Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Newest Book

I made this book a while ago and have been meaning to use it. I like this book because it is small and fat, I made the paper, used a different binding then I usually do, I even dyed the thread. Point is, this book is more me than any other book.
I decided to use this book as a 'book of happiness'. Does that sound ridiculous or what? I started this book because sometimes life sucks, right? And sometimes you lose sight of all the things that are good. So to keep my eyes open to all the good things in life, I've decided to write down 3 things every day that are good or make me happy.
So here are my three things.
Yep, I'm still very happy to be back in Chicago.
Don't think I'm shallow, but cable makes me happy. Do you know why? Because we get KBYU, and every Sunday we watch (have on while we are getting ready) Music and the Spoken Word and Worship Service before we go to church. And it gets better. This next week, we, while living in Chicago, can watch General Conference from the comfort of our apartment. Yep, I like cable, and you would too.
And my last bit of happiness is that I start my new job tomorrow! It's true, I have a real job, with benefits and a real pay check. I feel pretty good about it!
I think this is going to be a good year!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Apartment

We painted our apartment. Just this one wall.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Good Food Friday

For Good Food Friday this week, I decided to utilize the abundant fresh figs at the produce market. I was going to make pizza again, but then I saw Giada use figs to make a jam for an appetizer. Then I thought, "oh, I should make jam with the rest of the figs." So I did.
First I cut up about a pound of figs into eighths.
Then I combined the figs with sugar, salt, and lemon juice and let it all simmer.
It simmered and turned into this.
I decided to puree a bit of the jam for a smoother texture. Here is the finished product. It turned out really tasty and mild. I kind of expected it to be Fig Newton'ish, but it is way better then that.
So here is the official recipe for:

Quick Refrigerator Fig Jam

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 pound fresh figs, stemmed and chopped into sixths or eighths
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a small or medium saucepan (figs should come one to two inches up
side of the pan). Bring to a simmer over low to medium-low heat. Stir often, until figs begin
releasing juice, in order to avoid sticking on the bottom of the pan.

Adjust heat to maintain a simmer, using higher heat if fruit is very liquidy. Cook, stirring
frequently, until jam is thickened, but still juicy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool, transfer to jars or
airtight containers, and refrigerate. Jam will thicken further as it chills. Keeps refrigerated at
least one week.

I got the recipe at this blog.

Try it, you'll like it!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chicago Half Marathon

Last weekend, I ran in the Chicago Half Marathon with my running buddy Chelsea. I decided to run it bandit with her (bandit=running w/out registering for the race) and it was a crazy race. It poured the whole time, but was great nonetheless. I had the intention of running the whole 13.1 miles, but after Chelsea left me in the dust (mud might be more appropriate) at mile 3, I decided to quit at mile 5. But I ran the last quarter mile into the finish line with Chelsea. I remembered from previous experience that you can fake a 5k, and you can almost fake a 10k, but you can't fake a half or full marathon. Chels ended up running a great race, and I'll be there to cheer her on during the Chicago Marathon, where hopefully she will requalify for Boston, and we can do Boston 09 together!!!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm a Big Girl Now

So this weekend Bill and I went to our first concert. Okay, not very first concert, we've gone to operas and symphonies etc, but we've never been to a hip concert. Could it be because we're not hip, well lets pretend that isn't a reason/option as to our late bloom into the concert world. To the point, one of my favorite artists came to Chicago, Jenny Lewis, who is also part of the band Rilo Kiley. I decided I HAD to go. So we went and it was awesome. I think the word awesome is appropriate because the venue for the concert was in a church with frescoes on the walls and stained glass windows. It was great. One of the opening bands, Whispertown2000, was pretty good too. I had a terrible time deciding what to wear. You know, do you wear cool indie clothes? Can I wear other indie bands, I have a Wilco shirt, they're friends, right? Should I wear all black and top it off with a beret? Should I take a lighter so that I can sway it with the slow songs? So many decisions to make. Classical concerts are so much easier to prepare for, all you have do is put on a dress. I didn't do any of the following, just in case you were wondering, I just looked like me, boring, but indie loving me, and no lighter (people did have their lighters out). But they had these shirts for sale in various colors (see picture below), plus a tote with this same image, and I wish I would have bought the tote (I'm going green, good produce market bag). Guess I'll have to search high and low until I get one.Anyway, the concert was great! I'm finally an adult, and now I'm just waiting for Rilo Kiley to come to town! Wohooo!

Viva Chicago!
Viva Jenny Lewis!

P.S. My first concert was actually at the Muse in Provo, where my brother in-law's band, MCU (Mobile Command Unit) play. It was a rockin good time, especially because my grandparents also showed up to support him.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Good Food Friday

I hate to brag, but I made the best meal this week. Oh man, it was so good. I wish I would have made more. It was all because the other day, I went to the produce market and saw these puppies.
I saw these lovely figs. I couldn't resist. I had to buy them. Luckily, while reading the Runner's World magazine, they did an article about cooking locally and what the elites cook. Well Deena Kastor graced us with her recipe for Caramelized Onion and Fig Pizza. So since I had a recipe requiring figs, I bought them!!!!!

So here is the recipe.
Caramelized Onion and Fig Pizza

Pizza dough for 1 pizza. (I used a recipe from The Better Homes and Garden Cook Book and it turned out great, and I obviously made 2)
1 Tlbsp olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tlbsp brown sugar
1 Tlbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup arugula leaves, packed
6 dried figs, sliced
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Roll out dough to fit baking pan. Preheat oven to 450 F. Heat oil and saute onions with salt until brown. Add sugar and balsamic vinegar. Cook for 10 minutes. Spread onion mixture over dough, leaving an edge for the crust. Top with arugula, figs, and crumbled cheese. Place in oven for 15 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from oven. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on top. Slice into sixths and serve.
Here my uncooked pizza. It turned out to be delightful!
Here is the picture of the pizza from the magazine. Mine didn't quite look like this. I had to make some changes.

So here is how I altered it.
I used fresh feta (I bought a big block of it, yummy)
I didn't have arugula, so I was going to use spinach, but my fridge has temperature problems, and my spinach was frozen. So there was no greenery on the pizza.
I use fresh figs, I don't know where I would find dried figs, maybe Whole Foods.

Anyway, this really was delicious. The flavors were fantastic, and Bill loved it. So try it, you'll like it!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tribute To Freckles

Well, lets face it, I have freckles and I hate them. One day I walked up to a makeup counter at Macy's and told the lady at the cosmetics counter that I needed some makeup to cover up my freckles. She said it couldn't be done. Yeah right lady. Of course it can be done. Nicole Kidman had freckles at one point in her life, and now she doesn't have any. Amazing! So here are a few actresses with freckles that do a pretty good job at covering them up.
In order to get L.Lo. with freckles, you have to get the mug shot from the police.J. Moore

In the Traveling Pants movie, Lena (Alexis Bledel) let her freckles shine!
And here are my sisters, we all have freckles. I had to search high and low for a picture with L.L.'s freckles, but her freckles are so light, this was the best I could do. I'm trying to embrace my freckles(see close up above, normally close ups show too much freckle, so I usually avoid them). I suppose I wouldn't be the same without them, but it wouldn't hurt if they were just a little lighter.
And finally I stole this picture from CJane. This is her sister Nie Nie, and she is beautiful and she has lots of freckles.
Did you know that women with freckles are kindred spirits? Yep, it's true (with the exception of the first picture)! Speak up if your my freckled kindred spirit!

**People with a freckle don't count, that freckle is probably a mole.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Plucking the Unibrow

The Today Show did an episode on how you should let your eyebrows grow out for 3 weeks so that your hair follicles are on the same growth cycle. As a result, you won't have to pluck your eyebrows as often. I did it. I had a unibrow like Oscar the Grouch for three weeks, and then I went to work. Well you know what, it didn't work. 1 week post plucking, wild eyebrow hair is already sprouting. Forget it, I'm going back to waxing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

1 Year in Chicago

One year ago yesterday (I meant to write this on the actual day) we loaded up our belongings into a U haul trailer, and drove across the country. It was a terrible idea, well I suppose it wasn't so bad, because I didn't have to drive, but let me tell you, it was an intense 3 days. We figured, if our friends who have the exact same car as us (car is named Ruth) can attach a U haul trailer onto their vehicle and drive from Provo to Harvard, then we can surely make it from Provo to Chicago. So we did it and it sucked, but moving always sucks (can't you see the tears, I cried a lot). But it was worth it. Because we love Chicago, and we are happy to celebrate one year here. I'm just pretending that our 3 months in Hell Vegas didn't exist therefore, I can count them as time in Chicago. I've learned to embrace the wind (having short hair makes the wind easier to deal with), and winters just suck, but that's okay, we love our apartment, we love our ward, Bill loves school, and we love our life here.
So to celebrate our 1 year anniversary in Chicago, I took my bike out for a spin, freak suit and all (freak suit is code for all spandex, and the picture below does not contain freak suit). It was a lovely, yet very windy day. Nothing is better than riding up the lake into the city on your bike, where you can enjoy everything that Chicago has to offer: a great skyline, enormous yachts and sailboats on the lake, the greenery, and of course the lake. So my bike ride on somewhat flat tires was great (our pump sucks and Bill wasn't home to help me, boo).
I heart Chicago (the city, not the group).

Did I mention that I had a roommate who was obsessed with the band Chicago and she and her now husband would go to church parking lots (for privacy of course) and crank Chicago on their car stereo and dance in the street light. Chicago grosses me out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Seersucker Thursdays

I know, I should probably do this post on Thursday, but life is so calm right now and I can't think of anything else to post. So today, we are going to talk about Washington D.C. also know as the District, and all of its idiosyncrasies. I like D.C., don't get me wrong, but there were a few things that I encountered while I was there that I couldn't help but laugh at. One of the things that I learned about was how during the summer, the Senate has Seersucker Thursday, a day when they all wear their Seersucker Suits of course. Feast your eyes above.
I also had the opportunity to see what I feel is the epitome of the east coast, guys wearing chinos, long sleeved collared shirts with the sleeves rolled up and shirts tucked in, and of course a nice pair of summer loafers (I can't remember what they are called). They kind of reminded me of Carlton Banks. I suppose it was amusing because you just don't see that style on the west coast, but it seems to be prevalent in the east.
Does anyone else think it is weird that D.C. has no skyscrapers? Feel free to comment on any idiosyncrasies that you've notice, you know, for kicks and giggles.

The end

(P.S. I really like D.C. for all of its quirks)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned" and boy do I feel SCORNED!!!

Dear girl,
We rented our home to you for the summer clean and nice, and you left it like a bull in a China shop. But let me just thank you for a few things that you thoughtfully left for us. Thank you for the the black disgusting mold on the caulk of our bathrooms and kitchen. Thanks for the shrimp tales surrounding the garbage. Thanks for the tomato (plus seeds) that were ground into the tile. Thanks for killing my plant. Thanks for the greasy face prints that were left on every window in the apartment. Thanks for leaving the kitchen floor more sticky than the floor of a dollar theater. Thanks for leaving beer caps all around the house, I've had a grand time finding them all. Thanks for using up every type of oil that I own, I'm sure that had we left our car, you would have siphoned the oil and gas out of that too. Thanks for leaving juicy rotten garlic in my wooden bowl. Thanks for my more than doubled electricity bill. You really have outdone yourself. You are the most disgusting person I've ever had to deal with. Thank you for showing me that having faith in humanity is futile. Feel free to come by and pick up your crap. I'll give you a knuckle sandwich for the drive home.

Sincerely, your disgruntled lessor,