February 3, 2017

I love lists

I love lists - a collection of fun things on the internet. More on Shutterbean.com!

Welcome to I love Lists! Let’s see what’s up with the internet this week:

  1. What a beautiful kitchen.
  2. I found my childhood radio on Etsy.  The memories!
  3. If you need to focus. If you need light.
  4. Words to ban in your vocabulary.
  5. These photos caught my eye.
  6. 1938
  7. A pin for me.
  8. One of my favorite movies.
  9. This planner looks like a lot of fun.
  10. This dress with these shoes and this sweater.
  11. Illustrations that capture what anxiety + depression feel like.
  12. I really miss shooting film.
  13. Loved looking through Melissa’s Minimalist Pantry.
  14. This is old….but I really enjoyed it.  (warning- language)
  15. This is for my friend Andrea.  Can you imagine?!! Also, this!
  16. Some of these made me lol.
  17. Hoots. 
  18. Whoooooaaa. I want to eat these and this sushi burrito too!
  19. Beyonce is pregnant with twins. More about the artist behind the photos.
  20. If you need an escape, here are the best beaches in the world.

have a great weekend!
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February 2, 2017

Herbed Goat Cheese

For an easy appetizer, try Herbed Goat Cheese. Recipe on Shutterbean.com

I’m having a few friends over this weekend to make Valentine’s cards!

There will be plenty of wine,  maybe some calzone and definitely this Herbed Goat Cheese because no party would be a party without a fancy cheese & bread situation.

For an easy appetizer, try Herbed Goat Cheese. Recipe on Shutterbean.com

I spotted this recipe in Ina Garten’s new cookbook- Cooking for Jeffery and immediately thought of my mom.

My mom loves Ina and she also has a very similar appetizer in her own repertoire.

She serves her Herbed Goat Cheese with a crostini and we all plooooooow through it.

Though,  I think my mom’s version might be heated and there’s garlic in it? I’m not sure.

For an easy appetizer, try Herbed Goat Cheese. Recipe on Shutterbean.com

The goat cheese is soft. The herbs are fresh. The smashed peppercorn is my favorite part. Wait. It’s probably the bread and how it gets a little oily. Sigh….

This weekend:

Art will be had. We’ll laugh. We’ll have deep conversations and make some magic.

I’ve been looking forward to it alllllllll week.


January 31, 2017

Currently January 2017

Currently January 2017 on Shutterbean.com!

Currently: January 2017

Last day of January!  Wow. That went by fast…. I think?  I wonder how many of you are on Whole 30 and if this is your last day??  How did it go?  Tell meeeeeee. Also, what are you going to eat first??!  I think I ate toast.

This month I was pretty anti-social because I was spending most of my time getting rid of stuff we don’t need anymore. All of my free time has been dedicated to that. (HOLY COW IT’S SO MUCH WORK and I HAVE SO MUCH MORE TO GO!) I’ve been busy thinking about what it means to live a minimal life.

This month I had to cut down my time online because I found myself having random panic attacks while checking Facebook throughout the day. This post really helped. Thank you, Tsh.

This month I pitched a home design company I admire to see if they would want to work together on a few finishing touches to our bedroom.


Instead of beating myself up, it just made me realize that I would have never known if I didn’t ask.

There’s the old saying

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Get.”


I asked and I didn’t get.

How do I stop myself from going down a rabbit hole of AHHHHHHHH?!!!!!???

I broke it down in my head:

Don’t stop asking, because one day you’ll learn that rejection made you stronger and it was all worth the effort. When someone sees your true value, you’ll know that what you’ve been working towards has been well worth it. 

As a parent, I’m seeing that I have to reinforce this lesson with Cooper often.  He gets frustrated that he isn’t a natural at something. He’s gotta practice! He’s gotta put effort in because the process gets easier over time. Sometimes the process makes you realize that you wanted something completely different altogether!

It’s funny how we can have parallel experiences at completely different stages of our lives.

Currently January 2017 on Shutterbean.com!

Inspired by:

Art!  Cooper and I have been finding happiness in melting crayons right now. If you’re following my Instagram stories, you’ve already seen the melting extravaganza.  I bought a hot tray  (for $4.50!) from a thrift shop in December and decided to put it to good use last week. You can find one on eBay if you wanna get an older/cheaper model.

Here’s what I do:

I put down a piece of paper. We melt crayons using the heat tray and then we make prints by dipping paper into the melted wax. What I love about it most is that we create really cool color combinations together. (see above!)  It’s something I did when I was in Girl Scouts many many years ago.

I am currently looking into seeing what I can do with some of my spare time. I would like to put it to good use by volunteering. Anyone know of some good organizations in the Bay Area that might be a good fit? Food? Art? Kids? Gardening? Let me know!


We had an unexpected This is Us binge this month. Silly me didn’t pay attention and thought that there were more episodes and I was so sad when we ran out!  I can see why so many of you suggested it as a replacement to Parenthood. IT IS SO GOOD!  My brother and I are trying to get my parents to watch it, but my dad is knee-deep in Warriors games right now so, hopefully, they’ll get into it soon. I can’t wait to talk about it with my Mom.

Other things we saw:

Captain Fantastic (best movie I’ve seen in a long while!). Incredible, really.

La La Land Loved the colors. The set design was remarkable. Emma Stone impressed me with her singing! I have to say that I was distracted by Ryan Gosling’s new teeth (I notice everything) for the first half of the movie and it kinda made me sad. I thought he was fiiiiiiiiine just the way he was. Teeth add character to a person’s face.  When everyone’s teeth look the same it freaks me out. Just start watching older movies and you’ll see how different people looked.

The Eighties Miniseries on Netflix. LOVED THIS. A lot of it brought me back to my childhood. It was also really interesting to see how things unfolded from an adult perspective.

The Battered Bastards of Baseballwhat a cool story! Casey picked this one out and I was surprised how much I liked it.


I have been reading Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life + listening to their podcast (they also read from the book in some of the episodes).  I’ve been flipping through the book Everyday Matters for the past week or so.  Finding a little inspiration to keep trying, no matter what life throws at me. I highly recommend if you’re interested in drawing.

Thinking about: 

What really bring value into my life?  It’s a result from the Minimalist book. Taking away all of this stuff made me realize how much stuff I’ve been holding onto….mostly because I didn’t have the brain space to deal with it. But in not dealing with it, I always got a nagging voice saying:


And then I’d go into a headspace of being a failure at doing something I keep putting off.

When you finally getting around to doing it, YOU DON’T HAVE THAT NAGGING VOICE ANYMORE.

And when you live a life without that nagging voice, you’re a lot happier because you can see…

All you’ve accomplished. 

I’m also trying to create a master list of what we use/need each month so I can plan shopping trips better and avoid over-spending because I don’t have a solid plan. Wish me luck.

Listening to:

Mirah– I’m going through a phase right now where all I want to do is listen to happier music from my 20s. Mirah has always been one of my favorites.

Leon Bridges– I first heard his song “River” during a yoga class last month. I’ve been hooked. He is so soulful. I’ve been using him as an example for Cooper to see that people can express their feelings through song.

The Minimalist Podcast (check out more of my current favorite podcasts)

Dream Life:

Right now I am not remembering what I am dreaming at night….but then during the day I get these little blasts of a memory and I have to really think if it was something that happened or something I dreamt.  In other words, my life feels like Deja Vu most of the time.


Hippy Banana Bread and Lemon Ginger Elixir.

(I don’t know why I didn’t put the Lemon Ginger in the Drinking section, oof).

I now have the hippy banana bread recipe memorized by heart. There was one loaf where I added an extra half cup of flour and it resulted in a dry bread. This last batch, I made gluten free with Cup4Cup and it worked PERFECTLY. Tastes just like the gluten-full version.


Not enough water and too much coffee.

Lemon Ginger Elixir.

Yes. I’m actually drinking some while typing this because my fingers are COLD and I need to warm them up.

It’s great if you put whiskey in it… really good cold too.

That’s all for now. Maybe I’ll drink more water next month.

You know the drill.

Leave your stream of consciousness in the notes!

How was your January? Any goals for February? 

January 29, 2017

My Everyday Life: Week 4

Here’s what the past week looked like on My Everyday Life- Week 4

Sunday morning breakfast.

 Here's what the past week looked like on My Everyday Life- a weekly photo series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.

Sunday meal prep!

Added to the rotation:

Lemon Ginger Elixir & Hippy Banana Bread 

 Here's what the past week looked like on My Everyday Life- a weekly photo series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.

I dunno, really.

 Here's what the past week looked like on My Everyday Life- a weekly photo series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.

Seen at my yoga class.

 Here's what the past week looked like on My Everyday Life- a weekly photo series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.

Ella ella bo bella.

 Here's what the past week looked like on My Everyday Life- a weekly photo series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.

A wave hello.

 Here's what the past week looked like on My Everyday Life- a weekly photo series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.

On my way to the chiropractor’s office. Getting old is real.

 Here's what the past week looked like on My Everyday Life- a weekly photo series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.


 Here's what the past week looked like on My Everyday Life- a weekly photo series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.

Went to the Legion of Honor with my Mom this week.

Mother and daughter field trip!!

 Here's what the past week looked like on My Everyday Life- a weekly photo series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.

She loves people watching as much as I do.

 Here's what the past week looked like on My Everyday Life- a weekly photo series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.


January 27, 2017

I love lists

I love lists on Shutterbean.com

Welcome to I love lists. It’s Friday!! Let’s surf the internet together:

  1. Tsh gives a little tour of her bullet journal pages. LOVE
  2. Gimme these chicken pineapple skewers. Please/thank you.
  3. Deb! On the Food Network! YAAAAS.
  4. Whhaaaaaat am I looking at?
  5. You can make your own junior mints? whoa.
  6. This excites me. But it also makes me sad.
  7. Legos turned into food things.
  8. Dan Aykroyd writes about Carrie Fisher <3
  9. I want to go out and photograph at night soon.
  10. What the world looks like if you have different types of color blindness.
  11. If you saw La La Land, you’ll probably enjoy this.
  12. How Restaurants Prep for a VIP.
  13. Have you ever stopped to think how technology is being designed for you?
  14. All of this is incredibly beautiful. 
  15. Mindy Kaling. Interesting.  I was hoping Jennifer Lawrence, cuz she’s a Leo.
  16. I really enjoyed watching this- Darjeeling Limited- How Brothers Communicate 
  17. How to make an avocado rose.
  18. I can’t tell if these shoes are cute. I’m sure they’re comfortable, though.
  19. How Louis CK tells a joke.  Loved this.
  20. This place is unreal.
  21. What you should do after paying off your debt.
  22. Practical Uses for Cats totally #5
  23. Something I want to make soon and this too!


January 26, 2017

Current Favorite Podcasts

Looking for podcast inspiration? Here are the Current Favorite Podcasts Tracy's listening to at Shutterbean.com

We all listen to podcasts in different ways. Some people like to listen while working out. Other people rely on a podcast to get through a tough commute. I’m a person who listens to podcasts while I’m out hiking or doing something productive like folding laundry or cleaning up the kitchen. Lately, I’ve been taking notes in my journal while podcasting and have found it to quite relaxing. Maybe part of me just misses note taking at school. #lovespens

I like to tie my podcast listening to an activity because it can become an enjoyable part of a routine.

When I fall off the podcast train, some of my routines suffer!

Or is it the other way around?!?

Looking for podcast inspiration? Here are the Current Favorite Podcasts Tracy's listening to at Shutterbean.com

Since some of you have asked, here are my Current Favorite Podcasts if you’re looking for something to listen to while you:

  • work in the kitchen
  • fold laundry
  • clean up the kitchen
  • commute on a train
  • are stuck in traffic
  • run your ass off on a treadmill
  • hike up a mountain
  • balance your bank account
  • craft it up
  • do whatever you do when you listen to podcasts

my podcast requirements:

  • not too long
  • something that will make me think
  • something that will keep my attention
  • something that will add value to my life
  • humor is not required but thoroughly appreciated!
  • can be something I pick up easily after missing a few episodes

The Minimalists

Right now, I am currently spending most of my chore time listening to the Minimalists Podcasts.

One of the mantras I’m working with is:

Work smarter, not harder.

This podcast is starting to remind me of the small things I can do to change my life…mostly mindset changes. I’m starting to put the pieces together on crafting a life that doesn’t involve me wasting time doing unnecessary/limiting maintenance.

Right now I’m new to this podcast, so I’m picking an episode at random.  I keep listening because the way Joshua & Ryan simplify complex ideas draws me in. Sometimes their self-promotion annoys me (but also, RESPECT!!!), but I always leave with ideas/concepts to focus on as I declutter my life/house/brain. And while I’m sitting there folding laundry, it makes me evaluate the things we have and how much they end up owning us.  Getting rid of stuff that clutters my house and my mind means that I have more time to do things that I couldn’t do before…like easily manage the things I have.

Some of my favorite episodes so far are:

Stress /  Impulses /  Essential  / Noise / Mental Clutter


One of my favorites!  Storytelling + scientific research= Invisibilia.

Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel explain the invisible forces that control human behavior. THIS IS THE STUFF THAT I LOOOOOOOVE. Science is presented in story form. That’s how my brain can digest it!  I listen to this one mostly in the car for some reason. Not sure why, but my brain processes what they say better when I’m in motion. Cooper has even listened/enjoyed a few.

Some of my favorite episodes:

The Secret Emotional Life of Clothes /  Our Computers, Ourselves  / The Secret History of Thoughts


Radiolab is one of those podcasts where if you don’t choose the RIGHT episode to start with, you might lose out on the whole show.  The first episode I listened to was a live show with an audience while I was on a plane once (IT WAS LOUD!) and it was DEFINITELY not my jam. I am grateful that I gave it a second try because it’s one of my faves. I go back and forth between listening to this podcast & Invisibilia because I get the same, WHOA that’s cool! I had noooooo idea— feeling.  (that is one of my favorite feelings)

Some of my favorite episodes:

The Fix / Debatable / On the Edge

Art for Your Ear

Danielle of The Jealous Curator started a podcast called Art for Your Ear. She interviews artists on their work/process/creative work lives. I find it totally inspirational and love being introduced to new/cool artwork in the process. It’s a good podcast to listen to while you’re working on something creative.

this episode really spoke to me:

A Disciplined Free Spirit 

The Jess Lively Show

I mostly listen to The Jess Lively Show because I am in awe of her drive. She was meant to podcast. I can clearly feel it and I love her dedication to the craft. To be honest with you, I haven’t been keeping up-to-date with her podcasts, but she still remains in my reader. She is my go-to when I need encouragement/uplifting advice.  Some of her shows are quite empowering and her lineup of guests is pretty choice too!

Elise Gets Crafty

If you also love hearing about other artists’ business owners processes, you’ll love Elise Gets Crafty. There is a thoughtful exchange between Elise and whoever she is interviewing. (She interviewed me once!) She asks such helpful questions about how people do things and why they do them. I really appreciate the honesty both Elise and her guests offer up.  If you’re someone who makes things and runs a small business, I definitely recommend.

Uhh Yeah Dude

America through the eyes of two American Americans. This one is a bit of an acquired taste. Seth Romatelli & Jonathan Larroquette (son of John Larroquette!) have been podcasting for YEARS, so their body of work is quite massive. I think I started listening to them when they were on their 200th episode and now they are currently at 557!   They go off on tangents and are at times, wildly inappropriate. Every few episodes, I find myself CACKLING.  I like to think that Uhh Yeah Dude is like a male version of The Joy the Baker podcast….but without any filters / if we didn’t give AF / if my mom didn’t listen.

Uhh Yeah Dude makes me feel like I’m hanging out with my bros.   They’re just dudes…talking…reading headlines and making commentary. Seth gets wound up. Jah is a cool cat, until he’s not. They are a Libra/Leo combination, so I like seeing how they compliment each other. (Cooper is a Libra & I’m a Leo).

They even do live podcasts that are funnier in person. Seatbelts!

***def not for kids. language!***

This American Life

Doesn’t everyone love This American Life?  Not all of the episodes resonate with me, but when they do, THEY DO!  When I’m on a hike and I need a good brain reset, I get sucked into one of the stories on This American Life.

My all time favorite episode was: Notes on Camp

Story Pirates Radio

Cooper and I listen to Story Pirates Radio when we have a good drive ahead of us. The premise is that a child submits a story, they read the story and then they adapt the story/embellish it and turn it into a performance. I think it’s probably really close to the radio programs my mom & dad grew up on. I like that they interview the readers afterward and talk about their process/motivation behind the story. It gives Cooper and me a lot to talk about since he also loves reading and writing.

Brains On!

Another podcast for our mother/son driving time that we enjoy is Brains On!  Again, it gives us something to talk about and it keeps our attention! They’re so creative in the way they deal with each topic. It kind of reminds me of Mythbusters in some weird way.


I also really enjoyed listening to the first season of Serial. I tried to listen to the first two episodes of the second season and I just couldn’t get into it. Did you finish it? Do I NEEEEED to listen to it?

To answer your questions, and I’m sure they’ll come up…..like…

What happened to the Joy the Baker Podcast that you used to record with your maj, Joy the Baker??!! 

We have taken an unexpectedly LONG break!  What happened? Life events/work/growth happened and the energy we put into producing quality podcasts wasn’t sustainable for our schedules.  We stopped for a bit and then we were like….how did we ever do this??! And…. how did we ever do this thing (real talk: for free + shelling out money for site/podcast hosting) when our time is limited and we’re putting everything we can into our family/book/blogs?  We really miss the connection we had with our listeners, so we’re dreaming up a way to do it again! If you’re interested in listening to us in the future, thank you for your patience. Hopefully, when we record again, it will be worth the wait.

Soooooooooo- What are you listening to?

I’m sure you’re gonna say, My Favorite Murderer, right?  I listened to the first episode and thought—-oh my god, I am going to have a panic attack and never leave my house again. Will that always be the case? Do I want to subject myself to that?

Tell me what has your ear these days.

January 24, 2017

Spinach Artichoke Calzone

If you're looking for a great vegetarian weeknight meal, check out this Spinach Artichoke Calzone recipe on Shutterbean.com!

You’re either a fan of calzone or you’re not.

I waffle back and forth….because sometimes I’m just not in the mood for ricotta.

Too much ricotta in a calzone ruins it for me. Ricotta can sometimes make the calzone soggy and WHO WANTS SOGGY CALZONE?

We were out to eat a few weeks ago and I saw calzone on the menu that didn’t have the obligatory HEAPING PILE of ricotta in it. Nope. None.

It was one of the best calzones I’ve ever had and here my recreation.

If you're looking for a great vegetarian weeknight meal, check out this Spinach Artichoke Calzone recipe on Shutterbean.com!

When I watched the guy in the back baste the top with garlic infused oil, I knew it was a match made in heaven.

If you're looking for a great vegetarian weeknight meal, check out this Spinach Artichoke Calzone recipe on Shutterbean.com!

What we have here is a Spinach Artichoke Calzone that’s stuffed with a mix of mozzarella, feta, spinach, marinated artichokes, pesto and red pepper flakes. It’s topped with garlic infused oil and a sprinkle of cheese to crisp up in the oven. I served it with a side of marinara for light dipping action.

This has turned me back into a calzone lover. Maybe it will do the same for you? Or maybe it will help remind you that calzone would make a good addition to your meal rotation soon?