Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hapa Taqueria

Before going to watch The Hangover Part II, we went to Hapa Taqueria for some food with our friends.  This new restaurant is in the old Acme Burger building, and although I'm sad Acme is gone, this new place is great!  They serve street-style tacos and botanas, or small snacks.  I had a pork taco and two carne asada tacos, with some chips and guacamole.  Ben had a chicken street-taco and a chicken quesadilla; we enjoyed every menu item that we purchased, and will definitely be going back.  [For the next three weeks they are serving $1 tacos and super cheap tequila shots and draft beers ($1-3).]

As for The Hangover Part II, it was pretty much identical to the first (crude jokes, crazy antics, and Bradley Cooper's gorgeous hair).  If you liked the first movie, the second shouldn't disappoint, but if you didn't like the first one (obviously) don't waste your time and money. 

In other news, I am sick.  I have been battling cold symptoms, and now flu symptoms for just over one week.  Ugh, I can't wait to feel better and hit the gym (in a moment of truthful shame I have to admit that I have packed on twenty, yup, twenty pounds.)  It is time to start eating like a healthy person again and working out (I give it two solid months and the weight will be gone, right?)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Going Back

Ben may be going back to Maui for work again, which is something that conjures up mixed feelings.  I will miss him terribly, but the money is really good, and he loves the place so much that it is hard to feel anything but happiness for him.

The past few weeks I have been thinking non-stop about our trip to Hawaii.  I can't help but get butterflies when I think of the excitement of being picked up from the airport (it had been over a month since we had seen each other)!  I also can't help but think of the overwhelming sadness that I felt on the ninth day when I had to leave Ben for another month.  I cried the whole last day (off and on).  My visit to Maui was the most extraordinary visit that I have ever experienced.

I am seriously considering applying to law school in Hawaii.  I would love to go back and make a life there, even if it was just for a short period of time.

View from Hana Highway

Bamboo forest hike

Monday, May 23, 2011


I am taking the plunge, the therapy plunge!  I made the call, and the first appointment is set!   Ben, and my trusted friend, Natalie, rave about Karen Kindred and her work (take a gander at Nat's posts about Karen, and you'll want to see her!), so I'm going to see her this Friday.  I am excited to learn new things from such an intelligent woman.

Too often we concentrate on our waistlines and our complexions, but not enough on our minds.  I think that everyone should find a therapist that they can trust, and they should spend some time talking with someone that can help mediate their thoughts, and provide them with tools.  I hope that Karen is a good fit!
Ben has this delightful change tin in his shop, it makes me laugh every time I see it!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Funk

I have been desperately and hopelessly sad this week.  I think it is the weather.  I think it is the lack of gym time.  These short periods of sadness are completely normal, and are just one of the features of life, but I'm ready for it to stop. 

Yesterday had some highs and (core of the earth) lows.  The highs for the day were: (1) taking Logan to the Nickelcade and Baskin Robbins for his birthday. WIN; (2) going to Mekong Cafe with Cam, Tse, Jarom, Sofia, Vanessa, and Ben. BIGGER WIN. (3) Tse bought us a great piece of art for the house.  I don't have a picture, but it is calligraphy on a fantastic, thick worn piece of parchment.  There are hand drawn ivy leaves and open books surrounding one of the most beautiful quotes ever:

The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species.  I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.  ~Carl Sagan, Cosmos

I need to focus on the happy things from the week.  Ugh.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

God of Thunder

I heard mixed reviews about the new movie Thor, but gave it a go anyway, and I was pleased.  To be fair, I like Marvel, so I'm not exactly a hard sell when it comes to this particular type of movie; however, the costumes were cool, the story is good, the effects were well-done, Natalie Portman is gorgeous, Stellan Skarsgard is delightful, and Chris Hemsworth is a sight to behold!  Seriously, it was worth the nine dollars just to see his abs:

The pictures just don't do it justice!  I would pay to go see it again...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Parent's Love

Two of my best friends from high school just welcomed babies into the world.  Teegan Miller and Maddix Champion have daddies that used to skip school at my house, and raid my mom's fridge.  Out of our core group of friends: Trent = married and a homeowner, Andrew = Married and a homeowner, Tyson = Parent and a homeowner, Zacc = Parent, and Chelsea, well, Chelsea = Student? I know it is a culture thing (specific to Utah), and I'm doing stuff in the right order, but sometimes it feels like I am getting left behind.  Sometimes it feels like I'm not a "real" adult without a marriage certificate and a mortgage.

Life has changed so much from the days when my mom used to yell at me, "Trent, Tyson, and those other boys are eating us out of house and home!"  In all fairness, they were.  Now, those boys are dads.

Congrats, Guys!

Camrann summed up being a parent today in what I can imagine are some of the truest words ever written, "My poor daughter. I doubt she'll ever find a man who loves her as much as I do right now. Everything gets complicated as people grow more complex but I have the luxury of pure uncomplicated unconditional unwavering love. That why we have kids; in order to experience that with another human being."  (Kind of makes me contemplate kids in the distant future.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


When I started writing this blog I made myself a promise.  I yelled the promise in my head, "THIS IS MY BLOG, I WILL NOT WRITE SOLELY ABOUT MY RELATIONSHIP WITH BEN!!!"  I can be super demanding (bitchonwheels). I'm completely breaking that rule, sort of, again...

All day long I have been recounting last night in my head.  Some nights are so wonderful, so satisfying, and so special, that your mind just keeps going back there.  I won't share intimate details, because that would just be rude, but let me tell you, being an adult is great.  Trust manifests itself in some of the simplest ways.  Intimacy is great, and naked intimacy is even better. 

Living with Ben is great.  Laughing with Ben is great.  Laying on the floor and reading my new book while Ben folds the laundry is great!  When Ben lays down on the floor and spoons me, and I put my book down to turn around and make eye-contact while we talk, that is great.  Having days that I can't stop thinking about Ben, and it has been two years since our first date, that is awesome.

That is all.

Sometimes the News Can Make You Happy

A couple weeks ago while I was reading the news Ben asked, "Is the world going to hell in a hand cart?"   I tried to recall one, just one, positive detail from the New York Times that I could share with him.  I couldn't recount one positive story from my readings and that made me sad.  I am trying to find something beautiful-something hopeful-every day when I read the news. 

Today, I read a great article about the drop in infant death rates in Zambia.  The drop can be attributed to a pilot program that trains midwifes on basic diagnostic and resuscitation procedures.  Total, the project cost $20,244, and saved an estimated 97 lives.  That is a story that I like to hear.

Here is a small excerpt from the article:

 "The researchers compared survival rates among 20,000 babies born before the teaching and 20,000 afterward. The first-week death rate among babies had dropped by almost half, they found, to 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births from 11.5 deaths."

The birth attendant below is using a clay stethoscope  to monitor a baby's heart rate. 

Lynn Johnson/National Geographic, via Getty Images

Monday, May 9, 2011

Nectar of the Belgian Gods

I am not much of a drinker.  I especially don't like beer.  However, I could drink Lindeman's Lambic Peach beer all day!  According to the Lindeman's site, " Lambics are a complex family of beers, which include dry aperitif beers, full-bodied dinner beers and fruity dessert beers."  That sounds like something for everyone, don't you agree?

If you like beer, and you like fruit, run to the liquor store (and if you don't live in whacko Utah, run to your local gas station) to buy a few bottles of this stuff!

Water for Elephants

For Mother's Day we took my mom to see Water for Elephants, she has been wanting to go, and today her wish was granted.  Begrudgingly, I made the plans and dragged my little brother to the theater with me and Ben.  You see, we have all been bombarded with Robert Pattinson crap since before the premiere of Twilight, and well, if you have seen any of those dreadful movies, the thought of R-Pats as the lead role is kind of dismal.  But, I took my "Twi-hard" mother to the movie, and I am so glad that we went!

Water for Elephants follows a young Jacob Janakowski (Pattinson) who loses both of his parents in a car crash on the day he is taking his licensing final to become a veterinarian from Cornell.  After being left with nothing he hops on a train and is taken in by circus workers.  What ensues is a dramatic unraveling of love, lust, violence, animal abuse, and eventually a great love story.  Reese Witherspoon plays Marlena, the wife of August (Christoph Waltz), the owner of the Benzini Bros. Circus.  Marlena has your typical rags to riches tale that has trapped her with the jealous and crazy August.  August is a tyrant, forever yearning to outdo Ringling Bros., and keep his wife squarely by his side.  You will hate August, love Jacob, and be in awe of Reese Witherspoon's looks the whole movie!  I cried twice, and laughed a lot.  If you want a good love story, the movie is worth a $9 ticket.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Chocolate and Brylea's Birthday

On Saturday we took Brylea out for her 8th birthday celebration!  Ben and I decided that having four siblings must mean that you are constantly fighting for attention, fighting to be heard (Ben knows this, he is one of five), and because we recognize this, we're taking each kid out for a solo birthday date.  Each date will be different, and each kid will get some time with two listening adults.

Our first birthday date was with Brylea!  We took Brylea to a bakery in West Jordan called "The Chocolate."  This is one of two locations, and I have wanted to go, so this was a perfect time.  The bakery is inside of a small cottage-style house that has been converted into a quaint oasis in the middle of West Jordan.  The decor is fabulous!  As usual, we didn't have a camera, so camera-phone pictures will have to do (I'm not a photographer, so the picture quality isn't likely to improve, ever).

This is the birthday girl, Brylea.  She talked and talked and talked...it was great.

Great, the inside of the place was fabulous, but how was the food?

Well, I wish I could say better things, but I would give the taste of our treats a B grade.  The Brooklyn Blackout Cake slice that I had was kind of dry and the cake was bland, and Ben's Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie was just plain bad.  However, the lemon square was delicious, and so was the mint chocolate brownie and the huge cup of coffee that we ordered.  So 2 of 5 menu items were sub-par...which as far as I'm concerned means that I will definitely try the place again, but I can't quite recommend it to anyone that I know.

After the bakery we took Brylea to the dollar store and she bought some Mother's Day presents.  Brylea is a sweetheart, it was her birthday date and the first thing she asked was, "can we go buy my mom something for tomorrow, I have $5 from the Easter egg hunt."  On her day, that sweet little girls spent every dollar she had on her mom.  I was happy to go with her and pick out trinkets.

After shopping we went to a soccer game to watch her little brother and sister play.  Brylea seemed to have a good time, which was really all that mattered.  The next birthday date is with Logan, and I must say, I'm excited to visit the dinosaur museum!

Good Eats

Wednesday was my last final!!!  To celebrate we went to the gym, and I did a little muay Thai, while Ben did a little jiu-jitsu.  My leg is finally healed, so I can kick with both shins!  It is such a good feeling to not be broken!

After the gym we celebrated the end of the semester with some barbeque!  We went to Goodwood Barbeque in Draper.  I had never been, but everyone that I know loves this place, and I can't say that I disagree after going.  Goodwood BBQ, Co. has a handful of locations in Utah and Idaho; the food is reasonably priced and delicious; the service is amazing, and it is clean and well-decorated.

To start, we ordered the "small" spinach and artichoke dip.  The bread that it comes with is to die for!

I ordered the brisket sandwich with a side of fries, I drenched both items in their delicious "Sweet and Sassy" sauce.  Let me just tell you, I am a sucker for brisket.  Brisket is something that you can eat with your fingers (always a plus in my book, I eat like a caveperson), and you can smother it in sweet and spicy sauces, what could be better?  The bread they served the sandwich on was delicious, and the red onion they served it with complemented it so well.  Everything on the plate, down to the pickle, was delicious.  I stuffed myself after a hard workout and I still had half of the sandwich left...the sandwich tasted even better in the morning!

Ben's plate was massive!  He went for the platter with pulled pork, brisket, potato salad, and barbeque baked beans.  The pulled pork was divine, and so was the potato salad!  I'm not a huge fan of beans, but the beans were good too!  Again, the portions were gigantic!

Our server was amazing, if our drinks dropped even the slightest, she swooped in with a new one, and then when someone else would walk by, they'd remove the empty glass.  It is nice to see good customer service that is alive and well.  That being said, the service was good without being too in your face.  Now that I know how good the food is, we'll definitely be visiting there more.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Vintage Pearl

The Vintage Pearl is an absolutely adorable site!  I purchased this wonderful necklace for my mom for Mother's Day:

Right now there is a 15% off coupon code that the site accepts, just enter the phrase, Parenting15.  I saved $10 on my order!  I can't wait for it to arrive!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Shepherd's Pie With Cauliflower Puree

When I was younger my Uncle Charlie had a girlfriend, Sinead.  Sinead was from Ireland, shocker.  Her accent was beautiful, but as a kid, I hated her cooking.  I remember her cooking shepherd's pie, and I vividly recall refusing to eat it.  Meat + the word "pie" = SICK (to a kid in elementary school).

Now, I have a recipe for shepherd's pie that Camrann gave me, and it is permanently cataloged as a go-to recipe!


1 medium yellow onion
1 lb ground beef (we have been using elk)
1 cup thawed frozen green beans
1 cup thawed frozen peas and carrots
3/4 cup beef stock
1 head of cauliflower
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp rosemary
 2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Cup grated cheddar cheese (this part is optional, depending on the desired calories)
Butter (also optional)

First things first, cut the green bits off of the cauliflower and cut it into chunks.  Plop the cauliflower into salted, boiling water until it is tender.  Drain the cauliflower and put it into a blender.  While the cauliflower is cooling, dice and saute the medium onion in some olive oil.  Add salt and pepper,your two diced cloves of garlic, and the rosemary and thyme.  Once the onions are translucent, add your meat and brown it up (this should be quick). 

Next, add both cups of thawed veggies and cook for about five minutes.  To thicken up the meat mixture, I add the 3/4 cup of stock and the 1 Tbsp of flour together into a Pyrex measuring cup, and whisk it together.  Once the two are mixed, stir it into the meat and let it simmer for five minutes.  The flour helps bind the pie contents, and if you add it dry, it turns into lumps.

While the flour is working its magic, add salt, pepper, a touch of olive oil, and the cream to your cauliflower.  Puree the cauliflower until it is the smooth.  The mixture should resemble mashed potatoes.

Remove the meat mixture from the stovetop and spoon it into a 9"x9" pan, then spread the cauliflower puree over the top.  Here is where the recipe changes based upon your diet.  Sometimes I sprinkle one cup of cheese on top of the puree, and other times I just dot the top with little bits of butter. Pick one.  If you choose to leave both out, the dish tastes like it is missing something (trust me, I know).  Some people add paprika for color, I don't, though, I suspect it wouldn't hurt.

Put your pie into a preheated oven at 375F for 35-40 minutes.  Let the pie rest for about ten minutes when you pull it out of the oven, and serve!

Seriously, it is delicious!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Last night we celebrated the eighth birthday of Ben's niece, Brylea.  There is a significance surrounding Brylea's age because in the Mormon faith a child is baptized at eight.  Ben's family members are Mormon fundamentalists (not to be confused with the FLDS sect), and they are extremely excited about the event.  I was just excited to see a kid open presents...

I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but Ben's family believes in the opposite of the things I do (in almost all instances).  Anytime politics are mentioned, I keep my mouth shut.  Ben's mom recently brought up the California law that mandates teaching LGBT history, and immediately stated, "I just hope this doesn't get in the way of teaching about Caucasian contributions."  With her delightful comment my head was immediately filled with words like racism, white-supremacy, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, and the like, but I just listened. 

I fear that one day the listening will stop, and inevitable conversations will have to occur- I am avoiding that day with all of my might. 

You see, when it comes to topics like abortion and same-sex marriage, these things aren't just parlor talk.  I have experienced sexual assault and my best friend is gay.  When the topic of "welfare moms" comes up, I think of the year we spent on welfare.  I think of "Sub For Santa," visits to the welfare office, and the wonderful job placement program that found employment for my mom (she worked her way up from a secretary to the president of the company).  I am more than willing to lose relationships when it comes to disagreements on certain topics, and whether you believe that makes me irrational or not, it is the truth. 

I am avoiding the topics that mean the most to me, because I love Ben's family.  I love his nieces and nephews.  I love his cousins, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  I love them so much that I care what they think.  Ben's grandpa looked me square in the eyes last night, and told me he loved me.  I melted inside.  Just mentioning his grandpa and grandma makes me feel nice. 

After the birthday party, we were sitting around talking about taking a girl's trip to Vegas, and I was genuinely excited about the idea of spending time with Ben's sister, Merrilea, and his sister-in-laws, Caitlin and Kate.  Not surprisingly, the topics of gambling, smoking, drinking, and free porn on the strip came up.  I assured them that we could avoid all of the things that make them uncomfortable, and two of the girls explained that they are comfortable with gambling, and might even play some slots.  There were some reasoned explanations about the complexity of life, and how their moral code means vigilance, but they don't expect insulation; comments like that give me hope, comments like that make me feel comfortable.

I don't have sisters, and my family is bat shit crazy, so it is nice to spend time with people that are calm, nice, and loving.  Ben's family is extremely normal.  Ben's family is extremely welcoming to me. 

Even though we couldn't be more different if we tried, I am excited to have girls that I can call my sisters.  I hope that the listening never stops, and that the day I start talking, their listening starts.

Monday, May 2, 2011


I am obsessive when it comes to cleaning our kitchen.  I wipe down the counters, stove, and fridge every day.  I love to cook and you can't cook in a dirty kitchen.  You just can't.  That is the rule.  When I wake up to dirty dishes in the sink, it makes me feel stress (thanks for the idiosyncrasy , Mom).  I am usually so diligent with keeping the kitchen clean, but every once in a while, stuff just adds up!  You can tell how busy our schedule is by how full the sink is.  This week was finals week, and this is the result: