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Summer Flashback

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Today is the first day of fall. It was a beautiful sunny fall day, too. On Sunday I stocked up on mums and pumpkins at Dillon's and crept into our holiday cave (the storage space in our basement under the stairs) to pull out all my beloved fall and Halloween decorations. When I opened up those plastic containers I just felt an instant burst of happiness, and well, caught a strong whiff of cinnamon spice as well. I just love fall. And, obviously, Halloween. It makes me happy- and brings back a lot of wonderful memories. While others get sentimental, and all warm and fuzzy when they pull out their Christmas decorations, I'm the odd duck that gets those feelings pulling out the black cats, red & orange foliage, and trick or treat dish.

Last night though, I enjoyed a nice little summer flashback thanks to my iPhone. Thinking I was possibly getting a new iPhone 6 soon (false alarm- not getting one- thanks Verizon ad), I downloaded all my phone's photos to my laptop. As I downloaded all the hundreds and hundreds of photos, I saw my summer flash before my eyes. It was really fun to relive all the memories from the summer. Sometimes I will peruse the photos on my phone, but as they flashed on the screen before me all sequentially, I enjoyed savoring all the summer moments.

Summer was busy. Before my little impromptu summer slideshow, it honestly seemed like a blur. But sitting in front of my laptop last night I realized it was a really good summer.

We drank Bloody Marys at Botanica...

We had fun in the sun on our 'giant floating thing'...

We planted a maple and named it Marvin. Thanks to my parents for the perfect anniversary gift!

We drank wine on the patio...

We visited my parents and sat on their amazing deck.

We went to Cuchara, Colorado, the best place on Earth, with friends...

We did a lot of home improvement projects. I think we're still woozy off of paint fumes...

We lounged.

We ate really healthy.

We celebrated with friends.

We went to weddings...

and more weddings!

We went to the pool...

We ate at favorite restaurants and drank things like this amazing grapefruit margarita...

We ate a TON of bruschetta. Excuse our garlic breath...

We had a bittersweet goodbye with the babeliner...

We discovered Moscow Mules, and drank many other refreshing concoctions.

This is just a small sampling of the summer photos I enjoyed viewing last night. But, now it's time to move on. Fall's here- just waiting to be captured!


Monday, August 25, 2014
I just finished reading my new favorite book, Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. This summer I have been searching for some answers to questions I’ve had for a long time, and this book was just what I needed to find some direction. I read another book of Shauna’s last winter, Bread & Wine, and just really fell in love with her writing.

Shauna is an outstanding writer- and such a kindred spirit. This is the first book I’ve read and felt so deeply connected to what the author is feeling and thinking. There were so many times in this book I wanted to jump and yell, “This is SO me!” or “I know exactly how you feel – I really do!”

I love Shauna because she is human – she says what we’re all thinking and feeling. She’s shares her bout with jealously, her struggle to write the book, and moments of restored faith. She reminded me we don’t have to have it together all the time – but we do have to wear life like a favorite sweater. Wear it, use it up, and wring it out. She reminded me that it’s rebellious to choose joy. It’s so much easier to be miserable.

I am rarely miserable. Everything in my life is so good! I love the people, places and things that encompass my life. I sometimes wonder how I got so lucky.

I have struggled this summer to find balance though –which is sometimes difficult with the 90 mph speed of life. I do want to eat cold tangerines but it can be challenging when there’s classes to teach, errands to run, a house to clean, dinner to cook, meetings to attend, and family and friends who need you. Sometimes it’s easy to fall in bed at the end of the day, set your alarm, and not even have the energy to take one bite of that tangerine.

I have also struggled to find a way- the courage and the time really -to pursue something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s been a dream for a very long time. Finding the time, the courage, and reaching out for encouragement from others, is scary and challenging. I have needed someone to tell me I can do it. Thank goodness Cold Tangerines came into my life this summer.

I recently posted one of my favorite quotes from Cold Tangerines on my Instagram – as a reminder for myself. I added the hashtag #coldtangerines. Then I clicked on it – and that’s the magic of hashtags (sometimes we’re hard on poor social media). I instantly saw others – just like me who had found inspiration from Shauna’s book. They had tagged their favorite parts of the book- explaining why it was special to them.

It reminded me of the power of words and good writing. Great writing can speak to a person so powerfully. Great writing can connect us with others, even those we’ve never met, and remind us we’re not alone in our day to day struggles and joys.

It can remind us it will all be #okay.


Sunday, August 10, 2014
I've been on a bruschetta craze lately. It is the ultimate summer comfort food. Sure, you can have bruschetta any time of the year, but it just tastes so much better in the summer. I have loved having my own convenient supply of pesto this year- thanks to my thriving basil plant. It loves all the direct, hot summer sun it gets on the south side of the house.

It's been fun to go out to my side herb garden, pick handfuls of basil leaves, and in less than a hour chow down on a hot, crunchy, gooey piece of bruschetta....complete with olive oil running down my chin. Attractive, I know.

For the longest time, I tried to do bruschetta in a skillet. Placing each piece of French bread in the hot oil and watching them carefully. It was time consuming and it never turned out right. I'd end up splattered with olive oil and my kitchen filled with smoke and the scent of charred garlic. My mother makes killer bruschetta and she shared a few tips with me. It simplified the process and the bruschetta is SO good.

She toasts her bread in the oven at high heat- have your homemade pesto, cheese, and chopped tomatoes ready to go! Once the bread is toasty, she pulls it out of the oven and rubs each piece with garlic. This makes such a delicious difference. Then pile on the cheese and pesto - toast it all again- and then pull it out and add your tomato and olive oil.

Hot crusty bread, homemade pesto, and garden fresh tomatoes. It really doesn't get much better than that.

Happy summer!

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