Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Featured on ETSY!

I got a convo on Etsy from Mills Design Co. saying she featured my shop on her Treasury!

I didn't know what that meant but I was excited anyways. I did a little poking around and learned that treasuries on are "member curated shopping galleries".

Sounds good to me! She featured a pair of shoes from my shop alongside some of her site-wide favorites. It's totally awesome! Check it Out!!!!!

Rock N' Roll Clothing Swap

Amid the plethora of spreadsheets and expense reports I sometimes can find time in my busy work schedule to peruse fashion articles and blogs on the internet.
Several weeks ago I stumbled upon this blog post which led me to this website which led me to this article.
My bud Kristie and I had been throwing around the idea of having a clothes swap party but just never got it off the ground....that is, until I read all the swap-erific literature the webz has to offer!
I quickly put together a list of girlfriends and sent out an evite. We had a turn-out of 10 which was actually quite ideal.

The rules were as follows:
-Everyone must bring a minimum of 5 articles of clothing, shoes, accessories etc
-Everyone also brings a snack or a boozy bottle of sorts
-We all drew numbers to determine our "picker" order - numbers were re-drawn for each round
-We went in order of our numbers and chose from the pile what we wanted to claim as our own!

That's it! So simple yet so effing awesome! Everyone had a blast and we were able to trade in some of our closet clutter for some new treasures!
It has already been determined that this swap is going to be a bi-annual event..... I kinda can't wait until February!!!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

CA State Fair 2010

It is that time of year again, time to strap on the walking shoes, comfy shorts and sun screen and head to the California State Fair for a day of pigs, rides and food. Not necessarily in that order. In fact, first order of the day was food. The Ol’ Man and I started the fair right, arriving just as the gates opened to the public and heading straight for the food promenade. We shared a world famous county fair cinnamon bun, complete with cream cheese frosting. It was so gooey and delicious that I wanted another one right away. Listening to my smarter sub-conscience, I decided not to.

After being chased by animatronic dinosaurs, we headed to the livestock nursery where we saw a calf that had just been born only four hours earlier. We also got a close look at the baby piggies. There was no one on “petting duty” so I did not get to hold one, but I sure do love their cute little piggy butts!

On our way back to the main food court, we wandered through the wine tent. Normally, there is this hokey fake jungle that fits the theme for the year. I always like to go through it and pretend I am a part of what ever adventure lies within. This year, however, we had our socks blown out of our asses when we wandered into the view of a real life anaconda. Holy poop, it was huge! The thing was no less than 15 feet, and maybe more, since we couldn’t actually see the whole body. There were also giant turtles and enormous boa constrictors. There were so many different varieties of snakes, I couldn’t remember them all.

The reptile excursion left us hungry for something deep fried. I found the perfect food stand and ordered deep fried cheese curds. Now, I’d never had a cheese curd, so my mouth was pleasantly surprised to have such a horribly delicious treat. Craig found the jumbo corn dog stand, and we were set for a few hours.

We wandered around for the rest of the day, checking out the gadgets in the retail expo buildings and admiring the pencil drawings of that kid from Twilight at the high school art exhibits. Another favorite area for me is the “Fur and Feathers” building. I love the giant, floppy-eared bunnies and the exotic Japanese black chickens. This year, I fell in love with the Peruvian Guiney pigs. I’m seriously thinking about raising one myself. Maybe I’d even show it at next year’s State Fair. That is if my stupid cat doesn’t eat it first.

After we visited every exhibit, ogled every farm animal and scoped out every souvenir we hit the food stands one last time for an ear of roasted corn and a root beer float. State Fair: done! I’m going back again, at least two more times. I have to do my “pick-up” days. That’s when I go back for the fair food I didn’t have room to fit in my stomach, the rides I was too tired to stand in line for, and the crash-em-up derby that is only on the last two days of the fair.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Etsy Strikes Again

While wasting away hours of my time on Etsy, I came across an adorable store called Do-Rah Designs. This store specializes in handcrafted purses, satchels and bags. I myself am not a purveyor of such womanly novelties, but what did catch my eye was a reusable lunch tote. Now, I’ve already got a cute little reusable lunch bag, complete with a lovable panda bear, al-la Hello Kitty style. The problem with mine is the size. I can pretty much only fit a sandwich, a baggie of chips and a package of instant oatmeal. That’s it, nothing more. So, whenever I try to bring something interesting for lunch, or if I want something like a banana, I’ve got no room! I have to put the additional food items in my purse. Since I ride my bike to work, that can be a problem. I’ve actually lost parts of my lunch along the Sacramento River bike path, true story.

So, when I came across the handmade lunch totes from Do-Rah Designs, I was ecstatic. I found the perfect sized lunch bag, and it is adorable to boot! I bought it right away. The lunch totes are $18, but well worth the cost. They are sturdy and well-

Do-Rah Designs is based in Elk Grove, so I’m buying local as well! Now, I’ll no longer be forced to decide which parcel of food to stuff into my tiny sack. I’ll no longer have to hide my sweet treats at the bottom of my purse, risking the possibility of either getting chocolate all over my wallet, or lipstick all over my pastry. My new and super-cute lunch tote is big enough to fit it all. But it is still small enough to look like a lunch bag.

If you are interested in a handmade, reusable lunch bag that will make you the envy of all your craft loving co-workers, check out Do-Rah Designs on Etsy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Camping Instax

Here's a couple of Instax photos I nabbed from the weekend..

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nerd Camp V

Every year, a group of our friends gets together for a weekend-long camping trip. We call it Nerd Camp. In 2005, the first year we did this, there were 10 of us, and the original intent was to play a game of Dungeons & Dragons while camping. The game never took place, but getting together and eating, drinking and sleeping our butts off did. Now, five years later and with twice as many attendees, Nerd Camp has become a three-day party tradition. Nerds and non-nerds alike converge on an unsuspecting state park and proceed to wreck havoc on approximately one acre of protected woodlands. When we leave, we leave behind no trace of our existence.

We have never camped in the same spot twice. At first, I was trying to find us the perfect spot. Stumpy Meadows was infested with mosquitoes, Black Butte was too hot and had no trees, Salt Point was too cold (for me), Clear Lake just sucked all around. Now, I think I’m just on a pilgrimage to visit the group site of every State Park in California.

This Year, we stayed at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park in Calistoga, so far, my personal favorite. Even though it got pretty warm during the day, it was a beautiful spot with lots of trees and hiking trails. The nights cooled down to a pleasant temperature and we were not harassed by park rangers for being too loud, which we were.

Kortnee and I and our respective dudes showed up at the campsite first, picked the perfect spots, and commenced with the drinking. As the camping crew trickled in, so did the revelry. The only thing we managed to accomplish on the first day was setting up camp, drinking and eating- exactly the way it should be.Andy slaved over a hot grill for hours and produced the perfect New York Strip for 10+ carnivores. I made a pot of vegetarian chili and Kortnee made her famous Campfire Balls. Of course, no camping trip is complete without the obligatory S’ more. My Ol’Man toasts the marshmallow to perfection! He is a S’ more aficionado.

The next day was Saturday. We woke up late and ate a delicious breakfast of French toast with Brioche and fresh fruit that our foodie friend Taryn made, num. While ccoking up eggs and bacon for the meat eaters, Andy experimented with heating up some leftover stake in the bacon fat. He called it Stakon. It was absolutely delicious.

After an appropriate level of relaxing, we decided to hit the trail for a hike. We trekked a short distance to the pioneer cemetery where we saw a collapsed gravesite. Creepy! Then, we headed to the nearby Bale Grist Mill. The mill is a cute place to go if you have kids, but not much of a destination point otherwise. Our hike was a total of approximately one mile and we were hot and hungry when we arrived back at the camp.

A group of the guys hiked their own trail. They called it the Keg March. They walked a total of 7 miles, 3.5 at a steep incline, with a “mini-keg” of Heineken. The point was to climb to the top and back, all while finishing off the mini-keg. Mission Accomplished. They were back four hours later with sunburns and buzzes.

Our friend, Rochelle celebrated her birthday on Saturday, and seeing as how we were not able to be with her, Kortnee came up with the brilliant idea to have the guys send her a very special birthday greeting.

After a lunch of Taryn’s grilled veggie Panini and a lazy afternoon of beer and dice games (or Munchkin), we decided to head to the public pool to cool off. After all, we were covered in sweat and dirt and we needed a place to clean up. The Napa Valley State Park has a public pool on its premises and since that is the only body of water nearby, it makes for a nice afternoon swim. We waded around in the deep end until closing time, and rinsed off at the free pool shower. Once we were cool and relaxed, we cooked up homemade pizza on the grill for dinner and finished off the night with more relaxing, drinking and campfire conversation. Oh, and S’ mores too.

Unfortunately, check-out time at California State Parks is noon, so you barely have time to heat up some coffee, make breakfast and drink one last beer before you have to pack up and go. This time, we managed to close up shop and disappear in record time, 20 campers worth of crap was taken down and packed into cars in one hour and fifteen minutes. Way to go everyone!

Nerd Camp V was a huge success, and I am already scoping out the perfect site for next year. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.

Good Night Camping.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Snack for Summer Fun

The Ol’ Man and I went to Texas recently for a week of fast and loud music. While in the lovely town of Austin, we patronized many-a-restaurant and sampled their fine wares. Something I noticed is that they always offered queso dip with chips the way you would be offered salsa at a Mexican restaurant in California. It was just normal to have queso all the time. Now, where I come from, this lavish cheese delicacy is too precious to just throw around all willy-nilly, so to see it so prevalent throughout the South Western Region was a treat and a half, to say the least. Ever since our trip to Austin, I have been craving the warmed, spicy delight.

I came across this easy queso recipe while reading Confections of a Foodie Bride. I enjoy food blogs. I absolutely love looking at pictures of food, and food bloggers have a knack for making their dishes look like edible works of art. Confections of a Foodie Bride is a blog where you find fairly easy recipes for really delicious treats. Shawnda’s “Not-So-Easy Queso Dip” (So-named because you don’t just dump a can of RoTel© into a bowl of warmed cheese) was not only easy to prepare, but heavenly to devour.

Don’t be dismissive of the need for Velveeta instead of cheese. It is surprisingly tasty when mixed with all of the other yummy, flavorful ingredients. Shawna recommends Velveeta because it is the only cheese she has worked with that melts with the right consistency.

I also recommend being wary of your cilantro levels. I love cilantro, but felt that a quarter of a cup was just a tad overpowering for my taste. However, my snacking companions all disagreed with my diagnosis, so who knows.

Here is the recipe, straight from Confections of a Foodie Bride:

Not-So-Quickie Queso
8 oz Velveeta, cut into large cubes
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1/2 cup white or yellow onion, diced small
1-2 large jalapeno peppers, diced (~1/4 cup, I leave the seeds in)
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Pinch of salt
Dash of cayenne

Place Velveeta and milk in a medium bowl and set aside.
Heat oil in sauce pan over medium-high. Saute onions and peppers until the onions are translucent. Pour over Velveeta. Microwave for 60-90 seconds at a time, stirring until melted and thoroughly combined. Stir in tomatoes, cilantro, salt and cayenne. Serve hot with chips of your choice or warm flour tortillas.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Coastal Delight- California Style

This past weekend, the Ol’ Man (Craig) and I headed to San Francisco for pizza and record shopping. We both scored great finds, spent way too much on vinyl and ate till our tummies hurt. We spent so much time rummaging around in Amoeba Music's treasures that we didn’t save time for any touristy fun (I kinda wanted to hit Ghirardelli Square). Instead, we made the trek to Santa Rosa by way of Highway 1. I know that is exactly not the way to Santa Rosa from San Francisco, but I really wanted to spend some time along the California Coast.

We stopped at Muir Beach to see the sights. It was beautiful, albeit overcast and chilly. We watched the tide roll in and adventured around until I spotted a starfish on one of the rocks. Oh, happy day! We also came across a huge rope that looks like it may have, at one time, tied a pretty big ship to an anchor, or possibly a lady to a railroad track.

After stopping at Muir Beach, we traveled along the Coast, past Point Reyes, until we hit Highway 12 and headed inland to Santa Rosa, where my dear friend Matt resides. We arrived just in time for burgers at Phyllis’ Giant Burgers and then caught the late showing of Predators. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Cheesy and fun and full of explosions, just the way I like my action films. The Ol’ Man had a lower opinion of the movie than I, but I think it’s because his expectations were so high. Predator is one of his favorite movies, you know.

The next morning, we headed to the Parkside CafĂ© for breakfast. I ordered a two-egg breakfast. I truly regret not taking a picture of my meal before devouring it. The sausage was the longest I’ve ever seen, at least five inches in length! Breakfast was delicious, and it hit the spot. Off to the Sonoma Coast!

Our drive to the Sonoma Coastline took us past various beautiful beaches and landed us at Wright’s Beach. Matt took some amazing pictures. Craig and I took naps. We took off our shoes and took in the sun. On the way back to the car, we decided it would be better to leave our shoes off so that we could avoid getting more sand in them, big mistake. We ran like desert lizards across the blistering sand. At one point, Craig was up ahead and fast approaching what looked like cooler sand. I shouted to him to confirm whether that was true. “No!” he shrieked in a little girl’s voice, “It’s a billion times hotter!” I’m still giggling about that one.

The rest of our day consisted of a visit to Bodega Dunes to check out the campgrounds and a stop off at Patrick’s Salt Water Taffy Shop where I bought a pound of delicious taffy, in various flavors. We visited an amazing taqueria in Sebastopol called Taqueria El Favorito, and watched a few episodes of Robotech before heading home.

I had yet another amazing weekend, thanks to friends, records, and the beach. Next weekend: camping in Napa Valley. I wish the summer would never end!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Camping; Arizona Style

We arrived at the airport just in time to discover that our flight was delayed… two and a half hours. It only takes two hour to get to Arizona! We posted up and watched the sun set on Sacramento. The rest of the weekend was a hot blur. To bed at 2:00 AM, up at 6:00 AM, Mom’s graduation in the sweltering Phoenix heat, racing off to the camp site in Flagstaff. Flagstaff Arizona is MUCH cooler by the way.

The camping spot was interesting. It is part of the Luke Air Force Base. Fort Tuthill is only usable by military personnel. The benefit to that is the place is clean and well-maintained. The downside is that it felt less like camping and more like spending the night at a middle school. The scenery was beautiful and the sites were more than generous. But there were streetlights everywhere. I’ve never been camping where there were so many artificial lights! There was also a playground and a small hotel within the campsite. Weird, right?

We ate lots of good food and plenty of beer. There were no critters hiding out in our tent and the critters around the campfire were Ron’s adorable grandchildren (Hooded Rescuers Unite!). We had great conversation and my ever-lovin’ man, Craig, even drove a boat!

The one thing I discovered on this camping trip is that, no matter where you are, or who you are with, camping is the most awesome thing in the whole, wide world.