Nothing says fall quite like Banana Bread

I am in love with Banana Bread.  Its my f a v o r i t e!

For some reason it always reminds me of Fall and so I made a few loaves the other day to get me in the spirit of Autumn.  


This weekend I am on the hunt for my Pumpkin Yankee Candle (you just can't have the month of October without one) and have been pinning like crazy to my Autumn pintrest board for recipes and inspiration to make this tropical environment feel like a perfect Fall day.

perfect quote from one of my favorite female protagonist

Happy Weekend!


There is Good.

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but the full moon the other day had taken total control over south Florida.  It started in the morning, with one thing after the other.  More chaos then normal for a Wednesday.  Then by 3pm we had received news of a fatal car accident on the reservation, and someone had been airlifted out.  We passed the remnants of the accident on our way out of the office and it made my stomach turn.  One of the worst accidents I have ever seen.  My carpool drove a good chunk of the way home in silence, but then someone broke it, and the rest of the way home became a platform for everyone to complain about every single annoying thing at work.  I hate listening to those conversations.  By the time we got off the highway I was more than ready to get home.  But then we came to a complete stop and could see flashing lights ahead.  Another accident.  The full force of "Florida" drivers came out, honking, yelling, a flipping each other off as police made us go from 4 lanes down to 1.  Typical--perspective always goes out the window.  When we finally drove by the scene of the accident, my stomach turned again- this time an ambulance had rolled multiple times.  What was going on today?

When we finally and safely made it back to the carpool pickup spot, I got in my car and called Bobby to tell him I was on my way home.  He didn't sound like his usual self and I quickly asked what was wrong. "My wallet was stolen today".  sigh...

He had gone to the dry cleaners to pick something up and accidentally left it on the counter.  When he finally realized and called the store to check, it was no where to be found.  When I got home we double and triple checked our bank account, no unusual charges.  Around 9pm as I was about to head off to bed, I nagged Bobby one last time to make sure to cancel his card and order a new drivers license.  He told me he would wait until morning, just in case.  By then I was a bit moody and huffed down onto the couch, grabbing the laptop and looked up the website to order his new drivers license myself.  The local news headlines flashed before my eyes, showing me breaking news of a murder/hit and run that happened a few miles away earlier that evening.

I jumped as I heard loud banging on our front door.  It was 9:30-- who could that be?  We didn't answer, and they kept knocking.  I could hear Spanish on the other side of the door and couldn't even think what someone would want so late at night.  We heard them move on to our neighbor's door.  He answered and they spoke for almost 10 minutes.  My Spanish is "no bueno" so I had no idea what was going on.  Then they came back.  Knock knock knock.
Bobby ran to the door, now thinking something was very wrong.  He opened it and immediately an older lady yelled in a heavy accent, "What is your name!?"  I sat on the couch, wondering what was going on.

"Robert", he answered.

"I found your wallet!"  She had found his wallet at the dry cleaners.  When she opened it up to look for contact information, her friend recognized our address because she lived in our complex.  She and her friend made Bobby check his wallet to make sure nothing was missing.  He tried to offer them some money but they adamantly refused and were so happy that they were able to return it to him.  My heart almost burst as Bobby said good bye and thanked them profusely.  What an incredible act of kindness in a world where we can no longer rely on people being honest.

Its been one of the hardest adjustments living here.

As Bobby came and sat down on the couch next to me, we both smiled knowing our faith in humanity had been restored and we were also reminded of just how powerful a simple act of kindness can be. After a day of saddness, I knew that this was exactly what my heart needed. Something to remind me that even with all of the bad in our world, there is still good.


Something's in the Air

My sister told me the other day that back home was feeling a lot like Fall.  Cool mornings, golden afternoons.  The leaves are changing and you can just smell it in the air.  The seasonal transitions are much less obvious here in south Florida, but the other day there was something in the air.  Slightly lower temperatures and humidity made my heart swell and even though there aren't amber crisp leaves floating down from the shedding trees, I can tell something is changing!


Farfalle in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

As you know by now, cooking is my least favorite.  The time, the dishes, the stress of making something new.  No thanks.  That doesn't mean that I eat out every meal, but  I pretty much make the same things each week and if it takes more than 20 minutes its probably not getting made.  Poor Bobby.    However, this weekend I decided to try a new recipe--crazy right?  It was just a slight addition and adjustment to my standard pasta sauce.  And while I'm trying terribly hard to limit pasta in my diet, it was a delicious quick dinner :)

{recipe found on pinterest via }

 A rare site: 3 pots on the stove at one time!


Creamy Tomato Pasta- (with some slight adjustments to the original recipe)

For the tomato sauce:

1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (about 9 medium)-- 
I used one 24oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 small onion, finely diced- 
I usually cut a yellow onion in half and let one half simmer in the sauce, and then remove it at the end.
3 garlic cloves minced- 
Lots of garlic makes my stomach hurt so I used a very small spoonful of pre-minced garlic in a jar.
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
olive oil

For the alfredo sauce:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons flour
3/4 cup whole milk- 
I used 2% and it was fine!
1/4 cup half & half
2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed- 
Again used the pre-minced garlic, small spoonful
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 pound farfalle 
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  2. Start the tomato sauce. In a saucepan, add the can of crushed tomatoes, half of an onion, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add the basil at the very end.
  3. in a small saucepan, sweat the minced onion and garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  4. While the tomato sauce simmers, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook.
  5. While the pasta and tomato sauce are cooking, make the alfredo sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth and cook about 2 minutes, until brown.
  6. Whisk in the milk, half & half, and garlic and season with salt & pepper. Continuously whisking, bring to a simmer and cook about 2 minutes until thickened. 
  7. Whisk in the parmesan cheese. The sauce will be very thick, so add 1/3 cup of the hot pasta cooking water to the alfredo sauce to thin it out a bit. remove from heat.
  8. Drain the pasta and add to the alfredo sauce.
  9. Add the tomato sauce to the pasta. Mix well.


Fruit and Spice Park

Some snapshots from our trip to the Fruit and Spice Park a few weekends back.  It was nice to get out of the house and do some exploring outside of Miami!

 Calabash Fruit

Pineapple Plant
 Banana Tree
Victoria Water Lilies 

 The very large and pear shaped Jack Fruit from South Asia.  They grow all over the trunk and branches!
Sausage Tree from Africa


Conference Time

This week I have been in Fort Lauderdale for the Florida Association of Museum's Annual Conference (with a side visit to the Court House for jury duty...).  Conferences can be kind of exhausting but always make you feel reinvigorated and energized, wanting to get back to work and do great things!  I have been developing a session for many many months with some amazing museum professionals and today we presented.  I think it went very well and I was relieved to hear so many people say that they thought it was the best session they attended (why thank you!)  There's always a lot of pressure to give a good session.  You want people to be able to take something away and of course not be bored.  

awkward bathroom shot- about to head to my session! 

I always get very nervous before presentations.  Its just something that is out of my comfort zone.  I'd much rather listen and absorb then be the one speaking.  At many points in my life this has become crippling, leaving me with constant stomach aches, missing out on discussions and conversations, and having low self esteem.  But as I've written before, I've gradually pushed myself into situations like presenting at conferences, to help me overcome this and show myself that "hey, I can do that!"  Its not easy, but it has gotten easier.

My good friend Makenzie introduced me to this video the other day and if you have 20 minutes its worth your time.  It speaks on the idea of "power posing", a simple pose that can help boost your confidence and make you think "Yes I Can!"  And it suggests changing the idea of "faking it until you make it" to "faking it until you become it".  Needless to say, I was doing some power posing right before my presentation!

I'll be anxious to get the overall feedback from the Conference to see how our session went over.  For now, it is one giant task I can check off my to do list and tonight I think I will sleep a little easier :)


Fort Lauderdale, FL

Good morning Fort Lauderdale


$7 Art

I don't like to have empty walls in my house.  I love collecting art and photographs and being able to enjoy them, hanging all around me.  We've have this huge empty wall above our television and for over a year I couldn't find anything to put on that wall.  Everything I found was completely out of my price range because of the size I was looking for.  


I've always been fond of the more industrial/loft look (Restoration Hardware is my dream store) and have seen some cool examples of "unfinished" art i.e. non framed.  The idea started to grow on me and I thought if I could just find a print I loved then I could hang it using other non traditional methods without spending hundreds of dollars on a frame.  Then I saw the Pintrest pin floating around about how a woman went to Staples and was able to print a 3' x 4' black and white print for 7 dollars using their Engineering Prints.  Yes this is what I needed! 

Bobby and I headed off to Staples yesterday after finding a print we both really liked.  I didn't have any photos I had taken myself that I wanted to use so I started looking online.  I found this great website Unsplash that has beautiful high resolution images and all for free.

Staples printed it for me and as the lady was handing me my reciept she asked, "Did you get this idea from Pintrest?"  haha!

We just hung as is, not going through the hassle of framing or gluing to a giant piece of particle board.  I'm pretty pleased with the results!  And if one day I finally find the most perfect piece of art then I won't feel bad for taking this one down!

 We used the clear reinforcement labels to prevent any possible tears from the nail


Jury Duty.

Last weekend at the Fruit and Spice Park, Homestead FL

Work has taken up so much of my spare time the past week and on top of the crazy I am busy preparing for an upcoming conference next week.  At this point I'm asking myself why on earth I decided it would be a grand ol' idea to present and lead a session...yeah yeah something about professional something or other.  Then the worst of the worst happened.  I got selected for jury duty.  yuck.  10 years of luck finally wore out.  My jury duty date is of course the day before I present at my conference so I'm hoping that I can find just a little more luck to help me not get selected for a two day stint, making 8 months of planning all for not.

  Fingers crossed. 
Knock on wood.
Luckily my director has graciously offered to be my stand in, but I still can't shake the nervous feeling in my stomach.  I have to say, I feel like I am waiting for my fate to be decided on Tuesday.  I will at least get to enjoy some time with the upstanding citizens of southern Florida and this in and of itself will make me feel like I'm doing pretty well in my life.  I'm sure though I will be picked just because I do not do any of the following:

1.  drugs
2.  sell chickens, watermelons, or mangos out of the trunk of my car
3.  Sacrifice animals in my yard or practice Vodou 
4.  Own a confederate flag
5. Gone to jail

We'll see what happens.  Until then I'm just truckin' along.


Come On Ikea...

We drove, We arrived, We were conquered.

There is only one Ikea in South Florida and every single person was there today.  We didn't even make it inside because there was a 50 car line to get into the parking lot (I wish I was exaggerating!)  

umm, no thanks.

30 Rock, you know how I feel :)

I guess my hunt for a new bed will have to be put on hold until I can mange to not go on a weekend!