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.