Monday, July 9, 2018

Summer Goals 2018

I never stop learning. Here are my summer goals for 2018.

Off-list achievement: I made my first gin and tonic at a Highlights Foundation workshop at the end of June 2018. It was kind of a magical evening in my cabin, reading, listening to some Irma Thomas, sipping my very own handmade cocktail. I didn't have lime, but I got along just fine. 

I know the world is dealing with some horrible stuff right now, and me learning to grill isn't going to save it. But me learning to make a margarita can help me relax, refuel, and get back out there. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Trying New Beauty Products

I'm not really good at trying new beauty products. But every once in a while I embark on an adventure to try some new things.

Item 1

One of the new things I'm trying right now is Bar Shampoo. I'm not sure exactly why I decided to try this as I really can't use bar soaps, but sometimes I make impulsive decisions. I was in Chicago staying at the Palmer House and on the basement floor was a really cool beauty products store with all kinds of fun things, including my favorite Mervis toothpaste. The ingredients on this bar shampoo looked pretty good so I shelled out the cash. It wasn't cheap.

I used it for the first time yesterday, and it did feel waxy in the shower, but not the rest of the day. And I'm not having any scalp irritation (I have a dry scalp and usually use a tea tree oil shampoo) so I'm fairly satisfied.

What I didn't realize until after I tried this bar for the first time is that this month is Plastic Free July! Maybe I'm psychic. On the Plastic Free July site, there's a pesky plastics quiz. I found out about Plastic Free July when a friend shared a Buzzfeed article that includes 39 ways to reduce plastic. I'm already doing 1-7, 10, 14, 18, 19 (Bar shampoo!), 22, 26, 29, 31, 37, 38.

Here are some that I plan to try. They are going to be interesting and tough:
8. Shop in the bulk food section of your grocer rather than buying pre-packaged staples.

11. Take your own reusable container to the deli or butcher when buying meat or fish that’s normally wrapped in plastic before being sold.

12. And take your own container to restaurants if you think it’s likely that you’ll have leftovers.

Item 2

I have to be super careful with what I use to wash my face. I have rosacea and really dry skin, so no retinol (I had the worst experience after using it in 2014). I like exfoliating every once in awhile and I like having smooth skin. So I got this weird natural sponge.

It was kind of strange, because it was wet inside the package. I think that's the special collagen. I don't know. I'm pretty sure collagen isn't being absorbed into my skin, but it's a nice soft scrubber (not at all like a dish sponge) so I will use it for two months and then recycle - or maybe COMPOST it. It's a vegetable, right?

Item 3

The third new product was something I picked up at Ulta in Pittsburgh. I was roaming the store looking for who-knows-what, and I spotted this product.

I think it did a decent job even after my run yesterday in some very hot Pittsburgh weather, so I'm happy. Ulta claims I can return it even I don't like it, which surprises me, but I don't think I will be returning it.

It smells good - Lavanilla seems to work for both deodorant AND creme brûlée.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Colorful Cookies for Summer

Here's another kid who isn't a disaster in the kitchen. While we were buying groceries at Target, I spotted this tie-dye cookie kit from Duff Goldman and knew right away he would want to do this. It took us two days. 

Day 1 was mixing the dough and dyeing the dough. The box called for four colors of dough, but he didn't want an orange, he wanted 2 yellows. My suggestion for a green was also declined. It was very difficult for him to stir the dye into the dough, so I donated some elbow grease. Then the dough had to rest, and this kid had soccer, so we had to wait until Day 2 to swirl and bake. 

Day 2 was his favorite part by far.  

He rolled the dough into four balls.

Then he smooshed those dough ball together. 

Next he rolled out a rope.

And last he twirled the rope into a spiral.

The final results LOOK good…but how do they taste??


Friday, June 8, 2018

My Kids are Not Disasters in the Kitchen

In my last post, I detailed the difficulties I had boiling figgy pudding and admitted I'm a disaster in the kitchen.

You know who's not a disaster in the kitchen? My kids!

This summer, the middle kid dedicated over an hour to making his first batch of hot sauce! He received this kit as a birthday present from his older brother, it's from a company called Grow and Make, and we ordered through Uncommon Goods.

While the kit suggested some recipes, he decided to go off on his own. He selected his peppers (1 chipotle, 2 guajillo)

He needed cilantro, and luckily he received a little "grow your own cilantro" kit for Easter. He grew it, and planted it, and was excited to use some fresh leaves. 

The aroma was very strong. 

The base we used was chopped tomatoes from Penn Corner CSA. We're trying the Farm Stand this year. 

He was a little nervous to try it….

But it was GOOD! About thirty seconds after this photo, his face transformed as the heat of the peppers kicked in. I was laughing too hard and forgot to snap a photo.

After boiling, the sauce needed to sit for a little bit, so he enlisted his brother's help in drawing a label. He decided to name his blend "It Burns."

Like his dad, he really enjoyed creating his very own mix from scratch. He was really careful during the whole process. 

The hot sauce matures over two weeks, so while we've enjoyed a few tastes, we're looking forward to the full flavor. Come on over and try some!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I Am a Disaster in the Kitchen

I am a disaster in the kitchen.

You can read the full story on twitter here  

Monday, April 9, 2018

2018 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

This was my eighth year running the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run, and again I loved it. A lot of my training happened on the treadmill and in my chilly, dim basement I'd look forward and picture the Washington Monument rising above the trees covered in blooms.

Things started getting real when I loaded up the new face on my Garmin.

I drove down to the Expo (at the very cool National Building Museum) with my friend Sandy. We spent some time finding our names on the poster with all the runners' names printed as small as possible. 

Then we headed to the Expo HQ and did some volunteering. We labelled lightsabers, taped boxes, bagged shirts, lugged things and generally helped out. I love doing behind the scenes work like this, especially on events that mean a lot to me.

As a thank you for the social media work I did this year (I was focused on fundraising) I received a new pair of UA Hover shoes. I'm looking forward to trying these out…when I'm recovered from the race.

My volunteering in the months leading up to the race was focused on fundraising for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Since I've started fundraising, I have raised over $8000. Very soon I will have raised over $10,000 and I'm incredibly proud to support this organization.

Race morning was chilly but clear and sunny. I ran without my phone so I don't have any race day photos (sad face) but I did run a great time with a great effort. I felt wonderful the whole way, satisfied with both my pace and effort. I was able to enjoy myself as we crossed the river, the monuments glowing in the sun, the blossoms blooming overheard, the spectators cheering us on. It was a magical morning. It doesn't hurt I got a little faster each mile as the race went on!! That just shows how great I felt. 

After the race, Sandy and I celebrated at Cuba Libre. One of those mojitos is mine, and we definitely deserved them!!

It's been 8 years since I started running the Cherry Blossom. I'm looking forward to running next year and I'm so grateful for the chance to be out there every year!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The World in 100 Years

On a trip to the Catskills, we embarked on an adventure to find Rip Van Winkle related murals. 

I hadn't read the story in years and was trying to recall the details to share with the kids, and luckily I found it in a country store in Tannersville. 

The biggest differences Rip experienced were escaping his "shrewish wife" and hanging with his dog. 

What will be different about the world in 100 years?