This ‘n That

Friday Favorites for March 23, 2012

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Friday Favorites for March 23, 2012

featuring Kamiah Walker from the blog Jane Austen Didn’t Prepare Me For This.

On Wednesday night, I ate dinner on my balcony.  This probably isn’t a shocking statement to anyone who doesn’t have to spend winter wearing snow boots and trying to keep track of your mittens.  But for people in places like the Midwest, the first time you eat outside (after months of being cooped up behind winterized windows) in the spring is practically a holiday.  Seriously. There should be a “Congratulations! You pulled your patio furniture out of storage!” card.  Wednesday night did feel a bit like a celebration:  a good bottle of Medoc, a good dinner that involved asparagus and bacon, and a good friend sitting with me on the balcony.  Oh, yes, that was definitely my favorite moment of the week.

-Kamiah
Spring has sprung here in Austin and it is beautiful outside.  The weather is delightful. It is delivery the kind of afternoon that makes you want to sit in the rocking chair and rock away the day. Even better than the weather is the colorful spring scenery. The redbuds are in full bloom and the lilacs are so very fragrant. But the best of all of the colors and fragrances are the fields and roadsides covered in bluebonnets and indian paintbrushes.  It makes me want to run through a field singing “The HILLLLLS are alive….”

- Shanti

One thing I miss a lot in the winter is taking the dog on beautiful trail around Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. Now that the days are finally getting longer and the weather is nothing short of gorgeous, I’m finally able to pick up my ‘nice weather’ routine. I love spending an hour after work talking and walking with a friend, taking in the scenery and decompressing from work. It’s the ultimate stress reliever and makes for one very happy dog!

- Kate

So many things to love about this week.  This beautiful weather is beyond amazing.  It has been awesome watching my lil gal explore the outside world.  She is enthralled with a blade of grass, ecstatic about a dried up leaf, a bit reserved about earth worms making their way across the sidewalk, and revels in the bits of rock that she finds along any walking path.  It’s so refreshing to be reminded to be thankful for the small things.  The GREEN blades of grass means spring is here.  The dried up leaves mean that the new leaves are budding, and what’s left of the old, dried up leaves are crinkling and fading away.  The earth worms basking in the sun means that the ground has been refreshed, and the sun is BACK out for us to play in!  The bits of rock… well, they display how well she is walking and moving and attempting new things.  All in all, the little things this week have reminded me of the big things.  The little things are so easy to overlook, but be thankful in the little things and see how the big picture changes.  My big picture turned out to be very fascinating this week all because of one little girl’s explorations.

-Joni

My New Juicer

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In January of this year I decided that I wanted to invest in a juicer. After a very small amount of research I decided I needed to find a juicer that had super easy clean-up, ran at a low RPM, and juiced both vegetables and fruits well. I initially was leaning towards a Breville juicer.  The price point of the Breville juicers are great, but the more I researched them, the more issues I was stumbling across. The problem that finally made me turn away from the Breville juicers all together was that many people were having problem with seeping into a part of the juicer that could not be cleaned. With fruit and vegetable juice being extremely perishable, that just seemed like a bout of food poisoning just waiting to happen.

The deeper I got into the research process, the more recommendations I found from people saying, “Buy a Champion or Omega,” or “Spend the extra $100 for a top of the line juicer, it’s definitely worth it.” I decided to do a little exploring in the $250-$300 juicer price range and absolutely fell in love with the Omega Juicers. I was debating between the 8005 and the 8006 series, and ultimately decided on the 8006. The 8006 model changed the auger design a bit, this time making it black instead of white (which was easily and quickly stained in the older models,) and also increased the warranty from 10 years to 15 years.

As an added bonus to the main juicing feature, you can also make nut butters, grind coffee and spices, mince meats or vegetables, puree frozen desserts like sorbets as well as baby food, and last but not least, it has a pasta extruder attachment to make homemade pasta just like Grandma use to!

I have been using my juicer 3-4 times a week and absolutely adore it. The easy clean-up alone was worth the extra cash. So if you are in the market for a juicer I cannot recommend the Omega J8006 enough. Oh! If you order through Bed Bath and Beyond, don’t forget your 20% off coupon. That 20% savings adds up fast on a $300 purchase.

Happy Juicing!

Friday Favorites for March 16, 2012

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Friday Favorites for March 16, 2012

featuring Erinn Coe, a contributor on KimAnne’s Photographer Blog

I have had several favorite things this week but this post gets the privilege of combining two. First, my favorite thing was (of course) my daughter Sophia Sue. She is growing so fast and surprises me ever day and will turn 3 at the end of March which leads me into my second favorite thing…soccer! Her very first soccer game ever will be on March 31st (the day after her birthday). I, of course, had the opportunity to step up and coach her team. I could not be more excited, anxious, and nervous all at the same time. I have played soccer for 20 years and somehow I am still nervous as any new coach would be. But hey, like my post says, it combines TWO of my favorite things on the whole wide world so how can I go wrong? I think it is so important to get kids involved in activities at a young age so they can learn as many positive skills as possible to grow into a flourishing adult. Even if Sophie decides she doesn’t like soccer (she cried when I attempted to make her try her shin guards on….) I will support her in any activity she chooses to participate in. Again, getting them out there while they are young gives them that opportunity to find what they like and pursue it. Kids at this age are so fun and active that not signing her up for any sport would weigh very heavily on me. But of course she doesn’t know what she likes yet so I am going to give soccer a try and see if she can’t follow in my footsteps a little bit.

-Erinn Coe

My favorite thing this week was Spring cleaning! I never thought I would have a friday favorite that involved cleaning, but I was on a roll Wednesday and feel like I can finally breathe again. I finally conquered the overwhelming task of purging my closet. Anything that I haven’t worn in two years was removed from my closet, and suddenly I have all sorts of extra space! I am headed to New Orleans for the weekend, and I am so glad I got my cleaning done before I left. There is nothing better than coming home from a vacation to a CLEAN house! Hope everyone has a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

- Kate

On Monday I picked up my new car! The 8 week wait was worth every second when we pulled into the Mini dealership and I saw my Countryman sitting there, all shiny and new. Now I just have to teach my husband to drive a manual, so he can enjoy it as much as I do.

 

-Shanti

Smoothies. Smoothies. Smoothies. I cannot get enough of them year round. During the winter, I use frozen fruit to create many flavorful ensembles. And while this is still delicious, it pales in comparison to fresh, juicy fruit. My smoothies this week have been composed of fresh, bright, beautiful strawberries and luscious kiwi. I love that the weather has allowed my taste buds this treat. So many fresh smoothies to come for this spring and summer!

-Joni