Imagine Gratitude

Well folks Life is Beautiful is undeniably living up to expectations, so glad. Yesterday was filled up with performances from New Politics, Royal Blood, Big Data, Lique, Metric, Soja, Chance the Rapper, Duran Duran, Snoop Dogg and capped with a extraordinary Imagine Dragons set. Phewf, writing it all down it seems overwhelming, but it wasn’t, it was just right.

The connection Imagine Dragons had with the audience was unexpected for me. The lead singer, Dan, is a third generation Las Vegan (I might have made that word up, Vegasite seemed wrong) and the band was formed here, had their up and coming in the Vegas Casinos. I didn’t know their history but it certainly directed a good vibe from the band and the crowd.

One thing I loved was his sincere humbleness on stage. He thanked many early supporters and of course his mom and dad who were in the audience. This got me to thinking about my own kids and how unconditional love and support can be so magical but also nerve wracking as a parent. I want to keep them safe, I want to minimize the rejection they may experience but I also want them to find something they love, even if I don’t love them doing it. I stood in the audience wondering about how hard it must have been for his parents to support his passion for music through, I’m sure, so many ups and down, the self doubt, the verge of collapse moments. He recanted a story of making his Father listen to his recordings in the living room and saying to him “keep doing this son.” I wondered if he knew his son was something special or if he was just responding to the excited gleam in his son’s eyes.

I guess what it boils down to is love, doesn’t it always.

He also told us about being criticized early in his career by a critic for “thanking too many people on stage.” Come on, really?

Well in response, my gratitude extends to you Imagine Dragons. Thank you for sticking to it and making great music. Thank you for putting yourself out there so I can turn up the music in the kitchen when your songs come on and have a dance party with my family. Thank you for allowing me to fist pump and head bang to Radioactive with my sons in the car on the ride home from school. Thank you for using your voice to inspire me to move my body and let everything go in that moment. Thank you for being unabashedly grateful.

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Vegas?

If you have been within earshot of me over the last few days you would know I’m heading to Vegas for a 3 day music festival called Life is Beautiful.

I really never planned to go to Vegas, it’s never been on my radar. I wasn’t really interested in the over glamourized, over illuminated, over intoxicated little patch of desert to the south. When I heard about the Life is Beautiful festival though I was pretty sure it was right for me. In the past I’ve dreamt about Coachella or Burning Man but something deep down stopped me. Maybe it was the line up that year or the disappointing reviews on the commercialization of Burning Man, etc but Life is Beautiful has drawn me in.

What I expect may not be what I get, we’ll see and I’ll let you know, but if I sum up my expectations of Life is Beautiful I’m looking at 3 days filled with incredible music, inspiring art, unique culinary experiences and a bit of mind blowing words from some truly exceptional people. I hope to be reminded that humanity is not in a downward spiral of war and destruction and that somehow, love will conquer all. Big expectations, I know, but it’s Vegas and bigger is better there, right?

On the flip side I’m also really looking for to some me time. It’s been a busy summer. Not physically but emotionally and just well weirdly. I’ve had a lot of job offers and new clients to juggle which always take up a lot of space in my head. I think I’ve done of good job of keeping focused and picking what I can handle with people I like working with but timelines change, get sped up, then sped up again and although I’m blessed for the amazing support I get from my family it wears me down.

So, time for a recharge. Pool side Vegas sounds good to me, why not? Just me, some books to read, a glass (well probably more like a pitcher) of some cool tasty drink and 2 of my most fabulous girlfriends. I’m ready. Wait I’m not ready I still have to pack, write some articles and get my kids off to school and daycare…….sigh.

Adventures in the Kitchen

Today marked a beginning for our little family. Our two boys are now engaging in after school activities. Hello Soccer Mom! Well not exactly, they’ve picked gymnastics, hip hop and swimming for now. This means a lot of scheduling, planning, reminding my husband where and when to drop off, pick up, etc.

Historically we’ve never been really great planners tending to be a bit more on the side of spontaneity rather than well planned. It’s ok, we take the mishaps, frequently in stride and keep our expectations low it usually results in a few good stories, some posted here!

Today was the first day though and I wanted it to go off without missing a beat. Get off to a good start at least. I also wanted to make sure everyone was fed with healthy and energy packed food. My oldest is gymnastics lesson is 2hrs long right at supper time – ekkkk!

What does a Mom do when she’s looking for a great easy recipe – ummmmm Pinterest, of course. I knew I wanted a great salad packed with protein and have been craving fresh flavours lately so I picked a Southwest Salad. I knew the basics and didn’t need a recipe for the salad base but I did for the dressing and hence the Sunday morning, hot coffee, legs curled up under me on the chair beside the fireplace, Pinterest session. I could have stayed there for hours but had to get my youngest to swimming lessons. Eventually I pulled together a few recipes for an avocado dressing and compiled one that suited mine and my youngsters taste.

I didn’t expect to post this until I saw the end result and the combination of colours inspired me to post so here’s a result of the salad with and without the creamy avocado dressing.

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I should probably come up with an awesome name for this salad and dressing combo……..how about Southwest Salad with Creamy Avocado Cilantro Lime dressing. Ok, it’s not awesome but it is descriptive!

The Salad Basics:

Romaine, thinly sliced (I threw in a bit of fresh basil my friend gave me earlier in the afternoon for a really fresh taste)

Corn, Black Beans, Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese, Grape Tomatoes and pre-cooked chicken (one of those barbecue already to go ones – you could roasted your own but who has the time for that!)

Throw it all together in the quantities you like, salad part done. Sooooo simple!

Creamy Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing

Flesh of a whole avocado, a bit of salt, a bit of pepper, a pinch of cumin, a dash of paprika, juice from one small lime, about a 1/4 cup of each of: milk, plain greek yogurt and salsa. Add as much cilantro as you like to suit your taste. Blend it all up and pour it on top.

To be honest mine didn’t really pour I kinda scooped it onto the salad then mixed up the salad really good. Before completely devouring it.

If you’re looking for something really fresh with vibrant colours to eat give it a shot. Substitute anything you like or head on over to Pinterest and find a recipe that suits your taste buds, then let me know if you like it!

Day one off to a good start!