Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving without Turkey? Oh My!

The holiday season is upon us and my personal favorite is Thanksgiving!  It's the only holiday where you just get together to be thankful for each other, and nobody expects anything from you. But if you happen to be a turkey, it could be the worst day of your life!

Portland has done many wonderful things for me, but I'm most thankful to it for opening my eyeballs to a more compassionate lifestyle.  In true Portland Thanksgiving tradition, we're heading over to our best friends house for the big feast.  Cam and I are in charge of apps and sides, so it looks like we'll all be eating a lot of lettuce and almonds on Thursday....JUST KIDDING!  We have a few tasty dishes up our sleeves, my favorite being the Nutter Butter Ice Cream Pie by The Tolerant Vegan for dessert!  For an appetizer we're bringing over a dish we just discovered at Kirbie's Cravings called Bang Bang Cauliflower!  We did a test run of it this weekend and it's very addicting, but also very light so as not to fill us up for the main feast! We made it vegan by using vegenaise instead of mayo, but we did use a freshly laid egg from EggBerta for the batter.  I plan on slipping a vegan cheese I purchased at New Seasons onto the cheese plattter when we get there just to see what happens!  I've always had a hard time justifying paying $13 for a cheeseless cheese, but it's a holiday so I'm going for it!  But if I say that it's vegan nobody will try it.  After a couple of glasses of wine or a few cocktails, I bet everyone will gobble it up.  We're also making homemade cranberry sauce and a Sweet Potato Casserole.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Stan and Blue
And this time I mean "Foster Fail" in a good way!  We officially adopted our foster 'Big Blue', formerly known as Wren on August 27th!  We considered keeping Xen too but unfortunately he didn't know how to use his potty box :(  I've been in contact with his new owner and she said that things are going well and she doesn't mind his accidents (well if it were up to me I would call them his "intentionals"!).

Blue fits in so well here with us.  We didn't realize how much we've missed having a feline friend in the house!  He loves being near us and enjoys being pet and loved.  He watches TV with us on the back of the couch, and when it's time for bed he runs into the bedroom before we get there and sleeps in his basket beneath the window.  Lately he's been skipping the basket part and just sleeping right on my pillow with me.  He just got a beautiful new cat tree from a local artist at The Royal Meow that he climbs up and he loves playing with string.  He's extremely talkative and handsome, and every day he makes me laugh.  I am so happy that our home is his forever home!
His fancy tree from The Royal Meow

Monday, July 6, 2015

Foster Fail!

Blue and Weazy
We're currently fostering 2 cats from a large rescue in Klamath Falls that we received at work.  A woman was caring for 98 cats and became overwhelmed and reached out for help.  Many of the cats from the rescue need dental work done and I have Wren and Xen (whom I've renamed Blue and Weazy) until July 22nd when they can go in for their cleanings.  They are great cats!  Blue is a big, medium hair 12 year old blue (grey) male, and Weazy is a 6 year old seal point male who is only 5lbs!  The siamese cat reminds me of a ferret so I wanted to call him Vin Weasle but it wasn't sticking...so I'd just been calling him "Wease" then "Weazy"!  They were understandably a little shy at first, but are now really enjoying all of the one on one play time and pet sessions.
The great escape!

I've been keeping them in the "Foster Room" with supervised outings into the rest of the house.  They really enjoy exploring and playing, but for the most part stick right by my side.  On Friday night we had a big sleepover - me, Cam, Slim, Stan, Weazy and Blue all watched Wayward Pines (the cats seriously watched the whole thing) and I decided not to put them back in their room.  Saturday was Independance Day and I was excited for my three day weekend so I woke up at 5am, let the chickens out, opened the blinds and kitchen window, gave Slim his pill, made coffee and went back to lay down and read.  Around 8am Cam asks where Weazy is but I figured he was sleeping somewhere. Next thing you know it's 10am and I'm walking around the neighborhood hanging "Lost Cat!" signs and talking to every neighbor I see.  I looked EVERYWHERE.  I thought (was hoping!) I was being dramatic and that he was still hiding in the house.  The only way he could've escaped was the kitchen window that was only open 3 inches (I measured it!) and didn't think he could have even if he wanted to get out.  But I was wrong :(

not my cat!
I was pretty down the rest of the day, and was getting especially nervous because it was the 4th of July, and Cameron and I had planned an anniversary trip to Crater Lake the following morning.  Nighttime came and Weazy wasn't back and the fireworks had started.  I set 2 alarms after midnight after reading that cats come out to feed between 1am and 5am.  Around 2am I went out side shaking his dry food (he won't touch wet, not even with his rotten teeth!) and I heard a meow!!!  I followed the meow to the front of the house and I was SO excited, only to find it was my neighbors cat who had climed out of the 2nd story bedroom window onto the roof because he wanted the food! Bummer :(  Before we left on Sunday morning I walked around the block a few more times, and found cats, but not MY cat.

We contemplated not taking our road trip, but we had done everything we could and staying at home wasn't going to help anything so we left.  Cell reception was spotty driving through the forest, but at one point I looked down at my phone and saw a text: "i think i found your cat..."!  I couldn't believe it!  And I couldn't call or text back because we were in the middle of nowhere!  When we hit a small town I gave the number a call and it was my neighbor whom I had met the day before while she was looking for a friends dog who had gotten out!  And she's a pet sitter for a living.  She had heard meowing on the side of her house, and it was him!  I got her in touch with my dad and she reunited Weazy with the farm.  I am so happy and grateful that he found his way home.  This poor guy has had a rough start in his life, and I want to make sure he is safe, comfortable and loved.  No more windows open around here!  So what if it's 100 degrees!
He loves me.

He gives hugs and PURRRRRS!

When I first got him he had a bad kitty cold.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Newport Marathon 2015

I did it!  I ran a MARATHON!

When I moved to Portland 3 years ago the only running I'd ever done was on the treadmill at the gym...and I hated it!  Thanks to my best friend and fellow runner Bekka and the beautiful weather and scenery in PDX I started running regularly.  Within six months of being here I had conquered a 15K and Half Marathon - I was hooked!

Nothing about training to run 26.2 miles is easy.  I was running 3x a week, logging upwards of 30 miles weekly near the end (and that was the lenient schedule!).  Luckily there are beautiful places to run here, and Forest Park is less than 2 miles from my front door - just over the scenic St. Johns Bridge.

Cam and I drove to Newport, OR the night before the race and got settled into our hotel and scoped out the scene.  We had a nice dinner at a local restaurant, but I think the butter I ate on my pasta didn't agree with me because I found myself puking my guts out at 4 in the morning.  My stomach was still uneasy when I woke up and I wasn't able to eat or drink exactly as I had planned, but I muscled through it.  The start line was less than I mile from our hotel room so we headed out together and the fresh air did me well.  The race was smaller than any other race I have ever run, and there was a nice group of spectators supporting the runners. Running through the tiny town of Newport was fun, and once we were through it was 10 miles out and 10 miles back! I hadn't planned on being without cell reception so was unable to listen to any music for the entire time..which wasn't as bad as it sounds.  Cam met me at the turn around point and snapped some photos which was a big help to me because I was starting to feel some aches and pains!  As hard as the last 10 miles seemed to be, the last 3 seemed easy.  It's funny what goes through your mind - like after running 23 miles thinking "I only have a 5k left!".  The road was quiet and at 25.5 I still couldn't see (or hear) the finish line.  But a little jog up hill left us at 26 miles and the rest was .2 down to the finish line!  I saw Cam from the top and ran as fast as I could (which was probably not much quicker than a walk!) and flexed my muscles!  I got my medal, got some water, then got a print out of my time....4:37:38!  Not bad for my first marathon :)

I'm not sure if I'll ever run another one.  During training I thought "absolutely not!" but a  tiny part of me wants to run one in 4 hours.  What I do know is that if I train for another it'll be a larger race like the Rock n' Roll.  I really enjoy entertainment and cheering and the vibe that you get from a larger race.  Who knows what the future holds...but I gotta say it again - I RAN A MARATHON!!

Check out my husband's website noremaCStudios for more pictures!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Plant Powered!

 When we first started our journey towards following a more plant based diet, I discovered Isa Chandra's website The Post Punk Kitchen and it's the best!  She has great recipes for some all time favorite "comfort foods" that you can easily be made at home without any animal products.  Now that the way we eat has become a way of life, we find that our cupboards are always full with delicious staple foods that help us make delicious meals.  I often look in the fridge and think "we don't have anything to make for dinner" only to discover that whole, plant based meals are at our fingertips!  A few days ago I made Mushroom Stroganoff and one of my go to "we have nothing to eat" meals is Stir Fried Quinoa and Eggplant.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Please won't you meet Mr. Speckles :)

After 5 years of a catless household, we are pleased to introduce our first foster, Mr. Speckles!

He's a handsome, 2 year old domestic shorthair, who is white with brown tabby speckles (they're really more just like big circles, but we didn't name him!).  He was surrendered to OHS in January, then got adopted and returned because of a severe inner ear infection.  Along with the ear infection he caught a kitty cold, and the combination had him feeling pretty crappy.  He wasn't eating, had lost a lot of weight and was on a ton of meds (5 to be exact).  His adoptive mom

didn't feel that she could give him the proper care that he needed, so she surrendered him to us (me) and when his treatment is complete and he's doing better she will be redeeming him.  Bottom line: Even if I wanted to adopt him I can't!  Perfect 1st foster!

He transitioned to the new home environment pretty quickly, and he actually fits in very well right now.  He wouldn't eat at all at first and I was giving him subcutaneous fluids as needed, but after some TLC and a prescription for diazepam he's eating really well!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Marathon Training ~ May 30th 2015

It's Official! I'm signed up for my first FULL Marathon on the Oregon coast in Newport. I'm super excited and a little bit nervous :)  A coworker signed herself up a few weeks ago, but recently injured herself and won't be able to participate.  She wanted me to buy her entry but I wasn't so sure I was ready to commit.  By the time I psyched myself up for it we discovered that the race doesn't allow refunds or transfers, so I just registered on my own!  I'm doing the Shamrock Run Half next month on the 16th, and then my best friends and I are running the Rock n' Roll Half on 5/17.  Both races are perfect training for the big 26.2!  Since we just moved to St. Johns it's been fun to run new routes.  Cam and I did a test run (not literally) earlier in the week and discovered that from our house it's 1 mile to the St. Johns bridge, and once you get to the other side a staircase leads to a half mile steep trail to Forest Park.  This will be perfect for my long runs because I hate getting in my car to drive to go run somewhere.  I found Kara Gouchers "Worlds Simples Marathon Training" which is on schedule for the race in May. We'll be spending the night on the coast Friday night, and the race is at 7am on Saturday. Stay Tuned!!
"Starting in Yaquina Bay State Park at the historic "haunted" lighthouse, runners will head north along the ocean through some of Newport's picturesque neighborhoods. This loop through the city is primarily residential with a few short gentle hills and turns at street corners. Heading back through the starting area, runners will proceed downhill under the Yaquina Bay Bridge to the bayfront. Past shops, restaurants, galleries and a large fishing village, the course continues along the bay. Just past mile four, there is a short hill that rises about 40 feet then gently descends back to bay level where it continues for the remainder of the race. The course follows the Yaquina Bay and River estuary to mile 15 where it turns back toward town, retracing the same route. The gentle hill at mile four reappears at mile 26, and it's downhill from there to the finish.Along the course runners will be treated to a splendid variety of views and scenery, wildlife and shipping, fishermen and crabbers. It is a flat, very fast, and beautiful course that will produce numerous PR's. Our course is USATF certified and has proven to be a very good "first marathon" as well as an excellent qualifier for the Boston Marathon." 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sunday is the big day!

A couple of weeks ago (literally two) our landlord gave us a buzz to let us know that he is selling the house we rent from him, and we had 60 days to move....YIKES!  Although our lease was signed through July of this year, we were aware of a clause in our contract warning us that this might happen.  It was very scary at first, but now that we are boxed up we can hardly wait to pick up the U-Haul!  This house has been kind to us, but to be honest the backyard was it's prize feature.  Our new place is reminiscent of a Portland version of our old home in Vegas, with vaulted ceilings, updated appliances, a kitchen island and hard wood floors and granite tile.  It even has a fireplace and a bathroom in the Master Bath...yay!! "his" and "hers" bathrooms again :)

Cam and I first met on Hudson Ave. in Albany NY (Go Danes!) and our new rental is on Hudson Street in a quirky little area of Portland called St. Johns.  It's a block away from beautiful Pier Park with a pedestrian bridge to a dog park, and close enough to walk to the main street but far enough from all of the hustle and bustle and traffic.  We'll have a nice yard that allows us to bring our lovely hens, and although they didn't allow dogs initially, after the met Slim and Stan we were given the green light!  Oh.  And they also allow CATS!  I've been needing a little feline furball in my life, and I'm curious to see who will take the place of Hailie after all these years.

Move in day is Superbowl Sunday, but tomorrow we start transporting our things to store in the 2 car garage (total upgrade from our dinky carport!).  We'll do some light moving on Sunday (well I'll be working but Cam and Poppa Bert will), watch the Hawks beat the Patriots and then head back to the house to spend our first night in our new home!  I took an extra day off work so have a 3 day weekend so we can unpack and do some "nesting" before Cameron heads out of town on a business trip to Vegas.  Busy busy days ahead....I better get some zzzzzz's!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Clean in 2015

Handmade Soaps
Since moving to the great NorthWest, the hubs and I have pretty dramatically changed our lifestyle and it feels great!  We're constantly learning new things, and getting more in touch with nature and ourselves.  It was nice having a big house and new cars, but now that we've scaled back we find ourselves much happier.  Owning our own home again is one of our main goals but the new pad is going to be much different than the ones we've had in the past!  Our number one priority is lots of land to garden on and live off of.  We love knowing exactly where our food is coming from, and feel better physically from watching what we've been putting in our bodies.  
Over the past year we've also started watching what we've been putting ON our bodies .  I  learned how to make our own cleaning products such as laundry detergent, soap, floor cleaners, etc.  Vinegar, lemon, baking soda and essential oils are my new best friend.  It's amazing how simple stuff is and how beneficial things found in nature can be for us.  
To ring in the New Year I decided to take it a step further by "naturalizing" some daily beauty products.  My favorite new blog is Live Simply I learned so much!  I'm a wanna be hippie and started cleaning my hair with baking soda and conditioning with apple cider vinegar.  What is all the stuff found in my old products anyway? I've started cleansing my face with avocado oil, made a homemade astringent (apple cider vinegar, essential oil and water) and moisturize with a mixture of coconut oil, vitamin E, and lavender essential oil.  I even made my own "acne mask" using oatmeal, honey, tea tree oil and lemon.  My favorite part?  Having all the ingredients that I need already on hand!  Didn't even have to leave the house (which if you know me well makes me very happy!).  Why have I been using products with all these unnatural ingredients when I can just use 1 or 2 things that work great?  Since moving to Portland my face has been breaking out a lot, but my new regime has improved my skin greatly.  For the holidays I made some homemade body scrubs and they were a hit!  I'm super excited to ring in 2015 and see what other new "discoveries" the year has in store!
Warm Vanilla Sugar & Rosemary Grapefruit Salt Scrubs