Thursday, July 31, 2008


Up really late last night I composed this little poem....
I am a superdork.

I was entranced right from the start,
Now I'm dying since we're apart,
Return to Blockbuster
Took all I could muster,
I'm in love with Mariokart.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I just looked back at my mid-year resolutions. I have been better about putting things away, but I still need to work at it. With the travel to El Paso and Las Vegas I completely fell off the wagon. My weight has crept up a little, and I have barely been working out. So I have to recommit to the program and try to lose some more weight. On the third resolution...I haven't been taking care of my skin well at all. I have been better about flossing, but I haven't worn my retainer at all and I know my teeth have moved because I have been biting my cheek. So, I need to recommit to taking better care of my skin and teeth. I'll start by popping in my retainer right now!

First Paycheck

Well, I got my first paycheck. It was more than I thought it would be. I now also have a second class at another gym! So I'll be working at least two hours a week now. Hahaha. I don't do most of the class, but it still wipes me out. I need to actually work out today. I'm trying to get back with the program.


Last week I made some plain gelato. It was a little like soft serve, but after 24 hours in the refrigerator it was more like regular ice cream. With all the yolks it tastes a little eggy, but it was fine with some blackberries. When we have made it through this batch (it made a lot) I will try and make some oatmeal gelato. I got this recipe out of Men's Health. I forgot to add the salt, and the recipe didn't ever say what to do with the cream.... Men's Health isn't really a cooking magazine.

Basic Gelato

1 quart milk
10 egg yolks
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cream
1 pinch salt

1. Heat the milk, cream, and half the sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
2. Whisk the other half of the sugar with the egg yolks in a large bowl.
3. Slowly add the milk to the eggs, whisking constantly.
4. Return everything to the saucepan and stir constantly until steam begins to rise from the liquid.
5. Add the salt and strain the mixture into a bowl.
6. Chill the mixture in an ice bath then refrigerate for 4 hours.
7. Pour chilled mixture into ice cream maker.
8. Harden gelato in freezer before serving.

I think the gelato was eggy for two reasons....1--10 egg yolks and 2--I didn't have time to put the mixture in an ice bath or strain it might have continued to cook a little while in the refrigerator. Next time I'm going to try a different recipe...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pepper Proud

I'm so proud of the pepper plants that I have grown from seed. One of them is three feet tall! I counted yesterday and there are eight peppers growing on the plant. They are long and skinny. I'm not sure what kind of peppers they are--but they definitely aren't jalapenos. The other pepper plants also have fruits and one of them is loaded with little flowers. You can see the pot full of begonias is doing really well too. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the peppers, but I'm just so happy that I was able to grow something.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Shoes!

So I won't bore you with all the details, but I became slightly obsessed with buying new shoes. I spent Friday afternoon checking out Internet sites looking for some good retro style pumps. (I also spent some time looking at some great retro clothes...I need to start sewing again. (The clothes are pricey.)) Luckily we have a great shoe store in Arlington--Electrique Boutique. It's the local stripper supply shop. I found two pairs of shoes that I really liked and bought them both. The prices were good and Sodas (platform flip flops) were on sale for 9.99, but they were sold out of the ones I wanted. So here are photos of my two new pairs of shoes. We have a birthday party to go to tonight. I might wear the black ones.

Photos by the illustrious Ross Brown, who was delighted to help. Can you tell he's a leg man?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Vegas Excess

Now, I am not the most green person in the world, but I do my part. I don't like being bombarded by green signs everywhere telling me to only take what I need, etc. I got a little annoyed with all of that in San Francisco. There wasn't one sign about conservation in Las Vegas. Vegas is very posh. Gold, glitter, lights, and glam everywhere. No recycling anywhere. Everyone is carrying around a plastic bottle of water, and all those bottles just end up in the trash. Most of the time I was using my aluminum SIGG bottle (see, I'm doing my part), but when I had an empty plastic bottle I noticed the only place to put it was the trash. I was a little shocked. Vegas is in the desert. You need to keep hydrated. So you'd think they'd recycle at least just water bottles. Maybe they do in the burbs...just not on the strip...but there were hundreds, maybe thousands of bottles a day going into the trash! I was just surprised.
Water bottles weren't the only thing I noticed going into the trash. So many things are one time use. At the nail salon they told us if we didn't want the nail file it would go into the trash. Nothing is used twice. At my spa treatment I used a loofah mitt to clean off the salt. At the end of the treatment it went into the trash. I didn't want it, but it just seems like so much waste.
So there I was, Miss GreenonlyifIfeellikeit, bitching that there wasn't a recycling bin anywhere. I felt kinda guilty throwing those bottles in the trash. I guess I should have said something to the hotel management. They sent me an email survey. Maybe I'll mention it there.

My New Job

That's right, I have a job! I was hired by 24 hour fitness to teach a yoga class once a week at the gym just down the road. I will also be able to substitute at other gyms. My first class was this Tuesday. I wasn't completely prepared, and I think I skipped doing bridge and wheel pose--so I got a bit off of my schedule, but I managed to fake it. The students were very supportive and I feel like it went really well. The best part is that Ross and I both get a gym membership! So now I can get back to the gym 3 or 4 times a week like I was doing before. I've been really bad the last 3 or 4 weeks about working out. Today I went to yoga and got a good workout. I'm excited. Hopefully I'll be able to easily lose the few pounds that I gained over vacation!!!

Maternal Panic

The 4th of July weekend Bailey got sick. Everything seemed to happen at once. I was chopping a jalepeno from the garden to put into some guacamole and got jalepeno juice in my eye. I made a big show out of it, but really it only stung for a second. As soon as I stopped my wailing Bailey started crying. At first we thought I had gotten her worked up (she cries when Ross and I play fight), but then she started howling and walked away when I offered her treats. She laid down on a piece of paper and continued to cry. I was heartbroken. Something was wrong with my little girl and I couldn't make it stop. I sat with her and cried. I was so scared. She eventually curled up and slept. At one point she got up and got a drink of water then laid back down. She slept for a total of 6 hours! We kept checking on her and by bedtime she was back to normal. My theory is that she had a kidney stone. I can't think of what else it could be. She wasn't licking or gnawing on any part of her body, she was just rolling around, so I think it was something internal. I'm so glad that she's okay. I was totally panicked and heartbroken cause I couldn't make her feel better. I can't imagine loving a baby as much as I love my girl. I hope she's with us a long long time.

Funhouse Mirror

The hotel room was grand. King size bed, living room area, 3 televisions, marble bathroom, bathtub and shower (separate), electric curtains controlled by remote control ... very luxurious. I noticed that the full length mirror outside the bathroom distorted my image. I noticed this when stepping out of the shower and seeing myself naked. I laughed and thought, I don't look like that! The mirror stretched me out and made me look taller and leaner. It was a real hoot. I don't think that the photo really captures the effect.
On the last day I managed to get out to the pool and swim. I actually swam laps, not just laid on the lounge chair. Man, it really wore me out and made me sleepy and hungry. I actually went swimming at the pool at the Palazzo. It wasn't crowded because it was in the shade (90+ degrees at 9a) and so people were at the Venetian (in the sun) splashing around and tanning. There was actually another guy swimming laps, so I felt comfortable actually swimming instead of just playing around. Boy, was I sore the next day. I was happy to actually get some exercise (besides walking, which we did plenty of) and wear my new bathing suit. I wish I'd gone swimming on a couple of the other days also. Oh, well, I can go swimming at the gym.

She's hot!

So, Alexis, who danced around and lip synched to Brittney Spears was the hottest girl at the show on Thursday night. The hostess was my favorite, but Brittney was hot, hot, hot!

Hotel Wonderlands

Each hotel had it's own wonderland complete with plenty of high end shopping. This photo is of the grand canal shops at the Venetian. They have a canal and you can ride a gondola around. It is located on the 2d floor and is completely indoors! With the painted ceilings you feel like you are outside (except it is air conditioned). There was entertainment every hour in St. Mark's square. The canal looked like it was full of toilet water because it was so blue. Nothing like the actual Venice. A few of the hotels have the painted ceiling indoor shopping areas. I thought the Grand Canal felt the most realistic (giving the feeling that you were outside). I thought the Caesar's Forum Shops had the best shopping. It was an entire mall! Three levels! And it was so beautiful. I found a pair of white lucky brand button fly jeans there on Thursday and it just made my day. I was tired and starting to get cranky, but some cute little jeans turned that all around. When we got back to the hotel I took a shower (to get off all the smog dirt and sweat) and then a bath with a lush bomb.

Mystere was my favorite (Tuesday night), but my favorite day overall was Thursday. We spent the morning at the spa. I had a salt scrub and my mom had a massage. Then we just hung out at the spa relaxing and using the saunas. We had dinner and watched a drag show then walked the strip and checked out all the hotels--Paris, Bellagio (we watched the fountains, and I wasn't impressed by the Chihuly glass ceiling), and Caesar's Palace (my favorite). We took tons of photos. I wish I could post them all.

The photo above is a mosaic behind the front desk at Caesar's palace. The whole place was full of statues and other forms of art. Even the flower arrangements were beautiful. Caesar's was definitely the most impressive.

Cirque du Soleil Mystere

My favorite thing that we did in Las Vegas was Cirque du Soleil Mystere. We were in the second row on the side and it was amazing. I just don't have words to describe it. I think it must be the best male review in town. I saw so many scantily clad guys. It was sexy and not at all creepy. The show had so many wonderful things I can't pick which is my favorite, but I really did enjoy the brothers pictured above. Pure muscle. Amazing strength, control, and balance. To see their act you can search YouTube for "cirque mystere" (and find other parts of the show also) or "Paulo Lorador". One of the characters was a red bird. At one point in the show she came right up in front of us and did a scorpion pose thing...resting her feet on her head. Spectacular! I'd go again and again and again. I loved it.

Vegas--The Venetian

My mom and I went to Vegas for 5 days and stayed at the Venetian. The hotel was very fancy. The outside of the hotel was built to look like Venice, including the Rialto bridge (with moving sidewalks!!). There was a canal in front of the hotel complete with gondolas. It really didn't look at all like Venice, but it was pretty. It was so hot and bright out during the day. It was kind of eerie, but there were very few people out during the day. The experience was totally different at night. Throngs of people were out on the streets. Things look totally different at night. The hotel has at least 5 swimming pools, a shopping center, two food courts, a spa, huge casino (of course), and tons of restaurants. If you didn't want to you'd never have to leave the hotel.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We Love Tejal

Boy did we miss Tejal. She came for the 4th of July weekend and we had a good time together. Ethan really took a shine to her. He even told her she's pretty. A couple of days really wasn't enough. I can't wait to see her again. She's coming for the dessert party and I hope we can go and visit her sometime. We miss her again already. Sniff. Sniff.
We got a third controller for the wii. It made Mariokart that much more fun.

Ross doesn't look too thrilled to have both of his wives with him. Twice the nagging. None of the love.


I'm so far behind...I'm going to try and catch up a little at a time. Before my mom and I left for Vegas we made some tamales so that Ross would have something to eat while we were gone. Instead of making them traditionally by layering the masa and the filling we just mixed it all together and packed it into the husk. I say we, but my mom really did most of the work. I separated the husks and packed the tamales into the pan.

So, here's how we did it. We made two different with chicken, cheese and poblano peppers (the ones we roasted the week before) and the other with black beans and cheese. First we made the masa. I bought some kind of masa mix at the store, and we had to add fat and water. Instead of lard we used a 50/50 mix of vegetable shortening and butter. I have no idea what I'm going to do with the rest of that Crisco. We also added some chile powder and spices to the masa to give it some color and flavor. Meanwhile we were soaking the husks in some hot water to soften them up. My mom deboned a roasted chicken from the store and used that in half of the tamales. She cooked up the beans from scratch. After the masa was ready we mixed it with what would have been the filling. My mom formed a little log and rolled it up in the corn husk. I packed them into the pot which had water at the bottom and a rack to hold the tamales. We ended up cooking the tamales for about an hour and a half. After letting them cool a bit I took them out of the pot and packed them into containers for the refrigerator. The next day we actually packed them in baggies and put most of them in the freezer.

I preferred the bean and cheese and Ross preferred the chicken. He said he ate about a dozen while we were gone with the leftover black beans. I bet they would have been really good with some Spanish quinoa.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Lodge Griddle

My family has brand loyalties including: Coca-Cola, Dawn, Singer, and Lodge. My parents have an extensive collection of Lodge pans and between me and my parents we have 10 Singer sewing machines!
On the weekends I sometimes make pancakes and it takes me forever. I decided to buy a two burner griddle to speed things along. Cast iron was my first choice. My mom found a Lodge reversible griddle at the outlet mall near her house for a decent price. I bought one while we were visiting. The cast iron pans now come pre-seasoned, so yesterday I took it out of the box and it was ready to make French toast this morning. I made an entire loaf (minus one slice) in less time than it would have taken me to do 6 slices. I'll freeze some of the French toast and we can pop it into the toaster whenever we want some. Here's how I make French toast:

French Toast

bread (sliced challah makes the best French toast)

I preheated the griddle (on high) while I was prepping the egg mixture. I whisk the eggs until they are well blended and then pour in milk and whisk until it is pale yellow. I never measure. This morning I used 4 eggs and that was enough for almost a whole loaf of wheat bread. I whisked in the vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. My dad says to never put sugar in French toast or pancake batter, but most times I do it anyway. I threw some butter on the griddle before the first batch of toast. A quick dip in the egg batter and I throw them on the pan. I turn down the heat a bit and flip the toast when it's golden brown (sounds like I make perfect toast and never burn it. Hahaha.). Ross likes to put powdered sugar and butter on top. I like just butter. My mom slathered it in syrup and we all had to resist seconds.

Happy Fourth of July!