Monday, January 31, 2011

I Have No Limits!!

At least that's how I'm expecting to feel now that I bought the new No Limit Tank from Lululemon.

I didn't actually BUY it in the traditional sense of the word---I had a gift card, which is my favorite way to buy anything.

I saw a girl wearing one at the gym a few days ago and I probably scared her when I rushed her to ask (without even a Hi--I'm so rude sometimes) "Did you get that at Lululemon recently?!" Translate: "Hi, total stranger, tell me where you got your pretty top so I can get one too and you can feel slightly deflated when you see someone else wearing your new favorite thing."

But she was generous and told me, yes, she'd gotten it last week. So I snuck over today and blessing of blessings found that color in the picture in my size. I don't buy Lulu often because it does cost a lot, but all the testimonials are true: it lasts almost forever and I feel so good in them. I think that's important when exercising. I honestly relate to my body differently when I like what I put it in, even if I'm getting hot, stinky and sweaty. Speaking of stinky, this top has an anti-stink something in the fabric so one could wear it a couple days in a row and no one would know! Except the girl who always books the bike next to you in spinning. She might notice. As I am one to wear a favorite piece of clothing for up to 4 days in a row, this is good news.

And for any mommies-to-be out there, look at the room in the belly!!! You could totally grow into this thing, and the bra top isn't one of those crazy-tight ones like some of theirs are.

I feel limitless just talking about it.

Friday, January 28, 2011


As I said, we moved. To an amazing place. And we lack all furniture. Our old place had a lot of built-ins, plus it was a lot smaller. So the fun and scary thing is we need to buy A LOT.

I unofficially began the process this week by making a trip to Ikea. I bought a couple of these bookshelves
which I thought would inconspicuously blend into the walls so you really only see the books--one smaller one in the guest bedroom and a taller one for the living room. I realize I might assemble them and not like them and have to take them down and take them back but who knows. Same with this shelf that I bought for inside the closet: extra sweater and shoe space

But what we're up to this weekend is couch and dresser shopping. I reeeeally like these from Room and Board. One of our living spaces is made for an L-shaped couch

And no one would notice if we just slipped one of these into the truck, would they? I've had my eye on these round nesting chairs for a long timeWe also really need a desk, workspace, whatever. I'm thinking I can put some office supplies on the lower shelves of the bookcase (and maybe even buy the doors from Ikea so they're not visible) so we could have a spare, modern worktable for the two of us. I want this one
from Croft House . Which doesn't mean I get to have it.

Then the kicker is that there is one dresser I have coveted and lusted after for about 3 years. Here it is: The Matera Dresser from DWR.
Why, oh WHY are you $3500, Matera?? That is not helping my cause at all. In fact, it is seriously working against you. But I've never seen one I love as much as you. Must you keep me pining and daydreaming? Oh, where is justice?

Have a great weekend. I'll let you know if we end up with anything.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

If You've Ever Felt Like You're Pretending

OK it's Thursday, not Wednesday. Shoot. However, I hope this makes up for the tardiness. This is by a writer I encountered recently and it is one of the most beautiful, articulate group of sentences I've read in a while. If you've ever felt like you're posturing or protecting, here's why not to:

We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are, when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed, and beneath every sadness is a fear that there will not be enough time.

When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances for joy. It's like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting that we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real.

In this way, our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world, but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold, and the car handle feels wet, and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being soft and unrepeatable.

As you breathe, let each breath undress your being--of attitude, of mood, of history.

---Mark Nepo
photos by my dad of a sunset last week in Taos. Nature can't do this if it's trying to not be what it is....

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Salad

I know Kristina and I share a few readers. Those of you who fall into this category might remember when she mentioned this salad. And wondered why oh why I haven't posted it. There's a funny story to go along with that, as well as with the pictures I'll be showing you which were actually taken by Kristina, but more on that later.

This is, quite simply, one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten. I promise I will post recipes from places other than Sunday Suppers at Lucques but it is currently my favorite cookbook because everything I mean EVERYTHING in it is fantastic. That I've made anyway. The first time I made this, I simply felt like making Sky something special. He freaked, and he's someone who can take or leave beets. Since then converts include die-hard beet fans to those who would on a regular day rather eat dog food.

The most labor-intensive part is the chickpeas, and it's not that it's so labor-intensive, it's just that you have to remember to soak them the night before and cook them for a good while before you fry them and use them for the salad. So plan accordingly. Also, get good salty oil-cured olives. I think that's a key. If you can't find ricotta salata (a dry aged ricotta cheese), feta will do just fine.

So here you have it

Roasted Beet Salad with Fried Chickpeas, Black Olives, and Ricotta Salata
almost exactly from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin

3 bunches beets, tops cut off (and reserved for soup or sauteeing)
3/4 c EVOO
1 1/2 t cumin seeds (do try to use whole seeds--the ground stuff just isn't the same)
2 T plus 2t red wine vinegar
1 T lemon juice, plus extra for seasoning
1 c cooked chickpeas (recipe follows this)
1/4 c thinly sliced shallots
1/2 c strong oil-cured black olives
1/2 c Italian parsley leaves
1/4 lb ricotta salata
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.
Clean beets, wrap individually in foil, and roast about an hour, or til tender when pierced. When done, carefully remove foil. Let cool and peel by gently rubbing skin which will release it. Slice beets into wedges and place in a large bowl.

While beets roast, toast cumin seeds in a medium pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes until they smell cumin-y and darken a little. Grind half the seeds to a powder in a mortar.

Transfer powder to a bowl with remaining cumin seeds, 1/4 t salt, vinegar, and 1 T lemon juice. Whisk in 1/2 c oil. Taste for balance and seasoning.

Add remaining 2 T olive oil to cumin pan; heat for 2 min or til oil very hot. Add chickpeas and fry them for 4-8 minutes, shaking the pan often, til they're a little browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels and season with a little salt and pepper.

Add shallots to the beets, season with a little salt and pepper, and gently toss with 3/4 of the vinaigrette. Gently toss in parsley and olives. Add more dressing if necessary.

Cut ricotta salata into 1/4-in slabs.

Arrange half the salad on a platter. Tuck cheese in and around beets and scatter chickpeas on top. Place the rest of the salad on top and nestle in rest of cheese and chickpeas.


1/4 c EVOO
1/2 c diced onion
3 cloves garlic
1 fairly hot dried chile, crumbled
1 t thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 c dried chickpeas, soaked overnight or 8 hours
1 t paprika (I use the Spanish stuff and it's awesome)
good pinch cayenne pepper
1 cinnamon stick (genius. taste is amazing in this)

Heat a medium pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Pour in olive oil, wait a minute, then add onion, garlic, chile, thyme and bay leaf. Cook for a minute or 2 til onion wilts then add chickpean, paprika, cayenne and cinnamon stick. Stir for a few minutes, coating chickpeas with oil and spices.

Cover with water by 3 inches, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat to low and, if necessary, put a paper towel on top of chickpeas to keep them under the surface.

Simmer for 30 minutes, then add 2 1/2 t salt. Continue cooking on a low simmer for about an hour, til chickpeas are tender. As they cook, add water as necessary (I never had to). When done, taste for seasoning and cool in their juices.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Digs

Oh wow it's been a week. We moved! We moved.

It doesn't seem logical that moving is up there with death in terms of stress----my brain can't make that make sense---and yet it is. I am SO TIRED. In boxes for 10 days at old house and still in boxes in the new one since we just need a lot of stuff for this place. Bookcases, a dresser, 2 it looks like it's in transition and it might for a little while. The garage is currently a toddler's dream as there are about 50 boxes in there stacked on top of each other waiting for someone to claim them for free off craigslist. Know anyone moving? But wait a minute.....I said GARAGE. And 2 couches. Meaning we have LOTS of living space. 2 bedrooms. 2 bathrooms. WHAAAAAAT?

I have my own tub for the first time in 4 years which means if people don't hear from me for a while they should look in there. I seem to gravitate there like a salmon upstream.

So Hi post-move. I haven't disappeared. I know I kind of disappeared several times in 2010 but I have a plan now. Of course we know the deal with plans: tell them to the Universe and the Universe laughs. However, I have a different teaching schedule now, and one of the things that affords me is time to be HERE every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Woohoo! I'm excited!

I've really had to use the gratitude drug the last couple of days. It's been so easy to stress about such little stuff. This is a pretty amazing life that I'm living---and I don't say that because it's flashy or I just won a million dollars or got my own series. I'm saying it because it is beautiful. This morning the sun was streaming in in a single beam on the Buddha statue in our bedroom. I can see the sky at sunrise from the living room windows and it's so so quiet in the mornings. The place is a little old and it's got some bizarre touches (and being renters there's only so much we can do about that) but it's beautiful, it's peaceful, it's a little oasis. I'd show you pictures but really, it looks like a lot of stuff on the floor right now. Except the kitchen--I got that all settled.

See you very soon. Thanks for being here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Coming and Going

We're moving on Sunday.

We are moving into an adorable 2-bedroom, 2-bath little house where after 4 years I will have a bathtub and a closet that doesn't require a stepladder and arabesques to reach my dresses. There's going to be some repainting happening on the inside, and some gardening happening on the out, and I am really excited.

I'm also buried in boxes and dealing with neck and back aches from bending and lifting and reaching and wrapping. It's all OK, this is just what moving is, but I find I'm having one of those weeks where I kinda know what I feel but not really. Because as much as I may try to be still, I'm thinking about what the packing agenda for the day is and how the timeline of meeting the cable guy and spackling the holes is going to work. And I do want to be present this week because the place we're leaving has been a huge part of our lives. I wish I could run my hand over every square inch of wall and just thank this house.

When Sky and I moved back from New York at the beginning of 2007 we moved here. This is the first place we found together, the house where we lived when we got engaged, married, where his business started and I worked on the Segerstrom Stage at South Coast Rep. It's where I made the decorations for our wedding, where we had the baby shower for our nephew Dashiell, where I made macarons for the first time, and where my meditation practice started to get pretty deep. It's the house where my body healed, where we see hummingbirds and the ocean every day, and it's on the street I walked down in college and wished I lived on.

We're leaving because we need more space, but both of us wish we could slide a door and live a parallel life where we live here forever. Although then I'd HAVE to build a different closet. And install a tub. It feels weird to me to know all of this but to be so busy boxing it up that I'm not feeling much of anything about leaving. But I know it's there.

Anyhoo, all of that to say that I got home not too long ago and I am zonked. No more packing tonight. I opened an email that a friend had sent me, went to a link of a video she praised, and now it's an hour later and I've found a new source of phenomenal inspiration: Brene Brown.


Go here.

Then go here. Maybe you'll check out her blog. I know it's going on my blog roll.

I love this talk so much. It's 20 minutes, but take the time. Right around 9 minutes it starts getting so good you want to push the pause button and write down everything she's saying. Like when she shares the true definition of courage: "telling the story of who you are with your whole heart". Which equals being imperfect. Which equals being vulnerable, which is at the heart of what she's saying. Tell me an area of life that doesn't apply to. I can't wait to read more of what she writes. And sit with it. Once I start feeling again:) She's a "Researcher Storyteller" and she's saying some pretty beautiful things about being a human being, which tonight I needed to hear much more than I needed to seal up another box.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mama's Birthday

My mom's birthday is New Year's Eve. Apparently people born on New Year's Eve have special powers. That's only fair because holiday birthdays in general can be tough. People wanting to combine presents and everything. Mom hadn't had a party in a while so I decided it was time, and we did it last night since January 6 is Twelfth Night which I don't know too much about but I know it calls for revelry.

I created a cute invite on Paperless Post (I don't know that I'll ever use Evite again), Mom got me her list, I set the menu, and oops. We decided to move. So there were boxes all over the house. Oh well. I draped what I could in tablecloths.

Here's what I made:
Lentils with red wine vinegar, cilantro, cumin and sheeps' milk feta (no pic--they were delicious and looked like lentils)
Warm pasta salad (ok room temp by the time it was eaten) with cauliflower, black kale, currants, pine nuts, and breadcrumbs

Kabocha squash with dandelion greens, pecans and Roncal cheese (recipe coming momentarily)

Persimmon pudding (again, devoured before photo op but this link will take you there) which doesn't sound particularly glamorous but honestly in the two times I've made it I've never had so many people clambering for the recipe.

Also present: delicious cheeses including this one that looks like a flower and is called Tete-a-Something and is Swiss
plenty of grapes, cherries, bread, crackers, a weird cheese spread someone had given me, cupcakes from here, and fab spring rolls that my landlady/upstairs neighbor/good friend made
The party was to start around 7 and at 6:30 Mom and I were hanging out and the power went out. In the whole neighborhood. A transformer blew. So out went the lights, the music, even the heat. HA! My landlady brought an extra candelabra down
we all put sweaters on over our party dresses, a few people arrived in the dark, and then right around 8:00 it came back on! YAY! And the party was fab.

Yes, those are napkins with my mom's initial that I glitter-monogrammed myself on Wednesday night. A very cute idea and you will have glitter all over your house and guests will have it all over their faces:)
It was a toss-up which recipe to post. I must say the food was good. And what I don't post today I'll post sometime soon. But I'm going Kabocha since after making this salad I think I could eat it every day 3 times a day for a week. Sadly it was devoured so no leftovers pour moi. And since we're moving I'm playing Clean Out the Fridge so I won't be buying new kabocha ingredients til after January 16. You can make it and I will live vicariously through you.

Kabocha Squash Salad with Dandelion Greens, Pecans and Roncal Cheese
adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin

1/2 c pecan halves
plenty of EVO
a medium kabocha squash
1 T thyme leaves
sherry vinegar
1/2 lb dandelion greens, washed and thick bottom parts of stems removed
1/4 c sliced shallot
1/4 lb Roncal cheese (or pecorino)

Toast pecans on a baking sheet at 375 for about 10 minutes or til they're nutty-smelling. Toss with a tiny bit of EVO and a little salt.
Seed, cut into fairly slim wedges, and peel kabocha squash. (*see tip at the end for how to do this).
When pecans are finished, turn oven up to 425.
Toss squash with a few tablespoons EVO, a little salt, pepper and the thyme. Place flat on baking sheet and roast 30-45 min til tender when pierced and starting to caramelize.
Whisk a few tablespoons sherry vinegar with some EVO (slightly more vinegar than oil), and a pinch of salt.
Place dandelion in large bowl.
Heat a large saute pan over hi heat, add a couple more tablespoons of olive oil, reduce heat to medium and add shallot. Cook for a minute or 2, stirring constantly so the shallot doesn't brown (you're barely barely cooking it). Remove pan from heat and swirl in vinaigrette to warm it (amazing. I'm going to use this trick a lot).
Add squash and warm dressing mixture to greens. Season with a little salt and pepper and toss gently. Taste for seasoning.
Arrange half of salad on platter. Use a vegetable peeler to shave some cheese over salad and sprinkle half the pecans over top. Top with the rest of the salad, cheese and pecans.

IT IS SO GOOD. I worship kabocha squash in any form, but the hubs does not and he was all over this salad. The original recipe has bacon in it and she doesn't really cook the shallots at all. I did in lieu of bacon to give a slightly deeper flavor. Also, she specifies amounts of oil and vinegar but I eyed it and it was good. You know yourself: if you like a lot of oil, use it, if you don't, don't. And why have I forgotten about sherry vinegar for so long?? Might be my new staple.

*easy way to peel kabocha squash: cut in half. seed. slice into wedges and peel wedges with a paring knife. I found this a lot easier than peeling the halves and then slicing.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Happy New Year!!!

Oh how are you?! I thought everyone in blog land took a holiday between Christmas and New Year's and one day I was trolling around and lo, there were entries. There were things to read. People even posted ON the holidays. Sorry I didn't. Sometimes it's amazing to be away from the computer for no other reason than that you can be.

We had a grand time. Went to Taos to see my family where there was a lot of reading (I'm almost finished with Freedom, which, despite mixed reviews, I highly recommend), a lot of "Dexter"-watching (Sky and I are addicted. Just finished Season 3 on New Year's Day when I confess we watched 5 episodes.), good eating
fresh pasta. YUM

and a gorgeous walk to the edge of the Rio Grande Gorge.
I love it in Taos. My soul gets quiet. And we bought a camera! Which means no more iphone-only-photography!

It's a New Year.

Any thoughts?

I'm not a resolution-maker per se, but I do always take time to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the new one. Sometimes they're hyper-specific, with dollar amounts of money I plan to make and numbers of auditions I plan to go on and detailed lists of home improvements. Last year was kind of like that. As specific as I get though, for me it works to frame it energetically. They're not carved in stone and they're not made because my head thought they were good ideas and I better get my s**t together or else. I want the external things I'm going after to be tied to something I'm working on in myself. Last year I titled Experiencing My Potential and I had lists like the ones I described. The point was to push myself and see what happened if I stepped way out of the comfort zone.

But a couple of weeks ago I was really down. Not working so much and having one of those "it's never going to happen" spells. Looking back, I think it's because I was sick. But I went back and wrote on the year that was ending. On all the extraordinary things that had happened. I looked at the dream I'd put on paper on January 1, 2010 and I was so proud. I did a lot of what was on there. I did some things that I didn't dream possible that were nowhere on the list. I created a miracle in that I have a totally healthy body where a year ago I wasn't able to have a baby. And I accomplished exactly none of the goals I had set in the kitchen! HA! I might have, had I not done 3 plays back-t0-back. That was a surprise I didn't see coming, and it was better than mastering pie crust. I can take that on this year.

Writing for me is important not to put myself in a box and not to get mad at myself if I don't do everything I said I would, but rather to remind myself what's important. What I value. What I'm inspired by. If I'm chickening out and making excuses to hide from going after something I want, good to get honest about that. If I change my mind and decide something isn't important anymore, I can always revise. It's my life and my dream after all. Visual cues have always been important to me, and if I can see my dream on paper I can remember to go after it with love no matter what.

This year feels different. I'm equally excited but I'm less external- goal-oriented. There are some specific things I'd like to do involving certain projects I'd love to be involved with that I'll put myself out there for. I do want to learn to knit. I'm always working on my relationship to money since it's one where I can get worried and stressed, and I have a goal or 2 around that. But honestly, this year, I'm focusing most on the way I talk to myself. Being more keyed-in than ever on the inner dialogue and creating one that is so loving and so positive and so excited for life. Rather than being scared about money I'm seeing what I can come up with to be in love with it. I'm going to let specific dreams come up when they do and practice manifesting those when they arise. But the overriding theme is radiant joy and deep love, and being incredibly stubborn about not going to the habitual fears I can get mired in. I really and truly believe if we can give that to ourselves life is magnificent.

For me it happens in meditation but it's also a living walking practice. Stopping the stress in its tracks. Replacing the fear with gratitude. Focusing on someone else when I can't focus compassionately on myself (and in fact focusing on someone else most of the time as an antidote to the self-obsession I can fall way too prey to). It's stuff we've all heard so many times, and I don't know about you but I get windows into the crazy peace that's possible when I stop pretending I have to figure everything out. Then I go back to trying to plan, and getting scared my plan isn't going to work, and trying to concoct a plan that will. I don't want to do that this year. I'm doing an experiment: less outside, more inside and we'll see what happens.

What are you up to this year? I'd so love to know.