Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Faves

Do you ever search high and low, over-analyze, consult 12 people with 13 opinions, lose sleep over something... and then realize the answer you're looking for has been right in front of you the whole time?

That's a BIG, DRAMATIC way of saying this: as I sat here thinking about this week's Friday Faves, I took a look at my desk here at the office and realized that two of my current faves are, literally, right in front of me. I didn't exactly lose sleep over this one, but it does make me realize that there are oh-so-many little tiny treasures right before our eyes that are easy to overlook. Without further ado...

1.  MyPublisher
our pretty lil' wedding album
I've recently become obsessed with creating things.  Photo albums, montage videos, online surveys, you name it.  I brought our wedding album in to the office this morning to show a co-worker because I love, love, LOVE the program I used to create it.  I shared the website with her, along with lots of coupons, and she's currently working away on a pretty little album for herself.  If you want to create a beautiful and unique photo album that will last for many, many years... MyPublisher is it!  And it's SO easy. :)

2.  Iced Coffee
bad phone shot :)
It's no secret that I love my iced coffee.  But ever since I started making my own coffee at home (domesticity at its finest), going out to buy coffee has become so much more of a "treat" than an everyday ritual.  I love it that much more now that I don't do it often.  I'll never tire of the coffee shop vibe and it always puts that extra bounce in my step in the mornings.  Hey, it's the little things...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Faves

I've gotta make this one quick thanks to a crazy day of meetings ahead, but I have one thing to say...

I always passed it off as something that snobby lil' yuppies do.  Get a weekly delivery of organic fruits and vegetables that could have been purchased in the store for half the price, just to say they do it. 

Boy was I wrong.

My best friend, one of the most creative gift-givers I know, gave me a 3-week supply of CSA delivery from Tanaka Farms for my birthday.  Not only do I get a beautiful box of organic produce like kale, corn, cucumbers, amazing strawberries, perfect tomatoes and so much more... I am supporting a local farm, eating and cooking healthier, AND seeing my best friend (the deliverer) every Tuesday :)

I love that it forces us to cook things that we wouldn't normally cook, and find recipes to accommodate all the crazy things in the box! The freshness is unmatched, the price is way more reasonable than I thought, and aren't the colors pretty?!

Plus, you're totally supporting a movement.  How cool is that?!

Monday, July 11, 2011

This Very Instant

In the challenges, the big scary decisions, the life transitions that feel like they will swallow you, the fear, the worry, the times when you feel pulled completely out of your comfort zone, the times when you feel so overwhelmed because you don’t have all the perfect pretty answers, the times when you fall flat on your face and the times when you just don’t know what to do next… these are the times of our lives. These are the times that stretch us to become greater than we imagine ourselves to be. These are the times that, if you let yourself take a deep breath (let yourself), you know you were meant for something greater. These are the moments we will someday be most thankful for because they cracked us wide open and made us take things to the next level. These are the pivotal moments when we are faced with a choice: stay stuck or dive in. Perhaps this very instant is your time. I think it’s time for a few cannonballs, friends! Dive in. - Lara Casey via

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Faves

In an effort to blog more and be somewhat consistent about what I write (you just never know what you're gonna find here, do you?) I've decided to come up with a little series called Friday Faves where I'll discuss what I'm loving at the moment. Okay, it's actually just because I love alliteration.

1.  Trader Joe's Roasted Gorgonzola Crackers
Holy gorgonzola batman!  These Trader Joe's crackers are ridiculously tasty - the Veuve Clicquot of Cheez-its, I'd say!  They're flavorful and fulfilling and the best part is, the serving size is so big that you can nibble on them almost guilt free :)

2.  Mahjong!
My mom has played mahjong for years and I resisted learning like it was the plague.  I'm not really a board game fan and I certainly don't have the patience that 60-year old women do :)  And then... my sweet friend Laura volunteered to teach some of us how to play, and now I can't get enough!  Sometimes we get together for the girls to play "maj" and the guys to play poker, and we have SO much fun.  Winning 50 cents never felt so good, it's challenging and intense, and the best part is these awesome glittery purple tiles we get to play with :)  Pretty soon we'll be sending our parents out to dinner on a Saturday night and staying in to play like old folks until they get home at 11pm.  Oh wait, that already happened.

DonorsChoose is probably one of the raddest charities I've ever come to know.  It all happens online, connecting the donor to a classroom in need, anywhere in the country.  You have a passion for dissecting frogs?  Great, find a classroom in Bismarck, North Dakota that needs dissection kits.  You like art?  Find a charity in Boston that needs paint trays and blank canvases.  The charity does a great job of making the donor feel impactful, and you'll always get a thank you note from the children which is adorable.  I gave my dad a $50 gift card for Father's Day so he could pick out his own project to support, and my company matched the gift 100%.  That's $100 toward a classroom in need and my dad gets to support a cause he's passionate about.  Win win, I say!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baby You're a Firework

Fourth of July has always been a special holiday 'round these parts.  For one thing, my mom celebrates her birthday on the 3rd and mine is on the 4th, so it's always been about family, friends and freedom. As a kid, it meant riding on the back of my dad's bike or decorating my own for the neighborhood bike parade.  It meant birthday parties at the pool or beach with puffy-painted party favors and ice cream cake. And now, I love what the holiday itself stands for, but more than that, I love how it epitomizes summer: long, sunny days, sangria pitchers, dining al fresco, watermelon mojitos, delicious fruit, happy tunes, and quality time with the ones you love.

This past 3-day weekend was no exception.  We invited the family over for a "3rd of July" barbecue to celebrate my mom's birthday, and a whole bunch of friends over for a "4th of July" barbecue to celebrate mine.  And America's.  :) 

the hubby and the mama-in-law

red, white and blue fruit kebabs :)

red, white and blue cupcakes (the blueberries help disguise them as "healthy")

so many beautiful friends came out to play!

amy, queen of caesar salad and PB chocolate chip cookies!

baby, you're a firework :)

finished off the holiday weekend with a visit to meet mr. justin ginsburg!