Oatmeal Smoothie – delicious!

I’m home sick in bed and needed something to eat, so I tried one of the recipes i pinned on Pinterest ages ago.

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Chobani yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • packet of truvia sweetener
  • 1 cup water

Blend, blend, blend, and enjoy.

10

09 2012

Long time, no blog.

Coming off my longest blog break ever, I am back. Here are a few things to catch you up on:

I adopted a 4-year-old beagle from the pound this past fall, and I love this little furball more than I expected.

I took a whirlwind trip to Europe with some girlfriends to explore Germany/Switzerland/Austria and to attend our good friend, Sarah’s, wedding.

I had a great birthday. I even wore green which I usually refuse despite it being St. Patty’s.

It’s Spring in Salt Lake. Last time we talked it was winter.

25

03 2012

One week until Christmas – Let the mad dash begin!

Need some emergency, back-up, or last minute gifts? Below are some of my favorite things that are sure to be a win for any of your recipients!

Kate Spade Gumball earrings – I got these beauties during Bloomingdale’s Friends and Family last year and they have been a wardrobe staple ever since. They’re big and twinkly without looking ridiculous or costumey (yes, I just made that word up.) Available at at Bloomingdales.

MARC by Marc Jacobs gloves – There were many Utah football games this fall where I wished for the ability to check my iPhone without chilling my finally-warm hands. These gloves are the solution! Warm and stylish, with special fingertips that finally provide warmth and the ability to use your touch-screen device.  Nordstrom

Kirkland Sheets – These sheets are amazing. AKA the BEST. I was introduced to them while staying at my friend’s beach house and was convinced they were supremely expensive and high end until while stripping the sheets at the end of our stay I saw the Kirkland tag. For less than $100, they will dress my mattress for years to come. Available at Costco.

Capri Blue Volcano Candle – This has been a favorite for years and is what my home always aspires to smell like. Something about it just makes me happy. Sweet citrus that fills a room without overpowering it. From Anthropologie.

Roku – When I moved into my own place I quickly realized that the downside of no roommates was not having anyone to split the cable bill with. The upside was having two televisions to myself. So I beefed up my internet package, got rid of the DVR and picked up a Roku. With built-in wifi, this device delivers Netflix, Hulu, Amazon movie rentals (and more!) without monthly fees. Available at Roku, Best Buy, and Costco.

L’Occitane Immortelle Brightening UV Sheild -  I’ve reached the point in my 20’s where I’ve become concerned about protecting my skin, and am cursing my early 20’s when I was so “careless about sunscreen” (you’re right mom.) This brightening lotion protects and improves your skin, while giving you a lovely glow. Perfect in the winter when I feel like my skin is looking dull from the harsh weather and inversion. Available at L’Occitane, Nordstrom, and others.

Grand Chenille Throw - Soft, cozy and available in a great variety of colors. This blanket is the perfect weight and carries through all seasons. Available from Potterybarn.

Laundry Fragrance – I got this as a gift a few years ago and I’ve been in love with it ever since. I save it for my sheets and dedicates, and it makes them smell like a dream. Buy online from The Good Home Co. or at Hip & Humble in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Feed 100 Bag - This was an impulse buy when I was grocery shopping in DC; I had a metro ride and a quarter mile walk from the store to my house and it was pouring outside – not a good time to be carrying a paper bag full of groceries. So I grabbed this Feed bag off the shelf, unzipped it and loaded up my goods. Not only is the compact, zippered design great for keeping in my purse, but profits go toward helping feed school meals to children in need. Win and WIN. After four years, it still looks great and has held up many trips through the washing machine. Buy online and learn more about the organization from  The Feed Foundation, or from your local Whole Foods.

Glass carafes – After all the scary things I’ve read about storing foods in plastics, I started looking for some glass containers to use in lieu of plastic. These Italian bottles are beautiful, functional and of course – BPA free! I always have one or two filled with water in my fridge, and they’ve come in handy for parties when I want to serve from something cute. I’ve given these as gifts a number of times, including my mom and brothers who fell in love with how great the water tasted stored in glass. Buy online from Bloomingdales or at Hip & Humble in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Kindle – I will be honest, I was not interested in reading books in digital format. I like the feeling of holding a paper book, turning the pages, and the back-lit contrast drove me nuts. Then I finally looked at a Kindle after my friend Natalie raved about hers, and I fell in love instantly. The screen contrast feels like you’re looking at paper, it’s small and light, and since it’s not back-lit there is ZERO reflection in the sun. This Kindle was my constant companion this past summer and the park, pool and everywhere else. I have been burning through books ever since. I could go on and on and on. Thank you Amazon!

Tarte blush – This little buddy stays in my purse. Just a quick dab on your cheeks and you have a nice, natural, glowy blush. Tarte uses natural, dermatologist-tested ingredients that help improve the health of your skin. Find at Sephora.

Celestial Coasters – Pretty and practical! These hand-made beauties are sure to be a win. $32 for a set of 4 from Anthropologie online or buy them individually at an Anthro store.

Amazing Grace Fragrance Mist – This is my favorite fragrance from Philosophy. I have sensitive skin so I frequently have problems if I spray fragrance directly on my skin – with the exception of this. I spray this mist all over after I get out of the shower, get dressed, then finish off with a spritz of my favorite perfume. Subtle enough to mix with other fragrances, or use alone and smell fresh and clean. Available at Philosophy or Nordstrom.

Lap Desk - Saturday mornings have become a blissful time of my week. I sit in bed and catch up on my weekday shows while I read blogs, e-mail and once in a blue moon update my own blog. Since I melted the battery in my last Mac using a pillow to prop it up on my lap which blocked the fan, I got a lap desk to preserve the life of this machine. I was excited when I found this on sale, which was available online when I started this post, but now it’s sold out because there aren’t enough consecutive Saturdays to blog, so check your local  Potterybarn.

Ceramic Slicer - This is a staple in my kitchen. SUPER, super sharp so be careful if you buy one, but you will love it. Perfect for slicing veggies for salads and recipes. From Williams-Sonoma.

17

12 2011

Ear infections – not just for your two year old niece and nephew.

Have you ever had an ear infection as an adult? Right, I didn’t think so. That’s because they are usually reserved for small children, smokers, and obese adults. Key word: usually.

Ahem. Let me just say that I have a new-found sympathy for little kids with ear infections. I want to hug them all and feed them ice cream. Or whatever they want, because they deserve it.

My ears had been bothering me for a few days as I was trying to get over a head cold, but I didn’t think much of it. Then I woke up around 2am with excruciating pain in my middle ear. Serious pain. Like – I just wanted someone to remove my ear completely so it would stop. I now know why children scream for hours on end when they have an ear infection.

I went to the doctor and sure enough, I had an ear infection. He was surprised since I’m not a toddler, a smoker, or an obese person with other health problems. The doc wrote up a prescription for a brutal round of antibiotics and then asked if I needed something for the pain, because apparently he knows the level of pain an ear infection inflicts: hovering somewhere between excruciating and dead.

While I appreciated the thought, pain meds make me one of two things: nauseous or cranky, sometimes both. I was already pretty cranky, and to throw a bout of nausea on top of pain – no thank you. In lieu of pain meds he recommended I get a lot of rest, avoid lying down flat, and to hold a hot towel or heated pack against the offending ear until the pain subsides.

Sounds simple enough, right? It is – until ten minutes into holding said towel against your ear, at which point you start losing feeling in your hand. So you switch arms until that one falls asleep. Then you lie down ON the towel – which is great until the ear pressure increases and you remember that you aren’t supposed to lie down flat. Clearly, this was not working out. Where was my personal servant when I needed one? The one that fans me, feeds me grapes, holds hot towels to my head when I’m sick, and reads bedtime stories.

Being servant-less, I dragged my cranky self to the drug store where I picked up some supplies. The solution: a microwavable heat pack and an ace bandage. (I also threw in a copy of French Vogue for good measure.)

I realize this looks a little dramatic, but it’s quite possibly the best idea I’ve ever had. Second only to that time I got a beagle. Which I haven’t told you about, but I’m going to this week so get excited. Also be excited about the fact that you now know what to do if you’re rendered servant-less and find yourself with a wicked ear infection. As a side note: feel free to omit the French Vogue from your treatment plan. Any type of language decoding will only exacerbate the crankiness. However, a Keeping Up With the Kardashians marathon and Thai delivery will immediately lift your spirits.

12

11 2011

Staycation 2011.

Since I haven’t taken any time off this year, except to deal with catastrophes, I decided to take a week off – to do nothing. The grand plan was to begin my staycation on Friday at 5pm, at which point I would depart for Cedar City to spend time with my niece/nephews/sister/bro-in-law who stopped by for a week visit during their move from Portland to Virginia.

To remain consistent with my 2011 string of luck, promptly at 6pm on Friday I came down with an illness that I will describe as e.coli death. So days 1-3 of staycation were spent dying in my condo, and day 4 was spent dying at my parent’s house. I’m finally mostly alive again and am jumping into my staycation with full force.

This morning was spent playing with this little guy, who puts a face to the phrase “fat and happy.”

At 5 month old, he weighs nearly as much as his 2-year-old brother. I pretty much love him; he’s just so cute and squishy. Lots of play time was needed, since he’s moving so far away from me.

He hung out with me in the morning and helped me with my e-mails, but then I got distracted by the cuteness of the dimples on his feet, and the fat rolls on his thighs.

After lunch we all said goodbye to my sister, brother-in-law, and car full of kiddies and then I wasted the afternoon away on a pool raft with a book.

Tonight I plan on eating a full meal. Wish me luck!

05

07 2011

Tres magnifique!

So, my odds of winning this contest are, at best, slim to none – but wouldn’t it be great?! I think a trip to Europe is just what this girl needs right now.

Want to enter and take me with you if you win?

Visit Oh Happy Day’s blog here.

20

06 2011

This post should be sponsored by Tums.

I’ve been waiting to blog about why I disappeared for a few months until I could write about it without sounding bitter or like a whiny, pathetic child. No guarantee, but I did try. It’s been a rocky five months, coupled with a rocky relationship, and non-stop anxiety.

Have you ever been in one of those relationships with someone where you are dating, but at the same time you aren’t dating? This strange chameleon-type relationship typically starts out as friends and then moves beyond just friends, and then hovers in an ambiguous state of in-between and suddenly seven months (or in a previous case, two years) go by before you even realize what’s happened.

But let’s rewind, and I will begin what will most likely be the longest blog ever written.

The first week of January started the year off with what was clearly meant to be a premonition of what 2011 was sending my way, as I slid off the side of the freeway in a snow/ice storm. Two hours later I was towed off the freeway by my fabulous uncles and dad. The next day I left the mechanic’s $900 poorer, with 4 new tires and new front brakes and rotors.

The next week, I had a colossal fight and breakup with my enigmatic friend, who will be referred to as “The Bastard” (a.k.a. The B) from this point forward.

The third week of January wasn’t terrible, but just to keep things consistent, a mis-fired instant message to a coworker caused some drama at the office. I mean, I was JOKING. I know that you aren’t actually a drug dealer, OK?!

Week four just felt like salt in the wound when someone sawed through my bike lock and stole the adorable two-wheeler from behind my condo. I remember pulling into my parking spot, seeing the broken lock dangling from the fence, and just shaking my head as I walked inside. I ordered Chinese delivery, put on my pj’s, and spent the rest of the day in bed.

And then there was February.

February 1st I got a call from my dad just after midnight. My mom had a headache all day, and after it escalated beyond the point of nausea to unbearable pain, he took her to the hospital where they discovered a large brain hemorrhage. It was serious enough that they were going to life-flight her from their hospital to one with the necessary neuro specialists in Salt Lake City. After pulling together a flight crew and chartering in a secured-wing plane from Vegas due to a snow storm, she reached Salt Lake around 6:00AM where an ambulance was waiting on the tarmac to rush her to the hospital.

The next day was a blur of doctors and nurses and tests. At one point a nurse mistakenly said she was stable, thinking she was a respiratory patient instead of neuro; the ICUs for these departments are on the same floor and due to room availability she spent the first two days in the Respiratory wing. We were just starting to breathe easier when her neurologist explained the severity of the situation. Not only was she not stable, but was in extremely critical condition with an injury so serious that the mortality rate hovered above 80%. (excuse me while I throw up.)

As recommended by her doctors, we gathered our family, prepared for the worst and prayed for the best. My sister, who was 36 weeks pregnant at the time, flew down from Portland to be with my mom and say the things she needed to, heaven forbid the worst happened.

The day Michelle was supposed to fly home, the kidney stones her doctors in Portland had been watching started to cause intense pain. That, coupled with the stress of the current situation, put her into premature labor. So, at this point, my dad is on the 4th floor with my mom who is fighting for her life, my brother Mark is trying to keep my dad from having a nervous breakdown, and I’m on the first floor trying to keep my hysterical sister calm while we try to get in touch with her husband. I burst into hysterical laughter at one point because I couldn’t believe this was really happening. Also? Stress makes me laugh, which can be super inconvenient. Like in a hospital, or during a final exam in college.

We talked to Dave, who then farmed their kids off to neighbors and got on the next flight out of Portland. As he ran through the door she was no longer being admitted into labor and delivery, but was being whisked away for emergency surgery to save her kidney.

Tired of the drama yet? Me too.

The next morning I was so proud of myself for showering and getting ready for the day that I took a web-cam photo (we know I love myself the web cam) and sent a picture proving said clean hair to my friend Chareese. Her response was that I should probably crawl into a hospital bed for a nap and to go eat a cheeseburger. Sadly, this was the best I’d looked in days. On the upside, I had lost five pounds. Unfortunately, I think all five came from under my eyes and cheekbones.

After Michelle’s surgery her contractions subsided and they were able to release her, but not before the entire maternity wing was evacuated due to a fire alarm. That was fun. The nurses in the Neuro-ICU knew that my mom was unaware of my sister’s situation; she was under the impression that she landed safely in Portland days ago. The nurses came in to update me about the evacuation in semi-code so I knew my sister was OK, and my mom thought they were talking about the Women’s center because it was interesting. She never caught on; it turns out that pain killers are good for lots of things!

We took turns sleeping at the hospital, and I got very good at folding my body like a piece of origami onto a make-shift bed crafted of pillows and uncomfortable chairs.

Thanks to an incredible medical team, my mom pulled through in remarkable time. What we thought would be months in the hospital ended with just 14 days in the ICU and only a day or two for observation on the rehab floor. Words cannot express how grateful I am, and how blessed we feel as a family. Not only did she survive, but she has no noticeable mental deficits or brain damage. A miracle, to be sure.

The phone calls, e-mails, prayers, love, and messages sent our way kept us afloat during one of the worst months of my life. I have amazing aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends. Thank you for being my rock.

The week my mom was released from the hospital, my sister went into labor and ended up having an emergency c-section. My mom had planned on going to Portland to help care for her other kids as she brought home this new baby, but that was no longer an option. Having a new baby is one thing, but having a new baby and a surgical incision that doesn’t allow you to pick up your 2-year-old is a whole different ball game. My fabulous Aunt Julie jumped on a plane to help with the kids while my sister was recovering in the hospital, and I flew out for 10 days to send my sister back to bed when she wandered out, entertain my favorite tiny humans, and make sure everyone ate. Showers and baths were for bonus points only.

One day the two-year-old burned his hand on their gas fireplace. I won’t tell you the story, but I will state for the record that he was not under my supervision at the time and it was not my fault, which is the only reason I didn’t die. I did, however, cry for the second time the entire month. I was a numb zombie in the hospital and only had one meltdown, but for some reason this moment broke me. I just sat down on the floor, held Noah tightly, and rocked him back and forth while we both sobbed. Then I pulled my crap together, cleaned and applied burn ointment to his palm, covered the burn with gauze, then with that stretchy neon sticky bandaging, and then I covered that with a sock which I changed a couple times a day because the kid couldn’t keep it out of his mouth.

I took a picture and sent it to my aunt who had to talk me off the ledge after it happened. Here he is looking at himself on my phone, realizing his hand hurts, and then screaming and flapping what we called his “broken wing” or his “little flipper.”

Taking care of 3 kids, a newborn, and a post-op patient was a lot of work. I was happy to do it, and would do it again in a heartbeat, but in light of the previous weeks I’m not sure how I made it through. I flew home to Salt Lake the last day of February (yes, we’re still in February) exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. I was grateful to say goodbye to February 2011 and start a new month.

March 1st was my hope. Everyone was alive and I was determined to move forward and be positive. Somewhere in February I slipped back into a relationship with The B. It was good to have his support, and life with my best buddie felt better. Ha! I was so stupid and naive. And stupid.

Toward the end of the work day my dad called to tell me that my brother, Mark, was in a car accident on the freeway in Provo and the driver of the other car was life-flighted from the scene. Mark said he was fine, but from his voice he was clearly shaken up and in shock. I hadn’t even unpacked my luggage from Portland, and I was on my way to Provo to be sure my Markie was OK. Luckily, aside from the stress, shock, and a missing bumper he was just fine.

The rest of March is a bit of a blur. I know I had a birthday at some point that month, but I don’t recall much about it or what I did. I think I slept a lot.

April was more of the same blur. I had another fight and breakup with The B, followed by a car accident of my own the next day, and reconciling with The B two weeks after that. (stupid, stupid, stupid)

In May it snowed, and not just once. It snowed and rained so much, that I was frequently surprised when I looked at the calendar and realized it was May. This month was filled with deductibles and other car repairs unrelated to my accident. Paying for new rear brakes and rotors, on top of the costly car accident, and the constant precipitation made it a great month to stay in and eat cup-of-noodles. It was also great timing for the third and final breakup with The B.

So now it’s June. Following a post-breakup discussion with The B on Monday, I took off to Cedar City for a few days to be fed by my mama, spend time with my brothers, sleep in, and gain some perspective.

Life is hard. Sometimes it’s really hard. But I have a million things to be grateful for. I recently started carrying a small notebook with me, and on particularly hard days I force myself to stop and write down at least one thing I’m grateful for. Some days it’s more challenging than others. I mean, you can only say “my family,” or “that I have a job,” or “my health,” so many times before you want to jump yourself off a building. Yesterday the only thing I could come up with was takeout from Ekamai Thai, and the day before that it was Diet Sunkist. But I figure every day that I have at least one thing to be grateful for is a good day. As long as I recognize the blessings in my life, even the hardest days are bearable.

If all else fails and I’m not able to think of something to be grateful for, I have the following written on the inside cover to remind myself:

“When we encounter challenges and problems in our lives, it is often difficult for us to focus on our blessings. However, if we reach deep enough and look hard enough, we will be able to feel and recognize just how much we have been given.”
- President Thomas S. Monson

So I am grateful. I am lucky in more ways than I can count. I’m glad to have finally written this out so I can move on to more fun topics. Like my adorable baby nephew, how I installed a ceiling fan last week, the adult ballet class I’m taking, and the other bright spots in my life. Even though it’s been a rough five months, I feel like a better person because of it and I don’t want to forget or discount that.

Have a great weekend everyone, and be sure to hug your moms!

10

06 2011

Skype Date: circus style.

I know I haven’t posted in ages, so I’ll do a mini update tomorrow.

First, let’s talk about how much this little guy loves me. Whenever I’m having a bad day I call my sister and request a Skype date with Noah. Why? Because the kid thinks I’m hysterical and we just love each other. It’s an instant bandaid for the heart. Or a percocet, pick your poison.

Unfortunately, two-year-olds lose their interest in peek-a-boo and blowing bubbles on the computer after about 10 minutes. Luckily, my sister has a back-up child for just this situation.

Hello cute, adorable, smiling, chunk-for-a-nephew baby!

Not only do they make me laugh, but I always feel a little less overwhelmed because the craziness she deals with day in and day out makes the stress in my life dull in comparison. I mean, I’m pretty sure after he spent a good 10 minutes tangling up the all the blinds, my nephew tried to jump out the window while his mother’s back was turned.

02

06 2011

Quite possibly the worst idea i’ve ever had.

Nicole: i’m giving up soda for lent. you should join me.
it’s going to be terrible
i don’t even know what people drink besides diet sunkist.
so i might die, but it will be a good exercise. do it!

.
Dad:   not a chance

09

03 2011

Adorable.

Skype is my new favorite thing and can I just say, I LOVE THIS BABY! He thinks I’m so funny. Clearly the kid is brilliant and has excellent taste in people.

We played peek-a-boo forever and he just laughs and laughs and laughs.

Yes, I make a scary face when I jump out, and sometimes he laughs so hard I worry that he’ll fall off the couch. Totally worth looking/sounding like an idiot.

26

01 2011