The Uncommon Life

Alfresco Dining: Pistachio Pasta

June 21, 2010

I chose this dish because the recipe was only three sentences long. Hello, easy!  Best of all, my guests raved about the unique combination of ingredients and fresh basil taste.



What You Need:

3/4 cup basic basil pesto, room temperature

1 cup shelled pistachio nuts

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

12 ounces fettucine (or your favorite pasta), cooked al dente and drained

What You Do:

In a large bowl, combine pesto, pistachios, basil and turkey. Add hot pasta and toss. Garnish with whole basil leaves and enjoy outdoors!

Gift Guides

The Gnome-Be-Gone Family

June 21, 2010

Four years ago I was at my boyfriend Tyler’s graduation party and saw two freaky creatures peeking out from behind the pool and carrying away a gnome.  They were attention grabbers to say the least.


The clan continued to grow over the years (thanks to Tyler’s brother Josh who bought them every year for his mother). And in time I learned where those gnome-carriers came from, found them endearing and was dying to work for UncommonGoods.

While at UG, I got to know more about the Utah-based artist Fred Conlon and saw tons of his new and quirky products come to life.  Fred’s latest addtion, Mow-Bot, is now gracing the cover of the current catalog. While I love the cute  metal robot, my heart belongs to those initial little goblins that got so many people to become repeat customers and lifelong fans of the company that is anything but ordinary.

The Uncommon Life

Au natural

June 20, 2010

makeup free


It’s the biggest makeup trend this season. Nope, not minerals, waterproof mascara or budge-proof lipstick. The talk of the town is actually going bare. Recently the hosts of the Today Show took it all off for the cameras and had the media and viewers buzzing. My foundation is my security blanket, so I am in complete awe of the women who are bold enough to take this plunge!

Check out more of the movement on the Beauty Bean which features Makeup Free Mondays (a good way to ease into the idea).  Not only can you see photos of foundation-free women, but you can also get the scoop from BB founder, Alexis Wolfer, on how to look and feel your best.

What are your thoughts on this movement? Do you dare to go bare this Monday? What are your skin tips?

The Uncommon Life

Ready to Run

June 18, 2010

Every few months I decide I am going to “become a runner.” Then I go to the gym, run/walk a mile and vow to never run again. It just seems too hard and I have a million excuses. This time, I want to be held accountable for my big goal. So let it be blogged so let it be done.

Now, let’s not get crazy. I’m not vowing to run a marathon (or even a half marathon for that matter). I just want to incorporate a few miles into my weekly routine. To get started, I’m getting motivated with Runner’s World tips. No excuses! Who’s with me? Can I get a virtual running buddy out there?

Gift Guides

Wedding Picks for Young Chicks

June 18, 2010

Three months ago, my college roomate called with the news that she was engaged. Tears! Two months ago, my little sister got engaged while visiting me in NYC. Heart attack!

While I’m thrilled for the both of them, all this matrimonial bliss made me realize the terrifying truth about myself — I’m grown up! Well, on paper at least. I don’t feel old enough to get married, let alone be a maid-of-honor or arrange a bridal shower. But I think that’s because of what I associate these events with — crystal and stemware and table settings, oh my! While my friends and family members may be settling down, traditional weddings and conventional wedding gifts are a thing of the past (unless we’re talking cash — cash is timeless).

Wedding these days are in warehouses and fields, not chapels and temples. My 22-year-old sister doesn’t want a butter dish. And my best friend certainly has no use for candle sticks. They want items to jazz up their apartments (yep — no picket fences for us twenty-something city dwellers) or just to make life easier. And let’s get real, I can’t afford crystal candle sticks anyway! Therefore, I present to you : Joanna’s wedding gift picks for young chicks:

For the organizer: dusty chalkboards


For the pizza partners: scizza scissors


For the multi-tasker: ooma bowls


Continue Reading…

The Uncommon Life

Becoming a Domestic Diva

June 16, 2010


There is nothing Molly Homemaker or Betty Crocker about me. And before, I never cared. However, as I get a little older I realize that I probably should know how to at least sew on a button or make a decent meal. So as a summer project, I’m taking small steps to turn into a domestic diva.

This week my mission is: clothes. Continue Reading…

The Uncommon Life

Alfresco Dining: Summer Salad

June 15, 2010

Cook books tend to scare me and last weekend was no execption. My best friend from childhood was visiting and the rain just wouldn’t stop. There was nothing else we could do — it was  time to face our fears. Candace and I pulled out five cookbooks and took a breath. Out of the thousands of pages, unknown ingredients and pots and pans that looked like they belonged to NASA,  we came up with a handful of recipes that didn’t scare us into ordering Dominos.

This delicious (and I swear oh-so-simple) dish takes few ingredients and just a couple of minutes of your day. Here’s the scoop.

What You Need:

1 1/2 pounds of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

2/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon dill weed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasting optional

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 cup feta cheese

What You Do:

Cook green beans for a quick 3-4 minutes in a saucepan of boiling water. Drain and immediately run under cool water. Drain again and pat dry. In a mixing bowl, combine oil, dill, vinegar, garlic salt and pepper. Place beans in a serving bowl, add mixture, stir and top with feta. Mmmm good!

The Uncommon Life

7 Steps To Lessen Toxins

June 14, 2010

The past month has been filled with nothing but news of the oil spill spreading, wildlife dying and no end in sight. Hearing this information and seeing the devastating photos leaves many of us feeling helpless. While we might not be able to stop the leak, we can work to clean up our own act.

green world


I saw 7  Tips to Ensure a Less Toxic World  on the HuffingtonPost it and piqued my interest. It turns out that the US’s “Toxic Substances Control Act” has not been touched since its inception in 1976. So it’s time to put things in our own hands. From bringing playtime back to the basics to eating intelligently, these tips are doable, reasonable and just downright logical. Take a minute to skim the tips and take a look at what you can do for your family and future generations. Does your life need a simple straighten-up or a deep scrubbing?

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