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images from my new hood

I’ve been in my rental for just over a month now. Bombay, Bailey and I are settled in and have our routines.

Part of their daily agenda is anticipating the visit from this neighborhood cat. The photo above was taken on the first day he visited and these two were not pleased at all!

He was just sitting there, all casual, grooming himself, while they crouched down, hissed, howled and had the hair on their backs straight up in the air.

Now, it’s old hat. They look forward to his visit and longingly peer out the window when he struts away. I’m not sure who he belongs to or how far away he lives. Part of my daily routine is to walk 4 miles around the park that is two blocks from my house. And many a day, I’ve seen that cat roaming around on the far side of the park.

Speaking of my morning ritual… I walk by this house each day. And it took me nearly two weeks to notice this…

Seems hard to miss! Look back up at the picture of the house. Did you see it at first? LOL!

Since my lease started June 1st, if I want to walk, I have to get up before the sun to do it. I leave my house no later than 4:45 and even then it’s already up to at least 85 degrees. That’s the low temp for the day and one particular morning, it was 90 degrees at 4:30 AM!

But  it’s worth it. Along with the skeleton in the rusted out car, I see a flock of peachfaced lovebirds every morning.

These two sweet men with their “boyfriend and girlfriend” dogs. They’ve been meeting at the park every morning at 5:15 to walk their dogs for 2 years.

And on one magical morning I spotted this gorgeous creature. I followed him around and filmed him for about 20 minutes. I’ve never seen such a colorful bird in Arizona in all my life.

While visiting my mother-in-law in Illinois last week, she pulled out her bird book and helped me identify it as a Vermilion Flycatcher. Awesome!

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July 3, 2017   1 Comment

beyond busy

My house sold!

This is the story of my life. I am averaging five hours of sleep a night. Not only because I have so much to do but worse, I can’t shut my mind off.

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May 3, 2017   4 Comments

where flowers bloom

My plan for this week was to get ready for Easter. I was going to make some gold speckled robin’s egg Easter eggs, start decorating the house, get my table ready and have fun doing it and then share it with you. The only thing I’ve accomplished this far is the update of my letter-board.

Instead, I’ve spent countless hours at the Verizon and Apple stores.

While I type this post, on Thursday evening, I’m actually sitting at the Apple Genius Bar. I’m dealing with my Mac laptop and issues with my Photos library. Basically what happened, is that I lost all 49,000+ of my photos when I updated the operating system, late on Tuesday night.

I installed the update because I needed to back up my phone, so that I could transfer all content from my iPhone 6S to a new iPhone 7.  The reason I needed a new phone was because on the morning I was leaving for my NYC trip (a week ago Wednesday) my phone fell from my back pocket into the toilet.

I know, it’s the worst!

I put the phone in a container of rice to dry it out and carried that container with me throughout the two flights from Phoenix to Houston to New York. All seemed fine on Wednesday night when I arrived in NYC and pulled the phone from the rice. It was still working fine on Thursday and on Friday morning. Then, out of the blue, on Friday afternoon, the camera stopped working. I had no front camera for the rest of the trip, only the back “selfie” camera worked.

The phone could not be fixed, so I spent all day this past Tuesday at Verizon, trying to back it up, to no avail. The Verizon dude told me to bring it home and plug it into my Mac and use iTunes to back it up…. hence the update of the Mac’s operating system before the phone could be backed up.

The new phone is all good but the update of the operating system on the Mac somehow jacked up my desktop. Everything disappeared, so I brought the computer to the Genius Bar on Wednesday afternoon. They fixed that problem and I thought that my technology challenges were over… until I got home and found that ALL of my photos were gone!

Well, I do have most of them on an external hard drive, but I discovered that the last time I used the drive was in 2014. Oops!

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April 14, 2017   2 Comments

NYC with my girl

I returned on Monday night, after a glorious long weekend in New York City with Marissa. We hadn’t had a mother/daughter trip since we went to Paris and London, the summer after her freshman year in college.

We had The Best Time!

The first morning, we went to LIVE with Kelly, where we saw Mandy Patinkin, Rashida Jones, Jason Statham, Kelly’s charming and fun co-host for the week, Scott Wolf and even got to give high-fives to James Bond himself, Pierce Bronsan!

Kelly Ripa was adorable and everything you hope she would be; funny, quick-witted, beautiful and sweet to everyone on set and in the audience.

We were actually there for two shows. The live show on Thursday, when we sat in the front row. And again about an hour later for the taping of the Friday show, where we were up in the balcony. Both vantage points had their advantages. It was fun to be in the front, but there were often production crew and cameras blocking our view. It was great to be up high because we could easily see it all.

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April 13, 2017   4 Comments

new toy obsession

I have a new toy!

It’s an old-timey letter board from the sweet family-run business, Letterfolk.

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April 5, 2017   2 Comments

Austin with Connor

A week ago, Connor and I flew to Austin, TX to visit Marissa and Jeff and see their new house.

We saw, we ate, we drank, we had a great time and we toasted a lot.

We toasted at every place we ate and drank.

So pretty much all the time!

Looking back, it seems like all we did was eat and drink! Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Nothing wrong with that at all!

The night we arrived, we ate at Odd Duck. Marissa and Jeff had celebrated their first wedding anniversary here, back in October. I love that they wanted to share it with us.

The menu consists of tapas-style shared plates. The food was creative, fun and yummy.

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April 3, 2017   4 Comments

birthday and flowers

I had fully intended to post my Thanksgiving tablescape today but I can’t let the opportunity slip by without wishing my most loyal follower, most frequent commenter, my best friend, one of my two favorite people in the world, my beautiful (inside and out) daughter – a Happy Birthday!

birthday-girl

Marissa Lynn, I love you to the moon and back! Ever since you’ve lived away from home, basically since your freshman year in college, my favorite thing about Thanksgiving has been that it is so close to your birthday. You always come home for Thanksgiving, which means I always get to celebrate YOU!

velvet-queen-sunflower

Since flowers are a traditional birthday gift, I’ll  keep with the Thanksgiving posts and show a few photos of the Thanksgiving centerpieces I made. How gorgeous are these Velvet Queen Sunflowers!

thanksgiving-centerpiece

They really do look and feel like velvet. I found them at Trader Joe’s and went crazy over them.

pumpkin-tureen

I used my orange and green pumpkin soup tureens as the vessels for the flowers. I then set those, along with their lids, atop wood slabs that were set on top of dyed and natural burlap runners.

green-tureen

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December 1, 2016   3 Comments

Thanksgiving and some tips

I know that I’ve been a slacker when it comes to posting lately. Things are finally getting back to normal around here and to be honest, I’m just enjoying the calmer feeling.

entry

With Thanksgiving two days away, I’m loving focusing all my time and attention on the big day. Next week, I’ll return to blogging on a more regular basis.

recipe-index

In the meantime, I want to remind you about the Complete Recipe Index, over there on the top left. Click on it, scroll to “Holidays” and click again. Then, scroll down to “Thanksgiving.” It is there that you will find over 45 recipes for not only the feast but also recipes using the leftovers after Turkey Day.

Lastly, I want to share with you a few video segments I filmed with my friend and 12News anchor, Tram Mai. They are part of a “how to” series the station has run. Some are in my cooking and entertaining wheelhouse, a couple of the others, um … not so much, but I gave it a good college try. What I think will prove to be my favorite segment, “Setting a Proper Table” will air on Thanksgiving morning, I’ll post a link, after it airs.

pickles

Homemade Pickles

grill-pizza

Grilled Pizza

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November 22, 2016   1 Comment

careening out of control

You know that feeling when you are, or you think you are about to, fall down a flight of stairs?

That “heart-pounding, can’t catch your breath, your world is spinning completely out of your control” feeling.

Yeah, that pretty sums up how I’ve felt for the last two weeks. I’d say since my birthday, things have felt like they are constantly getting away from me and I’ll never catch up.

fall-festival-truck

For instance, my birthday was Thursday the 27th, on Sunday the 30th, we had our neighborhood Fall Festival. I was in charge of it. I was in charge of it two years ago too but it didn’t feel like as big a job as it was this time. Granted, my committee was larger and more available in 2014, but this year it felt like a two-woman-show when it should have been a ten-woman-production. I worked for weeks leading up to it and for 16 straight hours on the day of.

nail-drama

As if being bone-tired wasn’t bad enough, I tore, chipped and cracked three fingernails of my 2-day-old, absolutely perfect, best-ever manicure! The photo shows the left hand before and after with the index fingernail ripped clean off. On the right hand, if you look close, you can see the tear in the middle finger and by the end of the day, the ring finger was broken off too.

zz

The next morning, Halloween, I was up with the sun to get everything “Festival-related” cleaned up and put away and get ready for our traditional Halloween pizza-grilling festivities. Trick-or-treating with Zak and Zoey was so much fun!

calendar

My continuing birthday-celebration-mode complicated things further, as I had lunch and dinner dates still lined up the week after. Not that I’m complaining! I am not! I’m touched and love being loved by my friends and family, but this year, the timing took its toll. Yes, that is a screenshot of my calendar for the week. It may be too small to read, but you get the idea.

class

The next day was the first night of my 3-week cooking classes at Les Gourmettes. Shopping, prepping and teaching occupied all hours from dusk to dawn on Tuesday.

vote

Add to that, on Thursday morning, Connor and I went to take part in early-voting and waited for 2 hours! I don’t have time to sit for 2 hours! But we did and we voted.

The one thing that had weighed especially heavy on me was a charity dinner I was cooking for guests at the Frank Lloyd Wright Price House on Saturday night. It was five courses; a signature cocktail, 3 appetizers, soup, salad, main course with two sides and dessert for a total of 10 recipes, most of which had three components to each dish. For instance, the dessert was a bread pudding with sautéed apples and crème anglaise and the soup had an avocado cream garnish and cheese puffs. Thankfully, my friend and colleague, Kim Howard spent a good part of the morning in the kitchen with me. Thank you, Kim!

flw-door

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November 7, 2016   7 Comments

Afternoon at the Farm

wine-bar

Tomorrow is the drawing for the Free Cooking Classes, so be sure to get your comments in today!

shaddy-spot

In the meantime, I have some delicious photos from Sunday’s Les Dames d’Escoffier “Afternoon at the Farm: Cultivating Culinarians” fundraising event to share with you.

cocktail-hour

Hopefully, you’ve eaten before you see this because if not, it will have you drooling and running for the refrigerator!

tables

Some of the photos are mine, some are lifted from Facebook and all the food photos from the sit-down portion of the afternoon were taken by Chef Stacey Schulz-McDevitt, who flew in from NYC to cook at the event. Thank you Stacey for allowing me to share them here!

swag

I’ll put up the photos of the dishes in the order they are listed on the menu below. I’ll post portions of menu as we go to help you keep track and identify the dishes and the talented women who made them.

full-menu

Be ready to be amazed! Here we go…

cocktail-time

salmon-cake

lamb

cantaloupe-soup

cheddar

pancake

salsa-st

Those were just the hor d’oeuvres … and the salsa station, above, wasn’t even listed on the menu. Each of the stations was accompanied by a different margarita and all the food for this portion of the afternoon was cooked and served by the students of C-CAP Arizona.

table

Now time for the sit-down, family-style lunch which was cooked on site by some of the most talented and generous female chefs in Arizona.

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Related Posts with Thumbnails

October 25, 2016   4 Comments