Monthly Archives: December 2011

Reverb 11 | Prompt 31 | Clean Slate

Some of my absolute favorite ladies Sarah and her partner-in-crime, Meredith are leading a December blog series called Reverb.  I can’t explain it nearly so well as she does except to say that it involves reflecting on the life you’ve lead over the past year.  The highs, the lows, the changes and your hopes for the year to come.  I told her I would love to join in for a post or two when the prompt felt right.

Prompt for December 31:  Clean Slate.  Tomorrow is a new year.  What do you want to do with your clean slate?

2011 was a year of plans.  Of follow-through.  Of always having an end goal in mind.  Of keeping my eye on the prize.

2012 is a blank slate in the truest sense of the word.  Tabula rasa.  A new leaf.

I can see a few shadows in the fog, but that’s where it ends.

The outline of the picture frame, but not the details of the artwork it contains.

There are so many things I could try to force into that picture, but I’m not quite ready yet.

Instead, I’m going to live presently.

I’m going to act.

I’m not going to squirrel things away for the most convenient time or the ideal situation.

I’m going to cling to the idea of opportunity.  To the hope of possibility.

To the promise of dreams brought to life.

What are you going to do with your blank slate?

What are your New Year’s Eve plans?

Friday Food Round-Up!

I don’t want to say it, but this might mark the beginning of the farewell tour of Great, Easy Meals for a while.  Not because it isn’t 11/10, but because I got time for dinner for Hanukkah and it’s a similar premise with a totally different set of recipes.

Is it a book for families with small children trying to get dinner on the table?  Yes.

Some people might see that and, determining that they are no part of that target audience, turn away.

I saw that and determined that if it’s a book designed to help families with small children get dinner on the table, then it probably makes dinner more manageable for everyone.

So, get excited for next week.

In the meantime, more snaps of What We Ate.  Because just like I promised, I barely had time to cook, but we managed to enjoy a few things. 😉

Saturday – Risotto Cakes with Mixed Greens from Great, Easy Meals

This is one of those recipes where you really just have to wait until you have leftover risotto on hand to make it.  But once you do have that leftover risotto hanging around in your fridge?

Make this immediately.  For brunch.  For lunch.  For a light dinner.

For yourself.  For girlfriends.  For your beloved.

Truths: We did not have chives, fontina or fennel.  This is just how things are at noon on Christmas Eve.  After tossing the first batch that we fried in olive oil (as directed) into the trash, I fried the second batch in butter to great success.  Next time, I would probably just drizzle them with butter and bake them until crisp and brown.  All roads lead the same direction.

Success: They tasted just wonderful over arugula and drizzled with the remainder of the salad dressing that I had made for last week.  If you liked your risotto enough the first go-round to keep the leftovers, you’ll like it just as much in this second incarnation.

Monday – Mom’s Chicken and Green Chile Enchiladas

Since we knew we wouldn’t have the chance to eat dinner at our place until Thursday in a best case scenario, I knew that we were going to be starving to death/eating incredibly random things for lunch unless I took a stand and did something about it.

Sometimes a container of greek yogurt and a granola bar just isn’t fun.

Answer: Enchiladas.  They’re one of our favorite meals and they’re hands-down my favorite leftovers (besides Big Bowl Build Your Own Stir Fry) to bring to work for lunch.

Need something a little bit healthier?  Microwave one, cut it up and toss it over some arugula and you’ve got yourself a “salad.”

What is your favorite weekday lunch?

How much do you usually end up cooking over the holidays?

Lip Butter

Let’s talk lip color.

I can’t say that I’m afraid of lipstick.  Rather, the only shade I ever buy is bright red.  Because if you’re actually going to commit to a color other than “glossy” or “natural,” I feel like you should make a statement with it.

But red lipstick isn’t a show I take on the road every day.  It’s like the gold handbag I picked out got for my birthday.

Best for nights out.

Used in moderation.

About a month ago, Sarah (my newly appointed Drugstore Diva Spirit Guide) wrote a post about Revlon Lip Butter.

After reading her thoughts on the matter, I was pretty much into it.

I’m afraid of lip stains because they seem too permanent, and I have a hate-hate relationship with most lip glosses because they leave my lips feeling incredibly sticky and most of them seem to involve some sort of poisonous taste.

I think that poison-taste is supposed to be flavorful.

And maybe it is.  If you’re a robot.

But it’s just not working for me.

After seeing a feature on Emma Stone in W where she was sporting the stuff, I knew that The Universe was Voting Yes to this idea.

Emma Stone + W = Real World Fashion Mandate

It was time to source.  Naturally.

On my first trip to the drugstore (after three laps of the cosmetics section) I grabbed two tubes – Berry Smoothie and Candy Apple.  There was no method to this madness, just a lot of finger crossing.

Berry Smoothie was almost identical (albeit glamorized) to my natural lip color.  Except for when I wore it to work.  The fluorescent lighting didn’t really do me any favors there.  But you had better believe that I felt like I goddess when I put it on in my cubicle.

Candy Apple was a vibrant shade of red that looked at home on my face instead of garish.  Most importantly, it didn’t do that awkward thing where you put a bold lip color on and then suddenly your teeth look…not as white as they usually do.

I did NOT road test this color at work.

I’ve got to give Revlon some credit.  They hooked me instantly with this product.

So on my second trip to CVS (God bless ExtraCare Reward Bucks), I nabbed Peach Parfait.

More is more.

A comfortable compromise between the first two, though you wouldn’t guess it from the case.

Now my biggest concern is keeping my lips moisturized enough so that the effect provided by the lip butters actually looks…natural.  It’s like the work just never ends.

Do you do lipstick?  Lip gloss? 

What types of colors do you usually go for?

Reverb 11 | Prompt 28 | I Wish

Some of my absolute favorite ladies Sarah and her partner-in-crime, Meredith are leading a December blog series called Reverb.  I can’t explain it nearly so well as she does except to say that it involves reflecting on the life you’ve lead over the past year.  The highs, the lows, the changes and your hopes for the year to come.  I told her I would love to join in for a post or two when the prompt felt right.

Prompt for December 28: I wish.  What do you wish for in 2012?  How will you make it come true?

Even though most of the population won’t admit it, I’m more than happy to say that I have an extremely casual relationship with The Secret.  No, I’ve never actually read the book.  But I like the idea of visualizing what you want as a part of the process to actually getting it.

From that statement you might ascertain that I’m also into Vision Boards, but that’s actually quite the opposite.  Because Vision Boards are time-consuming, probably involve gluing your fingers together and require some sort of magazine Kismet in which The Perfect Pictures of your Ideal Life leap off of the page and onto your piece off tagboard.

This never happens for me.

Or maybe every Vision Board I’ve ever seen is just one colossal compromise after the other because The Perfect Pictures exist for no one.

I want no part of that.

So.  Wishing.

Here’s the thing about 2011.  I didn’t know for certain how everything was going to play out.  But I had a pretty good idea.  It looked something like the following:

  1. Go on Vacation
  2. Run
  3. Get Married
  4. Go on a Honeymoon
  5. Run
  6. Spend a Month Marrying-Off Friends
  7. Look For a New Job
  8. Keep My Current Job
  9. Celebrate
  10. Marathon
  11. Drink Beer Recover
  12. Run
  13. Celebrate

There was lots of getting things done and making things happen.  But there wasn’t a lot of room for error wishing in there.

2012?  Is a big wide-open space.

There is nothing that I can list.  There is no order.

There are so many things that I could wish for.

So many stars to wish on.

But I’m afraid of wasting my hope on the small stuff.  Or the wrong things.  Completely missing It.  Whatever It is.

So for now, I’m wishing for the ability to Say Yes to opportunities.  To bravely do The Scary Things.  To make the right choice, even when it’s the inconvenient one.

And I’m wishing for health and happiness.

Because when you have those two things going for you, everything else starts to fall into place.

What are your wishes for 2012?

Embracing The Printed Page

Apparently we haven’t Book Clubbed since September.  Which is a pretty long time in Kat Years.

I’m not so much in the mood to dissect each book today (who is?), so we’ll try something different this time.

Dystopian Stuff You’ll Love

If you liked The Hunger Games, 1984, or The Giver.

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood

Really Depressing

Some of it is real, some of it is not.  All of it is written in a way that will suck you in and spit you back out.  Prepare Yourself Emotionally.

Unbearable Lightness, by Portia de Rossi

Room, by Emma Donoghue

Excessively Long and It Offers No Redemption

If you’re interested in something dry that continues on to no real end, by all means, go for it.

The Duchess, by Amanda Foreman

Happy Girls Are The Prettiest

You’ll want to pinch yourself while you’re reading these.  As it turns out, sometimes the truth is the best story.

The Girls From Ames, by Jeffrey Zaslow

Tender at the Bone, by Ruth Reichl

And, as per the usual, Our Book List.

The Millenium Trilogy, by Stieg Larsson
The Glass Castle
Anything by Chelsea Handler (I’ve read My Horizontal Life – it’s good, but if you loved I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, you’ll find it tame)
The Joy Luck Club (Tawny, I somehow managed to escape reading this one in H.S.!)
Anything by David Sedaris
Water for Elephants (Back in my book-club days I read this one – highly recommend)
Life of Pi
All Creatures Great and Small
The Gun Seller
Room
Unbearable Lightness
Immortal Life
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Sherlock Holmes (collection)
No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (series)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (I love this book SO hard.)
Other People’s Love Letters
Bitter is the New Black
Slave
Not Ready for Mom Jeans
Madras on Rainy Days
Good Girls Don’t Get Fat
Here on Earth
A Thread of Grace
Outlander (series)
Under the Banner of Heaven
Lolita in Tehran
The Pact
A People’s History of the United States
Stori Telling
Cleaving
Julie and Julia
The Three Musketeers
The Lady and The Unicorn (along with anything else by Tracy Chevalier)
Beachglass
The Persian Pickle Club
Seaglass
Light on Snow
Two Kisses for Maddy
The Art of Racing in the Rain
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
The Space Between Us
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Tipping Point
Blink
Outliers
Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West
My Life in France

Columbine
Sing me Home

One Day
Matters of the Heart

What have you been reading lately? 

What have you loved?  Hated?

Tying Up Loose Ends

It’s the last Move-It Monday of the year (yes, that’s what I call this weekly fitness/healthy living feature in my head) so I thought it might be nice to tie up some loose ends.

Why?  Because I feel like we’re all working off a major Christmas food hangover.

And even though some people wait until the January 1st to Embrace Change and The New Year, I celebrated the end of the holiday feasting season after I ate my last piece of cheese last night.

So.  Those loose ends.  Let’s tie them.

For fun (and a bit of clarity), I went back to the beginning of the year to see what sort of healthy living/fitness/weight loss-type things I spent my time fretting about.

I managed to commit myself to an extremely regular yoga practice.  Every time I tried to jump off the ship, my body not-so-kindly informed me that for reasons having nothing to do with vanity and everything to do with being able to walk normally, I would be keeping it up.

I attempted Pilates and then I un-attempted Pilates.  Between all of the flapping and the lowering of the pelvic floor, it just wasn’t doing anything for me.  Along with this revelation came acceptance of the fact that my ass is never going to even remotely resemble Pippa Middleton’s.

I guess it’s good that I’ve never wanted to channel her.

I added power walking to my weekly workout rotation.  Allegedly it burns fat like crazy.  I can’t really confirm or deny that.  But it does allow me the chance to feel like I’m doing something on the days that I’m not running.

It also gave me the chance to use the incline function on our treadmill for the first time…Ever.

I tried and failed at Intuitive Eating like five times.  Thank you, everyone for humoring me and taking me seriously along the way.

I ran.

At the end of this week, my mileage for the year will be sitting at about 1,560 miles.

I started a Run Streak on Thanksgiving.  To soothe my hips, I began stretching after my runs.  That might seem pretty logical to most people, but y’all know that’s just not how I roll.  I bought a massage stick.  I finally caved-in and sourced books to read about the mechanics and semantics of training.

It was like we were re-enacting The Renaissance over here.  So much enlightenment.

And, as per Losing The Gain, I managed to lose three pounds over the last two months.   Which is a fairly unremarkable amount in most circles, considering the fact that it happened over eight weeks.

But, since the last two months were spread over Thanksgiving and Christmas, that’s progress that I can be happy about.

That’s also progress that I feel confident about maintaining.  If it can disappear in the midst of Chardonnay, Lil’ Smokies and Rolo-Pretzel Turtles, then I’m pretty sure that it’s for real.

NEXT WEEK: My healthy living goals for the new year.

What changes did you make in your life over the past year?  Lose weight?  Make eating veggies a regular habit?  Add a new form of exercise?  Cut out something?

Not to be Outdone

Merry Christmas, kittens!  I hope that y’all are able to spend the day with the people who matter the most to you.

Obviously I will be in the middle of it all with my merry band family.

So let’s talk gift-giving, shall we?

Y’all remember Edward & Bella, right?

Well apparently that was the beginning of something great for our family.  I think it’s safe to say that Billy now has what can only be described as a working relationship with The Artist.

Welcome, William and Kate.

And no, that’s not a bad paint job, those are signs of hair loss that you’re noticing on William’s head.

It’s because she really tries to “capture” the subject.

You know?

But I did not want to be outdone!  Obviously.

I know that people worry about neighbors that will steal their gifts off of their front porches.  Crooked delivery men who will tamper with their packages.

I was totally confident that if anyone wanted to steal this, the surprise would be on them.

Behold.  My gift for Billy this year.

Yes, you really are looking at a Mouse Taxidermy Desktop Calendar.   Because when Marcus and I were watching Dinner for Schmucks on cable a couple of weeks ago, the moment Steve Carell started pulling out the book with examples of his mouse taxidermy-work, I knew that we had stumbled upon greatness.

Unfortunately, books like the one that his character proudly showed off don’t actually exist.  So I had to create my own.  And in the process of searching for photos of taxidermied mice, not only did I get extremely disturbed that so many people are doing this, I laughed so hard that I cried.

For an hour.

If you’re ever having a downer day, just grab your computer and get Google-ing.  There’s not enough space in the world for mouse taxidermy and other emotions to co-exist.

Let’s not forget Dad.  Because he couldn’t be left out of the fun.

I found A Real Treasure for him.

A signed copy of A Love That Multiplies.

Vote: Most necessary object?  Or most necessary object?

If I may be so honest, I’m 100% positive that the website I ordered it from is what gave my work computer the virus of the century.

Like, I mean IT spent a week re-building my computer.

But it was totally worth it.

Does your family give gag gifts?

What’s the most ridiculous gift (serious or not) that you have ever received?