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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Casual Wine Night with Cheese Notes

Last night I hosted a very impromptu wine night. Some friends from the street joined me for some light nibbles and a glass of wine. Kids hung out and watched a movie. I didn't stress about their bedtime and just let them play and enjoy a summer evening. 

It was awesome. So simple. 





Getting caught up in the perfectly beautiful Pinterest life could be so easy. It could be paralyzing. Instead, I just opted for filling my cute nesting bowls with little snacks I had at the house. I did stop at the local market at pick up some cheese (notes below) and dark chocolate covered honeycomb. I cut it up the honeycomb into some manageable chunks to nibble on. Yum. I added some cute summer festive cocktail napkins for a bit of flair and color. 

Cheese Notes: 

  • Parrano - Italian style cheese that is salty and kind of sweet. Total crowd pleaser. 
  • Cypress Grove Cheese is basically amazing at all sorts of cheese. Last night I opted for for the Lamb Chopper which is a mild sheep milk cheese. Very easy to nibble on. They are probably most known for their Humbolt Fog variety which is absolutely fantastic with Raincoast Crisps crackers and drizzled with honey. 


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Philosophy: Love

I used to think love was simple. I had this philosophy that was very neat and tidy.

You have to be in the same place, 
going the same direction 
at the same speed.
Fast forward and love isn’t so easy. That philosophy on love is definitely out of date. It applies to falling in love. Maybe finding someone to fall in love with. Being in love is much more than that. The place, direction and speed are all things that change. It is natural. It is good. They say change is the only constant. So after being with someone for years, one of those factors is bound to change. What then? Is love over? 

Nope. Love beats on. 

Love changes with time. Love evolves. Its the like that's the hard part to maintain. Once you fall in love with someone, that bond is hard to break. It is the little everyday build up that can break down the like. The like is the joy of the relationship. The heart of it all. 

So how do couples make sure the keep the like strong? To really enjoy each other. Here are a few links with some ideas. Anyone else have tips? 

  • 10 Things to Improve Your Marriage Now
    • Favorite Takeaway -- "Laugh More - For me, this is the biggest secret to 10 years of marriage. My husband and I crack each other up. We roll on the floor laughing and genuinely enjoy each other's company."  

    • 10 Unexpected Ways that Only You Can Save Your Marriage
      • Favorite Takeaway -- "Ignore the experts. It's so funny that people seek expert advice and pay a lot of money to come see me, for example, marriage counseling. Each of us knows three things we can do to make our partner happier: clean the old fast food wrappers out of the car, seduce him before the kids wake up, and iron his T-shirts or whatever happens to easily and absolutely delight him. Name them - and do them, right now." 

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

    Tricky Independence

    For 4th of July I was hunting around trying to find great quotes about independence. It was a lot harder than I expected. I found lot of boring presidential quotes. I also found a lot of quotes about independent women. Like this one. It wasn't exactly what I was after.


    But that hunt for a great 4th of July quote led me to this reflection.

    Independence is a tricky thing. Security is a whole other issue. 

    Especially when you are married. There is this balance of being your own person and being someone’s life long partner. You need to stay true to who you are but also be flexible with an entirely different person. That’s tough. Both people grow and evolve.

    My hope has always been that Mike and I will grow and evolve in similar ways. Idealistic. Hopeful. So far, pretty good. Not 100%. That would be impossible, right? 

    We all want to be able to take care of ourselves; for our kids to grow up capable independent people. But in the same breath, we all rely on one another. And that’s a good thing. Being dependent isn't always bad. Being vulnerable can be good. It is scary. It takes a lot of trust. In my opinion, marriage is based on trust more than any other one thing.

    I do have faith (in something, somewhere out there) that it all works out. Maybe there are days, weeks or months when marriage is hard. When there is more work involved in liking (more on like verses love another time) each other. But in the years, it will all come together. 

    Independence has a lot of forms. I think Susan B. Anthony had part of it right but there is a lot more to independence and security than earning your own living. Even as a woman who contributes to the household income in a significant way, I still have dependence on Mike. He has dependence on me. It isn't all about making the money. 



    Monday, July 7, 2014

    Secret Babies

    In the corporate world, women keep their pregnancies under cover as long as possible. I think women do this for a myriad of reasons. Some founded and some unfounded. Of course every situation is different.


    For me, I have always told superiors and partners my general family plans in advance. Yes, someday I want to have kids. Yes, I think we might have another one. Yes, I’ll let you know when we are ready. I think we might be ready soon. When the time came, actually telling people the news was much easier because they knew it was coming. I think this is a rare situation. I wonder if my transparency has held me back in my career. Or if people know that I am not going to sneak attack them with huge personal change of plans.

    For my clients, I have had a very different approach. I hold off on sharing until I have my plan on how it impacts them. I want to minimize the impact on them and have a solid plan in place. I do this because I look at my role as to make their life easier. My personal situation should have no impact on the results they get from me and my team. So I never open up my personal dialogue with clients until I have solved the possible challenges for them. To date, this approach has worked. They each have respected me being prepared with a plan to cover my responsibilities to them. They appreciated me being proactive and I think they knew this was me showing I care about them as individuals. I guess I have run the risk they hear my big news from someone else, which would be no good at all.

    With three kids under my belt, I am experiencing something new now. Other people’s secret babies. Why are they secret? Why are they secret for so long? If they are secret, why do I know about them? It puts me in a tough spot. Are they afraid? Aren’t they bursting at the seam excited to share their big news? I guess I understand hesitation on sharing this big news. I also understand the need to share it with someone who has been there before. I am a good secret keeper. But it does pain me. How long should someone be expected to keep a secret like this for? I know the answer is until the person is ready to share it openly. So I abide by that… but it is tough. 


    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    Why do we do things we know we shouldn't?

    Everyone has a vice right? I have a few. Wine. Chocolate. Not sweating.
    I know it would be much healthier if I didn’t drink a glass on most nights. I am allergic to wine. I still drink it. That is just plain stupid. I LOVE wine. I really love good wine. With my allergies, the good wine is the worst on my allergies. I have tried figuring out the exact allergy so can enjoy without all the symptoms but in the end but no luck. I just drink it, enjoy it and then suffer the consequences.

    Another things I do is indulge in sweets, chocolate in particular. A nibble here and there during the day. Almost always something sweet after dinner. Wouldn't I feel so much better without all this sugar? I’m sure I would lose the last few pounds of baby weight if I could give up on my wine and chocolate. That is motivating but not quite motivating enough. I wonder why.

    One of my worst vices is the fact I really don’t like working out. I hate sweating. Not sure why but it’s true. Many of my friends have an activity they love and do with passion. Others work out because they like feeling the impact the following day. Some have this intense need to move and to expel energy. I have none of those things. I much prefer a quiet moment to read, relax, connect with my kids or friends. I know I would benefit from a good work out on a regular basis. Emotionally and physically it would be great for me. So why do I avoid it?

    This question: Why do we do things we know we shouldn't? fascinates me.

    I’m sure there is a science around it. Anyone know the answer? Is it rebellious nature? Is it a control issue? Is it lack of control? Is it not getting the benefit fast enough? Curious. Very curious. 

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    Kiddos Lunch

    Every morning I pack a lunch for Hadley. She usually has some pretty specific direction. Even with her requests, I struggle with always finding a good balance of what is good for her, easy to pack and easy to prepare. 

    On component of this lunch packing business is the vessels the lunch travels in. This should be so simple. I have tried a variety of options. Here are a few worth noting. 

    Pottery Barn Kids Bento Box: Great option that fits into the PB Kids lunch boxes and it also fits into Hadley's backpack cooler compartment. The whole container has a few sections for storing specific items. The compartment made for dips works 80% of the time. Sometimes it pops open a bit and spills a little. Not too bad with hummus. Ranch not so good. Overall, Hadley and I both like it a lot.  


    Target has some great options in my local store. Unfortunately I can't find them online so hopefully your store has them too. The first is this Rubbermaid Lunch Blox concept. It is a series of small tupperware containers that are easy to open (even Harrison at 3 can do it by himself) and come with a small frezzer pack that keeps them all stacked together. Pretty clever. The second item are these handy little Dressing To Go containers. The tops screw on easily and prevent any spills. Perfect for hummus, ranch, etc. Both of these items are very affordable. 



    Kids Konserve is a great Eco friendly company that has a variety of food vessels. Hadley has a few friends with the lunch bag set and they seem to work really well. I really like their Round Nesting Trio Containers. They are are bit more expensive but the stainless steal quality is higher than the above containers.