trying to start the new year off right

I made all sorts of yummy, healthy snacks for New Year's Eve tonight so I thought I'd share the recipes here:

1. Kale chips (here, courtesy of
2. Cannellini bean & spinach dip (here, courtesy of Giada)
3. Roasted chickpeas (here, courtesy of and I added garlic to chickpeas before roasting)
4. Cocoa roasted almonds (here, courtesy of

Every recipe is insanely easy and I had almost all of the ingredients on hand already. Enjoy, and happy last night of 2010!

2010: a retrospective

Lately the cold weather and dark days have been getting me down in a big way. Since I can't pick up and move to Hawaii for the next 3 months, I've been exploring the options out there to make myself feel better but I can't decide on what to do yet (leaning towards this). In the meantime, I thought I'd think about 2010 and reflect on some of the positive things about the year.

I can't say that there were any big graduations, marriages or moves. But it was a good year! I made a concerted effort to get out of my comfort zone (and out of my frugal zone) and traveled a bunch. I also started feeling more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have in my life.I know a big reason for that is age...the older I get the less I care what other people will think of me, and I am so thankful for that. It is liberating! I've always said that I can't wait to be an old lady so I can do what I want and not worry if everyone around me thinks its crazy, but lately I've been thinking, "why wait until I'm old to start?!" :) I got the vintage caftan I've always wanted and I've been having so much fun strolling around the house with a cocktail pretending I'm Endora from Bewitched.

And finally, I learned to love 3 things that I always hated:

1. Hot tea, which I love to drink at night after dinner to curb the urge to snack. I even picked up a tea kettle at Marshall's to make it really official that I'm a tea drinker now.

2. Hot sauce, which makes my kale, cannellini bean & brown rice hippie bowls so much more exciting to my taste buds.

3. Whiskey. I don't know what happened, but I love the taste now and how it warms me up on a cold night. Plus it makes me feel like a bad ass, haha. And I can make hot toddy's now! Next time you're sick whip one won't be sorry.

So I'd say all those things made for a pretty good year indeed :) I doubt I'll blog again until after the holidays, so I'd like to wish everyone a very happy new year!!

sounds in the night

Last night I thought there was a stranger in the house. First I heard someone in our bedroom, then I heard someone in the hallway. I was too scared (and too cold) to get out of bed to check, so I went back to sleep. This morning I checked all the rooms and found no signs that a killer had been in the house, so I figured I was losing my mind...great way to start the day, I know. Then I saw a note Seth left me about the roads being icy so I looked outside and realized what the noises had been.

Pretty much every limb on the west side of this tree is on the ground, and our view from the bathroom is now very different (those limbs hung really low and completely blocked the view into any other yard).

Seth and his chainshaw have a lot of work ahead of them, but all in all I feel really fortunate. Our roof appears to be intact, the giant tree in the middle of the yard didn't fall and crush our house and the electricity and heat are still on. But most of all, I'm just thankful that the sounds I heard last night were branches braking and not the sound of me losing my mind :)

no more crazy cords EVER!

I've been feeling like Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest lately, except instead of wire hangers, its this grossness lurking under our desk that's been driving me insane:

It was even worse than that believe it or not, but I forgot to take a before shot until about 20 minutes into tackling it. I'm proud to say that this is what it looks like under our desk now!

YEA! And it didn't take much money or time to make it look like this. The longest part of the process was brainstorming on how to fix the situation...about an hour here at the house and then another 45 minutes in Walmart, looking at all the options. Of course there wasn't a pre-made solution for billions of cords, modems and power strips made just for a vintage metal desk that I don't want to ruin, so I had to get creative. I finally came up with a solution involving metal bathroom baskets with suction cups on the back ($5 each), magnetic hooks, and 6 3M picture hanging strips.

One basket holds the cable modem on the left side of the desk and the other holds the Vonage box on the right side of the desk.

The right side of the desk has drawers and therefore the most space, so I used 6 3M picture hanging strips to hold up my very heavy power strip under the other basket. I used metal hooks wherever I need to keep a cord in place and out of view. The great thing is that everything is removable...suction cups, magnets, and magic 3M the desk isn't ruined and I can move everything around if I need to later.

It looks crazy from the back, but you can't see any of that once the desk is pushed up to the wall.

Hurray!! I'm sitting at this desk now and its so nice to be able to stretch my legs out and not run into a pile of cords. Its nice not to have to look at them anymore either :)