Honoring the Bride

Emily, a friend I love dearly, is getting married in January. She’s asked me to be her maid of honor. I couldn’t have been more honored, and of course celebrated my new title (Africankelli, MOH) by sewing up 18 wristlets for her bachelorette party.
Em is a smarty who attends MIT and lives in Boston. Her beau lives in Seattle. They are of course getting married in Mexico. And did I mention she is from Arizona? This left me geographically strapped on how to plan the MOH related festivities. I probably dropped the ball. Thankfully, one of her school friends stepped in.
I cannot attend her bachelorette party, tentatively scheduled for this weekend, so instead I did what Martha would do. I sewed. I made cards. I embroidered white undies with her new initials for her “something blue.”
The care package ended up with these included:

Bridesmaid pouch

For the other women in the bridal party. Her colors are brown and gold. I thought I’d throw a little pink in there too.

Bridesmaid pouch #2

For those “bacheloretting” this weekend.

E and J

For Em, in case she forgets the day she’ll be casada en Mexico con Senor Juan.

These were fun to put together. I’m bummed I won’t be there to celebrate her fleeting singlehood, but I know she’ll forgive me. Or better yet, won’t remember that I wasn’t in attendance.

Hasta Lunes,

Team Rex Update: THE CANCER IS GONE!

Rex after round 3

Want to hear the best news ever? Rex started round 4 of chemo today only to have his oncologist tell him the tumor has disappeared! The cancer is gone! WOO HOOO! No word on if he’ll have to continue chemo or radiation. We are simply celebrating this great news.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for him. It’s working!
As for the race, the Tempe Y is behind “Team Rex.” The race is Saturday, November 18th. I’ll post more info as they decide on the details. If you are in the Phoenix area, please attend. You’ll get to meet this wonderful, cancer-free man in person.


Not so Iron Afterall

I’ve kicked up my triathalon training a bit in the last two weeks and guess what? Today I cannot walk without limping. Yesterday I biked 25 miles and then went for a swim. When I got back on my bike after the swim I had shooting pains in that little muscle on the inside of your knee. You know, the one you’ve never noticed until it felt like a hot poker on your skin? Yeah, that one.
Like the true genius that I am, how did I treat such a woe? I rode home, had some breakfast, took a shower and sewed for about 6 hours. Once my leg was swollen and really pissed off, I decided to take an Aleve. And then some ice. This morning I seemed fine and even managed to get in a cool 4 mile run before my leg started threatening to detach itself from my body and hit me over the head.
Something (namely that stupid muscle) is telling me to take a break. Guess what? I am! I’m off to Mexico for vacation later this week and am going to aleve these woes with my friend Jose and the magical world of quesadillas and sopapillas. I even found me some darn cute new jeans this weekend (before said injury) at the Gap of all places.

wide leg happiness

Gap, I officially apologize. You do, in fact, have some cute, non-skinny leg choices. And you let me use a $10 coupon. So these wide-leg babies cost just $25. Love that. And I love that they are wider-legged than I’ve ever worn. I couldn’t be fighting these 80 trends with any more force if I were trying.

What else did I do this weekend? Why bake, dahling. Of course. It is my new past time. Any correlation to the bigger sized jeans purchased this weekend? Of course not. It must be from all that training and the muscle I’m gaining. Right?

Pumpkin loaves

More pumpkin polenta loaves. These are just so good. I’ve got everyone (grandparents, coworkers, guys at the gym, guys at the bagel shop) hooked. One catch — if you add extra pumpkin, the edges will burn and the centers will be a bit mushy. Just stick to the normal recipe.

woops with the burnt

Good news — there is a solution for burned edges and mushy centers. Leave the cupcakes in the pan until they are totally cool to the touch. This lets them cook a bit longer while in the heat of the pan without burning any more. Then, pull out your magic grater and get rid of that black.


Scratch, scratch scratch and voila — less burnt cupcakes. These were inhaled at my staff meeting today.

Pumpkin muffins, burned edges

Off to ice my leg,

Saturday Roadtrip

I needed some Fall. I needed Flagstaff. Located three hours north of Phoenix, Flagstaff sits at nearly 8,000 feet and is home to a community of earthy, happy people who I wish I still lived among. The weather is remarkably cooler. The food is fresh. The people are friendly. The air smells of pine and aspen. One day I hope to have a home in northern Arizona. For now, photos of a day of celebrating the changing seasons.

Sedona Phoenix sign
Rainy windshield
Ghost pumpkin
yellow leaf
Pumpkin butt
Fall foliage flying by
Um, yeah That house would do
Self portrait, Sedona


Superficial, I know

Am I the only one out there that think YSL, Louis Vuitton, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Ana Sui — and Anna Wintour for that matter — have all lost their minds?
Since when did the skinny jean, the bubble skirt, the dreaded legging, the slouch boot and the shift dress become current fashion? Perhaps I’m a touch too conservative, but the fashion of today’s runway makes me want to:
A. Feed the models. The skinniness is out of control. Pretty soon they’ll be crawling down the aisle with IV tubes, and
B. Cover them! I don’t want to see nipple, rib cage or belly button. What do they do with those clothes once the fashion shows are complete? Do they sew them all together and have one solid outfit any normal woman could wear? And with that, I realize that yes, I am a wee bit conservative.
My fashion icon remains Jackie O — a woman who could wear pearls with a bathing suit (one piece, of course) and make beachgoers rush off for their Mikimotos. I think some of today’s most beautiful women are Salma Hayek, Sheryl Crow, Reese Witherspoon and my mom. I love Salma so much because she shows that nobody does it better than the Spanish do! I’ve seen some absolutely gorgeous Latinas before, mainly on websites such as https://www.tubev.sex/?hl=es, but I think that Salma might just be the ultimate Hispanic lady out there. If I were to pick a current day fashion model, it would certainly be Reese. She’s conservative, but you know she has fun. She’s never photographed with her skirt tucked into her stockings or without both diamond studs firmly fastened, for that matter. (And occasionally a handbag from Target, which just makes me love her. She’s down to earth and a priss. My kind of lady.) She has certainly never been photographed coming out of the Ivy at 2 am with her nail polish chipped. Perhaps other starlets should pay attention to her good behavior. Be a serious actress, dress well, get Oscar. Be a tart, dress like a fool, lose roles. Simple math, non?
If I were going on a shopping spree today for some new duds I’d more than likely be at Ann Taylor and Nordies, or even more likely yet — the craft store. I’m going to be sewing my own skirts this season. I’m determined.
Gap has become home of the over-priced T-shirt that is way too short. (Funny, once you are out of college, that whole show your mid-drift thing doesn’t fly.) Old Navy is home of the well-priced crap T-shirt that falls apart in the first wash. Banana remains, of course, the snotty older sister, who’s a bit too pleat-y and serious for me this season. Arizona isn’t a fashion forward kind of place and we rarely need tweed, fur or wool anything. I need something practical, affordable and cute. Too much to ask?
I think the only Fall fashion trend I may briefly consider is a new handbag (dreaming a bit here), some fancy new boots (must replace those which were thrown out last year) and dark nail polish.
Otherwise, I’ll happily feel like an Ugly Betty this season and opt for my skirts, wrap dresses and kitten heels. We’ll laugh about leggings over tea. Are there any fashion trends you are following? What are you wearing this season?


What? It’s only a couple months away.

Look, I’m a planner. I like to give gifts. I like to decorate. Y’all know I love to bake. Christmas is my, well my Christmas! And yes, the planning has already begun.

Indian designs

I found this book at the library recently and fell in love with its simplicity. It was put together in the 1970s and shows basic Native American designs from many tribes. Those included are bold, pretty and distinctively southwestern. They are a piece of Arizona culture that I’d enjoy sharing with others. I have visions of embroidering several of these designs on totebag fabric.

Gambel quail
Pueblo owl design

Now the problem is getting the basic design from the photocopy to the fabric so I can embroider it. Do you have any suggestions? Worst case scenario, I’m going to draw it freehand in pencil and do the best I can. I’m thinking turquoise fabric with black owls, a red fabric with black bears, etc.

Pueblo bear

And just so you know I’m not the only crazy one already thinking of the holidays, Ms. Martha’s got her fabulous holiday planner posted. Is it sick that I’m already ahead of schedule?

Hello, my name is Kelli and I’m a Christmasaholic.


Where’s that Bucket of Water?

I’m in love, but I’m not going to lie — our relationship is rocky. There are days I sit at my desk and think of how I’d so much rather be with my honey — off at the park, in the mountains, doing anything else but sitting still.
And then there are the days that I wish I’d never see this latest sweetheart again. It’s an abusive relationship, without a doubt.

ruby in all her glory

Ruby is like any other stereotypical red headed tempest. She loves me one moment, whispering sweet nothings in my ear about long, beautiful rides through the countryside. She cradles me — holds me lovingly. But without a doubt, as soon as I’m 30 minutes away from home and the ride is just starting to get my heart truly pumping, I hear her wicked laugh. Flying monkeys soar above me, taunting me at each turn.

might as well be made of brick

I’ll get you my pretty, and your little tush too!

Her loving embrace turns into a grasp from hell. She beats my legs into submission, sending fiery pain from my feet to my hips as I pedal with sheer determination not to let her see me cry, yet again. My body aches in places I didn’t know could hurt. My shoulders tense with each bump in the road. My stomach lurches at the sight of sand on the path ahead. I need courage, heart and a brain to survive my dates with Ruby.

dork in her helmet

Oh Ruby, how you’ve tricked me again. You make me yearn for my other loves — the twins:

New Balance, the twins

New and Balance. (There is no place like home. No place like I home!) and my slinky Italian lover, Speedo.


They never abused me this way. And yet, like a Lifetime Movie starlet who never learns the lesson, I cannot wait for our next tryst. It’s a wicked love.


Shagadelic, Baby

I’m rubbing my two remaining brain cells together to write this post. Yesterday I spent the better part of the afternoon curled up on my couch, watching two very strong men move furniture and install new carpet. This was a renovation project that needed to be done three years ago when I bought my home.

out with the old

Ew. Ew. Ew. So gross, with your giant stains and cat hair from the previous owner. Ew.

gold shag, baby

Why hello, new carpet. You are surprisingly soft, and shag. And a bit too gold. AY.

in with the new

Then again, you have no stains. So, welcome! Make yourself at home.

After 12 hours or so of breathing industrial carpet glue fumes, I’m a bit off today. But I’ve got a new rug and my house looks better than it ever has. Now, to paint the walls to match the carpet. And then there are the drapes…


A Bit of Weekend Baking and Croqueting, dahling

I learned how to play croquet this weekend and if you had any doubts, Melati and Matt know how to throw one heck of a party. Tequila Stakes Croquet is one of the best parties I’ve been to in a long time, and I wasn’t even able to stay terribly long. I wish I’d been able to play and eat all evening. Oh, the food. And the margarita machine. And the company! Fun all the way around. Hopefully I’ll be invited back.

I brought: Pumpkin polenta bread

pumpkin yumminess

One of the best things I’ve ever baked, if I do say so myself. Love this recipe. (So much so that I burned the roof of my mouth eating them too soon out of the oven. Oy.)

and mini Shaker lemon pies. I hate pie crust. I hate making it. I hate rolling it out. I hate eating it. From now on, no more pies. I simply am not good with the pastry.

Lemony goodness

Damn you pastry for ruining my cute little pie idea.

I brought brownies too, because Ms. Melati is celebrating the big 3-0 on November 6th and she said they were her favorite. I’m not too sure she even got one.


‘Twas a fun and sugary weekend all around.


Shout Out

If I were a pop star accepting an MTV music award today, my speech might go something like this:

1. A shout out to the US Postal Service. I hear from friends in other countries who fret about lost mail, paying ridiculous custom fees and simply hoping the postal person doesn’t help themselves to a piece of their packages. Thank you US Postal Service. For $.39, I can send a letter to Alaska and that is just awesome. Plus, you guys generally don’t steal and that is doubly awesome.

2. While I’m on the community services list, the Tempe Library rocks. You have a growing DVD collection and books I can reserve online. Plus, you are free and I don’t have to spend $25 to get my “free” shipping. Instead, I walk less than a mile and viola — books and movies waiting for me at the hold desk. Who needs NetFlix and Amazon when you have this resource 5 minutes away?

3. 8th Continent soy milk. I’m new to the soy game and frankly loving it. Fewer calories, sweeter taste and less environmental impact. I’ve also recently added Morningstar Farms products to my diet and I’m thinking I may be vegetarian before I know it. While I still crave a burger once a month or so, I could go without.

4. NPR podcasts. I bought a new car last week that has one of those spiffy Ipod ports. I can now listen to Michael Feldman any darn time I want. What’s the name of that show? Wait, wait, don’t tell me…

5. And a last simple joy of the day — rainy mornings. I ran through a lightning storm this morning that was scarily beautiful. As bright bolts cracked down on nearby mountains, I watched a giant orange moon fall beneath the horizon and the morning sky turn from inky black to indigo blue. A shout out to Mother Nature, fo shizzle.