Thursday Ten: Best Sister Ever Edition

1. This morning, I accompanied my sister to have a hysterosalpingogram done. Basically, if you ever need to go have contrast dye injected into your lady bidness to check out the awesomeness of your fallopian tubes, I’m your go-to gal for moral support. Fortunately, I was armed with Casey’s excellent post (AND DONUTS!), so I knew what to expect for my sister and even though SHE was too scared to read Casey’s Excellent Post, it’s okay. I read it enough for both of us. As it is, she’s fine! Her fallopian tubes are fine! Life is good.

2. On the way to her appointment, we stopped at Starbucks (What? Like you’re surprised?) and I got my first gingerbread latte of the season. And it wasn’t good. This is probably a good thing for me because, well, all that sugar. And all that milk. Way to ruin a good thing.

3. My song of the day is “Drumming Song” by Florence + the Machine. It’s been in my music library for awhile, but shuffle brought it my way today and I’ve listened to it four times now.

4. I actually really loved Glee this week. I hate the themed episodes with a passion (Yes. Even the Rocky Horror night), so it was nice to see the music worked around a plot versus the other way around for a change. Oh, and awesome to see Chris Mann warbling it up as Warbler Number Six.

5. I placed an order with Sephora to catch the tail end of the Friends & Family sale last week – and ordered a sample of Bvlgari Aqva – it’s a men’s cologne (I don’t think I realized it when I ordered it). But it smelled so good – I have a feeling that I will be getting this for Hubby. It smells fantastic. It was so easy to pick a cologne for him and yet… I remain perfumeless. Why is it so difficult to pick a perfume for MYSELF?

6. I came back from forty-five minutes of cardio and sat down with a slice of cold pizza. Self-defeating, much?

7. The Princess is now severely addicted to Cake Boss and has been sketching designs for her birthday cake (only six months early). “Don’t worry mom, I can TOTALLY tier a cake,” she tells me. I sure hope so, because I know I can’t!

8. I currently have iTunes randomly shuffling through all the 90s music in my library. You should do this. Currently listening to “Hello Jupiter” from Tori Amos’s “Boys For Pele” album. I remember buying this album when it came out – I was living in Ann Arbor, and I bought it at midnight from a record store on State Street. The album cover showed Tori nursing a piglet, if I’m remembering right. (But my gosh, I still love this song – “But sometimes I breathe you in and I know you know…”)

9. Best message today was from someone asking the best way to send me a box of salted caramels. That will be tough to beat. Unless you want to send me two boxes of salted caramels, in which case YOU WIN!

10. Happy Veteran’s Day. If you have served or are serving our country – thank you so much!

Double Double Chocolate Chocolate Biscotti Biscotti

I love a biscotti. I love dunking them in my coffee or eating them solo. I love that it wipes out a cookie craving and I never get the urge to eat the whole pan in one sitting (okay, hardly ever). And because they aren’t filled with oil and butter and all that gobbledy-gook, they’re not horrendous for the waistline. BONUS.

If you’re like many people, you might think that biscotti is just a fancy Italian way of saying “overpriced crunchy cookie from Starbucks” – but what biscotti really means is twice baked cookie. And literally, that’s what it is. You shape your dough into a loaf, bake. Then slice and turn and bake again. These look complicated, and you can make them look super fancy (dunking them into melted white chocolate or adding a nice drizzle to the top of the biscotti), but you can make these for a fraction of what you pay at the coffee places. They’re not that hard and it makes you look fancy.

This recipe is from Cooking Light – and if you aren’t reading it, you should. I love seeing some of my favorites slimmed down so they aren’t as rich or destructive to my health. And these? DELICIOUS. I love this recipe as is, but wouldn’t mind jazzing things up with some toasted almonds, maybe? Walnuts. PEANUT BUTTER CHIPS. The sky is the limit.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (regular or mini)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (THE REAL STUFF, remember? None of that imitation nonsense)
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
Cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. Combine dry ingredients into a medium bowl, whisking together. In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until well blended.

3. Divide dough in half. Turn dough out on cookie sheet covered in cooking spray (OR use parchment paper, like I did). With floured hands, shape each half into a 12″ long roll patting to ½” thickness.

4. Bake for 22 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to cool for ten minutes. Cut each roll into 18 slices (ish). Stand slices upright on baking sheet and bake an additional 15 minutes until firm.

Biscotti will be slightly soft upon removing from oven, but will harden as it cools.

Now pour yourself an awesome cup of coffee, grab a biscotti, and dunk. Ahhhhh.

Starbucks + My BFF = Good

Last night was poker night in my house again (and yes, I’ve noticed that we host poker night more than anyone else in our neighborhood and hey, what’s up with that?). I pretty much barricaded myself upstairs while the testosterone was hanging around my dining table drinking beers and probably not using coasters. Well, the coaster thing isn’t their fault. I don’t have coasters. Yet. On my list: BUY COASTERS.

Basically, I hung out, did some writing, wasted some time, took a nice hot bath, and finally climbed under the covers to watch E! – Chelsea Lately and “Keeping up with the Kardashians” until I basically couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore and passed out from the obnoxiousness of it all.

I awoke this morning and was still feeling the effects of a Tylenol PM I took (okay, it wasn’t JUST Khloe Kardashian that bored me to sleep – I had help). I vegged on the couch in my pj’s while the girls watched cartoons and ran amok around the house doing god knows what.

Then there was a little bit of a raincloud to my morning. And without going into obnoxious detail, I’ll just say that it was the PERFECT day to have already had plans with my BFF for lunch at the mall.

I was so glad to get out of the house.

I have said before, and will say probably 101 more times at least, how lucky I am to have the friends that I have. I have wasted a lot of time on a lot of people in my day – and getting older, I realize more and more the true value of a really good friend. I have a lot of acquaintances but very few people that I feel invested in and that I feel invest in me. And that’s fine because those few people? They kick serious butt. Amazing. Sometimes I don’t know how I ever deserved to have friends like that – but – I’m glad they’re there.

Okay, schmaltzy interlude over.

So, we met for some lunch, some chatting, some grumbling, some diet Coke consumption, some shopping. And even though she has been so so so sick, she still wandered all over that freakin’ mall with me. I had a fantastic time. And when we were done we stopped at Starbucks for a coffee (moi) and some agua (her), and I truly felt that my day was turned around.
The magic of Starbucks and good friends. I’m a big believer.

For those of you who don’t speak Starbucks – that is a nonfat gingersnap latte, no whipped cream, hold the nasty chewy crystallized ginger, with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top

Also, if you care my finger nails are painted in OPI Mrs O’Leary’s BBQ. It looks like every other nail polish color I own because I buy every version of the same stinkin’ color. Every time. I know what I like.

Sometimes I Am A Whiner.

Yesterday, I stopped at Starbucks (duuuuuuuuh) after a quick trip through Target and asked them about gingerbread – were they going to have it in sugar free this year. The barrista said she didn’t think so, and then handed me these little cards asking, “Do you like computers at all?” (Lady, do I like computers? Um, yeah). “Here’s their website – you can write in to them and tell them what you think.”

But, I don’t ever do anything the easy way – and besides, I needed a picture of the day. (You can click on it to make it bigger but it says: “Dear Starbucks: I am really bummed that you won’t be offering Gingerbread in a sugar free version this year. I was really looking forward to restarting my addiction to gingerbread lattes. Alas, I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Sarah P.S. Those crystallized ginger things in the gingersnap latte? Those are REALLY gross.” For the record, those suckers are supposed to melt, but don’t, and then you end up CHEWING your coffee. Nasty).

My next step was to put my pic in my Flickr photo stream and then I Twittered the folks at MyStarbucksIdea ( to send them the link.

SarahinMI: @mystarbucksidea Today my 365 picture is for you 🙂 [then a link to the above pic on Flickr]

I woke up this morning to see a reply from them:

MyStarbucksIdea: @SarahInMI Ha! So clever! Why isn’t everyone so clever?

I then went on to ask if clever was code for obnoxious, to which they assured me that no, if I was obnoxious, they’d say so… and then a bit ago a post to me and another eager twitter-er letting us know they’d be checking in to the lack of sugar free options. Whoo!

So, I guess the moral of the story is, if you need to whine, you should totally do it with arts and crafts.

You’re welcome.

Thursday Ten: The Detours Edition

1. This afternoon on the way home from my guitar lesson I ended up getting detoured about five miles out of my way around an accident (several police cars and a fire truck were at the scene), which added about fifteen minutes to my drive home somehow.

2. I don’t love detours. Scratch that – some detours are okay. The figurative kind. I can’t think of how many good things in my life were things that I had never planned on, things that sort of happened along the way. And I’m a planner – I love to know what’s going to happen when… (Ask my best friend who fed ex’d my planner to my when I was on my honeymoon. I’ve relaxed a BIT since having kids – because it’s a necessity – but… I still love having a clear idea of what’s in store for me). So, sometimes when something unexpected happens… it’s cool. And life is better for it. But the literal detours? They suck.

3. In guitar lesson today, I started learning “Sweet Home Alabama”. You can ALMOST recognize it, but still… it’s slow. Way slow. I’m gonna get it though.

4. New music this week: “Love Lockdown” Kanye West (And I don’t love Kanye West – AT ALL – but like this song), and “Spaceman” by the Killers. Slow week for me.

5. I took both girls to see “Horton Hears a Who” last weekend. My mom scored free tickets for me to take them to see “Madagascar 2” this Saturday (Free popcorn too – which is awesome because my girls eat a LOT of popcorn). I love going to the movies but go so rarely. It’s odd that I’ll have been three times within seven days.

6. This morning as I was leaving the library, I walked past my van and saw a dead bird hanging out of the grille of my minivan. Gross. I left it alone, got in the car and Twitter’d about it, figuring I’d deal with it later. By the time I got home, fortunately, the sucker had fallen out. Now just a lone feather remains where the little birdy was. There’s something you don’t see everyday.

7. Starbucks is not making a sugarfree version of their gingerbread latte this winter. Means I cannot get a gingerbread habit going again or I will end up needing someone to rip the roof off my house and pull me out with a crane. Starbucks, why did you let me down?

8. Just over two weeks until the “Twilight” movie comes out. My sister wants to go, and my mom is now getting drawn into the books. We may all go see the flick together. We’re such nerds.

9. Still having trouble adjusting to the time change. For example, it’s just after 6 p.m. and so dark outside now that I feel like I should be winding down and my kids should be tucked in their beds. No go. Two hours til bedtime. The Princess has learned to tell the time so I can’t even try to trick her anymore.

10. Thank you Target, Walmart, Toys R Us and Meijer for sending us your big ginormous toy catalogs for Christmas. My girls have gone through ALL FOUR of them and have circled EVERYTHING they want. Their wantyness is annoying the hell out of me on one hand – on the other hand, I could go online and be done Christmas shopping for both of them in five minutes. It’s that easy. I’ve already started buying stocking stuffers for the kids. Has anyone else started Christmas shopping yet?

Some Monday Link Love

Hey – it’s not just that I have nothing better to talk about. I have plenty to talk about, but I figured, what the hell – have a few random things going on – thought I would just do some linking (Y’all have no idea how tempted I was to call this post Linking Park – just to, you know, see if anyone got it).

First things first…

I have had the awesome pleasure of getting to know Marci of LVGurl during our work together on Blissfully Domestic. But Marci is totally hardcore and is currently training for the ROCK & ROLL MARATHON (dudes, if I even run two miles without a break it’s a total fluke – so a marathon? That’s awesome) which will take place in Arizona in January 2009. She’s with the TEAM IN TRAINING to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Her fundraising goal is $2,380. Check out her fundraising page, and if you can help her out – please donate to the cause.


Tomorrow is (for those of you playing along here in these United States) ELECTION DAY. When I went to see the Counting Crows concert in August, the lead singer (Adam Duritz, in case you live under a rock) spoke eloquently about how awesome it is that we have the ability to make ourselves heard with our vote. He also expresses that in the first part of his blog entry

Plus, if you care enough to vote, Starbucks cares enough to give you a free cup of brewed coffee tomorrow. (Or, if you’re like me, you’ll get the free cup of brewed coffee and then spring for a GINGERBREAD LATTE – local stores launch gingerbread tomorrow!). You can check out the Starbucks commercial on YouTube.

So there’s some random stuff for y’all. Happy Monday – and be sure to vote tomorrow.

Thursday Ten, It’s MY BIRTHDAY Edition

1. Thank you so much to my BFF who took me to Coldstone for lunch where I had a “For Coffee Lovers Only” (but of course) – coffee ice cream, almonds, Heath bar pieces, and I think caramel. Soooo good. She also gifted me with a bag of Tootsie Pops and a super cool whatchamacallit that says “Believe” for my office. My sis has it tattooed to her arm – for me, I prefer the desk decoration. Very thoughtful, very cool. She ALSO (because she is truly awesome) made a collage for her 365 pics that’s all pics of me. Holy crap. That was a stumble down memory lane this morning. But, it meant the world to me and made me smile and she included pictures from one of the most gruesome days of her life because I think I look cute in them – so thank you.

2. Me and my friend also went to Costco because nothing says “happy birthday” like an economy size bucket of Tide and a six-pack of dental floss.

3. My new music this week… Oh good lord. I hate to admit that I’ve been listening to Britney’s “Womanizer”. Also picked up “Fearless” by Taylor Swift, “Hare Krisna” by Thievery Corporation, and Amy McDonald’s “Run”. (The last two were free – I love the Tuesday pick from Starbucks – free music – wheeeeee).

4. Season Finale of Project Runway last night. Well, shoot. I don’t even know what to say. I didn’t love the final collections of ANY of the three remaining designers. I liked bits and pieces. It’s not like last year when I was totally in love with Christian’s fierceness. Or when I was on the edge of my seat rooting for Daniel Vosovic. I was… meh. I didn’t care. And actually, though the cohesion would have been shot, if I could have taken bits and pieces of the collections and shoved them together, that would have been the ideal situation for me.

5. It is rumored that my grandfather is getting sent home today. That would be the most awesome birthday present ever.

6. Fun gifts so far – The Princess made me a cool candlestick type thing. It’s cool. She MADE the sucker, so that’s awesome. She also made me a card – and that’s my favorite card yet today. Also loving my iTunes gift card.

7. Going out to dinner tonight. Not sure where, but I just pretty much put my foot down. I am not cooking on my birthday. The kids are going too – so it’ll be chaotic and goofy. Pretty much like life usually is.

8. I only watched about the last 30 minutes of last night’s debate, obviously. It was listen to bickering and back biting or watch Project Runway. I am guessing I didn’t miss much.

9. I learned “Silent Night” in guitar lesson today. It’s easier than “O Holy Night” so I’m thrilled.

10. So, I stopped to get coffee today and the barrista today was this little dude. I’m guessing he was 20ish. He looks super young. He usually works mornings, so I wasn’t surprised to see him. I was surprised to get a bunch of his personal life info when I asked how his day was. But, hey to the guy at Starbucks who is getting allergy testing this afternoon – hope it comes out the way you want it to.

Thursday Ten, Is Summer Over YET?

1. I took my girls to story time at a nearby teacher’s house. Weekly, she has story time on her front porch which is this huge veranda-type deal. Today, Pumpkin took a book with her (“Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear?”). The teacher let her come sit in the guest-reader chair and held the microphone so that Pumpkin could “read” to everyone. She got shy and only said some of the words but it was still so adorable. I took lots of pictures. If it was anyone else’s kid, though, it might not have been as adorable.

2. The Princess’s elementary school is undergoing construction and won’t be cleared for public inhabitance (?) until the 29th. They are having meet-the-teacher day on the 28th. Outside. I am more than a little annoyed that they couldn’t have postponed the teacher meet event until the afternoon of the 29th so that not only could the kids MEET their teacher, but find their classroom as well. The Princess will ultimately be fine, but she’s mentioned more than once that she’s a little nervous because she doesn’t know where her new room will be. These are kindergartners and first graders at this school – they really should have thought this one through a little bit more. My kid can’t be the only nervous one.

3. Since I’m on a school rant – we received her teacher assignment the yesterday. I requested this particular teacher at Hubby’s request as it was his teacher when he was in first grade. I’ve heard lovely things about her, and The Princess will rock no matter who teaches her — but, this would not have been my first teacher choice. The PLUS side is that her friends are in different classes – and it will be cool to see her branch out and make more friends.

4. But I really hope that none of her classmates are sons or daughters of any of my former high school boyfriends. It’s possible, and I dread that.

5. I’ve been a slacker on the music downloading front this week – I’ve got nothing new. (Recommendations, please?)

6. Last week, someone was telling me about the country group Sugarland. I rarely listen to country but when I checked them out on iTunes, I saw that they did a cover of Matt Nathanson’s “Come On Get Higher”. I prefer Matt’s version, but there’s is still good.

7. Project Runway last night… Glad to see Daniel go – but peeved Jerrell is still in. Once I saw the final two though, I chilled because I figured no matter how it went, it would be alright with me. On a fun note, I loved the Drag Queen challenge.

8. Starbucks cup wisdom: “The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will’. Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” – David Copperfield

9. Since last night’s dinner sucked (according to the peanut gallery), tonight I am making honey chicken which is one of the girls’ favorites. You mix 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and about 1/3 cup of honey. Dunk boneless chicken breasts in it and then cover lightly with breadcrumbs. Bake until the salmonella is gone. I serve it with couscous and a vegetable – the couscous is the part the kids like best, but I refuse to just serve a plate of carbs.

10. The next few weeks are going to be interesting ones for me – lots of fun stuff on my plate, which is awesome. Supposed to go skating on Sunday (Hi M!), plans with another girlfriend on Wednesday, Counting Crows next Friday, and a trip to Ikea that Sunday – and then (it’s about freakin’ time) school starts on September 2. Whoooooo.