First time April

April 2016 was an interesting month for me. I started a new job on April 1st and had training all month. The first two days of training my "trainer" was sick so I made due. I actually worked at the place nine years ago as an intern and my internship there got me my previous full time job. Coming back was like coming home. It was really nice, and also an interesting experinece. My "trainer" was retiring and I was her replacement. A lot of the training was very relevant and some of it was ideas she had for how her "replacement" could do the job. It wasn't bad, but I got hired based on some specific things and some of the projects she wanted me to do where not things that .... well would be a good use of my time. At least in the first year. I double checked with my supervisor to make sure my ideas were what the organization was looking for and then worked stuff out with my trainer. We talked about the project list realistically and then focused the training on those things. It worked out. New jobs are always fun....

Some cool things about this new job is that I get to bike to work! My previous job was the only job I ever had where I needed to commute, so it was nice to bike again.

T and I also started swimming at the YMCA twice a week in April. He had mentioned changing his gym to the YMCA and I said I would be in if they had a pool so I could swim. We checked one out and signed up. Then he said he would be interested in trying swimming and we have been going. It is our first time kind of "working out" together and it has been cool. Except I am hungry all day after I swim... I am still working out how to change that.

April was also the first time I tried making kombucha. You can read it HERE. I will say it was pretty successful.

Another thing I tried for the first time was gel nails. Or maybe it is called gel nail polish. Basically it is nail polish that doesn't chip. Bad news, it gets baked on your nails and has to be soaked and scrapped off. And the soaking and scrapping does not do good things for your natural nails. So I tried it and it was AWESOME to have beautiful nails that didn't chip for three weeks. Then I went to the nail salon and learned how they take the stuff off and decided to give my nails a break from all polish. The salon was awesome and put a lot of moisturizing oils on my hands and it about three days my nails were doing much better. I have now had girls who work at nail salons whisper to me that I don't need gel nails as I have "good nail". Check that one off the list as a been there done that. Not something I will try again. Here is a glimpse of gel nails and one of my bike to work outfits.

April was more about noticing the ordinary things I did for the first time. Like I said, it was an interesting month...


Wine Dinner featuring Souverain and Storypoint

This one is for you Dad and Jan! The Sisters, T, and I held down the fort and attended the Hennessey's wine dinner for you. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it..... and it was a pretty good one this time around.

The first course was a Baby Wedge Salad served with Souverian Sauvignon Blanc. The crisp onions and buttermilk bleu cheese made this salad. It was a good pairing with the wine and maybe my favorite part of the meal.

Second course was a Four Cheese Fried Ravioli with goat cheese cream. This was paired with the Storypoint Chardonnay. I prefer red wine, but this was an excellent chardonnay and I might have a bottle of it in my fridge right now....

Main course was Grilled Flatiron Steak with a champagne chimichurri, smashed potatotes and roasted brussel sprouts. This was paired with the Storypoint Cabernet. We all really liked the Cab and I think a few of those bottles might also be at our homes now....

During this course is when the wine rep stopped by our table and I totally forgot to take a photo of the food. But here is the Middle Sister with the wine!

Dessert was a Molten Chocolate Cake served with Storypoint Merlot. We toasted you both many times and hope you are having a great trip. We look forward to wine dinners with you in the future! See you soon...



That new bike smell

I think I might of just bought my first bike. And by that I mean "paid" for my first bike on my own. The bike I have been riding for the last 16 years was purchased for me by my Dad when I was at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo....sixteen years ago....I have ridden that thing all over the place and it has served me well. But for the last two months I have been living the "bike to work" dream and the bike has been showing it's age, or maybe I have been showing my age. I thought it was time to ditch the mountain bike for a hybrid bike. Something that could take me to work and also do some light mountain biking.
So I have graduated to the Ghost Panamao X4. And after riding it a bit, I can say that I think it was the mountain bike that was showing it's age because this thing is so much easier to ride! I could almost keep up with the Little Sister and shaved five minutes off my commute time this morning. I am still tweaking a few things and am going to take it back to REI for some fine tuning, but I am pretty happy. It was actually a hard choice to make because I did love that other bike. But it might be like when you get a new car. The memories of the time you had together will be enough... Thanks for the awesome 16 years old bike! Here are a few photos I found....
T and I took bikes on our trip to Yellowstone.
One thing about this bike is that I seemed to always get flat tires.....

The Little Sister loves to bike. Here we are in the redwoods near Santa Cruz.
And starting to bike up Sherwin Creek in Mammoth.

This is when the family started telling me I needed a new bike. We started biking for T when he was recovering from knee surgery and the long rides started to bug me. They took my bike out for a spin and no amount of tune-ups could make a mountain bike a road bike. This was three years ago......
Thanks for all the memories college mountain bike! You have kept me in two wheels for 16 years!


First time Kombucha making

The Little Sister jumps in 100% when she decides she wants to try something. Bread making after our trip to Paris, hours of research, YouTube videos, and blog reads informed her decision to make bread. And what happens seven out of ten times when she decides to do something? In turns into "we are going to..." fill in the blank. So consequently I have made bread (found Artisan Bread in five minutes a day to be the way to go), made yogurt, attended the Dallas Cowboys training camp, and now made Kombucha. When I decide to do something I have my own discovery path that I follow, but when I jump on the Little Sister path I do a lot less research than and just follow her directions. Usually that is enough to get me started which is how the Kombucha path thing came to be.
Sister photo
I don't know how I started drinking Kombucha. I remember doing it during Yoga Teacher training and as I like fizzy drinks that are not soda or other really sugary beverages, I very quickly became a Kombucha drinker. And when I found the grocery store I could walk to started to have it, I found myself spending some money on the stuff. Each bottle is about $4 and that can add up. So I started limiting myself, but still really liked it. Then one day the little sister came over and said "We are going to make Kombucha". And the story began.

I am still very new at this and will tell you how we started and where I think I am going with this path. So Kombucha is a fermented tea. I don't know where you stand on fermentation, but there is a way of thinking that really supports fermented foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, beer....you know, the basics. Kombucha is also a fermented food and some people swear by it. They think fermented foods (minus beer probably) are really good for the body and for "gut health". It is this idea of having "good bacteria" in our bodies to balance everything. And as I think almost everything starts with food, I am willing to swing to the fermented foods camp when it comes to gut health. It makes sense. Yogurt (fermented) helps with probiotic (pro bacteria) in the body. When we take an antibiotic (anti bacteria) medicine to kill the bad bacteria in the body we also kill the good bacteria. And that throws everything out of wack. Our bodies are so fascinating! We are like a whole universe inside our own skin!

Sorry. I almost went down the rabbit hole of how cool our bodies are. We could have been here for days... Back to Kombucha...

When the little sister came over to let me know "we" were going to make Kombucha she said we would start by making our SCOBY from a video she saw from Stupid Easy Paleo. It was fairly easy and involved one bottle of original flavored Kombucha and some time. We started the process and in about two weeks it had grown this "lovely" specimen. It is almost like science fair projects in grade school. SIDE NOTE: if I was going to do a science fair project now it would be about Kombucha! How cool would that be? Growing your own SCOBY!!! Take that third grade. I just grew bacteria.
Once the SCOBY was ready to go I needed to make some tea for it to ferment. The Little Sister gave me some rough measurements, and I gave it a go. My tea was made with hibiscus and ginger tea. I disolved one cup of sugar in the mixture and then added it (at room temperature) to my big jug that I had borrowed from the Middle Sister. I then added water and my SCOBY. Covered the container and let it ferment. I would like to give you the recipe I followed, but I can't really. I know I started with four hibiscus tea bags and one ginger tea bag in 8 cups of boiled water. Then one cup of sugar. I was supposed to add this, the SCOBY and liquid and 8 more cups of water to my jug but my jug was too small so I just added water to the top. Then you cover the tea with a cloth and something to hold it in place and wait again while it ferments. I started tasting it after about two weeks and then bottled it when I thought it tasted pretty good.
Bottled Kombucha
And there you have it: my first batch of Kombucha.
Since that time I have decided it might be a good idea to learn a little bit more about this myself. I found a local place, Farm & Culture CO that makes Kombucha and there flavors have inspired me to try to new things.
Kombucha flight
The Little Sister has continued her research and we are both now reading The Big Book of Kombucha by Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory. I have purchased my own jugs (two of them) and my SCOBY had a "baby" so I am going to make more batches of Kombucha. I think this path is going to be an interesting one and I am lucky my Little Sister informed me "We are going to make Kombucah"......