got wind?

while I am away I thought I would share my chicago album with you...enjoy!

friday farewell...

off to banff this weekend to participate in this. doing the 10 km. let's not get crazy here! lol!

I am quite excited as I have not been to the mountains in quite a while. like I can't even remember the last time I was there so obviously it has been TOO long! I love the mountains. love the smell of the air, the woods, the vibe. I imagine my dream home to have mountains and ocean all in one. where would that be?

on the way to banff we are making a pit stop in calgary. oh yeah baby! my dream zabuton is available there. wish me luck! I have hunted for one here and have had no luck finding a soft place for my tush to be while I meditate. 

and while we are in banff we are hoping to see these two...

and totally ignore the fact that they think "we can't see them".

thursday goodness...

made me some muffins! morning glory with pineapple, carrots, coconut, sunflower seeds, flax and the kitchen sink! I loaded these babies up. then to use up some of the bazillion zucchini that have come my way I made chocolate zucchini muffins. both gluten free, dairy free goodness. no special recipe here folks! I used the gf muffin mix from here and just made sure all the other ingredients were safe. YUM!

and in between batches we had some time to enjoy the sun and this silly mutt...

he has been driving me crazy going in and out the door and barking up a storm. seems he has lots to say about the leaves flying around and the birds heading south. busy boy!

and looks like he found time to do some sidewalk art!  

tiny art with a tiny friend...

I had a visit from a little friend the other night. she is my great niece and she IS great! this was our first play date together and so I asked her what she liked to do. she said "I like to paint" and I said "me too!" well she was vibrating as she said "really?"

and so we painted...

we made an alpha beta canvas a la lost and found.

and then we collaged...

a butterfly...

cause she had a butterfly on her back pack and she wanted to make one just like it! 

we talked, created and we kicked back and watched a movie...

and my favorite words from her tiny mouth were while we were watching tv was when a woman was modeling some clothes on a commercial. she was watching and then turned to me and said "her cute, huh?" oh yeah baby and so are are you...

tasty tuesday, let's eat!

late evenings and early mornings are my favorite time with this little mutt. he is calm and adorable. so SWEET!

speaking of SWEET! I made gluten-free gnocchi! yay! my friend val just returned from her viaggio in Italia and talked non stop about how delicious the food was. made me think about my favorite italian food - gnocchi. typically made with potatoes and flour I gave it a little twist. here is the recipe:

sweet potato gnocchi

1 large sweet potato
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used gluten free all-purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt

pierce the potato several times and then bake it in the oven at 400 for about 1 hour or until tender. let it cool slightly, peel and press pulp through a food ricer or food mill into a large bowl. while the pulp is still hot, mix in the flour and salt with lightly floored hands.

lightly flour countertop or pastry board. prepare a baking sheet by covering it with wax paper. turn the dough out onto the floured surface and gently knead until smooth, but slightly sticky. break off a chunk of dough and roll into 1 inch thick ropes. cut 1 inch pieces, then roll each piece against the tines of a fork to make grooves. set aside on the baking sheet and make sure the gnocchi don't touch each other. continue on with the rest of the dough.

cook the gnocchi in a large pot of boiling water in batches until they float to the surface. about 1 to 2 minutes. with a slotted spoon remove the gnocchi and place in bowls. repeat till all the gnocchi are cooked. makes 5 servings

honestly this recipe was not enough for the three of us hungry people! I would double the batch and freeze any uncooked gnocchi. I topped it off with a homemade meat and tomato sauce. YUM, YUM, YUM!

wishing YOU a terrific tuesday!

real world etsy!

went to this yesterday after receiving a call from her squealing "ya gotta GO!"

and so I did...

and I LOVED it!

so much...

I wished I was a part of it and that we were vendors. it was surreal in a sense that it was everything we ever dreamed of under one roof. and here is a pic of my purchases or as I like to call them "local treasures".

I purchased vinyl wall lettering from here that says "...and they lived happily ever after..."

I bought some beautiful silver earrings and unfortunately there is no vendor name on them...(note to self - make sure company name is on product or product packaging - done)

I also bought a hat from her. such a sweet lady and so many beautiful hats to choose from! it was hard to pick just one!

my fave purchase of the day was the sweater. beautiful work by these girls. I am really trying to "dress up" but still be comfy so this is a perfect addition to my limited wardrobe!

in november there is another show similar to this called holiday stop and shop show. mark your calendars!

and buy local!

an afternoon with papa...

yesterday after we dropped mom off for her massage dad and I went reminiscing through the old neighborhood. we drove around until we came to the front of our old house. I jumped out and started snapping pictures. I started to remember the inside and I wanted to go in and see if it had changed. of course it probably has!

dad was telling me stories about how he planted that tree in the front that now covers the view of the house. "stupid place to plant a tree" he said. "look at how big it is!" "dad, that was 39 years ago!" we looked around at the neighbors and pointed to houses and remembered names.

the first and second pic are from the tree in front of the very first house I ever lived in.

the last one is a pic from in front of the massage clinic.


and here is "my first childhood home". isn't she cute? don't the steps look inviting? I like to imagine who lives there now. I would like to think that it is a young family with a little girl. deja vu! I like to imagine that this is their "first" home and that they too have big dreams just like my mom and dad did way back then.

while I was having my own little "past party" I noticed this little guy. even though the welcome mat is next to him, he did not seem to be too welcoming! LOL! he has that look on his face like "hey, who the hell are you?"

or maybe, just maybe he is thinking "hey, aren't you that little girl that lived here before?" cats have nine lives don't they?

we were driving around the block and came upon a yard sale. dad wanted to go check it out and hey I am always up for a bargin! he found an item for $1.00. he reached into his pockets and had no money! too funny! I gave the lady a $1.00 and said "expensive shopping companion!" she laughed and then asked my dad if he used to live around here. he said, maybe. she then said her name and said "you are peter, aren't you?" turns out that she is the daughter of a couple who mom and dad and I used to spend time with. we would travel to their cottage at the lake and kick back. dad made them some adirondack chairs and fixed up the kitchen cupboards and a few other odds and ends. she turned to me and said "and are you nadia?" "yes" I replied "and forgive me if I seem stunned, but I was just asking dad about your mom the other day". freak my freak! her dad has recently passed on and her mom who was inside napping is now 91 years old. a fun trip down memory lane.

as we were driving down the alley we came upon this display:

we couldn't figure it out. in the middle of the alley a little table set up with assorted items on top. other things surrounded the table. hat, shoes, foam and a leather jacket hanging from the fence. was it free for the taking? was it part of some game that someone had set up? was it a trap? HA!

st. louis 2007...

another travel journal complete. this one documented my trip to st. louis last october. I have been fortunate enough to go every year for about the last ten years on the company dime. tres kewl! this year the trip will be even more special as it may be my last "free ride" so to speak. 

I have over the years been lucky enough to take some pretty amazing classes. I have met the most amazing people and kept in touch with many of them. I took a class with frankie fioretti (second one down) who at the time was teaching with judi kins products.

I met the owner, artist and whole fam damily of kirsten. she was very real, very generous and very talented. to be invited into her studio and be able to watch as she created was one heck of a thrill for me.

these two sisters. they have the most incredible art store I have ever seen - EVER! both extremely talented and tons of fun. everytime I visit there I leave with a smile and bags of goodies to play with.

this store which again, very unique and such a wonderful group of artists. I met up with a couple of ladies I had met on-line and they took me to a book exhibit, lunch, and this. a home for artists and their studios where you can walk right in and watch them at work or purchase their wares. they also have workshops. so kewl! afterwards they took me shopping and then we met up with a whole whack of ladies for a fun night of creating, chatting and sharing. such great memories.

we have been there for the st. patrick's day parade. whoa! mardi gras! double whoa! and the world series when st. louis won. that happened right across the street from where we were staying. can you say chaos? kewl to witness it. we saw the old busch stadium, the rubble and the new stadium.

we were there when the st. louis blues played the edmonton oilers. talk about the minority! HA!

tons of kewl shops - galleria, union station, eye of the needle, art mart etc.

last year donna was there teaching a class and it was awesome to see her again. such fun! so many giggles!

some things we always said we would do while we were there - go to a ball game, take a tour of the city, go up the arch. hmmm... looks like I got some planning to do!

ta DA!

have you signed up for this? go! do it now! I'll wait...

back? okay! omg! I am a changed artist! I fell in love with this first assignment. I have SO many new ideas spewing from this one layout it's SICK! I? ME? the whole not so scrapbooker chick made a freakin' layout that she loves and wants to make (gasp) MORE?

yo,cathy, girl! you got me excited about what's to come. how'd ya do that? magic on-line classroom fairy dust? it's cool! I am pretty darn sure she does not read my blog so I can totally throw the fairy dust card out there.

anywho....I am back on the ground after flying high over this. of course you seasoned scrapbookers out there are saying, wha? pfupht, omg! but hey! also kewl! cause it made ME happy!

so what ya excited about today? share...


who did this?


somebody did this!


lunch anyone?

love these ladies. they often ask what you had for lunch and since I had a scrumptious lunch yesterday I thought I would share it with you:

sushi pockets

1/4 cup brown rice
1/2 cup ripe avocado, finely diced
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2" length english cucumber, finely diced
2 baby carrots, finely diced
1/2 yellow pepper, finely diced
1 green onion, finely sliced
1 radish, finely chopped
juice of half of a lemon
salt and pepper
2 sheets of nori cut into 9 squares each

combine all of the above with the exception of the nori. toss with this dressing:

1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. orange juice
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. soy sauce

spoon mixture on top of nori square and ya have - sushi pockets! tres chic and tasty!



she found her group - 2:30 vegas half - and set off on her run...

her inner voice - stay with the leader...

chatting, laughing and feeling strong she ran...

apparently she was pulling the group...

and then she was pushed to the back...

would she like to run with the 2:15 group?

"no" she replied "happy right here, thank you"

you need to slow down then he said...

slow down? she needed to slow down?

but - she felt SO strong
but - she felt REALLY good
but - she had a NATURAL rhythm going

she did something wrong?

she suddenly felt very small

she felt very weak

she felt very alone

she began to question herself...

who do you think you are?
what will this do for you?
where the hell are you going?
when will this be over?
why are you doing this?

towards the end of the run she stumbled - recovered before she fell...
twisted herself and felt the pain...
another sign?

then up the hill,
struggling to breathe,
the ache,
the pain.
the doubt,
the defeat,

what is the point?

reach the top and he tells her that she should have saved her gas for the end...

she walked and he pointed ahead to the others and asked her if they were walking...

and so she ran...

when all she wanted to do was stop, go home and cry.

but she didn't

she finished and


she thanked him...

kettle corn and lotto...

little things I enjoyed yesterday...

awesome freakin' run with miguel! that man is SICK! 7:06/km? WOO HOO! I am so serious about this next half that it is disgusting! LOL!

kettle corn from the farmer's market! have ya been? so ya know? ya...nough said.

more projects off my desk which makes me SO happy! it's the little things like getting all those little things completed. know what I'm talkin' bout?

if ya know me, ya know that I am the queen of procrastination and I have been holding the crown for the last five years. she has been trying and NOT working so hard to take it away from me, but let's face it - she is just too dedicated to even come close!

in my most recent procrastination I reorganized all my papers and got rid of a few that just don't appeal to me anymore. was that urgent? of course not! so while I was making pretty piles of colors and patterns I thought it would be a fabulous idea to make a little lotto book. my wednesday running group (f.r.e.d) buys lotto tickets every week. we had this ziploc baggie with our monies and tickets in it and our contract in case we win and well hey! let's make it pretty shall we? here is my end result:

it turned out awesome! want instructions? check it out here.

and TODAY? long run and please let it be as fantastic as wednesday and yesterday, PLEASE! thank you! I will share more pic of a few more projects that I have completed. whoa, is it spring cleaning? I freakin' wish! ciao!


and it's a beautiful day already! so yesterday I procrastinated for a couple of hours and then got my butt in gear...

birthday cards for all the birthdays in september...yup - a little late, but still made with love! and while making birthday cards for the family I made a few extra for samples. laurie and I have an order coming for about 200 birthday cards and this is our attempt to be ahead of the game. usually they ask for samples, pick a few and then the mass production begins. we are not fans of mass production, but hey it pays the bills! HA!

also finished this mini book:

I made this travel journal to take along with me when I did my first marathon last year. A little keepsake of my thoughts and a few pics. I posted instructions on how to make it here.

off to run, pick up more kettle corn (pleaze!) and maybe go listen to my niece and her band play tonight. hope your saturday is spectacular!

full moon or a gift?

looking up at the powers that be and asking them to help me get through the doctor's appointment with my mom. first off she made a mistake with the time and we were an hour late - super! second she started getting angry at the receptionist saying it was her fault - dandy! third I dug all around my purse and not a crumb of chocolate to get me through. doc says she is on the list for the november clinic and after lots of "italian smarten up talk" she was quiet and played along with everything he said and I asked - perfect! he asked questions as if she had never been there before. problem is she answered them as if she had never been there before. I sat there thinking I was having an out of body experience and maybe I hadn't actually woken up, showered and left the house yet. WTF? I finally intervened as I was getting tired of their little reindeer games and told the doctor that he had seen my mother almost a year ago and sent her for tests and she was on a wait list for the clinic and we still have not heard anything about that. ah yes, he says as he shuffles through my mom's file. I understand that he sees thousands of people a year, but my mom? what the hell kinda game was she playing? anyway done and done till we get the call...

my dream of a beautiful zabuton was crushed yesterday as all they had were these square cushions that looked hard and uncomfortable. miguel is going to look for me today before he leaves chicago and perhaps I will have one of these and it should work just fine.

the afternoon was spent with my girl.

we talked, we painted, we talked, laughed and painted some more. nice quiet afternoon and quite relaxing as no one else was in the store! here is a sneak peek at what I was working on:

for more pics go here.

whoa! noon already and I feel like all I have done is - NOTHING! off I go to clear some stuff out of the way....ciao and fabulous friday to you!

suffering and surfin'...

bad gut day...not sure what has aggravated it, but for the last couple of days I have been feeling yucky. thank goodness not during my run or afterwards! thanks kath for kicking my butt all the way! whew! culprit? few things it could be cause you know ME! let's change lots instead of one thing at a time. what can I say? I am a chihuahua! easily excited. I found yogurt I like and so "I eat it everyday for the last few days!" I started taking my vitamins again as the company who makes them assured me that they are gluten free. perhaps the fine folks at starbucks are secretly giving me caffeine so as to keep me bouncing off the walls so that I cannot reach the puter and send another complaint e-mail.

oh yeah! I said it! I have been complaining to starbucks about the poor service I have been receiving and they have been sending me drink coupons to make up for all my pain and suffering. I'm so thankful, but honestly - just make the damn drink properly and promptly! it is my ONE guilty pleasure!

some things that caught my eye as of late:

wow! pat can I buy a vowel?

this blog. she has a blog? yay! I have ALL of her books and LOVE them all!

this quote, “Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” - jim morrison

I have one of these books(sark), one is on the way to me (taking flight) and I just ordered the last one (ordinary sparkling moments). I LOVE BOOKS!

off to find the zabuton of my dreams, accompany ma to her appointment and finally to meet the girl of my dreams for an afternoon of paint, play and pottery at crankpots.

happy thursday!

hello monday!

my mish mash of flowers from my yard. what's left anyway! the vase is from birthday week when we went to crankpots. headed back there on thursday cause we had so much fun! join us!

the word is out about this. our team the "spicy italians" is joining forces again to raise money and walk/run 5 km to end cancer. we are recruiting new members so if you are interested and want a personalized t-shirt with "spicy italians" on it leave a comment and we will work out the details. if you are unable to join us on that day and just want to donate you can do so on the website and you can put it under my name if you like.

either or neither you can support us in spirit and this year more so than any other year as I lost my cousin to cancer and most recently my uncle. two too many for me! I am sure that everyone has been touched by it or knows someone who has it. let's get together and find a cure!

have a wonderful monday and be healthy!

LOVE what you've got. - oprah

weekend bliss! why? not sure...but what would the other option be? weekend stress? NO thank you very much.

some things I'm up to, into and all around jazzed up about:

- friday night football - not my first choice for date night, but we are together. albeit with 30,000 other people, but together.

- ordered more of this. my skin loves the "olive me" skin care line. and I usually add something extra to try and this time I am trying this.

- hoping that I can see him while in vegas and excited to see her.

- finished reading this and this and this and am currently enjoying this.

- getting excited about this. in the mountains? yaw!

-I know I said "no way", but am now thinking about it.

and finally...even though it is a great idea to "love what you've got...sometimes it's fun to dream.

a change will do you good...


she said "go crazy. do anything you want." who was that girl?

appointments and soup!

"curves ahead". no freakin' kidding! doc update! try to slowly reintroduce dairy and no gluten ever again so help you god. done! check back in a month. good. I felt good with my visit. we chatted at length about my fears, worries and never ending internet medical studies. he giggled and kept asking where I read that? duh! on the internet! it was a great visit and I feel refreshed in knowing that he is with me and wants to keep watch over me to see how I am doing. yay!

in my sheer delight I decided to celebrate and make soup! woo hoo! love this recipe. haven't made it in ions, but makes a ton and so now I can have gluten free soup on hand. file under freezes well.

Northern Vegetable Soup

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter (I used gluten free, dairy free)
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
salt & pepper
1 can (19 oz.) tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 can (10 oz) beef broth
3 cups of water
1/2 cup macaroni shells (I used gluten free rotini)
1 can kidney beans
2 cups shredded cabbage

in a large pot heat oil and butter. add onion, garlic, celery, carrots and green pepper. saute for about 5 minutes. add parsely, basil and salt and pepper. stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, broth and water. bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 10 minutes. add macaroni, cover and cook till tender. add beans and cabbage. cover and simmer about 30 minutes. add extra water if needed. (I always add extra water)



more good things or thing...

awesome "art tuesday" with my girl. were we super productive? depends on how you define that. with our art? sort of...with our catching up chit chat? tons!

we did the usual calendar set up for the month and threw around some ideas about what we want to accomplish in the next month. great day!

we won't mention that the car had a boo boo cause now it is fixed! so - OVER THAT!

read something tonight that was very interesting and confusing all at the same time. It talks about how goal setting is about trying to achieve something in the future that we don't have. okay! it's about wanting more or less of what we have in our present life. uh, yeah! when we reach our goal we never really arrive. hmmmm...

we are always in a state of becoming. yup! we go from goal to goal and keep going round kind of like a hamster on the wheel. no matter how fast we peddle our feet we never really go anywhere. we may think we are moving and making progress, but ultimately we will not have inner peace until we get off the wheel. okay? the way to get off the wheel is to no longer want something that is different than what exists in the present moment. huh?

I read this in the latest issue of synchronicity. it goes on and there is more that I am reading over and over as if that will help me decipher its meaning. I mean, think about it. could you accept yourself and your life as it is? have we not been taught to have goals, become better and be the best that we can be? in all that we say and do?

I laughed at one point actually agreeing with the hamster analogy. I have my "to-do" lists that I make in an effort to reach my "goals" of getting things done, crossed off, completed and it seems like the list is never ending. I have goals that I complete and then set new goals and so on and so on. are they really complete though? I mean, yes I ran a marathon, but I could run it faster! so that is totally a hamster on a wheel! I cleaned the bathroom this week and check it off the list, but, oh look, it's on the list again for next week! I completed my 31 days of yoga and now what? I could do 62 days of yoga! wth?

it is all so confusing and somewhat tiring to think about goals and accomplishing them or not accomplishing them. goals generally take some work to accomplish and y' all know that "work" in my books is highly overrated. I like to "PLAY"! lately I try to remind myself to enjoy the moment. enjoy the process. enjoy it as it is. then that little hamster in me jumps on the friggin' wheel and runs as fast as she can to try to get it all done. and then what? it is never ALL DONE!

just something to think about...

what I know fo sho? life IS good! LIVE!

good things....

gluten free, dairy free muffin mix with a few additions. grated carrot, crushed pineapple, coconut and walnuts. yum!

blackberries, strawberries, blueberries & nectarines for a scrumptious fruit salad!

and last but not least a big huge bowl of greens, celery, carrots & pea pods all ready for lunch. just add hard boiled eggs, ham & turkey and ya got chef salad. or add some tuna and soy nuts, or some grilled chicken breast. top any or all of these off with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you are done!

I feel so friggin' organized this week I scare myself! BOO! (that's next month folks!)

today is the first official art day of the fall season...let's see what creative messes we can make!

happy september!

my new year starts today! well, check back with me in a couple of days and that may change. anyway so here are some things that are making me uber happy right now:

I ordered this and this. I am ready to embrace the new diet and stop complaining. well, check back with me in a couple of days and that may change.

I was super excited about this and waiting for it to go live. mine is the last pic with a link to see the whole thing. what a thrill!

he has decided to run his marathon come hell or high water before the end of the year and so we are off to vegas baby! funny thing is that last year when I ran my first marathon he did the half and cheered me on at the finish line. this year he will be running his first marathon and I will do the half (yes you read that correctly!) and be there to congratulate him at the finish line. kewl...

saw these the other day and wanted to buy all of them! love the words. so true!

love this and this on the right and tried these on.

played with this for a bit. total adhd procrastination. some days ya just gotta throw the "to-do's" aside and do the "to-want's".

one thing that makes me super happy today is that I completed my "yoga warrior" challenge. I wanted to participate in this at the local yoga studio, but didn't think I could make the early classes and what would I do if I was out of town? instead I did the yoga routine from this for 31 days straight! I officially am now a "yoga warrior"! yay me! I do it first thing in the morning and it has helped me to slow down. some days I would get up and be exhausted before I even started thinking about what I had to accomplish. now I start the day relaxed, refreshed and with new eyes. my body feels better too. muscles stretched out daily and body feels toned. I plan to continue this and perhaps spice it up with some different yoga videos.

what is making you happy right now?