Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cheat Shake

Day 2 of boot camp week and I've officially fallen hard for a sweet, peanut buttery, chocolatey dream. We've been seeing each other almost every day, even though I've resolved to be a fitness blogger this week. What can I say - the taste buds want what the taste buds want!

The good news is

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Mile In My Shoes

I walked four miles today.

Hey, I warned you that bootcamp was starting!

Yes, I did - here, remember?

The air was damp and the sky gray, so I carried an umbrella just in case. A long, pointy, hook-handled umbrella which I didn't end up needing, so I folded it up and carried it and probably looked like a paranoid teenage girl carrying an umbrella as a defense weapon or a dangerous teenage girl who participates in organized crime carrying an umbrella as a gun. In any event, I was prepared.

While walking isn't exactly strenuous, if felt great to get outside and be active. Maybe on this first day of boot camp, you're feeling a little undermotivated, in which case I feel you. I. Feel. You. That's why I documented my little adventure, so you can walk a mile or few in my shoes. I challenge you to do the same thing - I never realized how many cool things there were to step on until I did!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Lifestyle Change

Ahh, Memorial Day.  It's tradition around here to get the pool up Memorial Day weekend so that we can escape the heat for a swim with the neighbors. We have just one other tradition: walking to the Memorial Day parade in downtown Farmington and getting ice cream from Hershey's afterwards ( or as the last few parade participants walk by - we're mostly there for the ice cream.) By those standards . . . Today

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Holy Crepes!

I don't think I have ever had real, live crepe. Have I tried to make crepes? Yes. Have I tried other people's recipes? Heck yes, and they were good, too! 
But those crepes were not massive, thin, crispy crepes, light and wrapped over themselves into perfect layers. The crepe bar has been raised, and there is no going back. 

In desperate need of a study break from our weekend-long chemistry project, my partner-in-crime and I headed into downtown Brighton for a late lunch at Holy Crepe! Creperie, half of Main Street Cheese Market and one of the most eclectic, comfortable eateries I've ever set foot - and teeth - in. It's owned by the friend's cousin. The back entrance promised wonderful things ahead. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Those Days

It's been one of those days.

A Cake Boss marathon kind of day. A wear-your-pajamas-until-noon kind of day. A two-blog-post kind of day.

I'm home sick from school and my brother just got back from his 8th grade class trip this morning; consequentially, we spent most of the morning asleep on various pieces of furniture in our living room. If you would have seen us, you'd think some kind of sleeping sickness had hit, and hit hard.

Anyway, by the time we finally woke up, we were hungry! Famished. I needed some good, solid sustenance to fill my empty stomach. (Luckily, my illness includes a fever and a sore throat but not an upset stomach!)

What better for "one of those days" than a good grilled cheese?

A very good, very beautiful grilled cheese.


I've always loved rain. It's kind of like your favorite bottle of perfume: it's beautiful, it smells great, and everything it touches gets a little freshening up. There's nothing quite like a huge, banging, flashing thunderstorm as I'm going to sleep or a slight mist when I'm out for a run. One of my favorite touches on a good love story is when the couple gets caught in the rain storm and dance, or kiss, or run through it together.

Rain got a little bit better for me last night - it has this inexplicable power to drive people together, something to do with experiencing the same hardship I suppose. I was out for a walk with my little Shih Tzu puppy, Eddie, when the sky grew dark. I take that back - it didn't actually grow dark; it turned dark all of a sudden. About five seconds after that, the rain started. I take it back again - the torrential downpour started. A monsoon got lost on its way to India. Eddie had to doggie paddle down the street instead of walking.

We dealt with it the best that we could, darting from tree to tree. Eddie's fur was doing some crazy, spiky, crimpy thing and he was not a happy camper to say the least.  I think he was happier than me when we heard a voice from deep inside a stocked garden, inviting us to sit on a porch for a while. The voice turned out to belong to an old lady I'd never met before, M. She bustled into her house to get me a jacket to wear - "My favorite garage sale coat," she informed me. "Just make sure you get it back to me before winter." We sat on the porch and chatted about the rain and where I went to school. She told me about a time when the busy road in front of our subdivision was dirt and people road their horses around instead of cars. And you know what? It was unexpected, yes, but it was a really cool moment. I mean, so cool that I went home and made the woman cupcakes to return to her with her jacket (not that it takes much persuasion for me to do that!)

Another great thing about rain? Rainbows. And we saw a great, big vivid one as the rainstorm lightened up Wednesday night. This one stretched allll the way across the sky in a perfect arc, and the whole thing was visible. It was the kind of rainbow that makes you think the pot of gold might actually exist.

Moral of the story? When it rains, dance!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

And The Green Grass Grows All Around Part 2

Yes! Part 2! Part 1 was about unhatched baby birds, so Part 2 could only mean you-know-what!

Or maybe you don't know. You missed Part 1 or you're a visual learner like me. In that case . . . 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Acceptance Speech

I'd just like to take a moment to thank Pinterest.

Sure, Pinterest has helped me to feel productive while I'm just sitting on the couch. It's where a good friend of mine discovered the Color Run. It has brought me "Power Protein Muffins" as well as "Fried Mozzerella Sticks" and everything in between, along with all kinds of dissatisfaction in the form of food, clothing, home decor, and nail art. But today, I have something even better to thank you for, Pinterest.

Because it was Pinterest that helped me to discover this little number BEFORE I found it between the covers of Glamour magazine.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

And The Green Grass Grows All Around

I'm pleased to say that I've discovered something wonderful!

Well . . . I can't take the all of the credit for it. 

As it turns out, my lovely mom was out for a bit of exercise when she came across this little gem . . . or it came across her. It practically flew in her face. 

Do you see it yet?

Maybe now? Look very, very close . . .

Luckily, their mom was away when we visited so we got to sneak a peak at these beauties.  I'm sure we're some of few who've had the privilege, considering their smart mommy who hid them away in this teeny crack in the parking lot hear our neighborhood playground. They're just deep enough that a car or bike could drive over them without doing them any hard and so discreet that you wouldn't notice them until you're practically on top of them.

From what I can tell, they look like some kind of sparrow's eggs. They're about the size of the top of my thumb to the first joint, and adorable!

I'll keep an eye on them for you and update when they hatch! Until then,

Love, Bella

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Color Therapy

For this next post, I'm going to need some audience participation.

No, seriously. To get the best possible idea of what I experienced on Saturday, you're going to have to do a few things.  Turn on some fun music. Think, "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepson or Imagine Dragons's "On Top of the World."

Provided here. No excuses.

Have your friends dress up in tutus, horse costumes, rainbow leg warmers . . . you get the idea. Get someone to throw free stuff to you as you stand in a tightly packed jumble of elbows, heads, hair, more tutus, more rainbow leg warmers. You'll also need a few of these:

Obviously, The Color Run is one heck of a good time. 

The excitement starts when your fun little packet full of your official Color Run t-shirt, color packet (those bags up there), race number, and headband arrives.  You start to get excited. You even start to have delusional thoughts that you might actually enjoy running.  I'm telling you, it's a wonderful feeling. 

Oh yeah, AND two official Color Run tattoos. TWO!

On the morning of, you wake up bright and early.  You eat a breakfast more fitting for an olympic marathoner than a casual 5k run/walker and feel great about it. You protect your trusty camera with a tightly sealed plastic bag (sorry for the less-than-stellar quality!) You put on your white t-shirt and anticipate being doused with colored powder over. and over. and over. and you can't wait. 

In our case, we headed to college town Ypsilanti. We joined the white-shirted masses and shuffled our way towards the start line. 

When our wave (Wave 13) finally made it to the start line, we had the fabulous fortune to be right in the front! 

Which made us feel like champs, like real runners, like winners, for the first 30 seconds. 

After which we slowed to a brisk walk punctuated with photo ops and laughing fits, due to my knee injury.

And felt a bit less . . . champ-ish.

Celebrating the completion of each 'k' was a color zone, lined with flags and manned by volunteers stocked with barrels of what felt like colored baby powder to baptize us with.

Through all that powder, the pink zone pretty much looked like this. I must say, it's a miracle we made it out alive.

Are you still listening to music, running, being doused by baby powder, and possibly wondering when the free stuff comes in? Good work, my friend.

If you hate running, color, music, and crowds, well . . . if nothing else, do The Color Run for the after pictures.

And the after party. (Queue the free stuff!)

More color packets are spread around for one last color throw before the crowds disperse to the local restaurants, painting the town and completely destroying the effects of their workout at a mid-morning brunch.

Ever run The Color Run? Want to now? It's not too late - these guys tour all over the country until the end of the summer! Watch this video - you'll get even more pumped about it! (Remember those delusional "I love running" thoughts?)

Love, Bella

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Stop and smell the flowers. Not just the flowers in your garden; your neighbors' flowers, the flowers growing between the cracks in the sidewalk, the flowers on trees. And don't just smell - take pictures so  you don't forget. 

Seriously. I highly recommend it. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Comfy Food

You know the times when you just want a good, hot, gooey brownie? And then ended up eating all of the hot, gooey brownies in the pan? Trust me, I've been there, and I may have a solution - the single-serve brownie. Now, who's to say I won't keep on whipping up and consuming whole dozens of brownies? However, at least I have a way of escape now.

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."  
1 Corinthinans 10:13

Thank you, God, for single-serve brownies!

I bet I can name at least 10 situations that call for this culinary dream.

1. Post boyfriend breakup
  Sure, he was a dirtbag. But why should you let that stop you from a little indulging?

2. Post friend breakup
  Chocolate is a girl's true best friend. And no matter how pathetic that sounds, we all know that's true. Besides that, she'll probably call you back and apologize tomorrow. 

3. Post reality T.V. couple that doesn't actually exist breakup
  Possibly more heart-wrenching than real life - they were SO perfect!

4. National Bittersweet Chocolate Day (January 10th), Celebration of Chocolate Month (February), Cream Cheese Brownie Day (February 10th), International No Diet Day (May 6th - there's still time!) National Brownies at Brunch Month (August). I'm sure you could also come up with some creative concoctions for National Bratwurst Day and Eat a Hoagie Day. 

5. To Share
  Who wouldn't appreciate a free brownie and the fabulous someone who provided it?

6. A Way to Clean Out the Pantry
  I, for one, always have way too much flour, sugar, and cocoa lying around. 

7. With Coffee
You don't actually have to drink the coffee, if you don't want to. 

8.  For Breakfast
  What better way to start the day? Also, experts have proven that eating your brownie at breakfast rather than dinner aids in weight loss!

9. To Regain Energy After a Workout
It's kind of like the tried-and-true muscle building chocolate milk of athletes!

10. Because You're Worth It.
 You are.

To get started, you'll need:

A Microwave
A microwave safe mug
A fork

1 T Butter
1 1/2 T flour
1 1/2 T cocoa
1 egg yolk
1/4 c. white sugar
1 pinch salt

First, cut off a hunk of butter 1 tablespoon big and pop it in the microwave (in your microwave-safe mug) for 30 seconds.

It should look like this.

Next comes the only tricky part - to add just the egg yolk, you'll have to separate the yolk form the white. Do this by cracking the egg over the sink without letting any of the contents slip out. Pass the yolk from one half of the eggshell to the other until the whites have gone down the drain and you're left with only the yolk, like this:

Add it to the butter.

Add the sugar and salt and beat it all up with your fork.

This part is very, very, important. 
Add the cocoa.

 Now it's starting to look like brownies!

Stir in the flour . . . 

. . . zap it for a minute in the microwave . . . 

and you're golden!

You'll get all this, plenty to cure any ill or celebrate any occasion!

No, i don't know how many calories there are per serving. Enjoy your brownies when you enjoy them without reserve.

Love, Bella