Win or Lose

Remember how I was in a cooking contest this past weekend, blah blah blah, famous chef judge, big prizes, wooohoo?

I lost.

(Talk about getting to the point, no?)

My veggies were very pretty though:

Risotto, it flops again. Tricky dish that risotto. However Chef Marco did say I was a “clever girl” so hey, whatever.

It was a little disappointing to lose. but since I had so much fun competing and I got lucky in a few other giveaways over the weekend (holla Braun Satin hairbrush with an ion spray nozzle) I decided to consider it an overall win. Next time though? I won’t be going forward with risotto. Take note future contestants, take note.

Overall, San Diego was a lovely whirlwind experience with pretty views.


Pretty views of male models too, while  perhaps a good idea in theory, was rather awkward and uncomfortable in real life.

Do you see the awkward smiles? Trust me, they are there.

BlogHer, for me, is about seeing friends. Mission accomplished, although in normal life I meet friends for drinks and at BlogHer you chat with friends on pedicab rides from crazy-land, where you see your life flash before your eyes – train racing is in fact discouraged in my opinion- while simultaneously considering a career change. What? I ride a bike.

I also went to a party with walls so crazy I felt the need to take a video to share with you. THAT IS HOW CRAZY THEY WERE.

I know. It just blows your mind.

The weekend ended with a decorated McDonald’s bag on my head. As it should.

#BlogHer11, a total win

Risotto Throw Down

Aloha from California. Thus far California has lived up to its reputation with sunshine, fish tacos and gorgeous views. I’d call it a win.

A few weeks ago I blogged a recipe of my own creation for a contest being sponsored by BlogHer & Knorr stock. I was pretty enthused in the sense that my recipe was tasty, so even if I didn’t win I had a new go-to in my recipe binder. When the winners were originally announced I wasn’t on the list, as is the way with the majority of contests I enter. No luck I suppose. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered this week that I was in fact the first alternate, and since someone else couldn’t go, I was welcome to the prize. Not one to turn down prizes that include “free trips” and “recipe throw-downs” I said yes with as much grace as I could muster between the squees and enthusiastic herkies I was doing in my living room. You know, the usual.

Of course now that I am in California, getting ready to compete in this recipe contest I’ve come to a few…realizations…as you might call them.

1. The judge is a celebrity chef with 3 Michelin stars.

2. My recipe, for the contest, is risotto.

3. Have you ever watched a cooking contest? Do you know what happens to the people who cook risotto? Here, let me refresh your memory:

Yeah. That happens. Anyone who has ever watched a cooking show ever in the history of competitive cooking shows knows that the contestant with risotto goes down in flames. TIME AND TIME AGAIN.

Have I learned nothing? 

Apparently not. But if you are at BlogHer and want to watch me go down in a fiery ball of rice and goat cheese, please stop by the Knorr booth at the Expo at 11:00 am on Saturday morning. I’ll be cooking some gluey, gummy rice to serve to a master chef. It should go well in my estimation.



When The Cat’s Away

Things that will happen to you – but only when your husband is out of town for an extended period of time:

  • Your home internet will die an explosive death and require many text messages to your teeny tiny internet company that really should invest in a 1-800 number because I bet that poor sap was sick is sick of texts. Also: you will cry & curse your husband’s absence as this is no less than 3rd time the home internet has gone kaput while he is gone.
  • Your ceiling will open up and begin gushing water on a Friday night, necessitating a quick search for the only bucket in the house. This is when you will discover your sole bucket is the home to car wash solution, a random dog harness, stray pieces of kibble, two dog toothbrushes and an assortment of car cleaning cloths. These items will now reside on your guest room floor.
  • Ceiling explosion, point B: you will not know where the emergency number is for things like water rushing in. This will lead to wild flailing and Skyping, none of which will be helpful. (Pro tip: the number is by the elevator bay. OF COURSE.)
  • You will forget to put gas in your car until the last possible moment. This isn’t really the fault of an absent husband, but it looks good on the list.
  • You will stop “for real” grocery shopping and just buy what you need. See also: coffee, almond milk, fruit, bagels and applesauce. Oh and ice cream. Don’t forget the ice cream.
  • The dog will eat a chicken bone off the sidewalk. Again. This will necessitate much hovering and tsk-ing.
  • Your dog will not however eat any kibble, save a small portion here and there, as though he is protesting the absence of family members.
  • You will find yourself slipping extra lotions & potions into your cart when you go shopping. With no one home to complain about the rapidly growing shower clutter, who is the wiser?
  • Did I mention the internet breaking? And the water rushing in?


Salty Caboose

Sunday mornings find me on group training rides, sweating, swearing and gritting my teeth through the last five miles, the last brutal 30 minutes that make me want to get off and walk. I’d consider it if it were not for my stupid clip in pedals that make me walk like a duck on ice skates.

The last few weeks have been tough rides, the total distance is growing and for whatever reason my group, the slow group, has been minus a coach. This means the slow group has to navigate and fix mechanical issues for themselves, and when the rest of the slow group doesn’t come, it is just me. Holding a sweaty piece of paper in my hand, squinting at street signs and doubling back more than once, adding more miles onto the ride with each mistake.

This Sunday found me as the sole “slow” rider (the slow group averages 12 to 16 mph, the fastest group is pushing 20 mph). It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal except our ride started 5 miles past my office, in the hilliest part of Chicagoland for hill training. Within 2 miles I’d been dropped off the back even though I pushed, as hard as I could. The hills started immediately and at mile 7 I started to feel like I couldn’t go any further. The heat was overwhelming, the humidity was coating me and the hill I was on wasn’t ending.

Suddenly I found myself at a stop sign, unsure of which way to go and the tears started to flow, salty tears mixing with salty sweat. I wiped my nose, rubbed my eyes (getting sunscreen in them) and got ready to go back to my car in defeat before someone from the group circled back, asking if I was ok. I shook my head and said I was going back, but she told me to at least push to the water station at the 12 mile mark. The next 5 miles were excruciating as we continued to climb. I lamented the week I’d had, the project I have launching this week and everything else negative swirling around in my head.

I was an exhausted basket case, but I made it to the water stop. As I slid across the coffee shop floor to buy water, two other group members approached, they wanted “in” to my slow group. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who was getting their butt kicked by the hills.

The rest of the miles ground out slowly, painfully. There were no more tears but there was a lot of yells of frustration, typically directed at the hill I was trying to climb without a shred of dignity or grace. I only walked up one hill (sliding in my stupid shoes, seriously WHO INVENTED THOSE THINGS) but I admit to shaking my fist in frustration more than once. One by one I made it to 40 hilly miles.

But I made it. Salty, in more ways than one, with tears and sweat. I made it to the end. Just like I have to do every Sunday after, the salty caboose bringing up the rear.

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