{coffee date #2 of the day.  friends are a beautiful thing.  so is coffee.}

last year, on this very same day (the day before my birthday), i wrote a post about "choice."

sometimes i need to be reminded of my own words...
What I do each day, each week, each moment is a matter of choice.  And while I have responsibilities & obligations to contend with, life does not just happen to me.

in the past couple of days i've had several conversations with friends {different friends... similar age-range}~ centered around this simple, yet profound, concept.  we've learned it before.  we know in our hearts to be true.  but seem to have "forgotten"- or - continue to keep "forgetting" it along the way... 

i do not want to look back on a life that just "happened" to me~ wondering what the hell happened(??)- or worse- why did i let it happen(??). 

living with intention.  having the courage to do so... the focus to make it happen 
~ currently {& deeply} on my mind and in my heart.  
last week,~ in perfect synchronicity~ i read a couple of incredibly inspiring posts (here & here), which both shared the 'quote of all quotes'... the 'question of all questions'... 

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Mary Oliver, Poet   

 i resolve to make it a great one.

...because after all, it is a matter of choice.

Coveting {part one}.

last night~ in the midst of rough drafts & dirty dishes, we managed to squeeze in all three. 

wednesdays call for a little 'special treatment', in my opinion.

 do not (i repeat:  do not) let this simple, understated image fool you. this meal is just pure [spring] perfection. 
{we substituted with gluten-free brown rice bread, and goat cheese. oh my.....}

 we saw this in bon appetit {april} on friday, and decided to to put it to the test.
it passed with high marks. but in remainder of the weekend, it grew even further on us. almost too pretty to drink. almost.

love, love, L O V E this show. every single character. we needed more comedy in our life, especially on a wednesday.

Spring has sprung.

...and we're doing our very best to rise to the occasion.

{venturing into new books.  new endeavors.  new life.}

A perfectly simple spring menu.


Last night I hosted the book club dinner (hence the continued blog hiatus)As usual, I was scrambling to finish reading the book up until the last minute (I swear, I've GOT to stop doing that. Next book up~ The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  I have the book already... I commit to picking it up this weekend and at least putting a dent in it.  [This was last night's book in case you're wondering... more to say on this later...]).

Anyways, I decided to serve a simple, light dinner.  One that could be partially made ahead of time (or at least well-prepped in advance)... that consisted of minimal ingredients, steps, components...  One that was fresh and 'spring-y'- and wouldn't leave people walking away feeling heavy and stuffed, and silently cursing you for sabotaging their 'summer-countdown-diet'... yet didn't sacrifice flavor or visual appeal for health and 'minimal effort.'  For the most part, we're back on the 'alkaline cleanse', and it was nice to offer a meal that we'd eat any night of the week... as opposed to my usual [former] entertaining approach (over-complicate, over-feed, over-indulge).
It seems that perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Terre des hommes

And once again, simple proved to be better. 


Here is the menu ~ my new go-to late-winter-early-spring-entertaining dinner...

{Rather than going over-board with appetizers (as I've done too many times, leaving everyone too full to enjoy the main course- and by the time dessert rolls around- forget about it...), I served this dip, along with a baked lentil chips and sliced cucumbers.}
cannellini bean & artichoke dip (recipe from my friend, christy) 

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/3 cup olive oil (more, for consistency, if needed)
1  14 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 
1  14-ounce can of artichoke hearts or artichoke bottoms, drained
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
10-12 basil leaves

Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse to combine.  Scrape down sides of bowl and continue to pulse until combined.  Add additional oil if necessary to make a smooth consistency that is not dry but lightly textured and creamy.  Season to taste with extra salt if desired. 
{As for the salmon (below), I prepped it ahead of time, covered & set it back in the fridge (more flavorful this way).  So when the time was right, all I had to do was place it into the broiler~ then just transfer it to a platter... lemon and all.}

succulent lemon-thyme salmon (5 ingredients. 10 minutes. almost too good to be true.)

{The following two recipes are from my friend (& microscopist/'health guru'), Barbara.} 

red cabbage salad

1/2 red cabbage, finely shredded 
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped 
2 tsp agave (optional) 
1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste) 
1 tbsp bragg's liquid aminos 
juice of half a lemon 
6 tbsp olive oil 
2 tbsp pine nuts (raw or toasted)
Combine all ingredients.  Chill for at least one hour. 


1 cup of boiling water 
1 cup whole-grain couscous 
1 tbsp earth balance butter 
1/2 tsp salt 
Olive oil

Pour boiling water over butter and salt in a large bowl.  Stir, then mix in couscous.  Allow to stand for a few minutes.  Stir with a fork and drizzle olive oil over it.   

{...and last but not least...}

lovely lemon cupcakes

{...little bites of lemony-lusciousness...}

{...that I think would go mighty well with that 2nd cuppa coffee I'm about to pour. (cause it is friday afterall.)} 

Infinite power of words.

"You are a force of nature."
{favorite coffee mug, & a daily dose of infinitely powerful words.}

our weekend was a bit {a lot} hectic and rushedthe kind of weekend where you feel like you need a do-over.

so i decided to enter my reader in pursuit of a little 'boost'... only a couple of posts in and- i already found it.

karina's thought-provoking sentiments ~ and melissa's powerful affirmations. 

their words have lit up my soul.  in a matter of minutes. 

i'm reminded.  awakened.  empowered.

ready to leave sunday in the dust.

right where it belongs.

Good to the last drop.

Other than the fact that we've now officially entered "how-many-days-until-summer-mode" {far too early for our own good}, our Santa Barbara excursion was exactly what I hoped it would be.  

Movies in bed...

Strolling through town.  No plans.  No schedule.  No homework {Although, we [Jacob] did pay for that last one... Sunday evening.}...

Leaping.  Laughing.  Loving...


Spending Sunday how it should be spent {Everyone else seems to have the right idea too.}...

Indulging {Thank you Erin for your recommendations.  It was, in fact, the "best almond croissant outside of Paris."  Except I should mention that I've never actually been to Paris.  But I take your word for it.}...

Exploring {Hailey's studying California missions this year.  Today, I'm headed to her class to volunteer for mission day.  This got us in the spirit.  Literally.}...

And relishing...

More indulging...

{...thanks to yet another new [amazing] app, [Didn't I recently proclaim to not be an "app person"?] had to try the "best corned beef"~ with the upcoming holiday, after all...}


Good to the last drop.

Time to PLAY.

Ryan has to work in Santa Barbara on Saturday, so yesterday we decided to 'sieze the moment'...  Hotel booked.  Kids thrilled.

Not a clue what we'll be doing... where we'll be eating.  But I will- without a doubt, be partaking in a little game of Nicolas Cage Roulette.     

He had me at Randy.
(... in a movie that will never get old)
{Which "Cage" will I get??  This is my kinda game......}

Back in sync.

Have you heard of the Voxer app?  I'm not a big "app" personI barely have [or use] any, in fact.  But this one's good.  It essentially turns your phone into a walkie-talkie.  Need I say more??  

You press a button, talk~ while it records your voice, and it's immediately "sent" to the recipient.  And not in a loud/intrusive way.  In other words, you don't have to worry about interrupting them in a meeting {or worse- in bed}.
Here's why I love it.  I have a friend who lives far away.  For a while we talked on the phone whenever we could... sent emails... texts.  But as the kids have gotten older, and as she switched jobs, our schedules always clashed.  We tried everything to stay in touch.  Long {update} emails.  Scheduled phone conversations.  Neither worked.  It was an endless game of phone tag.  

Then she discovered Voxer.  It has literally rekindled our friendship.  I fully recognize how cheesy-commercially this is sounding.  But it's true.  Of course it doesn't omit the need for real-live / face-to-face conversation. And it might not be necessary for all- or even most friendships, but we could never reach each other!  It wasn't that we were too busy to make time for each other- or that we didn't want to put any effort forth.  It was just that when one of us was available, the other wasn't.  When one had extra time on their hands to send long email updates, the other didn't even have time to read 'em, let alone reply to them.  And we could never seem to get caught up~ or in sync.  

When we want to talk now, we 'send a vox'... When we're free, we listen, and respondSometimes it's just a quick 'good mornin'... sometimes it's an ask for advice... other times it's an oh-my-god-i'm-going-to-lose-my-mind-if-i-don't-talk-to-someone.  {And can I tell you just how therapeutic that last one can be??}


{This brief article on Mark Ruffalo's decision to leave city life behind has stuck with me in more ways than one.  Aside from the fact that the crush has just increased tenfold.  Here is his response when asked about the transition...}
It’s the best thing I could have done for the family as a whole and for the kids in particular. We made a pact to let them be and let them work out their differences on their own. We’re letting them grow a little wild and we step in when it’s essential, but in a lot of ways they figure stuff out on their own and they do it in a way that’s organic and lasts. We live in a small space and we’re really influenced by the natural world around us. Eventually that is reflected in one’s behavior and how you get along with other people. There’s a lot of quiet in the country and there’s a lot of quietness in my children. 
image via

The weekend was a good one.  As Ryan settles into his new job, life is slowly calming down~ which is a good thing.  Still in school... oh, and a very long commute (during the training period)... but the air is clearing, the fog is lifting, the tide is turning... the noise is quieting.  


But surely.
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