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    Tuesday, September 8, 2015



    Those that have lost someone you feel for them. Genuine feel for them, but you have no idea how to express it. You feel that saying something is presumptuous or intrusive. You try to be supportive or at least give the appearance of such. How do you know how much or to little to give?


    You like posts, you say names, you remember things (and say them out loud to the closest to them), you can't stop thinking about every moment you had with them. You know how it feels. So you give and give until you have no more to give those that have lost. People you meet through the loss of a love one (which is a total thing) you try to find out more and more about the loss. It's a compulsion. You can't help yourself. You want to know the story, not exactly for yourself but for those left behind. It's a tie that binds us.

    Cancer, accident, disease, natural, drugs, end of life. We are all connected. If you are not it's ok, but the one thing to remember is we are not contagious, beyond help, or don't want to hear anything, everything, something that you have about our loved one. Enough is said about what we don't want to hear, but understand that we want to hear what you feel, remember or know about our loved one. These are all we have left and we hang on to every word, crazy story or thought. Not one single day goes by that I don't think about my brother. I constantly battle with the fact that this is real. I will never hear his voice, feel his hug or see who he will become, but I still have the chance to know him through you. He was many different things to many different people. That is what made him so special. Don't ever hesitate to share this with us. We may cry, but through the tears we smile.

    Sunday, June 7, 2015

    Our New House

    We recently purchased a house in Southern CA and in typical husband and Shannon fashion, we tore it up and are remodeling basically the entire house. Most of my family lives in other states and has been requesting photos of the progress as we go. To be kind and not fill up your fb stream I decided to put everything together here.

    We are planning on updating/changing the kitchen, laundry room, master bathroom, master closet and replacing all floors and closets. We will also do small changes in all other bathrooms and maybe a little something in the office.

    I can't wait to move in...sometime in the next few months. Currently the majority of the focus is on the downstairs, but we have started to move upstairs with demo and will finish this week.


    Original layout with hall on other side of the fridge. Picture from the old family room and now the dining room.

    Wall opened to hall and all counters, cabinets and appliances removed.
    Picture taken from the old family room and now the dining room.

    Walls and flooring completely removed.
    Picture taken from the old family room and now the dining room.

    Picture taken from other side. Old formal living room and just living room now.

    Laundry Room

    Original Room

    Current status. Cabinets, counters and floors removed.
    Master Bathroom

    Original master bath
    Shower Removed. There is actually quite a bit more removed now, but I haven't taken a photo yet.
    My brother Jeff spent quite a few hours getting this stuff removed!

    Thursday, March 5, 2015


    Grief. It's a funny thing. Part of you wants to walk around with a sign saying, "My brother is no longer here and I am fucking devastated." And the other part says, if I don't say anything I won't have to explain why a young, loving, good, beautiful boy is no longer here.

    See that's the trick. Why isn't he here? Stupid decisions? A last minute idea gone wrong? How do you explain he is gone without having him be defined by the last bad decision he made? He can't be defined by that. He was more then that. He was someone that always did well by his three sisters, that may not have returned the favor as often as they should. He was a good son that rarely complained about being the only boy, that had a lot on his shoulders, most of which we never even knew. He was a good friend, shown by the astounding turn out by them at his memorial held in a Catholic Church that probably had most of them cringing at the door. He was a loving boyfriend that had a great girlfriend who he had his last great adventure with. He tried to do well by all of us. How do you explain that to those who never knew him?

    You don't.

    You just keep that in your heart. In the place that counts.

    He wasn't perfect. He made stupid decisions. He put himself in situations that he shouldn't have. But didn't you at one point? Don't you still today? The difference is that you and I made/make it past those mistakes intact. He didn't. Would you want your life to be defined by the last worse decision you made? No and neither should he.

    He was a sweet, loving and caring human being and I hope that I can show at least a 10th of the amazing forgiveness and understanding that he had for anyone and everyone he came across. We should all strive to have that piece within ourselves.  

    Friday, February 13, 2015

    Beauty in the Kitchen

    I have been on a DIY beauty bender. Not sure if it's the season change or what, but I have had a handful of recipes that have been waiting on me to get my act together to try. I guess I finally ran out of excuses and gave a few of them a try. Some were better then others, but these two below were my favorites.

    I am a big fan of trying a beauty recipe exactly as written the first time I make and then seeing what I want to tweak for next time. Both of the recipes below were tweaked to be more how I like them; The mask a little more creamy and I just love my sugar scrub cubes. Give them a try and letting me know if you have any tweaks you suggest!

    The Calming Mask

    This is now my go to mask after a long flight or a change in weather (that can really drive my skin crazy). It will calm, soothe and leave your skin feeling hydrated and lovely.

    This quantity will yield three masks treatments, give or take how much you apply.

    Let’s discuss the ingredients super quick in case you feel they are too hard to get. They aren’t, I promise.

    The dried kale is just that so I used my dehydrator and fresh kale, but you could essentially do this in the oven as well and just grind it up in your processor, spice grinder or ninja.

    The spirulina I picked up in bulk on Amazon (because it is good for a million different things), but you can get this at Trader Joes in a smaller amount.

    The colloidal oatmeal is seriously just oatmeal that is ground to be super fine. Head to the grocery store and pick some up (just make sure it’s not the instant) and blend, process or ninja your way to a super fine powder.


    1 tablespoon Dried Kale
    1 tablespoon Spirulina
    1 tablespoon Colloidal Oatmeal
    2 heaping tablespoons Goat Milk Yogurt (I add a little more to have a creamier texture)

    Make sure you have a jar to keep the mask in and a spatula to mix it all together.

    Now down to the process:     
    1. Mix kale, spirulina and colloidal oatmeal together.      
    2. Add in goat milk yogurt and combine all ingredients until well mixed.
    3. Ready to use. Apply to face and throat for 10-15 minutes.

    This mask is good to keep in the refrigerator for 3-7 days depending on your yogurt expire by date. After that is may get a little funky smelling!

    Wake me up Scrub

    I love a good exfoliating scrub, but finding the right balance of oil, sugar and scents is not an easy task. I think I have a pretty good mix though with this one.

    You can do this scrub two ways, just like the instructions (mix and go) or you can make scrub cubes! I got the idea from a small soap shop in Newberg, OR and thought it was a great idea. The only problem were the ones in the shop were too hard, more soap like, and not enough scrub. Tweaking the recipe below just a bit, as soon as the cube gets warmed by your hands it instantly gets soft and scrub like, which is way more my preference. 

    The ingredients are essentially the same as the below except you eliminate the olive oil and honey and use a super fine sugar instead of a coarse type.  Once mixed together place the mixture in a small rectangular pan with wax paper and chill either in the fridge or the counter top, depending on your hurry. Once the mixture is set, cut into cubes with a knife and place in the shower. These are a great for travel and gifts. I love them!


    1/2 cup coconut oil
    1 teaspoon of olive oil*
    3/4 cup organic sugar 
    1/4 cup ground coffee 
    1/4 cup raw honey 
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 

    Mix the oils together first and then add the remaining ingredients. You are now ready to get in the shower!

    *The key to using coconut oil for scrubs is to add a little olive oil in as well to make sure your mixture doesn't turn solid. It doesn't hurt the product if it does go solid, but it does make for a difficult time getting out of the jar.

    Original recipes from Refinery 29, but tweaked in my kitchen to be more to my liking.

    Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    4 Hour Body

    I may not have been posting, but I have been here and doing things and generally surviving. I have missed doing posts, but I let the blog become a chore and not something I looked forward to doing. I still would often think about posting whenever I come across something cool or a new recipe, but haven't put anything actually together.

    After some encouraging from friends and coach I decided it's time to give it another shot, without all the expectations I put on myself. Plus I really wanted to put my newest recipe down on the web somewhere so I could find it easily. Yup. It's all about organization on the web! So let's get right to it.

    I have been trying this new diet/way of eating over the last 4 weeks and I love it. Like, big time OMG love it. It all started when I was discussing my unhappiness of my recent weight gain over the holidays (who am I kidding, the last two years) with my business coach and she suggested I read 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris. I figured what the hell, might as well check it out, because obviously nothing else has stuck. I started reading the book and it just made sense to me in a way no other diet or regime had ever clicked with me before. I also saw another huge benefit in the way I can easily fit this in with cooking dinner for my husband and myself. This portion of any diet can easily throw me completely off any diet within days. Who wants to prepare multiple meals for dinner, certainly not me.

    The other major, and I do mean MAJOR, perk is there is a cheat day built in. A free for all if you will. You can read up on all sorts of opinions on it, but it comes down to eat whatever you want for one day a week. After a few cheat days, you learn to pull back and not go whole hog all at once, but it sure is fun trying. Oh and did I forget to add that you can have two glasses of red wine PER DAY on this? Well, yes you can and yes I have. Perhaps not everyday, but on days when I really want something not on the protein, vegetable & legume regime this is a very nice substitute.

    While I haven't lost a crazy amount of weight that Tim advertises on this, I have found it to be so easy to keep up,  losing inches and at least 2 pounds per week and definitely have lots of energy. So I will keep up with it until it doesn't work.

    One thing that is hard on me is breakfast within 30-60 minutes of waking up. I don't mind the eating as much as the preparation (remember it's a protein, veggie and legume every meal) first thing in the morning. When I was going through some of my old recipes, trying to find ways to turn them in to a Slow Carb (4 Hour Body) meal, I came across brunch egg cups. Light bulb went off. Instead of making eggs, spinach and beans every morning for breakfast, I can turn this into an egg cup that can be pre-made and last for up to a week in the fridge. YES! I then looked around and tried to find if anyone else did a slow carb version and I came across a few, but they just weren't right for me, so I took them all and made my own. If you aren't a slow carb eater, add some cheese and milk instead of water and these are perfect for a quick and easy breakfast during the week.

    Slow Carb Egg Muffins

    Makes 12 muffins (I usually eat two in the morning)

    6 whole organic, cage free, free range, whatever type you like eggs
    1 cup of egg whites (you can use 12 eggs instead, but I like to keep it a bit lighter in the morning)
    Splash of water (for fluffier eggs)
    Salt & Pepper to taste

    Now here is where it gets fun, you can use whatever you want in your eggs, but here is what I use:

    1/2 cup black beans
    1 scallion, chopped
    2 handfuls of spinach, chopped
    1/2 bell pepper, chopped
    3 pre-cooked patties or links turkey sausage, chopped

    Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

    Place muffin liners in muffin pan and evenly divide beans, onions, pepper, spinach and sausage among the 12 tins. Mix eggs, egg whites, water and salt & pepper in bowl. Pour egg mixture into each tin until just covering the ingredients.

    Bake for 25 minutes. Let sit for 30 minutes to cool completely before placing in fridge. Heat in the microwave for 30-45 seconds before topping with salsa and devouring.

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