Friday, August 23, 2013

Another awesome dinner in the books

This was Pampered Chef inspired, but I'm not sure that I stuck to the recipe. I didn't have it handy and didn't want to look it up.


  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (I had some cutlets leftover from the last time I cooked chicken so they were perfect)
  • Olive Oil
  • Pampered Chef Sweet Basil Rub (this stuff is amazing)
  • Tomatoes (I sliced up about a dozen cherry tomatoes)
  • Garlic (I used 5 cloves)
  • Fresh Basil
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Box of Penne Pasta (it was way too much for the amount of chicken/tomatoes I had 1/2 a box would have been better)

While a large pot of water was heating up to boil I seasoned the chicken with the rub and olive oil, then set it aside to mini marinate while I chopped up the garlic and tomatoes. 

Sprayed my frying pan down with a light coating of Pam then tossed in the seasoned cutlets. 

Once the chicken was about halfway cooked I put the pasta in the pot of water and also added a little garlic to cook with the noodles. 

Back to the chicken. When it was mostly cooked I added in the tomatoes and garlic and stirred in the pan frequently. As the meat was starting to brown I tore strips of the basil leaves and cooked along with the other ingredients. 

By the time the pasta was cooked (al dente) the chicken mixture was ready to be added in. 

Sprinkle Parmesan to taste and serve up.

Central Coast Thursday Night




Can't get enough of the California coast? Check out my flickr set here. There are pics that range from San Luis Obispo County to Orange County.  I need to find my way north to get some of the rest of the California coastline.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 2013

This summer I had the opportunity to go to Dallas Cowboys Training Camp in Oxnard, California. It was a really cool experience and one that I can't wait to do again next year (although, I think I'd like to do it with a little more planning involved so that we can get to the field earlier in the day). I learned some cool new things about my camera and I was pleasantly surprised at it's capabilities. All the photos that follow were shot from about 2-3 feet behind a chain link fence, my camera edited it out for me WHILE I was taking the pics.

If you want to see more, you can view the set on flickr here and I'll be updating it periodically (as they get edited).

Friday, August 9, 2013

For Your Sisters, Your Daughters, Your Friends, and most of all for You.

I read an article/letter online last night that really sparked my need to write. It inspired me in a way
that I haven't been inspired in a long time.

The letter itself was a sweet gesture from a concerned father of a young girl. He didn't like how the media and society in general put so much pressure on women to "keep a man interested" whether it be through is stomach or other nearby organs. While I applaud this man on encouraging his daughter to find a man who is genuinely interested in HER and not just what she can do for him, I'd like to take it one step further.

I want to teach young women of the world to be strong, independent, and to determine their worth by their actions and intelligence, rather than teaching them that they are only as worthy as the man who takes care of them.

Teach them how to work for their wants and desires instead of telling them to "find a rich husband" to buy them presents. Teach them that their dreams are within their grasp if they are willing to put in the effort. They should find a partner if/when they want one, but not just as a financial support system.

Teach girls from early ages that education is important, that it's something to be valued, and something that will get them farther in life than perfect hair or a lipstick smile. That beauty may fade but intelligence doesn't as long as you keep feeding your mind.

I want young women to know that they are equals not only to each other but also their young men counterparts. That they should strive to find partners in life, not just replacements for their parents.  How about not being on the hunt for Mr. or Ms. Right, but being confident and comfortable in their own company. That while sharing their lives with someone can be wonderful, you should never define yourself by who your significant other is.

If you do find that special someone to share your life with, the attributes the dad lists in his letter are important, and I don't disagree with him, but I feel like there is so much pressure to find a "soul mate" that many people would rather be miserable in a relationship than be single.

Single doesn't have to be scary or a sign of failure or even permanent. However it is often how you get to know yourself.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Album Review: Sons of Anarchy Seasons 1-4 Soundtrack, Various Artist

Album: Sons of Anarchy-Seasons 1-4 Soundtrack
Artist: Various
Point of Purchase: iTunes
Price: $11.99

I love this album, I think I listened to it pretty much exclusively for the first week I had it. I love Katey Sagal's voice (Gemma), I love how they took old songs and made them their own. I love how it fits the show so perfectly. The song "House of the Rising Sun" was rewritten for the show and it gives me chills. The song "Strange Fruit" is haunting. If you're a fan of the show this is something that needs to be in your music library.

I'm going to break from my usual quoting lyrics from each song, mostly because a lot of the songs should be fairly familiar to a lot of people, as for the ones that are unfamiliar, I'm not sure taking one or two lines out of the song would do any justice. My recommendation is to watch the show, then listen to the music they selected for the soundtrack. I have to say I was a little disappointed they didn't include the Dropkick Murphy's on the album because the Ireland portion of Season 3 was a pretty big deal, but overall I think they got it.

Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers – This Life
Katey Sagal & The Forest Rangers – Son Of A Preacher Man
Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers – Forever Young
Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers – John The Revelator
Lyle Workman & Bob Thiele, Jr. – Fortunate Son
Anvil featuring Franky Perez – Slip Kid
The Lions – Girl From The North Country
Billy Valentine & The Forest Rangers – Someday Never Comes
Paul Brady & The Forest Rangers – Gimme Shelter
Katey Sagal & The Forest Rangers – Bird On A Wire
Battleme – Hey Hey, My My
Alison Mosshart & The Forest Rangers – What A Wonderful World
Franky Perez & Los Guardianes del Bosque – Los Tiempos Van Cambiando (The Times They Are A-Changin')
Katey Sagal & The Forest Rangers featuring Blake Mills – Strange Fruit
Battleme & The Forest Rangers – House Of The Rising Sun
The White Buffalo with The Forest Rangers – House Of The Rising Sun - Season 4 Finale Version

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Birthday Month: July

  • The 4th of July: This year I spent the 4th being lazy for most of the day, woke up with a massive headache and decided to sleep it off... sometime around 3pm I woke up feeling mostly rejuvenated and then headed over to a friend's house to watch movies and binge on Jack in the Box... can't get much more patriotic than that. When the fireworks (both city sponsored and the illegal variety) started it sounded like we were in the middle of a shootout, and my friend's cat went and hid under the bed... I ran outside to see if I could see all the colors light up the sky, what I could view (apartment buildings and trees blocked most of them) were beautiful.
  • Reunited with HS Friend: Facebook is a strange and sometimes wonderful thing. Through it I was able to be reconnected with a friend I'm pretty sure I haven't seen since high school. We met up for dinner and a Charmed marathon one evening and had a blast. It was night filled with laughter, stories about crazy exes, and filled in the gaps of what many of our experiences have been since the last time we saw each other.
  • Dinner w/ BFF: My best friend and I haven't seen each other in what seems like months even though only about 20 miles separate us. Lives get busy and it's hard to find time that works for everyone, but we made it happen and met for Sushi and shopping one Tuesday night early in the month. We had a great time catching up and she was very excited to share her new business venture with her husband and some other close friends of hers. If you live in the 5 Cities area of the Central Coast of California and are looking for a new fitness center you should really consider checking them out. Their official opening is next month, but you can find more information here on their Facebook page Coastline Strength and Conditioning: Home of Obsidian Crossfit. 
  • Birthday Celebrations: I have always done birthdays big. With a family the size of mine one night can't contain all the festivities, so I tend to celebrate BIRTHDAY MONTH, and it's really the best way to do it. The first birthday night was July 16th and the last one will mostly likely be in early August... because why not?
    • Spamalot: I was not familiar with the Monty Python story so this play was a complete surprise to me and what an awesome surprise it was, I can't remember a time where I have laughed as much as I did that night. I was near tears from the antics of the players on stage, I don't think it could have possibly been better. PCPA never disappoints, and their Solvang Theaterfest theater was a perfect setting for the show. Earlier in the night my aunt and I had gone to dinner at the Firestone Brewery in Buellton and my only complaint is that we didn't have the time to drink more beers and explore the restaurant a little more, but the food was delicious and the staff was friendly, and my beer sampler was refreshing. This was also the first night of the mini vacation I took from work.
    • Santa Barbara Day: The first full day off on my vacation one of my great friends spent the day down in Santa Barbara, we had great food, awesome adult beverages, went to the Art History Museum, and just enjoyed the great weather and each other's company. We didn't really do any shopping, but I don't feel like we missed out on anything, and I'm pretty sure our checking accounts were fairly thankful we didn't open them up in the stores on State Street.
    • SLO Day: I had my annual exam on the morning of the 18th (all tests came back happy and healthy), and since the doctor's office is really close to Cal Poly I went to visit a couple of friends who work on campus. I spent about 3+ hours hanging out in the Math department and 30 minutes in Human Resources catching up with some people I hadn't seen in months and it was a treat to spend time with them.
    • Baby Date: The Friday before my birthday I had a lunch date with some new friends, one of which is a 4 month old baby, we went to Babies R Us, Applebees, and Joann's and it was a such a fun time.
    • Dinner w/ The Grandparents: Friday night lead to dinner w/ my paternal grandparents, we went to Old Juan's Cantina in Oceano, California and celebrated the night with awesome Mexican food and margaritas.
    • The Getty: on my actual birthday my mom and I drove down to Los Angeles to experience the Getty Museum. I had never gone before even though I'd driven by multiple times. I was so impressed with the art and exhibits that were displayed, I can't wait to someday go back and to go to the museum in Malibu. 
    • The Palace: on the way home from Los Angeles we stopped in Santa Barbara and had dinner at one of my absolute favorite restaurants, The Palace. It's like a taste of New Orleans on the California Coast. I had the Pecan Encrusted Chicken Piccata and we shared a Chocolate Souffle... I have to say they did not disappoint, they even made a special ice cream plate for my birthday with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream and they wrote "Happy Birthday" in chocolate fudge on the plate. My taste buds were delighted. 
  • House sitting: The last weekend of the month I house sat for my friends with the rat terrier and we had a great time watching TV and just hanging out until it was time for me to go back to my place. 

Santa Barbara Margaritas

Firestone Brewery Sampler