Where did the last year go?!?! Seems like they go faster & faster these days. I made a little tribute to our first year with Cooper…we’ve all come a long way in our training.
At the beginning of this year, I wrote but did not publish a post on this blog about a bunch of stuff I wanted to accomplish in 2013. I just revisited the list, and I’ve got to say I haven’t made a dent – yet. Nevertheless, we can mark 2 things off the list – finish Hendrix’ AKC Novice Agility and Novice Agility Jumper titles. We had 1 Q each in Standard & Jumpers going into the year. So, we got 2 more in each to wrap things up. She’s also got her first Q in Open Jumpers. We have 3 days of trialing before the summer lull. If she’s darn near perfect, we might finish an Open title before her 2nd birthday. She is such a funny dog, and I enjoy all the changes & new hobbies taking her in has brought into my life.
Posted in Beauty on April 22, 2013
I’m currently researching microdermabrasion systems for Rox Skin Studio.
The first microdermabrasion machines were used in Italy in the mid-80s and made their way to the United States in the late 90s. Typical microdermabrasion treatments spray the skin with aluminum oxide crystals and utilize suction to vacuum up dead skin cells. The spray of crystals polish skin while the suction stimulates blood flow. While this provides a benefit for most skins – the suction of the hand piece used can lead to adverse effects. Sensitive, thin skins and/or skin prone to broken capillaries should avoid microdermabrasion.
I have always informed my clients that there are simply two forms of exfoliation – mechanical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation. Mechanical exfoliation facilitates the removal of dead epidermal cells by physical means (scrubs, gommage, microdermabrasion, etc.) Chemical exfoliation facilitates the same removal of dead skin by using chemicals (enzymes, acids, peels, etc.) to dissolve bonds between cells so that dead cells can be loosened from the surface. Personally, I think both methods have there benefits, and I often combine both methods in many of my facial treatments. Oven the years, I’ve had MANY clients ask about microdermabrasion. I’ve always expressed that I feel the same type of skin polishing results (and often even better resurfacing results) can generally be achieved with the use of exfoliating enzymes or chemical peels. As an added benefit, we avoid the mess & potential inhalation of crystals and avoid the potential wear and tear on delicate capillaries. (Not to mention microdermabrasion treatments can be pricey as skin care professionals have to recoup the cost & maintenance of VERY expensive equipment).
More recently, crystal free “diamond tip” type microdermabrasion systems have been introduced but they typically still utilize suction in the hand pieces.
So, while I’d say I’m about still 90% certain that microdermabrasion is not soon to be added to my menu of services- I do believe it can have benefits (when used properly on the appropriate skin types). I feel that the products & treatments I provide offer the same skin smoothing results. Even so, it seems there are clients looking for the microdermabrasion service.
*Edit 4/22/13 I won’t delete this post (yet). In the event that you read it and were looking for updates. I actually decided against continuing on with this online course within the first week. While I felt the material was really good…I sometimes have to remind myself that 1) we already invest a lot of money in training with the dogs and 2) my dogs are primarily family pets not primarily competition/working dogs. I do think my training abilities & the pups’ skills fall a little beyond the scope of simply a family pet, but I don’t feel I have the time to invest in the very high levels of competition/working dog type training. I’m a perfectionist though – so I frequently find I’m testing my limits. Don’t get me wrong…we still train tricks practically every morning, have agility and competitive obedience classes, and practice those skills at home. Most of all, I felt like I kind of already “got” the concepts behind all the training games. Sure, I always feel I benefit from walking through training concepts over again from the ground up with old or new dogs or even watching other people work through them (that’s what I’d call building experience). I just didn’t feel I could devote the right energy and time to that course specifically (especially being online) to justify my expense.
So, I’ve been hearing and reading online for almost 2 years now about how amazing Susan Garrett’s online training class titled “Recallers” is.
A new session is starting up here in the next week or so, and I’ve decided to bite the bullet and join in. I’m looking forward to playing the games with both Hendrix & Cooper. Along with the more consistent blogging and blog overhaul I’m planning- I’d like to keep you updated with our progress.
If you’re interested in learning more and potentially joining Recallers 4.0 – here’s a link to a free 3 part webinar by Susan ramping up to the beginning of the course. It gives you an idea of what to expect from Recallers 4.0 and info on how to sign up.
So, I’ve really got to start updating/blogging more frequently. I feel like I have this jumble of ideas/thoughts constantly – until I finally put them down somewhere. I’ve been meaning to get my blog updated & more organized for some time now. So, bear with me while I get it together!
Okay, I did a 21 day Standard Process cleanse through most of January this year. It was fabulous. Everyone’s preferences, goals, and will-power is different…but I highly recommend it. The person that first introduced me to it was Dr. Marlene Merritt of Merritt Wellness Center in Austin, TX. If you are looking for help getting started- that’s where I’d send you. I have done this program in past years, but I was a bit more stringent and successful this time. In preparation of this go round, I purchased a Breville BJE200XL Compact Juice Fountain. I wanted to experiment with juicing, and I knew it would help me get more veggies during the veggie only portion of the purification program.
Over a month later, my husband and I are STILL juicing pretty much every morning. Hubby got hooked on the juicing while I was on the cleanse, and he has actually taken on making the morning green juice!
Here’s a little video I made with how we make our daily green juice:
The recipe is pretty flexible, and you just have to add more/less of certain things until you get to a place you like.
Here’s a list of our ingredients, and we try to do organic as much as possible. This makes enough juice for 2.
- 2 small green apples
- 1/2 cucumber
- 4-6 leaves of “dino” kale (the regular green kale works fine, but we seem to prefer this variety)
- 3 leaves of red kale
- 2 big handfuls of baby spinach leaves
- 2 stalks of celery
- about a square inch of ginger (peeled)
- 1/2 lemon (peeled)
- 2 carrots
It’s kind of amazing, but we’ve maybe had coffee a total of 4-5 times since the beginning of the year…juice seems to have replaced that morning ritual. I feel much better for it, and it seems the day doesn’t feel right with out it. I feel like I have less headaches/fatigue and more balance.
Our juicing success inspired me to finally make the purchase of very own VitaMix Blender. I had wanted one for some time, but had put off the purchase due to the costly investment. I’m so happy I finally splurged…it’s nothing short of amazing. I have been perfecting some smoothie recipes, and I’ll have to share my new favorite in another post (to come)!
**Please note: Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you click on a link and subsequently make a purchase, I will receive a commission for the referral.
I suppose Hendrix is still a puppy at almost 17 months. Since she’s small breed, she seems pretty mature already. Cooper is at 18 weeks now. Honestly, he’s clearly very much puppy- but he’s no wild child. It seems the hormones are just kicking in for adolescence – so we’ll see if he gets a little more riled up or not…
This past weekend presented some special challenges! It rained most of the weekend, and that provided for some pretty stir crazy puppies. Hendrix generally is pretty energetic, and has several opportunities to train agility during the week. So, she can get amped up or settle down pretty quickly. On her own, I think it would take weeks of rain to really get her bored. However, Cooper is very young and that means he can easily get bored being cooped up all day. His first line of entertainment is to mess with Hendrix…and then the crazy running in the house games are off! By Sunday afternoon, our dynamic duo was about to make us crazy. Thankfully, both my pups like to play free shaping games with the clicker. I love that the mental challenge seems to wear Cooper out as much as a walk. Hendrix just loves clicks & treats period.
So, here’s a little video we made featuring Cooper learning the “speak” command. Training for puppies and playing with iPhones for Ronald & I = everyone is less bored! (I love the iMovie app for iPhone…they have some fun trailer templates that you can just fill in or customize.)
I think we’ve gotten into a rhythm now with the morning routine. Cooper usually wakes to have his morning outing and eat around 5am. I keep hoping as he gets older this can start happening a little later… Funny thing is – as soon as he takes care of business and is fed, he goes RIGHT back to sleep. Can’t complain too much – at least he sleeps pretty much 7-8 hours through the night. Hendrix just goes with the flow – she knows food, exercise, etc. will all happen in their own good time.
About an hour and a half nap – Cooper’s ready to get up and have some activity & Hendrix is happy to join in. This week, I’ve been trying to walk the two dogs together*, and then give them a little run around time. This morning, in lieu of the walk – we went to the dog park. As long as they get a little rowdy play time, they seem to settle in between 8:30am and 9:30am. Fortunately for me, they’re pretty much chill the rest of the day…until dinner time of course.
Earlier this week, Cooper picked up a discarded water bottle on our morning walk. We were on our way back home, and it was just a few houses down – thankfully. This has become THE featured play toy in the backyard.
I can’t say I used to be much of a “morning person”, but I think the dogs might have converted me. It’s so nice to get up when it’s still dark and get stuff done before some people even leave their houses. Shhh…don’t tell my Dad I said that. My little Hendrix & Cooper sure help me appreciate a lot of the simple pleasures! I love them for that!
*Training note- Although walking the dogs together requires some diligence and special leash configuration on my part – it really seems to have smoothed out some of the rough edges between Hendrix & Cooper. I’m a little worried about these walks impact on Cooper’s learning to heel properly. Even though I have not started him with a formal heel behavior, he walks very nicely on a loose leash on my left. He’s received reward/reinforcement when he’s making eye contact at my immediate left, and he’s realized the value in staying there and checking in with me. When we have our little “pack walks”, he’s a little more focused on keeping up with Hendrix & she’s a bit of a forge ahead walker. Interestingly, walking with him adds some complexity to the walk that slows her down and keeps her from forging too much. So, I think the group walks do a lot of good, but I’ve got to make sure I keep reinforcing Cooper on walks with just him. I’m actually thinking to get a back attach harness for him for the group walks…so he associates that set up with have a little more freedom on the walk.
I have been telling everyone that will listen (and maybe even some that won’t) to check out Patina Green Home & Market for almost a year now. I truly think it’s one of the best things I’ve found since Ronald and I moved from Austin to Frisco in 2010. This gem of a shop is part vintage home decor and accessories store, part farmers market, and part “kick-ass” lunch counter. Somehow, those words don’t even seem to capture all the magic that is Patina Green. Bonus- it’s nestled on the beloved historic square in McKinney, TX.
My initial pilgrimage to Patina was to check out Chef Robert Lyford’s (that would be Kaci’s hubby…love that family/locally owned) lunch counter. I was not disappointed. Lunch is served Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm and stuff sells out…so get there early. The menu is crafted daily and Chef Robert emphasizes locally sourced, seasonal, sustainable, delicious, creative (ok I’m getting carried away) REAL FOOD. Check out their web site for a sample menu. Some days…I believe there is nothing more desirable that one of Chef Robert’s hearty grilled veggie/cheese sandwiches and a cup of tomato bisque. If you “Like” Patina Green on Facebook, you will have unlocked access to the daily menu. A word of caution, when that lunch menu pops up in your Facebook feed- you may have an unexpected & uncontrollable urge to travel to PG for lunch. That has definitely been the case for me.
I was actually fortunate enough to attend a cooking class several months ago hosted by Luscombe Farm in Anna, TX where Robert razzle-dazzled us with his wit and culinary skill. (*There were WAY too many prepositions in that sentence…but I’m not fixing it.) The cooking class is a whole other topic – that I should’ve blogged about months ago…
I was elated (nope, not an exaggeration) when I came across PG’s announcement on Facebook that they would be hosting Market Dinner’s every month this fall. Chef Robert would serve a 5 course dinner on the patio featuring local and seasonal ingredients. Two seatings of 16 each night – 1st at 6pm and 2nd at 8:30pm. $75 per person + gratuity and BYOB. Upon reading the news, I immediately picked up the phone and reserved a spot for Ronald and I at 8:30pm on the first night (September 8, 2012).
Ok – now, that we’ve got the backstory settled…let me tell you about the fabulousness that was this market dinner.
Our reservation confirmation message lent us the handy tip that Chef Robert had selected some wines to compliment our dinner at the McKinney Wine Merchant. Of course, we were also welcome to bring anything else we liked. It just so happens that the lovely recommended shop is just off the main square and within walking distance of Patina Green. So, we came a bit early to pick up some vino. I will be back – the shop keeper had a very friendly/jovial way…and it seems he knows quite a bit about wine.
The food, setting, and service were AMAZING. We had SO much fun, and we overheard (to our dismay because we did not make reservations for Oct, Nov, & Dec) that all other nights for the rest of the year are already booked! They did say they were keeping a waiting list for cancellations…we can only hope that maybe other nights will be added…or that Winter & Spring will bring a new series of dinners. Pardon my amateur photography – but here is a host of photos I took at dinner. I’m totally infatuated with my new DSLR…I’m sure to the chagrin of the people seated next to us at dinner…
We started with some refreshing cucumber water, and then were served an amuse-bouche of local watermelon and cucumber foam. It was meant as a drink to initiate our appetite, and it was a very clean and tasty way to start the meal. Then, a baguette from Empire Baking Company along with house churned butter sprinkled with sea salt arrived. Probably my favorite picture of the night – this extreme butter close up.
Next up – a charcuterie plate. This had toast fingers, brie, a chicken galantine, port wine chicken liver paté, and house made fig preserves. The preserves were designed to go with the paté, and the combo was quite complex and delicious. The paté had a decidedly rich and savory almost smoky flavor…some might say “strong” (perhaps not for the weak of heart or palate). I’m not an expert in paté, but it seem like it would be hard to eat quite a lot of it. It’s very filling. It paired nicely with the preserves, but I rather enjoyed eating the preserves on slices of the brie – DIVINE. The chicken galantine was amazing. It was very light and clean speckled with bits of ham and pecan and topped with some micro greens. I kept trying to figure our why this chicken tasted so clean – almost green or citrusy. I decided it must be that the chickens were very happy pasture fed chickens. Wow, what a difference that can make.
Following charcuterie, we had what was probably my most favorite & memorable course. I have been craving this dynamic duo ALL day. We were served gaufrettes and a smoked redfish rillette. I suggested to Kaci they should have a midnight food truck that served these delicious lightly salty and perfectly crispy chips along with the creamy, basil-y, smoky, buttery fish spread. She wisely replied, “But that would mean we’d be working at midnight…” Maybe the idea can be outsourced?!
Then, a soup and salad course. There was a creamy potato soup topped with farmstead cheese, a little crispy jowl bacon (YUM) and crispy leeks. Fortunately, you don’t have to have a dinner reservation to taste the glory of Chef Robert’s soups. There is generally a soup option at lunch. The soup was rich, velvety, and addictive. The salad consisted of local greens (all from one garden). There was arugula, tomato, radish, cucumber, black eyed peas and an avocado vinaigrette. This course alone could be a satisfying meal, but there was much more to come.
Next a veggie course featuring a soft poached egg. There were roasted beets, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and kale topped off with a lovely wobbly egg…and then topped with a tomato hollandaise. You had me at poached egg, Chef Robert… This is probably a surefire way to get the younguns to eat their veggies. We were starting to feel quite full.
Previous plates and silverware were cleared away, our places were set afresh. The promise of something big loomed in the air as we gazed on these clean plates. Soon after, picture perfect trays of a duo of Waygu beef. Duo of beef? Yes, DUO of BEEF! Perfectly seared and medium rare strip loin (I think that was the cut) topped with a carrot top and pumpkin seed pesto lay on a bed of pot roast & 8 ball squash hash. Just throwing this out there – Chef Robert can come cook Sunday pot roast at my house ANY TIME! Not an afterthought- this plate included glazed carrots and (grilled?) okra. Weirdly enough…any day – I could go for a plate of just the carrots & okra. They were SO GOOD. We might have left a few bites of this plate behind…only for the fact that we were totally full. My second favorite photo is from this course.
The meal closed with some sweet truffle offerings, and some cute morning after chocolate chip scones. We loved this touch…as it had us talking about our two dinners at Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco. They also sent us home with a sweet treat for the next day – banana bread wrapped expertly in gold paper. I think the fact that I just referenced Restaurant Gary Danko in this summary of Patina Green’s Market Dinner says it all. It was VERY GOOD.
Bravo, Chef Robert! Your passion and dedication to real food is greatly appreciated. Look forward to many more happy meals at Patina Green.
Posted in Technology on September 9, 2012
I don’t know if it’s ever even occurred to me before, but this weekend I discovered two kind of fun Apps. I’ve always been known for constantly taking pictures with my iPhone. Now, that I’ve been walking around with the newly acquired Canon EOS Rebel T3i like a new appendage- it seems “Taking A Photo” could be my new middle name. I’m blogging, tweeting, e-mailing, and updating Facebook with my newest capture at every turn. It some how led me to wanting to be able to group several pictures together, and share them all as one image…you know…wait for it…like a COLLAGE!
So the first App is for the iPhone and it’s called Pic Collage. It makes it easy to create pretty simple collages (right on your iPhone) and share them (right from your iPhone). Here’s an example of a collage I made in a matter of minutes…and then I’m able to either save it to my camera roll or send it via email, text/iMessage, twitter, Facebook, etc., etc. I know…the world is a better place now…isn’t it?! Oh wait…get’s better – it’s FREE.
Ok, the second App is for Mac and it’s called CollageIt Free (yup…as in you can get it for FREE). This one lets you make collages on your Mac computer. I found it super easy to use, and when you’re done you can export your collage in several different formats like PDF or a JPG. In a blog I was prepping about dinner at Patina Green I used a collage – instead of trying to jam every single picture I liked into the post.
So, in the even you found yourself in need of making a collage- I thought I’d share.
As a technology related side note- I’ve also started playing with Photoshop. I’m sure there’s a way to make a collage there…but I’m sure it’s not this easy…nor cheap.
On our trip to Stockholm last year, we learned that “Hej!” is the endearing and very common Swedish greeting equivalent of “Hello”. It sounds a lot like the English “Hey”. Sometimes, you hear “Hej hej!” which sounds like “Hey hey!”
I think my last blog was about our new puppy Cooper meeting our existing puppy Hendrix. I had really hoped to keep a sort of diary on the blog of our progress with Cooper, but it seemed it took the last 7 weeks just to get things going smooth enough to be able to sit and type a new post! I’m happy to say as we’re nearing the 16 week mark – we’ve got potty training and a lot of house manners firmly in place. The title of this post comes from the fact that my “command” (more like a call) to get both dogs attention (usually mid puppy wrestling) and have them come over to me is “Hey Hey ,Puppies!” It reminded us of the Swedish greeting and became (informally) “Hej Hej, Puppies!”
I recently purchased a DSLR camera, and I’ve started playing around with Photoshop this afternoon. Hopefully, I can make some visually appealing updates to this site.
So, hang in there with me…there may finally be more content coming soon. In the mean time, here are some of my favorite recent puppy photos. (Clicking on the photo will make it larger.)