I was getting ready for Get Hitched Give Hope, an amazing, annual charity event that pairs wedding planners and vendors with happy couples planning their nuptials, and the proceeds benefit two organizations that support people living with cancer: the Young Survival Coalition and the Dream Foundation. It was my biggest formal event of the season, and the driving Seattle rain had just gone horizontal.
I was so glad I arranged with Vera to have stylists come to my home to do my hair and makeup. I could get beautified at home in my pajamas, and not have to brave the weather until I left for the party.
My hair likes to frizz and be difficult, and on a rainy day like this, I needed help. Tanya Joseph came over to do my hair.
Since she was right there in my home, I could show her my dress and jewelry, so she was able to make suggestions that would balance the neckline, accessories, and my hairstyle.
I washed it right before she arrived so it was ready for her to get started with a blowout.
And then we had a lovely chat while she did my hair.
I’m telling you, even in this tiny apartment, I felt like royalty having someone come over to help me get prettied up.
After Tanya finished with my hair, Megan Yamamoto came over to do my makeup.
Megan showed up with a coolest tower of tools and sooooo many pretty colors. Her hands worked magic with a palette and a few palette knives, blending colors and shades and consistency to find just the right mix for my skin.
She listened to my fears about too much color on my face, or the way my eyes get lost in shadows with too much smokey eye shadow. She found a good balance, and while I was a little nervous at first, I loved the look when she was done.
By the time they were both done getting me all prettied up, the sun broke through the clouds and we were treated to a stunning rainbow.
I kept thinking how much easier it would have been to have stylists come to us for my own wedding.
The rain held off for the rest of the night, and I had a lovely time at the event with some of my favorite people.
My hair stayed beautiful all night long, with nary a frizz, my makeup stayed put and looked fabulous, and Get Hitched Give Hope raised a lot of money to help people living with cancer while helping a lot of love birds plan their weddings.
Rather successful day all the way around, I’d say.
Disclaimer: Thank you to Vera and the stylists for providing these services to me for this special event at no charge.
While my husband was in grad school studying Persian literature, I started exploring Persian culinary traditions as a fun way to embrace and support his studies. One of our favorite meals is the very simple dish of koobideh, ground lamb kebabs, served with roasted tomatoes and basmati rice.
The trick to a successful koobideh is to drain out the onion juice. This will help the meat to hold it’s shape better without being to soggy. The ground onion creates a much different experience in the flavor and texture of the dish than simply chopping the onion and adding it to the meat.
Strain onion in a fine sieve or through a cloth to remove the majority of the liquid. Then return the onion pulp to the food processor.
Add garlic cloves to the food processor.
Chop off the tough ends of the parsley stems and add parsley to the food processor.
Add egg and spices to food processor and blend well.
Break the ground lamb into large chunks and add to the food processor. Blend until just combined, being careful not to over-work the meat. Refrigerate mixture, allowing meat to rest and flavors to blend for two to three hours )or even overnight).
Divide the meat mixture into 8 portions, and form each portion into a long, narrow strip, 6 to 8 inches long, and place it across the width of a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining portions.
Use a knife or spatula to cut notches along the length of the kebab.
Kebabs can also be grilled over high heat. There are special wide kebab skewers made for koobideh; these are not necessary, but they do make turning the meat on the grill much easier.
Koobideh prepared in the oven does not need to be turned.
Place tomatoes on the pan in the spaces between the kebabs or around the grill.
Cook until the internal temperature reaches 160°F, about 20 minutes. The skins of the roasted tomatoes may blacken a bit.
Serve with the roasted tomatoes, over basmati rice.
My daughter doesn’t have a baby keepsake book, she has my blog. For the past decade, social media has been the family scrapbook, recording the bumps and bubbles along the way, with a bit of introspection here and there to frame, add context, and derive meaning from the stories.
Five years ago we celebrated the 20-year reunion of my high school graduation. I wasn’t able to attend the gathering, but still, it gave me pause… My friendships with many of my classmates are more robust and meaningful now that we live thousands of miles apart than the were when we saw each other every day in school. Social media helped us to leap-frog over superficial variables like social status, that extra 40 pounds, or even proximity, and we began to connect over conversations, shared values, and even our differences.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, social media played another role in my life. One of the devastating impacts of cancer is the way it isolates us from the rest of the world: long, dark hours holed up in the bedroom, too tired for company, yet still lonely. Social media allowed me to chat with others and keep up with my friends at my own pace. Facebook and my blog allowed me to maintain contact with the outside world, update loved ones on my condition, and even coordinate some of the help around the house I so desperately needed. Now that I have completed cancer treatment, I use social media to help and encourage others who are dealing with cancer and it’s lingering side-effects.
McKinley family after the move to Alaska. 1947 – My mom is the little one in braids, peeking out from under her grandfather’s elbow.
This wonderful interconnected age also helps me explore my family history. Old photos brought down from dusty attics can be scanned in and broadcast to family members around the world, and the comments return with fascinating stories. Collectively, my family’s understanding of our past is enriched as we each participate in sharing these photos and stories. And as they are recorded, in the blog and elsewhere, they will be a resource for future generations as well.
With all this awesome of social media and digital technology comes some responsibility. We need to be smart about what we share about ourselves and others. National PTA has partnered with LifeLock to share awesome ways families can create an open, evolving conversation about positive, safe decisions when using digital tools. It’s all part of having a happy, healthy lifestyle. For you, your family, your friends, and the whole world – everyone benefits when you #ShareAwesome!
Snap a photo of an awesome moment in your day and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the #ShareAwesome hashtag!
Students who enter the #ShareAwesome contest between September 15 – November 30, 2014 will have a chance to win fantastic prizes, including tablets and a $2,500 scholarship!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
I can’t believe it’s that time of year again! It’s time to get those kids ready to go back to school. It seems like just yesterday when we were looking forward to the start of summer. Because we love our readers – and their kids – we want to help you get ready for back-to-school by helping one lucky reader get the year started with a bang. That is why we teamed up with our blogger friends and a few generous sponsors to bring you the chance to win this fantastic giveaway!
One winner is going to receive a prize package worth over $430! This giveaway includes something for everyone in the family from preschoolers through college students.
Here is what is included:
Kindle Fire HD 7″ Tablet, Wifi, 16 GB & $100 Target Gift Card from Failing Perfect(Retail Value: $269.00)
Hot Dots Laugh It Up! Math Vocabulary Cards for grades 1-3, Hot Dots Reading Informational Text for grades 4-6, Hot Dots Pen, & GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope for ages 3+ from Educational Insights(Retail Value: $79.95)
The winner’s choice of one activity kit: I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace!, I Can Pound!, I Can Build Uppercase! or I Can Build Lowercase! from Fundanoodle(Retail Value: $32.99)
Back-to-School Palooza Giveaway: The Details
Giveaway will begin on August 18th, 2014 and will end at 11:59 PM, Mountain Time (US) on September 2nd, 2014.
Open to residents in the continental US, 18 years or older.
One entrant per household.
Void where prohibited by law.
No purchase necessary to enter or win.
Winner will have 24 Hours to respond to winner notification email, or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
Winner will be chosen via random.org.
The winning entry will be verified.
Sponsors will be individually responsible for prize fulfillment.
If you agree to the above terms, then enter using the Giveaway Form below. Good Luck!!
Disclosure: This blog did not receive compensation and is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This post may contain affiliate links. By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these rules and the decisions of Failing Perfect (“Sponsor”), which shall be final and binding in all respects. Failing Perfect is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the giveaway. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, andor any other social media. Please contact email@example.com with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes.
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My To Do list for today has 32 items on it. This is ridiculous. I know there is no way all 32 items will get done today. I also know that I will spend an unreasonable amount of time fretting about the items that will not get done today.
If I really power through and don’t lose my focus too often, I might get 12 of those items done. Maybe. But many days I spend more energy figuring out HOW I will get things done, more energy stressing about getting things done, than actually getting things done.
Worrying plays a big role in the amount of stress I carry around. I worry about whether the cancer will come back, I worry about the well being of my child, I worry about how we will pay the rent. But worrying only increases the amount of stress that I carry, and it does nothing to help solve the problem. Sometimes I think I’m just worried and stressed because I have become accustomed to being worried and stressed. (more…)
As always, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
I had braces as a kid, and it wasn’t pretty. As if being twelve wasn’t awkward enough, I had braces for years, and they came with headgear.
My dad used to joke about using me to improve the TV’s reception.
Up until the point my braces were installed, I was flourishing as a novice clarinetist. I was in fifth grade, but had worked my way up to second chair in the sixth grade band. Then after my braces were installed, the orthodontist told my mom I would have to stop playing the clarinet. I was not happy.
To make things worse, all those wires and brackets ripped the insides of my cheeks to shreds, and the headgear gave me tear-inducing headaches. (more…)