Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend Update: Olympic Edition

Happy Monday and Happy Olympics!  We spent a good portion of the weekend watching the games & cheering on Team USA.  Matt and I have been talking about how it's pretty amazing that our conflicted world comes together every Olympics and participates in these wholesome, brimming-with-ancient-tradition games.  Sappy, I know.  And speaking of ancient tradition, I love how Greece goes first in the opening ceremony procession!

After working long days on Friday, we hunkered down on the couch to watch the opening ceremonies, and then spent Saturday at a brewhouse up in Santa Rosa watching the games with Matt's son Jasper, who was excited that he got to watch the Olympics on one tv and the Giants' game on the other!

On Sunday, we met up with my good friend Tara (we went to college together in New Orleans and both ended up in San Francisco) for a late lunch at Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, where I cheated massively on my diet by eating this eggs benedict-esque concoction with gouda cheese, mashed avocado, grilled tomato, poached eggs, and hollandaise on an English muffin.  Man oh man.  Gotta say: it was worth it. And it's always so good to see old friends.  Tara and I don't hang out nearly enough, given our proximity.  Life is so busy!

Last night we watched swimming and gymnastics as I called and texted with Marianne, the world's biggest Olympic (and Ryan Lochte) fan.  This morning, I found this in my inbox, courtesy of Marianne:

American flag grill?  Ohhhhhhhh Ryan.  Isn't the gold around your neck enough bling? 

Did you spend the weekend watching the Olympics?  Who's your fave?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Favorites

I can't believe it's Friday again.  This week has been a little bit ruthless, with various hailstorms of stress including but not limited to: our roommate moving out (& therefore searching for a new one . . . or a new apartment), this emotionally draining writing workshop I've been teaching (plus a myriad of other work), a stress-induced temper fit on my part, and yet another court date with a certain vengeful ex of my boyfriend's.  Not to mention, I'm in the midst of a no-health-insurance period (it won't kick in until the fall with my new job), which makes me nervous.  Ay, life.  Thank God for the good things (and people), right?

In order to keep afloat this week, I've tried to focus on some of these awesome things, in no particular order:

My friend Lesley posted the recipe the other day on her blog, and I made it immediately with just a few alterations:

*I used veggie instead of chicken stock (and a little more than she suggested)
*I doubled the amount of minced garlic
*I used vegan Earth Balance instead of butter (cause that's what I had in my fridge)

And they were so good that I made them again the very next day.  This means a lot coming from me, cause cauliflower is like my least favorite vegetable.  But these seriously taste like mashed potatoes!

Have I mentioned how much I love this show?  I got into it sometime last summer, and I think I've seen every episode.  Basically, the trainer, Chris Powell, takes on one "super-obese" client and spends an entire year on his/her transformation (diet and exercise).  The results are astounding--these people lose over half their body weight!  I couldn't find any before & after pics that do it justice, so you'll just have to watch for yourselves. :)

*p.s. as an added bonus, this show always puts me in the mood to run/workout 

I'm lusting over these Zara wedges right now and, dangerously, they're on sale.  I haven't decided yet if I'm going to let myself indulge . . . but they sure are stuck on the brain.  Aren't they cute?  And it doesn't even matter that summer's more than halfway over, cause these shoes are wearable in San Francisco almost all year round. ;)

I'm off to try to set my DVR to record the Olympics, but tell me: what are you loving this week?

(link up with Lindsey here!)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Just Checking In

This is what my dining room table looks like right now:

I'm deep in an editing haze, as the kids in my writing workshop have final drafts of their personal narratives due next Monday.  This has been consuming me, as not only is it labor-intensive work, but the stories are all really painful.  They're writing about their parents' incarceration, but unfortunately, when parents are incarcerated, a lot of other horrific factors come into play.  Most of these stories include tales of abuse, neglect, homelessness, hunger, etc . . . and I'm not sure I've been dealing with the stress of it all very well.

They're presenting their stories a week from Wednesday, and my life will resume some normalcy.  All these kids will forever be in my heart, though.  Their lives have been so unfair.

Hope your weeks are going well, and I'll (hopefully) be back tomorrow!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Update

Happy Monday!  Hope everyone had a great weekend.  I spent mine with some of my favorite people, sipped on delicious wine, and ate red velvet cake, so no complaints here.

My sister's been in town for work, so on Thursday, I joined her (and her company) at a cocktail party at Foreign Cinema.  Mailchimp knows how to throw down--we were in a gallery with an open bar and attentive servers refilling glasses--my kinda party!  Plus, I met the most darling host.  He was probably in his 70's, wearing a very formal suit and tie, and told me that he drives from Walnut Creek (an hour away) on Thursday and Friday evenings to host.  I helped him shell beans for a while, which took me right back to my childhood on my mama's front porch.

In any case, I came home from work on Friday exhausted after a looooooong week, so I didn't really do anything but sit around bleary-eyed watching tv with Matt.  But on Saturday, with sister in tow, we headed over to the Freitags' for a belated birthday celebration for Matt.  Milo and Jude were very excited to present him with his cake:

JJ cooked an incredible dinner on the grill, and we sat outside watching the sun set over Mount Tam--one of the best ways to spend a Saturday evening, if you ask me.  It's so nice to have so many people you love in one place. ♥ ♥

See what I mean?

Unfortunately, Kate and I did not do a good job of taking pictures together, and I came up short with only this super blurry, grainy picture of the two of us.  Good thing I'll be home in Georgia in August so we can remedy that!

Real photographers, avert your eyes!

Matt and I spent Sunday with Jasper: grilling out, being lazy, jewerly-making.  But after we returned him to his mama's house, we had a big event to prepare for.  I'm talkin' bout the BACHELORETTE FINALE, ladies & gentleman.  Can we say major upset?!?!  Matt and I went to our friends' Diana and Adam's house for the most-dramatic-(non)-rose-ceremony-in-Bachelor-history, where we shared amazing Jewish-Mediterranean food, lots of laughs, and collective shock over Emily's final choice.

I mean, whaaaaaaaat?  Who would've thought?  Matt live tweeted the whole event, which was pretty hilarious if I do say so myself.

What was everyone else up to this weekend?  Tell me tell me tell me!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Favorites

A moment to sit down and write, at last!  This week has been nonstop, but that makes me appreciate the still moments even more.  I am so happy to see Friday!

Here are some of my current faves:

I ordered this bracelet on sale at Free People and although it hasn't arrived on my doorstep yet, I'm already in love with it!  I'm smitten with mixed metals (and pretty much everything Free People makes).  As a bonus, it was really inexpensive!  I haven't bought anything for myself in a while, but I decided that after this past week, I deserved a little present.

Dear God, please let Emily choose Arie, cause Jef and his bouffant are a little ridic.  Plus, Arie's way hotter.  And I'm not just saying that because I happen to have unearthed his mug shot (pictured above). Evidently, homeboy's been arrested twice for driving without a license and no valid registration.  Which doesn't exactly make him a bad ass . . . but at least he has a mugshot.  I'm certain that qualifies as the "edginess" Emily's looking for.  Ha!  *p.s. if you've read spoilers, please don't tell me!  I read them last season and seriously regretted it.

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, go out and buy these immediately!  Matt brought them home for me the other day (after I had passed them up at TJ's but yammered on and on about how much I wanted them) and I was both ecstatic and frustrated at the same time.  I'm counting calories, yo! But I "budgeted" one of these bad boys into my calorie allotment the other day and now I can't stop thinking about the three left in the box.  They are every bit as good as they sound/look.  I'm basically willing to starve myself so that I can eat these.  ;)

So that's it for the week.  What are your current faves?  Link up with my girl Lindsey and let me know!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Not Quite Coming up for Air Yet . . .

This has been one of my busiest weeks to date.  We're in the midst of the Voice of Witness Education Program's annual teacher training, and it's been a blast helping a fantastic group of educators learn how to do oral history.  Furthermore, I'm halfway through the writing workshop I've been teaching, and ohhhhh man have those kids come up with some powerful, heartbreaking stories.  Somehow, I had to edit 12 stories between 7 pm on Tuesday and 8:30 am on Wednesday.

Lastly, my sister's in town!  She works for Mailchimp and is here meeting with clients.  She's got a pretty rad job that involves hip cocktail parties & car services.  As someone who has never worked outside the nonprofit world . . . I can only imagine. ;)

I'm missing all your blogs (and writing mine!), but I'll be back tomorrow with some Friday Faves a la The Bargain Blonde.  Hope you're all having a wonderful (and less chaotic than me) week!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I never thought I'd date a Cancer . . .

but alas, I fell in love with one, and what's a girl to do? ;)

Happiest birthday to the man who cracks me up every day, frustrates me, pours me wine, challenges me, puts air in my tires, watches The Bachelorette with me, occasionally makes me want to pull my hair out, and ultimately makes me sooooooo happy!

May this coming year be the best yet.

When I asked Matt what he wanted to do for his birthday, my adorably romantic man suggested we go out to dinner here, the site of our first date (back in 2008).  I'm excited!

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's Time for a Suri Cruise Update

In the wake of her parents' divorce announcement, I've been thinking about my favorite celebritot.  Actually, I might need to change up my terminology cause homegirl is 6 now!  Here's what Suri's saying about it:

Official Statement:
Please respect my privacy during this difficult time. (Just mine though — everyone else is fair game.)
I will be vacationing in the Cayman Islands for the Independence Day holiday with my financier, and going over my plans to seek sole custody of myself.
I appreciate the concern and the warm wishes.

Poor thing.  The good news is that although when the story first broke, headlines were saying that Katie was seeking full custody, apparently Katie and Tom have reached a very civil agreement that will involve them working together and will be best for Suri (I read a story here).  Tom may have a few loose scientological screws, but . . . he's her daddy.

This issue is actually kinda personal--not only due to my undying love for Suri (if you need to be reminded how beautiful she was as a baby, click here), but because Matt's had to deal with this with his daughter, and it has been pretty devastating.  I can't understand why any mother would want to prevent her child from having a relationship with the child's father (unless the father was dangerous, of course).  Kids do so much better when they have loving relationships with both parents.  No matter how angry you are, shouldn't you ultimately want what's best for your child, and put her best interest above your own?  I think that's the essence of parenting.  Please send positive thoughts toward us--Matt has a court date tomorrow.  

What did you do this weekend?  I spent two whole days laying by the pool, and now I'm sporting an awesome burn-tan. ;)

*picture and caption from Suri's Burn Book

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Favorites: Gettin' Healthy Edition

I tend to be a pretty extreme person: I make decisions quickly and don't really do anything halfway.  So at some point on Wednesday night, while watching Snooki & JWOWW with Matt on the couch, I decided that it's time to jump back on the calorie-counting train.  I've been putting it off, making excuses, and trying to convince myself that I can eat really well without writing down what I eat.  But, that's a big fat lie & I know it.  When I don't hold myself accountable, I mindlessly eat the chocolate covered edamame that Matt brought me the other night, drink as much wine as I want to, and justify unhealthy foods when they're readily available.

And so, I've reunited with myfitnesspal.  Any of you on there?  Find me (clairekiefer)!

One of the things I like most about that app/site is that not only does it track my calories and exercise, but it lets me know the breakdown of what I'm eating in general: protein, sugar, carbs, etc.  It's helpful to know when I'm getting too much sugar/too little protein (pretty much always) so that I can try to make adjustments.

Recently, I've had two miserable experiences trying on bathing suits.  That, combined with my obsession with Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, has compelled me to get serious about healthy food (and a little more regular with exercise).  So here are some faves:

Healthy Foods:

veggie tacos, big salads, beans of any kind, roasted veggies

These are some of my go-to faves.  I eat Ezekiel bread often in the mornings, but have never tried the Ezekiel tortillas that my fitness buddy Lindsey has talked about.  They're on my shopping list! It's pretty easy to stuff healthy tortillas with fresh veggies & whole beans, and tacos make me feel like I'm not on a diet. :)  Salads are always a standby for me, having been a vegetarian most of my life.  Beans are my "meat," so to speak: full of protein and filling.  And I never get tired of oven-roasted veggies.  So many different possible combinations, and I know this is weird, but I like to eat them with cottage cheese.


running, 30 Day Shred, leg strengthening, stretching

These are my "favorites" as far as exercise.  I've been trying to alternate running & 30 Day Shredding, but on days when I'm more mellow/don't have time for those, I rely on stretching my muscles and doing some simple leg conditioning (squats, lunges, etc.).  As usual, I simultaneously love & hate Jillian Michaels.  

Since I'm in need of inspiration, tell me: what are your favorite healthy foods and exercises?  Inevitably, I'll get bored with my routines & need to try something new.

link up with my girl Lindsey here

(images found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Yo, Is This Racist?

The other day, my dear friend Diana alerted me to the funniest thing I've seen on the web since Suri's Burn Book.  See, I have an insomnia routine.  When I wake up, sleepless, in the middle of the night, I pick up my phone and in this order:

*check email
*look at instagram
*look at facebook
*look at twitter
*play Scramble with Friends

When I got to step 3, I saw that my friend Diana had posted a link to  Let's just say I willingly surrendered to insomnia, because that shit is FUNNY!  I spent over an hour reading the entries (people submit pretty ridiculous questions to this random guy, who answers them hilariously).  If you need a break or a laugh, click here now.

*Also, check out Yo Should I Dump This Asshole

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I posted this two years ago, because I read it every 4th of July--to myself and to my students.  Whatever your feelings, I just encourage people to think a little about this and every holiday.  What it means, of what do you make its history, etc.  In any case, happy day-off-from-corporate-America!

       David Baker

Yesterday a little girl got slapped to death by her daddy,
   out of work, alcoholic, and estranged two towns down river. 
America, it's hard to get your attention politely.
   America, the beautiful night is about to blow up

and the cop who brought the man down with a shot to the chops 
   is shaking hands, dribbling chaw across his sweaty shirt,
and pointing cars across the courthouse grass to park. 
   It's the Big One one more time, July the 4th,

our country's perfect holiday, so direct a metaphor for war, 
   we shoot off bombs, launch rockets from Drano cans,
spray the streets and neighbors' yards with the machine-gun crack 
   of fireworks, with rebel yells and beer. In short, we celebrate.

It's hard to believe. But so help the soul of Thomas Paine,
   the entire county must be here--the acned faces of neglect,
the halter-tops and ties, the bellies, badges, beehives,
   jacked-up cowboy boots, yes, the back-up singers of democracy

all gathered to brighten in unambiguous delight
   when we attack the calm and pointless sky. With terrifying vigor 
the whistle-stop across the river will lob its smaller arsenal
   halfway back again. Some may be moved to tears.

We'll clean up fast, drive home slow, and tomorrow
   get back to work, those of us with jobs, convicting the others 
in the back rooms of our courts and malls--yet what
   will be left of that one poor child, veteran of no war

but her family's own? The comfort of a welfare plot,
   a stalk of wilting prayers? Our fathers' dreams come true as nightmare.
So the first bomb blasts and echoes through the streets and shrubs:
   red, white, and blue sparks shower down, a plague

of patriotic bugs. Our thousand eyeballs burn aglow like punks. 
   America, I'd swear I don't believe in you, but here I am,
and here you are, and here we stand again, agape.

Keeping Organized?

Organization skills: probably my biggest deficit.  I really do think this kind of thing is ingrained in your biology or not.  Budgeting, filing, storing, calendering . . . none of this comes naturally to me.  However, I believe that organization skills can be learned, and this summer, I pretty much don't have a choice.

When I left my full-time job at the end of the school year, I was only working at my new job 15 hours a week.  Therefore, I had to set up several other jobs in order to make ends meet.  I'm still just working 20 hours a week at the new job until the fall, so here is what my summer looks like:

*working at Voice of Witness 20 hours/week (varying hours)
*teaching a writing workshop to teens of incarcerated parents 2x/week (plus planning hours)
*babysitting 3 times a week (2 different families)
*teaching at the prison 1x/week

All that plus my own poetry workshops, attempting to schedule social stuff, and keeping any kind of handle on bills, etc. (which um I don't have) means that I have a serious need for some organization tricks.

Check these things out.  Is your life anything like this?  I, for one, can only dream:

This may help, and it's printable 

Source: via Ahnika on Pinterest

Pretty damn cute.  And someone crafty could totally swing this.


I'm still working on this whole organizing thing.  I'm trying to utilize my google calendar more efficiently, I finally ordered one of these, and . . . well, I bought a shoe rack.  So that's a start, right? ;)

Do you have any scheduling/ organizing tips to share?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Magic Mike: Not Just Your Average Chick Flick

Well hot damn!  It's Sunday night after midnight, and Matt and I just got back from Magic Mike (I didn't even have to twist his arm).  Not only do I have a newfound love for Channing Tatum, but I'm seriously impressed with the way the movie was done.  Ladies: if your boyfriends/husbands/whatevers are refusing to go, thinking it's mere ladyporn . . . reassure them that Magic Mike is far more than just cheap, hot, girly entertainment . . . it's hilarious & clever & it will crack their asses up.

Admittedly, Matthew McConaughey's body is as perfect as they come.  And I still maintain that he has the second sexiest voice in all of Hollywood, second only to Tim Riggins.  But his character in Magic Mike?  Not sexy at all.  Smarmy, overly-tanned, greased-up, sleazy, and freakin' riotous.  

Our frozen yogurt + bookstore + Magic Mike date night was a perfect cap to the weekend.  Matt and I are both frequent victims of the Sunday blues.  But let me proclaim: Magic Mike is the perfect antidote.  

I spent way too much of Friday night stuck in outrageous bridge traffic (don't get me started on the time I've spent on SF bridges over the past 9 years), but made up for it on Saturday by going to a bbq in the city with some of my closest teacher pals (and Matt).  It's been so pretty here in the bay lately that I'm a little bit terrified by all the screenshots I've been seeing of Georgia weather (I'm going home to visit in August).  106 WHAT?!  I'm going to need an ice bath waiting for me upon my arrival.