1 February, 2014  |   3 Comments

February NaBloPoMo


If you’re in any sort of job where you’re the go-between from the public to a product — like if you were a buyer for BevMo — I imagine that you would have a learning curve from “this is what I personally love” to “this is what’s popular in the world right now.”

For example:  thanks Target buyer, I’m glad you like Shabby Chic, but mid-century owl mirrors are what’s making the Instagram ladies say “Adorbs!” and you need to make sure there are 500,000 of them in stores.

Well, I sort of do that for my day job.
But for bloggers.

For my job, I recommend themes and bloggers for campaigns. In that I walk the line between recommending for paid content, what I, personally love (Long Rambling Narrative Posts About the Exquisite Joy/Pain Of Our Human Existence) and what’s actually going to work for the next campaign.

I see clients’ campaign whims swing back and forth:
We want storytelling!
No! Pinterest!
Selfies are in/not in!
I’m SO over illustration.
Bigger Pictures!

What did they want again?

There’s always a good fit, but it’s mostly luck.
This person is the right age, this person has the right color hair, this person already drives this car. It’s rarely something you can prep for — this being in the right place in your life at the right time.

The places where sponsored content comes from changes fast. The requested media is all over the place. During this exciting time, it’s all crazy — you can make informed choices, but you can’t be everything to everyone.

There’s no one way to be the “top” right now outside of doing what you do.


So this short month, I’m taking my own advice.
I’m having fun with this medium.
I’m going to be me.

I’m not going to stress out and worry about the next big social network, but I’ll experiment with those too.

Thanks for granting me the freedom to experiment.
I like your open point of view.

31 January, 2014  |   Comment

Resolvation Update

At the beginning of the month, I said that I was resolving in 2014 to:

  • More Healthy
  • More Sillier
  • More Patient
    • Yell less
    • Use my calendar
    • Cut my to dos in half

So how am I doing?

For More Healthy
I’m signed up for Kristen’s DietBet. I’m running and jumping rope and logging my calories. I didn’t start until near the end of the month, but hey. These things are happening now, right? And that’s enough?

For More Patient > Yell less
I found a yelling buddy on the internet that I can check in with. And I’m identifying when I’m likely to get upset — low blood sugar on both parts is to be avoided at all costs.

For More Patient > Use my Calendar
I have been tracking my actual activities in a calendar — and found that outside of my day job, I was spending a lot more time doing meal prep and housework than anything else. That’s great, but not really where I want to be spending the majority of my time.
(Three cheers for tracking!)

For More Patient > Cut my to dos in half
I’ve been writing fewer things on my list. And just disengaged from a gang of responsibilities. So better than the list, the life is on purpose chopping things out.
(Maturity is dovetails nicely with a drop in FOMO.)

For More sillier
We’ve done a few goofy Instagram videos, and I’ve been fond of telling my favorite joke* but my silly has a ways to go. One silly thing a day in February? Go!


* Q: What does the Jellyfish have on its tummy?

29 January, 2014  |   2 Comments

Great sites I like to read

Six great sites and a line from each
Frozen Soundtrack 4EVA

Damn Gina
“Our school song had the line “like the astronauts bravely flying in the sky, we are proud our flag to fly” but no one really ever got into the details with us of how the astronaut our school was named after actually burned up on the launch pad, even after we watched the Challenger explode live on TV.”

A Cup of Tea and a Wheat Penny
“I can barely remember nineteen.”

Inspired by Charm
“It’s all about the presentation, isn’t it?”

Rage Against the Minivan
“But really, it’s the mind games. It’s the daily, hourly micro-aggressions involved in living with totally volatile and irrational people.”

Staffs and contributors and stuff
The Toast
“How To Tell If You’re In A Hemingway Novel – 1. Everyone respects you. This disgusts you.”

The Hairpin
“No one pays attention to a quiet creek ; likely few have noticed yr still surface. & those who have & who love you will stand near & know you in yr new way, as long as it lasts.)”

28 January, 2014  |   6 Comments

Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

We also call this Mama's Mac and Cheese

I first made this macaroni and cheese recipe from the Gourmet magazine cookbook for bocce.

It was eaten in minutes.

Emboldened by its success, I made it for the first winery job potluck.

I’d put myself under some stress for that potluck. I mean, they have a work chef! I wanted to avoid embarrassing myself in front of all the culinary experts.

My nerves had been for naught. I had no idea the speed at which this cheesy, noodley casserole would be consumed. Coworkers congratulated me for the whole rest of the week, cheering my brilliant addition to the potluck table.

And now you can p0wn your next potluck table too.

Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

16 ounces pasta shells (I like shells, some like the elbows)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
4 cups shredded cheese (I like sharp cheddar mixed with medium cheddar)
3/4 cup cream
1 cup reserved pasta water

2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup shredded cheese

Boil water for the pasta.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Shred the 5 cups of cheese,  set one cup of shredded cheese aside. Make bread crumbs.

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir with a whisk. It will make a strange lumpy wad of a thing. This is the base for the roux. Keep stirring for 3 minutes.

In a thin stream, add the whole milk and the red pepper flakes, whisking all the while until the mix makes a thinnish sauce. Stir in the mustard, cheese and cream. Turn off the heat.

If the water’s boiling, cook the pasta. Save 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.

Add the pasta to the cheese sauce — stir through. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water and stir through — the whole thing should be a little loose. Add more water if the mixture seems too firm.

In a small bowl, put bread crumbs, melted butter, and stir through final cup of cheese.

Add the cheesy pasta to the baking dish. Sprinkle the buttery, cheesy breadcrumbs atop the macaroni and cheese.

Throw the whole dish into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, turning the dish once to ensure even baking.

This macaroni and cheese is the first thing to go at potlucks.

I like to make double and freeze it for James to toss in the oven when I’m working late in the oven. The kids go nuts for it and he gets super-supper bragging rights.

Now go grab YOUR super supper bragging rights!


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