Liebster – A Major Award


I have to issue an official and heartfelt apology. I have received several nominations for the Liebster Award. This is the first chance that I have had to respond. I have to give kudos to everybody that can find the time in their busy schedules to update their blog on a very regular basis. It is difficult to work, be a mom, live a life, and try to find time to blog. Oy!

When I received my nomination from lefraise2002, my first thought was Lieb…wha?!? It sounds like what I would name my pet German lobster…if there was such a thing. (I actually just Googled “german shepherd lobster costume” and the Internet has let me down! I found german shepherds dressed as Yoda, a ghost, and even Captain Jack Sparrow. But no lobster! If you have a german shepherd, please dress them in a lobster costume and send me a pic so I can include it in this post. Thanks!)

With further due diligence, I came to realize something about our dear friend Liebster:


Well, far be it for me to ever turn down a major award! So, thank you again to lefraise2002, melissak84, and karuna  for the nominations. Here it goes:


The Liebster Award is awarded to bloggers with under 200 followers to try to promote their blog a little and also bring together a community of bloggers. The rules of the competition are as follows:

– The nominated user must provide a link back to the person who nominated them.
– Provide 11 facts about yourself.
– Answer 11 questions set by the person who nominated you.
– Choose 11 more people and ask them 11 questions.


  1. I drive a lime green car that we affectionately refer to as the Skittle.
  2. My favorite color is green (see above).
  3. I like trees. They are green (see above).
  4. I have two Havanese dogs. Most people don’t know what they are. Google them. They are awesome – about 90% fluffy cuddles and 10% stealthy ninjas of mischief.
  5. I prefer to drive a car with a manual transmission vs. an automatic. It’s much more fun!
  6. My chin is numb due to corrective jaw surgery that I had over 10 years ago. There was a very small chance that would happen and apparently I won the numb chin lottery. I have about 5% feeling and have learned to re-associate sensations. But there is still a standing order that if you are around me and see me drool, you must tell me. It’s the little things like this that can keep a person humble!
  7. II have a pretty big obsession with all things Sherlock Holmes. My Holmesian tendencies started well before the recent popularity. I read all of the books as a kid, grew up watching old Sherlock Holmes shows, and have very strong opinions about all of the recent shows and movies. I’m pretty sure this officially makes me a nerd.
  8. I have one sister, one brother-in-law, four step-brothers, two step-sisters, one nephew, one nephew-in-law, six step-nephews, and two step-nieces. It’s complicated 🙂
  9. I met my husband online, back at a time when that was still a weird thing to do.
  10. I love the Big Bang Theory. Seriously, this has to be the best show on TV right now!
  11. I did a lot of acting in plays when I was younger. Those were some of my favorite memories. I love comedies!

11 QUESTIONS FROM lefraise2002

1.Where do you really want to live? – Dominica or Southern California. New Zealand is looking pretty good too!

2. What is your favorite color? – (see above)

3. Who is your hero? – I try not to idealize people. I have found that when you do, you will almost always be let down. As far as someone I admire, it would have to be my mother. She is a wonderful example of someone who is strong in the face of adversity yet remains perpetually optimistic about life. I wish we all could be a little more like that!

4. If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would you pick? – What about fictional? Sherlock Holmes. If it has to be non-fictional, I would say Benedict Cumberbatch in character as Sherlock Holmes.

5. What is your general ringtone? – Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men – I find it ironic to have a ringtone that starts out by singing “Don’t listen to a word I say….”

6. Do you like your name? If no, what would you prefer to be? – Crystal has served me well. I can’t imagine my name being anything different. However, my mother has recently revealed that she wished that she had named me Pippa. I’m still processing that one 🙂 (Side note – it has nothing to do with Pippa Middleton. My mom grew up in a place called Pippa Passes, which was named after a Robert Browning poem entitled Pippa’s Song. In that sense, it is rather poetic.)

8. How would you describe your style? Personal style – I like comfortable clothes with clean lines, boho flair, and accents of juicy colors. Home style – comfortable, fun, unique.

9. Extrovert or Introvert. Which best describes you? – As a personality of balance, I am always really close to the line between the two, but a bit more on the extrovert side. I can definitely exhibit signs of both, depending on the situation. However, I identify more with extroverts in the sense that I recharge off of the energy of other people.

10. What is your dream vehicle? – I really love my car. If I had tons of money, I would still want to drive my car. The juicy lime green color really makes me happy every time I look at it.

11. What is your favorite vacation spot? – Dominica – a wonderful island in the Caribbean.


Here are my nominations for the Liebster Award:

1.Because I Said So
2.Dave Kester
3.Mostly True Stories of K. Renae P.
4.Anybody else who wants to do it….I’m having a hard time finding people that haven’t already done a Liebster post (told you I am behind)!


1.If you could pick any superhero power, what would it be and why?
2.What is your favorite movie?
3.What are your top five destinations for a dream vacation?
4.What makes you happy?
5.What is your favorite band or musician?
6.Do you have an exercise routine? If so, what is it?
7.If you were forced to sing karaoke to save your life, what song would you pick?
8.What is your favorite video/computer game/app?
9.Do you volunteer anywhere?
10.What is your favorite thing to do to relax after a long week?
11.What would you choose for your “theme song”?

Thanks again!

– Crystal

Pure Reaction: A Play-by-Play of My Most Mortifying Moment


Ok. So, maybe it is not THE most mortifying moment. Unfortunately, I have had quite a few of those in my lifetime. But this one definitely ranks pretty high up there on the scale of a “perfect picnic on a sunny day” to “holy crap, that just happened!”

I was reminded of this story while I was reading the relative cartographer’s delightfully descriptive post about his Forthcoming Pigeon-Plucking Business, a hilarious conversation he had with his neighbor before he woke up from the day’s morning grog. It reminded me of how much I truly enjoy those moments of pure reaction, when your brain doesn’t have time to censor itself and you end up with something awesome or awesomely awful.

(For the purposes of this story, my character will be played by random monkey faces.)

So, let’s rewind a few years. Ok, now a few years more to a time when dial-up Internet ruled the world. (Side note – Why are you supposed to capitalize Internet? It’s not a name like John or Sara. I digress.)

This was a time in my life when I was a struggling student with a startup web design business. As such, I was forced to share a smallish apartment with my two business partners. Being the only girl in a bachelor pad wasn’t too bad. Historically, I have always gotten along much easier with guys than with girls. So, it wasn’t too far out of my comfort zone. I had my own space and life was good. It didn’t hurt that it was within walking distance of the beach!

One early evening I went for a walk with one of my roommates. We returned about thirty minutes later.

Now, a little explanation to set the scene – our apartment was technically a duplex. One side had two stories. Our side was on the second floor above the two garages. So, when you entered our apartment, the first thing you had to do was walk up an entire set of stairs before you even came to the main living area.

So, we came home. We unlocked the door, came through the door, closed the door, locked the door, and walked up an entire set of stairs – laughing and talking the whole time. I was the first one up the stairs. As I topped the stairs, I turned to my left and I saw…well, let’s just be nice and say my other roommate was in a compromising position with himself and the computer in our living room.


My naïve eyes had not seen such things! This is certainly never how I wanted to picture my platonic friend and business partner! And in our shared common living space no less! There were so many questions (like where are your clothes, didn’t you hear us coming up the stairs, why the living room, why would you do this when you knew we would be home soon, why, why, and why), but my brain went into overload.


I fell to the ground and literally started rolling back and forth whilst screaming at the top of my lungs. The spectacle that I created was enough to quickly scare him back to his bedroom (where he should have been in the first place).


The roommate who came up the stairs with me was completely confused. Since he was behind me, from his perspective it just looked like I walked up the steps and fell down and started screaming. I couldn’t explain. I just kept rolling back and forth. At some point, I got up in a state of shock and just sat there for a while. Needless to say, there were quite a few awkward moments of silence in the days that followed that incident.

In retrospect, I find it very intriguing that in that moment I didn’t have time to filter myself. My brain could not censor what was about to happen. I just dropped to the floor and started screaming. It was a moment of pure reaction. Several guys have told me that I made the situation way worse by not adhering to the guy code and acting like nothing happened. But hey, I’m not a guy. When I see things that mortify me, I scream. At least I know how I will react in that type of situation if it ever happens again (please Lord no!). At least I have a comical story to tell.

– Crystal


I Have a Fever and the Only Cure is More Lemon Curd


I have a confession to make. I have this little obsession that began just before Christmas. It started innocently enough with a gift basket from the UPS Store. When divvying up the items, my coworkers naturally gave me the English-themed lemon curd. I’m sure the word curd and maybe even the word lemon turned them off enough to pass it on. It was handed to me with the words, “Here, your family is English.” Little did I know that one moment would change my life forever.

Side note – My husband was born in England. His dad’s whole side of the family is English and still live in England. His mom is half English, half good ole USA. Needless to say, they have introduced me to and converted me to a fair share of English products.

Now, I can no longer enjoy a Hershey’s chocolate bar. Why? Um, because there is English Cadbury chocolate out there. Our chocolate pales in comparison. If you start reading the ingredients, you will understand why. I don’t know how else to describe it except that American chocolate tastes like wax in comparison. Um…yuck! English chocolate tastes like what you would think chocolate should taste like. No wonder Willy Wonka (and his oompa  minions) went nuts over chocolate in London. If that story took place in the US, it could have had a very different outcome.

Side note to my side note – what is up with the names of English products? Maybe it is a cultural difference. They have a lot of products with unappetizing names such as lemon curd, digestives, clotted cream, custard, flakes, marmite – all of these sound more medical than delectable. The biggest offender is perhaps spotted dick. There is so much that could be said about that one, but I am disinclined to acquiesce to my immature and childish nature. No wonder Americans have been slow to venture out and try these items!

So, that brings me back to my lemon curd problem. I devoured my gifted lemon curd. I ate it on toast and on pancakes…oh my gosh, the pancakes. Spread a thin layer of butter and lemon curd and top with a bit of whip cream. Heavenly. It goes wonderfully with my morning tea (see English indoctrination above).

Soon, my jar ran empty. No problem! I will just hop on over to the store and pick some up. Um…not so easy. The grocery stores didn’t carry that brand. I ventured out and tried another English brand I found out at The Fresh Market. It wasn’t bad but nothing to write overseas about. I found a Scottish brand at World Market and decided to give it a whirl. Um…no. I don’t know what the Scots did, but they did it wrong. It was an odd texture and the lemon tasted more like a cleaning supply lemon smell. Not good.

There are some things in life when you just cannot accept a substitute. My hubby, knowing my penchant for lemon curd, scoured the internet for the best deal on the Wilkins & Sons Ltd lemon curd. He purchased a “case” and here they are in all their glory:


I know I will enjoy them for many months to come. I have until January 2015 before they expire and that should be no problem.

Really, sometimes you just can’t accept a substitute. This one is even approved by the Queen apparently. The writing on the jar says “By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen Purveyors of Tiptree Products.” I’m assuming that is a good thing. If the Queen eats it, then it should be good enough for me. So, cheerio. Mind the gap. Enjoy the curd.

– Crystal

P.S. My son set up the jars in a pyramid and insisted that I include the pictures in this post. So, here is another one! Enjoy!


I Forgot the Turkey Pepperoni (and Other Mortal Sins of Marriage)

The past weekend was my husband’s birthday. I always try to make birthdays special. My family went camping and spent time together. It was perfect. I asked my hubby what he wanted for his birthday dinner. We could either go out to eat or stay home and I could cook. Being the (sorta) healthy people that we are, he chose to stay home and have my fabulous homemade pizza. I don’t mean to brag, but my pizza literally puts the awesome in awesomesauce. So, I was pretty psyched to not only make it, but to eat it. Um, yum!

I went to the store and gathered all of my ingredients. I waited for the special day. I started prepping early because i wanted to make sure that we had time to enjoy all of the yummy goodness. Also, my hubby requested chocolate pizza for dessert (I told you we were healthy) and I needed time to digest before indulging a second time.




Green peppers…check!

Turkey pepperoni…what? No!

How on earth can I go to the store to get the ingredients to make pizza and forget the one meat that makes a pizza a pizza. To make matters worse, this is a special pepperoni and, of course, there are only certain meats that my hubby can eat due to certain issues that I’m sure he would rather I not discuss and, of course, it is only available at one store in our area and, of course, that store is now closed.

It is at these points in life that we can either choose to roll with it or to have a mini freak out over our mistakes and imperfections. Unfortunately, I often fall on the mini freak out side of things. If my husband were the one to forget the pepperoni, I would have NO problem rolling with the punches. But because it was me who forgot the pepperoni, suddenly I take up arms against myself in revolt of my ignorance. I must pay the price! For what? No turkey pepperoni! Hunt her down! Make her pay!


It reminds me of when I was little and I would grab my friend’s hand and hit them repeatedly while gleefully asking the age-old question – “Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?” Only now, I’m the the one hitting my own self. And I seriously cannot answer that question – Why am I hitting myself??

Maybe I was born this way. Maybe my parents pushed me too hard as a child. Maybe I saw too many people not try hard enough and make complete messes of their lives. Maybe it is all of these things or none of these things. It doesn’t actually matter where it came from. The point is that it is not healthy to beat myself up over little things that I can’t change.

Unfortunately, as much as I would like to deny it, I start far too many of these little wars within myself for no good reason. Inner civil wars. Personal revolts. One-woman world wars. Seriously, if I typed out all of the instances that I have turned on myself, the list would be far too long and embarrassing. I will spare you and myself the details.

It is important to note that my husband (the one whose opinion really mattered in this instance) had no problems with the fact that I forgot the turkey pepperoni. We simply looked through the trusty fridge and freezer and found some sun-dried tomato chicken sausage. I cut it up, sautéed it, and added it to the pizza. It was good. My husband liked it. I liked it. It could possibly go into a rotation of pizza toppings. It was that good.

My affirmation for the day will be that I will not freak out over the little things, the lack of pepperonis, the trail of dirt that always magically appears right after I mop, the clothes hurricane that always seems to hit my son’s room right after I clean, the five bottles of red wine that fell from the top shelf and busted all over the white walls in an artistic rendering I like to call “Murder?”, the great flood caused by the needy washing machine begging for more attention, the trails of poo my puppy lovingly leaves as little presents for me throughout my house, and the list could go on and on.

Am I going to look back and remember the “No Turkey Pepperoni of 2014” event? Heck, no!

Spend your time and your thoughts on the things that matter.

Are there times that you let the little things completely get the best of you?

Show yourself some grace!

– Crystal

[insert introduction here]

A wee bit about me….

Green. I love the color green.

If I were on a desert island and could only eat one meal for the rest of my life, I would chose Lamb Pasta. Or coconut anything. <- Actually, let’s go for coconut. Wait, isn’t the desert island question supposed to be who would you chose to be with? Let’s go for my husband. No, my son. No, my husband. Dang, these are hard hypotheticals. Or is the question what three things would you bring? 1) sunscreen (I burn like a biscuit); 2) an electrolyte beverage of some sort (see coconut above); 3) a knife (I’m assuming there is something that I should be cutting. If nothing else, I can use it to improve my mad julienne skills. Wait. Bad idea. Last time I tried to julienne, my thumb got in the way. But hey, how many people can say they julienned their thumb…this girl. I promise I will just use the knife for “survival” purposes…and maybe occasionally to practice my knife throwing.)

Balance. That is the word that describes me best. No, I’m not a gymnast. I’m more of a wannabe yogi.

I’m not sure what shape this blog might take. I have passed around ideas in my head throughout the years (yes, years…I might be prone to procrastination at times…especially when it involves things that I find somewhat intimidating or if it involves going to Wal-Mart. I am not a fan of Wal-Mart.) I do know that I have a story to tell. Hopefully it is a story that wants to be heard, but that is not for me to decide.


I have experienced a range of life events. I trudged through the crappy depths of depression and I am happy to report that I have emerged victorious on the other side. Life isn’t all rainclouds and melancholy, nor is it all rainbows and glittery unicorns. I have learned that we need to embrace the things that help us, hurt us, and move us forward.

The daily ideals of a perfect Pinterest life are often smashed by the mewmew mjolnir hammer of reality. (On a side note, I seriously just googled Thor’s hammer and apparently there is much discussion over how to actually pronounce the name of the hammer. I always thought they said mewmew BUT I also always thought that was really weird and sounded more like something a cat lady would wear around the house…or to Wal-Mart.)

I hope to fill this section with my thoughts on living a healthy, granola-girl life. In balance. In humor. In grace.


Trees. Outdoors. Sunshine. Balance. Green. Hikes. Yoga. Kiddos.

There are lots of things that I love. I want to share them with you in hopes that you may love them too.


I paint. I take pictures. I write. I make crafts. I DIY. I am most happy when I am making something. I have an innate desire to create (I have the closets full of supplies and a kid to prove it). I hope to share tutorials of what to do and maybe, more importantly, what not to do….like julienning your thumb. Bad idea.

These are the things that are on my mind. These are part of my story to tell.

– Crystal