September Photo Challenge

I love the concept and I have tried a few times to do these photo challenges. And usually I fall off completely after three or four days. But I am really trying to be committed to taking more pics and documenting life, so I am going to give it another go. Here is the challenge I am trying this time around. Do it with me!

The photo challenge for September goes as follows:


If you take the challenge, let me know how you do!



Salad on a Stick

salad on a stick 3

This weekend was my niece’s birthday, so my creative sister decided on a pizza party at the park.  It was quite an interesting concept…she provided packets of ready-made dough, pizza sauce, and cheese.  She told guests to bring their favorite toppings.  Everyone rolled out their dough, made their own amazing concoction, put it on foil, and let it cook on a grill.  It sounded a little crazy, but it was adorable!  And quite yummy!

My contribution to the party, besides my sparkling personality,was to bring a salad.  My mother made the suggestion of something she’d seen…salad on a stick.  WHAT???  lol.  She said, since we’ll be at a park, it may be more “picnic-friendly” if it’s something that people can just grab, dip, and go.  OK, I’m always down for a creative twist on a traditional favorite.  I gave it a shot.

Below are the items that I used, but there are so many salads that you can make…there are ideas all over pinterest or you can just make whatever works for you.  Whether you make a Caesar salad, Greek salad, or your favorite house salad, there is absolutely no wrong way to do this.

For my salads on a stick, I needed the following items:

                – Romaine hearts         – Cherry tomatoes                   – Baby Swiss cheese

                – Sliced carrots            –  Ranch and Italian dressing

                – Mini cucumbers         – Bamboo skewers

salad on a stick 1

I cut up the lettuce, cheese, and cucumbers, and got started assembling.  In the beginning I tried to be cute and logical and symmetrical about it.  But I soon realized that was kinda silly, and just started adding items in random order.  I will admit, this part is definitely more time-consuming than preparing a regular salad.  Not like…hours of work, but definitely more than just chopping veggies, scooping into a bowl and moving on.  But the finished product was cute, and the guests liked being able to just grab a stick as they moved down the assembly line.  And if nothing else, it was a conversation piece. 

salad on a stick 2

The next time you try a creative take on a traditional favorite, let me know how it goes!



Simple Day at the Beach

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It was a gorgeous DC summer Saturday…85 degrees, lots of sun, very low humidity.  Very unusual for the typical hot, humid DC summer. On tap for me on this absolutely amazing summer day…absolutely nothing.

How I saw the day shaping up…I would hang around the house trying to decide what to do, eventually the sun would start setting, and I would opt to go out for dinner or drinks with my best friend.  Not a bad day, but…that’s hours worth of sunlight that I saw myself wasting by hemming and hawing over an action plan.  I would love to go to the beach, but the closest “real” beach is three hours away, which is easily four or five depending on beach traffic.  And of course you don’t drive four or five hours just to come straight back, so I’d have to then deal with overpriced beach rentals…which now means my simple attempt to enjoy nice weather has turned into an all out high cost excursion.

So not in the mood for that.  

Nor was I really in the mood for a crowded boardwalk, wrangling over beach space, and being overcharged for everything.

But I did want to enjoy the sun, listen to some waves, and totally veg out for a couple of hours.  I knew there were some smaller beaches in the area, so I looked one up, packed a simple beach bag (towel, shoes, cardigan, book, bottle of water, that’s it!), met my bff, and rode the 45 minutes to Chesapeake Beach, Maryland.  My bff and I are known to really overdo a simple outing.  We pack a cooler, sandwiches, snackies, waters, adult beverages that we pre-make, slice cheese platter, make our own trail mix, wash and bag all types of fruits, and don’t forget all of the related plates and cutlery, make a playlist, the list goes on.  And while we love having all types of conveniences with us while we relax at the beach, it makes a simple trip seem like a daunting plan that requires a ton of prep work.

Then the “me” in me always has to play out every possible scenario, and pack for that as well.  What if we decide to go dancing, what if I get tired and want to stay the night, what if my shoes get too sandy and I need another pair as a back up?  And that always results in a ton of extra time gathering up those must-have items, plus lots of extra crap in my bag.  It’s just too much!  So I decided oh well, if I need extra stuff and don’t have it…OH. WELL.!!  Pack what you need for your objective (sitting on the beach), and roll out. And so I did just that.

As we set off for Chesapeake Beach, unlike travelling anywhere in the DC metro area on a Saturday, there was virtually no traffic.  Aside from a minor unrelated snafu getting to our meetup spot, getting to the beach was a breeze.  Ahhh…I can feel the stress leaving me already.  Few cars on the road and lots of trees to look at as we rode along.  Our directions to the beach had literally two turns.  Simple, simple, simple.  And I loved it!

The beach was tiny…TINY.  BUT…at the end of the day, what did I want?  A non-fussy place in the sand where I could lay in the sun, listen to the waves, read my book, and laugh with my bff.  And that’s exactly what I got.  

Chesapeake Beach 1

After we had enough of the beach, we went to the local beach resort, had some dinner and drinks, listened to the house band, ate some great seafood, and enjoyed the fresh air.  It was perfect.

The lesson learned from this outing.  Keep it simple!  Remove the excess from my objectives, and stick to the task at hand.  In this case it was taking advantage of a beautiful day.  Done!  And we had a great time.  Our only regret was not coming up with the plan way earlier in the day.  We would have loved spending more time basking in the sun.  But now we know for next time.

How can you remove excess from your objectives?  Pick something that’s been overwhelming to you.  Remember the purpose, and remove the baggage.  Give it a try and let me know how you do!