Posted on Aug 17th, 2014 by Allison (Reviews/Recommendations, Whatever)

Yes, they really do taste like cotton candy. The sweetest, most delectable grapes I have every tasted.

Where did I find these sugary little jewels, you ask?

Why, Central Market of course. They lured me in last year with a sample… walked around the store letting people try them. But they sold out before I could purchase a bag.

Last night I walked in to the grocery department and there they were… I grabbed one of the few remaining bags and couldn’t resist popping a few in my mouth before I got them home. I haven’t finished off the bag yet (but will soon!) and am already counting the days until next season.

They’ve only been on the market since 2011… Have you ever experienced this yumminess?

Learn more about them in this NPR story.

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Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 by Allison (Bali, Photography)

I’m afraid all my great plans and intentions to blog about my recent trip to Bali sequentially are out the window. (I still haven’t even completed the posts from my FIRST visit.)

So now you get whatever you get… 🙂

And today you get a peek at some of the critters I met in Bali. Let the photo-fest begin…

My favorites are the frogs. I adore them. They sang me to sleep each night, and their random croaks always made break out into giggles.

We’d spot them on the steps, in pots, on leaves in the garden – and on the windows every evening. Aysia would dance and point whenever she saw one.

Ashley spotted this guy on one of the carved heads overlooking the swimming pool. Long live the frog king!

They’re just really cute. Especially this tiny guy, who joined me in the swimming pool.

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Posted on Jan 1st, 2013 by Allison (Bali, Family/Friends, Funny Stuff, Travel)

While doing a little shopping in Ubud, Bali last week, Emily, Kennedy & Marie got a bit bored and restless. I made what turned out to be a brilliant suggestion: stand in the window and act like mannequins, being as still and quiet as possible.

They were delighted and took this charge very seriously – much to the curiosity and amusement (and sometimes amazement) of passersby… many of whom stopped to snap photos.

At the second shop, there was a small ledge outside where the girls could stand and pose above the sidewalk. Kennedy persuaded the shopkeeper to allow them to model some of her clutches.

What do you think – do they have a future in modeling or as mannequins? 🙂

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Posted on Dec 30th, 2012 by Allison (Bali, Reviews/Recommendations, Travel)

Bali is a wondrous place… especially if you’re into pampering and massage.

A fabulous local massage therapist makes house calls and charges 150,000 Rp (about $16) per hour. I enjoyed a reflexology session last week.

For Christmas, my kids decided to treat me to a pampering spa experience, and selected Sedona Spa in Ubud.

Brandon dropped me off this morning and I was led through this flower-covered arched path to my private room – the Gardenia.

I was in heaven even before I got on the table.

While water gurgled, birds sang and meditative music played in the background, I received an incredible one hour massage. This was followed by a stimulating coconut body scrub… and then a coconut milk body mask.

Are you jealous yet?

As I showered off the scrub, my attentive Balinese therapist was preparing my flower bath (she was a little surprised when I asked for cool water, not warm) – along with fresh ginger tea and a fruit plate to enjoy.

I generally I prefer showers to bathing. I find I get bored soaking in hot water – and most tubs are rather uncomfortable for me. But this was an experience and a half, and one I’d like to have again.

The deep tub was so comfortable, the water cool and refreshing on a hot Balinese day – and the luxury of bathing with flower petals made me feel like a goddess.

I sipped my tea (and took a few photos), and swirled the flowers in the water with my toes. I wanted to stay in that tub for an hour 🙂

When my flower bath was over, I was given a sarong to wear and led to the salon where I enjoyed a hair cream bath, scalp massage, hair steam treatment and neck/shoulder massage…

And because my facial skin is so sensitive I opted out of the facial and asked for a foot massage instead… and it was a good choice. He accompanied me to the shampoo bowl and back, so my feet and legs were being nearly continually massaged for another 45 minutes. Oh happy, happy feet.

A manicure and pedicure topped off the treatment and I felt like a brand new woman. And by now, the hot sun had made way to a thunderstorm which nicely cooled things down a bit.

You’re probably asking yourself, “Wow – how much did that cost!???”

Any guesses? If you guessed $300 you’re wrong. But that would easily be what you’d pay for an equivalent treatment in the states or Europe.

$200 you say? Wrong again. $100? Nope.

The grand total was approximately $50 US for 4 hours of heaven. If you don’t count the $1800 airfare to get here, that’s a bargain. Even WITH the airfare it’s a bargain – and one I’ll take advantage of again.

Thanks Brandon, Jennifer & Ashley. I absolutely loved my gift. Next time, let’s all go together!

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Posted on Dec 25th, 2012 by Allison (Bali, Family/Friends, Music / Entertainment, Travel)

Spending the holidays in Bali with all my progeny… we wrote this little ditty on our drive home from White Sands Beach yesterday (our Christmas day). Enjoy!

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Posted on Nov 27th, 2012 by Allison (Whatever)

Since moving to the beautiful northwest, I have few reasons to return to the extreme cold, heat and desert of Salt Lake City.   There are some good reasons, mind you, including people (my daughter, granddaughter, mom and a few friends), a couple of restaurants (Cafe Rio, Asian Star) a french bakery (Glaus) and Xpedx.

But today I have one less reason.

I love Xpedx in Salt Lake City.  I never pass up an opportunity to stop and shop from its cavernous offerings of paper, shipping supplies, ribbons, gift boxes & bags, bolts of wrapping paper, plastic serving ware and more – all very reasonably priced.  I’ve never been in another store like it.

Today I received the sad, sad news that Xpedx is closing its doors of the flagship store (Salt Lake) this week – Friday is their last day.  I am so sad, and now have one less reason to visit Salt Lake.    The only stores offering anything close to what Xpedx has are “me-too” paper and craft stores for scrapbookers.  

No thank you…  I’ll save time and shop online.

R.I.P  Xpedx SLC.  You will be missed (by me, anyway).

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Posted on Jul 23rd, 2012 by Allison (Recipes)

It feels like it has been too long since I’ve posted. I have begun (but not completed) several posts, including the anticipation I was feeling when my garden started to show signs of life. Then the glory of its full bloom, which has now faded. A visit from Ashley & Kennedy. A visit TO Ashley & Kennedy. And I still have pictures and comments from Bali to share.

But today you get a recipe. Why? Because it’s just as quick and easy to post about as it is to prepare. I’ve taken it to two different gatherings in the past 30 days and it was so well received that I decided to share it with all of you. But I’m not going to make it for all of you…

Crunchy Romaine Salad
Serves 10 – 12

Absolutely delicious salad – easy to prepare, but sure to be a hit where ever you serve it.

I took this photo right before devouring it for lunch


Sweet & Sour Dressing

1 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Canola Oil
1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp Soy Sauce (or to taste – I use more)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until blended.

1 3oz package Ramen noodles
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 large bunch broccoli, coarsely chopped
1 head romaine, washed, drained & torn into bite size pieces
4 green onions, chopped (I use more)

Break the noodles into small pieces, discarding the flavor packet. I use a food processor with just a few chops to break them up. Brown the the noodles and pecans in the butter in a skillet. Drain on paper towels and let stand until cool. When cool, combine noodles & pecans with the broccoli, romaine and green onions in a salad bowl and mix gently. Right before serving, add 1 cup or more of the dressing, tossing to coat.

Number Of Servings:10 – 12 when served as a side. 4 – 6 when served as main course.

Preparation Time:15 – 20 minutes plus cooling time for noodles/pecans

Bon Appetit!

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Posted on May 27th, 2012 by Allison (Music / Entertainment, Reviews/Recommendations)

Normally a crime drama girl (NCIS, Criminal Minds, the Mentalist, In Plain Sight) with a little humor thrown in (Psych) or SciFi (waiting for a new Dr. Who season…) I have a new favorite TV show… a musical drama called SMASH!

I know I’m a bit late to the game here, since the season ended a couple of weeks ago. But I recorded it on my dvr and just finished watching the last episode and wow – love this show!

Premise is about the writing, producing, casting and creating of a new Broadway musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe. Fantastic cast, interesting characters, fabulous music – heroes, villains, starlets… it’s got it all. I can’t wait til next season to begin as they take the new show to Broadway.

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Posted on Apr 28th, 2012 by Allison (Music / Entertainment, Reminiscing, Reviews/Recommendations)

My friend, Paul, wrote a blog post recently of how he wastes spends his time playing games on his iPad.

It got me thinking… Growing up, I loved our family game nights: Sorry, Pit, Uno and, of course, Nertz. We played Nertz pretty fast at our house, but Nertz at Michelle’s was a serious, frenzied, “take no prisoners” affair.

Then came Scrabble, Risk, Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary. And eventually computer games like the classic Kings Quest.

Loved them all…
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Posted on Mar 21st, 2012 by Allison (Bali, Spiritual / Religion, Travel)

I’ve been in Bali almost two weeks, and have had so many rich experiences. You’re probably thinking that nothing could equal my birthday surprise, but you’d be mistaken…

Balinese practice their own unique form of Hinduism. There are over 11,000 temples and more than a million Hindu shrines on the island. My son Brandon will be writing a bit about this on his blog soon.

We expressed an interest in learning more about the rituals and meanings that are such an integral part of Balinese daily life – and so the language school arranged something very special for us.

Along with our tutor, Daniel, to translate, we were going to not only observe, but participate in the Melukat ritual. We had no idea what that was, or what we’d be doing, but we were excited.

Appropriate attire (sarong, belt and sleeved shirt) is required within the temple, and our wonderful staff shared their own sarongs, belts and a beautiful kebaya (top) for Jennifer to wear. We were told to bring a change of clothing, since we may be getting wet.
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