Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm so happy I received this award, not because I was necessarily jealous about Jason or my new BFF Grandma J not awarding it to me (even though that's kind of true too :), but because I LOVE quizzes. I was going to steal this quiz anyways and just do it on my own cuz quizzes are so much fun. However, since JLo awarded me the Brillante Award, I get to do it legally. So, yay!

Here it goes...
A. attached or single? single
B. best friend? Kristen
C. cake or pie? cheesecake
D. day of choice? Friday (after work)
E. essential item? ipod
F. favorite color? red
G. gummy bears or worms? Umm, french fries kind of look like worms, right?
H. hometown? Valencia
I. favorite indulgence? shoes (even though that's not socially conscious, but that's what a guilty pleasure is)
J. January or July? January
K. kids? No, thank goodness
L. life isn't complete without? laughter
M. marriage date? see letter A
N. number of brothers & sisters? a spoiled only child
O. oranges or apples? oranges
P. phobias? snakes
Q. quotes? huh?
R. reasons to smile? life
S. season of choice? tie between fall and winter
T. tag seven peeps! (see below)
U. unknown fact about me? I'm scared to go to the doctor and dentist
V. vegetable? broccoli
W. worst habits? roll my eyes when I am annoyed
X. x-ray or ultrasound? what does this question even mean?
Y. your favorite food? pasta
Z. zodiac sign? Libra

I am supposed to tag a lot of bloggers for this and I think most of my blogroll has received this award already and I'm not sure if I can give them out again so here are my award choices.

Cortney from Cortney Chronicles (Cortney is a giver)

Mike from What a Mess (even though he doesn't blog very much after he promised to blog weekly)

Elemento-P (cuz she's a shoe-a-holic just like me)

Tami H. (even though she's just a lurker who doesn't comment, she loves quizzes too - I expect an email my friend.)

OK guys here's how it works:1. When received, you may post the Brilliant Premio to your blog.2. Link to the blogger you received it from.3. Give it to 7 bloggers.4. Link to those 7 blogs.5. Leave those seven bloggers a comment about receiving the Brilliant Premio. I hope I am not stripped of my award since I only gave it to 3 bloggers and a lurker. At least I got to do the quiz.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The New Look

Well, after a slow start, the votes are in and 63% of my readers love my new look. I love the red and the flowers. It's totally me, but like some of my readers, I don't like the transparancy of the pictures. However, since it took me about 2 hours to redo all my widgets, it's gonna have to be this way for a bit. I couldn't figure out how to save my widget html while editing the layout html. So I had to open up the old layout, right click all my links and copy and paste them into the new layout. It took forever. If anyone knows of an easier way to do this, I am all ears. For now, it is what it is. You can enjoy the red and the flowers when you visit.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Mom Had Cows In Her Backyard...

Which wouldn't really be funny if she lived on a farm or anywhere else known to have cows, but my mom lives in Hawaii.

I talked to my mom on the phone the other day and this was the conversation.

Mom: Well I had an interesting night last night.

Me: Why?
Mom: Oh, it was about 1:00 in the morning, and I heard a noise in the backyard.

Me: Yah?

Mom: I listened for a bit and the noise kept getting closer and closer to the house.

Me: Oh, no (feeling scared)

Mom: I got out of bed and ran to the front of the house. I figured if it was a burglar trying to break in the back door, I could run out the front door and yell for help.

Me: Oh, jeeze

Mom: I stood by the front door and listened. There was still a lot of noise along the side of the house and I thought this was the loudest burglar I have ever heard.

Me: Yah, cuz you've heard a lot of burglars before.

Mom: (Laughs) Right, no I just figured he was being pretty loud for someone trying to break in.

Me: Right

Mom: So I quietly opened up the front door and walked out onto the lanai (that's what they call the patio in Hawaii). I hid on the linai for a little bit.

Me: (Imagining my poor mom scared and hiding on the patio.)

Mom: After a little while, I snuck around to the side of the house to see if I could see anything.

Me: Yah?

Mom: I looked around the corner and staring back at me was a....cow. He had horns, not the big guy's horns, but still he had horns.

Me: Oh, god, not again. (Yes, this has happened before)

Mom: So I whispered, "Go away," and waved my arms at him.

Me: (Laughs)

Mom: I wanted him to run out into the street so he wouldn't be on the side of the house anymore, but he just turned around and ran back into the backyard, scraping the side of the house with his horns.

Me: Oh, it was his horns that were making all the noise?

Mom: Well, yes, when he walked along the side of the house. The noise I first heard was of him leaning over the rock wall eating my tea plants and he knocked the wall over.

Needless to say, I was relieved that my mom didn't have a real burglar, just a burglar who wanted her tea plants. There is a field behind my mom's house. Every-so-often the owners of the field let their cows out of their normal area to graze this field. There is an ancient rock wall that lines the field, and that wall is the backyard wall for the houses that back up to the field. The wall is not grouted or concreted in, but rather stacked in a special "Hawaiian" way. So when the cows are sent out to this field, they sometimes eat the foliage of the residents. When they do that, they lean against the stacked wall and the wall falls over.

This is not the first time this has happened. When some of my mom's friends were staying at her house while she was here in CA, a bull knocked the wall over and grazed in the backyard for awhile. The people who own the cows have repaired the wall each time it happens. My mom will have to keep their number on speed dial. She had 7 more cows looking over the wall tonight.

I'm so glad it wasn't really a burglar.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mamma Mia

As requested, my take on Mamma Mia.

Jason and I saw Mamma Mia yesterday. We were giddy with excitement. We made a day of it. We have both seen the play twice and L-O-V-E-D, loved it.

We enjoyed the movie. It was fun. We both agreed that there is something about the play that couldn't be replicated in the film. The performers in the play were amazing and because it was live, the songs were much more powerful. That being said, we liked the movie. I'm sure if we hadn't the play to compare it to, we would have loved the movie.

The actors did a decent job with the songs (some better than others), and those songs are so great. It was corny and fun, and the scenery was breathtaking. We didn't get up and dance like Grandma J did, but I did sing. Overall, it was a good movie.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Closet

There were some requests to see pictures of my closet mentioned in the Shoes post. I spent this weekend cleaning the closet so it was presentable. As mentioned earlier, most of my shoes are in boxes with the picture of the pair on the box so I know what's inside. This helps me find the pair of many that I am looking for and has, for the most part, kept me from just throwing my shoes on the floor after wearing them. In the past there were mounds of shoes in my closet and I could never find the one I wanted, or if I could I couldn't find it's match. The shoe boxes were not my idea. I got it from Real Simple a few years ago. Here it is...

Close-Up of the Boxes

The Shelving from the Ceiling

The Shelving From the Floor

The Rest of the Shoes - Flip Flops and Sneakers

I know. Like I said, it's a sickness.

Heifer International

Cortney over at Cortney Chronicles donated a flock of chicks through Heifer International in my name as an award for commenting on her blogiversary post. What an amazing award/gift that was, but not only for me. The chicks were given to a needy family. This is what the chicks can do...
Chicks: A Good Choice
A flock of chicks can help families from Cameroon to the Caribbean add nourishing, life-sustaining eggs to their inadequate diets.
The protein in just one egg is a nutritious gift for a hungry child. Protein-packed eggs from even a single chicken can make a life-saving difference.
Heifer helps many hungry families with a starter flock of 10 to 50 chicks. A good hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year - plenty to eat, share or sell.
Because chickens require little space and can thrive on readily available food scraps, families can make money from the birds without spending much. And chickens help control insects and fertilize gardens.

Every family that receives the gift of livestock promises to share the gift by giving the off-spring to other needy families. I love that! What a wonderful organization.

Thank you Cortney!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What Do You Think ...

of the new look?

Cast your vote -------->

Vacation and Shopping Don't Mix

As stated in Shoes, I am the cliched shoe-a-holic. My favorite shoe shopping store is DSW. It is miles and miles of shoes; it's my "heaven" really.

Well, I'm on vacation right now, which technically started July 1, but I have been working on-and-off since then. I like to work and tend to get bored when I'm off for more than 2-3 days. Usually when I'm bored I go shopping. The problem with that is that during summer vacation I don't get paid. So why am I shopping? I think it's another addiction, really.
Last week, I had a few days free and found myself at DSW. Boy, did I shop. I found so many pairs that I wanted. I was able to cut it down to a mere 4 pair. Yah, that's right, I bought 4 pairs of shoes last week.
This is pair #1

This is pair #2

This is pair #3

This is pair #4 - my favorite of the bunch
Then this week Lisa and I went to Santee Alley downtown in the Fashion District. We shopped for knock-off handbags. My plan was to buy one, but I bought two. Two is better than one, right?

Here's bag #1

Here's bag #2

Here's a close up of the knock-off D&G label

Why do I do this? I think it's a sickness.

I need to go back to work.

  • It is hot and humid here like we are living in the South even though we are in the desert. I am tired of it and it needs to stop now. I don't mind the dry heat, but the humidity sucks! It makes my hair frizzy.

  • Funny story...last week I had some friends over for dinner and decided to make a new garlic-tomato pasta sauce. I made a grocery list and of the things I needed at the store. Before I went to the store, I decided to go to the Farmer's Market and get my produce. I didn't bring my list with me, but I knew what I needed and that included 2 pounds of plum tomatoes for my sauce. I took the things home and took my list back out to cross of the things I didn't need. When I crossed off the tomatoes I realized that it said 5 pounds of tomatoes. "Oh, great!" I thought. The Farmer's Market was across town and was probably closed. After being mad at myself for a minute I decided to just pick some more up at the store. So, I bought 3 more pounds. Fast forward to later that day when I started the sauce. No, I didn't need 5 pounds of tomatoes, I need 5 cups of tomatoes or 2 pounds. After all that, I had 3 extra pounds, ugh! But here is the pasta and boy was it good! (The recipe is below...super easy and super good. Just remember, only 2 pounds of tomatoes.)

  • A Green Bag Update...Well, the Green Bags met their match this week and that would be the 3 extra pounds of tomatoes. They were put in the bag on Sunday while I figured out what to do with them. Today (Thursday) I threw all the tomatoes out because they were wet and moldy, blech! Granted, I left them on the counter rather than refrigerate them, but still.
  • This weekend I watched a mini-series that I got from NetFlix called State of Play. It's British and really, really good. I would highly recommend it.
  • Bad News Everyone...Manuela left me a note on Friday that she is making her annual summer trip to Mexico effective immediately. She's usually gone 4-6 weeks. {Cries} What am I going to do?

Garlicky Tomato Pasta

1 Tbsp – EVOO
3 – chopped garlic cloves (I used 4)
2-3 lbs – chopped plum tomatoes
½ cup – white wine (pinot grigio)
1 package – cooked pasta (farfalle)
¼ cup – grated parmigiano-reggiano
½ cup – chopped basil

1. Heat EVOO in Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add garlic. Sautee for 30 seconds.
2. Add tomatoes and wine. Cook over med-high heat for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3. Add cooked pasta, cheese, and basil to tomatoes. Mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


This post was actually written back in June, but I never posted it because I was waiting to take a picture of the shelves written about below. However, my closet is in such a state that photos would not be appropriate at this time. This is a prerequisite for a future post.

For some reason, my school did a high school-type end of year vote, like the ones we used to do as teenagers for the year book. With categories like most popular, cutest boy/girl, best athlete, etc. 20-30 year olds giggled as they quickly filled out the surveys so their vote would count.

Much to my surprise I received one of the honors...No, it wasn't most popular, most smart, or most likely to succeed. It also wasn't best dressed, cutest girl, or drama queen. No, instead, it was a highly sought out honor.

It was ...






wait for it







Yes, I'm serious. Most shoes. Well, yes, I have always prided myself on the number of shoes I have. I do love shoes and have a lot of them. In fact, my closet is filled with them. When I moved into my new house, my dad even built several shelves for housing my many shoes. A couple of years ago, I read an article in one of my favorite magazines "Real Simple". (Just a funny side note on the magazine...My friend Robyn, who is kind of a hippy, read the magazine while visiting. She was horrified when the magazine had an article about how to make your life easier with chores and maintenance around the house. It sounded like a good article as she started reading it, but it quickly annoyed her that one of their "tips" was to "hire a maid". I don't know what she was so upset about. I think that is a super idea.)

Anyways, back to the shoe storage. Each pair of shoes is neatly housed inside a clear plastic shoe box. On top of that, I have taken a picture of each pair of shoe and attached it to the inside of the box showing through so I can see which pair of shoes is on the inside. Genius, I know! It is a shoe masterpiece if you will. Shoe storage that Carrie Bradshaw might admire, even though my boxes are not filled with Jimmy Choos or Pradas, but knock-offs instead.

So I have a lot of shoes. However, I was under tremendous pressure this morning choosing the shoes for my ensemble this morning. How can the girl who was voted "most shoes" wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. You see, I am a teacher who is on her feet most of the day. Fancy smancy shoes are no good for standing all day long so I wear the same few pairs of cute, but sensible shoes, day after day. This morning, I felt bad almost about wearing the same pair of leather flip flops that I wore the day before and will probably wear again tomorrow. Oh, it's so overwhelming. I just want my supporters to know that I do, in fact, have a lot of shoes, even though I don't wear a new pair to work each day, and I will make myself go shoe shopping immediately, just to honor their support.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

In addition to meeting some new bloggin' friends, my day-to-day life has changed a bit since I have started blogging. It's been a subtle change, but a change nonetheless. As I am sure most of my fellow bloggers do, I am constantly saying, "That would make a good blog," to myself as I go through my day. The problem with that is by the time I get home and make the time to write a post, that thought is out of my head and I don't remember what was going to make a good blog. OR I tend to remember those things, but don't really feel that they warrant an entire write up. To make a long story short (or maybe still long) I have decided to write a weekly (more or less) post of random thoughts; thoughts that I think need to be put out there for the world to see, but don't necessarily need to be elaborated on. So here it goes...

  • Why do people who drive slow insist on driving in the fast lane RIGHT next to a car driving in the slow lane? Get over for goodness sakes. (I could write an entire post about my issues with other drivers, but I will spare you on that.)

  • Why is it that over the summer, when I am off, the only kind of movies at the theatre are the kinds that I don't want to see? All year long there are good movies that I try my best to see around my busy schedule. Now that I have time and could, if I wanted to, go to the movies every day there is nothing that I really want to see.

  • JLo over at Almost Famous has invited me to a Pampered Chef party. If you're not familiar with Pampered Chef it's kind of like the mafia but with kitchen utensils. I have been to and had my fair share of these kinds of parties in the past. In fact, a few years ago I got myself involved with a candle party "family" that became a vicious circle. I went to one that a friend had and then signed up to do my own to get my own free stuff. Then a friend signed up to do one and since she came to mine, I came to hers. That cycle continued until I realized that I could have my own candle company with as many candles as I have in my garage. In fact, I had to join the witness protection program in order to hide out from "Vinnie the Weasel" a.k.a. "Karen the Suburban Housewife". In all seriousness, the parties are fun if you haven't been in awhile. Some people don't feel that way, but I don't mind them every-so-often. You can get together, socialize, and maybe even find something useful. Since I've been out of the "family" for awhile now , I have gotten better about feeling guilty if I don't spend a lot of money. I always find something to purchase, but I don't go beyond that and sign up to do my own party. I'll be going to the party and will have a good time because that's what friends do.

  • I have been in Santa Barbara with some work colleagues. Last night we were invited to dinner in Ventura. It's been a tough year for a lot of us and last night we let loose. I thoroughly enjoyed myself with this bottle of wine and it was goooood. I held that bottle in my lap and wouldn't let anyone get too close to it cuz it was mine all mine. Four glasses later, the bottle was empty and I was having a great time. Today is the real first day of my vacation so last night was a good start.

And the Winner Is...

ME! I received a blog award from Heart Shaped Hedges. Little ol' me? I am honored. Woot! Woot!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Flipping Out, Episode 3

That Jeff Lewis cracks me up. Here's a recap of Episode 3's craziness.

While visiting Ryan’s, his investment partner, office…

Jeff: This is so professional. You all have your own desk and your own computers. You don’t have three people sharing one desk and one computer. It looks like a real office.

Ryan: It is a real office Jeff. What did you think?

Jeff (in interview): In regards to the work environment between Ryan’s office and my office we run our offices a little differently. I think the atmosphere seems to be a little more tense in my home.

Jeff: There’s no dogs running around or barking. You guys must get a lot of work done here.

Ryan: We try. Don’t you think something like this would be nice for you and Jenny? Even this (pointing to the desk he sat at) it’s like you could still yell at her from over the little separator.

Jeff: This is way too professional for us. Where’s your sassy Nicaraguan housekeeper?

Jeff (in interview): It’s like too perfect over there. I don’t know, I just question it. I just question it. It’s like that family next door where everybody is like hot, and happy, and working hard which makes me think there’s something wrong. Then there’s my family. At least, ya know, we keep it real over here. We’re screaming at each other. We’re threatening each other. We’re quitting. We’re firing. Um, it just seems to me like that’s really the way a work environment should be.

When Chris comes back from the bank…

Jeff: Remember Chris, I like all the 20s facing same direction. See what is happening here, I have to now redo it all.

While looking at an investment property with Jenny…

Jeff: I’m hearing kids, screaming kids. Are we over a school?
Jenny: I don’t know, maybe.
Jeff: The price just went down fifty grand.
Jenny: Just by one scream?
Jeff: Ya, fifty grand per kid.

While Jeff was on the way home from buying nanny-cams for his house…
Ryan: When are you going to be at Valley Oak?
Jeff: Listen Ryan, I don’t know why you are bringing up that right now, this is really important.
Ryan: It’s important to you, but it’s not that important to me. Can you have a double session of therapy this morning?
Jeff: This sting operation is the biggest thing I’ve got going.
Ryan: Alright, I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
Jeff: I’m working on catching a culprit is what I’m working on.


I have finally uploaded my Africa Pics onto my Flickr account. There were over a thousand, so these are my favorites. Here's the link...

Click the "Africa via Amsterdam" set to the right to see them in order.
I'd love for you to stop by and check them out.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I Forgot To Say...

I was so excited to get the Green Bags' experiment posted, I forgot to add a very important point. I know all 4 of my readers will be glad I remembered...
The Green Bags are REUSABLE! Yes, you heard me right people. You can use the bags again and again. Just rinse them out, let them dry, and repeat. So, now you know.

I bet that is pushing some of you right over the edge and are ordering as we speak.