Friendship {Listography 2011}.

Each Wednesday, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.
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I thought this week's list would be easy.  Until I sat down to write it.

...List the qualities you look for in a friend.

There's just so many directions that I can take this topic. ~ I have a good friend that is battling breast cancer... A friend that was there for me during morning sickness hell.  Although it was nothing in comparison to what she is experiencing, I appreciate her support during those months more than she will ever know. ~ I have a best friend- that I've been married to for almost 14 years.  One who is non-judgmental, non-competitive, accepting, open-minded, supportive... and willing to help at all times- even if it's something that I slacked on due to writing a blog post, to shopping, spending time with friends... He jumps in and helps without a word of criticism. ~ And I have so many other friends- new and old, IRL and URL, family & non- all who have similar yet distinct qualities that I admire, that I appreciate, that simply make my world bigger, brighter, bolder, and better (yes, I just quoted myself from a past post on "friendship").

And then I remembered a discussion that I recently had with Hailey.  Rather, an ongoing discussion regarding friendship.  Jacob had issues with certain friends.  For a while, he had a hard time even finding friends due to his quiet, reserved nature.  But the topic of friendship was not at the forefront of our day-to-day conversations.  Not like it is with Hailey.  I've been unpleasantly surprised by the amount of drama that occurs- on and off of the playground.  Tears, judgment, control, jealousy, lies, accusations, gossip...  all  of the nasty components of a marriage-gone-south- or even an episode of The Real Housewives.  Her friends are such a central part of her existence- even at this young age, which means that these dilemmas have an impact on her very core.
Ridiculous and dramatic as some of the "issues" have been, they've brought to light many discussions of how to choose a friend, and how to be a friend.  After coming home in tears one day, I noticed that she got defensive any time I tried to entertain the option of her choosing to play with new friends.  Although I don't always go there (usually stick with the "how to work it out" approach), I felt that with this particular friend, the time was right.  That would be the end of the world it seemed.  I realize she's young, but I want her to develop the ability to discern who she associates with... not to be exclusive, but at least mindful.  Here's the result of our conversation...

Pretty much what my list would look like.  

And you??  Link up your post on friendship below, or share in the comments.  Aside from the fact that I'm extremely interested in this topic, it'll serve as more valuable "lesson material" for my little socialite.

{Next week, on the Listography train, we get to discuss t.v. moms.  Fun.}

Hi there.

*Just click here to do so :).

A happy heart & a full basket.

Feeling especially blessed today after a roller coaster of a week.  Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, I hope your weekend is filled lots of treats. 

Doing our part {Listography 2011}.

Each Wednesday, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.
Image via
Last week, it was romantic comedies, this week, the tides have turned to a more serious topic, but no doubt of equal importance (per your comments- & the ever-growing list, it's clear these films serve a crucial purpose)... 

List some ideas for earth friendly living.

The "mere" task of saving our planet can appear daunting and overwhelming at first glance.  But there are so many ways that every single one of us can do our part to reduce, reuse, & recycle, often with minimal effort.  Using this article from Real Simple as a guide, I've listed a few simple ideas... all changes that we've made.

Turn the thermostat down. 
A simple adjustment that saves energy, and saves money.  Win-win.  This fact from Real Simple says it best:  "Turn it down two degrees in the winter and up two degrees in the summer and you’ll keep nearly 880 pounds of carbon dioxide from warming the earth."

Wash less, bigger loads, colder water.  
Let me just say that this change is both by choice & procrastination (specifically the first 2- wash less often... bigger loads).  Seriously though, an incredible amount of water is wasted by throwing just a few items in at a time.  When I do wash, almost everything is washed in cold.

Plug in a laptop, not a desktop. 
One of the best changes we've made this past year is getting rid of the desktop and purchasing a laptop.  We use a docking station in our office, so if the kids need to use it, or if I can get OFF of the couch and actually sit at a desk, I have the option of shutting it, docking it, and using it as a desktop... best of both worlds (and major energy saved in the process).
Turn off the tap. 
A simple, but huge change... especially with little kids who like to play with soap bubbles while washing their hands, or let the toothbrush hang from their mouth while "brushing their teeth"... and especially with a sink that is endlessly full of dishes (very tempting to leave that water while powering through them).  But thankfully, Hailey went through a course on the importance of saving water, and proper hand washing.  So sometimes she keeps me in check, and vise versa.
Skip red meat once a week.  
I bought Food Matters for Ryan for Valentines Day a few years back (because I'm romantic like that), by Mark Bittman.  Life changing.  Less meat.  More green.  Again- win-win all around. 

Donate vs. discard.
Reduce, reuse, & recycle... Check, check, & check.
Carry a water bottle with you. 
This is in an effort to save plastic, save money, and DRINK WATER (like Jillian says so).

Give your car―and driving habits―a tune-up. 

Again, Real Simple says it best:  "Tune up your car according to your owner’s-manual schedule (usually every 30,000 miles) and raise your car’s fuel efficiency anywhere from 4 to 40 percent. Bonus: You’ll increase your fuel efficiency and save on gas." 
Think local food. 
I am really excited about this one.  Last week, we signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) program since it just became available for our town.  Yesterday, I felt like a kid under the Christmas tree, opening our first box, and we can't wait to put it to good use.  A nice supplement until our garden starts to produce!

Bring your own bags to the market. 

Obvious, simple, but a hard habit to break... even with all of the reusable bags sitting right in the back of our car.  Always rushing, always forgetting.  But trying.


Writing this list has served as a reminder of how much money is saved by making small changes and little investments.  What ideas do you have for earth friendly living?  It is a work in progress to say the least, and the more we share, the more we can accomplish.  Together. 

The link's at Emily's place today, so head on over if you have a post!  And speaking of heading over, head over to Jessica's too-  if you'd like to learn how to make a 5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake (and many more recipes)!

*What is next week's topic you ask???  Wonder no further.


If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours ... In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. 
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden               

Good times.

I finally sorted through the pictures from my grandma's party, and before giving them back to her, I wanted to share a few of my favorites... and introduce my grandpa into the mix.

I'm pressed for time this morning, and have so much more that I want to say about these two - especially my grandpa, who I haven't raved about yet, as I did with my grandma.  But I'll save those stories for another day, and leave it at this...

My grandparents were like my second parents.  I stayed with them often, went on vacation with them, waited anxiously for them to pick me up from the baby-sitter's- or preschool, went to work with them, and loved them with all my heart.  And still do.
Their marriage, like any other, was a mixture of happiness and affliction, and unfortunately towards the later years- the years that I had the pleasure of knowing them- affliction seemed to prevail.  Alcoholism reared it's ugly head- most likely for the entire duration of their marriage, but as ugly it was in the glory years, it was even more atrocious during the "golden" age.  As much as I saw him as the best grandfather on the entire planet, he often wore a different hat with my grandmother.  An unexpected early retirement, combined with an empty nest, symbolized old age- which never seemed to suit this charismatic, forever-young-at-heart, machismo.  His days of packing his 5 kids in the car and spontaneously heading into the mountains were long gone.  The early morning commutes to his L.A. barber shop were just particles of dust in the wind.  He was limited.  And he and Limits didn't get along so well.  

Shortcomings aside, they stayed together until my grandpa passed away, a few years back.  He loved her to death, and never failed to tell us how lucky we are to have her in our lives... or how we must take care of her when he is gone.  Sitting at the head of the table, he'd devote his long toasts to her time and time again, tears in his eyes, and a lump in his throat.  Like I said, their journey- a bit rocky, to say the least- included plenty of good times too.  

And that's why these pictures make me happy.


{the diner}
*Nostalgia at its finest.
{family fun}
*My grandpa's sister is on the far right.
{cover girl}


{5 generations}
*That sure is a cute baby. =)
So much for being "short" this morning.  Happy Friday all.

Put a little love in your heart {Listography 2011}.

Each Wednesday, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, and I are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.
List # Sweet 16.

List your favorite romantic comedies.

I've felt the need to narrow most lists down, with the exception of a few, but creating this list has taught me a few things about myself.

  1. I'm a total sucker for romance flicks of every variety... the cheesy, the predictable, the poor acting, the outdated... you name it.
  2. They are ALL my favorites.
  3. Hence, the list cannot be shortened.
  4. In fact, it's nowhere near completion.
  5. They say, these films make you "less happy."  No way Jose...
  6. I was in a pure state of joy- watching trailer after trailer in preparation for this post.
  7. I seem to have an affinity for films with Hugh Grant.  And Julia Roberts.  And John Cusack.  And you know Meg Ryan's in like 1/2 of them.
  8. I really need to familiarize myself with the pre-80's era when it comes to films.
  9. And even the post 2003.  Went through a little movie-watching-all-work-no-play gap there for a while.
  10. I love Jake Ryan.

So, without further ado, here is the [incomplete] list...

Are you a lovey dovey kinda person when it comes to movies?  What am I missing here??  Share in the comments, or write a big {or little} ol' post of your own, and link it up at Danielle's.  It was actually an unexpectedly fun list to write, and I can't wait to re-watch each and every one of them.  I could use a little more spring in my step.

{Speaking of spring, next week, we're sharing ideas for livin' green... }

Simple. Chic. SPRING ... all wrapped into one shameless treat.

From celebrating (& EATING) @ the beginning of the week to full-on-project-mode- 24/7 (until 8:30 Sunday evening), I am wiped out, to say the least.  No- we (my workhorse of a husband, and my kids who were forced to be workhorses along with us) are wiped out.  Nonetheless, very happy with our decision to stay home. 

From the pantry to the garden, to the office, both kid's rooms, the base boards and much more... we scrubbed, polished, dug, planted, painted, discarded, repaired, organized.  A week of productivity... of doing (rather than intending), a little fun in between,  a lot of dirt... & [although I love having my kids home] way too many "He's doing this," or "She's being mean." or "Can you tell him to stop?" or "Why do we have to clean??"  We cleared out a helluva lotta clutter, trying with all our might (until the next holiday, anyway) to get back to simplicity. 
Today... back to reality.  Back to shredding (only exercised once), back to meal planning, and right back into the spring cleaning roll.  Thankfully, Danielle's hosting a Shredcrew {healthy} recipe exchange today.  Jumping back into the workout- after 5 days off, I need all the help I can get in the 'food department.'  

Simple is an understatement when describing this "recipe".  Let's face it.  While eating healthy is insurmountably rewarding,  it can also be a lot of work.  Much more work than putting a frozen pizza in the oven... or zipping through a fast food drive-thru.  But it doesn't always have to be difficult, or time consuming.  The first time we went on a "diet," it was like the kiss of death.  We were starving, deprived, and clueless.  Eventually, we learned how to "diet" right- without torturing ourselves in the process... and desserts thrown into the mix too!
Strawberry sauce is one of our favorites.  We use it on frozen [or non] yogurt, ice cream, waffles, pancakes, strawberry shortcakes of course, in lemonade (to make strawberry lemonade), and more!  Most likely, this is not a new concept, but let it be a reminder that often, when it comes to eating right, less is more.  Especially when time (or skills) is limited.  { ... and btw, pretty impressive, to whip up a little jar of homemade sauce in a matter of minutes :) }

{Click recipe to enlarge & print.
Again, nothing complicated, but extremely versatile, perfect for a last minute dessert- or to use up those 'about to go bad' berries... and not to mention - in season.

If you're like me, you can never get enough recipe inspiration (healthy or otherwise).  So if you want to see more, click right here .

Girls just wanna have fun.

Do you ever find yourself bookmarking almost every single post within a single blog??  Not in a creepy Single White Female way - just a kindred spirit (aka:  we-could-totally-be-real-life-friends) kinda way.

Well, I do.  And I am, currently... bookmarking almost every single domestic dish post, that is.

Not to mention, it's author- Danielle, is simply an all around cool gal.  Happens to be on our shredcrew- and claims to enjoy Jillian's torture... but does not shy away from the opportunity to follow it up with a 'treat' here and there.  Always a kind word to offer, always a creative idea in store- or in motion, and always up for a cocktail.    

A girl who finds the FUN in life... & {effortlessly} inspires others to do the same.

Here's just a few of my recent bookmarks...
Must find the time to pull us out of maniac project mode in these last few days of spring break to have a "chic-nic."

No party to attend (or to plan), but needless to say, I gotta execute this chalk tag DIY... real soon.

And since we just organized our art bins (and discovered just how many crayons we actually have) we'll surely be making these colorful "muffins" ASAP.

Oh, & thanks to Danielle, I discovered The Possessionista, which led me to another [certainly unneeded] online shopping site- and the purchase of these...
Case in point:  If you're not following Danielle yet, well- you should be!
Endless Inspiration... & most importantly- doable- for us busy gals, who want to have a little domestic fun.
* {all images with the exception of the last are from domestic dish}

Home sweet home {Listography 2011}.

Each Wednesday, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.

List #15...

List where your daydreams take you for spring break.

Daydreaming isn't necessary this week.  We're in the midst of our spring break, and there's no where I'd rather be than right here, right now ~

Early morning road trips (with lots of quality conversation)...
 {Ryan planned a perfect day to celebrate my birthday with my family this past Monday. Everyone was home for spring break, so we met bright & early and drove into L.A.  I promise- this is the last birthday-related post.}

Starting the last day of celebration off right [@ Urth Caffe]...

Then onto the fish market to get the freshest catch... 
 {not too fond of the aroma}

Produce shopping for us [@ the Grand Central Market]...

And an 'Angels Flight' for them...

And back home for an afternoon of cooking, Clint Eastwood classics, Sangria, 
& of course - birthday cake... 
 {Cioppino & homemade sourdough}

Yesterday - an afternoon of sushi & art...
{Remember his Halloween costume??  Yep.  He's a fan of gnomes.}

And an evening of  evening of tapas.
Today? Base-board painting... Not quite as glamorous, but absolutely necessary.

Vacations are wonderful, but sometimes our own backyard is even better.
And where do your daydreams take you for spring break?  In a faraway tropical island, or in your file cabinet- sorting through paperwork from 1988?  If you have a list of your own, link up below!  If you don't have a post to link up, please share [with a comment] anyways.
*Next week, we can do a little more daydreamin'.

Guilty pleasures.

A few days into our spring break- and while my body feels 10 lbs. heavier, my spirit is 10 tons lighter.  

Had the pleasure of dining in the pizzeria of all pizzerias - Pizzeria Mozza - with Emily & Katrina...

... while my husband was hard at work building a new fence for our garden.

I arrived home to the cutest homemade treat that I ever did see (Estelle sent me the most thoughtful- and DELICIOUS birthday gift- cake batter bark!!!  And it's just as good as it sounds.  Thank you Estelle!).

As if I hadn't "celebrated" enough, my dad treated us to our very first {incredible} Umami burger experience.  

Jillian, I'm sorry.  It's all their fault. 
Soon, thanks to Ryan- we'll be eating fresh produce from our garden... guilt-less pleasures.
Until then, I've got one more day of celebration to go... and I'm soaking every second up.
Okay, there's a commercial on for "Trojan Vibrations."  Think it's time to call it a night.

My sunshine.

Image via
Feelin' very grateful today.  Grateful for my surprise guest blogger, for each of you that commented, that I married a man who can cook (I mean, really cook), for my friends & my family (for their unlimited generosity), for my twitter shred {workout} crew... for keeping me motivated, because God knows I'll need it after this week of stuffing my face celebration (because the celebration is not over yet).   
I get that guest blogger all to myself for the next week... a stay-cation at its finest.  Spring "cleaning" projects (kinda sad that I mentioned this first), outdoor meals, 80 degree weather, home-work free kids, cocktail experimentation, & not to forget shredding (to even out those cocktails).  Speaking of shredding - I better get to it.
Have a colorful weekend... and thank you again for brightening my skies.
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