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Sunday, December 30, 2012


Six years ago today I lost my aunt Jessica in a terrible tragedy. I miss you Jess, and I love you. I can still hear you in my head when you called me Jillie, and told me that Todd and I were to be married in the year of the Aquarius. My heart aches. Love to you in heaven above and beyond

Saturday, December 22, 2012


WELL SHIT. Do you think I'm still high off of Christmas and the subsequent excitement? WELL YOU'RE (partly) WRONG. I am excited about this shit:

This has saved my hair. Remember that post I did about Brocato shampoo? Yeah, whatever! I mean, I'm still going to keep using it, because it's mild, still cleans well and smells delightful, but... Man. I finally figured out what my hair needs.

Can I just tell you? That today? I put my hair in braids? And the ends of each braid did that curly-up thing because it was so full of moisture and so healthy? And the ends of my hair, despite months of drying and very rare straightening, were still so bouncy and fucking fabulous? BECAUSE IT'S TRUE.

This stuff... Oh my God, this stuff is the answer. The ends of my hair now feel like the roots of my hair. WHAT. Yeah. You read that right.

Now, Organix recommends you coat your dry hair root to tip with this stuff, cover it with a plastic cap and then with a hot wet towel. I have a toddler so I read that and after I cried over not having the goddamn time to mince around the house with a plastic bag and hot wet towel wrapped around my head.

So I said screw it, and just applied it to my shampooed, wet but wrung out hair in the shower one evening. It was AMAHZING. I now do it every time I shampoo my hair which may or may not be every other day. It doesn't weigh it down and quite frankly I try not to wash it out completely. Then I apply an Aveda leave in conditioner and if I blow dry my hair I use my Brocato serum. I was doing all that before but this argan oil has made the absolute difference.

They don't know me and this is not an ad or anything, I just LOVE this shit.

Grade: A++, would drive through the Mayan Apocalypse just to buy another jar.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Winter Road.

We recently spent a riotous weekend up on Mt. Lemmon in a cute cabin right outside of Summerhaven. We got through the sheriff blockade by the skins of our teeth, too, and Dave and Gneiss almost didn't get up later that Friday evening. After 10 minutes of waiting for us to check our stupid cell phones to verify that they were coming to stay for the weekend in the rental, finally the sheriff just rolled his eyes and said "Just go."

It stormed like crazy all of Saturday but Sunday was a glorious sun-soaked winter wonderland. The roads were perfectly cleared but at one point we drove through a cloud (I was slightly hungover and just kept saying "We're in a cloud, Todd. We're in a cloud"), and suddenly the landscape took on a spooky, haunting quality.

Dude, bro, we're in a cloud.

I loved the streams of melting snow running down the windshield.

The sun is trying to burn through.  Some streams of melted snow may or may not look like sperm attempting to reach the egg. I hope I didn't ruin it for you.

A cloud, man.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


She loves me again, you guys! Yesterday I came home for lunch and I was greeted with "MOMMY. Happy birthday, mama!" and I died. Then I found this picture from Sunday night when we ordered Chinese food. 

She loves putting that bucket on her head. I love it too. And remember when I posted about Christmas, and how Todd taught her how to gnaw on a pork chop? That skill apparently has transferred to BBQ ribs. She ate them all. Let's just go ahead and say our little carnivore loves to chomp ("I'm chomping, mama! I'm chomping, dada!").

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Soup, but then Alex slapped me.

Yeah, man! That title totally sums up my thoughts this morning when I wondered if I should blog about the amazing soup I made for dinner last night, but then as I leaned over the crib to kiss my daughter goodbye before work, she slapped her little hand against my face, pushing me away from her because she wanted her daddy to open the door and get her out.

Happy birthday mom! You're a bitch and I hate you!

You know, I thought I'd have to wait until at least 13 before getting 100% rejection from my kid. I guess that's my birthday lesson today! Happy birthday mom! You're a fucking idiot for thinking that!

Oh well. At least the soup was good.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Happened.

I've been chomping at the bit to get our house in the Christmas spirit and yesterday it finally happened. Our plan was to get a tree, FINALLY (she says only ten days into December). Todd's folks dropped in to join us so first, we needed to load up on a delicious breakfast. Can I just say, pork chops and eggs are God's gift? Because damn they are so good. Even Alexandra got in on the fun when dada taught her how to gnaw on a pork chop bone.

Get it girl! You are so your mama's daughter! She really went to town on her food. She ate all of Todd's eggs plus one of the ones we got for her, two strips of bacon, one of Todd's sausages, and half a piece of toast. Oh, then she started clamoring for grandma's pork chop, and then Todd's, and then he was like, dude, just take this, and boom, that photo happened.

Anyways, we went to Home Depot and I am officially a fan of noble firs. Noble fir. That looks like the name of a font or something. But I digress. Noble firs! So beautiful, so regal, and not itchy and stabby like a douglas fir! Amazing. We found a super wet and springy tree that was so heavy and full of water that I could hardly pull it into an upright position, and took it home where we decorated the hell out of it while Alexandra pulled down the cookie ornaments and ate them.

BOOM goes the dynamite! Look at that thing! It's massive and gorgeous, just like me. I had gotten a box of 50 ornaments from Target, plus another little kit with smaller ornaments, and I am glad I did because this tree is so big, we wouldn't have had enough to go around (literally). Oh, and please direct your attention to that utterly badass and beautiful tree skirt THAT I MADE BY MYSELF.

You see how blurry that picture is? It's because I was trembling with excitement over finally getting to display the fruits of my labor from over two months ago. I literally jumped up and down up and down when we brought the tree inside because I was so goddamn excited about that tree skirt.

All that decorating took it out of us, so when the pizzas came, I made some pretty delicious, and pretty pretty, Christmas gimlets.




Yeah, that right there is a masterpiece, a holiday explosion of deliciousness and visual perfection. Ignore the shapeless twist, OKAY? I WAS EXCITED. AND HUNGRY. Focus instead on the jolly red sugar rim, the evergreen glow of the vodka concoction, and the base of red which miraculously didn't muddle up the green but instead settled beautifully on the bottom, like a cat in front of a fire. By the way, Bingley slept with us all last night and NEVER CATERWAULED. Mind blown? Yes. Yes it is.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

German Beer Stew with Sausage, Cabbage & Onion

Um, sooo yeah. This stew was so freaking good I could not stop going back to the pot for bites. I got it off Pinterest (GO FIGURE) and it was originally posted on The Cozy Apron in this here post: Oktoberfest Lager Stew. I want to post you to this place because this is where this here photo comes from and I want to offer credit where it's due.

I don't call mine Oktoberfest stew because I didn't use that type of beer. So actually I guess this should be called Fat Tire Stew. But gross! That doesn't appeal to me in any way and I know how delicious that beer tastes. Hey girl. Come over here. Here. Eat this stew. It's called Fat Tire. Hey girl, where you going? I didn't mean it would make you into a fat tire! Stop crying! Oh my God, are you calling your mom? No, I don't want to talk to her! I didn't do anything wrong.

Uh, let's get to the soup.

German Beer Stew with Sausage, Cabbage and Onion
serves four

1 tbsp olive oil
4 links smoked beef sausage, cut into bite size pieces
1 onion, cut in half and sliced thin
1/2 head cabbage, halved again, cored and cut into thin slices
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/4 tsp ground caraway seeds (I didn't have this, so I used cumin with dill)
salt to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup German style beer (I used Fat Tire upon Todd's recommendation and he knows beer)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into small bite size pieces
2.5 cups hot chicken stock (I used salt free boullion powder)
1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp snipped fresh parsley

Oh my God, oh my God this was so good. OKAY. So, heat your olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once it's hot, add your sausage and cook until browned, about five minutes.

Add your onions and let those carmelize a bit (another few minutes) before adding the cabbage. Toss to combine and let THAT mix cook down about for ANOTHER four or five minutes.

Now, add your pepper, caraway (or cumin/dill mix) and salt, give it a stir and toss in the garlic. Once it's fragrant, add the beer, potatoes and stock.

Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat, partly cover (to allow steam to escape) and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir in your vinegar and parsley and TRY not to kill the other people eating it so you can have it all to yourself. My God, man. It was full of stars.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Gift of Reading.

Well what do we have here? I guess Patton lamented to Alexandra about not having a lot of reading material lying around at his disposal.

"DOGS CANNOT READ" you scream. "This picture is such a set up!! Alexandra is dumb for thinking dogs can read!!"

Oh yeah?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Snapseed and Afterglow.

So since I recently got an iPhone I've also recently developed a thirst for apps. I've also really enjoyed getting to take some decent pictures of stuff, especially of things I want to blog about (I'm relieved to report that I no longer take greenish brownish food pictures). And then there was the perfect timing of a Dooce post all about photography apps, specifically Snapseed and Afterglow. So since I absolutely fangirl over Dooce (AKA Heather Armstrong) and also want to learn more about taking pictures with my phone, I whipped out my iPhone and immediately downloaded both of them.

I can already tell you that Snapseed is my absolute favorite. It doesn't rely so heavily on filters alone, and in the different sorts of filters you DO have, you can manipulate the outcomes with much more control.

That's the original. And can I just pause here to say how much I adore white tulips? Crisp and clean, and then the stems do their funky thing and get all twisty and artsy. Anyways, I futzed around in Snapseed and came out with this:

There are different sort of textures you can apply through Drama, Grunge, and Vintage, for example. You can mess around with the focus points, the amount of lightness and brightness in the center of the photo or on the peripheries. SO cool. The saturation, brightness, focus, texture, all can be played with. The end result of my tulip photo looks creepy and old and like it was found stashed in an old shed or attic.

That's the original and isn't she ADORABLE?

This is Snapseed again. I was really getting into it with this photo, and you can tell I messed with the light and the focus on the edges and in the center. I am absolutely a complete and utter photography noob so all this is probably old news and boring as hell for anyone with an ounce of experience. But I really enjoyed learning how to manipulate the images and seeing how the mood of a photo can be completely changed by a just a few tweaks.

This is Afterglow. There's not a whole lot that I did to it but I did like the warmth of the filter I used and I think I made the shadows a little richer. The filters are loads more subtle than in Instagram. I will admit that I haven't fully explored Afterglow but you can mess around with highlights, brightness, contrast, shadows and exposure.You can even add lens flares, twist the photo around. And both apps are really easy and really fun to play around with. That is not an advertisement either, they don't know I even exist.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Workout Wednesday!

Thanks for this workout, Pinterest. By the way I've totally guzzled all the kool-aid, seen all the brain washing films and covered my wall in the propaganda ads. I LOVE PINTEREST.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


There is utter magic in the moment when you realize your child has fallen asleep on you. You really do feel blessed to be chosen as their pillow, and conversations are continued in awed whispers, hushed giggles at that wonderful feeling that an angel has paused the beating of her wings for a brief slumber in your arms.

The sleep is so true that the thumb slides out of that perfect little mouth, so deep already that you can play with her hair and she won't stir, not even a little. All snuggled up together, mama under her head, dada under her perfect little twinkle toes. Once Upon A Time was on, I was bundled up under a blanket with a glass of wine and a delicious calzone. Life really couldn't have been better. When she eventually woke up and we took her to her crib, there was a tangible, touchable loss, and the perfect moment was over. But man, was it nice living it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Death of a Dog Bed.

Saturday night, my mom and stepdad came over to watch Alex so we could go party down with friends, and they had a great time. I have a feeling, though, that they left Patton outside for the majority of that time, because apparently he had a good time too. It's like he knew I just did a Bingley post and wanted in on the action. Just take a gander.

This is just one portion of the yard that was utterly covered. The grass patch was littered with stuffing. The area by the gate was covered. There was fluff on the patio. There was fluff in potted plants. It was impressive in its coverage. I literally said "OH MY GOD." when I opened the rolling shutter that covers the sliding glass doors. Even Alexandra knew something was amiss.

You know, we had just gotten finished discussing how awesome and gorgeous Patton was, when he came in to visit us that Sunday morning. I guess we spoke too soon! Or too kindly. I know the bed probably thinks so.

That right there is $30 and a PetSmart membership card. If I hadn't have gotten the membership discount, it would have been $50 and Patton would be dead right now. Needless to say, we won't be buying another PetSmart bed, and I urge you dog owners to avoid them as well. Kirkland needs to restock their $20 big dog beds. Those stupid ones with the bumper on two sides is too small, and I am not paying $40 for something that will just end up partially digested.

Pets. I tell you.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

This is me playing Angry Birds.

I once read that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I fundamentally disagree with this idea. I think that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of hope.

-Debbie Millman