20 June 2010

The Yarden

I said I'd post some pics of the new landscaping in the backyard. The space is super shady, so proper "shady" plants (ha, that reminds me of "Shady Shorts", the nick name my friend K had for someone who shall remain nameless, but totally deserved the name) had to be installed once the crazy, wild ground cover was ripped out. The space used to be all ivy, doing its ivy thing. But then wild strawberry (huh?! where did that even come from?) invaded and the whole space looked ridiculous and overgrown. I'm so happy with how it looks now! Even happier that it was done in record time, (seriously it felt like magic) by the good folks at Tazzia Lawn Care. I'd highly recommend them if you're in the market for some landscaping.

Without further ado, here's the before (after ivy and wild strawberry were cleared) picture, followed by the beautifully ever after:

16 June 2010

Cleaning Up

My spring cleaning came a little late this year. I've actually never adhered to an actual by the calendar schedule for spring cleaning, it's more of a feeling that comes over me after the snow is gone and the weather is nice. Time to clean, declutter and organize! I had some landscaping done (which was something I'd been thinking about for a while. I will post pics soon!) and I think it had something to do with my mental shift toward cleaning and organizing. I basically took the better part of this past weekend and did the following inside and outside the house:

Shredded documents that I no longer needed. I'd be embarassed to tell you how many. There were SO many.

Gathered all my recycling, including a giant stack of magazines that I finally cut recipes out of. RECYCLE, Ahoy!

Cutting recipes out of the old magazines led to reorganizing my recipe notebook. I have a three ring binder with clear plastic sleeve pages where I keep favorite recipes from family, friends and other various sources. I love it, it's my own personal cook book!

Straightened up my closet, which included buying a couple stackable wire shelves for further organization and a few more plastic shoe boxes for my growing shoe collection.

Made piles for the dry cleaner, laundry and Goodwill. Found out that my dry cleaner has a special on pants on Wednesdays, which I did not know. Too bad it was Monday when I dropped them off! I'll know for next time, right?!

Cleaned all my silver jewelry. I don't mean that to sound like I'm sitting on a pile of jewlery pirate-treasure-style, it's just the stuff I normally wear. Silver gets a little tarnished even though you wear it all the time, so I like to freshen it up now and then. Now it's shining a bit brighter for summer!

Vacuuming. Keeping up with two felines is a full time job.

Dusting. See note above about felines.

Transferred an old perfume that's been trapped in a leaky bottle to a purse-sized spritzer. I've been wanting to do this for a while and finally had the time to do it.

Basically weeded and or hacked away at anything left in the yard that was over grown. Mowed the lawn and then cleaned up all the debris. Then sat back and enjoyed the pretty view.

And of course, there's always more to do, but I was grateful to be able to start the week feeling super productive and loving how clean and uncluttered the house feels! I am thinking about putting tiny dusting mits (maybe "kitten mittons - an elegant, comfortable mitten for cats" would do the trick!) on the felines so they can help me keep the place tidy! Wouldn't that be great?!

09 June 2010

What's for Dinner?

A bit ago I re-discovered the corn tortilla. There's a great family-owned authentic Mexican restaurant in Grand Rapids called Maggie's Kitchen. My usual gig when I go is a veggie burrito with guacamole and onions. One day after a long run, I made my way to Maggie's in search of nourishment, lest I chew my own arm off in my savage hunger. I got my regular burrito to go AND a cheese quesadilla made with a corn tortilla. I ate the quesadilla on my way home and the first bite brought me back to a favorite childhood food memory. Mmm...warm, soft corn tortilla!

We used to have build-your-own-taco nights when I was younger, complete with soft corn tortillas. My mom would assemble all the fixings: beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, salsa on this fantastic table top ceramic lazy susan. Spin it to win it, or um, to make your winning taco. I loved it when we had taco nights!

Hit by a bit of nostalgia for build-your-own-tacos and a wicked taste for corn tortillas, I've begun holding my own build your own taco nights and you can too!

Here's what to do:

Gather your favorite taco ingredients. Here are mine:
Refried beans
Cilantro Lime Rice
Tomatoes, chopped
Onion, chopped
Lettuce, chopped
Corn tortillas (Taco-sized, natch)

Other optional ingredients could include:
Sour cream
Chopped cilantro for garnish
Meat (if that's your bag, baby!)

Once you have everything chopped, assembled and ready for taco building, heat a larger frying pan with a touch of vegetable oil. Heat a few tortillas at a time, moving them around and turning them so they heat evenly, just until they're soft and warm. You want to be careful not to keep them on the heat too long because they may get a little tough and veer dangerously close to tortilla chips. Hand a couple heated tortillas to your first guest and have them get started building their very own tacos. You can heat the tortillas as you go for each individual taco builder or heat them all, keeping them covered and warm as you heat enough for your taco builders.

He or she who builds the perfect-size taco, without overflowing filling wins a prize! I've found it pretty tough to not want to heap a ton of all my favorite ingredients into each tortilla. Mind the eyes bigger than the tortilla phenomenon.

I'd love to hear if you have your own festive taco building night. What is your favorite meal from childhood? Have you procured the recipe and made it your own in adulthood? Do share!

08 June 2010

Bad Romance

Dear new next door neighbor,

Although I have not met you yet, I already feel like I know a bit more than I should about you and your "boyfriend". Last night you woke me up with another fight in the street/alley. This was the third one I have heard in the middle of the night or very early morning. You've been crying and or screaming at him each time. And each time, from what I can tell from my nosy neighbor window, he can't be bothered to get out of his truck to talk to you nicely. I heard you scream something about another woman. Really, that about sums it up. If there's another woman involved and you're not happy about the way he's handling things or his actions and words are not adding up, get as far away as possible from the guy. And stay away!

Clearly, there's absolutely no way I can know exactly what your situation is, but with each Jerry Springer moment that plays out on the street for me to hear, I hope you come to some clarity about what's really going on and leave well enough alone. Life is too short to be that upset on a continual basis, in any relationship.

Your neighbor,
*starr fish

04 June 2010

Cutie Biker Chic!

Inspired Summer Biking
Fashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

Had a little fun assembling some items that would be both fun and functional to wear while tooling around town at a leisurely pace on that fantastic-looking bike. I haven't done much biking yet this summer, but intend to. I'm very lucky to live in an area that is super bike friendly - bike lanes, bike paths, and lots of fellow bikers and group rides. Go, Grand Rapids!

Get on your bike and ride! I've got a road bike and after studying this bike, I've got a hankering for something a little more relaxed and mellow. Road bike + necklace = probably not, but I could probably rock everything else with comfort on my bike.

Are you a biker? What's your style? Cruiser, mountain bike, road bike, fixie? There's something out there for everyone and plenty of places to ride and things to wear while riding. Perhaps I shall compile a spread for road biking...

03 June 2010

Gulf Oil Disaster

Birds and wild life are covered in oil.

They are COVERED in oil!

I don't watch TV news, so I have not been seeing any video or photo coverage. I just saw a few pics though and they literally made me cry. I cannot believe how terrible things are and that there's not really an end in sight. I wish there was some way I could help.

The entire eco system in the Gulf of Mexico is extremely effed because of the BP disaster - the fact that it's being called a "spill" makes me sick. You might spill some water or a soda, but oil gushing into the ocean? It most certainly is not a "spill." There's no telling how far reaching the effects of this debacle will be. We probably won't know the true environmental impact for years.

Sad state of affairs.

01 June 2010

Holiday Weekend Hightlights

So...the Memorial Day weekend was a good one! Oh, how I love the long weekend. I even had Friday off, which made it a full four days off. Delightful! That should really happen more often.

Highlights included:

Passing my written motorcycle endorsement test at the Secretary of State! Pretty excited about having the little CY on my driver's license now!

Having a lovely dinner on a sunny patio with some of my girlfriends and then seeing Sex and the City, 2. The movie wasn't as good as the first one or even the series, but it was fun to see the girls (and Aiden) again!
Playing lots of pinball (and playing pretty well, I might add) after a delish dinner at Stella's with R. If you go to Stella's, try the World Eater! MM...goood!

Doing a something akin to a circus act with R to trim the back hedge. Who says shoulder rides are just for kids, or playing chicken in the water? Our combined height came in pretty handy for tackling the overgrown hedge!

Wading through a torrential downpour yesterday afternoon with R to see the 2010 Regional Arts Competition, which is the juried art show for Festival of the Arts.

Helping a friend move her closet! R & I dug hanging out with A and her man B. for a bit in their new place. And I scored a few closet cast offs, can't wait to rock the harem pants, thanks, A!

Having book club dinner and ice cream on a beautiful Sunday night in the neighborhood. We didn't talk much of the book...but it's really more about spending time together and catching up with the BC gals who can be there. Missed our Depeche Mode-loving friend A, our friend CurlyGirl, who just had a baby boy and our on BC hiatus since she's living out of town friend, AP.

Having an indoor picnic at my mom's last night, complete with indoor s'mores!

What was the highlight of your Memorial Day weekend? Did you see Sex and the City? Good eats? Time with friends & family? Did you make it to the beach? Do tell!