The chief enemy of creativity... is "good" sense. ~Pablo Picasso

Rock the Globe with me!

"What would you say you do here?" 
~ Office Space

Well, if you ask my dad he'd probably just roll his eyes, my mom would smile and start telling you about all the tomatoes she's going to plant this summer and if you ask the spectators standing around the finish line at Rock n Roll Marathons... they'd probably tell you, I dance... a lot :)

According to the Meyers Briggs test I'm an ENFP - which in terms of a career path says I need to be with a lot of people doing different things all the time. 

Hmmm... I do have a pretty poor memory but I don't recall seeing my job on the list when I was in high school... So I did what I thought my father wanted me to... I majored in Political Science and as a junior in college I took the LSAT and prepared for my life as an attorney. Seeking Justice...Right? :)
The score came back as expected and the search for a law school began...but things changed, drastically, in my life that year and I shifted gears to avoid total catastrophe. My college counselor and I spent a few hours trying to figure out how to make my credits count towards a degree... even though I wanted to change my major... a little late in the game.  The next thing I knew I was writing stories and ready to tell the world of important current events on air... and really make a difference!

Unfortunately the allure of local news wasn't so alluring once I was in it...
Now what? I headed to California to visit my best friend and decided it was now or never to try my hand in television, of a different kind. I showed up at every office I'd sent a resume to, and after two days of defeat, desperation sunk in. The next receptionist wasn't going to watch this little midwestern girl go quietly when the usual "we'll call you" slipped from her mouth. This poor receptionist was in for it. ha! 
Luckily... it worked. Two weeks later I was sitting down to my Apple computer (never used one of those before) and told to "produce" a show... on boating etiquette... ?????

Sink or Swim Ann.
 I'd joined the high school swim team as a freshman who didn't know how to do most of the strokes or how far one length of the pool was... and I managed to figure that out. So, I shut my mouth, watched the other producers carefully and produced my first show. 3 years later I got an email asking me to audition for a new show about triathlons... A few weeks later we were in the warehouse creating something that had never been done before - TriCenter was born. 

My day job as a producer took me to Fashion Week in New York, then to Charlotte North Carolina for NASCAR, even Honduras for an in depth look into cigar production... and now - I was interviewing some of the most amazing athletes in the world on the weekends and 7am... before my other job. 

Talk about being around a lot of people with a continually changing routine...
Then... 3 years ago this weekend, I was asked to pick up the microphone and join the announcers at 
I got up early, curled my hair and sat in awe as the announcers managed to greet, congratulate and celebrate the thousands of runners completing the 26.2 or 13.1 miles that day. I was nervous and excited and after a few hours I couldn't help myself. I wandered down off the "stage" with my microphone and started high-fiving the endless stream of runners who had so valiantly set out to complete this race. The looks on their faces and sometimes the tears and fist pumps that I saw... made me so proud... of them.
My hair was flat... but my spirits were soaring as two men in full firefighter gear and Oxygen tanks... came around the corner carrying their American Flag high...26.2 miles later.
I could barely congratulate them through the tears. 

Thankfully, they asked me to come to another race... if I had some free time :) 
The next race I got as much sleep as possible - decided to forgo curling my hair - just put it in braids... ha and spent most of my time down on the finish line partying with the runners - energized by their determination to make it to this point. 
Pretty soon I was carving out as many weekends as I could to be at as many races as possible. I'm not quite sure where or when the striped socks came about... :) But my view on life had changed. Expensive cars, and designer dresses, were interesting for sure, but the people I saw,  that I touched on those finish lines, they gave me an entirely different high.

This year the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series will come to 27 different cities around the world... and our Triathlon series TriRock will roll out in 6 different cities. I wish I could be at them all...  It won't be physically possible... but I'm getting in as many as I possibly can. 

I've found a dream job of sorts for an ENFP, ADD, Virgo like myself :)

You're probably wondering what this has to do with nothingnewforayear... well not much, except that I did get a sweet new pair of kicks... courtesy of Brooks (photo above)... thanks to my job... and if you want to see how traveling around the globe works while not buying anything new... you can... And I'll be in costume... if that's any incentive! ha.

I'm new to all this but if you'd "like" it... then maybe they'll let me do it again next year :)

P.S. if you're in New Orleans this weekend... We're giving away a free trip to Lisbon Portugal in September to come do Rock n Roll Lisbon... now who doesn't like free trips! Of course you'll have to listen to me first on the Expo stage - but you can suffer through that for a chance to win a free trip. I know you can :)

Conditioning rant

You know you're desperate when you start watering down your conditioner... As in, putting water into the bottle, swishing it around frantically and hoping you'll be able to brush through your hair later. 
Welcome to my world. I fly on Thursday for Rock N Roll New Orleans... I've never been more excited to stay at a hotel! ha

Sometimes I'm a little snotty about what kind of conditioner I use, but that girl is gone.
 I know I could cut my hair and make my life easy, but I did that once as a kid and balled for days. No ponytails, no braids, no nothing. Not to mention I looked like a freak...Then you actually have to do it everyday!

 Maybe that's why all the royalty wore wigs back in the day...
(actually it was because head lice was so prevalent and so they just shaved their heads and threw on wigs)
 but didn't all the pioneer ladies have really long hair? How did they do it without conditioner...? How did they do it period?

My mom used to call it cream rinse... 
but according to my research, that's different from "conditioner"... it's more of a detangler. I guess that's my biggest hurdle...

If I could have any conditioner in the world... it would be Frederic Fekkai's. I was fortunate enough a few years ago to get my hair done at his salon before the Oscars and I gotta tell ya... the stuff is amazing.
 A good friend of mine used to always splurge on Redken All Soft

and you know what... it really does make your hair all soft.

But back here in reality... I'd just be happy with even an average conditioner. The packets my dad sent me are great for the shampoo half... but the conditioner is pretty much worthless. It's some "clarifying" kind, it says... but all I know is that my hair isn't "all soft" and it definitely isn't easy to brush through. I know Pantene gets a bad rap for "coating" your hair but the stuff works wonders for me. Too bad I haven't seen any of that in months...

According to my research conditioner can be credited either to Ed Pinaud back at the worlds Fair in 1900... or Sir Darren Emilford as recently as 1980! Either way I should just be glad I wasn't born before then and shut my mouth I suppose.

Oh and just for kicks... take a look at these
Pretty sure Ali Larter is in this one... Teen Spirit commercial

And this one is just comical - Salon Selectives escapee commercial

Conditioner will definitely be my first purchase... and I might even treat myself to a little Frederic Fekkai :) 

the radio=free memories

Yes I have an iPod, and and iPhone but I can honestly say... I prefer the free radio. 
You never know what you're going to get! I'm a sucker for surprises and the radio never lets me down. Talk about forgotten favorites... 

I'll admit - the other day I did buy "Step by Step". But that was for work... Just go with it :) 
And I know the top 40 stations just play the new stuff over and over, but when that's what I'm in the mood for... I gotta  tell you I'm pretty happy with their redundancy. Just last night I was rocking out to my favorite song right now - 

and when it was over I clicked over to the other top 40 station... and guess what was on! ha.

Does anyone else wish their lives could have a soundtrack? 
I have an awful memory but when I hear a song (or smell a smell) it's quite ridiculous how much I can recall. 

Step by Step... obviously my first crush (see New Kids on the Block post)

I snuck into my brothers high school prom as a kid and will never forget the song that was playing as I watched him slow dance in their "starry night" prom themed gym - so midwest classy :) 

Every spring break totally overplayed some inappropriate song... which was usually accompanied by their MTV Spring Break countdown shenanigans in some exotic location...thanks for rubbing that in... 
Remember... "TheThong Song"??? - Sysco... never heard from him since.

When I was first learning to ski - I was terrible... and so I was just cursing under my breath most of the time... But when I finally gave in and started leaning down the hill like my Norwegian instructor had advised and stopped trying to "fight the mountain" you know what popped into my head... the little ditty from the vonage commercials.

Well the other day I heard Foster the People - "Pumped up Kicks" and immediately my thoughts went to the beach at Lake Sammamish State Park outside Seattle. We were setting up the beach for the swim portion of our TriRock Seattle triathlon. We were all singing it all weekend! 

Then a few months later I saw this at TEDMED...

I just love how turning on the radio is like rolling the dice - you never know what memory you're going to get :) and it's free...

when it snows... it rains?

What do you call those rubber boots you wear so you're feet get wet... if it's not technically "raining"?

I like the sound of "rain boots" but maybe they should just be called "wet boots".
Anyone who lives where there is snow knows that it's not necessarily just rain you need them for... it's when the snow melts and is forming rivers and ponds in unlikely places... like right outside your door as you park in the parking lot... 
You've been there. When you can't decide whether you should re-park (which in Southern California isn't always an option) or just risk it, jump it, climb out the passenger door...

My point is that I made my way to the thrift store with no intention of finding rain boots, I was actually looking for a picture frame - when... they found me. 

Seriously... When can you pass up a sweet pair of Eddie Bauer bright green rain boots?

Well as I stomped around the store imagining all the puddles I was going to conquer... I found these!!!

Yes... they are made of rubber. I promise. and not just the soles or the boot - all of it. It's a rain boot. An honest to Pete, Zebra striped pair of rain boots. 

People keep asking me... aren't you saving sooo much money... Well... ha!

Now I've created another dilemma - which pair to wear? 

Of course this means... I'm headed to the closet to spread the love!

New Kids on The Block

This could be one of the most exciting and unexpected "not new" joys. 
Rumor was spreading like wildflower at the Rock N Roll Pasadena expo that Joey McIntyre had been spotted... with a bag - indicating he was running our race. 
Soon after it was confirmed and women all over Pasadena felt tinges of childhood love surging through their bodies. I'm surprised I didn't sprint to the bathroom and hairspray my bangs into the waterfall I so desperately tried to master to win his love as a kid...

I'll admit... He was that poster above my bed. 
It was those faces I stared at during sleepovers on the other girls'  sleeping bags. 
I'm pretty sure I even convinced myself that my parents were holding out on letting me go to their concert... because they had hired them to play at my birthday party. 
I was certainly not taking this obsession "step by step"... because those boys, Joey in particular had "the right stuff" in my book.

Thankfully I was hit with a reality check birthday after birthday... and I learned to move on. 
Soon after, I wanted Devon Sawa to "keep me" after his Ghost Casper turned into a boy. 
I didn't even know how to play soccer and yet Jonathan Brandis and his Ladybug team sucked me right in.
Don't get me started with JTT...
I could go on... but the point is.... he was my first. 
He set the bar for which all other boys were to be judged.

The crew made a come back as NKOTB but I was all grown up by then. Reality is even harsher and so sometimes you give up before you've even tried. 

Sunday morning 4:45am. I receive word that Joey McIntyre is indeed registered to run. The conversation immediately turns to song as the crew sings step by step. I of course download it on my iPhone and am VERY tempted to play it when we see him. But when the time comes and they alert me that he's in corral 3... it's like the little girl who danced and screamed with the other little girls at slumber parties took over. Frantically I tried to shush that crazy crush girl and sound smart over the microphone... I'm not entirely sure what I said, but I know I made a fool of myself and offered him some advice that probably made me look even more dumb... "Hey Joey... just take it step by step"

Are you kidding me... that's the best I could come up with? 
Either way... here's a taste of what our childhood dreams produced 20 some years later...

See... sometimes the "old" does the same trick as the "new" ha!

black bean brownies - I didn't buy it either...

So I mentioned the idea of doing a better job using up food. 
I've decided that not only will that facilitate being less wasteful, but it will also get me out of some food ruts. I tend to become so enamored with things I overdo it until I'm absolutely sick of it. When I first moved to San Diego I was so excited about the opportunity to eat good sushi anytime I wanted... I ate it for almost every meal. Of course I was warned of the amount of fish I was consuming, but for a good year I probably ate it 5 times a week. Then... one day... it didn't sound appealing. I was convinced it was because it was "winter". Which as you know, in San Diego, isn't really "winter" but the occasional flip flop day is traded for some cute flats and a scarf might be thrown into the mix... ha. 

Either way, I concluded that because it was "cold" outside, I didn't want cold food inside my body. When "winter" was over my friends hoped so was my anti sushi stint. My theory was disproved when for the next year and a half - sushi just never really sounded good to me. I had overdone it. Eventually my love for sushi came back but this time I was more rational in my consumption so as not to ever get to an anti sushi phase ever again. 

Enter the reason for this blog. Using up food in ways I don't "normally" think of, has created reasons so try new recipes with ingredients I may not normally put together. 
Todays ingredient. Black Beans. 

There's a small problem in my house. Half eaten cans of black beans. I don't even like black beans. Until... I saw black beans and brownies in the same title. 

Some friends are visiting us tonight and I couldn't remember if they're vegetarian or vegan... so I thought I'd play it safe and make sure everything is safe either way (vegan). I'd already planned the dinner portion but was stalled in the dessert area... until I saw this. 

Sure enough it calls for about 1/3 cup of black beans (which is what is almost always the part that gets thrown away). Flax seed, which I've recently become more inclined to try in some recipes because of it's apparent health benefits, and everything else was usual pantry stuff for a gal like me
baking powder
cocoa powder

Well let me tell you... this did not sound appealing to me, but I like to be a good hostess and so it's my duty to try and accommodate... 
It even called for a "flax egg"... uhhhh what?
after googling it and realizing it was just ground up flax seed and water I gave in. Alright. I'll try it. 

Well I'm certainly not one to let batter go to waste... and it was pretty good. 
Baked all 6 of them up (wasn't about to go crazy in case they were terrible)... and I'm tempted to make another batch. They're that good... and good for you!
(Yes... there are only 5 there because I ate one - quality assurance)

This... coming from the girl who recently bought "Oops all berries" by Cap'n Crunch...

P.S. they are delicious. But don't be mistaken. I'm not going vegan or even vegetarian. A juicy steak smothered in mushrooms and butter or the occasional McDouble can just never be replaced... in my life anyway:)

Vegan Black Bean 2-Bite Brownies

Adapted from Made in Sonoma[vegan][makes 6 small brownies] 
Ingredients:1/3 of a 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed [~1/2 cup]
1 flax egg [1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal, 2/5 Tbsp. water]
1 T coconut oil [or sub canola, vegetable, etc.]
scant 1/4 c cocoa powder
dash salt
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 t baking powder
heaping 1/2 t finely ground espresso powder or instant coffee granules
1/4 c semisweet chocolate chips [non-dairy for vegan]
dash of chocolate sprinkles
Directions:1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 6 muffin tins.
2. Prepare flax egg by combining flax and water in a small bowl and letting it rest for 3-5 minutes.
3. Combine black beans through instant coffee in a food processor [sift in sugar if clumpy] and puree. Then stir in chocolate chips and sprinkles. Pour batter evenly into 6 muffin tins and smooth the tops with a spoon.
4. Bake for 17 minutes or until tops are dry and starting to pull away from the sides. Let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan.

Striped Socks...the statement...

I'm a little "quirky". 
There are a few things, that for some reason, just tickle my fancy. 
Umbros, overalls, Xenergy, neon colors (green in particular) and fun, tall, socks (most often striped). 

Now I know it's currently Fashion Week over there in NYC - but apparently not everything that is "cool" is walking the catwalk... The "in" crowd in Silicon Valley is rumored to be rocking the striped socks these days - and last time I checked... so am I.

A Foot in the Door in Silicon Valley

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
Some say the craze took hold because patterned socks are an acceptable shot of flair in a dressed-down culture. More Photos »


NYTimesFashion on Twitter
Follow@NYTimesfashionfor fashion, beauty and lifestyle news and headlines.
FOR barristers in 18th-century London, it was shoulder-grazing wigs. For the Mad men of 1950s New York, it was briefcases and fedoras. For the glass-ceiling-shattering women of the 1980s, it was shoulder pads.
And for today’s tech entrepreneurs in high-flying Silicon Valley, it is flamboyantly colored, audaciously patterned socks.
In a land where the uniform — jeans, hoodies and flip-flops — is purposefully nonchalant, and where no one would be caught dead in a tie, wearing flashy socks is more than an expression of your personality. It signals that you are part of the in crowd. It’s like a secret handshake for those who have arrived, and for those who want to.
“I have been in meetings where people look down and notice my socks, and there is this universal sign, almost like a gang sign, where they nod and pull up their pant leg a little to show off their socks,” said Hunter Walk, 38, a director of product management at YouTube, whose favorite pair is yellow, aqua and orange striped.
Some say the craze took hold because socks are an acceptable shot of flair in a dressed-down, male-dominated culture — and peek out when entrepreneurs present their latest apps onstage at the tech world’s frequent conferences. Others offer a perhaps more universal explanation. “Girls notice,” said Matt Graves, 37, a communications director at Twitter, who prefers orange and blue stripes.
Showy socks hark back to the 1700s, when people wore them embroidered or in outlandish colors, fashion historians say.
While the recent resurgence in garish styles is global, Northern California shoppers particularly favor them, especially pairs like “argyles in quite screamy colors,” said Mikael Soderlindh, a founder and the chief executive of Happy Socks, a four-year-old Swedish brand that many tech types wear.
“They are No. 1 pioneers, so they need something to express themselves as pioneers and cool dudes,” Mr. Soderlindh said in a phone interview from Stockholm.
Brilliantly colored and patterned socks have been spotted on entrepreneurs including Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive (colorful stripes); Jim Breyer, an early Facebook investor at the venture capital firm Accel (red and purple); and Om Malik, the founder of GigaOmniMedia, a blog network (polka dots).
And they can be found on social networks like Path, Instagram and Twitter, where techies like to show off images of their natty ankles.
Lee Sylvia, a sock buyer at Sockshop and Shoe Company, which has stores in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, Calif., said that sales of wild socks were up, an observation echoed by other local sock specialists.
Selling particularly well: geometric patterns, pink and purple, orange and black for the San Francisco Giants, socks with words like “bacon” and “beer,” and “anything with ninjas,” she said.
The most popular styles cost $12 to $40 a pair and are made of combed cotton or wool by companies like Happy Socks, Anonymousism, Paul Smith and Corgi.
Silicon Valley footwear has not always been so fashionable. Mark Zuckerberg’s preference for Adidas open-toed sandals have helped land him on many a worst-dressed list, and Sergey Brin, a founder of Google, rarely leaves home without his Vibram FiveFingers nylon shoes.
Socks, on the other hand, are a nod to fashion without appearing as though you are playing by mainstream rules that Silicon Valley shuns — like, heaven forbid, dressing up.
“Let’s say you are wearing sweat pants and a hoodie, but you have really cool socks on,” said Joey Flynn, 24, a product designer at Facebook whose favorite pair is festooned with orange and red elk. “It can be this rebellion against everything, but I’m still considerate about how I put myself together because I have these really cool socks.”
Travis Kalanick, 35, co-founder and chief executive of Uber, the on-demand taxi service, began wearing statement socks at his previous company, which sold software to businesses.
“I started having to suit up for meetings with Fortune 500 companies,” said Mr. Kalanick (his favorite: hot pink). “I wanted to keep a little of my geeky computer engineering flair without people thinking I was nuts.”
For some, like Mr. Flynn of Facebook, Mr. Walk of YouTube and Mr. Graves of Twitter, colorful socks serve a more practical purpose. The three men are colorblind, so they tend to choose neutral clothing and colorful socks because they go with everything — though Matt Van Horn, a sock fanatic who works at Path, said his wife, Lauren, would disagree. His pink socks, she has told him, clash with his green shoes.
Women’s socks may be more intriguing than men’s, it seems.
“Sometimes I will even browse the women’s section and get the XXL, because they have all the fun colors,” said Andrew Trader, 42, an investor at Maveron who helped found Zynga. (He is partial to wool socks with bright stripes as well as a pair with an American flag pattern.)
Diana Crane-Herve, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, said workplace fashion fads like outlandish socks are often an unconscious way to deal with worries about job security or fitting in.
But Mr. Trader claimed his socks give him a professional leg up in a different way — because they stretch to his knees, instead of below his calves.
“I love high socks because they do the same thing for your calves that compression shorts do for your thighs: keep the circulation going and give your calves all kinds of energy,” he said. “I have plenty of energy throughout the day, and the secret is high socks.”

My mother doesn't love funny socks, my friends don't particularly love fun socks either... but for me, it's a very easy pick me up :) 

But I particularly love the comment from these so called "nerds" about the value tall socks, or even more so "compression socks" offer :) 

so true...

"I just got the best deal on printer ink..." ha... can't buy that stuff new

for the love of food...

The joys of eating. 
I've been telling you how much I've come to really appreciate food in the last couple of months and I think this picture kind of sums it up. 

A friend sent this to me, with the caption that when there are camera's around you're never safe! ha
This was taken at a very nice dinner party in Las Vegas this winter and clearly I was unaware the photo was being taken, but it also goes to show just how candid and real my love for food is :) 

That being said, I've also become well aware of just how wasteful people, myself included, have become of food. As I cleaned out my refrigerator the other day it was obvious that although my good intentions of filling the "crisper" drawers with lots of fresh fruits and veggies was good... throwing a lot of it away at the end of the week, is not. 

I'm sure there are arguments about the numbers, but from the little bit of talking to other people and watching our own household... I know I can do better. That means there will be days when I eat things I don't necessarily "want"... but there's a quote in our house I'm reminded of daily
Ann... "food is fuel". 

Some people have asked what I'll do come June 1st... and although there will be some purchases made... namely conditioner... I think it might be worthwhile to focus my attention on not wasting food. The other day I was having a conversation with a girl about how in a lot of foreign countries you're considered very wealthy if you have enough money to buy "extra" food that can be kept in your freezer.
 Shoot... sometimes I even throw freezer items away because they've gotten freezer burned! Talk about insult to injury. 

I've started to implement it more in recent days - and sometimes dinner gets a little "interesting" but it's still food on your plate when you're hungry which is more than  a lot of people get. 

Either way, this whole not being wasteful thing really has to become a bigger part of every facet of my life, not just toiletries and furniture. What do they say... it takes 21 days to form a habit? Well I figure if I've spent 251 on not buying anything new - it should be a nicely cemented habit by now... So I'm going to throw it into the mix. 

Everything in moderation :) 

paint - or no paint

Ok, so I've been looking for a neat desk, preferably in white, or to paint white. 
Last night I found a pretty sweet table. It's not exactly a "desk" but when I mean "desk" I guess I really mean table because I tend to need  a lot of space. ADD folks have to be able to see everything or else we forget we have it - or maybe that's just my bad memory... whatever. Either way, I've been scouring Craigslist, the free section first, and then for "desk" - although I found more luck looking under "table"... but tables/desks aren't cheap and most of them are that awful, cheap looking, fake wood stuff. And the ones that are real wood and awesome are pretty expensive.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I popped into a thrift store yesterday and found a sturdy, all wood, table for $40. It definitely needed some TLC but it had a great foundation. 

I couldn't wait to get started. Stopped off at Lowe's on my way home to pick out my paint, and if it hand't been night and the neighbors would have assaulted me with Lord knows what, I would have worked all night. Considerate of my neighbors I got some good sleep and started bright and early.
Armed with electric sander in hand I started on my new project. 

Plan: Sand it down, paint it up.

But here's my problem... I got it all sanded down... and now I'm torn. It's a beautiful table... should I really paint it - or am I just emotionally attached now that I've spent about 3 hours wearing a face mask and goggles sanding every square inch of this sucker. 

I need some opinions. I'm not even sure what kind of wood it is, but I sure think it's pretty. 
Paint - or not to Paint?

Here's a closeup of the wood.

it even has this cool detail on the ends

I imagined something like this originally