Monday, April 29, 2013

April: Be Amazed

Daryl lives!
  • The Walking Dead Season Finale, and what we'll do with our lives until October: That's right fans, we are officially caught up with the rest of the world and have made it to the season 3 finale.  I was NOT one of the fans who was disappointed with the show in the least. One of the characters that I've been so impatiently waiting to be killed off has bit the dust, while not quite in the way I would have imagined, they are no longer around to annoy me with their feelings. Characters that I didn't want to see travel to season four, will, but at the same time every show needs that flawed individual that you love to hate, right? Trying not to give too much away here, in case some of you are watching at a delayed speed, but I'll just let you know that I was satisfied... and I will spoil one bit... because I have to... DARYL DIXON LIVES!! ALL RIOTS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED (for the time being). Now, what to do with girls' night until November? Luckily there are a few options available to us. First and foremost, True Blood starts in June and we have to get everyone caught up to the current season.  Then there's always Cal Poly Baseball, one of the girls has season tickets, so we plan on cheering on the 'Stangs a few times this season. We also found out that a local bar has karaoke on Thursday nights, so I might be adding a few songs to my usual set list and rocking out in Old Orcutt (prepare your ears people). I think we'll survive until season 4 finds it's way to us.
  • Rice Ranch Community Park
  • Working on My Fitness: I really don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I've made an effort to incorporate some exercise into my life and adding more veggies to my diet. This getting old isn't for wussies and beach season is right around the corner. So far one of my girlfriends and I have gone for walks at a BEAUTIFUL local park, in the Rice Ranch neighborhood, that has various trails to explore (to the point we're I'm bringing my camera) and the beach. We went grocery shopping together and encouraged each other to make better food choices than we may have on our own (or at least she slapped the pop tarts out of my hand, figuratively). After being stagnant for so long it feels good to be out and moving again, in fact my body craves it. It wants to keep moving, push farther, and get stronger. I'm also sleeping a lot better, less weird dreams (which is leaving me with less material for my dream journal), less waking up multiple times throughout the night, and less nighttime anxiety in general. I guess it was time, I'm even enjoying the veggies.

  • Jurassic Park/The Host Double Feature Weekend: This year Universal Studios re-release the classic(ish) Dinosaur flick that delighted/scared us all in the early 90s... only this time they release it in 3D. In my honest opinion, it was a waste of time and money. I enjoyed going to the movies with my mom and younger cousin (who had never seen the movie before, he was born after it's original release), but the movie simply wasn't filmed for a 3D audience and it showed. The extra dimension added depth to the rainforest, but the raptors never jumped off the screen at you, and I never had the urge to reach out and touch a brontosaurus. It was interesting to see how young Jeff Goldblum was nearly 20 years ago, but hey, we've all aged some since then. The second feature of the day (for me, it wasn't a movie house promotion) was the Host, the movie adaptation of Stephanie Myer's "adult novel," I'm using quotes because it was marketed for us grown ups but it was clearly young adult. Anyway, the movie was terrible. Let me say it again because it was that TERRIBLE. I would suggest saving your redbox dollar, reading the book (because it was so much better than Twilight), and using your imagination for visuals. My girlfriends and I laughed in all the parts that were not supposed to be funny and looked at each other in bewilderment in all the parts that were supposed to be amusing... at one part I was hoping the movie would take a left turn from the book and the protagonist would meet her untimely end, hope that didn't spoil too much for you. We had brought in mini bottles of Sutter Home Moscato (because we're classy bitches), and even that wasn't enough to make the movie more enjoyable, or maybe it was the single serving nature of the beast that wasn't enough. That being said, I wouldn't have wanted to see this movie with any other group of ladies. We share similar senses of humor and tastes in wine... so even though the movie was dismally disappointing it was still an enjoyable experience with friends.
  • The Faint Concert for one of our Girls' Nights this month we went to a concert at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo.  I have to say the band isn't one I'm familiar with, or would really even listen to on my own, that being said they were so awesome live.
    • Dinner: We went to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, and one of the girls' brother's met up with us there. It was delicious as usual, and we even splurged on their red velvet cake for a perfect end to such a great meal.
    • The Show: The opening act was less than spectacular, I couldn't get over how much the lead singer reminded me from Scott from the first season of the original 90210... you know the kid who wore the baseball hat all the time, and got drunk and shot himself? David's nerdier friend? That guy. Also he couldn't carry a tune in a bucket... the band itself was pretty decent.  Then the main event started and I was blown away and nearly trampled... I guess people think it's appropriate to mosh in a tiny venue.... Homegirl was ready to throw some punches... but instead of potentially getting kicked out of another bar...(it's happened) I just moved to the back and into the safe zone. The music, the lights, the show... what can I say? It was such a good surprise.
  • Los Angeles: This month I made the short drive to Los Angeles to visit my cousins for an overnight trip, and per our regular fashion we packed as many activities into the 26 hours that I was there.
    • Art Opening: We  went to Charlie James' Gallery for William Powhida's show, I haven't really ever gone to an opening before and it was really interesting.  The art was unlike things I've seen in the past, and it was really intriguing. Take a look at the links above to see for yourself. 
    • Cole's: Home of the French Dip Sandwich and Atomic Mustard. OMG. Seriously the best pastrami sandwich ever (Papa Napoli's is an extremely close second) and amazing cocktails were had (I chose a gin and tonic, it was as good as the ones I make at home). 
    • The Clock: We went to a screening of Christian Marclay's The Clock at the LA County Museum of Art. The best way to describe how the film works is from the description on the link, but I'll quote it here too. "The Clock is a twenty-four-hour single-channel montage constructed from thousands of moments of cinema and television history depicting the passage of time. Marclay has excerpted each of these moments from their original contexts and edited them together to create a functioning timepiece synchronized to local time wherever it is viewed—marking the exact time in real time for the viewer for twenty-four consecutive hours." I really enjoyed the time we spent there, it's truly amazing how different artists are inspired by different things and how they create their art. I cannot imagine how time consuming, life consuming really, it must have been. We stayed for about 90 minutes and it was so entertaining.
    • Brunch: On Sunday we went to brunch at a restaurant called Millie's and it was delicious.
    • The Grove: After brunch we hung out at their place for a bit, then went to The Grove and the farmer's market for people watching before before I had to get on the road home. The people watching was entertaining, sadly there were no celebrity sightings on this trip.... maybe next time.
  • The Last Weekend of the Month: was filled with dog sitting, quilt shows, and spending time with friends. April was truly a great month, stay tuned for May in a few weeks. 


Sunday, April 28, 2013

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Oatmeal Coconut Cookies



White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. double acting baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup Coach's Oats
1 cup shredded coconut (I toasted mine, 10 min, 350 degree oven, stirring frequently, until golden brown)
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together butter and sugars for about 30 seconds.
Beat in egg, vanilla, and milk.
Mix just until smooth
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Add the dry with the wet ingredients and beat, be careful not to overmix.
Add oats, coconut, and white chocolate chips.
Beat until combined.
Drop by rounded teaspoon (or medium sized cookie scoop) onto ungreased cookie sheet (I always prepare my cookie sheets by putting parchment paper on them, and dropping the dough onto the paper, less mess and no sticking).
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

The recipe I used/modified (from the container of Coach's Oats) said that it would make about 3 dozen cookies, with the cookie scoop I used, it made about 2 dozen.  The original recipe did not call for white chocolate or macadamia nuts, and did not toast the coconut.



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dream State Escalate: 35

Last night I was on the verge of an anxiety attack all night. Maybe slept 4 hours, maybe. I even tried to go to bed about an hour earlier than normal, but I tossed and turned forever it seemed like. My dreams are already weird but in that sort of stressful environment they go to a whole new level.

The dream that stood out the most and is still relatively in one piece in my mind now that I'm awake is this one. I was an elementary school teacher in Texas and Jenny The Bloggess Lawson's daughter Hailey was in my class. I had to call J because her kid had been misbehaving quite frequently and had been disrupting the class (I'm sure she's a great kid in real life). Anyway Jenny had agreed to come to class to monitor Hailey. When she came in she had a giant blanket and swaddled her daughter like a baby!! She then sat in the back of the classroom sipping her coffee like nothing had happened. Did I mention she was wearing curlers and her bathrobe?

Jenny if you read this I hope it's okay that I grabbed that pic from the Internet, it's just exactly how you looked in my dream.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Home Sweet Home

I'm really starting to enjoy the beauty around me here on the central coast of California. My girlfriends and I have started taking nature walks in a neighboring community and I wanted to share some of the gorgeous images. I really think my photography skills are starting to come along. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I have enjoyed taking and editing them.





















Friday, April 12, 2013

Dream State Escalate: 34

Last night's dream was really short, but traumatic.... in a sense I guess. I mean I didn't wake up crying, but I was tense and exhausted.

The dream consisted of me being really upset and on the phone with the Evil Ex from Texas... I don't know why I'd be speaking to him, we haven't communicated since 2007 when we broke up, he's married and we've both moved on with our lives... in real life. In the dream we were on the phone and I don't know why I was upset, as a lot of dreams tend to do, this one started in the middle of the story. Anyway I was crying about something to him and he said, "babe, you need to come home and stop running from this, you belong here in Texas with me."

Then I woke up.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Album Review: The Band Perry: Pioneer

Artist: The Band Perry
Album: Pioneer (you can sample the entire album on Spotify prior to purchase if you're so inclined)
Genre: Country
Point of Purchase/Price: Gift, but I suspect iTunes $11.99

I've been thinking about purchasing this album since the moment I heard the song "Better Dig Two." When I went to the Brad Paisley concert over the summer, they opened for him, and I was transformed to a casual listener to a rabid fan. This band is awesome, and unlike so many artists out there today, I would argue that they're even better live than on their albums. The songs speak to your heart and mind, with a sound that is so unique. It's not traditional country, it's not pop, and it's not that Taylor Swift hybrid. Their song from their debut album "If I Die Young" still brings tears to my eyes 4 years after first hearing it... they have a gift, and I'm glad to be able to share their music with you.

Here's the track listings along with a some of my favorite lyrics from each song. Enjoy!

1.)  “Better Dig Two” -here lies a girl who's only crutch was loving one man just a little too much

2.) “DONE” -I'm through with you, la di da.

3.) “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely” -take the keys to my car and the keys to my heart and just drive

4.) “Pioneer” -I won't run when boys chase me, I won't rest where arms embrace me, I will love when people hate me, I won't hush, no you can't make me.

5.) “Forever Mine Nevermind” -all your lovely words, they were a curse, you piece of dirt, I trusted you, I trusted you, I trusted you
6.) “Night Gone Wasted” -I'm gonna save up some more money to spend on another night

7.) “I Saw A Light” -you were the very best feeling that I ever felt

8.) “Mother Like Mine” -the wars would all be over, because she'd raise us all as friends.

9.) “Chainsaw” -we wrote forever with a pocketknife, but forever's goin' down tonight

10.) “I’m A Keeper” -your daddy is a pistol and you are a son of a gun

11.) “Back To Me Without You” -I put my faith in you not knowing you would break in the end

12.) “End Of Time” -somewhere out there you're finding yourself, but back home it's the end of time

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dream State Escalate: 33


Maybe I shouldn't complain about my dreams being jumbled and hard to remember...maybe I should look at it as a break from the mayhem...because last night was a doozy. I've been away for 3 hours and I'm still completely shaken by my dream.

Last night the dream started that my cousin, featured in the photo above had accidentally overdosed on some painkillers and died... the rest of the dream was trying to cope with it, and lets just say I didn't cope well. I started hooking up with an ex's good friend, and didn't care who saw or found out. The family's beloved pet polar bear (idk where my brain comes up with this stuff) couldn't get himself out of the water after he went for a swim off our house's back deck (apparently in dream land my family owns a waterfront house in polar bear country) and drowned all scratched up and bloody, basically shark bait... my mom wouldn't let me go in to rescue him because, well, he's a ginormous bear and would probably kill me while I tried to save him...not to mention the circling sharks... if I didn't drown along with the bear, I'd get eaten by JAWS.



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dream State: Update 1

My dreams have been so disjointed lately... to the point where I don't remember enough of them to make a post that will be longer than "I was hanging out at my evil ex's (not to be confused with my most recent ex) house and it seemed like we were BFFs and I woke up feeling weird" or "had that recurring nightmare when I work at the surf shop again...odd" so I haven't been posting... and even that feels not right.

Last night was the first night in what feels like weeks where I actually slept through the night without waking up and tossing and turning for hours (or what feels like hours)... it's probably no small coincidence that last night was also the first night in MONTHS that I've exercised at all after work. This might be a key to my mental and physical health... I also noticed that my vertigo wasn't as bad as it has been when it was time for bed.

Looks like it's time for some new habits and this time of the healthy variety.

Rice Ranch Community Park
Went for a trail walk here last night, it's awesome.

Monday, April 1, 2013

March Without the Maddness

  • Chaperoning an FBLA Trip: This month my aunt needed an additional driver for the Section Conference for a local high school's Future Business Leaders of America Chapter.  This year we took 20+ students to Santa Clarita to compete in several business related events...and after the competitions were completed the students (and chaperone's) headed over to Magic Mountain for a few hours of roller coaster fun, followed by an awards ceremony. This year while the kids were taking tests, making speeches, and watching events I made my way over to the Westfield Mall in Valencia and got my shop on. I bought some super cute jeans, a gorgeous teal flutter sleeved shirt, and some new make up... all the stuff to make a girl feel pretty again. I loved the shirt so much that I wore it out of the store, and it was such a hit that strangers would stop me and tell me how awesome it was. By the time my bank account was gasping for air and begging me to stop, it was time to pick up the kids and make our way over to the Mountain. I was a little nervous about getting back on my favorite rides (because of the vertigo I've been experiencing) but thankfully none of the rides we went on triggered any dizziness or motion sickness.
Miss Jersey Girl
  • House-sitting for Mom and Friends:
    • Jersey Girl: This month I babysat a new (to me) doggie. Her name is Jersey and she's an adorable rat terrier. I've known her for years, but I've never watched her before, I swear this was one of the easiest doggysitting gigs ever. She puts herself to bed when she's tired (pictured to the right), she likes to cuddle, she's super entertaining, and just generally good company. We'll be hanging out again next month, and I expect it to be a lot of fun.
    • Jesse Dog: I also took care of Mr. Dog this month for a week, while my parents took a joint birthday trip to MAUI. I mean I love my dog and having a whole house and laundry available at any time... but still I'm a little jealous that I didn't get to go to the islands.
  • Long Lost Friends and Lunch Dates: On the 9th I had lunch with a good friend of mine from HS, we typically meet up every six months or so and catch up on each other's lives over good food. This time we had sushi and lots of relationship stories to chat about. She said something that really stuck with me, and I'll paraphrase the quote for you (I hope I got it right, because it's what I took away from the chat) "Someone must be looking out for you, you keep finding yourself in all these relationships that are just not quite right and you get ripped out of them just before you get trapped. Yes, you get hurt because you cared and they all mattered to you, but you always get out before they can leave permanent damage. Something awesome must be out there waiting for you." It's not saying anything bad about any of the exes, just that they weren't Mr. Right. There was always something in each of the relationships that if things had gotten any more serious it would have left us both miserable and hating each other.... with some of them it was cheating, some was drugs or alcohol abuse, some had anger management issues, and none were quite ready to stop being boys and act like men. 
  • Oz the Great and Powerful: My mom, brother's girlfriend, and I had a mini girls' day and went to see the new Oz movie and then did a little shopping after. I wasn't really sure what to expect from the movie, I had heard mixed reviews on it. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, it was long, but it was entertaining and the make up and special effects were amazing. James Franco was a bit of a creep, but I think that was intended? I hope it was anyway. Shopping was less impressive, but I think it's just because my budget didn't allow me to purchase anything, and the shoes that I was thinking about splurging on didn't quite fit.
  • Photo Dates with the Bestie: If you follow that link you can see some of my  favorite pics from the day my BFF and I went out to take my new Nikon out for a spin. The weather was beautiful, my only complaint was that there wasn't a cloud to be seen to add some texture to the skies and that it wasn't later in the growing season for the vineyard pictures. That being said, it was a fantastic day out and about on the Central Coast, and I feel like I really got some great shots.
  • The Tempest: After the photo date I had plans with some of of my other friends to see Shakespeare's The Tempest at PCPA that evening. I wasn't very familiar with the play, but after a quick glance at online Spark's Notes I had a general idea of what to expect. Let me tell you, my expectations were FAR EXCEEDED. The play was amazing, it was in the smaller Severson Theatre and had such an intimate feel. The audience really did end up playing a larger role than normal in the production....and I wouldn't have wanted it to be any different. It was funny, it was serious, and it was breath taking. If the show wasn't winding down for it's last couple of performances I'd go again and again and again. 
  • Beauty and the Beast at the PAC: On March 20th my aunt and I went to see Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the Broadway version at the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. We arrived a little early and were able to attend a pre-show lecture that was about the origins of the fairytale and fun facts about the production itself. I had no idea that the story was rooted in Roman mythology, and that ancient Roman bitches be crazy (well, I knew that part I guess). Once the lecture was over we were able to be seated for the performance, and from start to finish it was AMAZING. I don't know how the characters like Gaston and LeFou could perform and not bust up laughing mid-line. The sets were gorgeous and costumes were breathtaking, and the songs sounded exactly like what you would expect from a Disney production. There was not a single moment when I was bored or wanted to sneak a peak at the time. I even caught myself mouthing along with the words to the songs, I saved us both the embarrassment of me belting out all the songs like I do when I watch the flick at home.

  • Birthday Shenanigans: This year a friend of mine turned 30-something and we celebrated with a family dinner at Rooster Creek Tavern which quickly turned in to roast of everyone at the table, I'm pretty sure no one walked away from the table safe. After dinner the "kids" all met up a few doors down at the Gather Wine Bar in the Village of Arroyo Grande for a post-dinner wine-down and live music. My personal pick for the evening was the Graves 2007 Mourvedre, which was simply divine. Seriously, I was in love.... others at the table tried the flights of white wines, flights of pinot noir and glasses of their other wine options. I don't think anyone was disappointed with their selections. The group splintered again after Gather and just the Zombie Nights girls headed over to Applebee's for a little late night karaoke and dessert. Let me tell you... I owned the freaking bar with my rendition of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" and I closed the night out with a duet of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" because I'm badass (and yes I was 100% sober)... also because I was 100% sober and aware of what was going on around me there are no pictures/videos of this event because....no. We finished our evening in the 5 cities with a midnight (1am) walk on the Pismo Pier and marveled at the beauty of the night...and yes I was still sober.

  • Little Sister Turns 21 and Easter with the Family:  This year my baby sister reached that milestone year of 21... and since she hasn't yet developed at taste for alcohol we all enjoyed margaritas, champagne, and other beverages on her behalf... she was a good sport and tried a sip of everything, but wasn't too keen on anything... which I guess in the long run is a good thing. Let's keep her this way, that way I'll always have a DD when I want to go out, right? We also got the news that my (biological) dad and his AMAZING girlfriend are engaged there isn't a date set yet, as the engagement is relatively new. Holidays are always a little bittersweet around the family, it was our first without my great aunt who died late last year, and another reminder that my brother is no longer with us. His 25th birthday would have been April 1st, and his memory was close to the surface for all of us. I'd like to think he was with us in spirit though, I mean who can turn down a margarita (or in my case four)?

  • 100+ posts and lots and lots of views: This month I hit a couple milestones on the blog and they're super exciting for me, I made my 100th post and reached 4,300+ views. It means so much to me that you continue to read my posts and come back for more. I've already posted more this year, than in the past two years I have been blogging combined, and I don't see myself slowing down any time soon. I love sharing my experiences, photos, recipes, and life lessons, so as long as you keep reading, I'll keep writing.