Seattle At Night

Seattle At Night

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Continuing Education

I just started an online Intro to Finance class via this awesome new great website called Coursera.  Maybe you have heard of it, maybe not, but you should take a look around.

 It started off with about 5 great universities, including my Alma Mater, University of Michigan.  Recently about 10 more colleges have joined in to provide free online classes in a variety of subjects. They literally have something for everyone, from Finance, to World Music to Pharmacology to Sustainability, they did a nice job with the variety.

  I chose to subject myself to something I'm weak at, finance.  I'm so excited to be able to challenge myself for free from home and be learning things for free from great professors with great programs.  I just finished week 1 out of my 10 week class.  It wasn't too bad, except this was the easy week according to my Business School professor who created 2 hours or under in videos every week as our lecture and we have an online quiz to complete every week as well.

While we don't have direct contact with the professors, they definitely picked up on our classes struggle to get all that into one week.  Twice now our professor has been looking over our class forum to help each other out, and he has noticed struggle and altered the set up of the class to accommodate our needs, not difficulty wise, but more time wise.

I will be more than happy to report back once my class is over.  I even signed up for one on the status of the US farm system, which I know is suffering, that starts in January!

So if you are looking for quality continuing education to do in between your favorite TV shows after work,  Coursera should have something that interests you.

Check it out!

Also my 3rd lavender post should come soon!  I made an excellent batch of cookies with it!  I'll share the recipe!

Take care!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Lavender Extravaganza 2

As promised, I wanted to write about the second use I played with for lavender.   June's Birchbox featured products nice for traveling, including, in the sneak peak, a floral face spray.  I decided to make my own face spray using my beautiful lavender buds. They use this spray as a nice facial refresher on a hot afternoon or during a day of traveling, but you could also use this to spray linens or as a body mist.
Here are the ingredients I used:

Bottle of Rose water ( you can usually find it at a health foods store)
a tablespoon of Lavender buds
1/4 teaspoon of lemon zest
distilled water

Then I also had an empty small jam jar and a spray bottle.
I put the rosewater in the jam jar and added the lavender and the lemon zest.  I let that all sit together in the closed jam jar for about a week, then strained out the buds and zest.

In the above photo, in the middle, is the concentrated floral water.  On the right is the purchased rose water and on the left is the spray bottle I am using for my floral water.  The floral water was a little strong for me so I filled my spray bottle about 1/2 way up with the distilled water and 1/2 way with the floral water.  This helped lighten the spray and will also make my concentrate last a long time!

Then give it a little test spray, on your arm or if you are daring, right on your face.  Right away you will feel so refreshed and cool!  Not to mention, it smells heavenly!  Or if you want to freshen up a room, you could spray this around a room as well!

I hope this was helpful!  I know I am certainly enjoying a splash of this in the afternoons with this awful heat wave sitting over Michigan!

I'm wondering what you think!

<3 Sue

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lavender Extravaganza!

Lavender!  What a great smelling flower with so many amazing uses!  A few weeks ago I went to a local lavender farm to pick my own lavender to take home.  When I went, I really had no idea what I would do with all the wonderful buds, but after some easy research, learned there are an extensive amount of options! I thought I would share those with you through a mini series of blogs!
Especially because I really dropped the ball on my blogging, so I figured I better make some very interesting ones! I hope you find them so, and maybe try out one of my uses!
 Here is a photo of my handsome and tolerant boyfriend out at the lavender farm with me!

See the fields in the background!  Not to mention they had bee hives that made lavender honey! The lavender was so fragrant that the bees didn't even care that I was wearing bright colors and moving around them.  
Once I got the lavender home, I hung it in small bunches, upside down in a cool, dry area, for a couple of days.  Once it seemed dry, I harvested the buds, which are seen below!

This is about half of what I picked!  I really wish I would have picked more after seeing all the great uses for lavender.  
I will start this blog out with the most basic use of lavender, for a more herbal remedy to help relax, and calm the body and mind.  Many people enjoy making dream pillows to sleep on or little sachets for their delicates drawer. When I was at the lavender farm, I bought a pack of drawstring mesh bags to give to a few people to use their lavender however they please.  They can put that in their pillow case, in their underwear draw, keep it next to their bed to smell when they feel stressed or have a headache, or even put a few buds in the back tub!
Of course I could not resist the hot pink baggies!  they look so pretty with the delicate purple buds in them!
I will be making a few more posts of the other uses for lavender as well! Keep an eye out for them soon as my sincere apologies for neglecting my blog!

Stay cool!
<3 Suzette

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Life of a Go-Getter

  This week I feel like I have been super productive, on the go, and more social!  It feels great!  I think I was kind of getting into a slump where I worked, went home, cooked, watch TV, slept and worked again.  While I need that some nights, it should not be every night.  So lately I've been trying to break that rut!

I've gotten into a lovely Tuesday habit of hiking the dunes with my girlfriend.  This has been a great Tuesday evening activity to not only get me outside, but off my butt from working all day.  It has also been leaving me with nice endorphins to get through the rest of the week! It is so nice to have a friend to work out with, to get outside, and best of all to get the best views of Lake Michigan once I've reached the top of that big dune that winded me!  My calves are sore from yesterday... :)

Since I moved to a new location, I've been dreading moving all or some of my doctors to my new area.  But this morning when I threw out my old contacts and realized I only had one right one left in my cabinet, I reached a limit.  I can't wear my glasses to a huge rock concert Saturday, they might fall and break or get lost!  I need contacts for my concert Saturday! Crap!! so I first whined to my mom, but quickly realized I wouldn't be in Kalamazoo to get them from her before the show.  So I sucked it up, called the Niles office of my eye Doctor and they let me pick up one contact for each eye and make a new appointment for my annual eye review.  While in the calling doctors office mood, I also called a general doctor's office in Niles and started that process of getting my medical records transferred.  Mind you, my last normal Dr. was a pediatrician... that is how long it has been since I've been in for a check up....

The training i drove to in Lansing today is soooo cool!  I'm so excited to try out what I've learned.  A colleague and I drove to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in Lansing for a few hours GIS mapping lessons.  After only those few hours of training, I can now do what normally we have to pay someone to do with maps!  I can't wait to put it into action by creating maps of our conservation easements and preserves, or create maps to help us plan what properties we want to protect by picking out certain features of the data and mapping that.   This will help our little organization out immensely!! and it is also a really good skill for me to have acquired!  People respond more to maps than to hard data or statistics.  Something about the visual appeal and its spread through an area is so powerful to the human brain.  I can't wait to organize the data the FWS and DEQ had gathered to move people to see the importance of my work!!

besides cooking a fabulous dinner (I will post on that next), tonight was more me re cooperating from over 5 hours in the car today and my butt kicking and toning yesterday.  I hope this can inspire someone to get some things off their checklist done that may have been procrastinated!  It feels amazing and gives me momentum to get more off that list done!

Take Care!
<3 Sue

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pizza Pie!

Saturday night I made a delicious home made pizza with my boyfriend.  Someone saw the delicious photo on Instagram and asked for some information on it.  So I thought I'd write a blog post about how this came to be.  I always, like most people, CRAVE pizza.  The combination of the melted cheese, sweet and tangy tomato sauce and soft but crisp bread is just what my mouth usually craves.  But it has such a bad reputation for being unhealthy!  and it is, if you buy it some where else at least.  Now this is not scientifically a healthier pizza, but I am just guessing that my more natural techniques and and ingredients must make this somewhat healthier! My theory is at least, if the crust is thinner and I pile on delicious veggies on top, then its healthier, right??

 While at Sawall's health foods, I saw a packet of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free pizza dough.  You can probably get any pizza dough mix you like, but I know that is a good brand with pretty natural ingredients.  I had the pizza craving but a few problems:  trying to eat more wholesome ingredients, consume less fat, and have no electric mixer.  I decided to bust out my guns and purchase the dough.  

Saturday I had my normal pizza craving, so we made the dough.  It comes with a yeast packet, which is really handy, not all mixes have this ingredient in the bag (check whatever brand you buy to make sure it does!)

Personally, I ran out of eggs from breakfast, so I used the vegan recipe of no eggs but using flax seed mill set with water for a minute as the egg substitute! (Bob's red mill also makes this if you are interested, lots of health benefits!) Eggs work just fine too though, but this substitute cut out some of the cholesterol.  
The dough was hand kneaded.  I found it to be a little wet, so I'd add some flour once you have followed the dough making instructions. Don't forget to let it rise.  We put the bowl of rising dough on the open top to get some of the heat from the preheating oven to help with the yeast.    
I then realized I have no pizza sauce!  So I made my own:

small can of tomato paste
can of water
1 large chopped tomato
1  1/2 teaspoon of basil (or however much you'd like!)
2 cloves garlic (I didn't put garlic in my sauce because I like to knead minced garlic in my dough!!)

Boil it until it thickens to your liking, I think mine boiled for like 20 minutes.  

Roll the dough out over the olive oiled pan, the mix i used said to bake it naked first, so we did! then take it out, put the sauce on! Then comes the fun part!
We went for a more Mediterranean style pizza, bottom layer of spinach and kale, then some crumbled feta cheese, black olives and artichokes, then a tiny bit of shredded cheese.  I like to shred my own from a block, I used colby-jack but mozzarella is more pizza traditional.  
Bake as long as necessary (for my dough it was about 15-18 minutes depending on how you like your crust to be too)

and VOILA!  you have delicious, and must be more nutritious and definitely less greasy pizza!
It is semi time consuming, but so worth it!! Also great as left overs!
This is the pizza before I baked it!  
There is no after picture because my Su chef and I smashed it all!  

Kinda looks like a salad right?? Hopefully my stomach thought so!!

<3 Sue

Monday, May 14, 2012

Food of India

This past week I decided to take on the food of India!  My newest boyfriend is from India so I thought it would be nice to attempt to cook the fine cuisine of this country!  I thought I'd share the recipes I used and some of my experiences.
First, last week I home made my own paneer, which is cheese.  It was surprisingly easy to make, but a half gallon of milk only creates about a cup - a cup and a half of cheese, depending on the quality of milk you use.  When they say get whole milk, I recommend whole milk and nice milk, like organic or at least more natural milk.  It is more thick and creates more cheese. This recipe I found on The Kitchn was a great help!
Below is my paneer as I'm pan frying it.

You want to pan fry it to about golden brown!
Here is the palak paneer recipe I used.  (Palak is spinach!) Make sure you run the spinach under cold water after blanching it to retain that gorgeous green color!

I also made a Dal (lentils, beans) dish.  I used it out of my wonderful cookbook, how to cook everything vegetarian by Mark Bittman.  This book is amazing!  My advice on this recipe is to add maybe even a little less than an inch of water above the lentils so that it thickens up quicker.  This recipe is so easy and delicious!
I also added tomatoes to this, as this was one alteration in his cookbook.  
Below you can see the beautiful Indian dinner I made!  
On the left is the dal with a bit of Cilantro.  There is brown basmati rice in the middle, and the palak paneer on the right. I also made a delicious mango cocktail to go with it.  it is simply 2 parts mango rum, one part dark rum, one part tonic water with some cut up mangoes in it.  Also a lime is a good substitute if you don't have mangoes.  

Remember, these are spiced heavily, so if you do not have a high tolerance for spices, reduce them slightly.  I actually found the dal spicier than the paneer. 

My boyfriend was happy with the outcome of these dishes, which of course made me feel awesome at my first attempt! And it was fairly easy so I can't wait to try out another food, like Chhole or making my own naan!

All in all we ate very well last weekend! But I was glad to have been able to make him a little bit of home for the night!  

Eat well!

<3 Sue 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


 I tend to go through phases of what I enjoy wasting my money on.   Lately that has been make-up. In November I joined a make-up community called Myglam.  It is similar to Birchbox where you pay a low monthly fee to receive a bag once a month with 3-6 sample, delux, or full size beauty products.  They also have videos on how to use the products, people review them, give tips about them, etc.  It has been a great community for me, as I feel like I get some of my artistic expression out through my make-up. In their bags also have been codes for discounts on beauty products, further antagonizing my interest.
  I recently learned about a phenomenon that started in Asia a while ago and is just not catching on in Europe and America.  BB cream, stands for Blemish Balm, Beauty Balm and I think there are a few more...
BB cream is similar to a tinted moisturizer, except that it also has high antioxidant levels, a decent level of SPF and can have other ingredients in it that prevent wrinkles, and reduce scaring and dark spots.  I've been using mine for three days now.  I read a few beauty forums online about which ones are best, and from what I read, the Asian ones are the best.  Three brands that stuck out to me in my research were Skin 79, Dr. Jarts and Missha.  I ended up ordering the Missha one.  I am very happy with their product, but just so you know, their return policy is not as forgiving as many US companies.  Mine is slightly lighter than my summer skin tone, so I asked them if they'd take it back and they would not.  I still use it, and my skin feels soft and I think I am breaking out less than I normally would on my period, I just have to put bronzer on top of it to not look like a ghost.  
So I figured I should wait a couple weeks to check back about how happy I still am with my Japanese beauty balm.  
My addiction doesn't stop at beauty balm or myglam.  I've been drooling over the latest Nars and Urban Decay products!  I found some great chubby pencils on Urban Decay's website on sale now!  Their new eye shadows are also something I will probably break down on soon along with their hot pink eyeliner.  
SOOO at least with my current shopping craze, I've been semi responsible with it and have my skin in my best interest!

I don't know about you, but I'm SO glad its almost the weekend!  This week has been kind of rough, I think working really late on Tuesday threw my body off.  Any time to just turn off my mind and relax is welcomed with wide arms right now!  I've come to really love my down time alone in my cozy apartment!  

Here are some photos from my recent trip to Fred Meijer Gardens!


Gorgeous flowers!


Neuron Sculpture

Until next time!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Hello followers, if I didn't bore you to sleep with my complete lack of blogging.  I guess it is time for me to bring my voice back to the web!  I've been doing a lot of cooking lately along with some beauty product trying so I'm hoping to get back into having my wide variety of interesting things on here.

I've recently returned from a trip to Florida with my mom, brother and grandma.  It was a well deserved break from work, and now I am recharged to tackle this busy season at work again!  Thus far this week has proved that!  I've been so busy doing tasks at work, that the days have not been spent by me staring at the clock for 10 minutes for one minute to pass.  

Me at the St. Joseph Bay at a shell filled beach in FL

Sunset at Panama City Beach, FL

Birthday dinner at Up the Creek Raw Bar, a Manhattan style Oyster, in Apalachicola

I've become active in a few other social media outlets as well.  Pinterest has really been a great way for me to organize all the interesting pages and ideas I find online.  Please feel free to find me on there and check out my boards, my food board is probably the strongest.  I've even tried several of the recipes on there!   I also joined Instagram as soon as they made it available for android phones.  I love being able to instantly and easily upload photos to better show and express things I'm doing or find interesting.  Please find me on there as well!

So this way past overdue post is my attempt to win back followers and your interest!  I'll put together some of the things I've been cooking and some reviews of the make up and possibly even some updates from the field at work and invasive species!  I have to throw in some of my green agenda  ;)

You will hear from me soon!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More Cleansing??

Yes, more cleansing!
My non dairy smoothie for breakfast for about 10 days was a success.  I lost my Christmas weight and did have more energy during the day due to my high fiber diet.  I do have some suggestions for the smoothie to make it more appetizing and still just as healthy.
For me, the green smoothie was unappetizing, but when i went back to my parent's house, I put frozen blueberries and black berries in it which changed the color drastically to look like a blueberry and blackberry smoothie.  The main idea of the smoothie is the high fiber, non dairy meal to start your day.   I might continue some variation of this every once in a while.
  I am now on an herbal cleanse.  I got it at Whole Foods but saw it for $10 less at Sawalls in Kalamazoo.  The regimen is called Organic Total body cleanse.  It was recommended to me by two separate gorgeous ladies who I trust as health resources.  This is a real cleanse... Things are going to get a little dirty....
First, in the morning and on an empty stomach, I take 2 of the detoxification pills.  Then 30 minutes later I eat and take 3 of the fiber pills with a large glass of water.  Then when i get home from work I take 3 more fiber pills with a glass of water and 2 colon cleansing pills.
I am only on my second day of this process, so I am not yet reaping the positive benefits of it yet.  Instead I'm waiting for any headaches or tiredness which is a sign of the toxins being released!  I shall keep you updated on this detox as well.
Well because I am trying to keep my personal life out of this, I must keep my best story of the week and my worst out of this blog, but I assure you, they are good ones!

I'm quite upset about the lack of winter happening, I feel like if it is going to be cold, it could at least be pretty outside by being covered in a fresh, sparkly blanket of snow! Instead it is just cold and ugly... My car has been loaded up with my ice skates, cross country skis and snowboard now for 1 month, and I've only used the cross country skis once.  Luckily that one time I had a fabulous adventure teaching someone dear to me how to ski, and had a great time with them, so the memories are very fond.

well time to do my nails before I sleep!  Until next time!!
<3 Suz

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jolly Green Drink

Tonight I made the Green Drink that has been featured on Opera and Dr. Oz.  I didn't try it because they convinced me, I just happened to talk to a friend who tried this recipe and liked it!  I had decided after being semi sick for the last two months, I needed to clean out my system of any lingering toxins.  This is also known as a cleanse.  I talked to a couple of my "health gurus," as I refer to them, about ones they have tried and recommended.  I ended up with the green drink one and another herbal detox in the form of a pill from Whole Foods.
  I now write you to tell you of the GREEN DRINK!  The recipe has different variations but I provide a basic one below:
2 cored apples
2 handfuls of spinach
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
1-2 celery sticks
small chunk of ginger root peeled
1 squeezed lemon
1 medium cucumber

Place in blender with 4 oz. of water, add water to get consistency you like.  Add ice if you'd like.  If you would like to you can add other things such as: a banana or carrot juice!

So this is what I made tonight, and if you know me, you know I absolutely hate celery, unless cooked down to tasteless in a soup. Needless to say, I had really opened my mind to the cleansing idea... I must say this shake was delicious!  I obviously catered it to my taste but you surprisingly can't taste the celery and spinach, in fact, it was mainly ginger and apple I tasted. I did add a lot of ginger root but that is because I know it is really good for you!

So I know dressing it up like a margarita may have made it go down a little easier, but it looks kinda like a delicious shake of an add color, and the green color from the spinach goes well on the mind with the apple flavor! 

My verdict is that this smoothie, which I am supposed to drink for 2 weeks along with a balanced diet, is a success, in the flavor department.  The color might put people off, along with the ingredients, but if you are going for super healthy and fibrous, then this is the shake to supplement your diet with.  

**Okay who am I to rate this kind of thing?  No one but your taste buds matter when deciding on a diet don't they?? You can't neglect those!!

<3 Suz

P.S.  I'm doing a snow dance for Michigan to get lots of snow during the lake effect starting tomorrow!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Is your head cold?

Okay so soliciting myself might make a few people mad, but I know there has been interest in the past on this... if you are offended by this, look at it as me showing off my knitting!
 I knit pretty much for fun, but I always get compliments on my hats!  particularly my tams! I have a few other great projects i'm working on, but need to get supplies, time and motivation to execute.
The tams are stylish, soft, easy to wear and handknit with love!
I happen to have two, that I just made to be knitting but not with anyone in mind. One size fits all, and i'm asking for $20 for each. Please message/e-mail me to set something up! I've put pictures up below to see the colors and the style of the tam

While I'm at it, i still have a fish hat left over as well!  See below, $25 message me! Fun hat! I love those!

Well its finally friday again!  I have Rotary early in the morning.  A few meetings ago I volunteered to bet he program committee, knowing that being new to the area it would be a challenge to meet interesting people to come talk to us every week... but I spose i felt up to the challenge.  No speakers this week, but the rest of January is covered, with help from my one committee member!
Then I'm off to Ann Arbor for the weekend.  I have some fabulous friends that I've been missing, particularly some girls I went to NOLA with a long time ago, so I'm happy Sharon has motivated me to come for the weekend!
Gotta go do my nails!  Stay warm my friends and followers!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

and the Sugary sweet winner is!....

MICHIGAN! Go Blue!!! only took us one overtime, so take that little brother!!!

It is oh so sweet to be a Michigan Wolverine!!!

Always and forever!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

El Nuevo Ano!

Happy New Year to all my followers and readers!!
I'm not big on resolutions, although I do think they are a good thing for people to do, if they actually stick with it. I fall more into the school of thought that I don't need 1 day a year to set goals to improve myself.  But if you have resolutions, more power to you and I'd love to hear them!
There is, however, something I have been wishing for for the past few months.  Usually it shows up in this area around this time of year but for some reason the weather does not want to deliver my wish.  I am  one of those "snow lovers"  a rare breed of people who love the cold, the snow and all the fun activities that come with it!
Yes, I got snow on Jan. 2nd!  Up at my lake house in northern MI we got about 8 inches. unfortunately i was leaving to drive back to southern MI the same day and didn't get to ski, but I did get to run around in it, play in it and  watch it fall!
This is the view of it from the back door of our cottage!!! It started snowing on Jan. 1 at night!  So my sister her boyfriend and I went for a walk!

This is how covered I was during that walk!  Still hugging trees of course!

Then the next day I had to leave but snapped a few stunners!

Gorgeous stuff!
So now my tiny new car is LOADED up with ice skates, cross country skiis and my snowboard.  I'm ready at the drop of a hat to do some sort of activity, only it will all melt on Thursday :(

Hopefully we get slammed again soon!

Tonight my school plays football!  I'm heading over to the local bar right now to watch it since I don't get it on my rabbit ears...

Hope everyone is having as lovely a new year as they hoped for!  Keep up the positive energy and enthusiasm this year!

<3 Suz