Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Modern Streetcar Named Desire

I have been watching reruns of the TV show 'Modern Family'.  I love the quirky comedy and no laugh track.  Thank GOD for no laugh track.

Recently, I caught myself laughing out loud at this episode.  Eric Stonestreet (plays the character Cameron Tucker) is no Marlon Brando but, Lord help me, it is hilarious.  In case you don't know, Stella is the name of the family dog that ran away. Cam and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) are looking for the dog in the neighborhood.

Monday, December 9, 2013

How Do You Gingerbread?

I had my annual gingerbread cookie decorating party at my house last week.  I didn't have the party last year since my street was being repaved and there was no where for guests to park.  Little did I know how much people enjoy the cookie decorating party ... until you don't have it for one year.  Oh, the event is also a girls night.  Sorry, guys, you aren't invited.

This year I had my mom help out and she baked all the cookies while also helping prepare the food for the evening.  This year's party had about 20 people attend and it takes quite an effort to pull off of an organized party for 20 people in my home.  So, big thanks to my wonderful momma.

One of the things I wanted to do this year was have centerpieces for my table.  I expand my table so it'll seat 12 and put all of the cookie decorations and icing in the middle.  To make it more festive I added these:

The greenery and battery operated lights were bought at Hobby Lobby for $5.  The mason jars were gifted to me by a co-worker, the plastic fruit are from last year's Christmas tree (Christmas fruit tree ... get it?!), the plaid ribbon is leftover from the wreath hanging on my front door and the blue ornaments are from my blue and white Christmas tree decorations.  I had three on the table so it cost me $15 to make the centerpieces.  I like how they turned out and added a bit of festive decor to my simple house.

The party is promoted as a "Naughty Gingerbread Party".  Meaning, I don't expect anyone to follow any set cookie decorating guidelines.  I want people to be creative, get wild and enjoy fellowship with fun loving ladies.  I'm posting a few wholesome photos as the others I took, while hilarious, are not suitable for my PG-13 (and sometimes R-rated) blog.
Always good practice to decorate cookies on plates as the lip of the plate allows you to go crazy with sprinkles and glitter. 
Gingerbread ladies have perky tatas.
Upper right gingerbread folks: mom carrying drooling (and peeing) baby in a harness.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I leave this week to head down under.  Specifically, Sydney and Melbourne.  For three weeks.

Three weeks of no email, no phone and no work.  I can hardly contain myself!

Plus, I'll get to spend time with one of my best friends in her neck o' the woods and explore a community in another country.  I also have an arsenal of books that were gifted to me to enjoy on my trip (I have already finished one).  And ... it is summer in Australia.

I just witnessed Icepocalypse 2013 in Texas.  No thank you.  What the ice storm of the year allowed me to do was:
  • write this blog
  • clean my house
  • do my laundry
  • prepare the luggage so I can throw everything into it
  • write several to do lists
  • eat the food in my fridge and pantry so I don't have to throw it away before I leave
  • watch movies 
  • read by the fireplace
  • go to bed early
  • sleep in
  • edit a promotional video  (I initially wrote promo video but when I was editing the post and it looked too much like porno video.  I don't edit those.)
  • get caught up on work stuff
  • snuggle with my soft, fuzzy cat
  • slow down and enjoy the moment of being in one spot
  • be thankful that it is summer in Australia

Saturday, December 7, 2013

'Tales of a Female Nomad'

I recently finished Rita Golden Gelman's book 'Tales of a Female Nomad'.  It was life changing.  I laughed, cried and was invested in the book because, like Rita, I love to experience other cultures.  Plus, I like her moxie ... she's got some real cajones.

If you are looking for an entertaining but educational experience I recommend you read her book.

Rita started her nomadic life after realizing she wasn't living the life she had dreamed.  This book, while it tells tales of interesting adventures, is more about a person recognizing their dream and pursuing it.  She conquered fears, lived spontaneously and knew her life style would always be flexible.  She educated herself in other people's cultures and molded herself into their communities.  It is a beautiful story that breaks down international barriers and stereotypes.

I'm preparing to go on another international vacation trip and Rita's tales make me excited to push through my self-imposed boundaries.  In her book, Rita mentioned about saying "yes" whenever people invited her to do things.  I did that for one year (a few years ago) and it was the most fun I had in a long time.  Not sure why or when I stopped saying "yes" but its time to pick up the habit again.

I'm incredibly thankful to my friend Rachel for giving me Rita's book and being as passionate about Rita's journey/message as I am.  The book is now traveling on to one of my friends.  Who I keep pestering to get a passport.  This book should encourage her to do just that.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Stop Rejecting Yourself

I haven't posted in a while.  Deal with it ... I've been busy.  For the past 5 months I have been traveling for work.  Not non-stop but enough travel to throw me off my writing game.  I'm not done with the trips yet, either.  Next month I head to Australia for a long overdue vacation and an even longer overdue adventure.

This post is not about that.  I'm pretty sure I'll have plenty of material from that trip to fill the blogosphere for a long time.

This post is about the answer "no".  Throughout my career I have come across people who fear the answer "no".  I used to be one of them.  Rejection is tough.  And for someone to tell you "no" on something that you really want is hard to get past.
So many people go without asking because they assume the answer is "no" and, therefore, they cut out the middle man and live with the rejection.  They have rejected themselves from something they want.

This thought process is silly.

First, don't assume things.  If you don't ask the question in the first place then the answer will always be "no".  Whoever you have to ask (boss, significant other, friend, co-worker, etc.) might want to give you the answer "yes" but they haven't even thought of the question you want to say.

This is my plea: stop rejecting yourself.  Ask the questions.  Back up your desired "yes" answer with solid reasons why the person you are asking should say anything other than "no".

Second, if you do get a "no"answer then rephrase the question.  I say this to a lot of people I mentor and we laugh.  But I'm serious.  My co-workers wonder how I "get away" with what I do.  I stopped fearing rejection and ask for what I want.  I phrase it in a way that it benefits the most people.  And in those rare occurrence where I get a "no" answer I take a moment, collect my thoughts, and rephrase the question.

I asked about working remotely.  I asked to take long vacations (see the comment about Australia above).  I asked about projects to take on and other ones where I can coordinate/delegate/manage.  I asked to live overseas and do research.  I ask questions that have led to the type of lifestyle I only dreamed of a few years ago.

Therefore, stop rejecting yourself.  Be prepared for "no" and be prepared to rephrase the question.  When you do get a "yes" be prepared to make the most of it.  Live the life you dream of and help others achieve their dreams.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dolla' Dolla' Bills, Y'all!

I don't want to brag but ... WAIT!  YES, I DO!  Again, my blog = my rules.

I just made another batch of homemade laundry detergent.  The last batch I made was back on January 21, 2013.  That's over 7 months!  I didn't have to buy any ingredients to make this current batch.  I bought Ivory soap back in January because I wanted to try the very cool Pinterest science experiment of microwaving Ivory soap.  I had saved the soap cloud and used it in my detergent (saved me from grating another bar).

It took me all of 15 minutes to make the detergent (bringing a gallon of water to a boil can take some time) and I got other house chores done while I was cooking up laundry detergent goodness on the stove.  I'm not sure I could have gone to the store (half mile from my house) and back in the same amount of time with store bought detergent.  Plus, I had the pleasure of listening to Led Zeppelin while the detergent was being made.

I honestly don't know how much store bought detergent costs so I had to google it ... I'm guessing around $9.  I'm also guessing that one container of store bought detergent may last me for three months (again, I have no clue).  Based on these guesses, my homemade laundry detergent saves me $21.  Since I started making my own detergent since 2011 I have spent $15 on detergent ingredients.  During that same time I would have spent around $72 on store bought detergent.  That's $57 in savings and I still have enough ingredients for another batch of homemade detergent.

It may not seem like tons of money but I'd rather keep my hard earned moolah and know that my clothes are just as clean (if not cleaner).  My laundry detergent costs me $0.63 every month compared to the $3 store bought option.

If you aren't sold on the idea of creating your own laundry detergent I'll be happy to sell you a gallon of mine.  At $8 per gallon you'll be getting a great bargain!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Education in Creativity

I'm a huge fan of Zach Braff.  Not just because of his run on the TV show 'Scrubs' but because he's a very talented artist.  He wrote, directed and acted in the 2004 movie "Garden State" for which the soundtrack won a Grammy.  By the way, Zach also picked the soundtrack sooooo ... he has great taste.
He has nice teeth, too.
He has a new movie in the works right now, "Wish I Was Here", that he and his brother wrote several years ago.  Zach received some of the funding for the movie through Kickstarter.  When I heard about the fundraising I jumped on board.  Not in the hopes that Zach would see my specific amount of moolah and think "She likes me!  She really likes me!" but because I wanted to be part of the movie making experience.  (Plus, the amount I donated was enough for an amaze-balls movie t-shirt.  I did not donate screen credit level money.)

Yeah, I was leery about donating to something I know nothing about but I also knew I had $40 worth of "fun" money to spend on whatever I wanted so I took the plunge.  And it has been a fantastic plunge at that!

For being a backer of the movie I get private access to behind the scenes videos of the movie.  I'm not one to want to be in the movie business but I do love learning.  The behind the scene videos share everything from set design to location picks to CGI studios to costume departments.  It is really fascinating to see what happens to make a movie come to life.  None of it makes me want to get into the movie making business but it does make me want to sit through a movie's end credits to see everyone's name who worked on the movie.  Plus, it makes me want to be more creative in the outlets that I do want to pursue.

So while I gave up $40 for a sweet t-shirt and behind the scenes access I feel like I'm getting an education that is worth so much more and a desire to follow my own creative whims.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Slight Misconception About Clorox Wipes

As I stated in an earlier blog posting, I went to Oklahoma to eat a burger.  And in order for me to not feel SUPER guilty about doing so I hiked a mountain beforehand to burn some calories.  Knowing that it is FREAKISHLY HOT in Texas I packed extra stuff in case it was freakishly hot in Oklahoma.

I packed an extra change of clothes (no one likes to sit in sweaty clothes), flip flops, sunblock, water bottle, apples, granola bars, etc.  Everything you would need on a hot day.  Plus, I packed some cleaning wipes in case we couldn't find a bathroom to at least feel human again after sweltering in 100 plus degree weather.

After I picked up my friend Ashley and we were heading up the high way with the top down on Sasha I told her everything I had brought with me.  She was impressed until I got to the point about the cleaning wipes.  The conversation went something like this:

Me: I brought some cleaning wipes in case we get super dirty/sweaty. I figured they might come in handy.
Ashley: Ok.  Cleaning wipes?
Me: Yes.  Clorox cleaning wipes.  They are in the toilet paper section of the grocery store and they are used to wipe your bum but I figured they are just as safe for the rest of your body.
Ashley: Clorox cleaning wipes?! 
Me: Yes.
Ashley: To wipe your bum?!
Me: Yes!  Oh wait ... Cottonelle cleaning wipes.

After laughing hysterically for about five miles I want to stress to you ... do NOT use Clorox cleaning wipes on any part of your body.  Especially your bum.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Quick Dish: Butternut Squash and Pear Salad

Recently, I received my green box of earthy goodness from Greenling.  The box contained a butternut squash and some pears (among several other delicious goodies).  I'm a sucker for butternut squash.  I absolutely love butternut squash soup but in case you haven't heard ... Texas is BOILING HOT!

I'm not about to eat soup in this heat.  My foot has been put down on the subject of soup.

So I was left with the dilemma of what to do with my beloved squash.  Then it hit me ... I'll add it to a salad!

Ingredients:
1 cup of roasted butternut squash, cut into bite size pieces
1 small pear, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons of blue cheese crumbles
2 cups of lettuce (I used butter lettuce)
2 tablespoons of salad toppings of your choice (I used an Asian mix of almonds and sesames)
1 tablespoon of balsamic dressing

I roasted my butternut squash by cleaning and cutting it into to similar size pieces, tossed it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a dash of sea salt.  Pop it in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes and then let it cool.  I stored it in an airtight container in the fridge.
I always use foil on my pans for easy cleaning afterward.
For the salad, you can toss everything together or layer it on the dish.  The savory of the squash paired nicely with the sweetness of the pear.  The pear gave the salad some good crunch.  None of the flavors were overpowering which really let you enjoy the taste of the blue cheese.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Staycation

I took a much needed vacation day from work yesterday.  Even though I had a long weekend due to the Labor Day holiday I spent my time off at home.  I watched movies in my streaming Netflix queue, cleaned out my garage, organized my home office, caught up with friends outside of work, downsized my wardrobe, got the car's oil changed, updated legal documents, and took a nap in my guest room.

I have never taken a nap in my guest room.  I've owned my house for three years and that was the first time I took a nap in the guest room.  It was bliss!  Attila (the cat) is not allowed in the guest room so I had a 30 minute nap all to myself while he slept on my bed in my room.

I also refused to cook a great deal on my staycation.  When I cook I can spend a couple of hours standing over the stove, prepping food, washing dishes and running back and forth between pantry/fridge/oven.  This was my staycation and I wanted it to be super simple.  

Staycation simplicity was the goal.

Therefore, when I sat down to have a bite to eat for lunch I felt very European.

A glass of Pinot Gris, meats, cheeses, olives, almonds, figs and a boiled egg.  Minimal dishes to clean.  No cooking (the egg was boiled that morning).  The figs are from my parents' house in east Texas and very lovely.

On this staycation I also ignored my phone.  I could check work emails but for the most part I didn't.  I did chat with my family during the day but left all other lines of communication to wait until later.  

Sometimes this girl has just got to unplug, pretend she lives a simple life on a day to day basis and enjoy the little things ... like naps.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Oklahoma is OK

This past Labor Day weekend I went with my friend Ashley to Oklahoma.  To go hiking.  Up a mountain.  You heard me ... there is a mountain in Oklahoma.  Before the trip I kept using air quotation marks when I said "mountain" but then I saw it and it really is a mountain.  In Oklahoma.

I'm still shocked about it.
The view on top of Mount Scott near Lawton, Oklahoma.
You can see for miles!
Who knew Oklahoma was that pretty?!
Lake Lawtonka can be seen from the summit.
Pretty wild flowers! I didn't bother getting any closer in fear of snakes hiding in said flowers.
Close up of the rocks.

But Ashley and I did not make the 3 hour drive north just to go hike a mountain in Oklahoma.  No, we made the 3 hour drive to eat a burger.  The hiking part allotted us some calorie burning so we wouldn't feel guilty about gorging on burgers (plus fried green tomatoes, fried pickles and peach cobbler with ice cream).

Don't you dare judge us!  We hiked a friggin' mountain!
Legendary Meers Store & Restaurant. Very cool establishment.  Very long line if you don't get there early.
Fried EVERYTHING!  Fried green tomatoes and Prickles (fried bread & butter pickles).
Meers Cheeseburger and drinks in mason jars.  Slap yo' momma it is good!
I'm going to guess that is over a half gallon of homemade vanilla ice cream on top of homemade peach cobber.

By the time the peach cobbler came I had enough but I reminded myself that I just hiked a mountain.  So I pushed onward.  After about my sixth bite of cobbler I told Ashley with a very sad tone "I think I'm done."  She responded by quietly saying "Shhhhhhh" and kept right on spoon bombing the cobbler.  We laughed uncontrollably because 1) we had a massive sugar high and 2) we were exhausted.

It was a fun day trip with no agenda except to eat a burger.  The weather was great for a morning hike, the wait at Meers is customary (and we met some friendly people while in line too), and the delirious conversations that we had in the car ride home still make me laugh uncontrollably.  One of the conversations from the trip also makes me laugh hysterically when I see a container of Clorox wipes.  That story is for another blog post.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cat Pranks

I don't write a lot about my cat.  And there's a good reason for it ... I'm not crazy.  While Attila is a fantastic feline I consider him more like a roommate.  A roommate who poops in a box.  A roommate who sheds everywhere.  A roommate who thinks he owns the place.

Kind of sounds like guys I know from my college days.  Box pooping and all.

Attila also thinks he's adorable (like he doesn't even know pooping in a box is not becoming).  He is also a bit mischievous.

The other morning I was finishing up my breakfast when I noticed something on the living room floor.  It was still kind of dark in my house so I had to turn on lights to see that it was a ball of cat poop.  I thought it was strange but figured I might have misplaced the tootsie roll cat turd as I was cleaning out the poop box that morning.  I wasn't sure how it got into the living room but I'm not Sherlock.  Plus, I needed to get ready for work.

Off I dashed to my bedroom.

Where I discovered ... tootsie rolls on my bed!  Cat tootsie rolls!  Tootsie rolls that belong in the poop box!

I screamed and spewed a rainbow of low brow vocabulary.  I cursed my furry roommate and went looking for him.  I found him sitting in the middle of my living room with an amused look on his face.  Apparently, in cat roommate terms, leaving tootsie rolls on the bed is the best cat prank ever.  And he could not figure out why I was so pissed.

I wish I had my camera at the time because the look he gave me resembled this ...
Attila is a seriously cute cat and that is the only reason I didn't expel him from my house.  I hope his looks continue to outlive my patience.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Her Name is Sasha

I wrote about my beloved Nellie Mae last June.  In April, she started spewing fluid again and her engine kept getting hot.  I figured the radiator had cracked again but I was holding out until June to get her fixed because I know she needed another overhaul.

Then work blew up in my face (mountains of projects and deadlines) on top of organizing a rather large industry conference on top of strategic planning sessions for my professional organization on top of organizing a smaller conference for my company on top of ....

You see where this is going.

I was at my wits end.  I don't handle stress well and one more thing was going to send me over the edge.

One night, after grabbing a few drinks with my co-workers, I made my way home.  Three miles from home Nellie Mae started a knocking noise from the front tire.  I figured it was probably road debris that was caught underneath and I would dispose of it once I got home.

I got home and there was no debris.  I. FLIPPED. MY. LID!

I stormed into the house and made myself a martini.  Then I went online and started snooping around for new cars.  Then I poured myself another (more delicious than the first) martini.  Then I had the GREAT idea of scheduling a test drive for a 2007 Saturn Sky for the next morning.  I might point out that at this point of the night EVERYTHING is a great idea.

I woke up the next morning realizing that NOTHING is a great idea with a couple of martinis and stress-induced Internet window shopping.  By the time I got to my computer to see the damage I had done I had an email from the dealership saying "Come on by for the test drive!"

And I felt bad!  Not just hungover bad but I felt bad because I had wasted someone's time and they were expecting me in 30 minutes to test a car.  Ugh!  I went and thought, "I'll just drive it but I won't buy it."

I drove it.  And then I drove it some more.  Then I put the top down on the convertible.  Sigh.

I had to buy it.  I sad goodbye to Nellie Mae.  She was a wonderful SUV but her time was up.  It was bittersweet because I have ALWAYS wanted a Saturn Sky.  They were only made from 2007-2009 and I could probably take the engine apart and put it back together with my eyes closed based on all the research I had done on the car over the years.

Her name is Sasha and she is fierce.
Hard to tell but she is midnight blue.  Not hard to tell, she can go freakishly fast.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Bird for the Birds

It has been ages ... AGES ... since I have stepped foot near my blog.  Things have been crazy in my life and I don't adjust to drastic changes well.  For example, I traded in Nellie Mae (2001 Nissa Xterra) for Sasha (2007 Saturn Sky).  Sasha is fun to drive and totally impractical for hauling anything larger than my purse.  Why did I do this?  I got pissy about something at work.  I might have also had a few martinis when I was Internet window shopping for cars but I was one too many martinis in because of changes at work.

Changes at work led to martinis which led to buying a 2-seater convertible.  Another great story of how alcohol leads me to quick decisions.  I'm starting to realize I have a lot of those great stories in my life.  They are all a ton of fun, too!

Moving on.

I worked from home yesterday and during a short break to go check on my backyard garden I realized that the baby eggplant that had been there in the morning was gone.  Correction, it was not gone.  It was on the patio table.  With peck marks on it.

DAMN BIRDS!!!

I've had several baby eggplants over the past few weeks but none have matured and I never knew why.  Until yesterday.  I was furious at the birds in my yard.  So I shouted at them.

And it wasn't any kind of shouting.  I had transformed into Samuel L. Jackson in 'Snakes on a Plane'.

"MF birds ate my MF eggplants!"

I then proceeded to look each bird in the eye and give them the finger.  And that's when I realized I had just given the birds a bird.

And I felt ashamed.  Not that I had cursed loudly enough for my sweet, retired neighbors to hear me.  Not that I had sunk to the lowest levels of ladylike behavior.  And not because I was hating nature's creatures.

I was ashamed because I have become THAT person.  Everyone has that one (or several) neighbor who is just plain crazy and irrational.  Birds who eat my eggplants have figured out the way to make me THAT person.

Well played, birds.  Well played.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Exploration No. 2: Gratitude

I'm back on track for another monthly challenge.  This one I'm pretty excited about.  In case you don't know, my birthday is April 28th.  Write it down.  I'll wait for you to make a note of it in your calendar.  My blog will still be here when you get back.  My birthday is AWESOME!

I've always been a big fan of my birthday.  It is an annual celebration of a life that I have thoroughly enjoyed and, at times, made some REALLY stupid mistakes.  But I have survived the lows and highs.  My birthday is proof that I am not made to be complacent.

As you can tell, April is all about me.  However, no one else got the memo.  I realized that I should spread the good vibes of those around me with this month's personal challenge.

My goal is to write at least one thank you note each day of April.  It has to be a hand written note because I need to work on my penmanship.  Plus, I send (and receive) enough emails for my day job that I want to step away from the digital communication tools to say "thank you".  I get super excited when I receive a card in the mail and I can't wait to give someone else that same sense of "someone cares enough about me to take the time to go through this effort".

I will not post who will receive a card because I believe honest gratitude cannot be planned.  I want it to be spontaneous because that's where the honest feeling comes from.  And not every friend and family member will receive a card ... this isn't a "Who's Who" of my life.  It is about random acts of gratitude.  I'm thankful for everyone in my life (except the IRS).  However, I will post how this challenge affects my life.

Part of this monthly challenge is also to uplift myself (I can be self-centered).  I believe when I have the mind frame of gratitude I am less likely to want things I do not need and more appreciative of things I do have.  If writing a card to someone else makes me a happier person then why wouldn't I want to do it for 30 days?

If you want to join me on this challenge I welcome your participation.  If we are all saying "thank you" instead of being silent (or even worse ... saying negative things) imagine what a difference we can make in our environment.  I honestly believe it'll get better.
Source

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Art Project

I'm currently working on an art project and I need input.  Specifically, I need YOUR input.

Every year my company takes part in an event called 'On My Own Time'.  It is an art showcase among corporations that allow employees to share art that they produce on their own time.  Last year I won the People's Choice award at my company for this picture.
Artsy fartsy, I know.  However, this year I want to do a piece that gives back to my community.  I have a lot of readers from various countries and I'd appreciate you taking 3 minutes to fill out a survey.  Once I have completed my art piece I will share it on my blog (no matter if it places in the art competition or not).

Take the survey by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quick Dish: Carrot Green Pesto

If you make this pesto you'll want to jump back and kiss yourself.  Seriously.  It is ah-maze-zing!
All the ingredients a girl could ask for.
I received my bi-weekly container of local produce from Greenling (on Twitter @GreenlingDFW) on Friday.  My box included carrots and Meyer lemons.  When life gives you Meyer lemons you dance like no one is watching because they are pure delight.  Then you make carrot green pesto.

Ingredients
  • Carrot greens (I ended up with probably 4 cups of carrot greens)
  • Juice from 1 Meyer lemon
  • 4 cloves of garlic (boil the garlic for a minute to cut the strong flavor but maintain their sweetness)
  • 1/2 cup of roasted pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • olive oil (quantity varies)
  • 8 leaves of fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Prep all of your ingredients ... juice the lemon, cut the cheese (HA!  Fart joke!), and boil the garlic.  You can boil the garlic in its paper as the paper will remove easier once it is done.
Place the carrot greens in a food processor along with the lemon juice and garlic.  Pulse a few times.  Scrape down side of the food processor through the process (not as the processor is running, dummy).  Add the cheese and pine nuts.  Pulse some more.  Once all of your ingredients are finely chopped turn on your processor and drizzle in olive oil.  I probably used 1/2 cup in my recipe but you can adjust it to your liking.  I added a few leaves of fresh basil from a live basil plant that came in my Greenling box.  It could have been planted but I already have two containers filled with basil so I chose to add them to my pesto.  Add salt and pepper as needed.
Carrot greens are mild but quite delicious.  And very nutritious.
The whole process takes a few minutes.  You are left with an amazing pesto to utilize through out the week.
Full of Vitamin K!
I used it on some wild caught salmon I baked in paper pouches.  The lemon in the pesto was the perfect amount for the salmon.  Very simple dish but the taste is incredible.
Would pair nicely with cooked carrots and a simple salad.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Quick Dish: Seafood Soup

I blogged earlier about the Asian market in my town.  During that visit I picked up some packets for a Korean hot pot.
Traditional Korean hot pot. Source
I do not own a Korean hot pot.  But I make do with what I got.  One of the packets I bought was a seafood soup base.  I like soup and I like seafood.  Win-win in my book.
English instructions are on the back.
I improvised the hot pot by using my Le Creuset soup pot.  I think it worked just fine.
This contains frozen seafood ... imitation crab, shrimp, muscles, squid, oysters and octopus.
Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of water
  • Soup Base for Seafood Hot Pot packet
  • 1/2 cup of sliced onion
  • 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
  • 1 frozen packet of seafood marina mix
Combine the first four ingredients and bring to a boil.  Add the seafood marina mix, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through.
It is really that simple and very tasty.  It was great on a cold spring evening.  It has a great seafood flavor and the right amount of spice to it.  I paired my soup with a green tea that I infused with strawberries.
Light but exotic dinner.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Photos are Up!

I am fortunate to have some really cute nephew and nieces.  Plus, they are just plain fun and super smart.  I also love their unique personalities and quick wits.

I don't know how parents can keep straight faces most of the time.  And it is even funnier when I watch my brothers be parents ... these are guys that played video games hours on end, shot up toys with BB guns and destroyed my precious Barbie convertible from the roof of our house.  Now they are negotiating with 5 year olds and the 5 year old is a great negotiator.

But I digress.

Every year for Christmas I ask for pictures of the kids.  I don't need expensive gifts for the holidays and I definitely don't need trinkets in my house.  And this past Christmas I got a plethora of pictures.  Score!!!

However, I do not have a plethora of frames.  Frames cost money.  I live on a budget.  Co-nun-drum.

Pinterest to the rescue!  I strung picture wire in my home office and used clear clothes hangers to display the pictures.  I love this idea because I can add more pictures, replace pictures and move them around without putting holes in the wall or deal with mismatched frames.  I plan to add more wire for all of the photos I have but it is a good start!
This wall is directly in front of my desk and their pictures definitely brighten up my work day.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Calories for a Good Cause

A wonderful co-worker of mine is raising money for the American Cancer Society.  She's doing it because the money goes to a great cause and she has a hard time asking people for money.

I know how she feels because I loathe asking people for money (no matter what my parents say).  However, the American Cancer Society is a worthy cause because we all know people who have been affected by cancer.  Listen to me closely ... CANCER IS A BITCH!  I have had family members battle cancer and one of my aunts is currently fighting it.  I'd like to get rid of cancer pronto but I don't have the labs or research tools available to me.

But the American Cancer Society does.

Therefore, I'm helping my co-worker raise funds by spreading the word.  She is working with Chili's in Mansfield, Texas to raise money as well as accepting donations through her donation page.  This coming Monday (March 25) Chili's in Mansfield will donate up to 20% of their profit to the American Cancer Society.  If you ever wanted an excuse to eat dessert, this is it!
You must present this flyer at Chili's in Mansfield to participate in the event.
I'm proud of my co-worker for facing her fear to ask people she may not know to help in a great cause.  This experience will open her eyes to things she didn't know she could do before.  And possibly get a step closer in erasing cancer for the future.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tit for Tat Cat

Yesterday I raked, shoveled, watered, and planted my way into spring.  My front yard is starting to become more presentable and the backyard garden is taking shape.  There was a lot of sweat and a lot of dirt.  A lot of sun and a lot of fresh air.

Yesterday was lovely.
Not my backyard but maybe one of these days. Source
After I got everything planted and picked up I thought I'd let the cat out in the backyard to stretch his legs and explore the fenced in yard.  He's a house cat.  Most of the time he prefers to lay on his bed and look outside ... not actually be part of outside.  However, yesterday he wanted to explore so I let him.

As he snooped around the yard and sniffed everything I watched him.  I was content.  It was a beautiful day.  The plants were happy.  The cat was happy.  I was happy.  And then it happened.
Not my cat but close enough. Source
Attila the Cat rolled in the dirt.  DAMN IT!

I gathered him up, went inside and gave him a bath.  Come to find out, Attila hates baths.  He acts as if the tub is filled with lava and he is burning.  He was PISSED.
Again, not my cat. This cat isn't nearly as pissed as Attila was. Source
I let him dry out a bit in the guest bathroom while I did other things around the house.  Instead of drying out he moped, cried and tried to open the door to freedom.  After 20 minutes I let him out so he could mope in the living room on his mat.  He still wanted to sit on my lap and he craved my attention but he was torn because he knows I just gave him a lava bath.

I left to go out with friends last night and when I returned he was dry and a happy fella again.  Good enough. I went to bed and Attila soon found his way next to me and fell asleep.

THEN ...

3:21 a.m. hair ball.  On my bed.  DAMN IT!

Touché, cat.  Well played.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Vegemite Sandwich

At the end of 2013 I'm heading to Australia for a long visit with one of my best friends.  Super excited to visit her home and explore a new place.
Perhaps I'll even learn some new animal taming tricks! Source
I've been emailing my friend my flight itinerary, figuring out the logistics of travel, coordinating time off, and planning things to do in Sydney and Melbourne.  She asked what I wanted to do while there.  So far we have the following things planned:

The hike to the Wilson Promontory Lighthouse is a day hike in and a day hike out.  I'm literally going on an Australian walkabout.  You know who else was going to go on a walkabout?  I need to learn how to throw knives.
John Locke from Lost. Source
However, the real reason I want to go to Australia is to witness the toilet flush.  By god, I want to see that water flow the opposite direction!  Honestly, I learned a lot of what I know about Australia from The Simpsons.
This will be a FANTASTIC adventure!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Nerd Poster Child

I went to a health clinic last weekend thinking I had the flu.  I was suffering from aches, exhaustion, congestion and fever.  When I did an Internet search of my symptoms it came up with "flu".  Figured I could go to the doctor, she'd give me some meds and I'd be back to normal sooner rather than later.  Instead, the doc said I had a sinus infection with a possible case of strep throat.

Whatever.  She might have "M.D." behind her name but I can search on mayoclinic.com and diagnosis anything.  Therefore, I overrode her prognosis and declared I had the plague.  Seems logical.

My plague had me in a pickle.  I needed to be productive at work but the mindless fog in my head limited my thinking capabilities.  Plus, I was just plain exhausted.  I ended up finding reprieve on my couch, in front of the TV and watching Netflix.  I could easily stare at my TV screen while blowing my brains out through my nose into mounds of tissues.  (Pretty picture, I know.)

Then, something else happened.  I started watching Battlestar Galactica (BSG for those who aren't geeks).  I became the poster child for adult nerds everywhere.  I sat on my couch, wearing my glasses with a runny nose, and watched BSG non-stop.
Pretty much what I looked like sitting on my couch. Source
I have survived the plague but I have not survived the attack of the boob tube.  And I'm still quite addicted to BSG.  My life will never be normal again.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What I Learned From Yoga

My monthly challenge of yoga ended this past Thursday.  And I have to admit that I really enjoyed it.  I also have to admit that I no longer find it intimidating.  Yoga really is about centering your thoughts on yourself.  I learned that I'm stronger than I thought I was and I have much more to explore.  Therefore, yoga will continue to be part of my life.  It is not part of my exercise routine but actually part of self discovery.

I'm still working through Rod Stryker's book "Four Desires" and plan to do all the activities he suggest in his book.  The activities will help me define what my purpose in life is.  If we all knew what our purpose in life is (teacher, artist, connector, etc.) just imagine how much happier our environments would be.

That's deep, folks.  Real deep.
Yoga or break dancing? You decide. Source
My monthly challenge for March has been delayed.  Mainly because I'm sick.  Just writing this blog posting is taking it out of me.  I'm taking bets now on whether it is just a cold or the flu.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Culture Adventure at Home

Yesterday, I felt like cruising around my city.  I drive around it all the time but I have never mindlessly driven to look at stuff.  There are unique shops everywhere but I'm usually driving past them all on my way to a specific destination at a specific time.

Yesterday ... I had no agenda.  The main goal was to enjoy my surroundings.

I went to the library.  I checked out a book and sat outside near a fountain to read.  The weather was sunny and cool.  Might as well enjoy it while it is here.

My friend, Ashley, met me at the library and then we went exploring.  Ashley and I are infatuated with good food.  I was out of curry paste and she hadn't been to the Asian market in Richardson, Texas.
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Tian Tian Supermarket is an adventure!  Amazing Asian spices, pantry items, produce and meat.  They offer cuts of meat that most Americans don't even know you can eat.  Their seafood selection of fresh Tilapia (they are actually swimming around), lobsters and crabs (some bigger than my head) is fun to explore.  There is produce that I 1) don't know how to pronounce, 2) don't know where it is from and 3) not sure how you cook/eat it.  I want to buy all of it!!!

After the Asian market, Ashley and I went to grab lunch at Huong Ly.  A nice, sunny, cool day called for pho soup.  And, boy howdy, it was AMAZING!  The place is a no frills restaurant just down the strip mall from Tian Tian.  There were several dining options in the strip mall but pho was needed!
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We both ordered soup and a shredded beef sandwich to split.  The soup is $5.95 for a small bowl.  The sandwich was $3.  Honestly, one sandwich is enough for a meal but splitting it was ideal.  Plus, the sandwich was ungodly tasty ... didn't anticipate it being that good but holy cow it was amazing.  Shredded beef, cabbage, shredded carrots, a sweet sauce and cilantro.  Seriously.  Amazing.

After lunch, Ashley and I then ventured to a place I stumbled upon this morning.  Sara's Market.  It is an unassuming Mediterranean market.  We both bought the pita bread because when you pick up the plastic bag they are in ... it still weighs nothing.  The pita is light, fluffy and made in-house.  Oh, and it is only $1 for a packet of six.
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I'm seriously glad I stumbled upon this place.  Their meat section has a wide variety of lamb (which I love) and their produce is fresh.  I honestly can't wait to go back and do a lot more of my grocery shopping at a place that really values quality without hiking up prices.
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