Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday Quotable

Today's quote was almost "Be the gift.," I thought this one by Charles Dickens conveyed the spirit of Christmas a little more eloquently. People take extra time to be kind at this time of year. It is a beautiful thing to witness and participate in. As the holiday approaches, try to remember that you are a gift and can be a gift to others. Take that feeling with you into and all through next year. Happy holidays!! Cheers. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Artist Spotlight

This week, the spotlight is on Hozier. If you look at my other artist spotlight posts, this comes as no surprise. You know I have a thing for singer/songwriters with the type of bluesy sound you get on Take Me To Church. That said, until this week, that was the only song of his I'd heard. I have all kinds of love for that song but after consuming everything I could find on YouTube, I found a lot of other favorites. I can listen to his entire debut album (Hozier) without skipping a moment but my urge to repeat was at its peak with Angel of Small Death & The Codeine Scene, Sedated, To Be Alone, and Work Song. Work Song is my favorite. 

Hozier also released two EPs in the last two years (Take Me To Church and From Eden). Most of the songs on both made the album. You can read more about Hozier by visiting his site and by checking out the interviews and songs below.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


For many it is the holiday season and whether or not you're prepared, there will undoubtedly be a moment over the next few weeks when you need to pause or go postal. Because of that, this week, I'm suggesting Yoga. Whether you're a beginner or advanced, nothing helps bring peace to the forefront like some deep yoga breathing (Pranayama) and some quiet time spent essentially stretching. I could get all spiritually technical and talk about opening chakras and such but let's just keep it basic. Yoga relaxes you. Draw on it in stressful holiday moments. I'm not saying you should launch into Warrior Pose while in line behind a beligerent toddler who is throwing a tantrum over sold out Frozen dolls. I'm suggesting taking time after you wake up or before you go to sleep to do a few poses and come back to your center. Happy Thursday! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Love List

1. If you hate using a track pad, I am not sure the EvoMouse is for you, but I find it incredibly cool. I'd love it for my desktop. (Celluon)

2. The 3Doodler is another cool tech toy. This pen allows you to bring your doodles to life.(MoMA)

3. If you are shopping for someone who is into photography (or for yourself), the Petzval Portrait Lens is a great gift. It combines historic craftsmanship and new technology to create a great lens. (MoMA)

4. If you're entertaining this holiday season, you're undoubtedly looking for yummy desserts that give pumpkin pie a run for its money. I know I'm kinda done with pumpkin season. Why not try this Ellise Pierce's Pecan Salty Caramel Tart? (Design Sponge)

5. If you read the blog regularly, you know I am really into salt. I love artisan salts (white truffle salt is my favorite). When I saw a DIY project with instructions for making my own rosemary infused salt, I was super excited. It's great for home and for gifting your foodie friends.  (Katlyn's Kitchen)

6. I'm a reader and lately, I've been using  my audible account like crazy. Listening on my traffic filled commute makes for at least 2 hours of listening a day. I'm killing my own book list pretty quickly so the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014 is right on time. It will keep me with plenty to read in the year to come. (New York Times)

7. Let's go back to our foodie friends. Infused oils, like this hot pepper oil, also make a great gift. In fact, infused foods are a great gift period. You can infuse alcohol, sugar, salts (as seen above), vinegars, etc. This makes for a great winter project. (A Beautiful Mess)

8. If your friends love statement jewelry, why not make it this season. You can guarantee no one else has the piece and customize it to incorporate elements your friends love. I love this tassel necklace but possibilities with jewelry are virtually endless. (P.S. I Made This)

9. With all the DIY gift suggestions, I had to include some DIY wrapping ideas. You can find a lot of options all over the web but I love these curated by I Spy DIY. (I Spy DIY) 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Food Tuesday: Red Lentil Cakes with Coconut Brown Rice

While browsing the grocery aisles last week, I found Veggie Patch's Moroccan Red Lentil Cakes. I thought they'd make for an easy dinner (and they were on sale) so I grabbed them. Based on their spice profile, I decided to pair them with a ginger coconut rice I saw on Saveur. To finish the dish, I tossed in some shredded carrots and pomegranate arils  for color and texture. The meal was delicious. You can find the rice recipe below. Enjoy! 

Coconut Brown Rice

1  1" piece peeled fresh ginger
1 cup brown rice
3⁄4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1 teaspoon cilantro

1. Using the back of a large knife, pound the ginger until it becomes bruised and somewhat stringy and releases some of is juice. This will take a few good whacks.
2. Rinse the rice in a strainer under cold running water for 30 seconds. Transfer the rice to a 1 1⁄2-quart saucepan and add the coconut milk, 3⁄4 cup cold water, and the salt.
3. Add the ginger to the pan and stir well to combine with the rice, making sure that the ginger is as fully submerged in the rice as possible. Place the pan over high heat and bring the liquid to a boil while stirring with a large spoon to prevent the rice at the bottom of the pan from scorching or burning. (Don't worry if the liquid thickens considerably as it comes to a boil; that's a result of the combining of the fats in the coconut milk with the starch in the rice.)

4. Allow the rice to boil for 15 seconds, while continuing to stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the liquid is completely absorbed and rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the pot from heat; allow the rice to continue to steam, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and garnish with sprigs of cilantro.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Quotable

"What do you want for Christmas?"

I've asked this question so many times over the last couple of weeks. This is the first year I haven't planned well. Usually, I have a list for each friend or family member I exchange gifts with. I don't have to ask what people want because I have ideas based on conversations throughout the year. I'll admit I've had some gift card years but usually, I put thought into my choices.

Because I'm down to the wire, I've found myself obsessed with things. As I shop, I see all kinds of stuff I want too. Stuff I DO NOT NEED. I am in the middle of a purge project for goodness sake. I took a screen shot of today's quote months ago and today, it finally seemed appropriate. I'm going to reconnect my mind to the things that matter most and not worry so much about finding the perfect gift and a timely delivery date.

It's really about the love and the intention behind that fancy new coffee maker and not being perceived as perfectly planned Polly.

Happy Monday! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Artist Spotlight

I heard "Stronger Than Ever" on a television show and immediately hopped online trying to find the artist. First, let me pledge my love to Google. You really can find anything. Next, let me pledge my love for Raleigh Ritchie (Jacob Anderson). The actor/singer has been acting for a while and has 2 EPs: The Middle Child (2013) and Black and Blue (2014). As for the acting, he's been in quite a few things but you likely recognize him as Grey Worm from Game of Thrones (I really gotta get into that show). You can download his latest EP at his website and you can enjoy an interview and a mini playlist of his music below.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


There is so much going on in my life these days that the gym is the furthest thing from my mind. I know this is hypocritical considering my blogging is largely meant to push for a life well lived. At the same time, life happens and sometimes the choice is between 3 hours of sleep and an hour at the gym. Lately, I've been choosing sleep. That said, I haven't been totally inactive. I try to squeeze in some yoga to relax at bedtime and in the morning. Some days, I try to crank up the intensity in the morning. It helps me wake up, when a shower just doesn't seem like it will be enough--especially since I am off caffeine for now. Today's workout is my go to for waking up. It gets the blood (and the sweat) flowing. Credit to @exerciseprograms on Instagram. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Love List

1. Ever have that "where are my keys/phone/wallet??" panic moment while walking out the door? I have someone in my life  (and by someone, I mean my husband) who chronically suffers from lost-key-itis. The Tile is the answer and will absolutely be in his stocking on Christmas morning. (Tile App)

2. I got a bonsai tree as a gift when I started my career but my hours were so crazy back then, I neglected it and it ended up in the garbage. If I ever try again, I'm going for the Dawn Redwood Bonsai Forest Kit. It's so pretty and would be the perfect complement for my office. (National Geographic)

3. The Mighty Purse combines fashion and function by providing you with a cute, date night clutch and a phone charger in one. Great gift idea. (Might Purse)

4. I love Compleat's Silicone Lunch Bag. You can pack it or use it as a replacement for Tupperware and eat right out of the container. (Compleat or Grommet)

5. These leather wrap bangles are are a chic and simple complement to any outfit. They can be a pop of color or you can stick with black and wear them with anything. (Grommet)

6. If you live in a winter wonderland (or an icy hell depending on your perspective), you can benefit from a little extra traction. Nordic Grip's mini grippers are your solution. They come in black, pink and blue and slip right over your shoes. (Grommet)

7. Cartoonist, Josh Hara (@yoyoha on Instagram) is getting a lot of attention for his #100CoffeeCups project. I look forward to each new post. (Mashable)

8. I know we're not at the new year yet but it's time to start thinking about what you want for 2015. I know I am looking for a fresh start. This article suggests 10 Things to Let Go Of Before the End of the Year. (Mind Body Green)

9. Bond harnesses robot power to hand write notes for you. I love the concept and totally think its nice to send handwritten notes over texts and e-mails. If you don't have time, Bond is for you. (Hello Bond)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Food Tuesday: Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salad

I got home tonight and wanted nothing more than a big, yummy salad. I didn't feel like cooking, which is good since I'm trying to stick to a mostly raw menu this month. I'm still trying to cleanse a bit after the gluttony that is Thanksgiving (though holiday parties are making that a bit difficult. 

I started this salad with a base of mixed greens, which included kale, chard, arugula and baby spinach. I added almost everything in my fridge: marinated artichoke hearts, pomegranate arils, baby bella mushrooms, slices of red pear, marinated banana pepper rings, sliced campari tomatoes, fried onions, chickpeas, and for a little extra hit of protein, I chopped up a Quorn chicken patty (meat free). I topped the salad with a mustard based vinaigrette (1 tbsp. red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp. dijon mustard, 1/2 clove garlic (minced), 1-2 tbsp. olive oil, a touch (about 1/2 teaspoon) of honey to balance the acid and salt and pepper to taste). The result was a yummy, filling salad that hit every taste and texture note I could have asked for. I highly recommend doing this with your favorite ingredients. Think beyond the cheese and croutons! Happy Tuesday and bon appétit!   

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Quotable

I have been working like a fiend lately and my life has slipped out from under me. The deal I was working on finally closed and I used the weekend to take a breath and figure out how to put my life back on track. Part of that means getting ready for the holidays. I haven't done a lick of shopping or menu planning. Getting the house clean and ready for guests? Laughable.

As I started to trade work based to do lists for personal ones, I could feel anxiety rising. I had to take a second and remind myself that the most important part of the season isn't in the perfect, impeccably wrapped gift or the delicious (IMHO), lovingly prepared meals. It isn't in the refreshing, hand crafted cocktails or the right holiday party dress. It is about the time. Living and loving those you're blessed to have and being present in the moment with them. So get wrapped up in each other this season. If ever there was a time for love and light, this is it.

Happy Monday!  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday. It is a global day for giving back. We tend to flow quickly from giving thanks for what we have to scouring the internet and brick and mortar stores for shopping deals in the pursuit of more. Think of Giving Tuesday as a way to detox from Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Use today to give back to the charities you love and encourage your friends and family to do the same. To learn more, visit the Giving Tuesday site

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Quotable

Today is World AIDS Day.The theme this year is "Focus, Partner Achieve: An AIDS free generation." It would be amazing if there is an AIDS free generation in our lifetime. There have been so many advances in medication. Yet, the disease persists. Despite today's quote, it is not just a disease for the poor or one that runs rampant in other countries. 

Awareness, protection and testing remain important. Statistics show that people are relaxing on protection because of available medication. Statistics also show If we're going to get to an AIDS free generation, that can't be the case. You can never be too careful when it comes to your life. Stay on top of your status and learn more wherever you can. 

You can find all sorts of resources on the World AIDS Day home page. Spread the word!