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Holiday Goodies

Santa Barbara Baby Shower

Chocolate Chipotle Cupcakes

Weekendy Photo

I don’t do a lot of urban photography, but once in a while I get a good shot. This is a manhole cover on my street.

Only in Texas

I’m off to the Austin Bellydance Convention all weekend! See you on the flip side!

Hill Country Adventure

On Sunday we packed up the pooches and took a liesurely drive out to Kerrville, Texas. Yes, it was the music festival weekend, and no, we didn’t go. We stayed in a cool little house build in the 1920s or so by the ancestors of our kind hosts, the Bachofens. It was very cool. Exposed walls, a French-style stone fireplace. There are a bunch of little buildings on the property, I didn’t get to see them all. It was very relaxed and unpretentious. I didn’t drag out the flash to take any indoor pictures, but here are some shots of the property and some awesome wildflowers in the surround.

Hill Country May 09

Our abode:

Hill Country May 09

Rusty ol’ Hinge:

Hill Country May 09

Spiny bull nettle:

Hill Country May 09

Hill Country May 09

Investigation:

Investigation

By the side of the highway:

Hill Country May 09

Cactus shot by David:
Hill Country May 09

You know I can’t get enough purple:

Hill Country May 09

Spring!

First, flowers!
Zilker Botanical Gardens

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Zilker Botanical Gardens

It’s so great to see all this color.

Work has been really fun lately. It seems like spring has really amped up my creative process. I spoke at a conference in Austin a few weeks ago called RISE, it was really fun. It was especially great to be around a bunch of entrepreneurs. It reminded me of the first time I went to music/arts summer camp in high school. Instead of being a weirdo, I was with my own kind, people who shared my values and ideals. In this case, it was fun to be with other irrationally optimistic, creative, driven people who persistently see our country’s financial difficulties as an opportunity for growth and change. It was cool.

My session was on defining and identifying core vision, values, and mission. It went really well, and has got me thinking about some very exciting possibilities to expand on the parts people responded to especially well. Next week, I’m guest speaking at Wisdom at Work, which you can read about here, if you’re interested.

Speaking of entrepreneurs, I got to meet one of my idols yesterday, Perez Hilton. What? That snarky gossip blogger who draws on pictures of movie stars in MS Paint? Yep. I have to admit his blog is a guilty pleasure of mine. But what I find more interesting is how he’s managed to go from just some dude who writes a goofy blog to a media mogul. Seriously – the guy had one of the hottest shows at SXSW, has a clothing line at Hot Topic, a book, tv shows, and more. I expect him to be in the company of Oprah as far as media influence is concerned in the next ten years. He is wicked smart. Anyway, I’ll quit gushing and just show you the picture:

Me dorking out.

I am such a dork.

I’ve been better about keeping my business blog updated, but less so here. I’ve got some new website stuff in the work, so stay tuned for updates. Oh – and I also have a new article in a journal called The Systems Thinker. Sweet! It’s on organizational politics and ethics, if you’re interested email me and I’ll send you a copy.

That’s all for now. I have to go wash some terriers.

More Latest Addictions

It’s still officially winter here, though Austin’s are notoriously short. The trees are starting to bloom, so hopefully I’ll be out and about snapping new photos soon. In the meantime, I’m holed up with a flu, so this edition of Addictions will be homebody-related.

  • Ru Paul’s Drag Race – Tracy turned me on to this and I lurve it. I so miss the drag scene in San Francisco, and this show manages to be terribly campy while still kind of heartwarming and poingiant.
  • Homemade Cough Syrup – this stuff works better than codeine. Recipe below.
  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer in Sin – Drag-queen worthy, this stuff is a great highlighter, and if you wear it under your shadow and liner, nothing will budge for hours. Bellydancers, take note!
  • Battlestar Galactica, Season 4 – The best show on TV, and one of the best sci-fi epics ever. I am such a nerd for this show.
  • Soups and Stews (list below) – The best bet for dumping all my CSA veggies into something comforting and tasty.

Homeopathic Cough Syrup

2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
4 Tbsp Water
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Simmer for a few minutes. Take by the teaspoonful. The ginger and honey is soothing, and the cayenne acts as an expectorant.

Soup and Stew Recipes

Latest Addictions

Just because I haven’t posted about my addictions in a while doesn’t mean I don’t have any:

  • My Aeropress
    Sent from Heaven (or Hell, if you ask David) this little puppy makes the awesomest lattes, chais, and anything else you want to concentrate to super-strength. While my Starbucks intake has dropped precipitously, my caffeine intake has increased more than I care to admit.
  • This coffee.
  • My niece
    There is possibly nothing cuter. And that includes puppies and kittens. Although this one is providing some stiff competition.
  • Bellydancing (again)
    Yes, the full-on addiction with all the shiny, sparkly accoutrements has returned. My abs thank me. And now I like photographing it too.

Now I have a crush on Doogie Howser, and it's all Joss Whedon's Fault

Cookies Are My Heroine


This recipe has been dubbed “best ever” by my husband, who gets to eat Tiff’s Treats on a regular basis. I surprised him with a box of freshly baked cookies a couple weeks ago when he had to work late (I so rock).

I love cookies. I love them in an indecent and dangerous way. And warm, homemade cookies are really just the bees knees. This recipe is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe, but there’s nothing light about them when I’m done with it, other than the texture which is a little airier and chewier than your average cookie. Enjoy!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1 cup quick oats

3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk; set aside.

Place sugars and butter in a large bowl (I use my KitchenAid mixer); beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg; beat until blended.


Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in pecans, chips and coconut. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned (they usually take a couple minutes longer in my oven, make sure they’re not raw in the middle). Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

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Shutterbuggy

I’ve become a bit of a photography nut over the last couple of months. David started it all by insisting we borrow his dad’s Canon Rebel for our trip to Hawaii. Having never taken photos with anything but a point and shoot, I was intimidated. But once I got my first taste of a zoom lens, I was hooked.

I’m finding that photography is a really cool expressive art form. Photographs show others what I see when I look at the world, but they actually show me as well. I start to understand what data I take in with my eyes, and what I disregard, and this leads me to start to question others about the same thing. We all process information really differently, it turns out. Really good photos, like any other art form, illicit emotions from viewers, but those emotions and impressions can vary infinitely. Mostly, I’m just really enjoying the hell out of taking pictures and seeing how they come out.

When we got back, David got us a Nikon D300 for a wedding present. Overkill, to be sure, but this puppy takes some damn fine pictures. Below are a few of my favorites of the ones I’ve taken so far.

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Persephone

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Maxine

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Manhole cover on our street

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Backyard color

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Jack

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Winter sky and trees

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Cabbage flower

A complete, ongoing set of my favorite shots is here.

Pork Fat Rules!


I heart bacon. I really do. And yet, I also attempt to eat healthy on a semi-regular basis. Until recently, I never thought it would be possible to indulge my love of pork products with conscientious eating habits. But then I discovered the beauty that is Cooking Light’s online recipe search. They have tons of recipes that include judicious amounts of your favorite naughty foods, but do not contain obnoxious amounts of fat, calories, etc. Here are a few of my absolute favorites:

Pasta Carbonara Florentine – this recipe is the ultimate comfort pasta dish. Carbonara is an egg and cream based sauce (minus the cream in this case). Lots of nummy bacon, drained, with just a touch of the bacon grease reserved to sautee the onions and spinach. I use pecorino romano instead of parmesan, it has more of a bite, and I up the black pepper a bit. Heavenly.

Herbed Fish and Red Potato Chowder
– I make this when David brings me back a mess of trout and redfish from his fishing trips with his brothers and dad. It’s rich and tasty.

Pork Saltimbocca with Polenta
– My Italian food expert friend Ryan informs me that this is a traditional Roman dish, but it usually calls for veal which I don’t eat. So this is a double win for me, it’s relatively easy to prep and the flavor of the prosciutto (I recommend jamon serrano – the Spanish version of prosciutto) with the sage is just wonderful.

Wasabi and Panko-crusted Pork with Gingered Soy Sauce – Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb. Used correctly, it adds a crunch more reminiscent of battered fried food than Italian breadcrumbs. This recipe is super easy, really delish, and the same techniques can be applied to the alternate meat or fish or your choice with equally good results.

Finding these and other recipes seriously makes me feel like I’ve won the food lottery. If you’re interested in more naughty-healthy recommendations, leave me a comment or email me, I have a whole list of them, including some decadent desserts.