her brother, baby Alex

Matthew and Mara



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Notes to My 17 Year Old Self

If I could go back in time and talk to my 17 year old self, here is what I'd say.

(1) Wear sunscreen. No really, baby oil isn't a good idea.
(2) Eat more greens and exercise.
(3) Be sweet to everyone you meet.
(4) Pick a hobby and stick with it. Doing what you love can take you places.
(5) Go work at Google before starting college and only get paid in stock.
(6) Enjoy your youth. There is nothing like it.
(7) You really can do anything with your life.
(8) Spend time with dad. He will be gone next year.
(9) Smile more and complain less. Life is good.
(10) Don't worry. Everything works out great. :)

What would you tell yourself?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Game Night

Friday nights are tricky. On one hand, I am exhausted from the workweek, but on the other I really need to get out and decompress. Back in my "younger" days, I would head out with friends, only to be greeted by a headache and blistered feet the next morning. I am happy to say those days are behind me. Now, I am all about game night. With friends, the boys duke it out against the girls which leads to loud voices, a girls victory, and the boys crying cheaters. With family, we keep it traditional and play cards, Scrabble or dominoes. When it is just the two of us, we play Monopoly for hours, and I always lose. (Yes, I admit defeat.) No matter who or what we play, game night always leads to early and energized Saturday mornings.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The University

I am sure I am not the only one who loved college, but I might be one of the few that really liked the studying aspect of it. I can vividly remember studying for hours in law school and loving the feeling of accomplishment that came with finishing a challenging semester. There is nothing like the energy that charges through a campus from all the innovation taking place. This Saturday, Jimmy and I wandered around Stanford University. The beautiful architecture is reminiscent of another time period, and the landscaping is out of a picture book. After walking through campus, we quietly sat on the grass (something I haven't done in a really long time) and watched people fly kites and play ultimate frisbee. This is unquestionably my new favorite place. I can't wait to visit again when the leaves turn this fall.

My view from the grass.

Fall is in the air.

Jimmy snapping a photo for a family visiting from India.