Everything Awesome This Week

A jumble of cool stuff I saw this week that you might like to see, too!


Maybe not the most photogenic of produce, but these peppers are, aside from herbs, the very first things I’ve grown and eaten! So I’m proud of them in their ugliness. And they taste great!

I thought Mad Men’s sixth season was fantastic. This AV Club wrap-up and look ahead to the final season was a great read.

I’m just starting to watch The Sopranos, and James Gandolfini’s performance is so incredibly captivating and beautiful. His death made me so sad. David Chase’s eulogy was beautiful.

The Price is Right has filmed an all-Plinko episode! Be ye PRO or CON? I myself am heartily pro-Plinko. My grandma loved it!

This makes me want to buy a tent and get travelin’.

Y’all. Y’AAAAAALLLL!!!! This happened.

Instagram added video this week. I’m still not sure if I like it or not, but I think this musing on the new feature makes a good argument against it.

I was thoroughly disheartened by the upsets of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the opening rounds of Wimbledon. Unfathomable! The guess-the-tennis-grunts quiz cheered me up. A bit.

I know I would not have been as composed and quick-thinking as this 12-year-old girl was, in a terrifying situation. Incredible!

A reminder: your body is so much more than the number of pounds you weigh.

Now, some good things to eat!

I really, really want some Blueberry Cheesecake Pie.

I’ve made fajitas before. But these Skirt Steak Fajitas look major.

New pestos to try: Nutty Arugula and Lemony Pea.

This Chicken, Fennel, and Artichoke Fricassee looks so flavorful!

Hey there, Peach Thyme Cake.

I will definitely be trying this simple 3-Ingredient Paleo Sweet Potato Pie.

And these Super Clean Turkey Meatballs.

Have a great weekend!

Fabulous Fitness Survey

I read Tina’s version of this at Carrots ‘n’ Cake and thought it would be fun, so here’s my Fabulous Fitness Survey!


1. What did you eat for breakfast?

Today I had a couple of Frittata Muffins and an iced coffee. OK, two iced coffees.

2. How much water do you drink a day?

I don’t count it, but I keep a 20-oz tumbler at my desk and try to drink from it all day. I’d estimate I fill it up 4-5 times throughout the work day.

3. What is your current favorite workout?

I love Crossfit! In addition to our programmed workouts, I try to focus on improving a particular skill for a couple of months at at time. Right now I’m trying to master rope climbs, and boy are they tough!

4. How many calories do you eat a day?

I don’t really count calories. I try to focus more on eating fresh, whole foods and staying away from processed stuff with mystery ingredients. But I’d guess on a normal day it’s somewhere in the 1,500-2,000 range.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?


I pack carrot sticks as my afternoon snack on workdays. I love the crunch! Greek yogurt with fruit is great, too. I have some amazingly perfect peaches at home right now, and I’ve been eating a lot of those.

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

I usually brown-bag it to work. My go-to is a big salad, some kind of grilled lean protein (usually chicken), and an apple.

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train?

In Crossfit, so we don’t really isolate specific body parts. I do really enjoy Olympic lifts. I like the feeling of fluidity when you marry proper technique with strength, and there’s the weight over your head!

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

As much as I enjoy the Olympic lifts, powerlifting is drudgery to me. I hate heavy squats. Deadlifts too. I know they’re important, and I do them when they’re on the board, but… not my fave.

9. What are your “bad” food cravings?


Anything that combines carbs and cheese is my kryptonite.

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?


11. How often do you eat out?

Maybe once or twice a week? I really try to prepare my own food for reasons of health and thrift, but I definitely treat myself now and then.

12. Do you eat fast food?

Pretty rarely.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

One of the best things about Crossfit is being part of a community. We all support and encourage each other!

14. Do you have a gym membership?

I belong to a Crossfit box.

15.  How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Probably 6.5 – 7.5.

16. Do you have a “cheat” day?

I don’t schedule a cheat day, but, you know, things happen. Some days end up being cheat days.

17. Do you drink alcohol?

Occasionally. A couple of drinks a week, usually.

18. Do you have a workout buddy?

That's me on the right!

My sister! We both go to the same Crossfit gym, and I love it when we can work out together. Even when we don’t attend the same workout sessions, we usually call each other and talk about how we did. We’ve run a few races together, too.

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

Aside from the physical benefits of looking and feeling better, I think the biggest difference in is my self confidence. Being able to go from overweight and unhealthy to pretty fit has made me realize that I can do anything I want to do if I am willing to put in the time and the work. I feel like I’m a better person at work and in my personal life because I know that I am up to any challenge. I’m not afraid to try new things or to be myself.

20. What was the last healthy thing you did?

Last night after work, instead of succumbing to Thursday-night fatigue, I hit the gym, then came home, ate a good dinner, and packed a healthy lunch to bring to work today. I limited myself to just one hour of TV and went to bed before midnight. Hooray for me!

Everything Awesome This Week

A jumble of cool stuff I saw this week that you might like to see, too!


I love secret places nestled in big cities. These Parisian tennis courts are amazing!

Even if it was for naught, I admire these Texan ladies’ passion and insistence upon being heard.

Ohmigosh, y’all. Read this text-message fight about a wedding gift deemed improper by the recipients. Hilarious.

Time-killers: Feminist Taylor Swift, Mad Men Screen Shots with Things Drawn On Them, Fuck Yeah Behind the Scenes, My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter.

What Moment in Your Life Convinced You to Change?

Now, some good things to eat!

I’ve been looking for creative ways to grill chicken thighs, since I eat a ton of them. We tried the marinade in this recipe earlier this week, and the results were delicious!

Going to have to grill up these Honey Lime Drumsticks very soon.

And these Balsamic Salmon Kebabs.

Which might go nicely with some Haloumi and Vegetable Skewers.

And a big Greek Salad.

I can’t decide what I want more, Peach Snickerdoodle Cobbler or Peach, Blueberry, and Basil Crisp.

Perhaps it would be best to go the easy route and just have Roasted Strawberries with Balsamic over ice cream.

Have a great weekend!

Day Trip: Ship Island

A day on Ship Island

I’ve been dying to go to the beach.

Summer makes me restless. I love my job, I do. But when it’s hot outside and kids are out of school, I become desperate to get away and play in the water. Sand and sun are all I can think about!

Since a real vacation, or even hopping over to Florida for a couple of days, just isn’t in the cards right now, a day trip it would have to be. Luckily, from Baton Rouge, you can get a serious change of scenery with just a few hours’ drive to the Gulf Coast.

West Ship Island

I researched my options and decided on Ship Island. It’s about a 2-hour drive to Gulfport from Baton Rouge, and from there you catch a boat that takes you to the island, 11 miles off the coast.

We decided to really make a day of it, so we set our alarm for 6 a.m. and made it in time to catch the 9 a.m. boat. There was a pretty big crowd, but we had bought our tickets in advance online, so we grabbed our boarding passes and got on the boat with our cooler, beach chairs, and supplies.

Ship Island Excursions Boat

On the way, we passed another boat that had already dropped a bunch of people off on the island! We also saw a few dolphins on the trip over.

We're on a boat!

After about 45 minutes, we caught our first glimpse of Ship Island. It’s about 7 miles long but just a half mile across.

First glimpse

We pulled into port and stepped off the boat onto a boardwalk that we followed all the way across the island, to the side that faces the Gulf. Endless ocean! At the end of the boardwalk, there’s a little area with concessions and bathrooms.


Most people stuck close to the boardwalk, but we wanted a quieter beach, so we hauled our gear a ways down the beach until we found a nice area that was practically deserted! You can rent chairs and umbrellas from the people who run the boat, but if you want a peaceful beach day, I highly recommend bringing your own chairs and getting away from the crowds.

Private beach (sort of)

We lounged in our chairs, and, boy was I glad we splurged on the little umbrellas – the sun was out in force! There was a nice breeze off the Gulf, though. It wasn’t unpleasantly hot if you had a little shade. Still, if you go, do not skimp on the sunscreen! And bring a hat. We also packed a cooler with sandwiches, fruit, and water, so we had plenty of snacks.


We watched the waves and the people who passed us on their beach walks. We swam when it got too hot.

These are our water shoes, try not to be jealous

We took a nice long walk down the beach. We left most of our things on the beach while we walked. I took our money and keys in a small backpack, but we left the chairs and cooler. They were right where we left them when we got back.


We explored a little of the middle of the island, where there are some pretty plants and you can see Fort Massachusetts in the distance, but it did get hotter the farther you were from the water, so we headed back to the shore pretty quickly.

Fort in the distance

After our walk and a bit more swimming, we walked over to the fort and took a look around. It’s an interesting place, with a D-shaped construction and sea grass growing on the mounds at the top. It’s got fun round staircases, a huge cannon, and some cool displays about its history as a military asset. There weren’t guided tours on the day we went, but I believe they are offered.

Fort Massachusetts

We headed back to the beach and lazed around until it was time to board the 5:00 boat off the island.

Bye, Island!

With sand in our shoes (and in other places, too) and smiles on our faces, we waved goodbye to our island paradise.

It was such a good day!

Everything Awesome This Week

A jumble of cool stuff I saw this week that you might like to see, too!


Please stop calling it a “big girl job.” Please!

Moving essay about violent video games by an actual survivor of horrific violence.

The Philly Orchestra sure knows how to make the best of a bad situation.

Have you ever found yourself unable to like something because its fans were so obnoxious?

I liked this reworking of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky in historical musical styles.

The comments here are full of cute little wedding stories. Like Pinterest in prose!

Game of Thrones infographics! Spoilery for Season 3.

Sweet dad-daughter photo collection for Father’s Day.

Now, some good things to eat. I’m not going to examine the fact that every recipe I clipped this week was a dessert, and I appreciate your not judging me.

Chocolate Butterscotch Salted Caramel Blondies. Just, my gosh.

Salted Caramel-Chocolate Pudding Cake. 100% necessary to my life.

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles. Sensing a theme here…

No-Bake S’Mores Pie.

Creamy Margarita Popsicles. With fruit, see? I’m healthy!

Baked Apricots with Brown Sugar Streusel. Yup. Fruit. And nuts!


Have a great weekend!



I just finished  Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. I enjoyed it, and I really liked the way you got little pieces of the story from the points of view of different characters, each of whom had his or her own distinct voice. I thought it was a little hurried in its resolution, but overall I was glad I  read it, and I’ll be seeking out more of Walter’s books. This one in particular looks enticing, though wholly different from the one I just read.

Next up: Dearie. I’m just a few pages in, but I’m looking forward to the rest!


I’m loving summer sports right now! The French Open just wrapped up, and Wimbledon is right around the corner. I’ve gotten into the NBA playoffs a bit, and I’m enjoying the finals series between the Heat and the Spurs. But the big deal is that my LSU Tigers are on their way to Omaha for the College World Series! College baseball is pretty special here in Baton Rouge, so having the guys make it to the CWS always makes for an exciting summer. Geaux Tigers!


I am nothing short of obsessed with this song. Multiple times (in a row, what?) a day, dancing in the kitchen, Pandora station based on it. Obsessed.


How to live with my boyfriend and not gain a million pounds. He moved in a few weeks ago and all is bliss, with the exception that, my god, he’s a dude. So he eats like a dude, and brings dude food into the house, and I like to cook dude food (fude?) for him. This is all fine, except I am a lady who can totally eat like a dude, but apparently cannot burn calories like a dude also. Unfair! Typically I do a good job of shopping for and eating healthy food the majority of the time. Let me tell you, though, it is way easier to exercise willpower in a single moment at the grocery store and not buy those cookies than it is to know those cookies are in the pantry and have to exercise the willpower not to eat them every. time. I  remember they are there (and I really never forget about those cookies). So, yeah. I’m gonna have to work on that.


This dress. Lots. I got it on sale in teal (or “pollywog,” whatever old navy), and it’s comfy and summery and fun!

Greek Lamb Burgers with Balsamic-Glazed Onions & Mushrooms and Feta Tzatziki

Ever since we went to the Greek Festival in New Orleans, I’ve wanted to try my own versions of some of the (lots and lots of) food we ate there. One of the best things we sampled was the Goat Burger. It was so flavorful, with the meat perfectly balanced by Greek spices and a tangy yogurt-feta dressing. I had to give it a try.

Goat is a little hard to come by, so I went with lamb. I’m sure these would be great with ground beef or turkey, too.


Greek Lamb Burger

Greek Lamb Burgers with Balsamic-Glazed Onions & Mushrooms and Feta Tzatziki

serves 4

Greek Lamb Burgers:

Adapted from Bobby Flay and Georgia Downard.

  • 1.5 pounds ground lamb
  • Half of a large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 2 cups mixed arugula and spinach

Burger Ingredients

Combine onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, mint, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Blend until onions are very fine.

Lamb and Greek Seasonings

Add mixture to lamb and combine until evenly distributed.


Form into four patties.


Grill burgers about 5 minutes on each side over medium heat.

Balsamic-Glazed Onions & Mushrooms

Balsamic-Glazed Onions and Mushrooms

  • 1 large onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze (I used Trader Joe’s, but this Martha Stewart recipe looks easy and delicious!)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Salt and pepper

Place onions and mushrooms on a sheet of aluminum foil, leaving of plenty of room around the edges.

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper.

Fold the foil into a packet.

Grill for 15-20 minutes, until onions are soft.

Feta Tzatziki

adapted from David Lebovitz.


  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup feta
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Large handful chopped fresh dill

Tzatziki Ingredients

Mix ingredients together and chill until ready to use.

To Serve

Toast buns on the grill.

Dress burgers with tzatziki, onions, mushrooms, arugula, and spinach.

Go to town!

Greek Lamb Burgers with Balsamic-Glazed Onions and Mushrooms and Feta Tzatziki

I served these with the wonderful Baked Sweet Potato Falafel from Glow Kitchen, and we had grilled apricots and frozen Greek yogurt for dessert.