Saturday, May 2, 2009

please be patient with me

last night, i received an email from one of the sweetest bloggers i've talked to. she was wondering when and if she could be added to my blogroll. i told her i had been meaning to especially since this was part of a series of emails back and forth for the two of us filled with me gushing about my love for her creations. i know i need to make a lot of updates to my blog layout. i promise they are on the way. i have a tons going on with my blog right now as i mentioned in my update post yesterday. i'm also trying to create a better header and my own button and one for my upcoming recipe swap. i promise a better blog soon once i get thru the next 2 weeks. in the meantime, if you're not listed on my blogroll or want to do a button swap, let me know. comment here with your email, and i promise to get back to you. i'm usually reply within 24 hours barring something crazy like being ill. also, any suggestions on improvements i should make to my blog, let me know.

today's free stuff 5/2/09

free bic pens tomorrow at staples with this printable coupon
free true shimmer chapstick
call 1-877-879-4857 for a free coupon for glucerna cereal. its an automated survey.
free sunkist lemonade stand use promo code sktas

wardrobe refashionista

you may have noticed this new button on my sidebar. well, i joined wardrobe refashion last week, and today i received my invitation to be a guest author on the blog. i should start by giving y'all the rules which i have copied directly from the site:

The Rules
No buying new! (handmade is excepted; So this allows for Etsy purchases etc!!) All clothing must be Recycled, Renovated, Preloved or Thrifted, or Handmade only for the term. Employment related and special needs clothing (ie sports, school), shoes and undies are excepted from the rules, although you are encouraged to have a go at making these.
In extreme circumstances, maybe a special event, or the worlds greatest and most amazing never to be repeated sale that you simply can not pass up, you may use the Get out of Refashionista Jail Free card. You are able to use this card once during the 2 month part of your contract; ie 1 for 2 months, 2 for 4 months etc. Of course you need to fess up on the blog and display the button!
You must post on the blog at least once a week to let the community know what you've been up to. This will not only give you brag points, but inspire and encorouge others! Of course you need to display the button on your blog and have copied the pledge in at least one post, and provide a link to your pledge under the button.
You need to be honest and admit when you've fallen off the Refashionista Wagon! Go directly to Refashionista Jail, do not pass GO and do not collect $200! Apply for parole once there.

i know, i know, shopaholic me; however will i survive. now, i may have made a mistake signing up for life. perhaps, i should have started with 2 months. but, i have several reasons for doing this. i seriously need to be on a budget. money has been tight recently, and without cutting back i can't afford photography equipment i need, going back to school, a vacay i really need(and this is definitely a need not want.), etc. secondly, i realize that while i find myself buying shoes with the exception of the t-shirt i found last week for $3, the last time i bought brand new clothes not at a thrift or consignment store was last august. for my close friends, my november new clothes were part of my birthday from my boyfriend, so shut up, doesn't count since it was a gift. finally, i've really been feeling like stretching my creative muscles. so, guys please help me with nudging and encouragement.
so, here's my intro post at wardrobe refashion.

back to shoes

after much delay, i am back to featuring my shoe collection. this week, i've received several compliments about my shoes on my blog. so, since y'all seem to like seeing them, i thought you could get some more pics of them up close and personal. i'll post one shoe a day.

these, of course, are from target one of my fave places to get deals on shoes, handbags, etc. they are multitextural beige suede and faux patent leather with a suede bow and ruffle detailing at the toe. i got them at 75% clearance for $6.74 at my local target, but they are still available online at target here. this pair have special meaning to me as i wore them to the memorial service for my friend who committed suicide earlier this year. i have worn them since, and every time i think of her.

Friday, May 1, 2009

steal or no steal

i thought i was funny. get it steal or no steal like deal or no deal. ok, so its only funny to me.
if y'all are keeping up with my blog then you heard i won a photo contest. i post about it on my blog and on twitter which i have set to automatically update my facebook status. my friends on facebook are super supportive and asked me to post the pic, so everyone could ogle at it. so, i posted it on my wall for all to see. one of my coworkers who is also a facebook friend told me the next day that she loved it and had her husband print out a copy for her. this left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. you see i am a burgeoning photographer. i have shown my photography at an art show, but as i choose not to sell them yet. i hope though to show at more shows and eventually start selling some of my work. and, yes i do consider it work. i have invested alot of money(ok, so the camera was a present albeit a very expensive present from my loving parents. but the lens, etc investments of my money) and time into it. for every photo, i actually like and am willing to use i spend as much as an hour setting up and taking the pics. copyrighting pics is simple. according to the us copyright office, all photographs are copyrighted at the moment of creation. but, taking someone's photographic work for free is easy especially in our internet age.
in the end, i decided she is my friend and to simply take it as a compliment. however, i ask that if you see any of my photography that you like, please do not use it without asking. i may say yes especially if you're a friend, but please ask first.


i know i've got a lot going on my blog, so i thought i would give everyone a reminder and let y'all in on some things i have in the works. here's what i've got going on right now:
  1. shannon at welcome to the nuthouse is having a hometown swap. check out more about it here. if you decide to partipate, please let her know you heard about it from me as she is giving away a gift to the person who gives her the most referral.
  2. i have some awesome dove coupons i'm giving away here to my followers. stop in at that post and leave a comment to get them.
  3. pay it forward is such an awesome idea. check out the post here and for the 1st 5 commenters who pledge to also pay it forward, you will receive a handmade gift from me.

and, some things to look forward to:

  1. i am less than 25 posts away from hitting my 300th post, and this means as promised a giveaway.
  2. i am planning a recipe swap soon, very soon. so, keep your eyes peeled.
  3. my 1st interview with a crafter who i have tons of respect for.

today's free stuff 5/1/09

free gillette fusion razor with code wv6ax where it says already have the code from the yankees game
free poise samples and carrying case
free sample of 4c totally go light2 go drink mix only good in de, ny, nj, and pa
free hallmark card and its mailed for you use code aprilcard at checkout
free 20 resumes and 40 business cards at staples stores good thru june 13th
free sample of true lemon
bloggers also get 10 packets of true lemon for mentioning them in a blog, message board, or chat room plus 5 more for mentioning where you can get a free sample. i've tried the true lime sample before and was surprised how good it tasted.
free 12 oz beverage at seattle's best in borders with this printable coupon good thru may 6th
free subscription to motorboating magazine
free 2 oz babyganics all purpose cleaner sample
free fireworks kit with magnet, poster, and stickers
free movie rental at hannafords redboxes between 5/10-16
free subscription to tennis magazine

pay it forward

i adore this idea from the moment i saw it at i was never the girl next door especially with my love of crafting. and, don't you just love the name of her blog. its called pay it forward. i simply copied the next part from her.

Here we go...
Making handcrafted items is a dying art, but they are so fun to make and get! So, here's a little game to encourage the handcrafting to live and thrive. The first 5 people to leave a comment on this post, will receive, at some point during the year, a super-duper handmade gift from me! What it will be and when it will arrive is a total surprise. The catch is that you must participate as well :) So before you leave your comment here, write up (or copy and paste) a pay it forward post on your blog to keep the fun going. Then, come back, let me know you are going to play, and anticipate the arrival of your super-duper handmade gift! Remember that only the FIRST FIVE comments will receive a gift from me, so be quick!
This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
  1. I make no guarantee that you will like what I make. But, I will try my best to make sure that you do :)
  2. It will be done this year (hopefully sooner than later)
  3. You will have no clue what or when it will be.Please make sure to leave your e-mail address too so I can get a hold of you.
    Have fun!

awesome free retouching of photos

bravo is promoting their new show, make me a supermodel, by allowing you to retouch photos for free. it works a lot like an extremely basic form of photoshop. i don't really need this since i have the premium photoshop that i got last year for my birthday, but i thought i'd play around with it to show y'all what it can do. so, here's my original photo of my boyfriend and i in atlantic city back in 2007.

i started by smoothing out my roots to cover up my root regrowth. i should have dyed my hair before leaving, but we kind of planned the trip on the fly. so, no time to hit the bottle. next step for me was to change the photo to black and white as i thought that might look nicer on the wall. well, here's the final result.

ok, but i will admit the site is super slow.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

crazy eights

i've been tagged. my darling shell has tagged me. so i am super excited. the game is pretty simple.

  1. mention the person who tagged you.

  2. post your list of 8's

  3. tag 8 bloggers, and tell them you tagged them

8 things i'm looking forward to

  1. hitting 300 posts
  2. my 10 year college reunion which will be here in less than a month
  3. summertime especially spending time in the pool over at my friend paul's house
  4. getting my 70-200mm vr lens
  5. dinner egads am i hungry
  6. next wednesday, is it bad that i'm ready for my weekend already and my work week has yet to begin
  7. my prize arriving in the mail from the photo contest i won
  8. harpers island coming on saturday what can i say i'm hooked

8 things i did yesterday

  1. blogged
  2. made a deposit at the bank
  3. caught up on a lot of my tv watching i had saved up on my dvr
  4. made a pit stop at the dollar store and got reese's whoppers
  5. uploaded new pics to my facebook page
  6. took pics of rain covered azaleas
  7. ate some veggie mei fun from the only place in town that offers it
  8. talked on the phone with travis

8 things i wish i could do

  1. learn to crochet
  2. skydive
  3. write a book
  4. take a vacation
  5. travel the world
  6. make computer graphics. i really want to make to make my own illustrations for my posts and a button for my blog.
  7. make pottery. i've always wanted to learn
  8. go on a shopping spree

8 shows i watch

  1. all the csi shows
  2. survivor
  3. house
  4. the daily show
  5. real time with bill maher
  6. deadliest catch
  7. are you being served?
  8. ncis

8 favorite fruits

  1. watermelon
  2. strawberries
  3. canteloupe
  4. peaches
  5. grapes
  6. pluots
  7. pineapple
  8. pomegranate

8 places i would like to travel

  1. savannah, ga(guess i've watched midnight in the garden of good and evil too many times)
  2. ireland
  3. texas
  4. paris
  5. hawaii
  6. japan
  7. california
  8. alaska

8 places i have lived

  1. gloucester, va
  2. mary washington college, fredericksburg, va
  3. king george, va
  4. spotsylvania, va
  5. fredericksburg, va
  6. stafford, va
  7. aquia, va
  8. fredericksburg, va(ok, so what if the last 7 are all pretty much the same area.)

8 people i am tagging

  1. reston mom
  2. food for thought
  3. life with liane
  4. chicken nuggets of wisdom
  5. fairy blog mom
  6. welcome to the nuthouse
  7. papertree
  8. the ie mommy

how i find the freebies

recently, i've received several comments asking how i find all the freebies i post here. of course, i still want y'all to read my blog. but, instead of answering each of you in the comments section, i decided to give y'all some insight in this post.

  1. first, i have several sites i check daily to see what new freebies they have posted. the two i look at most are and

  2. next, i am a member of and am subscribed to them on google reader and twitter. this way, i am notified immediately whenever someone posts a new freebie. freestufftimes is a forum where members can post freebies they've found, coupons, rebates, giveaways, and pics of freebies received. additionally, i've signed up at sites like where they notify me of any new free products that are available as they become available. this is probably one of the best resources out there by far.

  3. whenever i sign up for free samples, i click the box that says to notify me of offers and samples. then, i receive notification via email of new offers.

  4. i'm signed up at to receive texts with the free rental code.

  5. i also check at every few days to see what free samples, free music downloads, and in store events they have.

  6. i'm signed up at to be notified of any upcoming house party opportunities to get free products and share them with friends at a house party.

  7. several sites regularly offer free samples such as proctor and gamble and dove. in fact, both sites have free samples available.

  8. i follow other freebie and frugal bloggers to see what they've found. these blogs inclube fantabulously frugal, saving in style, northern cheapskate, and affluent pauper.

my dove package has arrived and a small giveaway

my package from dove finally arrived in the mail today. my package included one new full sized dove ultimate visibily smooth nature fresh scented deoderant with pro epil complex and 24 sets of coupons to share with my bloggy friends. how exciting. i get to try a product before it even hits the shelves. according to their website, it goes out on shelves in 4 days and should be distributed nationwide by the middle of june.
i, of course, plan on trying on trying the dove visibily smooth deoderant and telling y'all all about it. but, that will be in a few weeks. and, why a few weeks you ask? well, because this deoderant promises a special feature. according to their paperwork they sent, in addition to their odor and wetness protection, conditioning of underarm skin, and lack of white marks, this deoderant makes underarm stubble easier to deal with by conditioning underarm skin and hair, softening stubble, and over time making underarm hair look and feel less noticeable. they state that within a few weeks your underarm hair should appear and feel softer and finer. so, i'll start using it tomorrow and report back with results in 3 weeks.
for now, i thought i would give some first thoughts. the pink packaging is definitely cute. i also like the subtle nature fresh scent which they describe as having green floral and fruity notes although all i smell is the floral notes. it really is light and shouldn't compete with any perfume you want to wear.
now, for the giveaway part. as i mentioned, i received 24 coupons. each coupon card actually has 2 coupons each for $2 off the any dove visibly smooth deoderant. as a coupon junkie, i have to say that's one of the best dove coupons i've ever seen. and, since they are good through 12/31/09, i'm sure you'll have plenty of time to use them and combine them will a great sale to really get an awesome deal on dove deoderant. i know some of y'all out their are like me and love saving money and will want these coupons. for any international readers, i believe these coupons are only good in the us. sorry.
how can you get them. well, i'll make that part super easy.
  1. the first 24 people to comment and subscribe to my blog will get the coupons.
  2. and, as an added bonus for the first 5 people who also follow me on twitter and comment with their twitter screen name for me to verify that, will also receive a coupon for $1 off kellogg's shredded mini wheats.
  3. not to forget those who already follow me, leave a comment telling me you already follow me and want these coupons; and you can be part of the 24 to receive these awesome coupons.
  4. please leave your email address in the comment, so i can contact you to get your mailing info to send you the coupon.

projects i want to make from around the blogosphere

i sift through my blog reader and sometimes i bookmark projects from other blogs that i want to make. my folder is beginning to get gargantuan. i thought i might share some of my nifty finds.

old bath towel + flip flops = spa slippers from crafty nest
how to make tree limb coasters at curbly
how to make a 2 colored a line skirt from old t-shirts at craft stylish
how to make a magazine reed box at craft stylish
how to make a belted skirt from a men's shirt at craft stylish
quick scarf tutorial at hope studios
how to make a button serving tray at flipt
create a yarn remnant necklace at craft stylish
making a poker chip pendant at cathie fillian's blog
another skirt from a men's shirt at wardrobe refashion
recycled towel bath mat at vickie howell's blog
scrabble tile pendant tutorial at make and takes
pleated purse pattern at my spare time
no sew scarf at my longest year
knitted felt beads by little house in the suburbs
how to make hats from recycled sweaters at craft stylish
kitchen dish scrubbie by berlin's whimsy
glass jar and bottles as frames at apartment therapy
vinyl lp record bowl at craft bits
making a pillow from an old sweater at the pleasures of homemaking
placemat purses at scribbit
sand heart photos as art at curbly
knitted beret at purl bee
dammit doll at craft bits
candy wrapper purse at candy wrapper crafts
bike wheel pot rack at fort house rehab

to eat or not to eat swine

now, as a vegetarian, my choice is easy. i obviously don't eat any pork products. but, with the ignorantly named swine flu pandemic(i say that as it really is a mutation of flu combining swine flu, avian flu, and human originated flu never before seen.), i have noticed a lot of people are eliminating eating pork products. my work has posted a notice advising correctly(i have linked an article explaining there is no danger as verified by the cdc.) that eating pork can not cause the swine flu. despite this notice which patrons should easily be able to see, i have overheard patrons commenting that they shouldn't eat pork now because of the possibilty of catching swine flu. i want to shake these people as i find this level of ignorance and misguided decision making based on misinformation beyond aggravating. i am not trying to advocate the eating of meat. however, i feel people should make decisions for the right, most informed decisions.
and, of greater fear to me is the shocking and drastic drop in our business the last few days; and that as a restaurant known for serving pork the unfounded fear may be the reason. when i say business has dropped, i mean from being slow to being a ghost town. monday evening, we had over an hour without customers.
even sadder to me is a story about semi local potential h1n1 pandemic, the name the us government is now recommending using for the current swine flu pandemic to prevent decrease in sales of pork products in the us. i caught a bit of the 11 o'clock news about the 8 potential cases of the pandemic in maryland. 3 of these specifically involve children. parents are calling for the kids names to be released. note that these cases have yet to be confirmed. all of these children are currently hospitalized awaiting cdc confirmation of a diagnosis. the only death in the us due to the current pandemic is actually from a toddler who was visiting from mexico. and, the cdc has found a combination of tamiflu and relenza effectively combat the virus once infected. its bad enough the torture children can inflict on one another. the last thing these sick children need is to be vilified by parents too. from what i can tell, schools are notifying parents and the media that the potential occurs and doing their best to disinfect schools. one school has a crew of 20 people cleaning the school tonight. names are not needed. one should assume the possible risk once one kid could be infected without needing to know the kid's name.

i've fallen in love

...with a new candy, or at least new to me.

i was in the dollar store today just to look for some sugar substitute for my iced tea. while waiting in line, i couldn't stop looking at the whoppers reese's peantut butter candy. they may not be new as i discovered with a quick search of the web. they have been around for a year, but they were new to me. i saw them on the endcap last week by the cash register, but somehow managed to avoid them. this time, i could not escape their draw. i love whopper's combo of chocolate exterior and malted core. however, i only purchase them at halloween to give away to trick or treaters and eat the leftovers myself(at least the ones my boyfriend doesn't eat.).
and, they did not dissapoint. in fact, they were much better than i expected. usually, peanut butter candy is dry and taste not quite like peanut butter. with these, the exterior is slick and when you put it in your mouth dissolves with a creamy, very peanut buttery flavor much like reese's pieces interior which is by far my fave peanut butter flavored candy. then, the candy melts to the yummy malted core.
now, i have a bigger problem. i can't stop eating them. i mean i seriously can't stop. please, someone take them and hide them from me, because this is quickly becoming a problem.

today's free stuff 4/30/09

free my virginia memory postcard and they mail it for you-this is the virginia tourism's way of celebrating 40 years of the virginia is for lovers campaign
free pond's rejuveness sample
free sample of hellmann's light mayo
free sample of the caress skinwear line
free sample of degree women fine fragrance collection
free sleep kit and eye mask for md, va, pa, de, and dc residents only
free wordsmart challenge cd for building vocabulary
free energizer zero mercury hearing aid battery
free kymco t-shirt
free mother's day card at kate spade locations

a sobering reminder

financial woes as well as personal drama have been stressing me out this week. and, i'll admit my the monkey on my back has been haunting me. i have thought of going taking a cab to a bar and drinking myself into oblivion. of course, i would have some difficulties with the execution of these thoughts. many of the of the bartenders at the local bars know me. i have partied with many of them before and since my sobriety. some i consider to be my friends. and, as much as they i am sure could use the tips with the slow business we are all experiencing, they simply would refuse to serve me. in reality, this is a blessing of course. however, the knowledge is a bit discouraging to my fantasy.
last night, though, i was struck with a real dose of reality. i have only a handful of friends from my drinking days. they are not people who drank "with me". as in, people who couldn't or didn't even desire to keep up with me. of this group of friends, one is my friend kevin who is like a baby brother to me. he also tended to play the role of the "sensible" one who would try to both prevent and clean up my messes at least when he was aware of them. there is a fabulous story about him trying to help me out after a blackout involving him, a zebra stripe painted van, and a drag queen. but, that's not important now. kevin, chris, and i were outside with a friend of theirs who i had just been introduced to. we were the only ones outside at the time. somehow the topic came up of me being a recovering alcoholic between kevin and their friend whose name honestly escapes me. i was in a conversation with chris when i overheard kevin tell this friend that its ok despite me having not had a drink in almost 6 years that i drank so much back in the day that i'm probably still drunk. wow. talk about a shot to the gut. i still don't know that kev knows that i heard it. i certainly pretended i didn't.
but, it certainly puts things in perspective to how my nonalcoholic friends perceived me. and, when the thoughts of drinking came back today, i thought back to kev saying that and the hurt overwhelmed my desire.
in case anyone doubts after what i've said, kevin is a good friend. as a person, i appreciate people who are that honest and these are the kind of people i prefer to surround myself with as sometimes i can't see myself clearly.

good times

it's been awhile since i've posted pics from my tuesday nights with friends. since my regular digital camera's flash died and i don't feel entirely comfortable bringing out my dslr every week, i haven't taken many pics. luckily, my friend paul brought his camera last night. unfortunately, these are not really the cutest pics.

yes, those really are the world's biggest dark circles under my eyes. between working 2 doubles in a week and battling several nights in a row of insomnia, all the concealer in the world couldn't cover my dark circles. in fact, my friend chris asked me if i was recovering from a black eye since according to him it looked like the last day of a bruise healing when i was turned to the side.

yes, those are flats. i know i usually wear heels, but i thought the flats looked too cute with the skirt. and, i loved it being warm enough to wear this skirt out.
we all think this one is too funny cause it looks like john lee and janet are about to make out. uh-oh, watch out paul.

i took this one of paul singing. he of course looks adorable as always. and, there is drew working in the background.

me and tim. tim's been ill and hasn't been able to come out for quite some time. so, i had to come early to spend more time with him.

a cute pic of paul and john lee

john lee took this one of me dancing, but to me it looks like my girls are going to make me topple over.

i was trying to take a pic of us, but as you can see that didn't work out so well. paul looks sleepy(well, it was after 1am.), and i look evil.

paul takes the pic of us, but this time i look sleepy.

laura singing as trav looks on.

i have no pics of chris or kevin from last night, but as they reminded me, i have a million of them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

spring showers

this evening, we got showers which severely decreased our temperatures here from the steamy 90s to much more comfortable 72. i got home and exited the car and was struck by how ethereal the raindrops looked on the azaleas beside where the car is parked. so, i had to grab my camera and take some pics. here they are for your viewing pleasure.

wordless wednesday-summer's comin

several of my bloggy friends participate in wordless wednesday including my dearie shell. with my love of photography, i decided to jump on the bandwagon. i know this is supposed to be wordless, but since its my first post, i figure i needed some explanation.

with the 90 degree temps we've been experiencing, summertime has been on my mind. so, i decided to use this shot from our atlantic city vacation back in september of 2007.

popeye's chicken makes people crazy

ok, i may be a vegetarian; but my boyfriend is not. so, when we heard that popeye's would be offering 8 pieces chicken for $4.99 on april 22nd, he made me promise him to pick him up some. i must admit having never purchased chicken i had no idea that this was a good deal. after my experience though, i believe him. i spent time with friends in the afternoon and then ran errands. so, i didn't make it to popeye's until about 8pm. i was completely surprised by what i found. the parking lot was completely full with not a parking space to spare. in fact, people were walking over to popeye's from a nearby shopping center. the drive thru line was out onto rt 3 a major roadway for our city. and, the line in the store was out the door. i did however get him his chicken, and some sides from me. i was disappointed that the corn on the cob does not come already buttered. the fries though were awesome and come in a huge portion.
and then, i saw this video on youtube today thanks to cheap chica. now, i don't feel so bad about my popeye's experience. you really should watch the video. its too funny.

today's free stuff 4/29/09

printable coupon for $1 off evercare lint rollers, they sell at walmart for .97. so, free after coupon
free buell gear lock
free heart health kit
free tangomonium frozen yogurt at red mango on sat may 2nd
free sample of 40% reduced fat cape cod potato chips
free printable coupon for free fast break by right guard deoderant

Monday, April 27, 2009

crayon hearts

i've been experimenting with making crayon hearts. for some reason of all the shapes out there, i can't seem to find heart shaped candy molds. i read about making them with cookie cutters placing it on aluminum foil. well, i tried and ended up with a hot mess.

all the wax just seeped out the side leaving me with a puddle of wax.
imagine my joy when i found these at goodwill for $1 for the set of 4

i'm only going to use one for crayons and save the rest for making cute little mini cakes and other adorable heart shaped deserts.
here's the tin loaded up with 8 broken up crayons.
and, the finished product
not sure how i feel since they ended up about 3/4" deep, but i think the lines of these will make them easy to color with.

my book haul

last week was our library's semi annual book sale. i keep this on my calendar for april and october to never miss it just for the last part of the sale where you get a box of books for $1. that's right as many books as you can stuff into a box which they even provide for $1. what a steal. the previous days of the sale they offer the books which are either donations or discards for $2 to .25 cents. but, the last day is by far the best deal. they also have vhs tapes, audio books, and records. they have everything from hardback books to kidsbooks to cookbooks. the money they make from the book sale goes to helping the library. i sometimes even find new books that have never even show any signs of wear. i hate to admit it, but i given away some of these books. a friend and i shared a box this time. i ended up with close to 50 books myself including one by wally lamb that i had been wanting to read in hardback. several libraries around the country have similar sales.

belle's adventure at petsmart

tuesday, petsmart had a birthday bash for pets from 6-8pm which i blogged about on my freebie posts. they were taking pet photos and giving away free sample packs and a digital photo frame to people who came in with their pet or pets. there was also supposed to be a musical sits game for dogs with prizes. i decided i wanted to take my eldest cat, belle and see if could get her picture taken. there is no way the youngest would have been good with the experience especially since she hides from anyone except for me and my boyfriend. i lost her harness some time ago which is probably fine since i think she's gotten a bit too big for it anyway. so, i put her in her cloth cat carrier which has venting on four sides for her adventure. i love her cat carrier as it has a long strap that i can put over my shoulder leaving my hands free. she hated the car ride as always moaning her heart away as if she was being tortured. i'm not sure matters were ameliorated when a group of dogs all went crazy seeing her as we entered the doors. i took her to the birds which i knew she would love watching. she got quiet and watched as if in a trance. she'd never seen fish to my knowledge, so i wasn't sure how she'd react. she was equally happy to watch the fish swimming too. they were no longer taking pictures when i arrived, but we did get some nice samples, a puzzle and a coupon for $25 off of an office visit pictured above. not sure if the car ride made it worth it for her, but i think she enjoyed her trip.

today's free stuff 4/27/09

don't forget free grilled chicken at kfc today. and, there was an additional coupon in yesterday's parade good for free grilled chicken at kfc good thru may 17th.
free $10 coupon for dots with no minimum purchase for taking a quick survey. for locations, click here
today's free movie rental code for redbox good for today only 4CW33N
free dog toy from mighty dog sign up for their mighty dog nation citzenship club and use promo code citzenship522 plus they will send out coupons
printable coupon for a free pulled pork bbq sandwhich at white castle good thry 6/30/09
free sample of doggy deligtz dog treats
free sample of briggs liquid amino acids
and, don't forget tomorrow, free tortillas and free chicken at el pollo loco

the deviled egg debate

note: originally, i was going to post this for easter. due to time constraints, i put it off. but with picnic season upon us(90 degree weather the last few days makes it feel like bbq time.), i thought it would be right on target.

certain foods are essential parts of easter dinner for me. even though i am a vegetarian, i have never had any holiday meals with all vegetarians. so, i always expect ham, asparagus, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole(one of my second mom's traditions that i happen to love made with canned yams.), and since its easter there must be eggs in the form of deviled eggs. the last few years, i have celebrated easter at my best friend's house. this year, due to time constraints with both my boyfriend and i working on easter, we decided to have easter dinner together at home.

and, thus began the great deviled egg debate. in general in my life, i am a tad addicted to change. in order to handle the constant reinvention in my life, i like to keep some things the same as exactly how i remember them from my childhood for instance egg salad, potato salad, and especially deviled eggs. now, i am sure many of you are used to simple deviled eggs with just mayo, mustard, and topped with a bit of paprika. yawn. not the way my mom made them, so i am sorry they bore me terribly. my mother put relish in hers, and i still to this day feel it is key to awesome deviled eggs. in researching my argument with my darling boyfriend, i found these listed as picnic eggs in listings for deviled eggs. but to me, no matter what you call them, they are awesome and how i want my deviled eggs. i have once before made the mistake of allowing the bf to make deviled eggs. he too is loyal to the way his mom made deviled eggs. she made them the "boring way", but instead of paprika topped them with a slice of olive. while this may be lovely, it is not what i wanted. and, for once, i was unwilling to waver on how i wanted my deviled eggs. amazingly, my bf who considers himself king of the kitchen allowed my the shall we say honor of making deviled eggs for easter.

so, here's my recipe which is pretty similar to how mom made it(with one new addition):

yeilds a dozen deviled eggs

7 eggs (trust me)

1 tbs mayo

1 tbs relish

1 1/2 tbs your favorite mustard

1 tsp horseradish(this is the new addition i decided to try and liked so much it will be part of my regular recipe.)

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp of celery seed
1/4 of an onion minced

paprika if desired for color

i should note that in my house much like the way my mom made staples like deviled eggs all these measurements are approxiamate. she never measured with things like this. we just "eyeball" it or add "to taste" until you get it to taste the way you want. baking on the other hand by its nature was much more about exact measurement. so, you may want to make some adjustments to get to the exact consistency and taste desired.

  1. want pretty deviled eggs, then the night before you plan on making your deviled eggs by placing you eggs the longways in the egg carrier in the fridge instead of the normal way they sit in the carton. the carton will not close now, so be sure not to set anything on top of the carton. i find if you do this the yolk will center in the deviled egg better not only making for pretty deviled eggs but also ones that are easier to fill. sounds like i've had too much time to think about this, but what can i say i really like deviled eggs and often they are my main source of protein at friend's picnics. this time i didn't have time to do this since i made them the same day i bought the eggs.

  2. hard boil your eggs. now, it seems everyone i know has their own tips and tricks for hardboiling your eggs; so i wouldn't get into this.

  3. after they are thoroughly cooled(yes, this is necessary since you are adding mayo.), peel the eggs. i find it is easier to peel the eggs if you crack them, then place them back in water. let them sit in the water for a few minutes so that the water gets in between the shell and the egg. this makes it easier to peel and prevents the shell and membrane from sticking to the egg.

    as you can see in the picture, the egg on the left is cracked.

  4. cut each egg in half lengthwise with a nonserated knife and scoop out the yolk.

  5. reserve the yolks in a separate bowl along with any egg whites(usually 2 halves in the process, but hopefully no more) that tear or do not have a fairly centered yolk.
    see how that one egg white tore completely in half as i was cutting it.

  6. now, i find that some of the yolk may not come out cleanly leaving behind trace amounts of yolk.

    but, if i take a clean, wet finger i can rub it out leaving them pretty like these.
  7. then, you want to throroughly mash up the yolks until they reach a fine texture.
  8. add all the remaining ingredients except the paprika to the yolks.
  9. pipe or spoon the yolk mixture into the egg whites
  10. top with a dash of paprika if desired.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

who doesn't love getting packages in the mail

shannon at welcome to the nuthouse is hosting a hometown swap. its like a secret santa except in june and via the internet. the point is to connect people across the blogosphere. participants will be sending items representative of areas of interest from their hometown and receive goodies from someone in a place they wish to visit. for instance, i live in fredericksburg, virginia home to 4 battlefields from the civil war, mary washington college(i know its now the university of mary washington, but i went there went it was mwc and will always be that to me.), george washington's childhood home to name a few. so, i might be sending some civil war memorbilia, something from the college, or items representative of virginia in general like peanut brittle. i haven't decided on anything for sure as i just found about it today, so these are just some examples. and, she's added some reasonable price limits between $20-$30.
the way it will work is people who want to participate need to comment on her blog and email her at with your name, address, blog name, blog address, and the area of the country ie new england that you wish you could visit but never have. she will match up people and contact them back. if you want to participate, you have to contact her by may 6th, and she promises to contact participants back with their match by the 9th of may. everyone will have a month to send their packages. sounds like a cool idea to me. after the swap, she'll be posting links about everyone's goodies on her blog. and, as a bonus, she is promising a cool gift to the person who refers the most people to the swap. so, if you decide to participate let her know you heard about it from me.

today's free stuff 4/26/09

free tena protective underwear samples for men
free packet of flower seeds from barbie
free leapfrog learning rhythms cd
free ticket to an atlanta braves game
free child safety kit for window blinds
free hidden expedition game download use code freeverest
free spa mania game download use code freespa
free fairway solitaire game download use code freefairway
free azada game download use code freeazada

great t-shirt deal at walmart

i was at walmart with a friend the other day and spotted these light weight long sleeve t-shirts in cute spring colors by faded glory like this aqua one i picked up for $3. they had lots of colors like melon, yellow, and leaf green. i don't normally shop for clothes at walmart, but i figure a long sleeve t-shirt will come in handy during the spring.

missing the mark

i know i had said when i hit 200 blog posts back 30th of march that i expected to hit 300 by the end of april. well, with only a few days left, i am about 50 short of that goal. i'm pretty bummed about it too. i have a few more days left and about 15 scheduled to post over the next few days. yes, i finally learned how to schedule posts this month, although i often get antsy and still post a bunch at a time anyway. i am dissapointed, but i did have about a week where i was feeling a bit antisocial(my bipolar disorder was rearing its nasty head.) and, then there was the headache with my computer. no more apologies, crap happens. point is i want let everyone know that i am definitely going to be doing my first giveaway for my 300th post. so, be on the lookout as i am sure it will be coming sooner than you think.

viva la raza

i got just about the best compliment ever today. maybe not ever, but it certainly was meaningful to me.
the other server working with me told one of the hispanic women who works in the kitchen that we needed rolls up front. the hispanic woman is someone i have a ton of respect for not only for her general pleasant disposition(i have never heard a cross word come from her mouth much less a complaint prior to this conversation in the 2 years i have worked with her.) but also her amazing work ethic(she has never missed a single day of work regardless of her health, works insanely hard doing anything and everything asked of her and often not asked. when she is not busy, but sees others are she jumps in to help learning how to roll silverware on the fly for instance.). the other server telling her to bring us rolls is lazy and rude. to begin with, it is the servers job to bring forward bread to warmers as needed not the kitchen staff. and, we really were far from busy. i think at most we may have had 2 tables each, but i doubt we even had that. in the time it took her to tell the kitchen worker, the server could have easily done it herself. plus, i am big on asking people to help you when you need it not telling other people what to do. in my world, please will get you far. telling me what to do is likely to get my dander up to say the least.
well, the kitchen worker brought the rolls forward, but surprisingly turned to the other server and in her broken english said "you lazy, not like rebecca. she no lazy." (my hispanic coworkers are my only coworkers who call me rebecca not becca.) i honestly think i blushed. coming from one of the hardest working coworkers at my job, that was one heck of a compliment.
and at the same time, it made me feel guilty. you see many of my hispanic coworkers do much more than their fair share of their work. most not all, come in every day without fail, smile and work hard without stopping the whole time they are there. they make a lot of employees look subpar when compared to their effort. they often do the work that none of the rest of us want to do and usually with a smile and rarely rewards like employee of the month.
i have read most of anthony bourdain's writing including some of his fiction. and, i can say i have seen most of his shows such as a cook's tour and no reservations. one thing that i can say is an underlying thread in his work is mad respect for the hispanic workers in restaurants who are the backbone of the restaurant industry in the united states. customers may not see them, but they toil tirelessly to ensure that restaurants keep going. i stole my title from anthony bourdain's use of the phrase viva la raza. in fact, it is a title to a chapter in one of his books. please don't ask me to recall which one after such a long day(i worked a double.) literally, it means long live the race specifically mexican. however, he uses it generally as a cry of thanks to those unsung kitchen heroes. and, i concur.