Friday, June 28, 2013

The Society for Creative Anachronism

My boyfriend is a member of the Society of Creative Anachronism. Recently, a commercial produced about the Society ended up in the top ten for a competition and the finished product is available for use as a promotional video for the group. I wanted to share it because I'm especially giddy that it was filmed in our area and features my boyfriend's brother!



If you have a chance to go to an event in your area, DO IT! I've met some wonderful people in my time with the SCA and I've experienced new things at events. Much better than just going to a Renaissance festival.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Update: My Life

Things have just been so incredibly busy lately I haven't been able to post on my blog. I was hired to work in a call center last March and I've been there ever since. My boyfriend also got hired at a new job, so needless to say we went from having just one minimal income in the house to having enough extra cash to put into savings. I was also able to purchase my first laptop computer EVER with a portion of my tax return.

Things have been going well and I've been feeling incredibly blessed. I don't know if anyone is actually reading, but I'll try and post more here soon when I have another opportunity. :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Glade Expressions® Collection



I have an adorable cat named Yoda. Like most pet owners, one thing I can't stand is the smell of his litterbox. But I recently picked up the Glade Expressions® Collection starter kits for their new Frangrance Mist and Oil Diffuser (both in Pineapple and Mangosteen scents) and it's made a BIG difference. The first thing I noticed was the diffuser itself:



The packaging is really a change from the average "reeds in a jar full of oil" that you find with most diffusers. The minute I clicked the cartridge into the oil chamber, I could smell the pineapple scent, even a few rooms away.

The packaging for the fragrance mist is also a huge boost from the typical spray can of air freshener. The mist comes in a white plastic case with the mist can concealed inside. You can buy different refills and change them with a simple twist of the casing bottom. The scents include:

► Pineapple & Mangosteen
► Cotton & Italian Mandarin
► Fuji Apple & Cardamom Spice
► Lavendar & Juniper Berry

I've had the kits for about a month now. The only downside is that the fragrance in the diffuser wears off after a couple of weeks. If you're looking for lingering scent, try using candles. However, the room spray is great for a burst of freshness.

Note: I received information and samples about Filippo Berio olive oil through BzzAgent.com for the purpose of writing this blog. I did not receive any further product or premium, nor was I paid to write this review/blog post. By posting this blog, I am fulfilling one of my obligations as a BzzAgent for this campaign.

Five Question Friday - Welcome Fall!

1. What is one grammar issue you cannot let go without correction? I'm not really OCD about grammar.

2. What's your favorite thing about fall? I love EVERYTHING about Fall - the colors of the leaves, the cooler temperatures, and especially apple cider season!

3. What's your favorite dish to take to a potluck?It depends on the season. For summer BBQs, I normally take crab salad with crab meat, macaroni, peas, and ranch dressing. In the fall, I take pumpkin gooey butter cake. I also like pepperoni pizza puffs.

4. When do you start Christmas (Holiday) shopping? I buy small things year-round but I usually start a couple of months in advance.

5. Did you move homes a lot growing up? Moved to a lot of homes but pretty much stayed in the same area. I've only lived in three states - New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What do you enjoy doing the most with your spouse? My boyfriend and I are big Doctor Who fans, so we love watching the show together. We also love books, so we're comfortable just sitting around our living room with a book or our Kindles in our hands.

2. How do you eat your taco? From the top or from the side? I eat my taco from the side.

3. Have you ever shut off the basement light and ran like a fool because you knew someone was down there and would get you? LOL Yes.

4. If you could change one thing about you what would it be and why? If I could change one thing about me, I think it would be my skin. It's all over the place. My face is oily, my feet and legs are dry, and the rest of me is...I don't even know. I don't like lotion cause it feels so greasy. So it would just be easier to get my skin balanced.

5. What age do you think is appropriate to have the "bird and the bees" talk with your children? I got "the talk" when I was about 10 or 11, plus age-appropriate sex education starting in 6th grade and all the way through high school. Granted, it wasn't as comprehensive as some kids get these days, but it still existed.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. If you could have been (could be) any profession you wanted (brains and $$$ no problem) what would it be? When I was in high school, I wanted to be a journalist but now I would either want to be a courtroom stenographer, an ASL interpreter, or a victim advocate/counselor for abused children.

2. How often do you clean out your car? I don't have a car, so I don't clean one at all.

3. Do you wish there was such a thing as fashion police or are you deeply relieved? I'm deeply relieved. I don't put much thought into what I wear besides a) is it clean?, b) does it at least match okay?, and c) does it fit right? - other than that, I just couldn't care less.

4. What's your go to food/drink/activity when stressed? When I'm stressed, I usually have a 3 Musketeers bar or a Snickers with a tall glass of Arizona Arnold Palmer. As for activity, I usually go online and just browse or I read books on my Kindle.

5. If you had twins, what would you name them? Not sure. I always liked Piper for a girls name and Jackson for a boys name. I don't think names have to match with twins anymore. That seems so cliche.

Obama by the Numbers


Click on the picture for the whole story...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What's the one thing you buy every time you walk into the store? Some kind of beverage. Even if it's juice, tea, sparkling water, soda...I always coming out of a gas station or grocery store with a drink.

2. If you had a day all to yourself how would you spend it? Usually when I have all day to myself, I catch up on the TV shows I missed during the week, read a bit, use the computer, listen to music, or run errands. It all depends on how tired I've been over the past week.

3. Are you a speed limit driver? If not, over or under? I don't drive, but I don't mind if people drive a bit over the speed limit on the highway when I'm riding with them.

4. What's your favorite dessert to make, homemade or from a mix?? I love making Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake (Paula Dean's recipe). I only make it once a year and I make it from scratch even though it calls for cake mix and pumpkin pie filling as two of the ingredients.

5. Would you rather have a spider or a mouse scurry across your face (no copping out and saying "neither!!")? Probably a mouse because little furry things don't bother me as much as bugs with spindly legs.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. What do you keep a stock pile of? I have a stock pile of pens. I love writing and I always wanna make sure I have one on hand, even if I don't have a piece of paper handy.

2. If Ben & Jerry asked you to invent an ice cream, what would it be? Probably Dirty Brownie ice cream with brownie batter chunks, chocolate and caramel swirl, and cookie dough bites in chocolate/peanut butter ice cream.

3. How do you blow off steam? When I come home from work, I usually get on the computer and check Twitter, Facebook, and my email. Then I sometimes watch something on TV or play a game on XBox 360 before going to bed. When I'm in a lull at work (and since we can't use the internet for personal use), I color pictures from coloring books. As childish as it seems, it's a great stress-reliever to me because it reminds me of a time when I had little more to worry about other than nap time and finger painting.

4. What would you do if you had an hour to yourself anywhere within a ten mile radius of your home...no kids, no hubby, just you? I'd just go for a walk.

5. When you were 16, what was your curfew in the summertime? My curfew was 11 p.m. I was usually home by then anyway because there really wasn't much to do past 9 p.m. where I lived.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Get Cooking with Filippo Berio!


I love to cook and I'm always finding new ways to change recipes to suit my needs. In the beginning of May, I had emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder, which has since led to changes in my diet. No more greasy, fried foods and very little fat. Being a girl who loves bacon, it's a little hard for me to adjust, but I've found a way to cook more healthfully, and that's with Filippo Berio olive oils. What are the benefits of olive oil?

-High in monosaturated fats (aka "good fats)
- Contains no trans fat or cholesterol
- Contains no sugar, salt, or gluten
- Can help reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as well as help control blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Olive oil is a great substitute for butter in cooking and baking. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of butter or margarine, you only need 3/4 teaspoon of olive oil.

I tried a recipe courtesy of Filippo Berio for Broken Spaghetti with Shrimp. This recipe serves 8 people, but I reduced the amount of ingredients to about half, which provided dinner and leftovers for the next day.

Broken Spaghetti with Shrimp

INGREDIENTS

- 1 teaspoon (or more) dried, hot, red pepper flakes
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled (I used pre-minced garlic I bought at the grocery store - about two teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves (omitted because I didn't have any available)
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Salt to taste
- 1 pound frozen medium-size cooked shrimp, defrosted
- 2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 cup frozen chopped broccoli or spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry (I used fresh spinach because that's what I had on hand)
- 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 pound spaghetti or other long pasta, broken in half
- 1/4 cup reserved cooking water
- Coarse black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Mince the red pepper flakes, garlic, parsley, and mint together. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, Stir in the zest and lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Toss the shrimp in the mixture and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.

2. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. (I used a wok; it worked just as well.) When the oil is hot, stir in the shrimp and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the broccoli or spinach and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 1 minute longer. Keep the mixture warm.

3. After draining the spaghetti, add it to the shrimp along with the reserved water and reheat quickly until everything is hot. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.

You can find this recipe and other great recipes at filippoberio.com!

As you can see from this picture, the shrimp had a beautiful golden texture, thanks in part to the olive oil:



Olive oil can be used for just about anything from making your own salad dressings to creating marinades for chicken and steak to enhancing the flavor of roasted vegetables. Filippo Berio even has a recipe for Dark Chocolate Souffle using their olive oil. I can personally say I've been using Filippo Berio for years but due to my new lifestyle change, I'll be using it almost every day now.

Note: I received information and samples about Filippo Berio olive oil through BzzAgent.com for the purpose of writing this blog. I did not receive any further product or premium, nor was I paid to write this review/blog post. By posting this blog, I am fulfilling one of my obligations as a BzzAgent for this campaign.

Friday, April 20, 2012

5 Question Friday

It's been a while since I've been able to post my 5QF answers but since I've started my new job, I've been so busy! I get home after 5 p.m. each night and I just feel like vegging out on the couch. Thank God I have an incredibly helpful and understanding boyfriend...and weekends with free time that I can spend with him!

1. Groceries are high right now what is easiest way you have found to cut back? Coupons are always great. I also try to spread my shopping to various area stores. I know which places have quality meats, produce, bread, and non-perishable goods at decent prices.

2. What are the top 3 things on your "bucket list"? a) Become a published author. b) Go to England. c) Overcome a fear.

3. Would you rather give up AC or heat? I'd rather give up heat. I can curl up with my boyfriend and a pile of blankets but God help anyone if my AC goes on the fritz!

4. What's your favorite cocktail?? It's something of my own creation - Red Zeppelin red wine + Sprite. I also like absinthe + Sprite or absinthe + white grape flavored sparkling water.

5. What was your first job & how old were you? When I was somewhere around 13/14, I had my first job as a bus boy (well, girl) at a restaurant when I lived in Lake Geneva, WI. It was our job to take the orders out to the tables for the servers to serve them and also clear the tables when the patrons left. I got in trouble once because one of the waitresses wasn't around to serve the customers and I didn't want their food to get cold just sitting there, so I served them. I didn't spill anything or break any dishes, but apparently there's some special training the waitresses had to go through or something and plus that affected tips (since we got a share of what the waitresses were tipped). I didn't get fired or anything. I worked there for a month or so to earn spending money for my summer vacation that year.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN - PART 2 - Teaser Trailer Sneak Peek



Of course the studio isn't going to give a whole lot (yet), but man, that was good while it lasted! LOL

The full trailer for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is going to be available in just a few days with showings of The Hunger Games.

Pizza Grilled Cheese

Here's a great idea for a snack or tasty lunch - Pizza Grilled Cheese. There are only a few ingredients you'll need, and it takes no time at all to prepare.

1 loaf pre-sliced Italian bread (I picked this up from the fresh bakery in my grocery store.)
1/2 pound sliced Provolone cheese
1 pkg. sliced pepperoni (Don't worry, you're not using the whole package)
Butter or margarine

Preheat your oven to 350°F. On an unlined cookie sheet, butter four slices of bread and lay them on the cookie sheet, butter side down. Split a slice of provolone cheese in half and lay each half on the bread. Add as much pepperoni as you'd like and top with another slice of provolone (split in half, as the first was). Repeat this process until the eight slices of bread (each buttered on the outside) become four sandwiches. Bake on middle rack for 5-10 minutes (depending on how dark you'd like your bread toasted). Flip each sandwich, then bake for another 5-10 minutes. Cut into 1/2 or cut into 1/4 strips. Serve with pizza sauce on the side for dipping.

I wish I had a picture of the finished product, but I made it a few days ago and it was gobbled down. My boyfriend raved about it. Baking/toasting for 5 minutes on each side leaves it lightly golden with a nice crunch. I'm going to try leaving it in the oven just a few minutes more next time.

This variation of grilled cheese would make a perfect after school snack for kids or a nice simple lunch on a Saturday afternoon. Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Five Question Friday

1. Will you run to the store or to pick up a kid looking a mess? If I'm running errands, I at least least make sure I'm showered. I don't need to put on makeup when I'm running errands but if I feel like it, I usually do.

2. Do you finish a book if it's boring or you don't like it? I don't usually finish a book if I'm not enjoying it. That's why I usually get books at the library before I consider buying one to add it to my collection.

3. Beach or mountain vacations? I used to live near a beach and I loved it, but I've never really seen mountains. I'd love to visit Colorado or Montana someday.

4. What thing/event says "winter will end and spring is right around the corner" to you? In 2004, I visited Washington, D.C. during the week of the Cherry Blossom Festival. The fragrance was just divine. Things like that remind me that spring is on its way.

5. Would you prefer couples or family vacation? John and I don't have any children right now and while it's nice for us to spend time alone together, I love spending time with our families, too.