August 21, 2011

Happy Sunday

here is a little bit of pretty for you to enjoy this Sunday
photos borrowed from all over the internets

August 17, 2011

A night in NYC & Bar Boulud

A few weeks ago I went to NY for work. I spent a night in Manhattan before I flew home
Rockefeller Center
loved the facade on this building
a pretty fountain
to prepare for Paris I chose a French restaurant for dinner
I walked the 2 miles to Bar Boulud and it was oh so yummy!
I sat outside and enjoyed some French wine
salad with pickled peaches and a rosé from Provence
eccentric crazy lady wore her shades all night
and gave her waiter a crazy hard time
for dinner I had paleron de boeuf
I didn't know you could braise a flatiron steak
I couldn't believe how tender it was
it went perfectly with a glass of Crozes-Hermitage from the northern Rhône
I'm sorry...but "old and hard" and "washed and stinky" cheeses???
Monsieur Boulud has a sense of humor
if I were to go back it would be at lunch for Daniel Boulud's croque madame
it looks incredible
The next morning I met my good friend Danielle for a walk around the city
Sadly I didn't take a single picture
We started at the new Bouchon Bakery in Rockefeller Center
coffee with pain au chocolate was perfection
We walked Manhattan looking at fabrics, getting Starbucks, stopping at Lululemon
It was the perfect day.

August 9, 2011

June Challenge Results

Remember my June Challenge??? I was planning a big post on our results and was going to start a July challenge to keep the momentum going but then there was a holiday, and a lot of work travel, and now it is the end of July and I'm in Michigan so I've come to realize it is never going to happen. Such is life. (I actually wrote most of this a couple of weeks ago)

But just so you know, the June Challenge that Claire and I did was VERY effective. Very! I lost 8lbs, she lost 4 - just in that one month! We laid out our plans, followed them as best we could. We realized what our strengths and weaknesses were and that we aren't perfect, nor should we aspire to be. But the part that made this plan so effective was the accountability - to ourselves and to each other. Pretty much every day we would do a quick check in with each other - and we were honest - I skipped my run today or I totally ate a cheeseburger and fries. At the end of every week we looked at our plans - where were we successful? What things do we still have to work on? Are we meeting our goals?

I've been doing this crap for a long time and I can honestly say something about this process was very eye opening. We both became so mindful of what we were doing and why. And if you fall off the wagon you just get back on and keep moving.

My clothes fit better, my pants are super baggy, and people really took notice and I got a lot of positive comments. Sometimes you lose 5lbs and can't even tell - this wasn't the case. For both of us, this was a very visual weight loss. The scale is great and all, but when you can see the difference you know your efforts are worth it. Claire looks fantastic! Neither of us lost all the weight we had hoped for but the physical changes were so positive that we couldn't help but be happy with the results. Claire's running got better and I think she got up to 10+ miles!!!

July has been crazy, and without the check-in's I have not been following my plan AT ALL and it shows, scale is up a bit and pants are a little tighter. So I think an August Challenge is in order. My first instinct is to say, I can't, because I'm in Michigan on August 1st and then I spend the rest of the first week in Minnesota for work. But that is the PERFECT time to start. That is exactly when I need to be behaving myself. So game on. I need to find a buddy (Claire is focusing on running goals this month vs. weight loss, but we will still check in with each other).

Update: Since I wrote this in July (but didn't post) I did not get right on board August 1 as I should have...but I am all in as of Monday! I'm calling it my 3 weeks to Paris detox. I scheduled 3 workouts with my trainer this week to ensure I get a proper ass kicking. Unfortunately she has been watching a Jillian Michaels video for new ideas - bad for me, good for my ass. I still need a partner in crime, any takers? I think I shall enroll my friend Danielle with or without her consent since she will be in France in 3 weeks as well. 

I will probably just use my June Challenge as my guide, otherwise it will be mid-August by the time I come up with a new plan. Here it is!

Keri's Plan:
  • Hot Tea for breakfast
  • Green Juice for lunch
  • Salad or Green smoothie for late lunch or pre/post workout snack
  • Vegetarian dinner - quinoa pasta, homemade pizza, soup or something but with lots of veggies
  • No soda (easy enough)
  • No coffee (gasp)
  • Alcohol only 1 day per week max! (OMG)
  • Eggs/toast only 2 times per week if super hungry, but only after tea (usually if I drink my tea it quells my hunger) or if before a morning workout
  • No bad processed food, will have some all natural tortilla chips with guac
  • No chocolate for at least the first two weeks to get out of my post dinner sweet habit
Keeping Myself Honest:
  • Use my journal
  • Check in with my Buddy every day, good or bad
  • Plan my workouts and put them on the calendar
  • Invite people to workout so I can't skip it
  • Plan my meals and shop accordingly
  • 2 workouts/week with Heather
  • 1-2 yoga workouts/week
  • 2+ cardio per week (walking, start running)
  • 1 walk per week with Claire (or any buddy)

August 7, 2011

Michelle Armas

Remember last month when I told you I commissioned a painting for our parlor from Michelle Armas, the fab artist from Atlanta? Well it's actually been done for some time. But I kept being drawn back to this painting:

Float Away

I emailed Michelle and told her I could design my whole dressing room/guest bedroom around a painting like this one. It's feminine but not too much. It reads pink to me, but if you really look it is mostly neutrals. It's abstract, but not too busy. Given shipping is a significant part of the cost of buying from an artist in Atlanta it only made sense to get a second painting now instead of at a later date. So I commissioned a second piece in the style of Float Away but a smaller size. It only cost me $27 more in S&H and Michelle cut me a sweet deal on the second piece. So stay tuned for not one, but two new pieces of art for our home. Maybe when these beauties are hanging on our walls things will start to finally pull together. I can't wait to see the new piece and share both with you!

August 5, 2011

Denver's Thatcher Memorial

I've shown you the more well known fountain in City Park but I'm more partial to this gal

Thatcher Memorial
"The Gift of Joseph Addison Thatcher to the City of Denver 1918"

Colossal central figure representing the state of Colorado is circled by three smaller figure groups representing the virtues of the state of Colorado: Loyalty, Learning and Love. The central figure is bronze and stands on a granite base; the figure groups are bronze and are set at the base of central figure, around a marble fountain. Fountain spouts are located between the three groups, with water falling into a circular pool around the whole sculptural group. 

The central figure is a robed woman holding the sword of state and shield of Colorado. Loyalty consists of a standing male figure of a knight, wearing armor and leaning upon his broadsword. On his proper left is the female figure of peace with an olive branch in her hand. On the knight's proper right is a helmet with laurels representing his past victories. Learning consists of a standing, robed, female figure, turning her head to her proper right towards a young boy. The boy looks at the woman while he leans his proper right elbow upon a closed book. On the woman's proper left is a young girl perched upon a pile of books while she writes upon a slate. Love depicts a female figure standing at center with a male on her proper left. The woman's eyes are lowered modestly. A small figure of cupid sits on the woman's proper left.

p.s. I'm loving Camera Bag, here are the first pic above using 4 of the 10 standard filters


August 3, 2011

Grow Dammit Grow

Last Halloween I planted two varieties of organic heirloom garlic from Seed Savers Exchange
10 cloves each
German Extra Hardy (hardneck)
Inchellium Red (softneck)

two weeks ago I dug up the softnecks
 there are like a million methods for drying garlic
I don't know if this was the best but it was easy
and I like easy
I carefully cleaned off all the dirt and then peeled back one or two leaves
 voilà! nice and clean
 I tied them together and hung them in the basement storage room
this wasn't a fully thought out plan, our basement stunk for a week
Last weekend I pulled up the hardnecks. This time I hung them for a few days in the garage then put them in the basement before I left for vacation. Even if they do stink I won't be around to care. If you were like me and didn't know there were different types of garlic then here is a quick lesson. Basically, softneck garlic is what you typically find in your grocery store. Hardneck garlic grows a scape which is kind of a cross between a green onion and garlic. It costs a small fortune at the store but is yummy to cook with. Last year I bought garlic scapes a bunch of times for cooking. Can you guess how many times I ate the scapes from my very own fancy organic hardnecks? Zero. Zilch. Typical.

I guess time and taste will tell if garlic is worth the space and the 8+ month grow time + curing


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