30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 3: Books

In the month of November, I’m meditating on my gratitude for something different each day.

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Books via Bits of BeautyIt’s no secret that I love books. I can easily devour a sizable novel in a few hours and a series in a matter of days. I have a very healthy appetite for the written word, especially when it’s bound between two beautifully designed covers. So here is a thank you to to the oft underpaid authors, editors, and cover artists who spend long days into the deep night creating my favorite escape.

p.s. You can share my book obsession here.

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 2: Voting

In the month of November, I’m meditating on my gratitude for something different each day.

Today I’m thankful for my right to vote.

I’m thankful that I get to weigh in on everything from who will be my city officials to who will be the next POTUS. I owe much to those who came before me, especially the suffragettes that fought for my right to vote. I know our system is not perfect, but I’m thankful that I do not have to expect a rigged election. I’m thankful that there are candidates who continue to push for better healthcare, minority empowerment, and LGBT equality. I’m thankful that I can watch debates and mock or cheer on the candidates via twitter without fear of repercussion.

I’m thankful that I was able to early vote last week, and I hope that if you live in the US, you’ll exercise your right and be thankful that you did.

The Color Run

Two weekends ago, I was having one of the best mornings ever. The munchkin, three great friends, and I joined 10,000+ crazies for what really is the happiest 5k on the planet. For each kilometer, you get rained on with a different colored powder: yellow, orange, pink, blue, purple. (And, yes, the color is non-toxic.) By the end, you’re a veritable rainbow, but there’s more. Every 15 minutes for three hours the crowd of runners partying in front of the finale stage releases more color. I’ve never seen so many people be so damn happy all at once. It was priceless.

Check out more pics below and find a Color Run in your area. There’s absolutely no pressure to run. (There were toddlers and people on crutches doing the 5k!) The schedule is already out for 2013 and they’re even going to take a tour of Australia!

For more photos check out my friend Eva’s album here.

Photos: Jennifer Ortiz & Eva Rosales

30 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 1: Artists

In the month of November, I’m meditating on my gratitude for something different each day.

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. Friedrich Nietzsche

Today, I’m thankful for artists.

They make our lives more beautiful. Through their work, our lives are deeper. They heighten our awareness. They challenge us to re-frame and frequently inspire us to try new things. Their work moves us out of the everyday mundane. Per Thomas Merton, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” I’d have to agree. Art makes our existence magical.

So, I say thank you to:

Graphic designers who provide the visual for so much of what we see everyday; typographers who make seemingly simple letters into masterpieces; illustrators who bring to life ideas and words; graffiti artists and muralists who teeter between being outlaws and sell-outs, depending who you ask, but regardless keep at it; photographers who stay up all night to capture the stars, wake up at the crack of dawn to get the best light, and who spend hours waiting for the shot; performers who use their emotion, movement, and bodies to enrapture us; and the countless other kinds of artists who create and capture anything imaginable.

Thank you to the artists who face lawsuits, arrests, and criticism. Thank you to the artists that aren’t taken seriously. Thank you to the artists that don’t know how good they are. Thank you for changing. Thank you for making things we sometimes hate at first and absolutely love later.

Thank you for the installations that allow us to stand in a rain shower without getting wet, homes shaped like dragons, photos of glorious spaces long forgotten, graffiti made of something sweet, and an animated story of an old man who flies his house across the globe via thousands of balloons.

Thank you for showing us the world we live in and those that don’t even exist.

Eggs en Cocotte with Chicken Sausage

How to make eggs en cocotte with parmesan and chicken sausage by Bits of Beauty

Bored with my “oatmeal or omelet” breakfast routine, I set out this week to find some more interesting breakfast options that would prove equally filling and healthy. After perusing the web and being bombarded by a variety of unhealthy or lackluster options, I stumbled upon this post. I instantly developed a craving for baked eggs.

Sunday morning, I’d pulled out all my ingredients for a scramble or omelet, but resolved that I’d make eggs en cocotte instead. I knew that a baked egg or two wouldn’t be enough to keep me full, but I wanted to put a minimal amount of work into breakfast on a lazy Sunday morning. So, I took all the ingredients I had pulled out and combined them into one delicious and delightfully simple dish.

Eggs en Cocotte with Parmesan and Italian Chicken Sausage

  • Parmesan (shaved or thinly sliced)
  • 3 room temperature eggs
  • Italian chicken sausage, fully cooked and diced
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • English muffin
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Parsley (dried or minced)

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast half of the english muffin. Lightly oil a ramekin or small oven-safe bowl. Place the toasted half of the muffin into the bottom of the bowl, molding it to the shape of the container. Add a layer of chicken and shallot. Crack the 3 eggs over the chicken layer, being careful not to break the yolks. Top with a sprinkling of Parmesan shavings. Fill a baking pan or dish with 1 1/4 to 2 inches of hot water for a bain-marie. Place the bowl in pan and then set the pan into the oven. Bake until whites have set and yolk has begun to flatten out. Remove pan from oven and let cool for a few minutes while you toast the other half of the english muffin. (I use this half to dip into the yolks. Yum!) Remove bowl from water, garnish with parsley and Parmesan. Devour every last bit.

*For a lighter option, use two whites and one whole egg.

P.S. The best part is that you can prep all the ingredients the night before, throw it together in the morning, then get ready while the eggs are baking.

Photo: Ms. Jenn’s Instagram

Happy Weekend: 8/24/12

Wow! What a week. I’m back from DC and catching up on work. Aidan started school and football practices. Jessie & I visited the Miami Ad School and I got to see Nadia for the first time in 5 years. I’m really in need of some yoga, so my goal is to try some new poses this weekend. Maybe I’ll get back to an acroyoga class?

Keep your headphones and chargers from getting tangled.

Go ahead and play with your food!

How great is this bohemian wedding?

Ever wonder what your dog is saying? Reference the language of dogs.

A truly inspiring video reminding us that we can do awesome, irrational things.

I’ve started a collection of yoga poses I want to get into on my Pinterest.

Photo: Yup, that’s me hanging out at SFCAS

Snapshots from DC

Two weeks ago I decided to use some points to take a long weekend in Washington, DC. It was a  whirlwind filled with really good food, music, and interesting people. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten such a diverse range of food in such a short period of time. (I even ate grasshoppers!)

I’ve been to most of the monuments already, so I spent this whole trip just letting friends show me around and doing “local” stuff. I must say, DC impressed me.

Photos: 1-3. “Scramble” at the Phillips Collection, 4. Crab at Cantler’s Inn in Annapolis, 5. Mama Ayesha’s (amazing!), & 6. Kayaking on the Potomac.