Cold weather joy!

This last week we’ve had quite the cold snap here in Phoenix Metro, which I believe we can actually attribute to El Niño. A few days ago, our state registered the coldest temperatures in the U.S. while everyone else basked in unusual warmth. Hell has frozen over here in Sun Devil country!

It’s all good, though, because cold weather means a lot of enjoyable things. Such as:

1). Cold weather means I can light a lot of candles in my office at home.

 

Forest of candles.

Forest of candles.

 

It’s normally too warm for so many candles at once, obviously.

 

2). Cold weather makes savory, hot food even heartier.

 

Bocca burger at Red Robin (with iced tea, which I love in all kinds of weather).

Bocca burger at Red Robin (with iced tea, which I love in all kinds of weather).

 

We eat stuff like this year-round, but I find it most fulfilling when it’s cold outside. This particular visit to Red Robin was especially welcome because it was the day after we got back from France, where I’d spent over a week subsisting mostly on salads, bread, and the Larabars I’d packed. Those salads were wonderful, for sure, but by the time we got back I was ready to sink my teeth into something savory and hot!

 

Roasted purple potatoes.

Roasted purple potatoes.

 

Pinto beans in the slow cooker.

Pinto beans in the slow cooker.

 

Pinto tacos!

Pinto tacos!

 

Side-note: Did you know that Field Roast makes vegan cheese? I didn’t know until we found it at the store last night. It was great in these tacos! My favorite vegan cheeses have been Follow Your Heart and Daiya, but now there’s Field Roast. Daiya probably still works best on pizza, though. I might have to do an experiment to find out. There are other vegan cheeses out there, too.

 

3). Cold weather means that chocolate tastes like Christmas.

 

Stonegrindz Chocolate

Stonegrindz Chocolate

 

This chocolate is made locally, and it is delicious. Somehow, cold weather and Stonegrindz’ midnight dark chocolate really go together. Callaghan even likes it, and he generally doesn’t care for dark chocolate! We get it at the Farmer’s Market down the street, of course.

 

4). Cold weather makes garage workouts possible.

You know it’s been cold if you see that my elbows are bruised… it means that I’ve been working out on heavy-bags in the garage, a thing you can’t do in Arizona heat if there’s no A/C out there.

 

I waited seven months for this.

I waited seven months for this.

 

(A selfie was going to be impossible, so I took these pics with the web cam… that’s why they’re kind of grainy and dark.)

 

Garage workouts once again!

Garage workouts once again!

 

Because let’s be honest… there’s nothing like an intense workout on heavy-bags to relieve your frustrations. Any shrink would back me up on that, I’m guessing.

The cold also means that I can lift weights in the garage, since we have some dumbbells out there. I need to build up some strength.

Did I mention, by the way, that my strength-training attempts at the work gym ended in failure? The plan was to go during lunch, but evidently the rest of the world had the same idea. I couldn’t get the weights I needed because they were always in use, and I didn’t have time to wait. I gave up after three or four days.

 

5). Cozy winter kitties.

 

Nenette in her favorite windowsill sunbeam on a cold day.

Nenette in her favorite windowsill sunbeam on a cold day.

 

Nenette asleep on the back of the couch, one of her favorite spots.

Nenette asleep on the back of the couch, one of her favorite spots.

 

Sleepy Nounours and his little pink freckled nose.

Sleepy Nounours and his little pink freckled nose.

 

Blanket weather!

Blanket weather!

 

It’s supposed to warm up a little starting today, but it’ll still be cold enough to be magical!

Looks like this turned out to be something of a “favorites” post, which I didn’t intend, but it’s great because I wasn’t going to do one for December. (At the end of the month I’ll do a “best of 2015,” instead.)

What I’m Digging Right Now – October Favorites

Good morning! I thought I’d take a minute to highlight some of my current favorite things, because it is all about “the little things,” right?

1). The fall air, crisp and cool coming in through the open window at night.

 

Nounours and Ronnie James love the cool night air, too.

Nounours and Ronnie James love the cool night air, too.

 

2). Fall-scented candles. My favorite so far is Yankee Candle’s Autumn Wreath.

 

Cheerful during the day, spooky at night, and it smells wonderful!

Cheerful during the day, spooky at night, and it smells wonderful!

 

3). The current seasons of Homeland, American Horror Story: Coven and Hart of Dixie.*

 

The great trilogy - our favorite series this season

The great trilogy – our favorite series this season

 

(And the combination of those above three things? Sublime.)

4). My new necklace in the shape of the state of Arizona, which I ordered online (it was my October “mois-versary” gift from Callaghan).

 

State necklace from Baublebar.com. I chose Arizona and ordered it in tortoiseshell with a heart cut-out where Phoenix is, with a 16" sterling silver chain.

State necklace from Baublebar.com. I chose Arizona and ordered it in tortoiseshell with a heart cut-out where Phoenix is, with a 16″ sterling silver chain.

 

5). Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Luna Bars.

 

They were on sale at Sprouts (5 for $5.00), so I took advantage!

They were on sale at Sprouts (5 for $5.00), so I took advantage!

 

6). Thug Kitchen, a food blog whose recipes are creative, scrumptious, healthy, easy and fun to read (if you share my sense of humor).

 

CaptureThugKitchen

 

7). Elevation Burger.

 

Quick! Someone in Phoenix, buy a franchise and open it now THANK YOU. =)

Quick! Someone in Phoenix, buy a franchise and open it now THANK YOU. =)

 

They have a vegetarian burger and a vegan burger, and the latter is a feat of culinary kickass by anyone’s standards. Also, their fries are fantastic and cooked in healthy olive oil. Okay, I’ve just decided that I’m going to make a list of “Top Ten Things I’ll Miss about Austin,” just so I can put Elevation Burger on it!

8). It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin.

In this little bottle, we have THE ANSWER to my current First World beauty problem (that’s a redundancy, I know), which is that my hair is in an unmanageable stage of growing-out bangs and an awkward cut with even more awkward layers and over-texturized ends. I’ve recently started dealing with the whole mess by pretending that the bangs already don’t exist, and the result is a cascading achievement of blah. ENTER THIS PRODUCT.

 

It really is a miracle.

It really is a miracle.

 

I’d been stalking it for some time, but its price tag had deterred me… until I saw it on sale at Target last week. It was still expensive, but I felt less guilty springing for it when it was $4.00 off (and I got the small size – 4 fl. oz). Turns out, it’s totally the miracle product it claims to be, so it’s worth the expense, as far as I’m concerned. See how shiny, soft and tame my hair looks in the above picture? That’s because of this stuff. That’s all I put in my hair after I washed it that day, and I didn’t do anything to it after that… it’s air-dried and uncombed. Seriously.

9). Movies about Formula 1 racing.

 

thatasianlookingchick_com-Movies-F1300

 

10). This Matt & Nat bag I unearthed from a pile in a thrift store for $9.00, a rare find.

 

It's large, in perfect condition and probably originally cost between $150.00-$200.00. I thrifted it for $9.00!

It’s large, in perfect condition and probably originally cost between $150.00-$200.00. I thrifted it for $9.00!

 

What are you crazy about right now?

—–

*Since I posted about our Pretty Little Liars addiction, we’ve lost interest in that show! Writing about it broke the spell, oddly enough.

Oh My Darling Clementine!

We celebrated New Year’s Eve glazed over the Champs-Elysées celebrations on T.V. (and some impressive performances on the France 3 channel, Can-Can dancers and all), and I enjoyed a fresh clementine. Callaghan is not a fan of citrus fruit, so I talked a little bit about the clementine as he watched me peel it.

“See how this clementine’s skin is thin, and it’s tightly wrapped around the fruit?” I asked. He was watching me with keen interest.

“The next time you eat a clementine, give it to me. I will prepare it for you,” he said gravely.

“Okay. You’re so wonderful!”

“Because I want to do something to your clementine.”

I couldn’t resist snatching up my laptop so I could tap out what he’d said. My memory is a joke, plus I was laughing, so there was a good chance I might have forgotten it.

So we had a great New Year’s celebration.

Happy New Year, Everyone! Bonne Année 2013!

 

EDITED TO ADD: Callaghan just peeled a clementine for me, carefully, with a knife – and he made a matching set of clementine candles for me. So that was what he meant!