april in denver

recovering from an april blizzard, and getting ready for some sunshine in austin!

 

 

Denver, in all its brilliance, has dumped a solid snow storm in the middle of April. The day after almost all ski resorts closed. And in light of said storm, I decided today would be an excellent day to make chili!  Which will probably end up being the last time I make this until next winter. So here you go, my Dad’s favorite chili (with a few creative liberties):

1 can black beans, drained

1 can kidney beans, drained

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

1 can diced tomatoes, not drained

1 lb of ground beef or turkey

2 medium onions, diced 

5 (ish) cloves of garlic

Chili powder, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic salt to taste

Dump kidney beans, black beans, corn and tomatoes into a large potImageImageImage

Sauté onions and garlic together until softened.

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Sauté beef/turkey, season with chili powder, salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme.

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Mix it all into the pot and let simmer for at least one hour on low. 

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serve, top with cheese, sour cream, saltines, etc. and enjoy!

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::sending love and thoughts to boston and remembering virginia tech:: 

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

– Nelson Mandela 

 

some south african love in honor of a dear friend who lost her battle with breast cancer this week. 

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Warning: mid 20s reality check ahead.

After returning from a trip to Iowa to visit with great friends from college, I’ve come back to Denver with a bit of introspection. I’m not going to digress into a big pity party, but sitting in a car for 10 hours driving through Nebraska sure gives you ample time to think on things.

Mid-late 20s are hard. I know a lot of people tell you that your 20s are the best years of your life, but I think that’s only true in hindsight. There are so many changes – good and bad – that make it a really bumpy road. Career aside, what has become front and center for me are my friendships. Having recently (ish) gotten into a relationship myself, it’s been a struggle to keep a balance. I’ve made it a conscious effort to spend time with friends without my boyfriend, with the understanding that I can’t completely neglect him. Granted, it’s my personality to do so, but my friends are my sanity, my lifeline, my reality check. My trip to Iowa reinforced that. Even with my boyfriend in tow, spending time with two dear friends from college was just enough to hit a reset button and refresh me. 

Admittedly, I’m having a really hard time adjusting with some of my formerly single friends who don’t have that same need for friend time.  And I’m sure some of my single friends are having a hard time adjusting to me being in relationship. We’re all going through the same period of adjustment but in different phases. Quite honestly, it’s my problem and I need to learn to adjust my expectations of my friendships and be accepting of how all of those relationships evolve. But when you boil it down, you win some and you lose some in the name of moving forward, and that’s just how it goes.

I know that when I’m 50 and saying to my kids that their 20s are the best years of their lives, that it won’t ring true for them at that moment in time, but that they will eventually realize how much there is to learn about themselves, their friends, their priorities, and their character. And hopefully I’ll be able to say it with some ounce of understanding!

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. – S. Kierkegaard

middle america

snapshot of nebraska farmlands, from my drive back from iowa

 

 

After a rainy Denver day yesterday, and a hazy start today, I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes: carrot soup! I like this in part because it’s freaking delicious, and in part because BK (the boyfriend) sings “Carrot stew, carrot stew, it’s our favorite thing to do…” every time I make it. I must have missed that song as a child, but he loves it and it’s pretty entertaining to watch him geek out.

At any rate, here’s my recipe for a deeeelish carrot soup, and please excuse the awful photo:

1 onion, diced

1 head of garlic (give or take), finely minced

1.5 lbs of carrots, cut into small pieces

5-6 cups of chicken stock

1 cup of sour cream or greek yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste

Pour 5-6 cups of chicken stock into a large pot. Sautee diced onions and garlic in about 2 tbsp of butter until the onions are softened. Add onions and garlic mixture and chopped carrots into the pot with chicken stock and boil for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are softened. Using a handheld blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Add sour cream to help thicken, and use salt and pepper to season to taste. The soup should turn out smooth and creamy.  Serve and enjoy! 

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patience, passover, and martha stewart

Last week was tough, filled with frustration, reality checks, and attempts at being patient. I say attempts because I have the patience of a gnat, but either way, it’s been a rough week. As I enter my 6th week of funemployment, I’m definitely starting to get a little more stressed and feel a little more discouraged. As much as I’d love to be suzy sunshine, I’m only human and it’s starting to get to me. So this week’s focus is to keep my head up, be selective in jobs I’m applying to, and make it count. Basically, I’ll be singing that annoyingly catchy Andy Grammar song “Keep Your Head Up” to myself all week. Other pump-up song suggestions are welcome.

In other news, tonight is the last night of Pesach! Which means, in a family tradition, we’re having pizza for dinner tonight! I treated this year’s Pesach celebration as more of a cleanse- trying not to eat any matzah and eat as healthy as possible. I definitely feel better not having eaten anything with leavening and very little sugars, so that might be something to try and maintain. I’ll call it the Sinai Diet 🙂

So for today’s happiness in the news… introducing Martha Stewart! Martha is a pretty polarizing person- you either love her or hate her. Of course I speak from one opinion, but I think she’s pretty brilliant, in an obnoxiously crafty way. But as an entrepreneur, Martha Stewart has some great things to share. After all, we were all in our mid-20s once, trying things out, searching around for what to do with our lives, and eventually figuring it out. While I don’t have anywhere near the creative ingenuity to turn a toilet paper roll into a masterpiece, what Martha Stewart has to say is still applicable.

I may not be an entrepreneur (although who says I might not be sometime down the road), I may not be a multi-million dollar media mogul, and I may not be a household name, but hell if I can’t try. 

 

 

 

admittedly, I stole this from a family holiday card a few years back, but it works every day! 

everything i needed to know i learned in kindergarten from my dogs:

1. never pass up the chance to go for a ride
2. always greet your loved ones with enthusiasm, even if they’ve been gone for only 5 minutes
3. sometimes obedience is the best strategy 
4. carve out your niche, and let others know when they’ve invaded your space
5. find time to take rambling walks and play every day
6. eat with gusto!
7. be dependably loyal, no matter what
8. enjoy naps
9. when someone’s having a bad day, stay close, be quiet, and nuzzle them every now and then
10. don’t take scoldings personally — you’ll forget them soon enough
11. when you’re happy, show it! 

again, all of this is taken from the perspective of having way too much time alone with my thoughts. but sometimes it’s the small things like this that are completely overlooked when we get caught up in the day-to-day madness. 

and i can’t forget to send a shout out to one of the brain children of this posting, below, my wonderful dog harry. 

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Today’s a day of gratitude. And I realize this is going to sound cheesy and probably self-righteous, but stick with me for a minute.

Today is World Water Day. It’s a day for celebration, awareness, and motivation. I’ve traveled to and spent time in countries where clean water isn’t readily available, where water is a hot commodity, and where waiting for hours – even days – for clean water is the norm. And while I don’t feel right saying ‘I get it,’ I can say that it’s humbling. And no, I don’t think about it everyday and yes, I sometimes let the water run while I brush my teeth. But it’s just a nice grounding point/reality check for the day.

But today I also have to be thankful that I’m fortunate enough to be where I am: that I have a support system that allows me to take this time to think about what I want to do. Maybe it’s because I watched a Maggie Gyllenhaal movie this morning and she happens to (almost) always play a poor, down-on-her-luck heroine who’s struggling to make ends meet but still happens to pull through with flying colors, so it’s on my mind. But it’s a pretty fortuitous position to be in, and I get that.

And it’s Friday!

Moral of the story, from the tops of my soapbox, thank you.  Bear with me, but I know it’ll be worthwhile in the end.

Q: What happens when you’re several years into a career you thought you’d love, you hit a wall, and realize you’re not in the right place?

A: You start looking for something new.

At the tender age of 27, I find myself at a new juncture. I’ve left my job, I don’t have my next steps set in stone, and I’ve got nothing but options. I think to myself that this is a fantastic opportunity for me, that it will be great to have some time to myself, blah, blah, blah. And while all of that is true, quite honestly, it’s pretty terrifying. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it’s almost overwhelming to have too many options.

In trying to figure out what’s next on tap for me, I realized that what I fill my days with is 100%, entirely, solely a product of me. All causes and effects, all actions and reactions, all zigs and zags. It’s all me. Yikes! So I’ve bumped up my creativity. Partially because I’m just bored, but also because I want to figure out what I like to do and what I’m capable of. I’ve tried new recipes, started/failed/completed a ridiculous amount of Pinterest projects, found new sources of inspiration, and an embarrassing amount of Netflix. But ya know what, it’s all a part of the process. And as much as I like to control things and know the outcome, I’m starting to embrace this new in-between thing I’m in.

So, in light of this newfound sense of exploration and opportunity, I’ll take a piece of wisdom from Beryl Markham’s West With The Night: “Because I am curious. Because I am incorrigibly, now, a wanderer.”

Here goes!