Cooking With A Friend

Day 2 –

#100happyday challenge

There is nothing better than puttering in the kitchen. Unless it’s cooking with a friend and sharing the creation of a yummy, delicious meal taught at Sur La Table.

Cheers!

❤️

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100 Happy Days Challenge

100happydays challenge | Can you be happy 100 days

“Every day submit a picture of what made you happy!

It can be anything from a meet-up with a friend to a very tasty cake in the nearby coffee place, from a feeling of being at home after a hard day to a favor you did to a stranger.

#100happyday challenge is for you – not for anyone else.”

How can I resist this little documentary of happiness? I honestly saw this and figured I’d have to dive in. How about you?

Day 1

@ Ritual in Houston for brunch.

I RSVP’d for this Meetup online ignoring the nerves that tend to start jumping whenever I step out of my comfort zone. But, seriously, brunch is harmless. Plus it’s my favorite kind of meal… the perfect start to my happiness challenge.

The Heights, a trendy Houston neighborhood, is about a 30 minute drive from me. The drive into town was easy on this beautiful October morning. Arriving to Ritual, I parked on the street, but they do have complimentary valet service which I recommend since parking can be a challenge. The restaurant has both inside and outside dining and has a pretty hip vibe which I enjoyed tremendously.

I met Kerrie, the host of the Meetup and what a sweetheart! She was so charming and had place cards for folks and chocolate mints! A lady after my own heart. Chocolate makes everything ok. She was an expert of putting people at ease as they wandered in. I met a great group of people that I might have never crossed paths with if I hadn’t signed up for a Meetup with strangers. LoL. I didn’t get to chat with everyone but there’s always next time.

I indulged in biscuits and gravy and a Sunday Funday mimosa. Definitely a a good way to enjoy a Sunday.

Cheers!

❤️

Deer Sighting

I just saw a deer skimming along the sidewalk outside my window. My desk at home faces the window, giving me a view of the outside world while working from home. I just switched my office all up earlier this week, while the rain poured outside, to chase away the rainy blues. I love it. But I never expected to see a deer meandering along the sidewalk in the city, especially outside my front door! I tried to capture a picture from my iPhone but wasn’t quick enough (dang it!).

It reminds me of the moose and bear in Anchorage that would cross the street in front of cars or play across the street from my Government Hill home. But a deer? In Houston? It can only be due to the immense flooding surrounding the area pushing the creature towards dry ground. Lucky for us (and the deer), this neighborhood has been untouched by the flooding surrounding us.

Just one block over, in Barkers Branch, some homes have flooded.  The Addicks Reservoir has continued to push its way towards homes along it’s overflowing banks. The rain has stopped (a blessing) and the sun is peaking out. Its a beautiful morning and nothing like the last few days.

Friends, I have work to do, but before I close I want to share this just for fun…we can all use a little fun to start the day out, right!?!

The Deer Spirit Animal

When you have the deer as spirit animal, you are highly sensitive and have a strong intuition. By affinity with this animal, you have the power to deal with challenges with grace. You master the art of being both determined and gentle in your approach. The deer totem wisdom imparts those with a special connection with this animal with the ability to be vigilant, move quickly, and trust their instincts to get out the trickiest situations.

What’s your spirit animal?

Cheers!

 

Reconnecting In Monument 

Basking in the morning sun with glimpses of the Colorado mountain from the patio, I’m sorry to see the weekend nearing its end. Do you have a group of friends, that no matter the distance or how long apart it’s been, that once you are together it’s like no time has passed? I’m so blessed to have this in my life.  These ladies remind me who I truly am.  And that’s worth more than gold. 

This weekend was no exception. Our phenomenal hosts made the weekend even better than ever.  Thank you, M and J,  for opening your home and hearts! These flashes of reconnection are far too short. But, boy, do we know how to pack a lot of unadulterated adventure into a very short amount of time. 

Let me start by telling you a little bit about Monument, Colorado which sits a little over an hour from the airport. Monument is north of Colorado Springs and the United States Air Force Academy, and east of the Rampart Range, which is the eastern front range of the Rocky Mountains. It began as a settlement along the Rio Grande Railroad in 1872 and just happens to be a few miles from where J grew up, left, and returned a few years ago bringing M with him. A perfect spot for a Girlfriends reunion! 

Reunited and I’m So Excited 

Friday morning arrived with three of us arriving at the Denver airport. If you havent been to the Denver airport be aware that it sits out in the middle of nowhere and takes a bit to go wherever your going. The good news is that there are shuttles, for a fee, which will take you where you want to go. Just reserve one in advance and try to be on time. We missed the 10am shuttle by nine minutes. That just meant we had a few hours to kill over Bloody Mary’s at the Red Rock. 

Tip: If you are running a few minutes late call the shuttle service. They will often wait if you are running a few minutes late. Any more than that I highly recommend the Bloody Mary’s. 

After M picked us up from the Park and Ride we headed to her home to await the last member joining our party later. I know I mentioned how hard it is for everyone to get together before, and this time was no exception. Not everyone could manage the trip (you know who you are) and the group was a little smaller than in the past. But everyone was there in spirit… and a few of their stories as well. 

When B arrived, we kicked off the weekend gathering around the patio table to catch up. It was a beautiful Colorado evening made better by pizza, adult beverages and lots of smack talking over past adventures of which I’m sworn to secrecy. 

Local Farmer’s Market

The local Farmer’s Market called to us as we lingered over coffee and pastries, that J had graciously ran out to get, just for the ovarian vortex that had descended upon his quiet home with gads of giggles and  estrogen. M is so lucky to have him. 

If you get to Monument go to the Farmer’s Market. From fresh produce, local honey to fancy, long lasting lipstick you can find it here. 


Across the street from the Market is an eclectic shoppers paradise of shabby chic meet Colorado hip decor and wearables. For the shopper’s wingman there are comfortable rocking chairs beneath a shaded back porch.   Take advantage of those rockers, relaxing in the cool shadows. 

From there we headed to Bella Casa just around the corner. On a mission,  we all picked up a seasoning mix for yummy coated crackers that we had been snacking on since we had arrived. I’m going to call this mix crack-cracker-mix. Just saying it’s beyond delicious and you will want to grab lots of this mix to make at home. 


If I had a way of packing more home with me I could have done serious damage to my pocket book here.  Every nook seemed to hold something my heart desired. I’m addicted to housewheres and this little shop did not disappoint my addiction. 

Palmer Lake 

Palmer Lake sits a few miles from Monument. It’s J’s  home town plus it’s home to the worlds best ice cream at the Rock House.  Did someone say lunch!?! 

We piled out of the SUV and headed into The Rock House.  This small business hosts a case full of ice cream in an assortment of flavors, all especially made for the Rock  House, as well as some favorite lunch specials. Stop in, grab a BLT and indulge in a chocolate waffle cone with your favorite flavor of ice cream. Afterwards take a minute to find a trinket from the curio ship in back made by local artists. 

For those visiting the Tri-Lake area swing by Palmer Lake. It’s worth the stop. Visitors can enjoy a coffee, bakery, antique shopping, boutiques, and art galleries… and don’t forget the ice cream! Take a drive along Lovers Lane and if you have time get out for a hike. 

Celebration

Unbeknownst to me, my girlfriends surprised me with a birthday dinner. Not just any birthday, but the BIG 50.  Happy early Birthday to me! 

Dressed, and ready for cocktails, we headed to the Bistro on 2nd in Monument. This little Bistro has an amazing fresh take on fine dining in an upbeat, fun atmosphere. Thank goodness for that because we aren’t exactly prim and proper – quite the opposite. And the staff was ready to take us on, all good natured fun. 


From cocktails, appetizers, dinner to dessert the service was impeccable. Taylor took our high spirits in stride and played along while delivering impeccable service. 


I can’t speak highly enough of the service. And the menu is amazing! I think I could take a bath in the chocolate mousse. 


Not eager to call the evening over after dinner, we took the party outside to  the fire pit. Rick Velliquette, owner/operator/host-extraordinaire, made us right at home with a kick-ass platter filled with all the fixings for s’mores. I even indulged in a snow cone lemon drop martini – you have to try it! It was a beautiful evening, filled with good natured  fun, a few new misadventures shared, and discovering a fantastic Bistro in Monument. Too bad it’s so far away from Houston. 


Wow – what a fantastic birthday celebration – one I won’t foget. Thank you, Ladies, for loving  me and sharing my big milestone. It was a blast. 

Back to Houston

Before heading in different directions we talked about the next potential reunion. Vegas, baby! Can you feel it? I think I’ll bring my boots. 

Cheers!

❤️

Running With The Reindeer and Other Fur Rondy Adventures

A little known fact I have learned after living in the Last Frontier for over twenty five years is that when the winter sky is clear and brilliant blue the temperature is frigid. Saturday morning was no exception. The below zero temp rose to single digits as we made our way down to see the ice sculptures.

I explained to Miss R as we got our snow gear on that this was love, because this grandma absolutely hates the cold. Thank goodness this will be my last winter here (but that’s another story for another time). But a promise is a promise and it was time for an adventure! So off we went to explore Fur Rondy.

Snow Sculpture Competition

The snow sculptures are down in the Port of Anchorage across from the ULU Factory. A parking lot was converted to temporarily house the snowy artwork. The chilly temperature and icy cold drew people to the one and only food vendor like flies to honey.

With a hot chocolate and warm apple cider in hand we headed up the hill to the carnival.

Even in the arctic there is fun at the carnival. Miss R, impervious to the cold, was in high spirits as her and her mama went fishing – and won two squishy bears that found a home in my pocket for safe keeping. They now reside on my bookshelf keeping Miss R’s other toys company until she visits again.

A bit frozen (at least I was) we headed for home to warm up before I headed back out to 4th Avenue to meet C.

Running With Reindeer

For ten years folks have had the opportunity to run down 4th Avenue with reindeer. Yes, you too could dress up (or wear nothing at all) and run down frozen streets with a herd of reindeer. I had this new Nikon camera and figured it would be a good time to test it shooting racing, walking and snorting animals and humans alike. To be honest – this little Nikon does an OK job but it doesn’t compare to C’s Cannon and her new lens. But I’m an amateur and will continue to test the waters…you will have to let me know I do.

I’m amazed at the participation from the runners to the audience. The Anchorage streets were packed with people enjoying the festival. Despite the frozen chill in the air you wouldn’t know it by all the happy cheering people. This race, presented by the KWHL 106.5 Morning Show and Fur Rondy, raises funds for Toys for Tots.  By the attendance I’m sure they raised a good sum for a great cause!

Cheers!

Sparkles, A Pinch of Richness and Lots of Laughter

Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne! ~ Winston Churchill, WWI

A Good Match: A Photo Challenge 

Over the years my very dear friends and I continue to celebrate with a very good match; champagne, a pinch of richness and lots of laughter.

Like all of you, everyone leads busy lives.  The years move on, many have scattered around the country, families grow and it’s not as easy to come together as we used to do.  But, near or far, our friendship continues and is typically celebrated with something sparkling paired with decadent culinary surprises.

For those interested in learning more about how to select and serve your choice of bubbly you can read more here at WikkiHow.

Looking forward to our next get together!

Cheers, Ladies!

P.S.

I reached out to my very good girlfriend for sparkly glasswhere (she always has the prettiest table settings!) and she recommended Roost Brand. She even gave me a beautiful website where you can purchase some lovely items- Scarlett Alley.  Happy Shopping!