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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tagged for another Meme

I was tagged by TC at http://ihavethings.blogspot.com/ to do another Meme today, so here goes. If you are reading this, please indulge me and reciprocate. Tis the season to blog about random things! :)

Here are the rules:
Link to the person who tagged you, and post the rules on your blog. Share 7 facts about yourself. Tag 7 people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I love Pottery Barn catalogs. I've only ever purchased one thing from Pottery Barn, but I still love drooling over their amazing catalog pictures. I copycat so many ideas from the catalog for much less money.

2. I hate (the store) The Dress Barn. First of all, that's a stupid name. It conjures up thoughts of dresses made out of chaps and stalls instead of dressing rooms. Unfortunately, this was my mother's favorite store while I was growing up, and she used to drag me with her, where I would sit for hours watching her try on clothes. Ugh, I cannot even express in words how much I hate this store. I'm an adult now and as such I refuse to step foot in this store. Sorry, Mom.

3. I swear I own about 50 self-help books and I've only read about 10 of them the whole way through. They always sound better in the bookstore than they do at home.

4. My favorite cookbook is The White Trash Cookbook. Great recipes, and it is unintentionally funny, too.

5. I saw this Rachel Ray food chopper at Kohl's a few weeks ago, and I can't stop wondering how the heck it works. It looks dangerous, and I want it. http://www.discountedkitchensupplies.com/product/FUR186

6. Jason and I aren't celebrating the commerical aspect of Christmas this year: no gifts and no decorations. I really want to focus on the spiritual aspect, and figure out a way we can give of ourselves and pay it forward for someone else.

7. We are a two person household, and we own three computers. What the heck? How did that happen?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tip of the day

I thought I'd post some tips & tricks that might give you a few new uses for some items you probably already own. Check back next Monday for more!

Gift Wrapping 101
  • Use dish towel to "wrap" gifts of wine. You can also use fabric remnants or cloth napkins. Use pretty string to tie it all together, and you have a great alternative to those expensive wine bags or boxes.
  • Use last year's Christmas cards as this year's gift tags.
  • When you're short on ribbon, use colored card stock. Cut a long strip, and go to town with your hole punch.

Cheap Home Decorations

  • Use a toothbrush holder in a fun, funky print as a flower vase.
  • Use wine glasses as candle holders. Fill the bottle with a little sand (I use flavored coffee beans for a nice scent) and top with a small candle or tea light.
  • Don't have a frame for your favorite picture? Display photos with binder clips. The clips will sit upright on a flat surface.
  • Use dishtowels as placemats.
  • Need a storage idea for your extra rolls of toliet paper? Stack them in a tall, clear vase.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Writer's strike

Are you aware of the current writer's strike that is effecting Hollywood? If you aren't aware, this article from CNN on 11/5/07 will catch you up:

The strike by Hollywood writers is on. Writers and studios broke off talks late Sunday after 11 hours of negotiations. The talks between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers were called by a federal mediator. The producers said a deal couldn't be reached.

The writers want more money from the sale of DVDs and a share of revenue generated by the sale of TV shows and films over the Internet. The studios say the demands are unreasonable and will hamper attempts to experiment with new media. Picketing starts in the morning in New York and Los Angeles.

The walkout will affect late-night talk shows first, then daytime talk shows and soap operas. Studios have stockpiled movie scripts and prime-time TV has completed shows in hand to last until early next year.

Hollywood writers and studio representatives held last-ditch negotiations Sunday in an effort to prevent a strike, the writers union said. A federal mediator called the meeting between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television producers at an undisclosed location. The first picket lines are scheduled to form at New York's Rockefeller Center, followed by picket lines at various locations in Los Angeles, the guild said.

The studios say the demands are unreasonable and would hamper attempts to experiment with new media. The last time Hollywood writers went on strike was in 1988. The walkout lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry about $500 million. WGA board members voted unanimously Friday to begin the strike unless studios offered a more lucrative deal. The two sides have been meeting since July.

"The studios made it clear that they would rather shut down this town than reach a fair and reasonable deal," Patric Verrone, president of the western chapter of the guild, said at a news conference. J. Nicholas Counter, chief negotiator for producers, called the writers' strike "precipitous and irresponsible" in a prepared statement. Producers believe progress can be made on other issues but "it makes absolutely no sense to increase the burden of this additional compensation" involving DVDs and the Internet, he said.

The first casualty of the strike would be late-night talk shows, which are dependent on current events to fuel monologues and other entertainment. "The Tonight Show" on NBC will go into reruns starting Monday if last-ditch negotiations fail and a strike begins, according to a network official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to comment publicly. Comedy Central has said "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" would likely go into repeats as well. Daytime TV, including live talk shows such as "The View" and soap operas, which typically tape about a week's worth of shows in advance, would be next to feel the impact. The strike would not immediately affect production of movies or prime-time TV programs. Most studios have stockpiled dozens of movie scripts, and TV shows have enough scripts or completed shows in hand to last until early next year.

Talks between writers and producers will likely impact upcoming negotiations between the studios and unions representing actors and directors. All those unions believe revenue from content offered on the Internet, cell phones and other platforms will grow tremendously in the years ahead, even though it's now minuscule compared with DVD sales.

Consumers are expected to spend $16.4 billion on DVDs this year, according to Adams Media Research. By contrast, studios could generate about $158 million from selling movies online and about $194 million from selling TV shows over the Web. Studios argue that it is too early to know how much money they can make from offering entertainment on the Internet and on cell phones, iPods and other devices.

Producers are also uncertain whether consumers prefer a pay-per-view model over an advertising-supported system. They say they want the economic flexibility to experiment as consumer habits change in reaction to technology.

Another site I visit states that the strike will have some grave implications. The shows won't just pick up and start writing/filming new episodes. We likely won't see new episodes until next fall, or even 2009. Pilot season, which starts soon, won't happen, meaning even if the strike ends, we'll have no news shows next season. Since almost every show uses writers, the only new shows we will see will be reality shows.

Some shows are still filming, but that is because they had scripts written before the striked that hadn't been filmed. Those shows will finish filming the scripts they have and then shut down production.

So how are my favorite shows faring?

  • Chuck - 3 episodes are left to air.
  • Desparate Housewives - 2 episodes are left.
  • Dirty Sexy Money - 3 episodes are left.
  • Gossip Girl - 5 episodes are left.
  • Greek - 8 episodes have been filmed.
  • Grey's Anatomy - 2 episodes are left.
  • Jericho - 7 episodes have been filmed.
  • Lost - 8 episodes have been filmed.
  • Samantha Who? - 5 episodes are left.
  • Scrubs - 7 episodes are left.
  • Ugly Betty - 4 episodes are left.

If I didn't include your favorite show, look here for more information: http://community.tvguide.com/blog-entry/TVGuide-Editors-Blog/Ausiello-Report/Strike-Chart-Long/800026937

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wasting time... another MeMe post

5 Things That Can Be Found In My Room
  1. Way too many trashy romance novels. You name it, I probably have it.
  2. Random yellow ear plugs. It's a submariner thing.
  3. An iHome (radio, iPod dock/charger/player, and alarm clock all in one)
  4. A set of doggie steps that our dogs refuse to use... why exert themselves when Mommy can just pick you up and place you on the bed?
  5. A "diva" sleep mask - two guesses as to who uses it!

5 Things I've Always Wanted To Do

  1. Be an audience member on Oprah. We share the same birthday, and I have a fantasy that I'll be an audience member and she'll give me loads of presents on our shared day. IT COULD HAPPEN, Y'ALL.
  2. Be completely debt-free... although with my massive students loans, that ain't happening any time soon.
  3. Work part-time at a high-end makeup counter. Wouldn't it be divine to put makeup on people all day?
  4. Even better, be a personal shopper. How awesome would it be to spend someone else's money?
  5. Be known for something cool - all my friends are amazing moms, bakers, crafters, photographers, etc. I'm not too sure what I am.

5 Things In My Bag Right Now

  1. My digital camera... I thought having it in my bag would inspire me to take more pictures, but no such luck.
  2. Bobby pins.
  3. A large bottle of Pepcid AC.
  4. Smith's Rosebud Lip Salve - the BEST lipbalm, period.
  5. Tampons, of course.

5 Things In My Wallet

  1. Certainly not money, that's for sure.
  2. Two store credit cards.
  3. 15000 receipts.
  4. Change... I hate change.
  5. $25 in Lane Bryant "Real Women" dollars.

5 Things I'm Currently Into

  1. The tv show My Wife & Kids.
  2. Rold Gold cheddar pretzels.
  3. Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mochas.
  4. StumbleUpon (Google it!).
  5. Window shopping for living room furniture.

Thanksgiving

What am I thankful for? I'm thankful George (my dog, for those of you not familiar) is still alive this holiday weekend.

Thanksgiving Day was a good as it could be, considering I haven't celebrated with my family in three years. :( I made an early dinner, and one of the single guys off the boat, B (any single female readers out there?) came to eat with us. Turns out he's a bit of a picky eater, so I asked beforehand what he would/would not eat. His reply? "Oh, I like all the normal Thanksgiving stuff."

Well, it turns out what is normal to him is not normal to me. I've never in my life had mashed potatoes or deviled eggs for Thanksgiving, but both he and Jason grew up eating those at holiday dinners. Who knew? The final menu for three people was:
  • Cajun-marinated turkey (which did NOT turn out well because someone picked up the wrong size turkey bags - he shall remain nameless)
  • Stuffing (Pepperidge Farm, y'all, don't hate!)
  • The Pioneer Woman's sweet potato casserole (eh, did not turn out well)
  • Squash casserole
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Deviled eggs
  • Crescent rolls
  • Sara Lee's caramel applenut pie ("O"MG delicious, y'all)

We had tons of food left over, and most of it will end up being tossed on Monday when I clean out the fridge. Oh, well. It was good at the time.

Anywho... continuing with the story. After our house guest left, I made chocolate martinis. Jason and I watched a movie and drank a cocktail, and mid-movie (Employee of the Month, don't waste your time) I got up and left the room. Jason followed soon thereafter, and together, we were out of the room for about 20 minutes. Normally the dogs follow us from room to room, but the hallway door got shut, leaving them in the front part of the house. When I finally made it back to the living room, I realized both glasses were completely empty. Mine had been halfway full and Jason's just had a little in the bottom.

I immediate turned to my good friend, Google, and realized that this was bad news bears. Jason fed George two slices of bread and I called the emergency vet. They said there was nothing you could do but wait it out, and he *should* be ok. After about 20 minutes, he was obviously drunk. At first he was very playful, and then he started stumbling around. It got to a point where he couldn't walk at all. Eventually we all fell asleep, and in the morning he was fine. Whew! Crisis averted. It was horribly scary at the time, but now Jason's making jokes about hangovers and rehab. I don't want to laugh, because it was serious, but it is sort of funny. Now, anyway.

So there's the story of my eventful Thanksgiving 2007.

What else am I thankful for?

  1. God. No matter what else may be happening in my life, I've always believed, and more importantly, HE has always believed in ME.
  2. A wonderful, loving husband. We've been through a lot this year, and I'm just happy we're nearing the end of a rough, eventful year.
  3. A great Mother, who calls me all the time, even though I'm miles away. I love the fact that's she going to make Thanksgiving dinner all over again in February, just so I can experience it with the family when I come home.
  4. My Dad... even if he isn't the most outspoken or affectionate guy, I know he loves me and would do anything for me.
  5. A wonderful friendship that can last 3 years and 3000 miles.
  6. Orders!
  7. Both sets of my grandparents are still living, even though they have all struggled with health problems this year.
  8. Jason's father's tumor was removed, and he seems to be doing well with his treatment so far.
  9. All of our extended families, both mine & Jason's.
  10. That my niece still remembers and talks about me, even though by all rights she shouldn't. She's only 3 years old (almost) and I've seen her 4 times in her lifetime... but she still names dolls about me and says she loves me. You don't know how great that makes me feel, when I'm homesick and missing my family.

I really need to focus more on the many things in my life I have to be grateful for. I have a tendency to focus on all the stuff that is bad or that goes wrong, but there is so much that is right!

What about you? What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Things I should be ashamed of....

You know the Outkast song, "Hey Ya"? That song was out for over a year before I realized what "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" meant. Seriously. It came to me in a flash. I was driving down the interstate, and boom! I got it. "Ooooooooooh! Yeah! Shake it like you shake the picture to make it dry faster!"

I love Crocs. There, I said it. It's out there in the universe, and I can't take it back. Yes, I know they are terribly displeasing to the eye. But don't knock 'em until you try 'em. I swore for ages that I wouldn't succumb to the hype, but when I was at Disney World this summer and I felt like I literally couldn't take another step, I broke down and tried a pair. AMAZING. I've even seen Jason walking around the house with them on. Yeah, I saw you. Just don't wear my high heels and we'll keep this secret between us (and all my online friends).

One of my biggest pet peeves is getting the hems of my pants wet. I'm short, and I don't bother to hem anything I buy, so here in the PNW this happens quite frequently. I will literally walk around with my pants rolled up to my knees before I will let my hems get wet. I. CAN'T. STAND. IT.

I also hate to iron. I just can't deal with the hassle. If the wrinkles won't come out after a few minutes in the dryer, then I'm just not wearing it. Period.

I'm a terrible housekeeper. Terrible. I hate to clean. My floor desperately needs to be vacuumed but I'm trying to ignore it. Dishes sit in my dishwasher until I need to take them out to either use them or to have the space for more dirty dishes. I really, intensely, passionately hate to do laundry, and that is evidenced by the 15 loads of laundry in my laundry room. I just pull out what I need and wash it, and leave the rest until I run out of underwear or socks. Don't even get me started on Jason's clothes. The same clothes have been in my dryer for about 4 days now. I'm in no rush to fold them.

I am completely unobservant. I'm sure a lot of people think I'm snobby because I don't wave or speak when we are at the same restaurant or grocery store. It's actually because I didn't notice you. You could be buck naked, wearing only Crocs, and I'd be completely oblivious. Jason frequently asks me, "Oh my gosh, did you SEE that?!" and the answer is always NO. No, I didn't see that. So if you see me out and about somewhere, come up and shake it like a Polaroid picture - only then are you guaranteed to get a reaction from me.

I won't eat leftovers. I don't know why, but I just can't do it. The fridge is a place where leftovers go to die in our house.

Wow, that was freeing. What about you? What should you be ashamed of?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Check me out!

Yep, it's that time. Time for some embarrassing photos to surface of yours truly. Oh, well... at least it isn't a sex tape or a coochie flash, a la Paris or Britney.

Cute, right? I know! It all starts to go downhill from here, though. *Sigh.* At least I had one bright, shining moment in the sun.

I can't remember how old I was, but how cool is this costume? I think my cousin was Raggedy Andy the same year.

Yowza. Nice bangs, huh? This was when I was 15. Like my caterpillar eyebrows? Don't be jealous, y'all.

I have no idea what that pose is about, but how funny is the guy on the right?! I'm on the far left, and this is my unfortunate mullet/perm phase. See, what had happened was that I was desperate to get the Rachel cut (this was right when Friends debuted) only it turned out to be the haircut from Hell, aka the Billy Ray Cyrus lookalike. My mom had the bright idea of getting a perm to try to make it look slightly less early 90's white trash, and well, you have eyes. It did not turn out well. That was NOT a good year.

Here's me the summer after my junior year (high school). I was on a youth missions trip, and I think we might have been somewhere in Tennessee for this shot. Don't you love the bangs? Ahh, sweet memories.

So, readers, where are your embarrassing pictures? I've ponied up. Now it is your turn!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cliques

So I'm taking the idea behind this post from the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy. Did you watch? It was about high school (and beyond) cliques.

So, for those of you didn't know me way back then (10 years now!), what was I? I really do want to know. :)

Well, for the record, I didn't fit into one set clique. I was a band geek, and proud of it. I played the trumpet in the marching band from 9th until 11th grade. I was also in the drama club, and was very involved with my church youth group. I was never a part of the popular crowd. Even though I had lots of "friends" there isn't any one person I would have said was my best friend, and looking back, I think high school was a really miserable time for me. I didn't really date (although I did have boyfriends), party, or anything else that most high-schoolers are doing these days.

College, on the other hand.... now that was a time period in my life I'd love to experience again. It was my chance to start new and to be a new person, and I really took advantage of that. I got very involved on campus, and the people I met there are people that I consider my life-long friends. I still didn't date... in fact, I think I went on exactly one date during my college years. I have no regrets about that. For me, my experience was 100% richer because I wasn't distracted by the girlfriend/boyfriend dynamic.

Post-college, or graduate school, was the time where I saw the most personal growth. It's also the time where I really began to come into my own, and develop myself as an individual. That was the time when I really began to accept my body and my size. I still didn't date... in fact, I only had a handful of dates before I met Jason and we fell in love. This time was really about "girl power" (as corny as that sounds) and hanging out with the girls (and boys that would have liked to be girls, lol).

I didn't see the negative effects of cliques until I became a Navy wife. Now, I know a lot of people will say these cliques or people don't exist, and if they do not, I'm really happy you haven't had that experience. I have, with more than one person. I never experience such backstabbing, gossiping, rumors, and the like until I got married and got involved with the other wives from my husband's command. Let me give you a few examples:
  • Sally was the first friend I made after I got married. Her husband and Jason were on the same boat. I knew nothing about the Navy, and she took me under her wing. I later found out that while she was pretending to be my friend, she was writing letters to her husband (who was underway, as was Jason) about how crazy, fat, etc I was. Her husband took it upon himself to spread these rumors to other guys on the boat. It was Jason's first patrol so no one really knew him, and no one knew me. Eventually it made its way back to Jason, and eventually back to me. Needless to say, we are no longer friends.
  • When I was President of our boat's Family Support Group, I had all kinds of problems. I guess you have to expect that when you are in a leadership position, but all kinds of women who had never spoken to me would go behind my back and complain about the things I did/didn't do to other wives and to the command. What the heck? I'm not perfect, but most of the things that were said we completely invalid. I still can't figure out what prohibited these women from coming to talk to me, especially since I had made my phone number and email address well known.
  • Then there was Crazy, who was... well, she was crazy. She'd bash me to anyone and anything that would listen - and I still can't figure out why she didn't like me or what I had done to her. I finally confronted her about it, and she denied she had ever said anything about me, and that she liked me. Hmm... I guess that's news to the 10 different people who came to me about the bad things she had said to them.
  • The most painful experience was someone I thought I was really close with, and who I considered to be a best friend. I later found out she announced at a command function that she "hated" me and my husband. Someone sent me a link a few weeks later for a MySpace page, where she had written some really rude and hurtful comments about me. I've really tried to just let the whole situation go, but honestly, I'm still really bothered by it.

There is more, many more, believe it or not. I realize all Navy wives aren't like that, but it's gotten to the point where I don't even want to be involved in command events, support groups, etc. because I've been burned. I don't want to put myself out there anymore because of all of this. I really wish I could understand how patrols and deployments turn otherwise kind, intelligent women into spiteful rumormongers. I honestly think it becomes a form of entertainment or a way to pass the time for some people.

I've also met some great people while we've been living this Navy life. The people I spoke about above have taught me some painful life lessons, but there are other people who've helped me and guided me along the way. Those are the people I am extremely thankful for... you know who you are. :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

McDonalds really IS the root of all evil

You know, I've never really been a huge McDonalds fan. I was never really a fast food person to begin with. I mean, I love me some eating out. I could eat out at a restaurant 5 days a week. However, that gets pricey, right? Sometimes you just have to get something quick, and fast food is lovely for those times. I'm definitely a Wendy's girl - the 99cent menu is fab, and you can never go wrong with a spicy chicken sandwich and a caesar salad.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Back to McDonalds - I never really ate at McDonalds until we moved to WA and starting living on the Subase. There is a McDonalds literally one block away from our house. I can walk there in less than 5 minutes.

Sidenote: Not that I do walk to McDonalds, obviously. I mean, if I'm going to consume a few gazillion calories of fat and grease, why attempt to burn some calories with a walk? Come on, people. LET'S BE REALISTIC.

So, again, anyway... now this McDonalds is a hop, skip, & jump away (clearly, I don't do that, either - have you seen me?!), and boy, do we eat there often. I was super excited to learn of the return of the McDonalds Monopoly game. Finally, an excuse for my bad behavior! Now I wasn't just filling up on empty calories - I was winning a million dollars! I WAS PROVIDING FOR MY FAMILY! It was absolutely imperative that I eat that cheeseburger.

I admit, I got a little crazy about the game. I started going through the drive-through in the mornings to get a large coke just so I could get a game piece. I encouraged Jason to eat there for lunch for more pieces. Who cares if we gained 5 pounds a piece? WE ONLY NEEDED ONE MORE! Come on, Boardwalk!

But that crafty McDonalds... it never delivered. I never won anything. I was convinced that I needed was the power of positive thinking. I asked Jason to chant "I WILL win today!" before revealing the game pieces. I promised to tithe and give to charity with my prize winnings. I did everything short of trolling Ebay for my missing pieces (and I admit, I thought about it) or offering my first-born to friends for their pieces.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be. The game was supposed to run until November 13th, and the McDonalds on base stopped giving out game pieces two weeks ago. Wonder of wonders, my interest in their food stopped about that time as well. I swear I will throw up a thimble if I ever see another 5 piece chicken selects meal.
There's always next year, right?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Randoms

I'm blatantly stealing the title and idea behind this post from Sam at http://www.simonssez.com/musings/. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

Jason and I had a great, restful weekend. What did we do? Lots of nothing. We took lots of naps, caught up on all our TV shows, watched Transformers, took more naps... Yesterday, we went to Trader Joe's and hit up TGIFriday's while we were up that way. I actually *gasp* went to the mall and purchased nothing! Yes, you read that right.

Speaking of, I'm done with my holiday shopping! I'm waiting on a few things in the mail, and once they arrive I plan on packing everything up and shipping it to my mom, who will wrap everything for me (thanks, Mom!) and distribute the gifts to family members. Jason and I aren't exchanging gifts this year (supposedly, although I did buy him a new keyboard this weekend. He informed me tonight he's sticking to the no gifts rule for me. NICE.) because we want to save money for the move. I don't think I'll even put up any decorations, except the tree, possibly. That doesn't even involve any effort whatsoever because I never took it down last year. It's sitting in our spare room, completely decorated.

Yes, it's tacky. I don't care. You got a problem with that? ;)

I agreed to take part in a gift exchange for a group of my online friends, and we're supposed to make or bake the gifts if possible. Oh, goodness. I am neither a baker or a maker. I'm a shopper. To my Secret Sister: I humbly apologize. You don't deserve what is soon to be headed your way.

I've been cooking a lot here lately. In addition to the Zuppa Toscano I posted about last week, I also made homemade french dip sandwiches. Oh, lordy, was it tasty, and super easy, too! Here's the recipe:

1 onion, sliced
1 package sliced mushrooms
1 boneless chuck roast
1 can beef consomme
1 can beef broth
1 can french onion soup
1 package onion soup mix

Add soups and soup mix to the crock pot; stir. Add chuck roast, onions, and mushrooms. Add enough water to cover the roast. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. When you are ready to serve, remove the roast and shred into strips.

I made sandwiches, and used the broth as au jus. Amazing! We actually ate the leftovers, which is something we never manage to do.

Well, that's all for tonight. I need to get to bed. Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow, everyone!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Updates and all that jazz...

Well, I'm officially starting to get freaked out about everything that is coming up in the next few months for us. Jason is, as always, completely oblivious. I actually think things are better that way. When he's stressed he's very difficult to live with.

Jason's dad started chemo this week. He had the tumor removed a few weeks ago, and hasn't been able to talk for awhile because of it. Jason got to talk to him for the first time today. I know he was relieved to hear his voice and get an update directly from the source.

My grandfather is in the hospital. He's had a few strokes over the past three years and his health has been deteriorating. Apparently he tried to get up in the middle of the night, fell, and couldn't get back up. He was on the floor until the next morning when my grandmother and a family friend came to the house to check on him. He's ok physically, but he is having trouble remembering things and people. He didn't remember who my dad was when my dad came to help, and he hasn't known other family members and friends who have came to visit him in the hospital. The difficult decision was made that he should go into a nursing home when he is discharged. I know he isn't going to take it well, but he can't continue to live by himself, and my grandmother isn't strong enough to take care of him. Even though I know it is the right thing to do, it is still heartbreaking to hear. I can't imagine how he will feel, knowing he will never see his home again. I hate being so far away when things like this happen...

My very beautiful friend Angel turned (shh... it's a secret!) a few weeks ago, and I forgot her birthday! Here's a public shout out, girlie. Happy 25th (who cares how many times you've turned 25?)!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Yum!

Tonight I made a copycat version of the Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana soup. Y'all, I love this stuff. I frequently make Jason take me to what we refer to as the "OG Lounge" just so I can have this soup, salad, and breadsticks. DELICIOUS! Thanks to MelissaM, I've finally figured out how to recreate the whole meal at home.

1 tsp red pepper
1 lb hot sausage
1 large onion, diced
4 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
5 cups water
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
2-3 potatoes, sliced thinly
1 bunch kale, torn into small pieces

Cook the sausage; add the red pepper for an extra kick. Drain and set aside for later.

Add the onion and bacon to the same pot and cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat. Once the onions are soft, add the water and broth. I used one can of low sodium broth and one can of the roasted garlic chicken broth. Bring to a boil; add potatoes and cook until soft. Lower the heat and add the cream and sausage. Cook until heated. Add the kale last and cook until wilted.

SO GOOD!

Monday, November 5, 2007

A beauty blog

My Sephora catalog arrived today, and it is sitting in front of me right now, tempting me to buy things I cannot afford. Oh, Sephora, how I adore you! Seriously, this is Andrea's supreme shopping mecca. I wasn't really aware of Sephora until I moved to WA, and then on one bright, beautiful day in Seattle, I met my new BFF. Hours later ("I just want to pop in here for a second, honey! You wait right there on that bench!") Jason finally had to come and pry my greedy little fingers off a makeup tester and escort me out of the store.

Don't know what I'm talking about? If you like makeup, visit this site. You'll never be the same. http://www.sephora.com/

Anyway, as I am sitting here attempting to avoid the lure of the Sephora catalog, I am instead choosing to ponder my ultimate (albeit unrealistic) dream. What's that, you ask? Well, I secretly would love to become a freelance makeup artist. No matter the fact that I've never applied makeup to anyone else or that I can't pick out foundation shades to save my life - I just think it would rock my socks off to play with makeup all day. I seriously contemplating applying for a job at the local MAC counter recently, only to realize that those girls are hardcore, and unfortunately, I am not.

Oh, well. This dream will die a slow, agonizing death, along with the aborted fantasy of winning American Idol (for REAL, y'all). One can dream, right?

On a related subject, I thought I'd share some of my beauty secrets - products you probably have handy in your house right now and could try back and report the results asap. Get busy!

Honey - yep, that's right. Not only is it a tasty addition to toast, waffles, and tea, but it's good for your skin, too! I use it as a face mask when my skin is dry, in the bath, and as a hair conditioner. If you are using it as a face mask, simply smooth a light layer on your face. Leave on for 10 minutes, and then rinse off. For your body, add to your bath water, and soak your worries away. It makes my skin incredibly soft and smooth, and it smells good to boot! Lastly, as a hair conditioner, mix 50/50 with your conditioner, and let sit for 3-5 minutes (more if you like). Rinse thoroughly (seriously, rinse and rinse some more) and style as usual. Your hair will be shiny, soft, and bouncy.

Baking soda makes a great facial exfoliator. You can use it plain or add it to your cleanser. My only warning is to make sure you don't rub too hard; you can cut your face (with any exfoliator) by doing this. Sugar works the same way, although I've never personally tried it.

Brown sugar mixes well with extra virgin olive oil as a body scrub. I also know lots of people who use EVOO as a deep hair conditioner. I've never tried that, but I do use jojoba oil (you can find this as most health food markets) on my hair and face.

My ultimate beauty tip involves generic, uncoated aspirin tablets. Aspirin is a beta hydroxy acid, which is an ingredient found in most acne products. This makes a GREAT mask and spot treatment for blackheads and blemishes. I personally combine it with the fabulous Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask, but you can use it alone, with honey, aloe, or with another mask. All you have to do is dissolve a few tablets (start off with 2-3 as a beginner; I use 5 tablets per mask) of generic, uncoated aspirin in a tiny bit of hot water. I leave the aspirin tablets in the cap, run the water over it, let it sit for a few seconds, and then drain the water off. You should then be able to crush the aspirin with your fingers. Then I mix the aspirin with the mask, apply to my face, and let it dry for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse off, and marvel at how soft and clear your face looks! Seriously, this is my #1 beauty secret. I credit this with clearing out my pores and clearing up any little breakouts I might be experiencing on a given day.

*Warning - if your skin is super sensitive, this might not be right for you. It does make my skin a bit red, but it goes away within an hour or two. The other effects are too good for me to give it up.*

Speaking of the Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask, check it out! They sell it at most drugstores and at Walmart. I get a huge tub from Sally Beauty Supply. Like I said before, I use it in conjunction with the aspirin mask. Amazing!
http://www.queenhelene.com//skincaremaskscrub2.php

Please let me know if you try any of these, and if you do, how they work out for you. Just remember - you know your skin, so if you think any of the above will irritate or cause a reaction, don't use it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Taking a stroll down memory lane

I ran across this and had to share - does any of these bring back memories for you?


YOU KNOW YOU'RE A CHILD OF THE 80's/90's IF:
  1. You've ever ended a sentence with the word "psych!" I also remember "Not!" being popular.
  2. You watched the Pound Puppies. I don't really remember watching the Pound Puppies, but I did own a few stuffed Pound Puppies.
  3. You can repeat the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song and do the Carlton. "... got in one little fight and my mom got scared/she said you're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air..."
  4. Girls wore biker shorts under their skirts and felt stylish and sexy. Yeah, I never did this. Biker shorts are NOT cute on chubby girls.
  5. You yearned to be a member of The Babysitters Club. Dude, I loved the Babysitters Club. Stacy was my favorite!
  6. You owned a Strawberry Shortcake scented doll. No doll, but I did own a SS comforter and sleeping bag.
  7. You know that "Whoa!" comes from Joey, on Blossom. Oddly enough, he now closely resembles Mr. Clean.
  8. Two words: Hammer Time! Doesn't everyone know how to do the Hammer Dance?
  9. You watched Fraggle Rock. Down at Fraggle Rock (clap clap)
  10. You can sing the entire theme song to Duck Tales.
  11. It was actually worth getting up early on Saturday to watch cartoons. Dude, our cartoons ROCKED! What the heck is up with today's cartoons? I'd like to punch the people who invented the Teletubbies. I'm convinced they were all on an acid trip.
  12. You wore a ponytail on the side of your head. Sure did, and sprayed my bangs up in a wave, too.
  13. You saw the original version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the movies. I'm ashamed to admit it, but yes, I did.
  14. You got super excited when it was time to play Oregon Trail at school. I still love Oregon Trail, although I always die of dysentery.
  15. You made your mom buy you one of those clips that held your shirt in a knot at your side. I wore it along with my alternating colored slouch socks.
  16. You played MASH (mansion, apartment, shelter, house). If I only knew then what I know now... maybe the mansion is still to come?
  17. You wore stonewashed jeans and were proud of it. Acid washed, and tight rolled. It doesn't get much better than that.
  18. You remember Hypercolor t-shirts. Hah, these were only good until you washed them, right?
  19. You remember the slap bracelet trend.
  20. You ever owned a pair of jelly shoes. Jelly shoes briefly came back when I was in high school, and I rocked them then, too.

TO BE CONTINUED!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy Halloween!




On Saturday Jason and I went to a costume party as the base bowling alley. As you can see above, I was a 50's girl, complete with a rocking poodle skirt and cat's eye glasses, and Jason was Napoleon Dynamite. I'm still a little bitter about the actual contest. The judge was as old as dirt and he had no idea who Jason was supposed to be. The rest of the crowd was chanting "Napoleon, Napoleon!" and the judge referred to Jason as "that guy in the wig, whoever he is supposed to be." We came in dead last, being beaten by Minnie Mouse, a Headless Horseman, Alice, and the Mad Hatter, and a teenager in a black gown. BOO!

We have another set of costumes that go with the boys' lobster outfits, but we didn't get to wear them on Wednesday, as I have been sick the last couple of days. We'll dress up when I'm feeling better and I'll post some pics.


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