Monday, December 31, 2012 morning jacket

my morning jacket, "same in any language" (from the movie "elizabethtown")

Thursday, December 13, 2012

pumpkin cheesecake...

1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 T light brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1 stick melted butter

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese (at room temp)
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
3 eggs plus one egg yolk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 t pumpkin pie spice
2 T flour
1 t vanilla extract

for crust:

in bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter and press down flat into 9 inch spring form pan.  set aside.

for filling:

beat cream cheese until smooth.  add pumpkin, eggs, sour cream, sugar and spices.  then add flour and vanilla and beat until well combined and smooth.  pour into crust and bake at 350 for one hour.  remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes then cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge for at least 4 hours.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

impossible pumpkin pie...

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup bisquick mix
2 T butter
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
2 eggs
2 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
3 t vanilla extract
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin

mix all ingredients together until smooth and bake at 350 until toothpick comes out clean (approx 35 min.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


"i feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people"
~vincent van gough

chocolate orange biscotti

when i went to napa recently, i brought back some vanilla lavendar shortbread cookies.  they were delicious with tea, so i was inspired to make a recipe i have always wanted to try...


2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 T grated orange zest
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/2 cup flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

mix sugar, oil, orange zest, vanilla and eggs together in large bowl.  stir in dry ingredients in batches and knead dough on floured surface.

shape dough in long narrow rectangle.

bake 25-30 minutes at 350.  when toothpick comes out clean, cut loaf into crosswise 1 inch slices.  place cut sides down on cookie sheet until crisp and golden.

for extra decadence, you can even dip half the biscotti into melted chocolate.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

energy bites...

i have seen this recipe on pinterest and got to try them at my friend meg's house.  she makes them regularly for her and her daughter for an on the go breakfast and a quick snack.  they are delicious and easy to make.

~2 cups quick oats
~1/2 cup ground flaxseed
~1/3 cup honey
~1/2 cup peanut butter ( i used crunchy natural peanut butter, less sugar!)
~1/2 cup raisins
~1 t. vanilla extract
~dash of cinnamon

combine all ingredients together in mixer, and roll into one inch balls (approximately 2 dozen).  store in air tight container and refrigerate for up to one week.

you can get creative with this recipe and add toasted coconut, chocolate chips, or any other dried fruit. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

sunday 11/25

today i am thankful to have had a lovely 5 days off of work for the holiday, and to get our home ready for christmas!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

friday 11/23

today i am thankful for a "re-set" day spent lounging around the house, with nothing on my to do list but relax.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

thanksgiving 11/22...

today is my favorite holiday and i woke up this morning with a smile in my face and a warm heart.  i am thankful for all the blessings in my life and i am so excited to share a fabulous dinner with amazing family and friends.  i love this holiday because i feel like it is one of the few holidays that remains not overly commercialized and we truly celebrate the roots of the meaning.  wishing all my friends and family a joyous day filled with love, laughter and of course good food!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

tuesday 11/20

i'm feeling very thankful today...thanksgiving is right around the corner, we have good friends in town, i have an extra day off of work for the holiday, we have some unexpected guests at thanksgiving that i haven't seen in a long time, i have some fun wedding stuff to do with jarad, and of course for the health and happiness of those i love.

i had a rough day yesterday, because when trying on my wedding dress i realized it was too short, a hard thing to fix, and with limited time i am not sure what the solution will be.  amongst all the other things i mentioned that i am thankful for, i came across this quote today and it helped me put things in perspective, and it is a concept that jarad is always trying to help me can be this simple!

"nothing external to you has any power over you"
~ralph waldo emerson

Friday, November 16, 2012

friday 11/16

today i am thankful that i am marrying the man of my dreams in exactly 4 months.  i truly believe the best is yet to come...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

thursday 11/15

today i am thankful for sisters and family.  where would we be without the support and love of our family?  and i am looking forward to dinner with my sister!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

wednesday 11/14

today i am thankful for my health.  this time three years ago, i was going to specialists and having tests done to diagnosis a lump on my face by my earlobe.  i had surgery in march of 2010 to remove it and have had no side effects since.   i feel fantastic and have been making lifestyle changes to improve my overall health, energy and well being, such as juicing, taking vitamins, sticking to an exercise routine and a healthy diet.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

tuesday 11/13

today i am thankful for a restful nights sleep and a relaxing morning during the work week.  it was awesome to enjoy a healthy dinner last night, catch up on our favorite TV show and then fall asleep early while watching a movie in bed.  then this morning i was well rested enough to get up early (before my alarm) and even do a work out at home, start tonights dinner, fold laundry and do a little wedding research :)  i love feeling productive in the morning before i have even left the house to go to work!

Monday, November 12, 2012

monday 11/12

i am thankful for stumbling upon little bits of wisdom that help put things in perspective.

"there is no such thing as a bad gift...therefor if everyday is a gift, there is no such thing as a bad day..."

"your day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn"

"there is freedom that comes from awareness, because with it comes the opportunity to make a choice"

"curiosity breeds wisdom"

weekend catch up...

friday 11/9 today i am thankful for days off of work spent shopping, eating, and drinking in the sun, with the best of friends!

saturday 11/10 today i am thankful for the newest addition to the kooshki family...welcome baby mila (we have been expecting you and cannot wait to meet you!!!)

sunday 11/11 today i am thankful to come home.  vacations are the best, but it makes you realize that "home is where the heart is".  jarad picked me up from the airport and we headed straight to have brunch with some of my old college friends.  it was a fun afternoon of catching up, re-kindling old friendships and making new ones.    

music...midnight oil

midnight oil, "beds are burning"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

thursday 11/8

today i am thankful for vacations and visiting friends!  napa here i come!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

wednesday 11/7

today i am thankful for speaking my mind and getting stuff "off my chest".  i hope to see the change that needs to happen, and that by communicating i will be able to have a clear head, open mind and the patience to get through a difficult time at work. 

"be careful always to hold positive expectations for you will attract to yourself anything you project into the universe" sri parahansa yogananda

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

tuesday 11/6

today i am thankful for freedom, being able to vote and also for the election to be over.  it is disheartening to see how ugly and nasty people get when you don't see eye to eye on politics, it seems to bring out the worst in people. if you want your voice heard, go to the voting polls.

Monday, November 5, 2012

monday 11/5

today i am thankful for surprises.  my friend jen went to mexico city for vacation and sent me a text this morning asking if i could stop by her house before my dance class tonight to pickup a surprise she brought back.  i wonder what it is!?!?!  it is a special feeling when someone is kind enough to think of you and surprise you with a present, whether it is a sweet treat, a note or a gift, it's nice to be thought of :)

p.s. she brought me back a day of the dead skull made out of sugar and spicy watermelon lollipops!   what a sweet way to start the week.

this is one of jen's pictures of the sugar skulls

a month of thankfulness...

it has been way too long since i have updated my blog, and unfortunately i have neglected doing something that i love and makes me happy.  a lot of times life gets in the way, and i am realizing that way too much lately.  they say "a woman's work is never done" and i completely understand why.  my typical work week consists of waking up extra early three days a week to hit the gym, an hour commute to and from work, working a 9 hour day, making dinner, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house and planning a wedding!  yes, i can balance it all and i think i do a great job of it too, and most nights i am lucky enough to even get 8 hours of sleep, but i have always battled with insomnia.  when the weekend rolls around, we usually have plans with friends, family, and of course the typical chores and house hold errands.  it's no wonder i feel run down and exhausted.  a few days off would be nice, a relaxing vacation would be amazing, but i am making it my goal and priority to take my life back.  i believe that if i practice a more balanced lifestyle, i would have the time and energy for both personal and professional obligations without feeling the mental and physical exhaustion.  while it sounds like i have just been complaining and whining, i do know how very grateful and blessed i am.  i have read books such as "the secret", "the alchemist", and "the happiness project" and i think the common theme amongst these books is showing and feeling gratitude.

i liked the concept of the book "the happiness project", but it was hard for me to connect with author and i found her overall "unlikeable".  her concept was to devote a year to making changes in her life to promote her happiness.  i found this book to be like a binge diet.  when you make extreme changes you tend to crash and feel failure, but when you make lifestyle adjustments you stick with them longer and eventually they become second nature.  i don't want a year of happiness and i want a lifetime of happiness, and i want to share it with the ones i love.  and please don't get me wrong, i am not unhappy, but there is always room for improvement and i am starting now.  the month of november is the start of fall and with my favorite holiday (thanksgiving) around the corner, this is the perfect time to reflect on all that we are grateful for.  since i believe that gratitude and happiness go hand in hand, i'm going to write everyday about all the wonderful and good things surrounding me.  since i am a few days behind...i have some catching up to do.

thursday nov 1st -  with the aftermath of super storm sandy hitting the east coast, i am very thankful that all of our friends, family and co-workers are safe.  everyone that i know had minimal damages and no injuries.  while some are still without power, it is the kindness of neighbors and strangers that helps a community get through a difficult time, and that is heartwarming.

friday nov 2nd - today i am thankful for the "small things".  for getting off work early so i can take a much needed nap, for a funny joke, a cute dog on the street, for jarad making dinner so i can relax.

saturday nov 3rd - today i am thankful to be able to celebrate others.  it was my aunt's birthday yesterday and today we (my mom, sister and cousin) took laura out to the venice canals for a nice walk, some shopping and a great lunch.  it was good girly time and a chance to catch up, laugh and celebrate "laura".

sunday nov 4th - today i am thankful for our beautiful home and meeting new friends.  we re-planted our garden box, and i am excited to watch it take off and grow our own produce.  after all, our first garden box was what inspired me to start my blog.  we also made a team effort (jarad and i) to spend a little time cleaning the house.  i realize what a beautiful home we have created that is filled with warmth and love, and somehow when i know it is clean and all my household chores are checked off my list, i just sleep better at night.  we also went to a work party for jarad, where i was introduced to some of his co-workers and their significant others.  it was fun to meet new people and make new friends.  

music... REM

REM, "orange crush"

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

music...delibes (the remix)

delibes, "flower duet" the techno remix

in case you wanted to hear the original, which you may recognize from numerous commercials and movies...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

quote of the week...

"When I was 5 years old, my mother told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy.' They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life."
~ John Lennon

Thursday, July 26, 2012

road trip...sandpoint, idaho engagement!!!

i am sorry i am doing this out of order, but there are many favorite stops on our road trip, and this one is life changing and will always be the most memorable.  after building our teardrop camper (which i have not finished writing about) we took it for a long road trip, june 29 - july 10th.  our itinerary included; colorado, south dakota, wyoming, montana, idaho, utah and nevada.  with approximately 4300 miles traveled on our camper, we came back engaged!

i have always heard jarad talk fondly of sandpoint, idaho and it was the last "must see" location on our road trip.  we had booked campsites for all of our other stops, but had nothing planned for idaho or our long trek home (aside from visiting the varon's in vegas).

we left montana around 8am or so to make the drive to idaho, and arrived at the "city beach" around 4pm.

we were lucky to find a double parking space (designated for boats) so we could park the camper.  we quickly changed into our bathing suits and were excited to be out of the car and at the beach.  we threw our towels down on the sand and headed for the water.  we were about knee deep when jarad said "look what i found in the water, i wonder what it is?"  it was a small tightly wrapped package, that he started ripping open with his teeth.  my first thought was "how disgusting", why would he put that in his mouth if he just found it in the dirty water?  after ripping and tearing through what was bubble wrap and duct tape, he pulled out a shinny ring and said he brought me to sandpoint to ask me to marry him.  speechless and dumbfounded, i kept repeating "are you serious, are you serious?"  finally the words "yes" came out, after he had to ask me twice.  the ring is his mother's 25th wedding anniversary ring, and absolutely stunning.

after a few minutes of letting it all sink in, we headed back to the car where he gave me an envelope of emails mostly between our moms.  it was so sweet to read all the events leading up to this day, and the excitement from our families.  we made some important phone calls to the family and then decided to find a campground for the night, so we could stay in sandpoint and celebrate.  at the campground a couple wandered over to check out our teardrop camper, and showed us their new "little guy" camper.  we told them we had just got engaged a few hours prior and they made us stay for a glass of wine.  we headed into town to eat dinner at a local brewery and went back to the beach the next morning before leaving.

now i can say sandpoint, idaho is one of my favorite places as well.  we started the long drive home with stops in utah and vegas. we were greeted in vegas with such love and excitement from some very special friends.  they threw us a beautiful dinner and toast.  

now that we are back home, we are excited to start the wedding planning and festivities.  we are also looking forward to planning our next adventure in the camper (maybe bryce and zion)...but not for a while (it will be hard to top the last vacation).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


i saw this on and loved the idea.  it is a couples cartoon stamp.  the woman who does them is in france and has an etsy shop online.  you send her a picture and within a couple of weeks she sends you back a proof, then she carves the stamp.  the whole process takes about three glad i ordered it a while back, because i am thrilled to be able to use it for wedding stuff.

the picture above is the one i originally sent her, i had to have her revise it a bit because jarad got lasik surgery and no longer wears glasses.  i sent her the picture below as a back up.

i think she did a good job of capturing out image.  check her out at here

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

goat cheese cheesecake...

my girlfriend is getting married next month and has asked for friends to contribute to her dessert table.  i have decided to make individual cheesecakes, so i found a recipe for goat cheese cheesecake, i made the trial round in a spring form pan, but for the actual dessert table, i will make them in individual cupcake wrappers.

crust ingredients:

~2 cups crushed nilla wafer cookies or graham crackers
~6 tb. melted butter
~1/4 cup sugar
~1/2 t. cinnamon
~1/2 t. ginger

combine all ingredients and firmly press down in bottom of spring form pan to make crust.

filling ingredients:

~2 8oz. packages of cream cheese
~1 12oz. log of goat cheese
~12 oz. sour cream
~4 eggs
~1 cup sugar
~2 t. vanilla extract

how to:

Beat the cream and goat cheeses in the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream and beat to combine. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each egg is added, until thoroughly combined. Beat in the sugar and vanilla until just combined.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Put on a baking sheet in the preheated oven (350 degrees) and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through the cooking process. If the cheesecake starts to color, tent the spring form pan with aluminum foil.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

happy birthday dad!

happy birthday to the best dad ever...i love you so much.

hope you kill it in golf today and look forward to a fun dinner and game night!

daughter # 1

Thursday, July 19, 2012

life update...

it feels like i have neglected my blog for so long now, but a lot has gone on in the last month.  the highlights being; getting engaged, going on vacation and finishing the teardrop trailer.

stayed tuned for more updates next week!

Friday, June 15, 2012

happy birthday mom!!!

happy birthday to the best mom deserve to be spoiled like this everyday.  i love you!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

teardrop...13 days in

we are feeling the time crunch of getting the camper finished before our deadline of june 29th.  jarad left yesterday to go back east and won't be back until monday.  so we worked a couple of week nights to get stuff done.  he has also left me a "to-do" list while he is away.  here is the latest...

dad and jarad securing roof
insulation completed and roof finished up until the start of the hatch

partial side panels (covering insulation) complete

testing out the "coziness" factor...
while jarad is gone, i am hoping to get linoleum flooring, patch/sand entire body of trailer, paint (lacquer, prime, paint yellow) and buy mattress.  so far it has been a fun family project, my dad enjoys building with jarad and my mom is liking having us over for dinner all the time.  i can't wait to start working on some of the aesthetic details this weekend and really turn it into a piece of art.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

teardrop...second weekend of building

we had a busy weekend, but put in a full day of work on the trailer on sunday.  here is what's new...

roof is on...

started insulating...

building cabinet by feet for storage/ipad dock/phone charging station...

jarad leaves for a trip this week, so we will put in a couple of nights of work before then, and he will leave me a "to-do" list to complete while he is away.  we have ordered windows, LED lights and wallpaper. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

happy birthday jamie!!!

wishing my favorite little sister an extra special birthday.  you are so loved!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


i made this for my office today and it was a big hit.  sangria is a great drink that can be made with either white or red wine and is perfect as a refreshing summer cocktail. 


~2 bottles red wine
~one bottle sparkling water
~one container cranberry juice
~2 cans ginger ale soda
~4 oz. triple sec liquor
~oranges, apples, lemons, blueberries, and strawberries (cut into bit sized pieces)

goes well with spanish cheese and tapas...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

progress on the camper...

last weekend was primarily spent working on the camper.  while we have been talking about this a lot for several months now, this was the first time actually building.  not only was it fun, but at the end of the weekend we have something that resembles a camper.  here is a timeline of events:

friday 6/1/31:
~register trailer as "utility trailer" at AAA
~bring trailer bed to my parents house (that is where the building is taking place)
~eat an awesome home cooked taco dinner with mom and dad
~go to harbor freight and home depot for lumber and tools

dad and jarad brainstorming in home depot

loading up the truck, this is the last time the camper will be in this many pieces

saturday 6/2/12:
~trip to lowes for more lumber (they have better prices than home depot!)
~make base of camper to rest on trailer bed and seal it (short day of work, we had a birthday party!)

building base of camper
base built and sealed with roof tar

sunday 6/3/12:
~the roof tar has worked great as a sealant and we are now ready to bolt the base to the trailer bed
~jarad cut out the sides and the placement of the door
~sides go up and we start to place the ribs that will create the ceiling of the trailer

sealed base bolted to trailer
sides of trailer cut out
sides are bolted to base and now i am sealing the seams
creating ceiling of camper
here is what about 8 straight hours of labor and a few trips to the hardware store look like...

Friday, June 1, 2012

floral arrangement...

here is a new floral arrangement we have in my office, i really like different colors, shapes, simplicity and textures of it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

mission accomplished!

congrats to jarad and everyone at spacex for a very successful mission!  dragon safely landed in the coast of baja this morning.  i am so proud of his contributions and to see history being made.

dragon capsule in ocean waiting to be retrieved

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

mission update from jarad...

ok, the mission is coming to end, along with these emails.

list of accomplishments:
-falcon 9 is 3 for 3, no one has that record
-dragon did a bunch of cool flips and maneuvers, like catching up to the space station from 5 million meters away. (these are all first in history for a commercial (private) company to accomplish)
-dragon got grappled with the america's hat arm 2
-dragon docked to the station
-the astronauts have unloaded all their underwear
-the astronauts have loaded all their loaded underwear, other garbage, water, experiments.

at 3:30 am pst we'll be undocking from the station with the arm, be pushed away, get into a different orbit, perform a de-orbit burn (over australia) and reenter to splashdown into the pacific.

splash down is set for 8:30 am tomorrow morning (5/31/12). the boats left sunday night for their trip out to meet dragon from space.

thank you so much for all the interest/support/congratulations. makes me feel good about what i've done and that my work has done something so exciting. 

quote of the week...

"nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."
~thomas jefferson

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

teardrop camper in 30 days...

since my last post almost a month ago, we have been thinking long and hard about what we want out of our camper.  jarad has been modeling it on the computer and when we looked at his design, we realized that it is only 48 inches wide, which is bigger than a twin size mattress but too small for a double size mattress (54 in).  my original idea was for it to be big enough to hold a queen size mattress (60 in.), but i am now realizing that is probably too big, and would require a much bigger/heavier trailer bed.

knowing that we wanted a larger camper, we had to take a good look at the trailer we bought to see if it could be easily widened or if we would need a 6 x 8 trailer instead.  we even considered getting a boat trailer, which is a lot bigger, light weight and fairly inexpensive.  since then, we have decided to use the existing trailer and build on top of the wheels.  this past memorial day weekend jarad spent a lot of time building the trailer bed and getting the hitch on his truck.  he is still modeling the camper and we will begin building the base of it this week.

our plan is to take it on the road for a 12 day road trip to colorado, wyomming and idaho at the end of june/beginning of july.  we have exactly a month to complete is our progress so far.

completed trailer bed

truck hitch and receiver

we have also been thinking of names for the camper.  jarad's dad has named it the "love shack" and it seems to be sticking.

Monday, May 28, 2012

music...led zeppelin

led zeppelin, "kashmir"

***one of my all time favorites!!!***

here is another version that will blow you away...

david garrett, "kashmir"


Sunday, May 27, 2012

memorial day weekend...

just want to remember and recognize all those who serve our country.  wishing everyone a happy, safe and fun memorial day weekend!