So, pigs went flying by earlier*, and I ended up squealing. Seriously, America? You couldn’t have made me prouder today. The millions gathered peacefully? Incredible. The general sense of awe and patriotism? Fantastic. The honorable new family moving into that great White House? Spectacular! (Although perhaps a wee bit color blind. Green shoes with a mustard yellow dress? Really? Otherwise Michelle, you looked truly Camelot.)

God bless the Obama family and the renewed sense of hope many of us are feeling. Let’s put this happiness and optimism to use and watch as this great man helps lead our country to new heights.


*um, yeah. The Cardinals? Super Bowl? Hell is freezing over, I hear. Maybe some of that cool weather will show here?


chihuly 044

Yep, I’m just inappropriate and immature enough to have walked up to this installation and said a bit too loudly, “Boobies!”

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chihuly 048

Oh, come on. You were thinking it too.



Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

One of the repetitive complains I hear from non-Phoenix natives is, “This town has no culture.” Stucco, suburbs and beige, are a culture — just not one most people want to replicate. The truth is, Phoenix has a growing, fascinating array of cultural exhibits. They simply take getting off the couch to see them. {My friend Amanda regularly emails a weekend update of great events that Mini posts on her blog.}

Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

Dale Chihuly, one of my favorite artists, is currently showing at the Desert Botanical Gardens. I spent several hours today with Dee, wandering the winding paths at the base of the Papago Mountains, admiring these glass beauties. The art seems to be planted with the plants, creating a very trippy garden experience.

The garden is a dashing work of art — cacti from all over the world have been gathered on display, along with many other desert plants.  The waiting list for weddings and parties at the garden pushes two years. It’s a gem of the Valley.

Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

This exhibit is powerful. It is hard to tell if he specifically designed these pieces for the garden, or if they are a general outdoor traveling exhibit. It seems a bit like Dr. Seuss came through with a magic wand (and cat in a top hat). Chihuly’s work made me dizzy. The colors, variety of texture, detail in pieces and incredible shape and size are spectacular.

Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

Chihuly exhibit: Desert Botanical Garden

If this isn’t culture, I’m not sure what is.



Seams to Me: Taxi Tote

When I added Seams to Me to my Christmas list, a friend-via-blogging named Flo — who lives in Japan — immediately emailed and offered to send me her copy. She did so, and I’ve been truly enjoying this book (and her act of kindness) since.

The Taxi Tote is my first project. January is a purse pattern review month around here, and for this second bag I must say — the size is perfect.

Seams to Me: Taxi Tote

It is exactly the right shape and size for an everyday purse. I love a big everyday bag. I carry a ridiculous number of things with me to work — address book, journal, book of the week, magazines, to-do manila file folder, etc. This bag would be Golidlocks-right in size.

Seams to Me: Taxi Tote

That said? The bias tape is a bitch. A complete and total, hormonal, raging bitch. I do not like working with this stuff at all. Even if it produces a nice edge.

Craptastic bias sewing skills

My edges are so far from perfect because I got to the point where I just wanted to have this thing finished.

Seams to Me: Taxi Tote

Yet, you only get better with practice. This bag was made for someone in mind. I may just start over to make myself a spring tote.

Overall review: 4 out of 5 bananas. Clear instructions, interesting pattern, craptastic bias tape required.


A New Balance?

Happy runner

Why the goofy smile?

Ready for a good hard run

Because yesterday was “new running shoes day!,” one of my favorites. I get new sneaks every 500 miles or so and was in great need. I can always tell when it is time to trade in a pair because my arches ache after a couple miles. (And sometimes you can feel a pebble or two through your sole if you’ve really worn them too long.)

New Running Shoe Day

Thanks to Santa, I had a generous Foot Locker gift certificate to use toward these fabulous New Balance babies.

eager runner

They made getting out for an afternoon run yesterday that much more fun!

Happy Friday friends,


P.S. Sticking with those resolutions, I signed up for Ultimate Spring Season today. Let’s hope this time around it goes much better than last.

Fleeting Time

Why, hello cilantro, you spicy beast

One of my biggest pet peeves* is when people complain about not having enough time. It is easy for this to be one of my annoyances in life at this point because let’s face it: I’m in selfish mode. No kids. No pets. No real worries other than getting myself to work and fed daily.

That said, we are all given 24-hours a day. How we spend them is a matter of priority, and goodness knows our priorities are wildly different. My mom, for example, will spend 6 hours a day quilting and bemoan the fact she doesn’t have “time to read.” I love her nonetheless. My brother groans he doesn’t have “time to cook or budget meals,” but spends a fair amount of his week playing basketball at the gym. And my dad? Well, you already know I think he’s perfect. My point is we spend our time as we have to (work, child care) and often as we want (TV, socializing, gym, sleep). I don’t have a magic recipe for making these two columns balance, but as a single gal with a tiny commute and lots of hobbies — I do my best. If anything, I think I’m often guilty of putting the hobbies before the career.


I’ve been fueling my own pet peeve by kicking myself lately for not making more time to be creative. For the last few weeks, I’ve considerably increased my training at the gym and with my personal trainer. I’ve been spending between 8-10 hours a week at this, which I really enjoy. The downside is that when I do have 30 minutes here and there to work on something at home, I’m physically exhausted. I cannot get myself motivated to come home from lifting weights and sit down at my sewing machine. My bed just looks far too inviting.

Green bushy stuff

Until I get in better shape and am over the initial exhaustion hurdle, my creative time is going to be limited. I’m trying to deal with this change in pace and admitting my current limitations, but doing so does not come naturally.

Thank goodness the garden continues to grow on its own.


*Truly, my biggest pet peeve, as Amanda can attest, is the way people eat popcorn at the movie theater. The crunching, licking, smacking drives me up the wall. So much so, in fact, I’ve been known to get up and leave my date to move to a quieter seat. Popcorn is evil, evil noisy, stinky, food.

Cartoon Hearts

Remember in the old school cartoons when little hearts would float through the air from one gushy, smitten character to the next? Yeah, I’m feeling that kind of sap at the moment. I’ve got this lengthy list of things I’m truly fall-down-crazy for lately:

~Kate Winslet. I know a day late and a dollar short on this one. I saw “Revolutionary Road” this weekend and while the story left me hollow, her beauty was the strongest character. There are scenes when she walks in a room and you could nearly hear the audience gasp. She is remarkably gorgeous.

Lily Beth bag

Lily Beth bag

Lily Beth bag

~Beki’s Lily Beth handbag pattern. Beki gets pattern writing. Her directions are clear. Her layout is smart. Her pattern is simple. I love this bag. I’m doing a bit of a handbag pattern review this week — so stayed tune for the next adventure. I’m currently working on a Taxi Tote out of Seams to Me.

~Fat free greek yogurt. Have you tried this stuff yet? With a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and a dash of cinnamon, it is sweet heaven. Great for breakfast or a snack. Plus, each little container has 25 grams of protein, so you stay full.

~Barak Obama. I am reading, “Dreams of My Father.” It was written before he was elected to the senate and it is more honest and human that I could have imagined. His stories of childhood are heartbreaking; his tales of trying to organize the poor communities of Chicago are frustrating. I am so pleased this man will soon be our President.

~Bon Iver and the mix of Jay Z and Viva la Vida that Salty Senor passed my way recently. New good tunes!

Smitten hearts for all,


Under Construction

Under Construction

This weekend flew by, leaving me a bit disoriented this evening as I prepare to return to work. I simply wish I had one more day to rest, sew, clean and get back into the groove. At church this morning, the sermon discussed baptism as a form of renewal. My minister quoted Annie Lamott and her theory of KFKD — the negative radio station constantly playing in the back of our minds. {I’ve written about this miserable station before.}

He talked about how we spend so much of our time listening to the self-criticsm, the doubt, the negative that we forget each of us are divinely unique and amazing. Works of God, really. As he was speaking, I was at that moment fully tuned into KFKD; thankfully the sermon jolted me to turn it off already.

Tools of Mass Construction

There is a photo of my mother when she is pregant with me. She’s got waist-length long, dark brown hair parted down the middle Marsha Brady-style. She’s standing in a backyard, surrounded by friends at a bbq. She’s wearing a bright read T-shirt that reads, “Under Construction.”

Aren’t we all? For me, faith involves being constantly reminded of my ability to improve, my humanness, my apt to error. Striving for perfection is silly, but for me is part of the spiritual journey. In each breath, I want to be more Christ-like. More patient, kind, giving, empathetic and self-less.

A few of my weapons of mass construction in building a better me include:

– my Bible. I don’t read it as often as I want to, but the older I get, the less intimidating it becomes.

– my church

– my family — our relationships have changed with time and I’m often left scratching my head, trying to figure out how I could have handled situations better.

– my running shoes. I do the majority of my heavy thinking while I’m grasping for air. I can think the clearest when my heart is pounding in my ears and I’ve got that rush of endorphins that makes me feel like you could conquer the world.

– and most certainly, my girlfriends. I watch in awe as they’ve become mothers, wives, corporate honchos, artists, writers and incredible people who routinely surprise me with their kindness and intelligence.

I’m pretty sure the work never ends.


What’s Cooking?

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Roasted butternut squash topped with browned turkey, garlic and veggies with a side of quinoa.

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Mmm.. say it with me — “keen wa!” I love this food.

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And while I’m trying not to drink much, this decanter is so awesome for impressing a guest. Take a $5 bottle of red wine and decant for 30 minutes before. You wouldn’t believe how much this improves the taste.

Otherwise, I’m not doing much domestic this week. Work is kicking my butt. With hours upon hours at the capitol in a sea of gray cubicles, I am exceptionally happy this is no longer my work environment. I am also over the moon, after spending an hour on the freeway this afternoon, that I don’t have to participate in the concrete jungle regularly either. Both have given me a new dose of perspective and gratitude for my sweet little desk with the pretty window overhead and the fact it is a mile from my home.

Now where did I put the rest of that quinoa…


Stop What You Are Doing & Go Get This Book

Okay, Finny is a book genie. She typically sends me an awesome book for our Christmakkah celebration and this year’s was another gem: “The Ridiculous Race.” {A previous selection was “Winterdance,” — pretty much the only book my brother, dad and I can agree is absolutely try-not-to-pee funny.}

I didn’t just read this book. I inhaled it. I couldn’t put it down. I sat in my car for the two extra minutes I had before church started to read a few more pages. I stayed up late three nights in a row because I was hooked on TRR. It is a comedic take on two best friends who decide to travel around the world, going opposite directions, without using airplanes. It helps that the writers, Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran, are real-life comedy writers for televison. It also helps that they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. I also think I fell so head over heels for this read because I’ve been to a couple of the places they travel to and can relate with many of their dizzying cultural experiences.

This book is so funny and is a breath of fresh air from pretty much everything else I’ve been reading lately. So, if you need a good read? Pick it up. Five out of five bananas, absoloodle. And apparently they have a fan club too. Consider me a member, guys.