Monday, December 21, 2009

...Lauren's No-Bake Holiday Balls (Can be made vegan!)


First of all, if you haven't already, go look at the Schweddy sketch from Saturday Night Live. It is a holiday classic that inspired the recipe you are about to read.
Click here to watch.

Now, the recipe. This is the kind of recipe you can switch out ingredients for whatever you like, add a little, take a little away. It's one of those recipes where measurements should just be a guide. The real measurements are what tastes good to you!

1 cup peanut butter
(Almond butter would be good as well.)

1 cup honey
(Agave nectar will work I think. You might want to use less to make it less sweet.)

1 and 1/8 cup non fat dry milk
(I used oatmeal---Put it in the food processor on the "grind" setting and make a powder. Add sugar to make it a little sweet. It works just the same!)

1 cup oatmeal
(I used less since I already had some oatmeal taste from the dry milk substitute above.)

1/2 cup chocolate chips
(Carob chips would be a yummy vegan alternative! Raisins would be good, too.)

dash of extract (vanilla, almond...)

1/4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

dash of nutmeg


Mix sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.
In another larger bowl, beat remaining ingredients until well blended.
Roll into balls, whatever size you like, then roll them in the sugar blend.
Set on a plate or baking sheet, whatever will fit in the fridge. Chill for an hour or two then enjoy! That's it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

...a Variety of Velcro



"Lauren to your register! Lauren to your register!" I announced over the speaker at Michael's Arts & Crafts one night. It was ten minutes until nine, closing time, on a Tuesday evening. No one was in the store.

The phone at my cash register rings. It's Kathy, the other cashier working with me that night.
"Why..hahaha...did you just page yourself to your...haha...register??" She was giggling and speaking at the same time. "You dork!"

"I just wanted to lighten the mood!" I replied. Just then, a woman burst into the store with a frantic look upon her face. A man walked in behind her, almost scared of what she might do next. I was prepared. This was the customer who's face read, "Shit! I forgot about this stupid craft project for my son's school that is due tomorrow!"

"WHERE IS THE VELCRO??" She demanded. I directed her to the opposite corner of the store in the back, where the small sewing section was located. She ran off. The man stayed near the registers in the front, pretending to be interested in the faux flowers located a few feet away. Moments later she rushed back up to the front of the store, empty-handed.

"I can't believe this!" She looked right at me. "You have a smaller selection of Velcro than Wal-Mart does! This is insane! You are a craft store!" The man she is with looks frightened.

"Yes, we are a craft store...not a sewing store. But we have a small selection of notions in the back corner, and that is all I can give you." I grin on the inside. She is personally angry with me because I cannot provide her with Velcro to fit her needs.

"I can't believe this!!" She exclaims as if she is reacting to seeing her car getting stolen. She leaves the store. The man follows, but before he goes out the door, he turns to look at me and says, "...Sorry...yeah...she's...." I smile and say, "Good luck and good night." He grins and leaves.

Kathy comes up to my register. "Can we call it a night?"

"Definitely."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

...Old People in Grocery Stores

"This yogurt, it helps my husband? He eats da grease!"

A hunched old woman with some sort of Russian accent approaches me while I carefully decide what flavors of Lite n' Fit I want to buy for just 39 cents each. Wearing a long grey dress and a draping black coat spotted with cat hair, the old woman standing just under five feet tall uses both hands to hold up a green six-pack of Activia for me to see.

"He is the fat!" She points at his belly. "He eats entire package? It helps with da acid?"

"No," I reply. "Tell him to eat one every night after dinner. He will feel better after that."

It wasn't entirely true, but I wasn't about to explain Prilosec OTC to this woman who was ready to feed her husband six cups of yogurt when they got home. I see her husband a few feet behind her. A large man with a grey beard wearing overalls and brown work boots. He picks up a tub of sour cream and studies the package like he's never seen it before.

"Oh," she looks down at the Activia. "Ok I buy this!" She walks away and begins to loudly state something to her husband, in her language. I can tell she wears the pants in the family. As his wife hurries over to the discounted grocery shelf, the old man puts the yogurt in their cart a with a look on his face as if he is saying, "Why can't I just take a Prilosec?"



-----------
Do old people ever approach you in grocery stores? I have plenty more stories where this one comes from. Let me know if you want to hear more.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

...No Texting While Driving!

You all know I very strongly advise against texting while driving.

Well, now I also strongly advise against this:


(Click image to view larger!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

...Mexican "Pizza"

Here's a photo recipe for you! Easy and fun, the Mexican pizza is a quick meal for all ages. Be creative and add your own ingredients.

What I used:
whole wheat tortilla
tempeh
vegetarian refried beans
red onion
sour cream
LaPreferida nacho cheese
salsa
chili powder

I began by slicing the tempeh into thin strips and frying it. Before I put it in the oil, I sprinkled on chili powder.



Spray your griddle with Pam. Spread beans on the tortilla and lay it down on the griddle. Keep it on low heat.



Add the cheese and toppings. I tried the La Preferida nacho cheese and wasn't so happy with it. I'd rather have used shredded cheese. It's up to you! (Also, layer order is up to you!)



Add on the tempeh. (Or, if you are a meat eater, grilled chicken or steak or shrimp!) Then cover it in salsa. To keep all layers warm, I put a pot cover over the entire thing on the griddle for a few minutes.




There's no science to figuring out when to take it off the stove. When you feel its hot enough, it is done! Then add sour cream, cut with a pizza cutter and enjoy!


Friday, October 9, 2009

...My Yellow Raincoat

Wow 2 blog posts, one right after the other, I'm on a roll. Actually the only purpose of this is to show off my bright shiny yellow raincoat.

Some of you loyal listeners may recall my post from April about a questionable homeless man on the train inquiring about my jacket: Read here.

As crappy as the photo is (thanks, PhotoBooth) it still shows off the coat's shiny cuteness.


Found at NY&Company last April on the clearance rack for $30. In this photo, it is paired with my green scarf from Ann Taylor Loft, also purchased on the clearance rack, for $4.99. (And the soy latte, which cost just a bit less than the scarf...!)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

...MOBY



-----------> p h o t o s <------------

Have any of you ever had one artist in particular that has touched your life in ways you cant explain? Plain and simple, Moby is that artist for me. I began to listen to his music in high school and for the first time in my life I was moved by songs. I kept following his music through college and it got me through some hard times. I'm not the typical kind of person who is into a bunch of music, and knows artists in and out. But I am that way with one artist and that is Moby. And for the first time last night, I got to see him perform live.


September 30, 2009. Chicago. The Vic. Then, afterward, he did a DJ set at Smart Bar. Wow. Just, wow. I got to the venue early so that I could have a front row spot. It was the most amazing experience. I cried when he came out on stage. Not to mention I'm going through a very hard, stressful time right now...it couldn't have happened at a better time.


He played all my favorites of course. Then on to Smart Bar for his DJ set..! This was more personal, because it was a small club and all that separated us was a 4 and a half foot tall DJ booth, which I did my best to stand on my toes and see him all night.

He took a short break. I followed him, along with a lot of other people actually. When he came back, he walked right in front of me. I touched him.

He was signing autographs as he was DJing at random moments. I borrowed someone's Sharpie and he signed my ticket....!!!!! I looked at him and he looked at me and for a moment we made eye contact. And all I could say was "I LOVE YOU". Pretty sure he couldn't tell what I said, it was so loud. (=


One of the most amazing times of my life. I will never forget this.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

...Battle of the Brands!


This is for the fashionistas out there! ShopItToMe.com is introducing a new kind of bracket I can actually get into. To hell with basketball, these brackets are all about style!

Presenting Shop It To Me Battle of the Brands! Each week for 5 weeks, pairs of Shop It To Me brands will go head to head. Your votes will determine the last brand standing.

Vote on your favorite brands and you could win Marc by Marc Jacobs accessories! We’re giving away a MBMJ wristlet, umbrella, and key fobs. On each Friday of the contest, we’ll conduct a random drawing from that week’s commenters and give away another accessory. So come back each week for 5 chances to win!


If you aren't a member yet, click the Shop it to Me icon on the sidebar of my blog, sign up, start commenting, and maybe you can be a winner! (And even if you don't win, at least you'll be surfing the net in style!)

For those who are already members, just click here to check out the first Battle of the Brands!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

...My Veggieversary!


August marks the two year anniversary for me being vegetarian. Its been a great two years and I don't plan on reverting any time soon! Hail vegetables!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

...a weekend at "home"

Most, if not all of the people I know in Chicago are not from here, and their family doesn't live here. When I go back to South Bend, Indiana, to visit my family though, I don't say, "I'm going home this weekend," because my home is now Chicago. I never really considered South Bend my home, either. I think though I was born in NY, I consider Ohio my home because it is where I grew up. I always thought of South Bend as a vehicle to get me where I am today. I never wanted to be there, but I am thankful it has brought me to Purdue, (I wanted to stay in-state for various reasons) and now that education and general knowledge of the working world brought me to Chicago. And I'd like to think Chicago is pretty permanent, for a few years anyway.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

(And hello to all my lurkers out there. Ryan, this means you.)

And here is the family cat, Misty. And a clever LOL caption.

Monday, July 27, 2009

...Global Visitors

I was just checking out my Google Analytics for this blog, and I noticed I had quite a few visitors from other countries.


(click image to view larger)

So, welcome everyone to my blog, I'm very glad you are reading! Drop me a comment if you are from another country. Maybe even in your language! Tell me who you are!

Friday, July 24, 2009

...New Haircut!


Haven't dyed it pink yet, but I chopped a lot off. Just thought I'd share! This is a photo I took using iMac's Photobooth program. Not the best, but you get the idea. Accompanied by a tall non-fat cafe misto. (And yes, I took napkins to use a oil-blotters!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

...Upgrades!

I recently bought an iMac! It was SUCH an upgrade from what I was using at home--a 12" iBook G4, purchased my junior year of college at Purdue, making it over six years old. Still just barely works.

Now I have a 24" iMac! Here are some photos of the old and the new...




Also with the iMac (which I purchased with the education discount thanks to my best friend Jackie who is a kindergarten teacher!) I got an iPod Touch. Apple has a promotion going on where you can get a couple different rebates with the purchase of an iMac, including a full rebate for the 8 gig iPod Touch. So that is what I got! The other (and only) iPod I had was the first generation iPod Nano, only 2 gig! I won that at my previous company's Christmas party a few years ago. I enjoy not paying for iPods!




The new computer required a new workspace, mainly so I could get it away from the window to prevent glare on the monitor. So I rearranged my room and redecorated it, too!



Give me ideas of what apps to download! I also need suggestions for where to buy a Wacom tablet at a discounted price. And for the near future, maybe some suggestions would be nice for a monitor color calibration system. Leave suggestions in the comments!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

...Summer Skin


A quick tip for those of us with shiny complexions:

Don't spend money on those little blue oil absorbing sheets anymore! The next time you're at a restaurant that gives out brown paper napkins, take a stack of them with you. (Cut in quarters if you want to make them portable, and hold together with a binder clip!) Instant oil absorber sheet, for free! In my oily Italian skin opinion, they work much better than the blue blotting sheets.

--> Did you also know that the blue sheets contain mineral oil? Why would you want to add oil to your face if you're trying to eliminate it? Starbucks napkins are made from 100% recycled fibers using a bleach free process. You can find that printed right on the napkins.

Give it a try and let me know how you like this alternative!

Friday, June 26, 2009

...Pride48.com


Most of my readers are well aware of Pride48.com, but I just wanted to remind all of you, and alert any new readers of this event.

Beginning tonight (Friday, June 26) at 7pm Eastern/6pm Central, visit Pride48.com and listen LIVE to podcasts of the GLBT community. Show your support and participate in the live chat rooms accompanying the broadcast!

Follow @Pride48 for updates on the live shows!

I would like to wish the city of Chicago a very happy pride weekend. I feel honored to be a part of such an open, liberal and accepting city!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

...ShopItToMe.com

I wrote this post because I was asked to be a guest blogger for ShopItToMe.com! You can view this post on their website by clicking here.

Shop It To Me has also featured this blog on their "Featured Trensetters" page!

If you aren't signed up with Shop It To Me, drop me a comment and I will send you an invite. If you're wondering what this is, here's an excerpt from their website:


What is Shop It To Me?
You can think of Shop It To Me as your free personal online shopper. Select your favorite apparel brands (such as Theory, Prada, Armani, Ella Moss, Juicy Couture, Seven Jeans, DKNY, or BCBG) and sizes. We'll scour the websites of leading retailers like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Banana Republic, Gap, Zappos and Bluefly and send you a Salemail™ - a daily or weekly email summary of which new items go on sale in your size.


Now, on with the post!


In the current trend of layer upon layer of drapey clothes and wedged, million-strap-strong shoes, accessorizing is so important to add the finishing touch to any outfit, no matter the occasion. Stack on the bracelets. Show off of your gold toe ring. But how does your necklace accent your neckline? Here are some basics to keep in mind:

Crew:
We've all had those t-shirt and jeans days, where we throw on our favorite plain crew neck. Ditch the plain Jane look and dress it up with long layered necklaces. Try something beaded so you can add little touches of color that accent the shirt.
For a lower crew neck (not as high as a crew, but not as deep as a scoop) try a dangly choker necklace.

Collared Button-Up:
If you are wearing a button up, collared shirt, consider wearing a couple shorter layered necklaces either under the shirt with the first button undone for a work look. Or, for an after-work look, try longer layered necklaces over the shirt with another open button and a camisole underneath.


V-Neck:
Choose a necklace that sits right above the V. Try a Y-shaped necklace that sits closer to the neck, or something with a bold pendant. If the V-neck is very deep, choose a longer necklace that follows the neckline. Remember that a necklace is an accent to your garment, not an invitation to your cleavage!


Scoop:
Try a larger necklace that fills up some of your declote. Make sure your top doesn't compete with the jewelry. Choose something less bold for a patterned shirt, and something bigger and more detailed for a solid.


Here are a few necklines in which I don't think necklaces work. In these cases, choose dangly earrings instead!
- Halter
- High cowl neck, or draped neck (Let the collar/drape make the statement!)
- One-shoulder tops (If you want something extra, try an upper arm cuff on the arm with the bare shoulder.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

...Space Monkeys?!


I usually refrain from sharing links on the internet but this one is worth everyone's while.

**Note!
I do not condone animal testing. I just think this is peculiar and strange and everyone should see these photos just for the pure fact of how bizarre they look.

National Geographic shared photos of the first chimps sent into space, which happened fifty years ago on May 28th.


Three chimpanzees named Duane, Jim, and Chu sit strapped into spacecraft cradles at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, in January 1961.

The chimps were among 75 trainees slated to ride into space before humans, to help researchers test the physiological and neurological stresses of space flight.

Friday, May 29, 2009

...My Trip to LA!

Finally, I bring you a log of my trip to LA! I went there from May 14th-May 19th and stayed with my long time friend Eric.

There are LOADS of photos on my Flickr site. Click on the "All Sizes" icon on any of those to see a super-sized view! Here's the breakdown:

Thursday 5/14
Arrive at 10am Pacific time.
My flight left Chicago at 6am Central time, which means I got up at 3:30am central to catch the cab at 4am. I was tired!

Eat at Pei Wei.
I was starving, and tired. Apparently this place is a chain, but it was yummy! And tofu everywhere.

Walk around Pasadena & Old Town
Eric lives in Pasadena, so he showed me around. Beautiful mountains everywhere. Old Town is a little area with shopping and restaurants, a nice place to walk around.

Nap
Yea, by about 5pm Pacific, I was DEAD tired.

Mediterranean food!
Perfect to have after a good nap, and a nice way to round out my first introductory day.


Friday 5/15
Visit Gnomon School of Visual Effects
This is where Eric works! It was really nice inside. I got a photo editing instructional DVD, thanks to sir Eric. (Thanks a BUNCH to sir Eric for that, actually!) Afterward, he took me to their occasional coffee stop next door at....Gold's Gym. Wow. I never wanted to leave a place so quickly in my life. haha!

Hollywood, star walk, autographs in cement..
Since we were in Hollywood already, we made this the Tour Hollywood Day. And everyone is right...its not all that glamorous. Its sort of run down. Sad almost. I was expecting Vegas, but I got Branson, Missouri. I got to see a lot of rummage stores, adult themed stores, multiple places that said "XXX NUDE!", and lots of magenta colored hair, as I mentioned in my previous blog post.


Farmer's market
There was a nice farmer's market in Hollywood with lots of places to shop, not just for fruit! It was a beautiful, hot sunny day. I enjoyed this area a lot. I also tried my first blood orange. YUM.

In & Out
Yes, I ate here. I had to. You all know I love a french fry. I also heard that on their "secret menu" they had "grilled cheese" which was really a burger without the burger. This thing had tons of fatty cheese and I think thousand island dressing? Well it also had lettuce, which made it healthy, right?? Of course it was followed by a massive amount of french fries. But I had water, I skipped the soda. Figured I'd give my body a "little" break!


Griffith Observatory/Planetarium
At dusk we headed back out to the Hollywood hills to go see the Griffith observatory. Its very high up and has a 360 degree view of all of Hollywood. Its amazing, you could see everything. It had a cool space museum inside, and a reallllly nice planetarium presentation that made us feel about as small as ants.


Saturday 5/16
Brunch w/Brian and Frank of the That's What She Said podcast
I was excited to meet the cast of the TWSS podcast! Christian wasn't able to attend, but I met up with Brian and Frank in Hollywood for some yummy food. They are really nice guys, to say the least.


Santa Monica beach & boardwalk, 3rd Street Promenade, Pinkberry
After lunch, we drove out to Santa Monica. I got to see the Pacific Ocean, finally! There was a touristy boardwalk. There was also a nice shopping/walking area called the Third Street Promenade. That is where I enjoyed my very first Pinkberry!




Sushi
So tired from all the stuff during the day, we laid low at night and had some vegetarian sushi at a little place in Pasadena.


Sunday 5/17
Burbank
Burbank is a nice little city. Very very clean. We walked around, saw the Cartoon Network building and had lunch. And sangria!



Malibu
We headed out to Malibu on the Pacific Coast Highway. It was so beautiful. I saw so many mansions in the hills and ocean, ocean, ocean! We stopped at a little area in Malibu where I've heard we might see some famous people..but no luck. But we did see some amazing views, once again.
On the way back to the Pasadena/LA area, driving along the PCH, I was looking out the window and saw dolphins jumping in the water!! I've never seen one before in the wild. This was reallllly exciting for me! I just wish I could have snapped a photo in time!
We parked the car and stopped for a little beach break. Too bad there wasn't any really good beach day, it was always overcast and a bit chilly down by the shore.




Rodeo Drive, paparazzi
We drove down Rodeo. And we didn't get out! We were sweaty and gross from being outside all day. I don't think they would have let us walk around like that, haha! We saw an Audi R8, which costs around $110,000...eh, no biggie, right?
As we were just about to turn onto Rodeo, I spotted a group of paparazzi crowded around *someone* at a restaurant. There were so many paparazzi, I couldn't see who the famous person was!


Pizza
So exhausted from walking so much and being such tourists, we ordered a pizza and watched Ren & Stimpy on DVD. I went to bed early!


Monday 5/18
Little Tokyo, China Town
Walked around Little Tokyo and China town. I bought rice crackers, Eric bought an action figure robot thing, go figure. Again I ate Pinkberry. (It doesn't get old) It was a cute area in downtown LA, but not everything was open because it was a Monday.

Huntington Gardens in Pasadena
In Pasadena there's about 200 reserved acres of gardens and museums and a library. There was so much at Huntington, one could really spend all day here. Being the designers we are, we really wanted to see the oldest bible on record in the museum, from the 1400s. Its one of the fist printed books in existence today!
We also walked through the gardens. My favorite was the cactus area! It was a nice way to spend a sunny day and see some pretty vegetation that is native to California. (And some awesome olllddd books!)




Vegetarian Thai Food on Melrose
For dinner I really wanted to eat at the all-vegetarian/vegan Thai place on Melrose. It was SO good. I even took my leftovers on the plane with me the next day.
This place is in the same area where Lauren Conrad works at People's Revolution. (MTV's The Hills! hehe)...and yes, I made Eric drive around the block after dinner just so I could snap this photo! What can I say, I'm an obsessed fan!


Sunday 5/19
My last day here.
I had to leave for the airport at 1, so in the morning I helped Eric grocery shop. The poor boy goes out to eat practically every meal. He wanted to know "stuff to buy that I can like, make myself, maybe?"

We walked around Old Town a little bit before I left. It was bright and sunny as usual! Afterward we had lunch at Panera, then it was off to LAX.

I had a fun time. But unlike Northern California, I just can't see myself living there. Its very spread out. Unless you're in the really rich areas, LA is kind of...dare I say dirty? The outskirts like Burbank and Pasadena are nice though. I'd like to go back and see Orange County and San Diego.



Don't forget to check out all the photos, in their full-size glory at my Flickr site!