Thursday, April 30, 2009


I'm trying NaBloPoMo again this month. I tried it a few months back and lost steam because I went out of town a few times. For the month of May I will post on my blog once a day. Yes, every single day in May. That's 31 posts. Of course I picked a month with 31 days! But it is spring, so I suppose I'm feeling inspired. The theme for the month is "Sweet" if I choose to use it. Today I will...

If we're talking sweets, we're talking dessert. If we're talking dessert, then for me, above all else, we're talking CHOCOLATE. And I mean the real kind, not the icky, weird concoction they call "milk chocolate." Here's a few factoids and trivial things about our friend chocolate:
  • The Mayans and Aztecs were the original chocoholics. Some of them loved it so much they even grew cacao in their backyard gardens. Now, that's my kinda urban gardening!
  • One of my favorite chocolate books is Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquival. Each chapter of the book begins with a recipe. The novel employs a heavy dose of magic realism which works well with the foodie, soap operatic plot.
  • Xocolātl is a popular cacao drink that the Mayans and Aztecs made. Dagoba makes a bar they call Xocalatl.
  • Seeds from the evergreen tree Theobroma cacao are used in making chocolate.
  • Another fictional chocolate I enjoyed is the film Chocolat with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. The themes aren't entirely different from Like Water for Chocolate with passionate chocolate making and high drama about a small conservative French town who receives a big shake up with a new chocolatier in town.
  • Theobromine is the bitter alkaloid in chocolate that gives you that nice chocolate buzz.
  • "Chocolate gives you zits." Remember that old rumor? Well, bust that myth, cuz it ain't true.
  • Portland is home to some pretty nifty chocolatiers. Alma Chocolate, Cacao Drink Chocolate, and Moonstruck Chocolatier are some of the standouts.

Here's a young girl after my own heart. Photo courtesy of RIPizzo on flickr.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gorging on the gorgeous Gorge

Matt and I took a much-needed day off today. It was time for a little nature adventure. Our first thought was to hit the famous Multnomah Falls. A friend advised we try some of the other, slightly less popular (and less crowded) hikes. So, we consulted our trusty Afoot & Afield Portland/Vancouver hiking guide. After considering a few, we decided to check out Horsetail Falls.

I can't believe how close all this stuff is to Portland. The Columbia River Gorge is only about 30 or so miles east. I'm embarrassed and a bit regretful that we haven't explored here sooner.

This is Horsetail Falls. So wonderful to sit underneath and just experience the falls crashing into the creek. It's springtime so all the falls are going off.

As you can see from my curry chicken salad sandwich, we enjoyed a divine lunch in front of Three Falls.

The famous Multnomah Falls. Stunning.
You can see more of our photos from the trip at my flickr photostream.

And here's my curry chicken salad recipe:

2-3 cups of chopped chicken (you can use canned, or I always used leftover rotisserie chicken)
2-3 tblsp curry powder
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 -3/4 cup peas
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2-3 tblsp mayo

Fold all that stuff together in a bowl until well-mixed. Serve with greens or in a sandwich.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the happy home office

It's early and I'm sitting here in my new office. Matt and I have been spending the last week or so trying to purge, clean, organize and store some crap in order to switch our office spaces and by doing so create a more workable guest bedroom. After some serious cleansing and negotiating little bits of space, have pretty much accomplished our goals. I must admit IKEA (and their yummy cinnamon roll) comes in handy at these moments.

It's been quite a process and we're nearly there. It reminded us both about how traumatic moving is, but also how exciting it is to make positive change. And that was on just the smallest level of switching two rooms. Needless to say, I'm anxious/thrilled that someday in the near-ish future we'll be shopping for a new home. But, that's a whole other story...

I'm also excited about my cute new business cards. I used some laminate samples I found at SCRAP and printed the text on clear labels, which I stuck on the back.

As someone who works from a home a lot of the time, it's always a challenge to stay tidy, organized, motivated and to keep boundaries. Having a separate space definitely helps. Inspired by my new office digs, I will now share with you some of my home office philosophical insights:

Those who multi-task, stand tall on a pile of paper, binders and notepads.
Warning: a new home office may bring inspired work, prolific blog entries, random acts of crafting and a safe space for screaming.
A good pen, engenders a happy writer.
Containers, containers, containers.
Land lines still sound better than cell phones.
Things to add to the to do list: jiggle your head, relax your shoulders, eat a snack, sing a song, talk a walk.