Friday, July 29, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #21

Fun things from the net:


...loves this cute poster

...and this entertaining article on beards from a guy's perspective (the hubs alternates from a goatee to a full beard as frequently as he cuts his hair, so I found it particularly enjoyable)


...thought this article on a new trend in bicycling was an interesting read.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Food Review: Trader Joe's Vegetable Biryani

I freely admit that I am a Trader Joe's junkie! I love very nearly everything I've eaten that came from Trader Joe's and it is by far my favorite grocery store to shop at. I have by no means tried everything that Trader Joe's has to offer, that isn't really my style. I tend to find things I like and then stick to them, very rarely venturing to try something new. Recently, however, I decided to try Trader Joe's frozen Vegetable Biryani.

The rice was delicious and easy to prepare! The package had enough rice to provide a side dish for 3-4 people or a meal for two. I think it had the right amount of spice for the average American's taste, though I would have preferred it to be a bit spicier - one of the consequences of actually having been to India, I suppose! The only thing I did not like was that the rice has raisins in it. I like raisins in general, but they added a sweetness to this dish that I felt was out of place. The good news is that the raisins were pretty easy to pick out, so I'll likely purchase this again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Overcoming Fear

Lately I've been forced to face some of my fears, which I'm sure one day I will say is a good thing. Of course, in the moment it doesn't seem so great. In a very short amount of time I've had to confront fears I've spent years trying to avoid. It seems manageable when you are only faced with an uncomfortable situation every once in awhile, but it's been a bit overwhelming having so many things come down at once. I'm trying not to let fear determine my actions and responses, but sometimes the flight impulse is so strong it is difficult not to run away and hide in hopes everything will go away. This has made me realize that I still have many deep seated insecurities I still haven't dealt with. For me, my greatest fear is that I will do something and not be good enough, that I won't measure up and people will look at me derisively. Sometimes I would rather not even try because I would rather never have tried than to attempt something and then fail spectacularly.

So this inner battle has been going on for about a month now, but two weeks ago I heard a story that has helped me immensely so I thought I would share :)

I was listening to an interview with Tom Hanks. When he was a student at Sacramento State he and his friends decided to try out for one of the school plays. He was the only one out of all of his friends who didn't get a part. So he went out and auditioned for a local production. They liked him and gave him a role. One of the directors of this play had a lot of connections in New York and Hollywood and liked Hanks so much he helped him find other roles, which started him on the path to becoming the successful actor he is today.

I like this story, because it shows that he had the confidence to simply move on from a failure and not let it hold him back. I'm sure looking back on his life, he is glad he went out and auditioned again, but he's also probably thankful he didn't get into the production with his friends as he would probably have never met the director who helped him begin his career.

This is the challenging part for me: taking a rejection or a failure and turning it into a learning experience, and therefore a success.

I will keep you posted as I continue on this journey of building self confidence :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bowled Over

Last semester I taught a few lessons at one of my student's homes. Every week I admired the pottery that filled their home. The glazes were the most gorgeous I had seen - from soft greens to brilliant blues, and gorgeous patterned pieces in grays and browns. I LOVE ceramics, and have always wanted to have a large statement piece, but they can be so expensive that I have never been able to splurge on one. When I found out my student's grandmother made all their gorgeous vessels (and just for fun too! She is retired and this is what she does with her spare time), I asked if I could commission a piece. This is the result:

I am in love! The blue color is even prettier in real life :)

It's large enough that four large peaches barely fill the bottom :)

I'm not usually going to use it as a fruit bowl, because I'm not sure if it's a food-safe color (some greens and blues are highly toxic, a factoid I learned when I had a ceramics artist as a room mate) but I had to show you how gorgeous it is with some brightly colored fruit inside. I only wish I was able to use some granny smith apples - that green would have gone nicely.

And one last side view - I never get tired of looking at this color. It draws me in :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Moving Day!

My new roommate and I are moving today! Since her lease was up later than mine, I've been crashing in her living room for the last couple weeks. We are so excited to finally be moving into our new place!

My family is coming up with the van & horse trailer this afternoon and I'm confident that we will be able to get everything moved in one trip. My roommate and I hardly have any furniture, so it should be pretty easy. The most difficult part of the move will be all the boxes of dishes and books, I think.

I'll be posting pictures of my new space over the next couple weeks. I'm still figuring out how to decorate my bedroom. I think I'm going to just try some different things and see what works!

We decided to go for a Burlesque theme in the living room. Certainly not the easiest decor to pull off with taste & style, so we'll have to see how it goes, but I'll be sure to post pictures of our progress there, as well.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #20

Enjoyed this week:

Adri heard this song in the trailer for Winnie the Pooh and now she just can't listen to it enough!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Google+Me: A Love Affair

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who spent a lot of time on computers. She knew how to work them better than anyone else in her family and so she was often called upon by parents, siblings, and even extended relatives to solve their technology-related woes. Sometime during late adolescence, she was introduced to Google; little did she know that this introduction would change her life forever.

It began with her discovery of the Google search engine. She loved how powerful it was, how it could give her anything she wanted with just some simple commands from her and a few strokes of the keyboard. A few years later, her relationship with Google moved to the next level when she became a user of Gmail, Google's intuitive & sensitive email service. She loved the fact that rather than isolating her from her friends, Google instead allowed her to interact with them in a lasting, searching way. She felt that her relationship with Google was healthy & mutually beneficial, engaging them both with each other in interesting ways, but also giving them space to explore their own interests.

The girl still wasn't 100% satisfied with their relationship, but her belief that Google was really the best that was out there caused her to keep coming back to work things out. Google began offering her Blogger, a service that allowed her to express her innermost thoughts without censorship or the fear of rejection. She could be completely open with Google and Google would always welcome her with open arms.

Eventually, things started to get even better between them. Google integrated chat into Gmail, allowing her to experience instant & quick connections, as well as longer lasting ones. Google Reader expanded her world by putting the blogosphere at her fingertips, enabling her to travel the blog world without ever leaving the comfort of Google's familiar arms. The next gift Google gave her was Chrome and she finally felt completely secure. Wherever she roamed in the world, she always had the comfort of feeling that she was home, that she and Google would always be together and never be truly parted, no matter where she went.

But still, something was missing from their relationship.

Despite the gift of Chrome, the girl still felt that she was betraying Google every time she tried to socialize with her friends. The guilt weighed heavily on her heart and though she wasn't entirely sure, she thought she could see sadness in Google's eyes whenever she returned from one of her social visits. Little did she know, though, that Google had another gift for her, the gift of Plus.

At last, Google had become the entire package, everything her heart could possibly desire. No longer would she have to leave Google's side in order to maintain her friendships, instead, they were finally partners in all aspects of her life. As the girl gazed lovingly at Google, she could finally see the wonderful future they would have together and she knew, without a doubt, that they would live happily ever after.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More Wine Bottle DIY Project Ideas

Remember all those wine bottles I acquired in March? Well, other than using one as a vase and unsuccessfully attempting to cut some of them, all they've done for the past couple months is sit on a cupboard shelf in the kitchen.

 I recently ran across this video tutorial on a different method of cutting glass bottles and I'm hopeful this will actually work!

Here are some of the ideas I have for things I'd like to do with my wine bottles:

I would love to use the cutting method above to make tumblers like these from Bed Bath & Beyond:

Or some cool hanging lights like these:

Originally from Pottery Barn. Looks like it's been discontinued, but once you figure out the lighting, it really doesn't look like it would be that hard to make! Also, there's no cutting required!

From here. Cute & simple and oh-so-summer-elegant. I think these would look charming hanging from tree branches over a wooden picnic table.

How awesome is this modern take on the wine bottle light? Sold here, but I'm sure it would be 100% possible to make this myself.

And last, here is a project for turning wine bottles into Tiki Torches. The best part? No cutting or new-fangled electric lights required, so I might actually do this one sooner than later!

I think a set of these would be an awesome wedding present. Unique, elegant, useful, personal, and of course, super affordable!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quote to Ponder

I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves - such an ethical basis I call more proper for a herd of swine. The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. ~Albert Einstein, "What I Believe,"Forum and Century, 1930

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #19

This week:

Adri discovered the online magazine rue. The current issue contains some serious eye-candy - be prepared to spend a long time gazing at the lovely spreads!

It has been so hot lately, Rebekah has been making iced tea, coffee or thai iced coffee every day. This recipe is great! For an extra dose of caffeine, try adding in some strong iced black tea too :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vintage Beach

I'm loving these beach pictures. Wouldn't it be glamorous to go to the beach wearing one of these gorgeous swimsuits?
I thought I would try to choose a favorite to share with you but I decided I like them all too much to choose just one :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Few of my Favorite Books Part 2

Continuing from last week's post, here are some more books that have my seal of approval :)

For awhile I was really into the movie the Great Escape, and so of course as a die hard history buff I had to learn more about the original story. This is the book that tells it all! I was lucky enough to find it on ebay (the new copies I've seen on amazon are going for $40, yikes!). Some WWII books are mind-numbingly tedious, but not this one. I couldn't put it down. It was also kind of cool to learn all the differences between the movie and what really happened.

Oh, Alexander Dumas how I love all (with 2-3 exceptions) that you've written! This was my first introduction to his works, and I was hooked from the first chapter. The intrigue and diabolical lies followed by daring escape, sudden wealth and carefully planned revenge will both thrill and at times abhor you. If you have never read the unabridged version, get thee to a library! You'll thank me later - or perhaps you will curse me when it's 3am and you can't sleep because WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?!?!?! :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Longest Game Ever

OK, so I'm sure it wasn't the longest game ever, but last week my siblings and I got to go to the longest baseball game in the American League so far this year! It was Giants v. Padres and it was awesome! I love baseball but I usually only get the opportunity to attend one or two games per year - not that I could afford many more than that, anyway. Gas, parking, tickets (!), garlic fries, and beer certainly tend to add up!

The game we went to was intense! Both teams were pitching well (or maybe they were batting poorly - I really wouldn't know the diffference!), and by the 7th or so inning it was tied 5-5. They ended up going to extra innings and it was tied until the 14th when the Giants finally scored a run! Being there was so much fun - the fans were so energetic and hopped to their feet and yelled like I've never heard fans yell every time the Giants got a hit or an out. Definitely the best baseball game I've ever been to! Anyways, without further ado, here are some of the photos from that night:

This was a particularly intense moment. You can see the concern in the guys' faces and body language.

Fear the Beard!

Everyone on their feet!

Me and my four younger siblings. We are woefully lacking in the Giants paraphernalia department.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Ahhhh, now that the heat of summer is finally upon us, all I want to do is get away to be near a body of water. I don't really care what type, as long as it's cool and I can swim in it :)
Last summer the hubs and I hiked in Hetch Hetchy, which was gorgeous and an awesome adventure, but the water cruelly taunted us (mainly me) the entire time. Since it's a reservoir of San Francisco's drinking water, you can't swim or boat there. It's a gorgeous site, and if you haven't been I recommend it - just maybe not on a scorching hot day!

I've been longing to go back to Stinson beach, although I've never seen it this deserted. It would be so nice to have it all to myself and the hubs.

Isn't the water in Crater Lake the most gorgeous shade of blue? Imagine spending an afternoon floating on the calm surface, occasionally paddling yourself back to shore to get a drink or a snack.

I only recently discovered Havasu Fall, in the Grand Canyon. I wish I had known about it a few years ago when I was there. Just another reason to return :)

Where are you longing to visit this summer?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #18

From around the interwebs:

Wouldn't it be fun to make fries and spicy ketchup from scratch this weekend?

This list of 10 affordable beauty buys looks legitimately good. Rebekah especially likes the eyeshadow and eco makeup brushes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Monday night I watched the fireworks show with some friends in Sacramento. We parked at Arden Fair Mall and then walked ten minutes to Cal Expo. By the time we got there it was only a half-hour to showtime and we weren't sure we would be able to make it through the line in time to get in. So, we sat on the side of a grassy area in the parking lot. I wanted to put down the tailgate of a random truck and sit there, but my friends weren't brave (or perhaps foolish?) enough to do so.

I think these are my favorite fireworks. I love the way they burst and then cascade down in elegant little drips of gold.

Another shot of my favorite fireworks. Please ignore the tree in the upper right corner; our seats were great but this tree that framed the view of the fireworks from where we were sitting managed to make it into a few of my shots.

I hope everyone had a great and fun-filled Independence Day! God bless America!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Few of my Favorite Books

The other day I was reorganizing a few of the shelves of my bookcases, and I realized that I really do have a varied and eclectic taste in literature. If you were to come and glance through my books you would see everything from The Art of War to A History of the American People to Memoirs of a Geisha to The Count of Monte Cristo and everything in between. I thought it would be fun to share my favorite books from some of these various genres, helping you cull the good from the bad - or worse - boring. I'll highlight two books per week, so it doesn't become too much to wade through :)

Let's begin at the top of my bookcase with something thick and heavy:

I am a HUGE history buff. i frequently go to the library and peruse the history section, picking out a book based purely on if it fills a void in my knowledge (or in this case lack thereof). Knowing that about me, one of my professors gave this book to me as a high school graduation present. It's not the lightest read by any means, but after completing it I came away with a full understanding of 14th century Europe's intrigues, plagues, wars and the role the Catholic church played in it all. I would recommend it to anyone who would like to understand that era more thoroughly. I for one know that before reading this book I had only a shadowy knowledge of what occurred during this time period.

On the next shelf, you will find this gem:

I have a weakness for spy thrillers, so of course espionage was initially what drew me to this fast paced book. The $3 price tag at the used book store sealed the deal. I was pleasantly surprised at what an enjoyable read this was. It's always nice to find a nonfiction book that's as hard to put down as a novel :) And who would have thought a history of submarines would be so interesting?! But don't make my mistake - excited to learn more I went and checked out 4 more books on submarines. All were dismally dull. Stick with this one, it's a winner.
This book also gets bonus points because I've read it twice (I hardly ever read a book more than once). That's how good it was :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to Get a Man to Love Eating Chicken

I am married to a carnivore. When I ask him what he wants for dinner and he says "meat," he doesn't mean fish, poultry, pork or beef. He only means beef. If he had his way there would be red meat at every meal - perhaps with bacon now and again to change things up a bit. While I do love a steak or burger as much if not more than the next person, I prefer to limit my intake to a few times a week. After 2.5 years of extensive research, I present The Top 3 Man-Approved Chicken Seasonings. The hubs not only liked these dishes, but he actually asked for these meals again! That is a HUGE accomplishment :) If it worked for my man, I'm pretty sure it will work for anyone.

Coming in at number three, this Enchilada sauce is delicious! It also freezes well if you like to make enchiladas in bulk. I usually steam the chicken for 20 minutes and then shred it. I dip each corn tortilla in the sauce and layer chicken, more sauce and cheese inside. After rolling up each filled tortilla I lay them side by side and then cover the tops with sauce and cheese. Pop in the oven (at 375) for 15-20 minutes more, and you are done!

I randomly grabbed this World Harbors Mexican Style Fajita marinade when I was walking through the store. I didn't think the hubs would like it, but it's now his second favorite chicken seasoning. I generally grill strips of chicken on my stove top grill pan, brushing each side of the meat with the marinade at least once. I serve warm with grilled peppers and onions - with sides of tomatoes, guacamole, cheese and lettuce.
But this seasoning? Is out. of. this. world. We picked this up when we were in New Orleans, and have had it once a week since then. I have never craved anything like I crave this seasoning! And the hubs is completely on the same page :) I like to marinate the chicken in Lawry's lemon pepper marinade for 20 minutes, then I grill the chicken on my stove top grill pan, lightly sprinkling each side with Slap ya Mama. I like to serve this with a slice of lemon (we love some squeezed lemon on our chicken). There are sooo many sides you could try this with, it's incredibly versatile. So far we've had corn, fruit salad, sweet potato fries, corn bread, grilled tomatoes, squash, and string beans and that's only the tip of the iceberg - the possible combinations are endless.

I hope you and the meat-lover in your life enjoy :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!!

Today I would like to post a few of the lesser-known verses of the star spangled banner. Whenever I read the stanzas of this song, I always imagine how it must have been for Francis Scott Key to watch the British bombing Fort McHenry...hoping for a flash of light to reveal that the flag was still there, that the fort had not fallen.
I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July!

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foes haughty host in dread silence reposes
What is that which the breeze o'er the towering steep
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream
Tis' the star-spangled banner! Oh how long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! Thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Thus conquer we must, when our cause it is just
Then this be our motto, "in God is our trust,"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #17

Internet happenings & discoveries from the past week:

Rebekah wants to try a few of these dollar origami - wouldn't it be fun to receive money like this?

On Tuesday, Adri happened to watch the Bonanza Intro and then held the following inner monologue: O Bonanza, how I love thee! (OK, really I just love Adam, but that's beside the point. Or is it? What does "that's beside the point" really mean? And what is "the point"?)

Kate from Centsational Girl shared her technique for whitewashing wood

Adri decided that eventually she wants to purchase a knife from Big Rock Forge.

Google released their newest attempt at creating a social network to rival Facebook and this time it looks like they may have succeeded. Learn more here. In the mean time, Adri is dying a slow death while she awaits an invitation to join the fun.

Jon Acuff of Stuff Christians Like wrote about why your ideas don't matter.