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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Photo Scavenger Hunt - February2010

I honestly cannot believe it's that time again... already whippin' through 2010.  At this point in the photo scavenger hunts, I don't feel a great need to explain what is happening, so without further ado here is the link (I highly encourage any and all of you to participate this month... it's open to all photography levels and it's something new to try out; click on the badge below to enter!!) and the list of items:

1. A tower
2. “Main Street”
3. Five
4. A dog or cat
5. Two of a kind
6. A clock
7. A game
8. Something sweet - FAIL
9. B&W w/selective coloring
10. Your own reflection
11. A mirror image - FAIL
12. Night image
13. Something homemade
14. Something pink
15. Something romantic
16. A candid shot
17. A portrait
18. A symbol of love
19. A landscape

20. Chocolate

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Manual Transmission

While I'd never outright ask; I'm dying to learn how to drive a stick (manual transmission).

Let me take you back to the days when I first started to drive. Just kidding.. I started to drive when I was like 4 years old (think Britney Spears with her kids)...

On my 16th Birthday I skipped my morning classes and went to take the drivers licenses test. I passed, 98/100 (getting docked for turning my wheels the wrong way parking on a hill, never again will I screw that up!). I had my Ford Bronco II waiting for me, drove it to school, skipped school the rest of the week and drove my ass off. Back then gas was all of 89 cents/gallon, so ya get your friends to chip in a few bucks and you drive for days!

After some time of driving my mom asked me if I wanted to learn how to drive a stick; my brother car was a manual and we could use that. Okay, why not.

A quick fact about me is that I hate being laughed at when I am trying to do something or learn something. This trait was much more predominate when I was in my teens.

So my mom and I go out one day, in my brothers car, to some random street. We change places and now I'm in the drivers seat. "Apply the gas slowly as you let out the clutch"

Attempt #1: car dies. mom laughs. try again.

Attempt #2: car jumps and dies. mom laughs.

I get frustrated.

Attempt #3: mom is laughing so hard she can't tell me what to do. I quit and pout.

I haven't set foot in the drivers seat of a manual transmission since. I want to learn though. There is a car that I'm deathly afraid of ruining (forever!) that has been offered to me a few times... it never happens, so I take that as a sign. i'm open to it still, but you won't find me asking for it. I'm terrified... I think I could handle the laughing better, I just don't want to find out.

My fear is so deep that it prevents me from seeking it out... I think that's a pretty good reason to finally master it, right?!

Plinky Prompt: Describe a skill you'd like to master.

Monday, February 22, 2010

If I were...

If I were a month, I’d be May
If I were a day of the week, I’d be Saturday
If I were a time of day, I’d be Evening
If I were a planet, I’d be Jupiter
If I were a sea animal, I’d be a Dolphin
If I were a direction, I’d be West
If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be a Chaise lounge
If I were a liquid, I’d be Coffee
If I were a gemstone, I’d be a Diamond
If I were a tree, I’d be an Oak
If I were a tool, I’d be a Hammer
If I were a flower, I’d be a Amaryllis
If I were a kind of weather, I’d be a Thunderstorm
If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a Violin 
If I were a color, I’d be Green
If I were an emotion, I’d be Excited
If I were a fruit, I’d be a Pomegranate 
If I were a sound, I’d be a Piano
If I were an element, I’d be Sodium
If I were a car, I’d be a Chevelle 
If I were a food, I’d be Sushi
If I were a place, I’d be San Francisco
If I were a material, I’d be Cotton
If I were a taste, I’d be Sweet Potato Fries
If I were a scent, I’d be Vanilla
If I were an object, I’d be Chopsticks 
If I were a body part, I’d be the Small of a back
If I were a facial expression, I’d be a Wink
If I were a song, I’d be Beautifully sung
If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be Teva Flip-Flops

Law Abiding Citizen

It's been quite some time since I've written a movie review...

Often times my mom will come home from a movie and I'll ask how it was only to hear "It was fine"; never good or bad, always fine.  I've started making her give film a rating and asking if she would recommend the film. Well, I remember back when Law Abiding Citizen came out in the theater, she came home and said "It was a really good movie!", without my even asking.  Then last week when she found out it was on DVD she told me I needed to get it.
I logged onto Netflix and added it to the top of my Q and got it before the weeks end.

In short, the movie is about a man, Clyde, who's family is murdered in front of him, within the first 3 minutes of the movie.  He's ends up frustrated with the justice system when the men who did it end up, basically getting off. The rest of the film goes on to follow him as he gets his revenge, not only on the man who killed his family, but every one who was involved in the case, including the entire city and their justice system.

This movie was much different than I expected.  I thought I knew what was going to happen, but was completely wrong!  I didn't completely care for the ending because I felt it could have ended a couple different ways and been a better movie because of it.  It's hard not to spoil it though.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the movie; I thought it was captivating and well thought out.  It held my interest and, while it had a bit of a Saw-ish feel to it, it wasn't what I'd call a horror film.  It was different than most movies and it doesn't require much thought into a back story or a deeper story; it's all laid out for you and explained very well.  You must realize though, that this is a movie because there are a few far-fetched things that happen.  I would recommend it because it is different than whats out now-a-days, which is always a good thing!

Overall Grade: A- ~ Good Film, good story, and while it could have ended a bit better, or differently, it was still entertaining.

Warnings for: gore, violence, torture and language.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why is it our business?

I don't understand why Tiger Woods' personal life is any of our business.  Any celeb for that matter...

Specifically Tiger though, why does he have to apologize {to us} for cheating on his wife?  Isn't his personal life his business?  I just don't get it... maybe you feel differently and can help me understand?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Random - v10.2

My biggest accomplishment in the month of February is getting my mom straight up addicted to Weeds!  Since I'm such a huge fan, you must imagine I have every season on DVD... so I told her about the show and said Here, take the first season, watch a few episodes... if you don't like it, don't watch any more.  So her and her bf took the first season and have since come back for the second season. :)  Score one for me!  She even called me one night to ask me questions about it!  I love that.  LOL - it was almost too easy.

So, today is Thursday.  Happy Thirsty Thursday - go drink something, please!  I've found that Thursday's generally bring a fantastic mood with them... I figure it has to be because I work M-Th and the next step is a 3 day weekend.  every week.  That would put anyone in a good mood, right?  Go ahead, be jealous.

So, as I may have mentioned... Steve and I are planning a trip to Hawaii next winter.  I've got a good plan for saving, and I think it's going to work.  I'm so excited!  This means no more new lenses for the camera, and not a ton of fun in the next years time.  I've done my taxes for 2009 and once that money is deposited into my bank account, it's getting transfered right into savings.  Plus I have automatic transfers set up into both of my savings accounts with every paycheck, so that I never even see the money.  Plus I have next years tax returns that will hopefully just go with my to Hawaii as spending money.  Have I mentioned that I'm excited?
The biggest downfall of waiting until next winter for this trip is that we really can only look at things now, nothing is booked and nothing will be booked for several months yet.  I just want a date to look forward to.  The nice thing is... I have the money for the trip right now, in savings, so I can book anytime and just pay my savings back.

Lastly... a quick little note about something else exciting!  I may have mentioned that my brother and SIL are expecting again, in April, but they live in a little 2 bedroom townhouse and with another baby on the way, they are quickly running out of room... Well... they put an offer in on a house and it was accepted!  So now they'll have their own home, 4 bedrooms, plus a yard for the dog.  I'm so happy and excited for them - I can't wait! They'll be all moved in before the baby is born!  I'm excited to be an auntie again, and I'm so excited to see how Jordan reacts to having a little brother or sister and not getting all the attention anymore.  The best part: the new house is only about 7 minutes from my house!!!  It'll be a great excuse to go on a lot of bike rides this summer :) YAY!

All GOOD things today!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just a Test

So I’m typing this using Windows Live Writer and wanted to see what it’s like. 

Seems like an interesting little piece of software, but I worry about the fact that it’s not Google related, being that my blog host is essentially Google. 
Speaking of Google… anyone using Google Buzz?  How gay do you think it is?  I’m convinced it’s a waste of my life… yet another status feed.  I could be doing it wrong, but I was hoping it would sync (as in ‘import’) my Twitter feed, so that I didn’t have to log into Twitter to follow the things I do there.  So far it has not done that and, because of that, I think Buzz is lame-o-la.

Sooo… anyone using Windows Live Writer?!  Tell me about it, if you are – I’m curious.

Also, I want to mention that I’ve added a few photos to the February Photo Hunt – it’s slowly coming along and I feel like I still can finish.  {Kristi, do you still consider entries for favorites if the entire hunt is not finished?}
With Steve and I joining the gym and trying to stick to a schedule, by the time we get to the gym, workout, get home, make and eat dinner… there really it little to no time to go out and hunt with my camera.  So that takes out weeknights… and the weekends are full of fun and exciting things!  So I’ve got a couple shots plus (hopefully) one in my camera yet… now I just need to get moving on the rest!  I think I can… I think I can….

So, just for good measure, I’m going to insert an image to test out this software:
I love that picture of Jordan and I – it was taken on Christmas 2009 and it makes me smile so big every time I see it.  I need to frame it for my desk at work.

Also – another feature this Writer has is “Map” – so here is where I’m anxious to go next winter:

Map picture

…and last, but not least, my sign-off:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm {not} as tough as I think...

I'm a tough girl, sure.  We all are, right?  In our own little way...

Sometimes I'm not as tough as I think and it's about time I said that out loud.  So there... I've said it.

I woke up this morning with yet another fucking migraine.  Forgive the language but I'm so over these things!  They just piss me off.  I'm so helpless when they hit and that is not something I like to feel, obviously.  I felt it while I was laying there and my alarm was going off.  My head was sensitive.  FUCK.

I continue to get ready anyways, not knowing what stage this migraine was at... not knowing if the blindness had come and gone or if it was going to happen at all.  Not knowing if it was going to last all day or if it was almost gone already.  I call my carpool and tell them I'm driving myself this day, just to be safe.  Get in my car and drive to work, practically in tears the whole time.
Just about 3 minutes before I get to work I start to lose vision... neat.

I get into work, try (and I use that word extremely loosely) to do some things - 110% useless.  The office had been cleaned last night and the smells were making me feel like I was going to be sick.  I made about 7 trips into the bathroom at work in the hour and 40 minutes I was there... some to cry, some to try and vomit... some to just sit in the dark.

Now, here I sit, after 6pm, still with full blow migraine.  Cool, huh?

It's completely frustrating.  It's so fucking stupid.  I hate my head.  I can try to muscle through them... but who am I kidding; they have complete control over me.  I'm nothing with a migraine.  ugh.  Yet another chapter...

So... please, go ahead, insert cyber hug here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bleu Cheese Meatloaf with {Microwave} Potatoes

A few months back my friend, Kristi, posted a recipe - Bleu Cheese Meatloaf!  I cannot, for the life of me, find that post since she changed around her blog (Kristi, you're going to have a million hits from me today looking around for it).  Since I can't do a link back to the post (Kristi, feel free to post it in the comments if you know where to find it better than me!), I will just type the recipe here, plus I want to include an awesome way to make some delicious potatoes and I have a few pictures!

So, bleu cheese is one of those things that people love or hate... generally.  If you're like me and feel kind of 'meh' about it, you like it, don't love it... this is a recipe you should try!!!

Bleu Cheese Meatloaf

What You'll Need:

  • 2 lbs. - lean ground beef (we mixed with 1 lb. of super lean and 1 lb. of not so lean)
  • 1/2 - Large Onion, or a whole small onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon - ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon - salt
  • 1 teaspoon - dry mustard
  • 1 cup - bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons - mustard
  • 1/4 cup - light sour cream
  • 4-6 ounces - bleu cheese crumbles
  • Frying Pan
  • Baking Pan
Instructions for Meatloaf:
Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a small frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add diced onion and fry until the onion is translucent (~15 minutes).

In a large bowl, mix together fried onion, beef, pepper, salt, dry mustard, bread crumbs, mustard, and light sour cream.  Mix well using hands if necessary.  Add bleu cheese and mix in gently.  Pat the mixture down into a baking pan (I used a meatloaf pan, but the actually recipe says 9x13 or 9x9 baking pan).

Bake the meatloaf in the oven until it is no longer pink in the center (1 hour and 5 minutes) or an internal temperature of at least 160°.

Side note on meatloaf: This meatloaf was quite difficult to cut, it was very crumbly, not sure if we didn't pat it down enough before cooking, or if we should have used a large pan to make a flatter meatloaf.  Either way, just a little side note.

Now, on to the potatoes (which, in reality, you'd be preparing while the meatloaf is baking).

Red Potatoes {cooked in the microwave!}

What You'll Need:
  • Red potatoes
  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Frying Pan
Instructions for Potatoes:
Wash potatoes and cut into quarters.  Place potatoes in microwave safe bowl, coat with olive oil and toss around to cover potatoes.  Salt and pepper to taste, toss around again.  Cover the bowl in plastic wrap (make sure bowl is completely covered so no air can escape).

Place in microwave for 4 minutes and 30 seconds, remove from microwave taking caution as bowl may be hot, toss potatoes around in bowl leaving plastic wrap on.  Microwave for another 4 minutes and 30 seconds, remove from microwave, again being extremely careful.  

Uncover, away from face, and poke potatoes with a fork to test doneness.  So far your total cook time has been 9 minutes, which was plenty for potatoes for 2 people (I think we cut up 8-10 small red potatoes) - depending on how many potatoes you are doing, you may need to adjust your cook time, more or less, or do them in 2 batches.

(Optional, but highly recommended) Once desired doneness is achieved, dump entire contents of bowl into frying pan and place the pan over med-high heat.  Turn all the potatoes on cut sides and brown to desired color, repeat with next cut side.  If you've added garlic, you'll end up with some nice little crunchy garlic chips which are delicious!

Serve and enjoy!

So... how was the meatloaf?  It's quite delicious!  The bleu cheese doesn't melt completely so you cut it open to find little pockets of cheese, and it's not overpowering!  I highly, highly suggest you crack open a bottle of red wine to wash this down as the bleu cheese is completely complimented by it.  I've done the potatoes before and loved the just as much this time around :)  Next time though, I think I'm going to brown them a bit more, high heat and sear the crap outta them babies!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Avocado Crab Salad Recipe

Once upon a time someone came up with this idea to mix avocado with crab meat and... some other things that I couldn't remember.  I wanted to make this again, so I decided to start with the basics and improvise from there.

I'm presenting you with a starting point, but this recipe can be adjusted to any of your personal likes; not only delicious but a great healthy snack!

What you'll need: 

  • Avocado, cubed or mashed, depending on preference - if you are making this for one, you can use a whole avocado for yourself.  If making for more than one as an appetizer you can use half an avocado per person.
  • Imitation Crab Meat, roughly chopped - you can buy any style of this you'd like as you'll be chopping it up anyways.
  • Limes
This is so easy you'll die!

Open and clean the avocado (click here if you don't know how to do this).  A little note about the video: I don't have sound at work, so if the dude sounds like an idiot, I apologize.  Also, if you are making this for guests and decide to cube the meat of the avocado while in its skin (like in the video), pay special attention to not cut through the skin of the avocado and don't throw the skin out, more on that in a second.

Put all the avocado meat in a bowl along with chopped up crab meat.  Take a half of lime and hand squeeze the juice into the bowl (don't worry about getting every last drop of juice, make it to your liking, but enough to at least coat the mixture); lime juice will help prevent the avocado from browning and will add delicious freshness to your creation.  I don't add any salt or pepper, but you may want to.

I don't completely mash the avocado but kind of let it do it's own thing from cubed as I take a spoon and mix it all together.  If you like a mashed avocado, mash away!  

Now, if you are serving this to yourself, plop it in a dish and eat; it's that simple!  If you are serving to guest, take the avocado skin and plop some of the salad into it and serve.  It gives it a neat presentation and makes it fun for your guests.  I like to overfill the skin (picture below was my bright idea after eating almost all of mine).

There is so much you could add to this to make it even better; think guacamole ingredients (onion, tomato, etc.) but you're adding crab meat and eating it in chunk style rather than as a dip.  Get creative and make it however you like it!  

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weeds: Season 5 {**SPOILERS**}

Shannon, Dawn, and anyone else who hasn't watched ALL of Season 5 - DO NOT READ THIS UNTIL YOU HAVE!!!  Literally every. last. second.

Weeds... oh, Weeds!
So, I got through the season in just over a weeks time... turns out joining a gym and having a boyfriend takes up a lot of time.

I think, for any Weeds lover, it's safe to say that Nancy Botwin is absolutely something else, right?!  Not only is Mary-Louise Parker an amazing actress, the writers have written a character that is so out there that any of us would aspire to be her but have little to no interest in living her actual life.  
That's how I feel anyhow.

I've spent hours trying to write this blog and I have two sitting in draft form because I cannot decide the best way to talk about S5.  I've tried to recap, but there is way too much to keep it short.  I've tried to take time to spell out the important details, even if it does get long.  I just don't know what to say, there is so much to tell.  So I'm just going to type, and I'm going to be honest and whatever comes out is what you get.  

I think the best place to start is the jaw-dropping finale.  However, to do that, I feel like you need some character background, which gets into details... fuck it, I'm just going to type.

Last Episode: Nancy has enlisted Guillermo to kill Pilar, but it has to happen tonight.  Pilar has basically cut Esteban's balls off and Nancy wants her out of their lives.  Nancy and Esteban attend a party, which Pilar has instructed Nancy to leave {with a headache} after a period of time.  Upon Nancy's exit, Pilar walks outside with her while explaining that Guillermo works for her (Pilar) and she (Nancy) is way out of her league.  She goes on about how Shane and Silas will be the ones to pay for Nancy's mistake.  As they're talking, you see Pilar get whacked upside the head and fly into the pool they are standing next to, left for dead.  Shane whacked Pilar upside the head with a croquet mallet!  

Never ever saw that coming, though, throughout the season you watch Shane's character develop into many things.  Not to mention a few seasons ago when he was talking to his dead father across the table from him.    They've done a fantastically natural job of bringing him to that point yet never making you suspect that he'd do something like that.

So what's next?  S6 is most likely going to start where this season has ended, in true Weeds fashion, so you'll have Nancy and Shane standing by the pool with Pilar's body afloat.  Obviously you clean the croquet mallet and get your boy out of there, right?  Wait though, Esteban know's Pilar left with you, who else knows?  Would Esteban even care; maybe he'd help cover your {fine} ass and keep you from getting in trouble.  What if season 6 starts with Shane in jail?!  OMG - There are so many unanswered questions...

I have literally zero words to describe the way that Weeds makes me feel.  I think it's easily the best show ever made.  I love it.  I can't say anything more, though my passion runs much deeper.

I think I'm going to start all over, from season 1 - just for good measure.  I'm so excited...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ahhhh.... Television!

No Spoilers here folks, just some good old fashion TV talk!  Spoilers come in the next post... because I have sooo much to say!

So, I'm one of those people who openly admits that I love television.  I get sick of those people who say TV rots your brain or that they don't watch it for whatever reason.  Surely I understand if your life is just too busy... but some things you just HAVE to make time for!!  I make time for TV, because it is my source of drama, its my escape from real life, it's an easier way to follow a story (over reading, which I am just not good at).  I'm low drama on a personal level, but I feed on drama on the tube... so without further ado I would like to share some thoughts with you on this season of TV shows that I am a loyal fan of.... (thank God for Tivo).

Grey's - Generally Grey's has me on the edge of my seat, every episode throughout and wanting more, every episode at the end.  This year I feel Grey's has settled a bit and I find myself surfing the web and not paying full attention to it while it's on.  I'm not a fan of Christina and Owen, Izzie popping in and out is annoying, I miss George, the new interns need larger roles, Lexie and McSteamy are old news (so is his daughter).  I just don't feel like it's a show about doctors anymore, it's a prime-time soap opera.  I watch The Bold and The Beautiful... that plenty for me.  I won't give up yet.. but I'm bored with it.  Do some surgery, re-shape the cast, stop making everyone so whiny, and let's have some hospital drama again!  Granted, they have had some wicked cases roll into that hospital!

Private Practice - I've been watching this show since it began because I wanted to keep up with Addison, it didn't hurt that Taye Diggs was in it and it's from the same creator as Grey's.  I've loved the show, every season.  It's not one of those out of the ordinary 'that would never happen in real life' shows... it's honest to goodness real life, but not real.  I can't wait to see where this season goes, it's already been so good; how can it get better?!

Nip/Tuck - A while back I posted this blog about how I was ready to give up on Nip/Tuck.  Well, I watched a few more episodes and instantly became hooked again.  It's such an outlandish show, I can't help but watch.  Mid-season I found out it was the last season of the series... so I'm very glad I am sticking with it.  I'm curious to see how it ends, I'm hoping to won't be a Soprano's type ending that leaves everyone talking, forever; something tells me it will be though.  I'd like to Netflix all of the seasons again and slowly make my way through them, just to remember and enjoy it all over.  Maybe one day...
I will admit that once this season is over, I'll be glad to wipe an hour long show off my Tivo's 'To Do List'.

The Office - Still a great show, but with the ~month long hiatus, I've found myself moving on.  I'm hoping to get more invested since episodes are (hopefully) back up and running.  I'm excited for Jim and Pam... other than that, I really have no memory of what has happened this season.  sad.  Though I do remember "Scott's Tots" - that episode was extremely uncomfortable.  I will never give up on this show.

Desperate Housewives - I always struggle with this show because it's pretty outrageous, yet so intriguing.  Another that I've watched since episode 1, and i can't turn it off, even when they had the bad season (season 2 or 3, I think).  I love how they always have one family that is suspicious and they keep you guessing until the end, I love how every character is a real life person yet the story is unlikely, I love Lynette and Tom.  I love where every story is going and always find myself wanting a little bit more at the end.  I enjoy shows that offer a deep underlying, relationship building story - yet have each episode with it's own problem.

Last but not least, I just finished Season 5 of Weeds (again, no spoilers here) - and I must say that Weeds is probably one of the best shows ever made.  I almost want to pay my cable company extra to have Showtime... I cannot say enough how amazing this show is to me.  I don't even know words to describe it accurately.

On a side note: The Jersey Shore cast has been signed to do another reality show, in a different location.  I'm not sure how it will be, I will watch it though.  I know there will never be another Jersey Shore, so I'm not getting my hopes up.  Pauly D will be there though; I might have a crush on a Guido.  sad.

Also, The Amazing Race starts on 14Feb, Jordan and Jeff (former Big Brother players) are going to be on it.  I've never watched TAR, but I think I'll be tivo'ing this season (at least until they get kicked off, or however it works).. because Jeff is dreamy.  That, my friends, is extremely sad.

Stay Tuned for some spoilers in another post... at least about Weeds Season 5.  OMG.


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