Friday, August 31, 2012

Spending Fast Update - 8 months down! Oh, and I GOT A NEW JOB!! :D


So I'll tell you all about my new super awesome job that I'm totally excited about in just a minute (even though I know you're dying with anticipation), but as far as my Spending Fast goes, I think I did pretty darn well this month!  

I'm mostly excited about my Discover bill (the biggest one with the highest interest rate).  Check out THIS awesomeness: 

CURRENT AMOUNT:  $1,017.41

I was so happy when I realized how close I am to getting that number under a grand.  Especially since that $4k number pretty much made me cry at the beginning of this year.  There's nothing you can't do if you just put your mind to it!  WOOT! 

Here is how I did with non-spending during the month of August: 


Date Not buying Approx $ not spent Total $ Saved
8/1/2012 Derby Dues $50.00 $50.00
8/4/2012 Waterworld (couldn't get free tix this year) :(  $40.00 $90.00
8/5/2012 Concert (Megan & I decided not to go, and save the $) $8.00 $98.00
8/6/2012 Free burrito AND free chips & queso!!  (thanks, Qdoba!) $13.00 $111.00
8/9/2012 Lunch at Breck Brewery (brought my own lunch, just went to say hi) $15.00 $126.00
8/9/2012 Flavored Vodka (really wanted to get this for hot cocoa) $20.00 $146.00
8/16/2012 Dress at Ross (I can't believe I walked out without it!  I'm growing!) $15.00 $161.00
8/20/2012 The Clymb - big sale (would've gotten free stuff, but still $8 to ship!) $8.00 $169.00
8/27/2012 TJ Maxx stuff (bought over weekend - returned items due to guilt) $35.00 $204.00
8/27/2012 Comemerative beer mug (sale) for Oktoberfest (dangit!) $10.00 $214.00
8/29/2012 Bottle of wine (really wanted one!)  $10.00 $224.00

Not too shabby!  

I started out with $13,168.04 of debt at the beginning of this year. 
I'm now left with $7,863.64 - that means I've paid off $5,304.40 in the past 8 months!  WOOHOO!  

And now on to the big news... 
I'm going to be working at a BAKERY!! 
I'm so doggone excited. 
Unfortunately this means I'll be taking a pretty big pay cut (the debt will now be decreasing in much smaller baby-steps), but I'll finally, FINALLY be doing something that I'm really excited about.  

I'm just starting as a "team member" - which means helping customers, probably cleaning, helping with prep work & all that, but I'm hoping to eventually move up the ranks.  The people at this bakery seem pretty darn awesome too, and I can't wait to start with them!  

OH, and did I mention the best part?  They're going to have me decorating CUPCAKES!!!  :D  


Funny story on how it all happened actually.... 
On Wednesday I was thinking about how I really wanted to do something where I wasn't sitting at a desk all day.  That it would be fun to be working with food and people - both of which I enjoy doing so much!  Then I thought "What about a bakery?"

I went on Craigslist, and lo & behold, a bakery near my house was hiring. 

I was so excited that I emailed them my resume and explained how thrilled I was for the opportunity. 

That night, I decided to take a bit more initiative. 

Firstly, I prayed.  I haven't prayed in a long time, and I was much overdue.  I realized that I needed a little extra help - I could come so far, but I needed another little push in any way I could find it.  I realized that the money wasn't important - my happiness was.  That's what I truly wanted, and I prayed for it with all my heart. 

Secondly, I got up early, and scooted my butt down to the bakery with my resume.  I decided, they needed to meet me in person.  The email wasn't gonna cut it. 

Luckily, they wanted to do an interview on the spot!  I was totally honest about what I wanted to do, and explained how excited I was to work with them.  I told them that I love baking and cooking at home, and I'd be thrilled to do anything in regards to that - and I was more than ready to get out from behind a desk again.

The hired me right then & there!! 

The girl said that they had been through a bunch of interviews, and that they were just about to call someone that they would be OK with hiring...

...then I walked in the door. 

I cried the whole way home of happiness!!  
And of course, thanked God for the help. :) 
So this does mean that I will be away from the computer more, and posts may be a bit more infrequent starting next month.  But you know what?  That's OK with me.  I will be away from a computer and out living my life.  Don't worry though, I'll still keep you kids updated every chance I get!  

Especially about the opportunity to come and eat some cupcakes. :) 

I'm SO ridiculously excited about this new chapter in my life!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Over the Weekend (and Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup!!)

I had a wonderful weekend - Saturday I helped my friend with shooting a short little action movie for a film competition (really, I just held reflectors and stuff like that), which was a lot of fun!  Then I went to a friend's birthday party that night.

Sunday morning was lovely - I went to the Farmer's Market and got all kinds of wonderful goodies!!  I've started making good use of my juicer again, so I got a lot of beautiful fruits & veggies.

That was $35 well spent (yes, ALL of this gorgeous stuff was only $35 - who says you can't be healthy AND cheap!?).

After that I met up with my mom, my sister, and Deb for brunch!  The brunch place wasn't great but we still had fun hanging out. 

We spent the rest of the day shopping (I did end up spending a little money, but actually returned most of it... I felt so guilty!), and it was all-in-all a wonderful day!

That night I watched movies and hung out with Fudgie.  He was very relaxed...

My mom gave me a hand blender to try out - I guess dad bought one too many appliances again - haha!  I decided to give it a try and make some soup - I've had a bunch of red potatoes that I needed to use.  It turned out SO YUMMY!!!

Potato Broccoli & Cheddar Soup
This will serve about 5-6 people, probably with some left over!
Took me about 20 minutes of prep, and about 1 hour total cooking time. 

- 5-6 medium red potatoes (peeled, diced)
- 1 small yellow onion (diced)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 head of broccoli (chopped)
- 1 cup white beans (optional - I just had some in the fridge, so I figured I'd use them!)
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups of half & half (or soymilk / almond milk)
- 2-3 cups of vegetable broth
- 6-8 oz of cheddar cheese (cubed)
- seasonings (salt & pepper) to taste
- hot sauce (optional)

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and onion, and sautee until the onions start to become translucent. 

Add the diced potatoes and the vegetable broth - enough to cover the potatoes, plus a little extra so that it can boil.  Cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium.  Let simmer for 20 minutes. 

Add the broccoli and the beans to the soup, and stir well.  Add in the cheese cubes and milk.  Cover and turn the heat down a little more (just under medium).  Let simmer for another 10 minutes. 

Season with salt & pepper, and if you like, blend the soup in batches.  You can leave it chunky too!  I used the hand mixer (remove the pot from heat first!), which worked great - it left some chunks, but blended some of it too.  

Serve with a dash of hot sauce on top (optional) - I made toast with butter and garlic salt, then sliced it into "dipping fingers" - it was SO GOOD!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend too! :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

America the Beautiful - great documentary!

Over the weekend I watched a very interesting documentary on Netflix called "America the Beautiful". 

This film was a really great look into why Americans (specifically American women), are so obsessed with beauty and looks.  It's shocking, funny, and also a bit frightening. 

It made me think of having a very blunt discussion with a typical American man (if they were being blunt as well): 

Me:  "Why don't you find me attractive?"
Man:  "Your tummy is too big, and your thighs are large."

Me:  "Why is that unattractive?"
Man:  "Because you don't look like Gisele, or like a hot actress.  They have flat stomachs and thin legs."
Me:  "And why are they beautiful, and not me?"
Man:  "Because they just ARE."
Me:  "But why are flat stomachs and thin legs beautiful, but not full tummies and round thighs?"
Man:  "Uhhhhhmmmm...."

It dives into topics like this, as well as eating disorders, self-esteem issues, the advertising industry, the make-up industry, etc.  One of the parts that I found the most fascinating was when they were talking about how up until 1995 (I think), Fiji did not have television.  They valued full rounded bodies, because that meant you were healthy, and fed well.  In just two years after finally getting television their perspectives had changed, and suddenly women wanted to be thinner, and men wanted them that way too.  In just two years.  No WONDER we're so messed up - we've been being fed this crap for over 50 years!

It also kind of made me want to throw out all of my makeup and start over!  It's shocking the amount of cancer-causing agents that are found in makeups and skin products (lotions, etc.), that are not banned in the US.  Since Europe started regulating the chemicals put in cosmetics, they've banned over 460 harmful ingredients from being allowed into those products.  So far, the FDA has banned 6.  SIX.  

The plastic surgery, and the young girls wanting to get it done was shocking as well.  What are we teaching our young girls??  It's awful!  

I also realized that this video that I loved so much was actually a clip from this film!  Ha! 

Anyway, I'd highly recommend this film to men & women alike.  It's well researched, informative, and really opened my eyes to a lot of things I've been thinking about lately.   Here is a link to the trailer if you want to check it out!

If you look back through my blog, you'll probably notice that I've struggled a lot with weight, the number on the scale going up & down, and my body image (as most American women do).  But once I started thinking more about what BEAUTY really is (especially with the fact that I'm getting my head shaved soon), I really started thinking - what is beautiful to me?  

Beauty can be on the outside, yes, but if not combined with inner beauty it dissapears.  Beauty is in the heart, the mind, the soul.  It is in the brightness of smiles and eyes.  It's in kindness and goodness.  It's in happiness.  

I have been thinking about it more and more, before I even found out about this documentary.  And I realized, I'm beautiful - exactly the way I am.  I know this might seem like an easy thing for people to say, but for me to say it AND truly believe it is a huge step for me.  I think the film explained it well when a mother said "how is a girl supposed to think when all her life she hears her mother - the woman she looks up to most - say how her tummy is too big, that she needs to lose weight... then she looks in the mirror and says, 'I look like that too'."  It's not just my mom though - I'm a product of this society.  I've been told all my life by movies, television, magazines that I'm NOT beautiful.  

I would throw out my bathroom scale, but I know John likes to use it sometimes - so I'm just not going to use it anymore.  That thing has only brought me pain and dissapointment, and I'm sick and tired of beating myself over that number going up one digit.  It's just insane, and I'm over it!

After 31 years of being bombarded by all of it, I've decided to let it go.  I will no longer get depressed when I open a magazine, turn on the TV, or watch a movie.  I will wear things that hug my curves, and who cares if they show a little of my wobbly bits here & there!  I will embrace my body and love it for all of the flaws, because really - who decided they were flaws anyway!?  Not me!! 

Please watch this documentary, and think about all of this yourself too.  
Love your tree.  Love yourself.  
You are beautiful.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Waffle House

Apparently I've been on a bad-food-eating kick lately or something - but John and I decided to go to Waffle House the morning he left for vacation.

I have been craving some old-fashioned diner-style breakfast for a while now, and this totally hit the spot.  It was greasy and fatty and delicious and awful all at the same time.  HA!

I told John that I love the sounds at a diner.  The people shouting orders, the cooks shouting the orders back, the clattering of plates and the clinking of glasses and silverware, the sizzling of the grill.  The atmosphere is such a whirlwind but I love it!  And our server was friendly and nice, and I never saw the bottom of my coffee cup. :)

We shared one heck of a meal, and nearly finished the whole thing too!  We got the "cheesy grits" (middle right of the photo above), and I laughed hysterically when the plate was dropped in front of us.  Their version of cheese grits is a slice of cheese on top of regular grits!!   I couldn't help but giggle!

I think my favorite part was the raisin toast soaked in butter though.  *Drool!!

I probably won't do diner food again for a while, but this was a nice treat.  Our meal including tip was just under $20.  Can't beat that!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Spinach Queso Dip - YUM!!

Yesterday I went through a bit of lady-pain-and-suffering (more about it on Chickpeas & Hulahoops here), so I decided that I wanted some cheesy OOZY goodness in my tummy to ease the pain.  

I have been wanting to try this recipe that I found on Pinterest for a while now.  It looked ridiculously easy, and since I don't have a crockpot, I just whipped it up on the stove.  And guess what.... 

... it was DEE. LICIOUS. 

While I was at the store getting the ingredients, I found that Velveeta now makes a Queso Blanco version which I figured would be PERFECT in this recipe (and it totally was).  I also felt ridiculously guilty about buying the demon of all processed cheeses, so I tried to compensate by getting all of the other ingredients organic. John thought it was hilarious.

I like to think it completely canceled out the bad stuff.  Please let me keep on believing that. :)

Anyhoodle, here is my adaptation of that ridiculously good recipe!!  I kept it pretty true to form (with no added seasonings of my own), as it was GREAT just as it is. 

Yeahhhh - that's the stuff!  Haha!

Serves a decent amount - probably 10-20 people if you're making it for a party!

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 lb Velveeta "Queso Blanco" cheese (cut into cubes)
8 ounces cream cheese (light - you can survive without a few extra calories)
1 small jar salsa (No fancy flavors - just regular)
Tortilla chips

Combine all ingredients (except chips) in a large pot over medium heat (cover with lid).  Mix well, and once it's all melty and gooey and awesome - serve with tortilla chips!  YUM! 

This was crazy easy, and I think I ate about 4 bowls of it.  Probably not the best idea, but hey, there's spinach in there!  I'm getting SOME nutrition.  Haha!  It was SOOOO GOOOD. 

And miraculously, I did feel much better after I ate it.  :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

St Baldrick's - Head Shaving Event (UPDATE X2: We have a 3-person TEAM!)

My little sister is doing something pretty awesome for her 30th birthday. 

She found out that the St Baldrick's Foundation (which provides funding for kid's cancer research), is doing a head-shaving event to help raise money for their cause - on her actual birthday.  So instead of asking for gifts this year, she decided to raise money for the foundation and get her head shaved. 

For kids with cancer. 
How awesome is that? 

So we're making a little party of it, and going to Durango for the event that weekend!  It's going to be tons of fun, and who knows?  Maybe I'll be inspired to do the same myself.  Crazy, right??  Haha! 

I have always said that I wanted to shave my head at some point in my life.  Just to say that I did it.  And although I love my hair and have so much fun with it, it will grow back.  Probably much healthier too!  It'd be a clean start. 

I was also looking at their website, and so far this year 47,335 men have shaved their heads for the cause, and only 6,805 women have done the same.  Which is AWESOME, but c'mon ladies!  Let's up the ante a bit! :)  I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that the female donors are significantly less - our society has a lot of trouble accepting women with very short hair (especially a shaved head).  But can you imagine living out your adolescence without hair??  That already-awkward stage of your life would be even more difficult to handle.  So why not show those kids that not having hair is COOL!?  

Sometimes people can be so vain about their hair.  Heck, I'm guilty of it myself!  It's one thing to look nice, but to pay hundreds of dollars every month / every other month for a professional dye job?  Thousands of dollars for extensions?  (Sorry, Angela - I had to say it!  I still love you just the way you are). :)  Even the cost of hair products, trims, home hair-dyes (which screw up the environment anyway), just seems like a waste of money and time.  Aren't there better things to spend our money and time on?  

Those are all of the things I'm thinking of here.  Not that I'd go bald forever mind you, but once?  Why not?  
And really, women are so beautiful even without their hair.  Allow me prove that point... 

Mena Suvari - still stunning!

Alek Wek - love her big huge smile.

I'm sure everyone remembers when Natalie Portman shaved her head on-screen for V for Vendetta.  She totally rocks it!

This is a beauty queen that shaved her head to support cancer research - how great is that?

This is one lady who actually shaved her head for St Baldricks!  Pretty awesome,  huh?  She totally rocks it too.

Eve Salvail - you might recognize her from a bit part she had in The Fifth Element.  Gorgeous! 

Throughout my search I found MANY many more beautiful women with shaved heads.  They're everywhere!! Oh and of course, all of the ladies (and guys) that donated their hair to this cause! 

I actually had a boyfriend once that told me in all seriousness that if I shaved my head he would break up with me.  Can you believe that?  Apparently my external beauty was more important to him than my internal beauty.  Needless to say, we aren't together anymore.  My current boyfriend's feelings on the matter? 

Me: "I'm thinking of shaving my head for that event my sister is doing..."
John: "Heck yeah!  Do it!"

Love this guy.

Here is Taryn's profile page if you want to make a donation.  Even just $5 helps - that's one Starbucks coffee - you can give that up one morning for kids with cancer, right?  :)

All pictures found on Pinterest or google image search (except the picture of my sister)

After thinking more and more about what an awesome thing my sister is doing, and thinking more & more about where I am in my life right now - I have decided to join her efforts!  Not just with fundraising support, but we are now a TEAM, and we're BOTH getting our heads shaved!!  I'm so freakin' excited. 

Here is a link to my personal page, and our team name is "Taryn it UP!"

Please support us in this cause to fight childhood cancer! :) 

Apparently this has gotten bigger than I'd ever imagined!!  My lovely co-blogger / derby wife, Megan, has also decided to join our team and have her head shaved too!!  WOWZA!! 

Our friends have been completely amazing in our fundraising efforts, and we've already raised over $1k to help the cause.  I'm in awe. :)  Please keep it coming - and spread the word too!  I would love it if our team made it to the $2k mark - or even surpassed it.  How completely exciting.    

Lazy Mornings / New-ish Sandals

There has been a lovely chill in the air lately in the mornings.
I LOVE it, and we've been leaving the windows open to enjoy the crisp morning air.
Only problem is... it's very very difficult to get out of our snuggly warm bed...

Most mornings I'm not even that sleepy!  It just feels so warm and comfortable to be snuggled under the covers when there's a chill in the air... sometimes it's nice just to enjoy the moment and stay in bed a little longer. :)

On another note, John and I made a little trip to some thrift stores to pick up some things for his first Burning Man experience!  He leaves this weekend, and he's so excited.  He wanted to get costumes and other fun stuff (I wrote about some of our conversations during the search on our other blog, here). 

I wasn't a huge help, but I did find these pretty rad sandals for only $5!!

After our camping trips the last couple of weekends (more about that soon), I realized I needed some water / camping sandals.  I thought these were kind of fun, and they'd work just fine!  Also if I want to go white water rafting next summer (which I really really hope to do again - it has been much too long), then I will need these big time! :) 

More to come soon... hope you're having a wonderful day!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Busy Busy Bee...

Sorry I haven't been around lately.... I've been busy busy busy doing this:

The teddy bear is representing me in this picture.  If you didn't figure that out from the super cute glasses he's wearing!

And this:

I've been basically working my booty off at finding a new job.  It's been a long & hard journey, and I'm 7 1/2 months in - but I keep plugging away.  This week I've had more motivation than ever, and I'm hoping that by the end of next month I'll be in a new position where I can jump-start my career and do something that I truly care about! 

I want to be passionate about my job, and do something that makes me happy every day.  That's really what I want.  I don't care if I'm exhausted at the end of the day, or if I have to work long hours.  I don't care if I have to drive long distances, or get a little dirty.  I want to feel like what I do every day is not just for a paycheck - it's for a better world.  It's for a better future.  It's for a better me! 

And yes, I've been reading some pretty soul-searching books lately too (including The Alchemist for book club).  ;)

I will be back soon to give you an update!
Especially on all the camping... just like we're doing again this weekend!  Woohoo! 

All images found on Pinterest. 

Friday, August 10, 2012


OK, I've been working in downtown Denver for 5 1/2 years now.  I swear I thought I knew of all the good places to eat, get drinks, hang out, find ice cream.  

Then today, I found a new & magical place!!  Well, new to me anyway...
The place is called Obento, and they serve Japanese fast food - including BOBA TEA!

I swear, I've walked past this little restaurant 1,000 times.  It's right off the 16th Street Mall, which is probably why I ignored it - most places off the mall are chain restaurants.  I must stop in and try a bento box sometime, as they look pretty decently priced!

Today I got myself one of my favorite childhood things - Boba Tea.  If you've never had it, it's not even really tea per se - it's more like a sugary slushy with chewy tapioca balls at the bottom.  I used to get these all the time, but there was nowhere downtown (at least so I thought) that I could get one!  It was so hot outside, that this really hit the spot. 

I have a feeling that part of the reason I was hot was because of my new moccasin boots.  But I wanted to wear them SO BADLY!!  They do look cute, don't they?

No, it wasn't on my spending fast.  But it was a wonderful treat!  And sometimes, you just gotta have a boba tea. :) 

In case you're wondering, I got the Honeydew "Snow" boba.  Snow just means that milk was added.  Yum YUM! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Vegan Tofu Jerky - Camping Food!

I posted about my favorite campfire foods here last year, and they were a huge hit!  I know I always love hearing about new fun ideas for camping foods, and I am happy to share mine as well. :)

I did try the Tofu Jerky after I created that post, and it was DELISH!  I kind of forgot all about it until this week when I realized that A) we're going camping this weekend, and B) we had an over abundance of tofu in the fridge.  Perfect!

Adapted from "Tofu Jerky II" recipe. 

I just eyeballed a lot of these ingredients, since it's a marinade - it still turned out great!  I also cut WAY back on the cooking time - the original recipe wants you to cook them for 8 hours!  I don't have that kind of time.  Also, I'd rather my "jerky" be a little softer personally, but that's totally up to you. 

Prep time: 10 minutes
Marinade time: 1 hour
Cook time:  4-8 hours

    1 (14 ounce) package firm tofu, drained
    3 tablespoons soy sauce (this recipe is gluten-free if you use the gluten-free soy sauce!  I actually used Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids for the soy sauce instead since it tastes just like it). 
    2 teaspoons maple syrup
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
    2 teaspoons brown sugar

Wrap your tofu block gently with a kitchen towel, and set on a plate. Set another plate on top, and put a weight on top of the plate such as a can to press the water from the block of tofu while you prepare the sauce.

In a medium bowl, stir together the soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, black pepper, barbeque sauce and brown sugar until smooth.

Slice tofu into 1/4 inch thick slices, and dip them in the sauce to coat (I dumped any extra marinade on top too). Place in a tightly sealed container, pop in the fridge, and let marinate for one to two hours.

Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature, around 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). Line the oven rack with heavy duty aluminum foil, and place in the lowest position of the oven. Place the tofu slices on the foil. (I just put them on a cookie sheet, but maybe this would help them dry out faster). 

Bake for at least 4 hours, checking and turning over tofu slices every few hours. Tofu jerky is done when it is hard and uniformly dark in color.  (Again, mine was not terribly dark, but I like it a bit chewy!) 

Keep in mind, these pictures are from BEFORE these guys went in the oven, so they look quite wet & juicy.  Trust me, they will dry out significantly.  

And they are BANANAS GOOD!!  So so yummy!  I put them in a tupperware container, and I'm so bringing them with me for camping.  They'll be a great salty snack!  YUM! 

I'm totally making my famous breakfast burritos wrapped in foil for this trip, as well as a crazy yummy vodka drink I made up last night (homemade iced tea mixed with cranberry juice, vodka, and a little bit of honey).  

So excited!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sherlock Holmes & other goings on

Last night I watched "Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows" for the first time. 

Personally, I thought the first film was pretty darn great and a ton of fun.  And this one definitely did not leave me dissapointed!  It was clever, funny, mysterious, full of action and fantastic special effects / camera work - I loved it! 

I've never read any of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories of the infamous Sherlock Holmes.  However, my sister has and she claims that these films have been pretty darn true to form.  She said "you know how he solves parts of the mystery without you knowing it, then they go back and tell you what he did and how he figured it out?  Yah, that's totally how they do it in the stories too!"  Pretty freakin' cool. 

And am I wrong, or is Robert Downey, Jr still sexy as hell??  Maybe it's just that he's the protagonist and the hero, yet can still make fun of himself.  And he looks quite dashing with a bit of grey and a few wrinkles if you ask me.  

ANYhoodle, it was fun and I'd highly recommend it.  In fact, I'll probably watch it again soon since John still hasn't seen it, and I kind of told him I'd watch it with him.  Whoops. :) 

Other than that, things have been pretty low-key lately!  John has been spending some time in the mountains biking and working with a friend, and I've been having a lot of lazy days at home (watching movies, Felicity, the Olympics, reading, etc). 

OH, and I finished "Eat Pray Love" which I really enjoyed!  Wonderful book!  

This weekend?  MORE CAMPING and I totally can't wait.  I really hope we can have a campfire (it's what I'm expecting now, so it would suck if we couldn't).  And even MORE CAMPING next weekend!!  Yep, two weekends in a row - I'm totally stoked.  And I'm realizing how much camping equipment I still need to invest in.  Haha! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ready for the weekend / Current thoughts

The last few days have been pretty lazy for me, and I've been loving it.  After the craziness of this past weekend (that came out of NOWHERE - in a good way, of course), I needed some relaxing time.  

John and I have been watching the Olympics in amazement, and snuggling with Fudge a bunch (much to his dismay).  He purrs even when he is upset.  Silly kitty!

I have also been spending a lot of time catching up on books I've been wanting to read.  Lately I've been snuggling up with Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I know, I know - I'm like 5 years late.  But so far I'm really enjoying it, and I'm glad I picked it up!  

She's a really great writer, and I really feel like I can relate to her.  Well, I've never been through a divorce, but I can understand where she is in her life - feeling like she's lost, trying to find out who she is and what she wants, trying to grow and be a better person, and dealing with all of the things that you start thinking about after you hit 30 (should I have children? what am I doing with my life?), etc.

I think it's a lot of fun, clever, and heartwarming.  I heard the movie isn't great, but I'm still going to watch it when I've finished reading the book. 

Since I've been walking to work lately, I also just finished listening to another book - Outliers by Malcom Gladwell.  It was FASCINATING, and really well written.  I can't imagine reading it in book-form (it may have been difficult for me to stay focused), but it was great in audio-book-form.  

It really makes you think about how circumstances, luck, when you were born, your background, where you grew up, who your parents were - ALL of that - really plays into who you are and what you become.  He talks about how these extraordinary people may have great minds (the ones we call "geniuses"), but in reality, we aren't as far away from them as we thought.  

If you're ready to have your mind blown, and many "a-HA! that makes sense!" moments - definitely check out this book.  It was for our book club last month, and I totally slacked on reading it - haha!  But it was awesome! 

Last night I had the night to myself (John was bowling), so I ate some Ben & Jerry's, had a beer and some leftover perogis, and watched Underworld: Awakening.  I really enjoyed the other Underworld movies - the stories are great, the action is fun, and hey, it's vampires & werewolves!  Can't beat that! 

I was wondering if they would slack off on the story since this is the 3rd Underworld movie in the series (technically "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" that came out after the 2nd film was a prequel to the first film).  Yes, I'm a nerd.  I love these movies.  But they didn't slack - and it was actually pretty good!  Some interesting twists, fun action, and lots of vampire / werewolf goodness.  

They (of course) left it open-ended, so I'm sure we'll be getting a 4th installment soon.  But I'm sure I'll be more than happy to watch that one too! 

And lastly, I've been watching Felicity all over again on Netflix! 
Kendra totally reminded me of the wonderfulness of this show - I loved it when I was in High School, and I'm kind of loving it all over again now!  I've only watched probably the first 5 episodes for now, but it is making me so darn happy, it's kind of ridiculous.  I love seeing all the late-90's fashions again (just as I did when I re-watched "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), and it's so fun to get to know the characters again.  

I love how at the end of every episode there's a slow-motion-walking-through-new-york sequence too.  Never noticed it before, but it cracks me up every time!  Ha! 

I've also had some other things on my mind lately... 

Hiking & camping!  We have 2 more camping trips coming up very soon, and I'm SO excited for them.
We're planning to do two 14ers over the two weekends we go, so that should be quite the challenge.  I really hope we can have a fire this time, but with all the rain we have been getting in the evenings I'm thinking we should be okay.  I would hate to go the whole summer without having a campfire!

NYC!  My cousin Cody and his girlfriend Danielle are getting married in October, which means I FINALLY get to take a real vacation!  WOOHOO!  John is coming with me, and we get to stay with my sister Amber which I'm totally thrilled about of course.  I got my tickets booked, and I CAN'T WAIT!

And, of course....

I stopped by the library on my way home from work this week, and I got a little carried away (especially since I'm still reading Eat, Pray, Love)!

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is our next book club book, and I'm really excited to read it.  I actually can't believe I haven't read it YET!  But it's gonna be a good one I'm sure.

I also picked up The Gates by John Connoly.  He wrote The Book of Lost Things - one of my most favorite book club reads!  I don't know where I'll find the time... but I'm reading it!

I can't leave the library without browsing through the cookbooks, so I picked up At My Grandmother's Knee - a cookbook with hand-me-down classic Southern-style recipes.  So far everything looks amazing!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 

All images (that are not my personal photos), are from Pinterest.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My friend Alyson - and her adventures

I used to work with a pretty rad girl named Alyson - she did graphic design where I work.  Then one day she told us she was quitting to live and work on a farm in Oregon for 6 weeks, then travel to another farm in California and see where she went from there.  

My jaw dropped.  I was so jealous!! 

She has completely inspired me to take a similar travel some day.  She started a blog called Sock Buns & Work Boots to update us all about her adventures.  I read it every day, and hope to someday share some of her experiences! 

Here are just a few photos about what she's been up to for the past few months from her amazing blog...

How cute and totally awesome is that?? 
This is one of my biggest goals to reach when I have my debt paid off.  I want to do the same thing!  My debt is holding me back though, because I still have to make minimum payments every month - and these are all unpaid internships.  You just go, work on the farm, learn, have fun, meet people, and they provide food & housing (even if that means just a spot to pitch your tent).  

It sounds amazing, and it's something that I will definitely do - hopefully next year, or at least by 2014!

What do YOU want to accomplish in the next year?  
The next five? 

Would you live & work on a farm for 6-weeks?  Get your hands dirty and live off the earth?

All photos are from Alyson's blog - and all are hers!