Thursday, September 30, 2010

Where is Beehive Blog this morning?

 Beehive Blog is tickled pink to be joining Gevalia Coffee on twitter this morning at 8am mst for #beanchat!  I will be tweeting as @BeehiveBlog and @4virtu to co-host the oh-so-fun and oh-so-delicious #beanchat. 

Can you say Chocolate Raspberry ~ Velvet Noir (coming sooooon!) ~ Rainforest Organic ~ Pecan Torte and Gevalia has more than just coffee - they have tea too!  White Tea with Pear, Blackberry Spice, Ancient Cherry!

Best Part - Gevalia delivers to your home ... like your front door ... Join us for #beanchat!

YES YES YES!  I want Gevalie Coffee and/or Tea delivered to my front door!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Smashing Sunday in Salt Lake City

Sunday was a smashing combo of great sites and an amazing meal - my favorite kind of day!  It turns out that Sunday in Salt Lake City is a lovely day to visit as most of the stores downtown are closed - less traffic and less people.

We started with the state capitol building which was open and virtually deserted!  Absolutely amazing building and architecture and perched high atop the valley.

After the Capitol building we went to my new MOST favorite restaurant - Wild Grape Bistro where we had an amazing Sunday brunch!  Wild Grape is a cool little place right on South Temple in Salt Lake.  The service was outstanding, the food was amazing and I cannot wait to go back!

We started with a house special bloody mary, iced coffees, kiwi lemonade and a prickly pear mimosa ...

And then we moved onto the main delights:  Crab Benedict, Shrimp & Chorizo and Grits, Open Faced Prime Rib Sandwich and Huevos Rancheros ... oh myyyyyy, I am hungry again ...

Our Server was a delight herself - Brooke - and Wild Grape Bistro is now at the head of my list for every Salt Lake visit!

We wrapped the day with a leisurely stroll through Temple Square and peeks into the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Assembly Hall.  Sunshine, good food and family ... does it get better than that?

Next weekend is MOAB and the Arches - I cannot wait!

Don't forget - I have 5 more weeks to fill with my visitors - you can win a $25 Smashburger gift certificate by suggesting places in Utah!  We are looking for more off the beaten path or restaurant or lodging suggestions - Who has been to MOAB??? 

Keep the Ideas Coming & Win a $25 Smashburger Gift Certificate!  Click Here!
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Utah Travel Plans - Keep the Ideas Coming & Win a Smashburger Gift Certificate!

I am a relatively new transplant to Utah, having arrived here in Provo at the end of October 2009. With getting settled and a major career change occurring, I have not had much time for exploring Utah. I live vicariously through several of the Utah Bloggers and I make notes for the day that I can get out and about. Since we have family that has arrived from Florida for an extended stay of 6 weeks - yes, six weeks - the days of out and about are upon me.

I tweeted out some requests for suggestions and I am looking for some out of the way eateries and day trips. ALL suggestions are welcome and SO appreciated & you will be entered into a giveaway for a $25 Smashburger gift certificate (see details below)! My family has always been big travelers so we like off the beaten track and local restaurants.

We do have a few things planned:
And some new additions to the list, again Thank You to Awesome Tweeps!

SO that is where we are in the planning process and as a THANK YOU to all of the wonderful suggestions, I will be giving away a $25 Smashburger gift certificate to a winner chosen at random on October 1, 2010 from @tweets and from the comments here below - make sure your suggestions are not duplicating any of the above AND make sure they are entered by September 30, 2010 at midnight mountain time.  To keep it simple, one entry per person. 

Who doesn't love Smashburger?  The Beehive Blog LOVES the Beehive Smashburger!

And while you are here, check out the Utah Bloggers Rock blogroll ----->  if your blog is not on there, let me know and I will add it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oh Beehive Smashburger, Where Have You Been All My Life?

As the Queen Bee of the Beehive Blog, it was my duty to get to Smashburger and try their Beehive Smashburger ... it was a duty that I relished and I cannot wait to repeat!  We had our first of many to come visits to Smashburger at the Provo location ...

We tried several things on the super scrumptious menu:  the Beehive Smashburger, the classic Smashburger with everything and a create your own Smashburger.  We added the smashfries and the sweet potato smashfries and a grasshopper mint shake and rootbeer float.

The Beehive Burger was awesome - bacon, cheddar cheese, haystack onions and finished off with honey bbq sauce.  I did get the bbq sauce on the side but it was tasty and perfect for dipping.  The 1/3 pd burgers are big and juicy (without being greasy) and all of the flavors of the Beehive smashburger were distinct and worked well together.  Add the oh-so-frigging-amazing smashfries and I have a new focus for my cravings!
Beehive Burger
Why are the smashfries so special?  Because they are tossed with rosemary, olive oil and garlic and fried just perfectly.  New addiction ahead.  We were all a bit disappointed with the sweet potato smashfries - compared to the rest of the food, they just were not great.  The haystack onions were on my burger and would be a great complement to any of the food.
smashfries - my new addiction
Comments from the group: 
  • "even though the order was messed up, it was good in the end! my favorite was the create your own burger" (see below about the order) (13 yr old Son)
  • "nice view and good food - my favorite was the classic burger" (12 yr old Nephew)
  • "messed the order up but they did correct it and my favorite was the rosemary fries.  I usually only eat half a burger and I ate the whole thing!" (My Mom)  
The service was good, the restaurant was attractive and not too crowded and I loved how they served the burger and fries in the baskets.  My personal fave was a dead tie between the Beehive Burger and the smashfries.

Room for Improvement:
  • My son used the create your own checklist to create his burger but it still arrived incorrectly
  • My Mom ordered the classic and her burger arrived incorrectly as well
  • We figured out that the assembly of the burgers was the issue and the tops and bottoms were mixed up - the service person was great and brought us new toppings

Will we go back?  YES WE WILL ... in fact, as soon as possible because there is lots more to try on the menu!

Are you a Smashburger fan?  Check out my $25 Smashburger giveaway here - Enter by October 1!

What is your favorite thing from Smashburger?
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Beehive Blog Spends the day with Photo by Emilie

I was tickled pink to be invited by an awesome tweeter, @taunitweets, to a wonderful photography workshop by Emilie of Photo by Emilie.  We met for a four hour workshop at Emilie's lovely studio in Draper, Utah - other awesome tweeters in attendance were @twomoreseconds and @savvyveronica.

Emilie is not only an extremely talented photographer that also has an incredible sympatico with recalcitrant kiddos but she is an excellent teacher.  The workshop was on how to work from a completely manual setting on your camera and covered all of those weird and foreign settings on the camera like f-stop, aperture, iso, shutter speed, etc..  Each attendee received Emilie's workbook that is packed with hints and examples and a step by step on all of the topics covered in the workshop.  We spent a ton of time on light and all of the settings that affect how light enters your camera and affects your subject.

Armed with our newly found illumination, Emilie produced the most adorable family for us to practice on.  This was my favorite part!  I am very hands on when learning so to hear Emilie discuss the topics, look at the settings and her examples and then be able to put it into immediate practice was invaluable.


After working with the delightful children while Emilie coached us on poses and angles and using the light, we came back in for some more theory, this time focusing on editing the photos.  Another invaluable step.  The entire workshop progressed in a logical and enjoyable manner with great company and lots of laughs with Emilie and her sparkling personality.   

Although I have been doing amateur photography for several years, I had yet to progress to fully manual and Emilie took the trepidation out of the exercise completely!  I also tend to focus on nature photography so this was an interesting look into the world of portraits and people photography.

The Beehive Blog would like to name Photo by Emilie - THE BEE'S KNEES! 

I highly recommend the workshop for photographers of all levels.  The Beehive Blog will be alerting readers when Emilie schedules her next workshop - what a GREAT holiday gift *hint hint* - but until then ... there are tons of ways that you can take advantage of Photo by Emilie's expertise -

The Beehive Blog recommends:
  • Checking out Emilie's monthly Photo Tips on her blog - See September Tip here!
  • Family portraits for Halloween or Christmas!
  • Photoshop Tutoring - this is one on one and the next thing that I will be scheduling!
  • Action sets for Photoshop
  • Texture Sets 
  • Workbook by Emilie
  • Pre-schedule for the next Photography Workshop with Photo by Emilie
Here is how to get ahold of the fabulous Emilie ... tell her the Beehive Blog sent you!

Photo by Emilie

shhhhh it is a wordless Thursday but I took it on Wednesday!

this week has been nuts.  truly.  In a good way and in a crazy truly nuts way.  In the good way, I have my Mom and my nephew here from Florida for several weeks.  It is awesome.  In the truly crazy nuts way, a dumpster crashed through my window Monday night and the weekend was back to back and I had to prep for company and work ahead even though I am behind and sigh.  SO.  here is my wordless Wednesday.  on Thursday.  but I took it on Wednesday so it should count.  right?  right.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Feeds My Cow Obsession

I know this is supposed to be wordless Wednesday but ... I cannot do it!  I will keep it short - I love cows, I moo at cows and I am sure by now that it has spread through the cow community that I am insane and show up at the fence mooing at them and taking pictures.  It's ok ... I will find a Cow Stalk & Moo Anonymous club soon. til then ...  Happy Wednesday and go moo at a cow!

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to Blogging with SITS - My First Blog Post Evah

One of my favorite blogging communities that I belong to is SITS - The Secret is in the Sauce.  It is a fantastically supportive community with just tons of amazing bloggers.  SITS is running a fun blog prompt exercise this week with some amazing prizes so check it out

Thelma and Louise are devestatingly beautiful ... sigh ... front end loaders and TEAL ... and I think I would move my house just to have room for them!  And the blog prompts are fun!

Here are the topics:

Monday, September 13: Re-upload the first post you ever wrote on your blog. If interested, re-write that post, showing us a before and after look at the piece.

Tuesday, September 14: Re-upload a post you wish more people had read and explain why it was important to you.

Wednesday, September 15: Re-upload a post with a title that you are particularly proud of and explain why.

Thursday, September 16: Write a new post about a woman who inspires you.  (As an example, you can see Mama Kat’s recent Women Who Inspire post here.)

Friday, September 17: As your last assignment to jump start your return to blogging, write about what blogging means to you. Why do you blog? What purpose does it serve you and how have you benefited from sharing a piece of yourself online this way?
And here are Thelma and Louise ... sighhhhhhhh ...

You can thank the awesome sponsors of Thelma & Louise here:  Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances.  Truly - SPONSORS ROCK!

So get over to SITS - check out the rules and get your blog on!

Now to get MY blog on ... I went back and scavenged for the first post I ever made into the official blogosphere ... and it is almost five years ago!  Beehive Blog was my new blog for Utah that I started in Fall of 2009 although it now contains posts from my London Yankee blog that started in 2007 which I began when I moved to London.  Funny enough, my blogs are very place oriented and in that vein ... my first public blog post was about moving to Arizona in October of 2005 from Florida.  I set the blog up to keep in touch with family and friends.

Dated October 26, 2005:   

Big Hello from the Land of Cactus and Coyotes!

One week after arrival I am still assimilating the new environment! And watching with no small amount of nausea what happened in Florida... Hurricane Wilma left her category 3 mark... I have not heard from anyone except my parents and that was bad enough.  What divine forces were at work that we got out of there 4 days before she rolled in?

Here in Arizona, I am working on firsts! And they are cool (I think) and very foreign (to this East Coast chickie)...

Saw my FIRST saguaro Cactus and they are HUGE!

Heard Coyotes Howling in time with the fire sirens - HA!

I watch the sun set behind the White Tank Mountains - every evening! and then the STARS! WOW...

Hiked in the White Tanks and actually bought a pair of hiking boots!

Enjoying the dipping temps (who would have thought?!?!) - it was 56F this morning!

SO...suffice to say...I am settling in...Job in Florida is so totally on hold as they have NO communication at all and the office was almost completely destroyed so I am job searching and just booked my third interview...

I think I might like it here! More Later.........HI TO EVERYONE!!!!!!! And please please please Pray for everyone in Florida!

Fast Forward to Present Day ... and some of my thoughts on this post ...

There are a bunch of things that are bittersweet about this post.  Hurricane Katrina had just hit a few months prior which was the impetus for this move to Arizona where my brother and his family lived.  I picked a date out of thin air in the beginning of September and it turned out that my son and I left Florida only four days before Hurricane Wilma devastated South Florida.  My Mom and Dad were there for Wilma and it was horrific.  The house we had rented lost most of its roof so divine intervention was at play for sure.

I loved seeing the pics again, especially now that my son (standing with me in the middle pic) is 13 and taller than me.  Phoenix was good to us and my love of Utah is in part because it has some of the things I really loved about Arizona - the friendly people, the western sentiment, the DRY, and the mountains.

I wished there were some more details in the post and that the pictures were better but honestly, blogs are blogs and we capture that moment ... and it is very evocative for me. 

OK SITS Chicks and other blogsters - What was your first blog post evah?  Leave me a comment so I can check it out!   

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 - We Will Never Forget

Every generation has at least one momentous occasion when the world stopped, attention was snapped and what you were doing at that moment will stay with you forever.  In the 60's, it was the assassinations of JFK and MLK.  In 2001, it was 9/11.  You would be hard pressed to find anyone that cannot recall what they were doing when that second plane hit the second tower and we realized that it was not a horrible accident but we were under attack and planes full of people were the weapons of destruction.
Swapping stories of where we were that day becomes compulsory sometimes - as if by talking about it, repeating it, we can release some of the horror of that morning.  I was just dropping my son off at preschool when the first plane struck.  My thought at the time was simply - Oh no, someone really messed up.  When I got back in the car, a radio announcer who had a direct view of the World Trade Center was excitedly describing the scene.
Then he screamed and my blood curdled - he just kept screaming - "There is another plane, another plane, oh my God, another plane just hit the second tower!"
I knew at that moment that this was not an accident.  I worked at the hospital across the street from my son's school so within minutes, I was in my office and everyone was trying to figure out what was going on.  Well, you all know the rest of the story.  It was the longest morning of my life - I cannot begin to comprehend what all of those who were directly impacted went through or have gone through since then.  All I can do is say that my prayers and tears were for all of you.
How does a nation, a world heal from that kind of disaster?
We remember.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

4 Books I Am Reading - What is on Your Reading List?

I love books. I love the feel, the smell - the tangibility of books. Stick me in a used bookstore and I will come out broke and happy as a clam.  Although, currently Amazon is my delivery of choice.

I have resisted the kindle although I like the idea of immediate gratification, but nothing replaces curling up with a good book, plus I read tooooo much online as it is.

Here is the stack next to my bed that I will be curling up with as soon as possible:

  • Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - I am about halfway through on a second read since the book has had a resurgence with the new movie out.  I love it ... it is real, raw and funny and a wonderful peek into Elizabeth's very cool travels.
  •  Water Signs by Daria DiGiovanni - this book is by one of my Parasol Partners that I adore!  Daria is ridiculously talented with a beautiful romantic heart and I am diving in! "Water Signs is an odyssey of heartbreak, personal growth and spiritual development that leads them full-circle to a Divinely guided conclusion."  Yup - sounds perfect!  Daria also has a great blog to check out with writer hints and peeks into the pages of Water Signs!
  • Harlot's Sauce by Patricia Volonakis Davis -  I had the pleasure of being part of the blogging community with Patricia as Harlot's Sauce was being born.  My copy is winging its way through UPS as we speak and I cannot wait.  Patricia is one of my favorite people and I can assure ... Harlot's Sauce will tickle your fancy!  "With vivid descriptions of life in beautiful, modern-day Greece, this memoir is both a tasty treat and an exhilarating sail on the Hellenic seas through xenophobia, dysfunctional family units, religious ravings, obsessive protocols, political disorder, European football, and fabulous food."  
  • Stop Walking on Eggshells by Paul T. Mason & Randi Kreger - I am recovering from my marital state.  Still.  ARG.  Recently, in a long outpouring of relationship sagas in the wee hours of the morning, a friend recommended this book after hearing about some of my experiences.  All I can say is ... wow ... I wish I had this two years ago.  And I would also like to say: SEE, I WAS NOT THE CRAZY ONE!  but that would be childish.  wouldn't it?   
What is on your Reading List? 
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Wordless Wednesday

Monday, September 6, 2010

You Can Call Me "Bug Girl"

Since starting my journey in photography, I have to admit to a fascination with bugs.  Not like any bugs and not bugs in my house or bugs touching my body but taking pictures of bugs.

It really started with the dragonflies.  While living in Florida, I had close encounters of the dragon kind every day and I love them.  OK - I am obsessed with them.  Folks in my photo groups call me the Dragonfly Whisperer although I am fairly certain that the dragonflies would concur with Dragonfly Stalker.

My obsession does not just extend to stalking dragonflies or running after bugs in the wild, but I also began to read about them, especially dragonflies.  I knew it was bad when I would wax enthusiastic at family dinners about species and experiences during my photographic journeys, adding in all the neat new facts that I had uncovered about bug behavior.  Blank stares and even my Mom asking me if I needed to see a therapist were the results.

The idea of going out to stalk dragonflies and other various denizens of the buggy kingdoms has gotten me out of bed at dawn, led me into standing in swamps motionless for 20 minutes to get a shot and hanging upside down the side of a canal to inspect a cocoon.  Weird, right?

In my defense, I have documented over 26 types of dragonflies, identified invasive species harmful to the Florida ecosystem, submitted to various scientific and scientific groups and  gotten a few darn cool photos along the way.  I even realized that my serious and debilitating arachnophobia could be controlled if I breathed and looked through the lens.  I do not wax poetic about spider behavior ... you are safe.

But the real reason that I am so excited about bugs ... beside the darn cool photos is that they saved my life.  Two years ago, I had just returned from London.  My husband and I had separated.  I had just been laid off.  I hated Florida.  The economy had made finding a job in my industry virtually impossible.  I was depressed and then one evening during a walk, I sat down in a field of dragonflies.  I was entranced and that was the first of months of daily walks.  Instead of going to bed and staying there (which is what I wanted to do), I went outside, took photos, did research and formed awesome networks on Flickr.  

I am through the bad patch now but my love of photography and capturing all the wonderful and weird things around us, no matter how small, has definitely stuck.  So, yes, you can call me Bug Girl.  or the Dragonfly Whisperer/Stalker, or as one friend dubbed me - the Reigning Queen of the Dragonfly Nerds on flickr.  But the bugs and I know ... I owe them.


All Photos Are Mine so Please Respect Copyright ... or the bugs will get you ... seriously.  
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