Sunday, August 7, 2011

Movin' on upppp

Hey beautiful people!

I moved! Well, I didn't move, but beemeetsbutterfly did!

Head on over to to keep this show goin'!

See ya over there,


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

24 Things To Do When I'm 24

I'm turning 24-years-old tomorrow. Yowza.

Tulips. My favorite. These were centerpieces at my first bridal shower! :)

I'm a list person, so what better way to celebrate my birthday than with a list of 24 things I want to do while I'm 24-years-old. I am celebrating by making a list? Yikes. Looks like we're off to a great start, folks...

Well, here it goes!

1.Grow more into the woman God created me to be
2. Get married (November 5th babbbbbbyyy)
3. Work at a job I I am excited to wake up for
4. Run a marathon
5. Perfect my vanilla buttercream frosting
6. Buy a house and always have fresh flowers in the kitchen
7. Read at least 5 books (hey! i'm busy. don't judge)
8. Grow my blog to more readers than just my mom and best friend
9. Have more of my work published
10. Edit another book
11. Begin to write my own book
12. Show Bee how much I adore him
13. Make homemade ice cream
14. Throw a killer dinner party
15. Sell my baked goods
16. Do some sort of mission work
17. Actively participate in the fight against human trafficking
18. Grow my relationship with my new sisters-in-law :)
19. Surprise people with little bursts of sunshine..random hand-written notes, homemade cookies, etc.
20. Grow as a public speaker
21. Learn how to drive stick shift
22. Go surfing again
23. Break a 6 minute mile
24. Have quiet time with God every morning (EVERY morning)

365 days until I'm 5 years away from being 30. Lord Jesus, help me.

Someone get me some ice cream.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Maybe I Should Open Up a Thai Restaurant

I love Thai food. 

The contrast of flavors…sweet basil, hot chilies, tart citrus, cool and creamy coconut…sends me over the moon! I am a sucker for good Pad Thai, am a fool in love with Crying Tiger and sneak bites of Bee’s Pad Ka Prow when he’s not looking (and by sneak bites, I mean eat half his plate). 

I've eaten the best of the best of it on my trip to Thailand (which I will document in a later post) and often eat out at local Thai restaurants, which are delicious. Intimated by the preparation of the cuisine, I have NEVER made any Thai dish. I just didn’t want to try to make it and then it be disgusting and a letdown. <LAME. Never let fear stop you from doing anything. Well, besides bungee-jumping. Let fear stop you from that. Oh, and trying to hand-feed a lion. Probably a bad idea. Good to be afraid of.

Look at me! I’m rambling.

Ok, so being the incredible fiancĂ© that I am, I decided to make Bee’s favorite Thai dish to show him I love him (and to convince him to buy me a Garmin running watch for my birthday)..what? I did a search, couldn’t find many recipes, so I just went with this one and kind of winged it.

Holy mackerel! (why do people say that? Is a fish really holy?) It tasted JUST LIKE what we order in the restaurants! I kept dancing around the kitchen saying, “OMG! OMG! It smells like a Thai restaurant in here! It tastes exactly like the restaurant kind! I might cry! What a glorious day this is!”

My family wasn’t amused. I think they were still upset about my personal concert I had in the shower minutes earlier. Let’s just say no one yelled, “Encore!” Get over it, people. My shower, my songs.

There I go again rambling.

I put the basil in at the last minute to ever-so-slightly wilt (heaven) and we plated it up.
Sweet, spicy love in a bowl.

Results? OHHH YEAHHH BABY! AMAZING! So spicy, so flavorful, so freakin’ good! Served with some brown rice and peanut noodles with bean sprouts…get out of townnn! (Father of the Bride anyone??)

So good that I had the leftovers for lunch today. 

Only to be washed down by liquid gold. Nectar of the angels. Legal crack. Call it what you will. It’s awesome.

Make this now. Like yesterday kind of now. 

Pad Ka Prow

1/4 cup vegetable oil
12 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai chilies (aka Birds Eye Chilies) *this is SPICY. Do 1 tbs. or less to cut down on heat.
1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into thin pieces (about 1" x 1/4")
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup black soy sauce
1/4 cup Golden Mountain sauce (found at most Asian markets and some grocery stores)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves (I use normal basil)

This is how we do it:

Heat oil in wok over high heat. When oil begins to smoke, add garlic, onion and Thai chilies. Stir fry until golden, no more than a minute.

Add chicken, fish sauce, black soy sauce, Golden Mountain sauce and palm sugar. Stir fry for 2 minutes, then add red and yellow bell peppers. Continue stir frying until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are soft.

Turn off heat, add basil and stir until just wilted. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

There's Spinach in My Smoothie!

Sometimes I eat vegetables. Yes, my life is not all cake, caramel corn, and cookies. Like this morning. I ate spinach. Well, it happened to be hidden in a sea of peanut butter, creamy almond milk, and banana, but hey, it was in there!

I love putting spinach and vegetables in my smoothies for the extra nutrient boost. Want to know the crazy part? You honestly cannot taste the spinach. I tell no lies! I try to sneak veggies into my meals in any way possible in order to counteract the buckets of frosting and ice cream (cherry chip please!) I eat on the regular. Excuse me? Did you just say, “That’s not how it works!”? Shame on you! This is my world, and yes, eating vegetables makes up for my insane sugar consumption. They balance each other out. Ying and yang, people. 

You may be thinking that vegetables in a smoothie is the most disgusting thing in the world, but you need to try this. TRUST ME! 
Unsafe driving practices. Don't do like I do.

Anywhoo, do you want to make a delicious, refreshing smoothie that is great for your body, but tastes like it’s not? Oh, I know you do. Your wish is my command. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think! I call it the Elvis+Popeye smoothie as a nod to Elvis' favorite sandwich and Popeye's spinach obsession. You figured that out before I explained it though, didn't you?

Elvis+Popeye Smoothie
  • 1 cup milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • ½ frozen banana 
  • Spoonful of peanut butter - add more or less to your taste (let's just say mine is a HEAPING spoonful)
  • Handful of spinach (Use fresh or frozen - I like to use frozen, chopped spinach)
  • Dash of cinnamon 
  • Sprinkle of chia seeds (Sooo good for you! Find em at Whole Foods, Henry’s, Mother’s Market, etc.)
  • ½-1 tbs. malt powder (malt powder=a dream come true)  
  • Handful of ice  
Blend together and enjoy! :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

How to Run Faster

I often read other running blogs and drool over how these women have the time to sip coffee and go on long runs in the morning. Jealous.

Most of my mornings involve me rushing off to work, spilling coffee all over myself and then squeezing in a quick 30 minute run after work before whatever I have to do that night. All that to say, I wish I had more time to run. I don't. So, to get the most bang for my buck, I have been doing speed work. While speed work is great and can help you run faster, it can't take the place of long distance runs.

An example of a treadmill speed workout a la Megan: 

0-2 minutes - 6.0
2-4 - 7.0
4-6 - 8.0
6-8 - 7.0
8-10 - 6.5
10-12 - 7.5
12-13 - 9.0
13-14 - 6.0
14-15 - 7.0
15-18 - 7.5
18-20 - 6.5
20-21 - 9.0
21-22 - 6.5
22-23 - 9.0
23-24 - 6.0
24-25 - 7.5
25-27 - 8.0
27-28 - 7.5
28-30 - 7.0
Cool down.

I dare you to try that above workout and not be exhausted, butt fully kicked and feeling amazing! Ok, well, if you are not an experienced runner, I DO NOT encourage you to try this workout. This is simply what I have found works for me. :)

I hear people ask all of the time, "How can I run faster?" The answer is simple, yet complicated. It requires a lot of practice, hard work and sweat (yuck). People will give you so many tips on how to run faster, but as ridiculous as this sounds, if you want to be running faster, you have to, well, practice running faster! It will be uncomfortable, but pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is the only way to do it!

Because I haven't had much more than 30 minutes to get a run in lately, I decided today that I would get more than my usual (as of late) 3ish miles....I hopped on the treadmill (aka DREADMILL-- ugh boring!) and busted out 5 miles. It was harder than I thought. I alternated between 7:45 min miles and 8 min miles...a lot slower than my race pace, but still pretty good.

When I was done, I was DRENCHED in sweat. I headed home to shower and grub.

I think I hurt. Ok, I know I hurt.

Maybe I need to add more of these toasted marshmallow milkshakes to my diet to give me more energy. Yes, that is the key to running faster. :D

Saturday, June 18, 2011

happy birthday!

the beautiful birthday girl and i
today was so fun! i went wine tasting to celebrate one of my best friend's birthday! bee couldn't make it because he had to be a responsible busy bee and! after i got gussied up, i made myself some iced coffee, some toast with peanut butter and banana (favorite breakfast everrr) and headed out the door. (note: i made the coffee way too strong and i was wired. like wiiiired. i sang some glorious melodies at the top of my lungs with much to the delight of my fellow freeway drivers who stared at me with crazy eyes.)

weird photo shoot before everyone else arrived.
after a fun caffeine-fueled drive to Temecula, i arrived, greeted the birthday girl and sipped on some goods. i only sipped a couple tastes because i was driving, but the little i had was delicious! who knew temecula produced such grape juice goodness?!

after some tasty tastings, we were hungry and headed over to one of the wineries where we had reservations for lunch! amazing! the weather was perfect, and the food? ridiculous! i ordered a flatbread pizza with sliced pear, gorgonzola cheese, proscuitto and arugula...DROOL! =D

the whole gang getting ready for some serious nom nom
they brought the birthday girl two little pieces of a vanilla bean cheesecake. yum! luckily, i was sitting next to her so i was in the prime location to snag a bite (or two. fine, three when she wasn't looking).

bright sunshine, good food, good fun...GREAT day!
two megan's and a jill :)

now i'm home hanging with the bee man and my parents are bbq'ing....tri tip... can i get an amen?! mmm.

tomorrow is father's day! going to start off the day with a nice run then spend the day with my main men! :)

i'm weird. oh, you knew that?
ps have you seen the show Shark Tank? b and my dad love it, and while i pretend to be on my computer not caring, i secretly think it's awesome! watch it. you'll get hooked.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

let it out.

life sometimes sucks.

you already knew that.

so, here it is: today, i beg you to let it out. i give you permission (if you feel like you need it). scream, kick, cry, punch a pillow, write it out and yell from the top of your lungs. go ahead, i'll wait.

done? ah. felt good, huh?

i needed that. did you? i feel like you did. if you feel like you don't, then you really need it because da-nile ain't just a river in Egypt, people! my mom says that. it's cute. she's cute. i love her.

excuse the above rant, but i'm just not one to pretend like life is perfect. a lot of the time it just plain blows. we live in a sick world. have you noticed? don't turn on the TV, it'll just exasperate the problem.

but, wait.

old, rusted barrel i found in a pile of trash on top of hill overlooking the ocean in Thailand. proof that love and beauty exists amidst the garbage.
there's more. there's joy. there's love. there's generosity. there's beauty. there's ice cream. so, i encourage you to find that "more". please don't deny the pain in your life and the aching heart of this world. refusing to move through (or even recognize its presence in the deepest parts of yourself) your pain, heart break and struggles will only cause more grief and will pave a road of destruction. you will become a bulldozer, trampling yourself and anything in your path. believe that.

you ought to identify those cracks in your bones and take steps toward healing. why? so you can better enjoy the "more" of life.

i wish i had chocolate chip cookies to talk about or the peanut butter chocolate cake i've been dying to make...or that this whole thing would be simply about the fact that mcdonald's ice cream cones bring me a childlike happiness that i can't explain. oh, and that their diet coke is the best diet coke in existence (not like i drink that artificially-sweetened garbage or anything, uh hum)...

but no. today's post is just what it is. recognizing the reality that life is not, and will never be, perfect on this side of eternity (a harsh reality to accept), moving through it with a heart of acceptance and seeking the "more"...the good, the great, the grand. seeking it by creating it.

all that being said, when i go on my daily lunch time walk today...i'm making a bee-line to the golden arches with a dollar in my pocket.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

run for your life!

I miss you. I've been MIA because life is just a huge ball of busy. Yuck. Sorry for my absence, but I'm back. Oh, joy.

Unfortunately for some, this post is about running (gotta work off those bowls (yes, plural) of ice cream somehow)...if you're looking for sugary sweet goodness, feel free to bow out until the next post. I'll forgive you.

On May 1st, I woke up around 3:30am (it's just plain wrong, I know), threw back a pot of coffee, munched on some toast and peanut butter and headed out the door to run the Orange County Half Marathon!

This was my second half marathon and I was AMPED (wish you could hear me say that word in my best burly man voice)! Ever since I ran my first half-marathon, I had been counting down the days until my next one..but I was a bit nervous.
I promise I'm running and not marching as it appears in this picture.

I won 3rd place in that first half-marathon with a time of 1:55, and my goal was to finish this race in 1:45. Now, here's why that's a bit of a rraaaaaaaaraaareach (rev run anyone?):

  • I haven't really been training. If you count spotty 3-6 mile runs and two 10-milers as training then we're golden.
  • Cutting 10 minutes off a time isn't normal.
  • I've been eating sugar like America's sugar production may be in peril.
  • Humans weren't made to wake up at 3:30am.

The great theologian, Ricky Bobby, once said, "If you're not first, you're last," and I really didn't want to be last, but I sure as heck knew I wouldn't be first. Oh, the dilemma.

I started off the race pretty fast and felt great for the first five miles. The race support was great, and I successfully drank water/gatorade at the aide stations and managed to not spill it all over myself. If I was to be honest, I find an odd satisfaction in throwing the cup down on the ground as I'm running when I'm done with it. Oh, the joys of littering.

The course was gorgeous (we ran from Fashion Island to the OC Fairgrounds), and the millionaires came out from their incredible houses to cheer us on in their gold-encrusted robes. How sweet. I'm kidding about the robes...but you get the picture. At one point, I asked a random lady what pace we were running at because she had a Garmin (I want one so bad! ps my bday is coming up! hint hint.), and she said 7:15...YOWZA! 7:15 min miles? I said boom-shaka-laka, received a strange look and kept pushing.

When I saw the mile 7 marker I decided running this thing was the worst decision I could have ever made. I wanted to be eating donuts, drinking coffee and relaxing...I was tired. Then I decided that was lame. I forged ahead and pushed as hard as I could. Bonafide badass.

Delusional smile.                                  

Toward mile 9 I started to feel discouraged. People were starting to pass me and the competitive Megan freaked out. I had 4.1 miles to go and my legs felt like sand bags. It was at that moment that I reminded myself I was doing this race because I LOVE TO RUN and I am not competing against a single runner out there. I was doing it for myself and whatever time I got would be a success because at least my sugar-fueled body was out there giving it my all. From that point on, I didn't think about my time, my pace or anyone else...just ran a pace that felt right to me.

As I approached the finish line, I saw the big time clock and couldn't believe my eyes...1:41!!!! What?!?! I freaked out as I crossed the line and then heard Brandon calling my name! I was in a state of exhaustion and pure shock. I took 14 minutes off my time people!!

Crossing the finish line.
Here's the lesson I took away from this race: Child, what are you doing worrying about other people? If you could for one moment take your eyes away from others and how you compare to them, you will have better focus and clarity in your own life. The moment you choose to focus on your own situation...your own pace...your own problems...your own short-comings...your own struggles....your own strengths...your own the moment that you begin to truly live. It seems natural to continuously be focused on how fast you are traveling compared to others (how much money you have in comparison to them, how pretty you are compared to them, how strong your relationships are compared to theirs, etc.), but it is the kiss of death. You will surprise yourself at how much you get done, how successful you are, how healthy you become, when you quit staring at other people and begin to take a good, long, hard look in the mirror...only to see the beauty..the strength...the glory living inside of YOU.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake

Isn't she a beaut?! Photo Credit: The talented mr. bee man :)
I love beach bonfires. The light, carefree feeling of hanging around the fire, digging my toes into the sand, cozying up in an over-sized sweatshirt, laughing with friends as the wood crackles...

ok, let's get real for a second...i really go for the s'mores. there. i said it.

mmm toasty goodness.
luckily, where i live in southern california, beach bonfires can be pretty much a year-round thing. however, when the craving strikes for a s'more...i have been known to make a stove-top one (or two. ok, fine. three.)...but, what happens when --gasp-- you don't have everything to make a s'more? or looking for something a little different... a little more couture?

enter the toasted marshmallow milkshake. (trigger salivary glands)

let's get to this because I'm sure you can't wait another second to see what this is all about!

Roast some marshmallows. You want them pretty brown to get the right toasty flavor. Throw 'em in the blender.

Scoop some high quality vanilla ice cream and add it to the mix.

Add some milk to the toasted marshmallows and ice cream and give it a twirl.

Pour into a glass, top with a toasted marshmallow and bonfire required.

do yourself a favor and make this. today.

Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake
serves 4 
5 toasted marshmallows (more for garnish)
2 cups ice cream (i like a lot of ice cream in my shakes!)
1 1/2 cups 2% or whole milk (add more or less for desired consistency)

Blend the toasted marshmallows, ice cream and milk until smooth and creamy. Drink your bonfire! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Best Caramel Corn Ever ...

Addictive Caramel Corn
 Are you ready for this?

Homemade. caramel. corn.

Um, hello. I started it off by popping my own popcorn in...drumroll please....coconut oil. Mmmhmm I went there! This one step makes all of the difference in the world. I can't believe I even had the idea. Someone brilliant must have invaded my brain for a moment, trudged through the mass of wedding planning thoughts, the never-ending thoughts about food and running and implanted the idea.

It's simple to make (seriously) and you will never believe the taste. It is beyond addicting.

Here, come with me...I'll show you how it's done:
The Culprits

Like any good recipe, you start by melting two sticks of butter. 

Pour in the corn syrup. Oh, corn syrup, you're so bad for me, yet so good for me.

Throw in the brown sugar, baby. Brown sugar is for sure my favorite sugar. (I could make an awkward joke right now, but loyal readership is the goal here people! Can't let the crazy out of the bag too soon) 

Add some salt.  

          Stir it all together. You're going to bring it to a boil and let it bubble away.

Add the vanilla. I always add more vanilla than a normal recipe would, but this is my recipe so it's all good. 

Then the baking soda. (I love how there's a package of Ezekiel brand english muffins in this picture next to me making a heart attack in a pot...those things are cardboard and the healthiest things ever...moderation, right?)

 Take it off the heat and stir it together and watch it foam and go sugar crazy.
Pour the mixture over 24 cups of popped pop corn. Pourrrr some sugahhhh on meeeehh. 

 Stir to coat the popped kernels. Try to make sure it's evenly distributed, getting the ooey-gooey goodness all over the corn. 

Then you transfer it into baking dishes and bake for 40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes. hands down LLLLOOONNGGGGEEESSSSTTT 40 minutes of your life. I may have eaten handfuls some at each 10 minute interval. 

You have to make this. These are direct orders from the one and only (me). Invite some friends over, watch a movie and make this stuff. It truly is simple decadence. One bite and bee said, "I'm home."

Come home. The best caramel corn ever is waiting. Your taste buds will thank you.

Cute bags make it even more irresistible!

Addictive Caramel Corn
*Inspired from the Amatuer Gourmet 
1 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla
12 tbspn. pop corn kernels (makes 24 cups popped corn--trust me, you are going to want every cup)
1/2 cup coconut oil *this is the secret ingredient! (use canola oil if you don't have coconut oil on hand) 
Heat your oven to 250F.
To make popcorn: In a large pot with a lid, pour 1/4 cup of coconut oil (or oil of choice, but coconut oil gives the popcorn the most incredible flavor) and pour in 6 tablespoons of kernels. Place lid on pot and let pop. Be careful not to burn. Pour popcorn into a bowl and repeat the process once more with the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and 6 tablespoons popcorn kernels so you end up with 24 cups of popcorn. Move to extra large bowl or use a turkey roasting pan like I did :)
Make the caramel: Melt the butter, stir in the corn syrup, sugar and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the baking soda and vanilla and watch it foam! Next, pour the caramel over the popped corn and mix well until evenly coated. Spread the coated corn into large cake pans and bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool and then devour.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

i'm lovin it ...

No, this is not a post about McDonald's.

However, this week I have had a random craving for a number 2. Do they still have that? two cheeseburgers, fries, a diet coke (best diet coke ever is from mcdonald's. ever) and big mac sauce on the side (whatever--is it just thousand island dressing? well, i'll give you a thousand reasons why if i was on a deserted island i'd want it with me.)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Are You Sure This Isn't Ice Cream?

i like to eat. shocker. ok, well it's true. in order to keep my metabolism pumpin' (remember the whole cupcakes, cakes, ice cream, anything sweet every single day thing?), i eat three meals a day, a mid-day snack and dessert after dinner (on most days).

i love snack time because it brings me back to miss red's class when i was in kindergarten and life was a lot simpler. side note: one time for halloween, i dressed up as my teacher, miss red. what was my costume you ask? oh, you know, just head-to-toe red clothing. the creativity thing started long ago, folks. ridiculous.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Quick 30

I have a bunch of things to get done tonight. Finish online traffic school (i got my first speeding ticket...i know! i'm sorry! but that's pretty good for almost a 8-year clean streak!), edit my resume, blah blah...because i have tons to do, i decided to do a quick workout so i could get home to get my stuff done.

on most days after work, i'll either run, take an hour-long kickboxing or yoga class, but when i'm limited on time or don't feel like being in the gym with all the other gross sweaty people, i will do a quick 30 minute interval run. doing speed training like this is not only very good for your heart, but can drastically improve your endurance and performance on longer runs.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

cavemen and bananas

this past week, i did the Paleo diet in preparation for another one of my 10-mile runs. it's supposed to improve athletic performance and enhance overall health. paleo is basically eating only what the cavemen supposedly ate (from the paleolithic era)...think: lean meats, fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds. that's. it. no processed junk? ideal. no dairy (cheese, milk, sour cream, etc.), no beans, no pasta, potatoes or rice? B-O-R-I-N-G. i did great, had lot's of energy and definitely saw a time and energy improvement on my ten-miler. the week was good, but i do not envy cavemen. i have now resumed my normal healthy eating that includes whole grains :) carb-lover party of one? here!

so, i survived, but the worst part? it meant that i had to pass up one of my favorite things ever. ever. ever. cake....BANANA cake. not just any old banana cake, but my own recipe for a banana nut cream cake with a salted caramel drizzle covered with vanilla buttercream frosting. i'll wait here a minute while you go grab a towel to wipe up the puddle of drool on your keyboard.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

chunk a chocolate chip

let's get one thing straight. i love sugar. oh, already knew that? ok, now that we got the whole "first step is to admit" thing done, let's continue.

i love chocolate chip cookies, but i only love good chocolate chip cookies. in my opinion, there are some foods that are good regardless if they're not that good. you know exactly what i'm talking about. pizza, for instance, is good no matter what. hot, cold, homemade, from a box or from the local pizza joint. even if the cheese is lousy and the sauce is sub-par, it's still pizza, and thus, still good. you tracking with me? ok, great. chocolate chip cookies do NOT fall into this category.

Friday, March 11, 2011

cry baby

there i was. driving to work at about 6:45am. slurping back my bold, black coffee and boom! kaiser permanente got me. sneaky devils.

they had some radio ad about smell being the sense most closely tied to memory and how we all have memories of smells and most of the time they are food-related. they were encouraging listeners to make those recipes that have memories behind them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

run, run as fast as you can, you can't catch me I'm the....

i ran track in high school. to be more specific, i ran HURDLES in track in high school. oh, p.s. i'm 5'1"...on a good day.  here, i'll wait a minute and let you make the jokes...

did you run under them? did they lower the hurdles especially for you? laugh it up chuckles. much to the surprise of everyone around me, i made varsity as a freshman and went on to win "hurdler of the year"...the classic underdog-wouldn't-expect-for-a-second success story. moral of the story? don't let people lower the bar for you.

Monday, February 28, 2011

cut loose

let's talk hair for a minute. well, first off, is there anything more disgusting than finding hair in your food? note to Orange County-ers: never (NEVER) go to that Thai restaurant off La Paz and Marguerite because they top their food with hair as a garnish. no joke, my fiance and I went there and BOTH of us found hairs in our food. barf. but, now onto the hair on my head...the kind that stays there...until I get crazy and decide to chop it off.

last summer i decided that i was going to cut my hair.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Far Away Lemon

So let's kick this thing off right...with some sugar! 

I have never really liked cheesecake. I prefer my cakes to be made of chocolate, not cheese. Yuck. Cheese needs to hang out with pizza and crackers and stay away from the dessert family. But, a couple weeks ago, I had a bite of a cheesecake (raspberry white chocolate, if you're wondering) at where else? The Cheesecake Factory. Oh-my-sugar-rush-slash-heaven-on-a-fork. I completely forgot how amazing it could, creamy, velvety deliciousness. In that moment, it was all clear...contrary to popular belief (or just my own) cakes can be made out of cheese and still be delicious. No, but seriously, I realized I have totally been missing out! !--more-->

Naturally, I decided to make one from scratch (not naturally, but it's what Paula Deen would do). Not only have I never really ordered cheesecake at a restaurant, I certainly have never made one. Why? It's not that good, a day's worth of calories in a slice is a tad excessive and it's too difficult to make. Against my better judgement, I looked up recipes and found the golden ticket. Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake. Sign. This. Girl. Up. I didn't care if it took me a week to make, I was going to make that cheesecake...and right away.

Now, you may be thinking...Cheesecake? I'm in. But, lemon cheesecake? Really? Out of all the flavors? I know, I know...Give me a second to explain.

I decided on the lemon because:

1. Summer is so far away. Succulent, fresh berries, tomatoes that are good by themselves and the light and bright flavor of freshly sliced lemons seem galaxies away. I also am sick and tired of making cinnamon flavored everything for fall and winter. Literally, everything. You get a cinnamon high (note to rebellious teenagers: no such high exists) just walking into my house. I go over-board on all things. The saying "go big or go home" is never wasted on me. If you know me, you know this to be true.

2. It's my neighbor's fault. They have a tree that dangles those bright neon globes of puckering deliciousness right at arm's reach. Not to mention they also said we could pick them whenever we wanted. SCORE. The thought of rolling up my sleeves, putting on my overalls and picking lemons from a tree sold me. It would be so Laura Ingalls Wilder of me (for the record, I quit wearing overalls in 6th grade and in all honesty, I was probably wearing heels, but just go with it). Lemon cheesecake it was. I barely even like lemon-flavored anything. Whatever, it just screamed summer and I'm doing my part to rush in its entrance (at least in my kitchen).

Here was the final product.

(thank you, mom, for the wonderful Vanna White displaying method)

The verdict:
Stop what you're doing. Cancel your plans. Go to the store and get the ingredients for this cake and make it immediately. It literally is one of the most delicious cheesecakes you will ever put in your mouth. It is the perfect zen balance of tart and sweet. The lemon flavor is strong without being over-powering, and the cream cheese filling is rich, but still light and fluffy.

Now, I can't stop thinking about cheesecake. Up next? Bananas Foster Cheesecake and Coffee Toffee Almond Crunch Cheesecake. Sweet Jesus, have mercy.

After scarfing down a piece (OK, OK, maybe two), I got into a sugar-fueled thinking fest. This cheesecake had meaning...scarfing down that sweet treat was symbolic. Here's why: So often I dismiss the very things I know I am being called to because I can't stand the "taste" of them. Having that conversation. Writing that letter. Taking those last, hard steps. Making that change. Finally doing what you know you have to do. It usually sends me running like I've got a pack of pitbulls on my tail. I run around and try other things...anything to avoid the billboard screaming "HEY STUBBORN! JUST DO IT" that follows me around in my mind. Much like how I will eat cookies and cake (nom nom nom), but avoid cheesecake, I do things that are in and of themselves good, but they're not the best...they're not what I know I'm being called to. I'll grab coffee with someone (great) but fail to tell them what's really on my heart (better).

So, make that stinkin' lemon cheesecake! Sure, make the real thing (it's heaven), but more importantly...make that figurative cheesecake! Do the thing you think you will hate but know you should do any way. It may seem so heavy it'll kill you, but really, you'll never believe the sweetness you'll find.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

hello, my name is...

Here it is. My first post. To blog or not to blog? That was the question I have been asking myself for awhile now. I work full-time as a writer for a marketing company, and I knew starting a blog would mean I would be writing from sun up to sun down, so I couldn't decide if I wanted to take this step. Being the adventurous (read: crazy) person I am, my passion for writing won over my desire for sleep (a normal occurrence), so here we are!

I'm not sure what will come of it, but if I inspire just one person to love a little bit bigger, to pack their suitcase and see a little more of the world, to further accept their body for the glorious creation it is, it will have all been worth it. I'm assuming I'll have two loyal readers, my mom and some random woman out in Minnesota, but we'll see. Oh, the possibilities! My blog will be a journal of my journey. I'm simply a sojourner traveling down this dusty road looking for flowers to pick along the way. You can expect my own brand of gibberish on the days that fill the pages in my, faith, running, health and nutrition, travel and love...swoon-worthy love. This is where the bee meets the butterfly.