Thursday, October 31, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Happy Halloween Friends!! I hope you have some spooootacular plans today!

One of my closest childhood friends had the mom who always had some homemade something around the house. Many of these treats were holiday traditions, or things she would make for special occasions. Considering I practically lived at their house in elementary school ( think America Girl dolls, Beanie Babies, Salute your Shorts, and old school Nintendo) I in affect adopted a love for many of the treats her family had, in addition to my own family's food themed traditions. One of my favorites that I adopted and made my own parents incorporate into our own holiday tradition repertoire was roasted pumpkin seeds. It was the perfect food tradition to tie with carving pumpkins every year.

Considering how serious I take my holiday traditions (I may or may not be a bit of a holidayzilla) this year I knew that carving a pumpkin meant I had to do it right. Now, I think I nailed the pumpkin I was going for using some power drills. So I was pretty thrilled when I ended up having enough pumpkin seeds from tha adventure to warrant making a batch of roast pumpkin seeds just like when I was growing up.

Normally one pumpkin isn't enough to get enough seeds, but I had picked a particularly seedy one which was great. Typically I would recommend to plan on having at least two pumpkins to gut to get enough seeds for this.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups fresh, raw, straight from the pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon Worester Sauce
1 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Butter, melted.

You are going to clean off those seeds until all the guts of the pumpkin are off. I try to clean off as much gunk as possible as they are coming out of the pumpkin and then use a colander that has bigger drain holes to wash them for dayz. Then you are going to boil them. Ten minutes. Just plop them into salted boiling water and away you go.

Now you need to get them good and dry. Like NO moisture, or the salt will clump up on you. I put to paper towels on top of a grated drying rack and move them around for a few days until they are dry. If the paper towel holds any moisture, you'll want to change that once a day. Mine took two days to get completely dry.
Once dry, mix the melted butter, salt and Worcester sauce. Include the pumpkin seeds and stir to coat.
Heat oven to 225F. Spread seeds out on a pan and roast for 1-2 hours. Mine typically take 2 hours. Take them seeds out to check for burning and to stir on the pan every 20-30 minutes.
Voila! Amazingly tasty roasted pumpkin seeds!

**As a side note, if you want to make these without the pumpkin mess, or in say, like July, check out the option to order plain seeds that you could just start at the step where you throw them in the mixture. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hit 'em When They are Good and Low

I will not even to pretend to know hardly anything about relationships, friendships, any of that business because it is about as complex and personal as it gets, but I will say this... I do know what hurts me.

The sad part is I think it has become so routine, so quick for us to do this to each other, that it is considered being a good friend or good partner. We are all short on time, energy, and capacity to be upbeat and positive. I mean, we all have to do that for ourselves, so when it comes to others...there is a limited amount of energy there sometimes. I am the first to admit this happens to me all the time:

I am worn out, I am tired, I have my own ish going on, and then someone calls along and needs me. I listen, murmur a few 'uh huhs' and then because you really feel like you need to get back to your life, you drop the "hard loving truth on them"

Whether or not you intend to you've hit them in the gut when they are already gasping for air emotionally.

I am at fault. I will be the first to raise my hand and say "yup, I've done that to a friend/boyfriend/family member/coworker/etc".  Sometimes you just can't handle someone else's ish right then. It is too much. It is too depressing. You just can't. 

You have someone who is admitting to feeling sad, defeated, scared, depressed, anxious, insecure, you pick the emotion here, and there, in the throngs of their telling you how they are feeling once of these less-than-stellar emotions, you decide now is the time for the "learning lesson". Or to finally let go of those words you have been fighting back, that are your real, true, honest opinion about their situation. And sometimes that seems faster than offering words of compassion, care and support.  

Granted, relationships are all about the honest opinions. On both sides. That is what we use to build love, trust, and respect off of. But there is a time and a place for them. 

I am not saying don'teverspeaknegativewordsoryourtrueopinionstosomeoneyouloveoryouarehorribleandgettingitallveryveryverywrong. But I think there is a time. And a place. And a way to deliver the message, possibly after they have stopped crying or feeling like they can't breath. 

I take those moments hard. Really hard.

When I am down. Crying. Sucking metaphorical muck off the floor, and feeling some crappy emotion, I feel a million times worse when someone whom I love and trust, tells me that "yup, that emotion. It IS  your worst nightmare. It really is that bad and oh, guess what, I've been thinking this for awhile and I just want to say how I REALLY feel."

It sucks. 

It makes you feel like maybe it is better to just stay down on the emotional floor, sucking your metaphorical emotional muck, and hope that the emotion you are feeling kills you. 

There is always the reminding yourself that this is coming from someone who loves you. Yes, that person, they love you and chance are, they are saying these things not with the intent to be hurtful, but because they have run out of, or don't know what to say to make that big ocean of emotion feel any better. Maybe they are having  a bad day too. So instead of the pep talk, or the "yea, this really sucks, and you are totally right to feel this way" even though they could say SO much more they keep their mouths shut; you get a "Here is how you are feeling AND a good ole' dose of shitty" on top of it. But they do love you. Which is such a hard pill to swallow, but you've that is the key to this all. 

And I know this. 

Because I have. been. there. done. that.

I have said some really not uplifting things to people when they are not at their best. I have regretted it. Even when it felt REALLY good to say something, I knew I hurt the other person. I knew I missed the opportunity to build them up. To make them realize that the dark spot they are in, it will pass. They will come out on the other side ok. That they are bigger, stronger and more loved than they can possibly imagine at that moment.

It is what we do....we hurt, we grow, we come back from it, and then we thrive. 

It is part of life. 

But I've been there. I've hurt someone, in the very way that people have hurt me. So I get it. I want to put this in my mind now. I want to be better. I want to try to not inflict the same hurt someone inflicted on me. Because while I love them, and I know they love me, kicking someone when they are down, no matter how hard it is to bite your tongue or how weary you are, isn't how we would want to be treated ourselves, so why do it to others?

I want to take what I am feeling right now. This hurt. I want to learn from this. That empowerment. Support. And that IwilllistentoyoucrynomatterhowmuchIthinkIamrightandknowhowyoucanfixit, is how I face those conversations with people who I know are lying on the proverbial emotional floor, sucking their own version of emotion muck. 

That golden rule we all heard growing up really is true. Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

La Jolla Wedding and Pledge Class Reunion: Part II

If you missed the first part of my La Jolla trip you can read about it here.

The morning of the wedding the BF and I had a relaxing breakfast where I was sure to fuel up for Kendal and Brandon's big day! I got dropped off at the hotel and the bridesmaids all met up in Kendals suite (which has a beautiful view of the ocean) to get ready, and to do our bridesmaidly duties!

The beautiful bride after we fluffed that skirt for days!
Bridesmaid bouquets. We each got to carry a unique orange flower.

Getting ready was really fun. We all helped each other do our makeup. I got pampered and got my hair professionally done. We did a big round of photos before the ceremony and then got all lined up to get Kendal down the isle to become a Mrs.!

The wedding was really sweet. A member of the groom's family married them, and the love between Kendal and Brandon was really sweet to be witness to.

After the wedding there was a cocktail hour where the pledge class reunion began...

Then we relocated to the reception site, which was beautiful! Watching the sun set over the beach while we ate dinner..

 The tablescapes were beautiful and that pink drink was the signature "blushing bride" cocktail.
View from the reception space. The sun set while we were eating dinner and it was stunning.

Kendal did an incredible job with a ton of person touches. There was a photo booth. Milk and Cookies. A private bathroom for the wedding guest (brilliant idea if getting married at a hotel) (also where one of my favorite memories of the night happened when we had to help the bride with all that dress!). The dance floor was full of people, and we got to relive so of the college sorority formal memories.

This one is one of my favorites.

After the wedding, we decided to take the party to downtown La Jolla and went a bar/club and we danced the night away!

Sadly, the night came to and end and we all had to say our goodbyes as all our flights left at different times the next day.  It was such a great wedding and I was so honored to be a part of it!

The next morning we woke up and got some gas in the car ( a whole other story...but one that luckily didn't result in us being stranded in the wee hours of the morning), and then grabbed brunch at Cody's La Jolla which was excellent and just what we needed after a late night!

 Possibly the best french toast I have ever had.

We made a few stops as we drove back up to LA and despite us having to drive back up to catch flights, it was a really fun morning and afternoon. 

Later that day I caught my flight to head home for a few days before heading off to Kansas City! 


You can read about my trip to Vegas to celebrate Kendal's bachelorette party here. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Drilling

It has been awhile since I carved a pumpkin. Three years to be exact. Last year I didn't even think about it. Halloween came and went, sans pumpkin. The year before, the BF showed up at my apartment door with a surprise pumpkin. It was a beaut! It was the perfect big pumpkin I had when I was little. It made my apartment so festive, which I loved.

This year I had seen a whole bunch of pins floating around on using a power drill to "carve" a pumpkin.

Three words:

Sign me up.

One of the perks of co-habing...having access to power tools. You can just call me Martha....

The starting point. Let me tell you... I forgot how much effort it is to cut the top off a pumpkin!
My weapon of choice.
All done!
 Final product in all its Halloween glowing glory.
If only we had a stoop or outside space to put my amazing work of art. To enjoy I turn off most of the lights while I eat dinner and dine al-la pumpkin light. #apartmentlivingproblems.
Anyone else getting in the mood for Halloween this year?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

La Jolla Wedding and Pledge Class Reunion; Part I

When I was in Idaho I was visiting in-between two weddings that were just one week apart. The first was the wedding of my dear friend and college sorority sister, Kendal, to the love of her life Brandon. Not only was I invited to the wedding, I was honored to have been asked to stand by Kendal as one of her bridesmaids.

The wedding was in La Jolla at the La Jolla Shores hotel. The BF and I flew in early so we could make a mini romantic getaway out of the trip and also spend some time in LA. (Did I mention that I LOVE to travel with the BF? We are good at traveling together, and I know that is important and it makes me happy)
We both flew to LA and on our first day we drove around, headed to Venice beach, dined on some amazing food at Gjelina, and then walked the shops before driving along the coast to soak in some West coast beauty.
Limes hanging down above us on the patio at Gjelina
California Ave in California!
What we think is the flagship Toms store. 
Palm trees and blue sky for dayzzzz.

Street shopping and neat signage.

 Venice Beach Canals

 That night I was surprised by the BF driving us through LA, and finally arriving at Ink. , Michael Voltaggio's resteraunt. It almost feels like a crime to include this snipit of the trip in a large post, as it was hands down The BEST Meal I Have Ever Eaten In My Life. We ordered a smattering of dishes including: charred avocado, egg yolk gnocchi (be still my heart), heritage pork chop, lamb belly (never ever have I tasted such delight!), then we circled around for the hamachi because we were in love with the food. To top it all off, we had the apple dessert.

I can't even summarize this flavors of this meal into words. All I know is that M. Voltaggio is a force to be reckoned with. His food is crazy good. Surprising and complex. I will say it again-- best meal of my life. My mouth and palate is forever changed.

The next morning we were in a food funk thinking about how nothing could compare to that amazing meal, but needing something before we hit the road and drove down to La Jolla for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The BF has been eyeing a large donut in the sky from some of his previous trips to LA, so without further thought we started our morning with some amazing donuts.
These were amazing. 

After breakfast we hit the road and headed south. Taking a few detours to see some more West Coast beauty, we decided to stop in Del Mar to have lunch at Sbicca where we had a great view of the ocean. 

Sbicca patio view for a relaxing lunch. 
 Quickly checking out the beach view before driving the rest of the way to La Jolla.

That evening, after a mad dash to the hotel, was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The bride and groom were so happy, and the whole evening was really memorable. Kendal went out of her way to make, yes I said make, personalized bridesmaid gifts. Mine was an adorable blue and cream colored soft ipad carrying case. It was embroidered with my name and had a soft fuzzy cream liner that Kendal picked because "it reminded her of poodles". Now that is friendship right there!! 

I mean seriously, how adorable is that??

Stay tuned for Part II.....

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Fall Whomp Whomps

I have been some sort of ill for almost two months now. Seriously. It just hasn't let up.

Before heading off for the wedding palooza I came down with something that lingered the entire trip. Then upon arriving home I went into a full-blown illness complete with a hacking cough that made my brain hurt. I still have that cough on and off. To top it all off, Monday I ended up dragging myself to one of those emergency walk-in medical clinics as I was having back and side pain coupled with a fever the the shakes like no other. I am now on day five of a ten day course of antibiotics. All the meanwhile, starting a new job. Let's just say this hasn't been my finest fall. Luckily, I am finally feeling a bit better today and on the mend, but I've still got five days of doctors orders of laying low (no gym, no glass of red wine, no massive amounts of dairy and lots of sleep). Some years you just get all the luck huh?

There have been a few things that have been keeping me in good spirits despite feeling a little crappy. First off, can we just say n-e-w j-o-b. That adjustment is always hard, but when you feel proud of yourself for landing a job you really wanted, you feel pretty darn good waking up every day and turning on your computer. (That 2 minute commute to my "office" doesn't hurt either!). Also, did I mention that I got the second highest score on a post-training test?? AND I was in a training class with people who had been at the company for years! So what-what! Rockin-it!

I also brought these beauties home last weekend from my beloved Trader Joes.

They really make me smile. So much so, that I was thinking that I should challenge myself to have flowers around at least once each month. Kind of a twelve bouquets challenge for the year. 

I also cooked something. Amazing, considering I could hardly bend over to reach our pots and pans we store in the lower cabinets. I wanted to try a fresher-than-canned-soup chicken noodle soup. While it wasn't amazing, it was pretty good. It certainly tasted better than anything coming out of a can, and boasted a ton of fresh chicken, and tons of fresh veggies. I'll take it as a win.

Let's just hope I am on the up-swing of all this illness now!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Decorating a Home Office

After week one of working in my new "office"- or better known as the guest bedroom, I was pretty quick to realize that the set-up I had on hand wasn't going to cut it for a full-time office set-up. When I moved back in May, (not sure if I really mentioned that on here- but yes, I moved. Cohabn' it!) I was lucky that almost my entire apartment fit into the guest bedroom in the new place. What this resulted in was my dining room table that was used for everything in my studio became a full fledged dedicated desk. Granted I didn't plan on having it turn into my full-time work space, so the fact that it wasn't exactly comfortable was ok. 

So it isn't big, that chair clearly wasn't going to cut it and it was just the perfect height to make you look down at your screen all day which was not too comfy. Luckily I remembered that the legs on the table are adjustable and we battled IKEA to find a new padded and backed bar chair. 

Naturally, none of the cover options (and there really aren't many) were not appealing, but on the fly we remember that we had heard a lot about custom slip covers that a lot of online stores were doing for IKEA furniture. So my chair is just the gauze right now while I debate what fabric and vendor to order from. 

The bigger issue is picking a design plan for the entire room since we have a bed and other items in the room. I am leaning towards a purple and teal motif, but have yet to see it all come together in my head. If that panned out, I think a chevron cover in grey and white for the chair would be perfect. I have some shelves to hang, some accessories to buy (lamp, storage pins and such), and some brainstorming on printer location. 

At any rate, it is coming together and I now have a higher more comfortable work surface, coupled with a much more comfortable chair. (We also finally replaced that sad excuse of lamp for something a bit more...oh not torn and falling apart!). So if anyone is bored and wants to help me pull together my thoughts on decorating...let me know!

Friday, October 11, 2013

These Are Some of My Favorite Things

Phew! It has been awhile since we've done of these around here! I feel like I have a million things that have caught my eye since the last Favorite Things post, so I'll give it a shot to capture them all for your enjoyment! I apologize since I would love to source where I hear about some of these, but I can not remember most of the sources!

- I want to be married to a man who writes a song for me. May sure you have a kleenex for that one!

- Photos that show how things used to be always capture my eye. 

- The sorority girl in me runs deep and I get really amazed when I see beautiful houses like this and this absurd renovation. 

-I am still loving all thing Royal Baby, and I've been secretly wishing I wore nail polish simply for these. 

-Whole Foods is great, but also makes me laugh, so when this started floating around I couldn't help but laugh out loud.

- My love of IKEA is no secret, and when this finally hits US stores, I will certainly be carting out armloads to stash with my multitude of paper products. 

-On my love of paper products, this store is calling my name. I could do some purchasing damage. 

-Good thoughts on dating a man vs. a boy. 

-I've gone to two anthros to buy this, and haven't found it at either. I may be developing an unhealthy obsession on looking at it everyday. 

- When I was home I bought myself a Lit & Co. candle (the white tea scent) and I am obsessed! It makes my "office" smell amazing. 

- On my "funemployment", even while it was an epic failure, I focused on tackling some things that fit into this list pretty well. Really focusing on my gmail inbox these days.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I'm hanging out in a hotel In New Jersey, having just completed day two of the new job. It is going well. Change, it is always good and this time it feels really good.

There has been a lot of "new" is the last 24 hours. New family additions ( of the fur type for my parents), new career opportunities, new people, new life style, new realities.

Doesn't it all sound so good when you use the lens of "new" vs "change"?

Change gets a bad reputation for sure, some of it rightfully so, and if I was looking at some of the things that have transpired in the last 24 hours I would say that they are that not so great change that we stumble on. However, maybe if I just keep looking at all of it with the idea of change there will be fewer feelings of sad or anxiety.

Lucky for me, I am living and breathing an employment dream right now. Keeping me focused on all of the fresh newness, and keeping that perspective front and center.

Ps....isn't she cute?


Friday, October 4, 2013

Funemployment Gone Wrong

Guys what is my deal?!? Pulling out the ipad or laptop to blog is pulling teeth these days. I don't even have the excuse of time since I am enjoying funemployment and all. Speaking of funemployment, it is supposed to be fun...hence not tracking down a hefty chest cold and wishing that you had stronger mess than just Tylenol flu to put you into a cough induced coma.

So these 5 days of enjoyment and productivity have been thwarted by my desire and need to be asleep most of the day. Or watching tv while I hack up a lung. I didn't move from bed until NOON today. Sigh. Such a waste. Luckily, I scheduled a massage (my first one ever!) for myself for this evening, and we are going to see if I can rally long enough for dinner with the BF.

I did get some productive things done. Li

  • Starting a clean out of my gmail inbox. After 2000 emails I needed a break but hopefully another spurt of cleaning will happen and it will get done.
  • Getting my like-clockwork jury summons. Sigh.
  • Watched maintenance plug up holes in our kitchen with steel wool and caulk, and then have the exterminator come and set like 9000 traps that are just begging to snap on one of my toes.
  • And went on a shopping adventure to treat myself to a few new pieces for this work from home environment I am going to be adjusting to. I came home empty handed.

Not my finest 3 days.

I hope this is the end of this chest cold, and tomorrow I feel worlds different so I can have a productive and FUN Saturday and half of Sunday before I start this new job!

Just maybe I will find some motivation to get some more posts up too!