Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ouchless Giving

As 2008 rolls to a close, I've been thinking about what I've done for myself and what I've done for others. I think this year I have donated to charities more than I have done before (which isn't saying much), but giving money isn't the only way to help out, especially if you're experience hard times economically. The Ideal Bite had a great tip on being charitable without giving money. Options include Free Rice (now with options other than vocab) among other charitable organizations. If you've got a couple of free minutes, take a look at the list and click away!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Tomorrow is my dad's birthday. As I am the only child living close to my parents now (my sister and brother are in Uni in various cities), I will have the privilege of attending a Madrigal dinner with my parents tonight as part of his birthday gift.

I'm not really sure what a Madrigal dinner entails. (although with my minimal googling skills, I did find the website) We have to be there at 7 tonight for a Wassail Reception. I'm not quite sure what wassail is, even though I know the carol "Here we are a wassailing". I guess I'll be learning some new things tonight!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Though I'm happy to be home in the states a year and a half after leaving Prague, I miss living in Europe for a variety of reasons:

I miss Christmas markets with gift and food vendors and Svařak and Glühwein.

Old Town Square in Prague

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Dresden Christmas Market

I miss good friends and times of celebration.

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I even miss the Christmas carp (Kapri) vendors. A tiny bit.

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Christmas 2006 001

I'm super excited to visit Prague and my good friends in February.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mid-America Oireachtas 2008

Oireachtas 08 007
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
You're looking at the 2008 Mid-America Regional Champions in the adult ceili competition! We worked hard for this, and it finally paid off :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cocktails and Cumbia

Cocktails and Cumbia is a great event that Studio Zumba Ohio puts on for its patrons. It's a girls night out with wine tastings, food, friends, and of course, lots of zumba. There's an all male instructor-led class, demonstrations and instruction from specialists (belly dancing from Hanife and samba from Renata), and lots of laughter. The last Cocktails and Cumbia was held on 15 November 2008. I'm so happy I was able to go!

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Gabriel Piriz, leading a class.

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The male instructors following Hanife's belly dance lesson.

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More belly dancing

Monday, November 17, 2008

Steamy Kitchen

Jaden of the Steamy Kitchen does wonderful things with modern Asian cooking. I love reading her posts (and now do so on a regular basis once I figured out RSS feeds!), but have yet to try any of her recipes. This will change in the future - I need to plan ahead and block out time in my busy schedule. She did a great post on honing your kitchen knives to keep them in top shape. This post will definitely come in handy. She's also doing an awesome giveaway - three knives from New West Knifeworks.

I want these knives. They are gorgeous. I'm gonna have to start saving for some of them.

Make sure you check out the Steamy Kitchen for a chance to win one of the knives, and stick around for Jaden's recipes!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


This is a very interesting and informative quiz on what 100-calorie snacks actually look like. It's also really helpful if you want to pack your own 100-calorie snacks instead of shelling out $$ for pre-packaged stuff.

Thanks, Women's Health Magazine!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kitchen Experiment Part Deux

pacman cupcakes
Originally uploaded by hello naomi
After my failed experiment yesterday of pumpkin soup, I tried roasting the pumpkin seeds I had retrieved (quite messily) from the two little pumpkins. I used a recipe found on one of my fave food blogs, Simply Recipes. While the roasted seeds came out tasty, the experiment was a semi-failure because I did not keep a close eye on the oven (which is wonky anyway) and half the seeds burned. :(

One of my other fave food blogs, Cake Wrecks, usually shows cakes that are wrecks, as the title says. On Sundays, though, Jen showcases the outstanding works of art a talented cake decorator can create. This week, she linked to these awesome cupcakes by Hello Naomi on Flickr. If only I had that talent - these are wonderful!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Kitchen Experiment

I tried a new recipe today. I've recently discovered my love of Thai food. Almost every Saturday I go to the 2nd Street Market downtown after a morning of Zumba for lunch or breakfast if I make it early enough, and order from The Little Thai House. I usually go for their Red Curry Chicken (it's divine), but this morning I had an omlette with vegetables which was oh, so yummy.

Since I've been in the mood for Thai food, I decided to try a recipe I found for Thai-spiced Pumpkin soup. I bought small pumpkins from the market, hunted down red curry paste, and roasted my pumpkins today. They were great fresh from the oven (I couldn't resist a little taste), but my soup is not so tasty. Maybe it's too thick, maybe I should have added more red curry paste, maybe I just don't like the combination of pumpkin, coconut milk, and red curry. Whatever the case may be, I have made an important discovery: Not every kitchen experiment turns out the way you anticipate. Even with this setback, I don't think I'm done experimenting in the kitchen just yet.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NBC is back!

Yay! We will have our local NBC affliate back on air soon, after almost a month off due to contract negotiations (or fighting, if you will). This makes me happy :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Vienna 030
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the changing of the temperature from Indian Summer to the crispness of Fall. The leaves change color and start to fall to the ground, there is a crunch of leaves when you walk, and the air starts to cool.

Fall has sped past me this year - I haven't taken the time to enjoy it, and snow is starting to threaten. I need to take some time this weekend to enjoy the little bit of Fall left before Winter takes over completely.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Clarity Noelle

Charity Noelle
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
Congrats to new parents Jen and Nate (for the third time)! Clarity Noelle is beautiful!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Musical Weekend

Scythian 002
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
I had a very musical weekend. Friday night I met up with some friends to see Scythian, one of the headliners from the 2008 Dayton Celtic Festival. They were great this year on the big stage, playing to a massive crowd, so I wondered about their ability to translate to a smaller, more intimate crowd. I didn't need to worry, because they were great! They guys were lots of fun, interacting with the crowd both before and after their sets. They put on a very entertaining show.

Scythian 007

Saturday night I went to Covington to meet up with my sister to see her boyfriend play in the house band at a restaurant in the Main Strasse area called Dee Felice. The restaurant is New Orlean's themed, and the band plays big band and jazz music, as well as a few New Orlean's staples. My sister's boyfriend was the youngest guy in the band by at least 40 years. We had a great time listening to the band and eating great food. I had the Blackend Sea Scallops, which were wonderful and a nice glass of red wine to complement the meal.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Iced Coffee Weather?

Is it iced coffee weather where you live?

Sadly, when I tried out my old zip in Prague, I got an "Eh?". Apparently this only works for US zip codes.

In my neck of the woods, it is a definite "NO". I quite agree.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Carole King

Carole King 007
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
First off, the power came on Sunday afternoon, one week after it went off. Hooray!

Monday night, I attended a Carole King concert with my mom, aunts, two cousins, and one of my mom's good friends. It was a fun girls night out, although I worked late so I barely made it on time.

We sat up in the balcony, so the photos are kind of blurry (plus, we weren't actually supposed to be taking them anyway).

I have loved Carole King's music for a long long time. My mom is a huge fan, so I grew up listening to "Tapestry" on vinyl. When I was in the first grade, my school put on a production of "Really Rosie", which Carole did the music for. Even when I was in college, listening to "Tapestry" and belting out "I Feel the Earth Move" on the drive to Athens with my mom was a huge tradition.

Needless to say, I was very excited.

Carole was excellent. She put on a great show, including old favorites and some new songs. She rocked out on guitar and tickled the ivories. She laughed, joked, and kept everyone thoroughly entertained. What an experience.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One of the last

We are going on 4 days without power now.

It sucks. We are fortunate enough to have water (and even hot water!), so showering is not an issue, although it is kind of tricky in the dark.

In the big picture, we are lucky. We have friends who kindly took in our perishables, we have a surplus of propane camping lanterns and headlamps so that we can get around comfortably, we are back at work, and we have some great weather right now. We are not flooded, as are the Hurricane victims in Galveston. We are mildly inconvenienced.

It still sucks, though. Word is power should be restored by the weekend. I think we will be one of the last to get it back.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Remnants of Ike

Ike 001
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
You wouldn't think that Hurricane Ike would hit Ohio, being that we border Canada, and it hit Texas pretty hard, but you would be wrong. We didn't get any rain (at least in my part of SW Ohio), but we did get the worst windstorm in 20 years. Trees are down all over. This is one of my neighbor's houses. My office actually closed, so I'm at Panera checking my email and such, because we are one of the 300,000 in the area without power. Our power went out Sunday around 2:30. It was an interesting night. I'm happy that my dad is such an outdoorsman, because we had good lighting with all the Coleman camping lamps we have.

We didn't have any trees down, but a big limb did come down and hit my dad's car. Fortunately, there was minimal damage--a dent, but nothing serious.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Greek Festival

Greek Festival 001
Originally uploaded by elizabethw

Last weekend, my sister came up from Cinci. We all went to the Greek Festival on Saturday night, and had a good time. We ate Trigonia (spinach and cheese!), gyros, and Greek veggie pizza (from Dominos). We drank greek coffee and beer. We met up with my aunts and cousins, and got to watch the kids dancing. We even toured the Greek Orthodox Church! It is beautiful. It reminded me a bit of St. Vitus's Cathedral in Prague--very ornate with beautiful stained glass. My dad said it reminded him of the Church of the Infant of Prague. It makes me nostalgic--and excited to go back for a visit in February.

These pictures aren't of the best quality because I took them with my cell phone camera.

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It's officially festival season in Southwest Ohio. This weekend we have the taste of the Miami Valley and Urban nights downtown, and I intend to take full advantage of them. I may try to get out to the Renaissance festival on Sunday.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Originally uploaded by poco++
This is too cute! I'm sure one could make a very funny LOL cat with this photo, but I don't have the creativity to do so.

I love kittens.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Grant 001
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
My cousin and his wife welcomed their third child last Friday. His name is Grant Alan, and he is too cute!

It seems to be the time for babies, as my friends the Syvertsens are expecting a baby in March. I'm so excited for them and this addition to their family.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mystery Plant

Mystery Plant 001
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
The mystery plant is a mystery no more! It has produced at least 8 zucchini, with more to come. I'll have to find a good zucchini bread recipe.

In other gardening news, I am overrun with tomatoes. This is my favorite time of year for produce, because everything tastes so good! I'll never look at a store-bought tomato the same way--they taste like sawdust.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


That's 10, baby!

Trials of TV Programming

Michael Phelps
Originally uploaded by
This wonderful picture of Michael Phelps was taken by Natalie Behring, a photographer based in China.

He looks great, doesn't he? Well on his quest for 8 gold medals this Olympics.

Unfortunately for me, I have managed to miss all three of his races so far this Olympics. Why am I always missing the swimming? Why? I think some of it has to do with my expectations of what NBC's coverage is, and the actual reality. Take Sunday morning. I got up at the obscene hour of 6:30 in the morning to watch the US Mens soccer game against the Netherlands, because Saturday night the announcer said "Coverage starts at 6:30 tomorrow morning." The game didn't actually start until after 7, and then it wasn't on MSNBC as advertised in their info blurb. I watched Italy v South Korea on the tv and the US v Netherlands game on the internet.

No wonder I have missed Michael Phelps! I'm gonna have to research the times for the rest of the sports I want to catch (womens gymnastics - yes, badminton - no) so I will actually see them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Nationals 08 017
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
Last month, I went to Nashville for the North American National Championships for Irish Dance. It was held in the Opryland resort, and the day after my team danced, we wandered around the hotel. We discovered this leafy street performer, and my friend's kids had a great time watching her be plant like and twine around the pole here.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Disappointing Start

The official start to the Olympics is Friday night with the opening ceremonies, but the games have already begun. This morning the women's soccer rotation started, and I watched most of the first half of the US v Norway game. We're down a great offensive asset, Abby Wambach, who broke her leg last month in a friendly game against Brazil, and it showed. The team was not settled at all, resulting in a 2-0 loss to Norway, who scored both goals in the first few minutes of the game. I wasn't able to catch the rest of the game, so hopefully we played better than the first half. This team better ground themselves and dig in to make a comeback so they can defend their gold medal from Athens.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


It's been a busy few weeks since I last posted. In that amount of time I have managed to:
-Go to Nashville for the North American National Championships for Irish Dance (my team placed 3rd and many of our youth soloists placed)
-Take lots of pictures and promptly lose my camera battery charger--this is bad because my battery is dead and I can't take the pictures off my camera
-Discover the huge mystery gourd/melon vine growing in the compost heap
-Finally work in the garden after neglecting it for almost a month
-Work like crazy to make up the holiday weekend
-Zumba like it is out of style
-Dogsit for my favorite St. Bernard (Ruby) and Newfoundland (Harry)
-Visit briefly with my best friend on her birthday before she went back to Minnesota
-Paint the waiting area at the Celtic Academy

This week is proving to be very busy as well. This weekend is the Celtic Festival (and Friday is my bday!). I'll be teaching Irish social dancing on Friday, performing on Saturday, and working as volunteer on Sunday. This in addition to working like a fool and trying to fit the rest of my regularly scheduled activities in. I think I'm not going to make my softball game tomorrow,but I better make it home in time to watch So You Think You Can Dance! Plus, I have family members and friends celebrating birthdays as well in the next week or so, so I'll be shopping for cards whenever I get a chance.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Old Dog. New Tricks.

For some people, packing for a trip is an art form. Clothing is chosen with care and placed in a suitcase precisely, toiletries are in the correct ziplock-type bags to prevent spillage, etc. For me, packing for a trip has been a study in procrastination. I leave everything to the last minute. Case in point, when moving to Prague to teach, I left off packing until the night before. I ended up with way more stuff than I needed, and it was jumbled together in my suitcases in a tangle of clothes, shoes, and other miscellaneous junk. You would have thought I would have learned from my past mistakes and started culling the things to be packed for my return journey to the states last year in plenty of time to fit everything I needed into two suitcases and been able to ship the rest. Not so much. I crammed as much as I could into two suitcases, boxed up some stuff to ship home, and left the rest while I went out with my roommates and friends to drink more than I should have with an international flight the next day. I ended up having to pay a fee because my suitcases were over the weight limit for the domestic flight from New York to Ohio.

It's a year later, almost to the date, and I have a trip coming up. It's not so big as a trans-Atlantic move, and I'm not flying--I'm driving to Nashville for the North American National Championships for Irish Dance. I leave Thursday morning, and wonder of wonders, I started packing my suitcase last night. This old dog has learned a new trick.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Welcome to the World

Monday morning, Kaden Allen entered the world. I'd like to congratulate mom Lori, dad Chad, and big brother Kegan!

Opposites attract

More meaningful posts later, but watching giant Kournti learn foxtrot from shorty Jean Marc Generaux was the funniest thing I've seen in a while.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

June 12 of 12

I had a late start to this month's 12 of 12, because I forgot it was 12 of 12 day until almost 4 pm. Luckily, I had my camera in my purse. Better late than never!

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3:45-ish I had a caffeine craving and got an iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks.

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4:00 pm: I must have had caramel on the brain. Recipes like David Lebovitz's make me want to get an ice cream maker.

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7:30 pm: Walking to my car after a 1 hour zumba class. I've been going to classes at least 3x per week, I'm addicted!

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7:35 pm: My dinky softball glove from almost 14 years ago. I recently joined a social softball team. I think I need to get a bigger glove--this on is a little small.

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7:45 pm: A bird in my yard.

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7:45 pm: Citronella lamps on the back porch. It gets very buggy in my neighborhood due to a semi-wetland at the bottom of the hill behind our house.

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8:00 pm: My avocado treelings have grown quite a bit since I started them from seeds in January. I'm quite proud of them, even though I'm pretty minimal when it comes to gardening. My thumb has a hint of green.

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8:05 pm: I became certified as a zumba instructor almost a month ago. It was mostly for my own benefit--to understand a bit more of the choreography and movement involved. I became part of the zumba instructors network (ZIN) and my new choreography dvd & accompanying music came in the mail today. I'm so excited, I can't wait to try it out!

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8:10 pm: The crazy out of control rose bush in front of the house.

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8:15 pm: One of my cucumber plants. Soon I'll have cucumbers instead of flowers.

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8:20 pm: Silly puppies ready to go inside.

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8:40 pm: Andy shamelessly begging for table food.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

You have what tattooed where?

I've been busy lately, and haven't been keeping up with posting. I wanted to share, however, this compilation of tattoos of celebrity faces I found on Entertainment Weekly. The things people do to their bodies boggles the mind!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Steven Colbert, how I love thee . . .

let me count the ways:

-Is upset he is lower on Time's list of influential entertainers
-Challenges him to a dance off, as evidenced below:

Land of the Rising Sun

My brother is on his way to Japan for a couple of weeks. He is set to arrive tomorrow afternoon around 3:30. Please keep him in your thoughts for smooth and safe travel!


Spring 08 001
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
I love springtime. My neighborhood is full of these redbud trees. They're so beautiful when they're blooming!

Laura--you can see the progress of my avocado treelings here. They're still going strong!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It's wedding season!

Wedding 006
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
Saturday was the wedding of my friends Kat and Zak.

Kat and I met in 2005 when I started dancing again with the Celtic Academy. She and Zak met shortly thereafter, and the rest as they say is "history". Unbeknownst to me (for a short while) Zak and I actually attended high school together. We're the same age, but he graduated a year behind me. Even so, many of his friends are people I graduated with. It was very nostalgic at the wedding and reception, seeing people I hadn't seen since graduation.

Kat made a beautiful bride, and Zak was a handsome groom. I wish them the best!

More (poorly taken) photos are availabe at my flickr page--see the sidebar for the link.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Avocado 004

Avocado 004
Originally uploaded by elizabethw
I've been doing some planting recently--I have zucchini and watermelon seedlings in peat pots, and bell pepper plants that I started way too late to actually get in the ground. I've also been nurturing these avocado seeds since January. It's an experiment--I read about growing avocado trees from seeds on You Grow Girl and wanted to try it for myself. I'm not too sure on the whole growing a tropical plant in Ohio thing, but it's fun to see the seedlings progress. This is from early April--both sprouts are much taller now. I'll have to take more photos for documentation purposes and post sometime this week. I think my thumb is turning greenish!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friends, Good Food, Good Times

I flew to Minnesota yesterday morning to visit my bff Amber and her husband Adam while her school is on Spring Break. After getting up at an obscene hour to catch my early early flight, I flew into Minneapolis/St. Paul. It snowed yesterday, and we decided to say stay in town at the Mall of America. It was such a trial ;) Amber and I got to spend some quality girl time shopping and stocking up on cosmetics and such from Sephora and Lush while we banished Adam. We finally got back to Rochester in the evening after the roads had been cleared and had dinner a Hu Han, a Mongolian grill.

Today we had a lazy morning followed by more shopping and a wonderful dinner at a nice restaurant in town, Prescotts. We will be gathering with a group of their friends for Easter dinner tomorrow, and I will be returning home on Monday afternoon. I would post pictures, but I have yet to take any. Maybe I will rectify that tomorrow.

Happy Easter, friends!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Wish I had moves like those . . .

I started watch America's Best Dance Crew (ostensibly Randy Jackson's ABDC, but alas he is nowhere to be found) a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately for me, I came in late to the competition, but what I've seen has been amazing. AND! It's hosted by AC Slater. (I sense a theme for SBTB alums: hosting reality dance shows.)

Anywho. One of the teams is from Kokomo, Indiana. Being that we're practically neighbors and all, I'd have to support them. The thing that's amazing though, is that they dance while on roller skates. It sounds goofy, I know, but it's really breathtaking. Last week the challenge for all the teams was to recreate in their own style some of Michael Jackson's iconic dance moves, while dancing to a song from the Thriller album which celebrated it's 25th anniversary. Breaksk8 chose "Beat It." Check it out for yourself:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March 12 of 12

It's March 12, time for another 12 of 12. 12 of 12 is Chad Darnell's baby. You can check out what other 12 of 12ers have photographed here. I had a busy day, workwise, but I managed to take 12 photos.

7:55 am: Letting my dogs out in the backyard before I leave for work.

7:55 am: Our patio. On the left you can see remnants of the 10 inches of snow we got last Friday and Saturday.

8:00 am: My avocado seeds, previously suspended in mason jars full of water.

8:45 am: I was running late for work this morning, so I ate breakfast at my desk. I had Yoplait Blackberry Pomegranate yogurt with Cracklin' Oat Bran mixed in and my ever-present Diet Pepsi.

11:30 am: One other downfall of running late this morning was that I did not get a chance to make my lunch. I had Chik-Fil-A instead.

11:45 am: I also made a Target run on my lunch hour. I was so happy to see a new (to me, at least!) Method cleaning product. I like this brand because it is environmentally-friendly and biodegradable. I also picked up some cards for friends, as there have been two births and there is a bridal shower on Sunday afternoon.

5:50 pm: Changing my shoes before heading off to zumba. My sneakers are much more comfortable than my work shoes!

6:20 pm: The entrance to Studio Zumba. I've become a zumba addict! I attend anywhere between 3-6 classes per week.

7:45 pm: Dinner of stir fried veggies and brown rice, followed by a pita with spicy hummus. Yum!

8:00 pm: My younger brother and I took the dogs for a walk before his Spring break is up and he returns to the University of Kentucky. It was nice to spend some one-on-one time with him.

8:40 pm: Unloading my trunk. In it you can see salt to weigh down the back for better traction in winter weather, a fan that is too big for my desk at work, a donated mobile phone with no charger, and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

8:45 pm: My brother demonstrating a new kata he is learning in order to progress in the Genwakai style of karate. He is a 1st level black belt and hopes to continue to move up .

That's it for me! Hope you had a great March 12th!