Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Wouldn't Be the Same Without You

Dear Turkey Carver from 1973,

I love that my parents only bring you out once a year when it's time to carve the turkey for our Thanksgiving Eat-a-Thon. I love that you were a wedding gift that they received and they've never bothered to replace you. I love your funky funky mustard color. I love that you live in the cupboard in your original box that has yellowed over time and is just as worn as you. I love that my mom does the entire Thanksgiving meal (except for the sweet potatoes, which are my specialty), and yet, my father stops all hors d'oeuvres eating and football watching to use you just before we eat.

Thanks for being a part of our holiday tradition...Thanksgiving just wouldn't be the same without you!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Heart Faces Challenge: Tooshies

I'm participating in the i Heart Faces challenge this week on...TOOSHIES! I've snapped a few shots that would work for this challenge, but this is one of my all time favorite shots from Sara and Hector's Day After shoot. There's something about the hold and the angle that I just dreamy!
Check out i Heart Faces for more great entries!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our Made Up Diet Program Beginning on Black Friday

12/6/09 Update: I lost 1.5 pounds last week following this kooky plan!

Recently, I took the family photos of a friend I haven't seen in a while. She looked good...damn good (yes, cuss-worthy). When I asked her how she had trimmed up, she told me about a program through her church called Prism. I sent away for materials and had some girlfriends over to discuss it. The program goes in six-week increments, which we liked, but seemed pretty rigid, which we didn't like. So, after a couple glasses of wine, we made up our own program with rules, etc, and this was the email that resulted in that conversation. Enjoy and feel free to laugh at us!

Okay ladies, here we go, the much anticipated Kaleidoscope Diet Program. Yes, I’ve already changed the name. I like it better than the other name we came up with. XYZ, we’re basing our program on Prism, but decided that there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that a normal person could do it, so we did a little editing. No biggie, right?

The Kaleidoscope Program
    The 6 week program begins on Black Friday. Now black for more reason than one.
    FINE PRINT: XYZ’s birthday wine tasting adventure is a free day (as is her actually birthday for HER, should she choose to participate). December 23-25 are also free days. The program should have ended on January 15, but now will go until January 18 due to the Christmas Eat-a-thon.

    Try not to drink.
    FINE PRINT: If you must, you must also work out AT LEAST three times that week.

    No refined white flour products – only high fiber or 100% whole grain carbs for us!

    A daily food journal is a must.
    FINE PRINT: Yes, we will shame each other’s food choices and guilt each other into eating better.

    No sweets or desserts for 6 weeks, with the exception of the aforementioned caveats.

    Learn to incorporate beans or fish for protein.

    Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

    FINE PRINT: You can call your friend retarded if she doesn’t drink water – ahem, me.

    DAILY vitamins with a B complex are essential.
    FINE PRINT: Even if we don’t lose an ounce of fat, at the very least, we’ll get shiny hair and skin.

    When eating out, aim for salads with dressing on the side, grilled chicken and steamed vegetables, or whole wheat pasta dishes. No dinner rolls.
    FINE PRINT: Every time you eat a dinner roll, Jesus kills a kitten.

    Weekly weigh-ins with transparency…that means getting our fat asses on the scale in front of each other.
    FINE PRINT: Mocking is not encouraged. Only happy words.
    FINER PRINT: Weekly host will read scripture to us, encouraging us not to be gluttons and to rely on the Lord to fill us, instead of Breyers White Mint Chip ice cream covered in Magic Shell.

The Kaleidoscope Contract

I, Chubby McChubberstein, do solemnly swear to uphold the Kaleidoscope Program for six weeks. I will encourage my friends’ weight loss goals by sticking by them through the “angry hungry girl outbursts” and “psychotic standing in front of the fridge wondering what the hell I’m going to eat moments” and will provide them with good advice and a carrot. I will not cheat. I will not cheat. I will not cheat. I’ll try to work out a little. I’ll avoid processed foods. Maybe I’ll even cook once or twice {cough, ABC, cough}. On free days (i.e. XYZ’s birthday and Christmas), I’ll TRY to make conscious food decisions. I’ll admit that fast food really is the devil and plan my lunches ahead of time. I’ll make it to January 18, a little bit skinnier, a little bit healthier, and a little bit happier. AMEN.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm Thankful for You!

This year, as I start my morning with a turkey trot and end it with an eat-a-thon, I'll take time to immerse myself in thankfulness. My pastor says that spending time being thankful each day, improves your genuine attitude all year long and I absolutely want to emulate that!

I am blessed to have a family that is outrageously wonderful and loving. I also have an amazing "urban family" filled with irreplaceable friends. I have a job that I like which provides a roof over my head, and speaking of that roof, it may be small, but I'm thankful that I own it in a time when many people fear that they'll have nowhere to turn.

And I'm thankful for my funny little online life. What began as a digital scrapbook has become something I enjoy so much more. I've met and "met" some truly wonderful people through the interwebs. Some days I scratch my head and wonder why the heck I'm doing this, but somedays, I get comments that make me smile from ear to ear. So thank you for that. Thank you for reading and for stopping by. I've gotten so much from you, whether it be encouraging words, or great ideas from reading your blogs, too!

I hope this day, and this long weekend fills you up and prepares your heart for the upcoming holiday season!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Just In Time for Black Friday

I know you've all been stressing out about what to get me for Christmas, so I thought I'd offer up a couple of suggestions, just in time for Black Friday.

As a southern Californian, I didn't spend much time in Neiman Marcus growing up. Sure, we had them here, but they were few and far between. Moving to TX for college though, made it seem as common as a Macy's...just a heck of a lot more expensive. Everyone in TX was familiar with the CRAZY and INSANE Christmas book, but each year I saw it, I was blown away by how flipping ridiculous it was. Now, I check it for laughs, and today, I'm sharing some of my favorite gift ideas from the 2009 Christmas Book with you!

First of all, even though I don't play the guitar, I have been feeling like I need a custom made one for $12,000. Sure, it might make sense to get one at, oh I don't know, a MUSIC store, but I'd prefer the label. So, if you want to get me one of these, it would be super.
I've also been thinking that I need a crystal purse in the shape of a camel. It would go perfectly with my blinged out African Christmas outfit. And it's a bargain at $6,000.But, what I REALLY need is this personal aircraft. Seriously, life won't be complete until I have one of these. Naturally, it's on sale for $250,000, so it should be a snap for you, right?!Now, if you really want to surprise me and get me something I don't really NEED, but really really want, please check out this CUPCAKE CAR. Isn't it the cutest? You REALLY should get one of these for me! $25,000 isn't too much for a bloggy friend's gift, right?Thanks for indulging my trip down REDONKULOUS Lane. I hope you find something lovely to buy me...and maybe a little somethin' somethin' for you, too!

Taco Salad Salvation

I had a couple of girlfriends over for dinner last night, but didn't really want to go all out on dinner. Thankfully, these were the kind of friends who wouldn't care if I didn't cook them a gourmet meal, or really even notice. They're dear friends and our time together is more valuable than what I put on the table.

Having said that, I always try to do my best when I have friends over and the vain side of me really likes to impress them. HOWEVER, tonight, I was impressed by a friend's quick suggestion on how to keep my fabulous taco salads from sliding all around on the plate!

Barbie recommended that I slap a little bit of refried beans under the tostada shells and you know what, IT REALLY HELPED! The best part about this "cooking" save was that Barbie is my one friend who doesn't spend any time in the kitchen! She has a brand new gourmet kitchen, but homegirl can't cook. Oh, the irony!!!
Thanks to my funny friend Barbie for the fabulous tip! I hope it helps you out, too!

Visit Tasty Tuesday for recipe ideas! It's the bees knees!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dear House Beautiful, Thank You!

I was minding my own business last night, flipping through the pages of House Beautiful, when I came upon the following advertisement. I'm STILL not sure what they're advertising, but guess what?! I'M BUYING!!! Smith Jerrod, you can ring my bell, anytime!

Dear House Beautiful, ya done good, kid, ya done good. XOXO, the BLAH BLAH BLAHger

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dry Cleaning Confession

Remember my laundry confession? Well, it's time for another one...this one similar in nature.

I wait until I'm all out of work clothes and then taken in HUGE loads of dry cleaning at once, spend a fortune, and have to raid the back of the closet for a few days in hopes I can find something appropriate to wear to work until I can retrieve it all.

This morning, I dropped off a whole suitcase of work clothes.

I spent $120 bucks.

I am now wearing a "closet surprise" to work.

I'm not sure I'm fooling anyone that what I have on is remotely appropriate for the office.

I hope I get my clothes back soon and that I learn my lesson one of these days...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Well, I have some good news and I have some bad news about last night's dinner. Let's start with the bad news:


But the good news is:


So guess what?! I'm only sharing the good recipe with you and I think you'll find it just in time for the holidays! And even better...IT'S LOW FAT!

Delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars (from our friends at WW - 3 pts)

The ingredients that will tickle your tongue are as follows: 1 spray(s) cooking spray, 9 whole reduced-fat cinnamon graham crackers, 3 Tbsp butter, 16 oz fat-free cream cheese, 1 cup(s) sugar, 2 cup(s) fat-free sour cream, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 3 large egg(s), 1 cup(s) canned pumpkin. Now in all fairness, I didn't have ground ginger or cloves, but I DID add a dash of pumpkin pie spice.Preheat oven to 325ºF. Coat a 9 X 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray or line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Alternatively, you can use a 9 X 13-inch nonstick pan.

Grind graham crackers until fine in a food processor or place crackers in a resealable plastic bag and crush with rolling pin. Place crumbs in a small bowl.

Melt butter on stove top or in microwave and pour over graham cracker crumbs. Mix with a fork until completely moistened. Press crumbs evenly into bottom of prepared pan and place in refrigerator while preparing pumpkin filling.

Place cream cheese in bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or beat with an electric mixer until smooth.Add sugar and mix until incorporated.

Mix in 1 cup of sour cream until just combined and then add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Add remaining sour cream and mix until just combined.Slowly beat in each egg one at a time until incorporated, and then mix in pumpkin. (Note: For best results, all ingredients should be at room temperature and mixed as little as possible, until each ingredient is just combined.)

Pour pumpkin mixture into prepared pan, spread evenly throughout and smooth top.

Bake until set at edges, about 30 minutes. (Note: The very center will be a little loose.)Cool completely and refrigerate overnight before cutting into 18 pieces and serving.Your guests will LOVE this dessert and the flavor is just right. It doesn't have a low fat flavor to it at all, and don't be surprised if one serving becomes two or three or four! ENJOY!!!

And, for other yummy recipes, please visit Tasty Tuesday!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rah Rah TCU!

I'm not a football fan, but I've got to say that my college spirit is out in strides right now! My Horned Frogs are #4, TCU just hosted ESPN's College GameDay, and we keep beating teams like Utah with butt-kickin scores!

I wore purple all day on Saturday to show my team spirit and I can't wait to hear about what bowl game we go to...I might even force myself to go!

It's so fun to have something to be excited about these days and I couldn't be more prouder that the football team has put my beautiful alma mater on the map!
Thanks to Tamara for reminding me to brag about our beloved Purple and White!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Organic "A Ha" Moment

I'm not gonna lie to you, I'm not as healthy as I should be and I don't get a lot of calcium in my diet. I don't take supplements and one day I'll probably be on the Sally Field osteoporosis medication that always makes me think of this because I'm apparently, a 12 year old boy.

Anywhoo, I DO love cereal. Sometimes I eat it for dinner, sometimes I'll have two huge bowls on the weekend, you never know.

Several years ago, my SIL started going all organic and I thought that it was silly to pay SO MUCH MORE for grocery items that you buy every week or so. Then I went on vacation and a friend bought organic cereal and when I questioned it, she said it lasts longer, which didn't make any sense to me.

When I got home, I realized she wasn't kidding! I bought a carton of fat free organic milk a week ago and it's good until 12/4/09! As a single person who only uses milk for cereal and some recipes, I realized the extra two bucks makes up for it in that I don't have to replace it so quickly.

And there you have it folks, my organic "a ha" moment!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Healthy Mexican Chicken Pizzas

Don't let this recipe confuse you or scare you off. It's really yummy! Today, we're making HEALTHY Mexican chicken pizzas...starring QUINOA! Yep, that's right a whole grain!

I recently bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded it up for different meals. For 5 bucks, it was a steal and has lasted me through a few different meals! I also used white corn tortillas, 2% milk cheese, and salsa.I began by heating the tortillas over a griddle. Heat your griddle and just move the tortilla around with your hand. When it gets warm, flip that bad boy over and repeat!Then I added the cheese, chicken, and as soon as the cheese was melting, the quinoa (which I'd made the night before). Here's a tasty tip: boil your quinoa in chicken broth instead of water!Lastly, when it's all heated up, add the top tortilla. When it's time to eat, smother that bidness with salsa and enjoy!!!I also recently found a new obsession. Now I certainly haven't been shy about professing my addiction love for diet coke, but sometimes you need to drink water, too. But I'm not gonna lie. I like flavor and bubbles. Enter flavored sparkling water. No calories, no sodium, no problem! It's a new love and I encourage you to give it a try, too!!!Thanks for visiting and checking out last night's dinner. Please let me know if you give it a try or have any healthy variations!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: My Gorgeous Parents

During a recent trip to Temecula, I was able to snap a few pics of my parents. They've been married for nearly 36 years and are the epitome of a faithful, beautiful, and loving marriage. They make me proud to be their daughter in the ways that they relate to one another, support each other, and laugh together. Someday, I hope I am blessed to find a fraction of what they have. Love you guys! PS - more pics of them on my photoblog.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Theme Parties Aren't Just for Kids!

My cousin and I both celebrated our birthdays last week and even though we're both well into our 30s (YUCK!!!), we decided to indulge our obsession with So You Think You Can Dance and have a theme party based on the show!!!

We asked all of our friends to come dressed like dancers, rented a huge disco ball, and even had a special guest judge. Most of the guests actually came dressed in costume and at the end of the night we had a few performances that were stinkin HILARIOUS!!!

I ordered a cake and cupcakes from a fabulous twitter and OC Crush friend Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop. If you're hosting a So Cal party, you MUST call her. Her treats are DELISH and not one of the mini-cupcakes got thrown away at the end of the night. The cake was absolutely divine (vanilla with a raspberry filing - YUM!!!) and she was able to put the SYTYCD logo on it!!!

The best part of the evening was the goofiness that comes from a theme party. I don't know what it is, but a costume just brings out the fun in a person! Thanks to everyone for coming and letting loose! It was the perfect way to celebrate our birthdays and we love you all!!!

Carlee and I in the photobooth. I was a latin dancer and she was a ballerina!
My wine club/small group with their husbands took a turn in the photobooth. This photo brings joy to my heart.
Carlee and her husband Bryan. Don't they just seem like fun people?!
The dance party in full effect at the end of the night! About 2/3s of the people had already left or were inside and boy did they miss out! Can't you just feel the music???
Basically, this was the best party ever. I highly recommend you let loose and throw a theme party for yourself sometime soon, too! It was SO FUN!

And in other SYTYCD news, last night I went to the show of the Season 5 Finalists with my cousin and two other girls we used to dance with as teenagers. We were on a competition dance team and have stories of terrible costumes, wigs, and basically having no life for several years other than practice practice practice! We had a BLAST seeing the show and all liked different numbers the best.

While I'm a traditional jazz dancer, these two numbers were ones that caught my attention last night! I thought that Kayla and Jason truly executed their Shane Sparks hip hop routine like rockstars and that Janette and Brandon's disco was SO fun!!!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Even God is Single...the book.

My boss got me the most hilarious birthday present EVER. While shopping in Chicago several months ago, she passed by a book that she knew my sick sense of humor (combined with my Christianity) would appreciate! Yep, the book is actually called "Even God is Single (So Stop Giving Me a Hard Time)".
From the moment I opened the book, I couldn't stop laughing! The author demonstrates that it's not necessarily cool to be married or paired-off.
For example, she references married people, such as Hitler, Frankenstein, and Linda Tripp.
Then she references single people, like Catwoman and Gandhi...and then the big whammy: God.
I'm not going to give away the whole book here, but let me tell you, this book is freaking hilarious and one of the funnier gift books I've read in a long time! It's definitely going to be displayed in a place of honor in my living room so all my guests can enjoy it as much as I have!!! Please go out and get one for the single women in your life!!!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Bandana Pants for Kids

I've got a RAVE that I must share with you. My cousin has an Etsy shop that has the cutest stuff for the little monkeys in your life! She recently did a GIVEAWAY for the bandana pants shown below and I won. YAY! They're unisex, made well, and adorable...there's only one problem. I don't have any kids, yet! But that's okay since Christmas is coming up and I DO have many friends with kids - ha!

Please visit the shop and see what other adorable items they had so YOU can make a dent in your Christmas shopping list, too!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lamp Shade Trauma

Last weekend, in celebration of my friend Barbie's birthday, my girlfriends and I made candles. We found this adorable shop in Laguna (where we could bring in wine!) that specializes in custom candles and allows you to make your own with a host of design goodies! At Pure Light Candle Company, we chose our candle shape, wax colors, accessories, and scent. Mine was a mixture of greens and whites, had little silver blessings inside, and smells like pumpkin spice. YUM!

HOWEVER, I clearly got a wee bit over-excited about the scent and couldn't wait to light the I did. About 15 minutes later, I looked over to see how it was melting and to make sure there weren't any rivers of wax on my side table. Instead of a wax problem, I realized I had a too tall flame problem, and as a result, I was getting a lovely smoke stain on the inside of my lampshade.

Has anyone else experienced this? And, is there a way of treating it? I really don't want to have to go out and get a new one right now.

Help me solve this lamp shade trauma...and I'll be your best friend! ; )

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

This Shelac May Make Me Crack!

Remember the antique telephone table I got for free at the failed garage sale??? The one I asked you to teach me how to stain??? Well, I'm not even there, the staining stage. Why, you may ask?


I have sanded and sanded and sanded this sucker and I still don't have much to show for it. The more I sand, the more I realize that I'm dealing with two different types of wood, too. The table top is much more dense than the legs...and the skinny legs have several cracks that need filling and reinforcement. My little project has turned into a bigger one than I anticipated. But you know me, I don't mind a big project.

But I do mind so many layers of shelac that it has dried in droplets under the table. Not sure if you can tell from the photo below, but there are thick drops all around the underside of the table top. QUEL NIGHTMARE, as Holly Golightly would say!

Once this project is complete, I have big plans for it in my dining room. I'm thinking it will serve as a small serving spot (surely, you're not surprised that the condo doesn't have room for a full buffet!), and I'm thinking the inside ledge is either the perfect size for a couple bottles of red wine, or some fancy table linens. You'll just have to wait and find out what I've decided to do!

And while I may be complaining now, let's not forget this antique was FREE! For that price, I figure a little hard work is worth it!

Do you have any projects that you thought would be easy, but turned into a nightmare? Do share!!!

Happy Birthday, Carlee!

My cousin Carlee is celebrating the 2nd anniversary of her 29th birthday today! She's one of my FAVORITE people in this world and has blessed my life in so many ways!

Our dad's are less than two years apart, and raised us across the street from one another. Our mom's raised us in the village mentality and if they couldn't find us in our own houses, they knew we were across the street!

Carlee always agreed to play Barbies at my house and in return let her babysitter tell me about the birds and the bees. She and her siblings always taught me good mischief, too. ; )

We danced together from childhood (as you can tell from our leotards in the photo), but also loved playing gymnastics in my front yard or on the swing set. When the movie "Nadia" came out on TV, we watched it over and over again and pretended to be the main girls doing our floor routines over and over again. Thankfully, neither of us pretended to drink the bleach like Nadia did!

This weekend, Car and I are celebrating yet another birthday together. It wouldn't be the same if we didn't! And to celebrate our love of all things dance, we're having a So You Think You Can Dance theme party...primarily because we love to dance and dress up in costumes. She may be a wife and mother, and I may be an old broad, but there's still the joyful little girl inside each of us who wishes she could dance around the front yard all day long!

Carlee, I love you like a sister and hope today is your perfect day! Happy birthday!!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

My Mom Made Me Cry!

There's not much to say other than I LOVE my mom. She's sweet, warm, loving, a wonderful example of a Christian wife and mother, and she's totally and undeniably (yet unintentionally) funny!

Last night, we headed out to an early birthday dinner for me (yes, I'll be turning the page on another year this week) and the woman had me laughing so hard that I cried big ole alligator tears. My dad and sister were even laughing AT me for laughing so hard.

See, it all started when my mom decided to take a photo of my sister and I using my sister's camera. We explained that she needed to hold it down halfway to focus, then go the remainder of the way. Well, something got lost in translation and she said it was "just a little blurry." We laughed pretty hard as we looked at the pic, knowing that mom's not the most techy mom. But then my dad reminded me of the time when my mom shook my blackberry in order to make the screen scroll down. And THAT'S when I lost it. Poor mom, she somehow always becomes the brunt of the joke, but at least she's a good sport...and the world's greatest mom.

But c'mon, would "it's just a little blurry" make you laugh when you saw this pic, too???