Photo Friday: Explore

February 28, 2014

I am a lousy swimmer, but I love snorkeling (thank goodness for vests!), especially when I can get a shot like this one. This turtle was actually out of place according to our guide. We were in Shipwreck Cove and Turtle Cove was a bit away. But he wasn't scared of us and followed us for about 5 minutes before going back to eating.

This was taken on our Disney Fantasy Cruise and I highly recommend Castaway Girl for excursions if you're ever in St. Thomas.
Join in the Photo Friday fun and leave a comment with your link.
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Throwback Thursday: Long Hair, Don't Care

February 27, 2014

I really miss that +UC San Diego jacket ....

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Recipe: Bacon Pear Grilled Cheese Sandwich

February 23, 2014
I'm allergic to pork, so I substitute turkey bacon for regular bacon. I think this would be pretty darn tasty with gouda cheese and less butter as well. That's my next experiment. The bread I used was from La Brea Bakery and conveniently sold in my local grocery store (their bread is to die for).

(Turkey) Bacon & Pear Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Recipe by Annette Holland

Adapted from Simply Recipes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 2 pieces of (turkey) bacon for each sandwich
  • 1/4 pear for each sandwich (or used canned in water or lite pear juice)
  • 1 loaf french bread
  • 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese per sandwich
  • 1 tablespoon butter - for spreading
Cooking Directions
  1. Pre-heat skillet and melt a little butter in the bottom.
  2. Cook your (turkey) bacon to desired crispness.
  3. Slice bread to desired thickness and slather butter on both sides of bread.
  4. Layer toppings: cheese, pear, bacon, top slice of bread
  5. Brown bread until cheese is melted, flipping once.
Serve with tomato soup or fruit salad.

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Recipe: Lemon Pepper Tilapia

Lemon Pepper Tilapia with Tomatoes and Spinach

Recipe by Annette Holland
Quick, easy, healthy, tilapia lunch or dinner.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Yield: 1-2 servings
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 roma tomato chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning (or to taste)
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat olive oil in pan.
  2. Add tilapia and sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning. Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes over medium low heat. Add tomatoes and cook until just starting to soften and fish flakes easily.
  3. Arrange washed spinach leaves on plate(s).
  4. Place entire contents of pan over spinach.
You might also like to try Pan-Seared Tilapia with Mexican Rice and Black Bean Salsa

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Menu Plan Monday: Cheap Meals, No Wheels

Menu Plan Monday hosted by
I'm going to try something new this week. I usually plan my menus on the weekend, and have them ready to go in Pepperplate, but I only seem to get around to blogging (or remember to publish) about once a month. I've been feeling like crap the last few days and realized that I have been carbing out. Emotionally eating. The Hunk went back to Boston and I've been on an emotional roller-coaster the last two weeks. I just kind of mindlessly went through the days, eating whatever and not paying attention to what was going into my mouth and not cooking.

So it's time to get back to eating clean. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to eat healthy on a budget. And to keep me on budget, I'll be walking to the grocery store and sticking to my list because I have to carry home whatever I buy.

I have my daughter with me this week, so there will be two cranky ladies in the house going through minor carb withdrawal. Maybe I should make this gluten-free chocolate cake too ...

And now, for the food.
Monday: Avocado Strawberry Salad with Citrus Marinated Chicken Thighs (around $10)
Tuesday: Thai Red Curry Chicken (around $8)

Wednesday: White Bean and Sausage Saute (I have all ingredients on hand, so this is a freebie)
Thursday: Beef Broccoli (around $6-$10 depending on cut of meat)
Friday: Cajun Salmon with steamed mixed veggies (around $10-20 depending on fresh or frozen salmon. I get frozen).

Each of these meals will make enough food for at least 4 servings, so I should be able to have a hot lunch most days as well, provided my daughter isn't still on her growth spurt and eating like a teenage boy...

What are you eating this week?

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Get Your CPR Training

February 22, 2014
It's about that time of year again, at least here it is. +American Red Cross blood drives and CPR training dates keep popping up around my neighborhood and at work.

I used to keep my certification up, but I've let it lapse in the last ... 5 years or so (wow, didn't realize it had been so long!) Between yesterday's Miami Baby story and after watching The Curse of the Black Spot, I realized it's probably time to get re-certified. I mean, if I used Amy's technique, Rory would have died. And we can't have that!

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Wordless Wednesday: Pub Food

February 12, 2014

Protein style District Burger
Cherry Cider

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Wordless Wednesday: Sleepy puppy

February 5, 2014

Connection - Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

February 4, 2014
As I hunt for content for my day job, I've come across a lot of articles, videos, and infographics that resonate with me.

The +TEDx presenters really put themselves out there for us.

It's 20 minutes I would gladly spend again (and again). She talks about connection, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Lately I know that I have been feeling dis-connected and isolated. Especially when feeling the need to belong and be connected to others. Vulnerability, apparently, isn't always a bad thing.


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Menu Plan Monday: Soup's On!

Winter is trying to make and appearance in SoCal this week!

Perfect weather for savory, hearty, warming soup! Bonus, it's frugal (because I have most of the ingredients on hand. My freezer will empty after this).

Monday: Primal Jambalaya (as many times as I have made this, we decided to drop the cauliflower)
Tuesday: Beef Stew - I've opted to give my daughter some carbs during the week to keep her carb withdrawals under control. It keeps us both sane.
Wednesday: Apple Chicken Sausage & Spinach Soup (also dropped the cauliflower rice from this one, and we're not big on kale, so I sub in spinach).
Thursday: White Bean Chicken Chili
Friday: Zuppa Toscana - the other way my daughter will eat spinach. It's the only green vegetable other than Brussels sprouts that she has a problem with.
Zuppa Toscana - Menu Plan Monday hosted by Org Junkie

Bonus #2: I won't have to buy lunch this week.

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Working from home

February 3, 2014
Usually, I enjoy working from home. Today was the exception that proves the rule.

Today I was WFH because I finally took Joy to get seen about her insomnia. I had planned on being imminently productive (cue laughter).

There were good things and bad things about today's arrangement. Usually I have no issues, but today my internet seemed to freeze at the worst moments. Taking three hours to get a few emails out, not being able to do my analytics report, multiple reboots .... and having workus interruptus from said tween asking for food and being hormonal (it really sucks that she's on my cycle but hasn't started yet. I pray she doesn't have PMDD because if today is any indication, I am going to need a CASE of Bailey's and at least 5lbs of chocolate each month! Boys are so much easier, even if they do turn into aliens). And once I finally got into a groove it was time to leave for her appointment.

Also, insomnia/sleep deprivation + hormonal tween + PMS = crazy (eyed) mom. Thank you to my friends who have let me rant and sexually harass you. I'm not bi-polar I swear. I just wasn't watching the calendar closely enough to know when to go into hibernation.

Oh, and because there's a family history of insomnia, plus hormonal changes due to her age, and blue light (because who doesn't sleep with their phone/tablet/computer these days?) and not enough exercise (at least softball season is starting) ... the solution for now is to switch her from regular melatonin to extended-release melatonin, regular exercise a few hours before bed and quarantine the electronics before bed. And best of all, her doctor told her to stay in bed and quit waking me up. Just lay in bed and work on having lucid dreams (and described the process). Her doctor imparted the importance of staying in bed and resting even if she wasn't fully asleep (something I have been telling her, but I think we have entered the stage where mom knows nothing). And to drop the Negative Nellie attitude. Don't stress about not being able to fall asleep, just think about pleasant, non-stressful things until she drops off again.

And now back my analytics report and unanswered emails.

Do you or your kids suffer from (occasional) insomnia? What are some of your tips and tricks to get through the sleepless nights? Tell me in the comments.

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Angels and Automatons: a shared-world steampunk anthology by Stephen Minchin — Kickstarter

February 1, 2014
New Zealand is at it again ... new steampunk anthology with Philippa Ballantine as a contributor. I'm excited and might be reading works from the other authors as I wait for this one to come out.

Angels and Automatons is a shared-world steampunk anthology set in the town of Angelston on New Zealand’s rugged and remote West Coast. The team of authors contributing to the project includes established names as well as those at the early stages of their careers, with folks from New Zealand and around the world. They will all be collaborating on the creation of a shared world in which their interconnected stories will be set – all of the authors will play an equal role, and the world will be unique to this anthology. The resulting book will be approximately 300 pages (longer, if our stretch goals are met) and together, the stories will tell a thrilling and distinctly New Zealand tale of exploration, invention, and destruction.

Be aware that the NZD has a higher value than USD.

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Update to my Vizify

I can't believe it's been so long since I last did this. My favorite infographic site, Visually, is still at it and I thought it was about time to update. A lot has changed in my tweeting behavior since 2011.

And then there's this nifty video of my 2013 in review.

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