Saturday, January 17, 2015

It's a New Year so live the life you want!

With this new year I've been working very hard on finding where I fit in as a mother, wife, woman/girl (who still feels so young inside), friend, teacher, leader etc.  As I search for a healthy perspective I have come across some jewels of wisdom. This article really resonated with me and I wanted to share it.  It is so simple & profound.

21 Truths to Living the Life Your Want 

1.  Understand that sustained happiness rarely comes from outside circumstances. Your wealth, beauty, power, or acquisitions have far less to do with happiness than your appreciation for what you have this very moment and your loving relationships with others.
2. You can live your life by design, but you must acknowledge your power in that, plan for it, and take the necessary actions.
3. You can’t have it all, but you can have enough to be very happy. Prioritize and focus on the top 3 or 4 most important areas of your life.
4. Stop focusing on what you don’t have or don’t like. Focus on what you do have and do like, and create a plan for what you think you can improve and change.
5. Abandon perfectionism. It is a useless pursuit with no end. It creates stress and unhappiness. Learn to find the balance point between good enough and peaceful living.
6. Put your own deepest needs first. If you are living for others before yourself and pushing your own needs aside, eventually you will crumble in some way — through depression, anger, anxiety or destructive behaviors.
7. Your choices may disappoint or offend others. That is sometimes necessary in order to grow and live authentically. Those who love you and want the best for you will accept and support you.
8. Count your blessings. You probably already have many of the things you want for your life. Don’t take them for granted.
9. Address personal issues head-on. Don’t use these as an excuse for not having what you want in life. If you have a wound, a personality or relationship problem, or an anxiety, go to a counselor and work on it. Resolve it. Weak people don’t go to counselors, but strong forward-moving people do.
10. Pick one small problem or irritation and resolve it. Feel how much personal power and energy that gives you. Imagine how it would feel to resolve one of your bigger problems or concerns.
11. Consider disengaging from people who bring you down or drain your energy. Build relationships with people who are positive, action-oriented, and supportive.
12. Pick the one change that would make the biggest positive difference in your life. Begin visualizing your life with this change implemented. Practice this regularly throughout the day.
13. Take this one step further and begin writing some specific action steps that might help make this change happen.
14. Strengthen your strengths. Make yourself indispensable in your area(s) of interest and expertise.
15. Always leave time for fun. Make fun happen in your life.
16. Don’t neglect your relationships. Don’t take them for granted. Find out what makes your loved ones happy, and do that for them.
17. Learn to let it go. Worry is the most fruitless expenditure of energy on the planet. Very little is worth worrying about. If you must do something, take action instead.
18. Don’t assume that you can’t do something. Prove that you can’t, and if so, try something else.
19. More often than not, your fear is the culprit for inaction.  More often than not, your fears are unfounded or at least out of proportion. More often than not, your fear will go away once you take action.
20. Focus on the task at hand. When you feel overwhelmed and pulled in many directions, just pick an important thing and do it without distraction. Then do another one.
21. Life is short. You have a limited number of days on this Earth. There isn’t time to waste your days in worry, anger or frustration. Make the most of this moment and the next and the next and the next . . .
If you want to have a wonderful life, spend your days in positive, forward-moving action and thought. Dismiss your longings for what you don’t have. Enjoy the actions as much or more than the outcomes.
The real secret to having the life you want is learning to love the life that you have.

By: Barrie Davenport
click HERE for the link to the article

Monday, March 17, 2014

The perfect Chocolate Chip cookie

My sister is an amazing cook and baker.  She started a blog a couple of years ago to keep track of all of her favorite recipes.  She calls it Rozlynn's Homemade Goodness.  She never puts up a recipe she hasn't successfully made and isn't amazingly delicious.

Last night for our traditional Sunday dessert we had New York Times Chocolate Chip cookies.  I originally got this recipe off of my sister's cooking blog and now it's my husband's favorite.  
These are NO ordinary chocolate chip cookies, they are THE PERFECT chocolate chip cookie.
But there are a few tricks to this recipe such as:

-room temperature butter (un-salted)
-room temperature eggs (weird, but it does the trick)
-baking soda AND baking powder
-mixture of regular flour and cake flour
-sea salt

A couple of hours before, I like to take my butter out and let it get to room temp.  If you forget to do this you can always put it in the microwave and cook for 5-7 seconds at a time until room temp. But don not, I repeat do not let it melt!

Also, I always use un-salted butter for cookies, but all I had was salted.  So if this happens to you, just cut the salt in half that the recipe asks for.
Next, as I am getting all my ingredients together I get a cup of warm/hot water and place 2 eggs in there.  I let the eggs sit for a bit to get warm.  Below are the eggs I used.  They are from my Mother in laws chickens.  Nothing like farm fresh eggs!
While the butter and eggs are out, mix your dry ingredients.   Flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt (remember to cut salt in half if you use salted butter).  I like to take a small whisk and mix all the dry ingredients together to make sure they are thoroughly mixed.
Next cream together the butter and sugars, then add the eggs one at a time until completely mixed and creamy looking. 
Then add the dry ingredients about a cup at a time to wet ingredients and mix.  Then add vanilla.  Should look like the mixture below. 
 Next, mix in chocolate chips with a spoon.
Then roll them out into large 2-3 inch balls (a little bigger than a golf ball).  The larger the better with this recipe.  It says to bake fro 18-20 minutes, but mine were done at 12-15 minutes so start checking after 12 minutes.  Makes approx. 16-18, 5 inch cookies.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)
Sea salt

Start off by preheating oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside. 

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer (my good ol' Kitchen Aid) fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours. 

Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Makes 16 5-inch cookies

Check out my sister's cooking blog for more amazingly delicious recipes:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

the magical 80's

My last post on SWATCH started me thinking about my other favorite accessories as a child of the 80's, the charm necklace.  Oh my goodness I remember wearing my necklace with pride (and every outfit) even to church over my Sunday dress.  I remember trading them during recess and wondering what cool charm they would come up with next.  
I wish my sister or I would have kept our necklaces.  Reminds me to encourage my kids to keep a few of their childhood collections so they can reminisce when they're older. ;) 
 oh 80's, you truly were magical.

I had to add a pic of these Sweet Secret trinkets, if this sparks a bit of nostalgia in you cause you had one or 10, then we totally would have been friends. ;)

Monday, March 3, 2014

calling all children of the 80's

Anyone out there remember the days when SWATCH was all the rage?  I remember when I got my first SWATCH, it was so exciting.  I felt so cool with my 5 inch bangs, neon GAP sweater and patterned KEDS.  Oh, I also got one of those coordinating rubber watch guards.  Totally RAD!

The new watches coming out this season remind me of these old SWATCHES, although because of stores like Charming Charlie you can buy 1 of every color for a relatively small price compared to the cost of one of the old Swiss made SWATCH models.  Back then the price for one of these watches could have been up to $40, which in 1983 was a lot of money.  

Above are some 'rad' watches instyle this season.  I am loving the pastel and gold colors, I just recieved my pale pink and gold toe pumps in the mail and may just need one of these lovely watches to complete the look.

ps... I had to add the SWATCH phone below so those of you who are children of the 80's can go down memory lane once more. ;)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Chocolate makes everything better

This is a personal motto of mine.  There is nothing more fun than ending the weekend with a good show and a chocolate dessert on Sunday night.  When I was young (in the 80's) Disney used to show movies on Sunday evening on CBS.  Some of my favorite memories are eating dessert while watching Disney with my family.  I've tried to carry on this tradition to my family.

This is a recipe I've posted on here before, but it is soooo good I need to post it again. It is very simple.  If you have a stove and a pot you can make this.  My mom gave me this recipe and my mom does not pass along bad recipes.  Everything she makes is delicious.

There are no tricky parts, just melt and stir.  Simple (my kind'a recipe).

FIRST: take out a medium-large saucepan (the kind you'd make mac-n-cheese in)
-place on stove and turn on to medium/high heat

-add 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter 
(when baking use real butter, it does make a difference.  But margarine works too)

-1/4 cup warm water

-9 oz of chocolate chips (or 1 bag) 
(I splurge and buy the Hershey's brand semi-sweet chips, instead of generic when making this dessert)

melt together in pan, when melted together...
-add 3 cups mini marshmallows
 stir until marshmallows are completely melted. ps I LOVE this wooden spoon I got for Christmas from one of my favorite people in the whole world and lifelong friend, the one, the only...Allison Frazier. ;)

  She is da'bomb and I'm so grateful to have her as a neighbor and friend.
ok ok back to the recipe.
 this takes a little bit of time but it sure looks pretty and marbled as it starts to melt, and kids love to help at this part because of how cool it looks.
 while you are waiting for the marshmallows to melt...

-add 1 pint or 16 fl oz. of Heavy Whipping Cream (emphasis on heavy) to your mixer
(this is my 12 year old kitchen aid that I got from a wedding shower, it still works like a charm, although it has some some pretty funky food stains on it, that I cannot seem to get off)

 once marshmallows are totally melted take off the stove and set aside to cool 
(I usually put it in the fridge to speed up the process)
 at this point the whipping cream is still getting thick, I'm always amazed how long this takes

As the whipping cream begins to thicken:

-add 1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar 
(go by taste, you want to ere on the side of less sweet)

-once thick add 1 tsp. of vanilla

-add half of the whipping cream to the cooled chocolate mixture  
(It says to "fold" in the whipping cream, but I usually just stir it in with my trusty wooden spoon)
 Once the chocolate mixture and whipping cream are blended, set in fridge to cool or you can serve it right away.  Depends how much longer your family can wait. ;)

Use the other half of the un-used whipping cream to layer with the cooled chocolate mousse.
 Below are the delicious cups of chocolate mousse, layered with whipping cream.  

It really is deliciously deceptive, those who try it will be amazed you made it from scratch and only you will know how easy it was.
ps, try not to be too envious of our 1980's pressed leaf laminate countertops.  You can't find them in stores anymore, so that kind of makes them vintage? a collectors item? You'll just have to come over to my house and admire them if you want some of your own.  Some of us are just "lucky" that way. ;) 

(hahahaha....serious sarcasm here folks)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pastel pumps, heels, wedges, oxfords...OH MY!

As I was perusing this month's InStyle magazine (which, btw is an amazing fashion read) I fell in love with all the pastel shoes this season.  From Stuart Weitzmen, AGL at select Nordstroms, Stacey Bendet, Guess, J. Crew and the above ice cream inspired Charlotte Olympia sweet treats shoes, pastel footwear is in this season and it is adorable!
Now, there is no way I could afford the above cherry topped shoes, and even if I could they would probably have to be 80% off for me to even consider it, but they are a great inspiration for this spring.  

Flats, wedges, heels, ballerina, mary janes and oxfords.  I luv'em all!

pink & gold pumps - Gabrielle Rocha, $16.99 (78% off)

pink & white heel/ankle strap/oxford (CUTE!) - Dolce by Mojo Moxy, $31.48 (55% off)

For more great shoes at amazing discounts, my favorite online store is 6PM SHOES.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bodega at The Rest

This Valentine's Day my husband took me on a very memorable date.  It started off confusing and a bit strange.  

To begin, my husband is a huge foodie so when we were dating and for a couple of years after we were married, we would go out to eat on the weekends at whatever new/hip restaurant would open in Salt Lake City. Since then our family has expanded and so have other family expenses and date nights  have taken a back seat.  I've missed it, a lot, and just assumed that phase of my life was over.  

Well, my sweet hubbie took me out this weekend for Valentine's day.  He kept telling me it was a surprise, but nothing could have prepared me for the unusual adventure ahead. 
We began our date by entering a bodega about the size of our living room.  It sold cigarettes and soda. ????  I was the first to enter and went to the counter.  I was a little confused so I stared at the lady behind the counter and she smiled back at me. ????
My husband followed behind me and said to the lady, "we are here for THE REST". 
We got our ID's scanned and a key.  We were told to go through a locked door, hence the needed key,  down a long hall, turn right, then left, down a flight of stairs… etc.  I was thinking there is no way I'm going to remember all this.  

Next we found ourselves walking through a white narrow maze-like hallway.  At one point I looked back at Steve with a look of "WHAT IN THE WORLD? WHERE ARE WE GOING?" He just smiled.

After we descended the staircase we opened a door to a bizarre and exciting site.  
A large room full of people eating and chatting, loud 80's music being played on a record player, dim lights, 30 foot ceilings and a TON of taxidermy. 

The best part was the food.

Their menu changes weekly, so I don't know what the menu will be like in a week but this week's was amazing (and difficult to pronounce).  For our entre I had cornish game hen and Steve had a brazed beef rib.  For dessert I had beignets and Steve had a strawberry cream custard.  The last time I remember eating food so delicate and delicious was in Belgium a thousand years ago.

Thank you Steve for a fabulous evening and even though we get tired at 9:30pm these days and our life is consumed with many unglamorous things, we are not totally out of the game.  We are young at heart and always will be.

I hope that this is just the beginning of our adventures together.

The pictures above were taken from internet images, and their website gives very little information, but if you get a chane to splurge a little and want to feel like a part of SLC's hip underground foodie scene then go to
The Rest  and make your reservations.