Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloweeeeeen!!

  I have been seeing a lot of cute Halloween treats floating around online lately, mostly for parties, but one that I did try was holiday shaped french toast. Michael and I bought a big box of 100 cookie cutters back during Full Sail and I barely ever use them. Cookies taste the same no matter what shape they are in, ha. But I did pull some out last week to make cute little french toasts. (I ate the bat! And the one on the left is the profile of a witch head.) Although it might have made the picture look better, and the french toast taste better, I didn't feel like "wasting" my money on syrup.
  Then today we carved our pumpkins. We've been a bit behind on the actual Halloween day activities since Michael has been busy all month, working on the low budget horror feature, but he is done now! Michael thinks that California pumpkins are more stringy than Florida pumpkins. Or maybe it's just that we haven't carved pumpkins in the past 3 years, so we don't remember? Michael ran some errands and when he got home, we sat on the front porch as the sun went down.
 I had printed out a Captain America stencil, but then laughed at the thought of putting that much effort into a pumpkin that we will probably throw out on Tuesday when the trash guys come. So I made this simple one with vampire teeth. We still had fun, but we're still debating whether to bake the pumpkin seeds with garlic salt the way my mom told me about when she did it the other day.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dorothy & Sasha

  What better time than Halloween Eve to dust off the ol' Dorothy dress. But let's be honest, I actually wore it this past Saturday! ;) I plan to wear the dress to work tomorrow night, but it's only me and Scott working, so I got permission to wear it on Saturday that way Rochelle and Amber could see it too. But to make it work appropriate I wore black tights and black flats, along with a white long sleeve shirt. I learned today that the Ruby Slippers are quite snug on my feet.
                                                 ^^ These are our Kansas photos. ^^
  Sasha was a decent sport, as usual, and she would run to me when I called her- as long as she wasn't distracted by a cat climbing the back fence. I used the side of the tool shed to put together some silly bits- getting the whole scene in order. And now I have spent the past three hours tweaking these few photos to make them juuust right! Hopefully I'll still have an hour or two to sleep before work. Oh, how we arrange our priorities.
  I was clicking on some editing effects that I had never used before on PicMonkey. They have a whole cloud section, so what you see above was the beautiful outcome of my Munchkinland scene. I believe the yellow part at the bottom was supposed to be part of the sunrise. Once again I had the camera set up to take ten pictures at once- and there were some very dramatic outtakes! Haha. And yes, I did have the "Wizard of Oz on Ice" soundtrack blasting through the house while I got ready. The Jitterbug is always my favorite, but I can never get enough of the Intro music either.
  I quite liked the logs and leaves in the background with all of Ruth's green ivy flowing over the fence. Even the rusted parts of her garage added pops of color to the photos! Who knew? And of course I couldn't end the photo shoot without a selfie!
   ** PS ~ my talented Mommy sewed this dress for me about ten years ago. Xoxo!!
  Michael had a half day/ half night shoot today, from 2pm-2am. But turns out that it's his last day, when I thought it was tomorrow. I haven't mentioned before, but the "goat movie" is actually called Where the Devil Dwells, and I've linked their IMDb page for you.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blue Freckles

  I've been posting these double pictures on Facebook lately, showing what I ate for one of my meals that day, along with what I wore to get my exercise. I thought it would be cool to look back and remember "the times when I did 20 laps a day" around the school or the neighborhood block just slightly to the North. According to Google Maps saying that each lap is a distance of 0.4 miles, 20 laps equals eight miles. But that quickly got boring. The following day I struggled to do 15, and stuck with 5 interval laps- a mix of power walking and jogging- the next days after that. But the "Blue Freckles" title has to do with how I would bring a Sharpie pen with me and each lap, put a dot on the top of my hand, to keep track of how many laps I had done. I am more likely to keep going if I take breaks at least between every five laps/ two miles.
  In the first picture I made scrambled eggs and enjoyed some pears. I set off for my 20 laps on a morning after work. I think it was only 59 degrees, but with the wind, it feels much colder. I've been wrapping scarves around my neck lately- even inside! The next day I made a "skinny" version of McDonald's sausage, egg and cheese bagel! To make it "skinny", I did not add cheese or whatever kind of mayo stuff they use. I only used the bottom half of the Everything bagel, and cut that in half. The meat is lean turkey sausage. It tasted really good (and guilt free!), especially with the regular mustard drizzled on top. The oranges are from our orange tree. I don't think they are in season though. They didn't taste as orange-y as I thought they should.
   I have been going back to doing the 30 Day Shred again (Level One), hence the above pictured hot bod. I definitely noticed that it does feel different doing those exercises now at my current weight, or what I often refer to as "my wedding weight" (which I have happily maintained for the past month). Probably because when I started in the second week of August, I was mainly burning the fat off, and now I'm building muscles. That's most likely why my thighs and glutes felt so sore the past few days- in a good, strong way!
  The meal above is left overs from our Chili's date on Friday- its the Bacon Jack Grilled Chicken, with mushrooms and avocado. I wanted to go to that Chili's in Encino again before we move (in 22 days!!) since it was the first place we ate at when we flew out here to Los Angeles, in November of last year. But also because it's yummy. They have added a lot of new menu items over the past year and Michael loves their Classic Nachos. But the meal with steamed broccoli is definitely something I would want to try making myself. It's on my Birmingham To-Cook list! Along with spinach lasagna. ;) The turkey wraps (below) were brought in to work by Amber. Those were very tasty too.
  Fridays have been my favorite days for the past few months- and Michael's least favorite days (financially speaking). I tend to go shopping on the day I get paid, before Michael has a chance to "steal" my alarm company paycheck money for bills. This time my splurge was on athletic shoes. I only had two pairs, and I will admit that two is enough, but I wanted pretty, colorful ones. Target didn't have any good ones, but there was a rainbow over the Payless in the same parking lot and I was able to score four pairs of shoes for a total of $50, with their BOGO deal, on top of their sales. So the blue and green shoes were the "high" price of $20, but then the orange ones I got for $7.50! There was also a white pair of running shoes I got for $15, making the sequined boat shoes (just for cuteness, not exercise) only $4!! It would have seemed like a waste not to buy them. ;)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ghastly Adornment

 At the beginning of October, Michael and I wasted no time before going into Target and Michael's Craft store for Halloween/ Fall decorations. There were a few things we pulled out of the closet from last year, but mostly new things. We like variety! Michael decorated the outside first with the scarecrows in a hay bail (which he says represent us, so he makes them hold hands). I got the little pumpkins at the grocery store, plus he had fun pulling apart the webbing and hanging the five "dementors".
 Nothing special about the trees except they got trimmed by some workers yesterday. I think they look good since they weren't left naked, like I believe they had been when we first moved here. Or maybe that really was because of the weather and the leaves fell off by themselves? Lately the weather has been 55* in the mornings (at 7am) and almost 95* by the afternoon (2pm)!
 Here is the inside stuff ~ I was mainly going for a skeleton theme this year, but Michael evened it out with owls and ghosts. The ghosts are cute too, especially the happy ones with bow ties on the bowl that I have been using for cereal this month (mostly flavored Cheerios- Frosted or Honey Nut).
 Michael can't get enough of these Pumpkin Spice & Spiced Pumpkin (whats the difference?) candles. I've been helping him find the ones on sale. It does make the house smell nice and warm too. But his maple bacon cooking gives the same yummy effect, ha. I gave Michael these cards below on the days leading up to his birthday last week.
 I got this ghost pillow after Halloween at Target last year. I think it started off being $20, but I got it for $5. Oh yeah. The skull below is from a coyote, which Michael used in August to mold the head for the Chupacabra for the Cartoon Network web series he worked on for a few days. I only kept it for these pictures and although the company he got it from had it cleaned and sterilized, it smelled kinda bad when it wasn't in the ziplock bag.
 Last night at work, I put together this tulle wreath with all the felt pumpkins and silver leaves included in the kit- also from Target. They have all the extra cute stuff! I was waiting on myself to get that simple project done before I posted the pictures of all the decorations. And no blog post is complete without a beautifully narcissistic picture of myself (from when Michael did my make up again on the 9th), as well as Sasha- wearing her fashionably festive ghost socks!
 Ha, she has been such a sport lately with the stuff I make her wear for pictures. I think she just does it for the treats. She has been extra lovey too though. Yesterday I asked her for a "kiss" and she gave me 16. I joked, telling her not to be so stingy, and she gave me 9 more! Both of our sweetie-pie moms sent us Halloween care packages from the East Coast. I always love getting holiday boxes from them. & Michael does enjoy his candy corn. =)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Quinoa Salad

 I finished eating my tuna salad (with celery, pickle relish and tomato- no cheese) in only three days- quicker than I expected. I guess the can made less than I remembered? But with that "out of the way", I was finally able to try making quinoa for the first time. In case you are unfamiliar with this product, much like the way I was a mere few months ago, it is pronounced "keen-wah", not "quinn-oh-uh", as I had been incorrectly saying it. Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It has been listed as one of the World's Healthiest Foods, due to it's high nutritive value. Amber from work was nice enough to actual buy me the quinoa, since I kept talking about it. She purchased this 1.15 pound container at Sprouts. I believe that's like Whole Foods or Fresh Market.
 Here is the grain, uncooked:
 On Pinterest, I found that there are a load of ways to prepare quinoa including a cinnamon pudding form, or people eating it as a cereal with milk and fruit. But I'll stick to eating it as a salad for now, since that is how I "got to know it" as. I followed this easy recipe from Simply Recipes, but of course, made substitutions to make it even easier on myself. I tend to really take my time with these things, so if Michael asks me to make dinner, I might as well start two hours in advance. I doubt quinoa would be on his list of meal requests thought. He's more of a traditional Pot Pie or Mac & Cheese kind of guy. ;)
 My changes to this recipe include ~ only adding maybe 1/5 of the onion and using lemon juice instead of lime. I used black eyed peas instead of black beans. (We didn't have any and I didn't want to go to the grocery store.) Also I did not add any cheese, jalapenos or cilantro, but put a tiny bit of green onion garnish over the top, for lovely presentation purposes. I did not measure out the corn, peas or grape tomatoes. I just put in however much looked good mixed in with the cup of quinoa.
 Before I made this, I wanted to try it at a restaurant, as to not waste my time making it myself. Michael and I went to Sharky's Mexican Grill for lunch about two weeks ago so I could try their Quinoa Salad. It was good enough to try myself this morning, so I also mixed it in with spinach. I'm letting it chill in the fridge for now before I eat what I dished out for the pictures. The rest is in a container, separate from the bagged spinach. To be honest, it doesn't really taste like anything, its all the other ingredients that I taste, but it adds a nice grits-like texture.
 I thought this picture (directly above) was funny. It made me laugh because, since the bowl is clear, it looks like I scooped the quinoa right onto the hard-wood floor! Guess I'll have to make a stop to get a couple more "presentation bowls" from the dollar store. My pleasure!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

a Celebration of Shnooks ♡

 Michael's 25th birthday was on Saturday (October 12th). It made me really happy when he told me a few times during the day that it was a really good birthday. It was pretty low key, like a regular day almost, but that's what he wanted. I had switched days off so I could be off that night and not have to worry about sleeping again before work. I put streamers up around the house before sleeping, then I got up around 2pm, showered, and Michael did my make up again. By 3 o'clock we were having lunch at Portos. They had Halloween decorations set up, which I liked. We tried the meat pie, which tasted like a yummy taco, probably because of the seasonings. And I still want to get a fruit tart before we move- in just five weeks! Wow.
 We drove to the Burbank mall and walked around for a while to pass the time. Michael originally wanted to get a cookie cake, but we didn't know they were $30 each! What a rip off, so we didn't get one. At 6:30pm we bought movie tickets to see "Prisoners". Michael liked it more than I did, which is understandable since it wasn't a comedy. The movie was more suspenseful than scary, so that was good, for me. We had dinner at Elephant Bar. I got the Island Tilapia again, Michael ordered the Parmesan green beans and an Asian noodle dish, then we shared the dessert trio including creme brulee, a brownie and ice cream in an edible sugar bowl that tasted like a donut! Mmm.
 (I brought the little "happy birthday" piece from home. Also, my little camera doesn't do well in low light & I haven't cared enough to play with all the settings, but Michael didn't want me to use the flash and draw attention.) When we got home, I made a little video, since we barely have any of those and had recently watched the videos of us opening presents from Christmas 2011 in Orlando.
 Michael had been talking for the past month about how he really wanted the "Game of Thrones" Seasons 1 & 2 on Blu-Ray, so that's what I bought him. I really like that we make it clear to each other what we want for our birthdays or Christmas or our anniversary. That way I never have to guess and end up getting him something that he has to pretend to like. And we aren't great at hiding our true feelings, ha. So it was easy to do that little bit of shopping for him on Friday morning after I got paid. And he was very happy with his gifts! He also got a handful of cards, all of them including checks, which he also loved. Michael already has projects in mind that he wants to put the money towards, when we get settled into our new place in Birmingham. Family photo:
 When I told Michael that the camera was set to take 5 pictures in a row, he also made these faces:
  Happy Birthday, my silly prince! I love you forever. Your wife for life ~ Rachel ♥
(Sometimes I like to poke fun at the fact that I am 16 months older than Michael, so I'd sigh and say things like, "Oh, to be 25 again." Other times he enjoys being able to call me a cougar, ha!)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cards & Mummys!

 At work a couple of weeks ago, I brought in all of my best scrapbooks to show Amber.  (Rochelle had already seen them a few months ago.) Amber has been saying recently how Michael and I have the perfect relationship and that makes me extremely happy, because that's what I have wanted for the past two years: To have a marriage that shows how much love we have for each other, so that we can be a great pair of role models, to show others what marriage is supposed to be, and what it can be for them, when they find their "perfect person", the way I have. The song "The Best Thing" by Relient K has been on repeat all week. It definitely describes the way I have been feeling lately ~ have a listen!

But flipping through those awesome scrapbooks that I had made over the past four years really made me want to scrapbook again more, so I whipped up these Halloween cards over the weekend:
 If you remember how I used that thin fabric to patch up the holes in my shorts after I bleached them, the main reason for buying the fabric was to wrap Sasha up as a mummy! She didn't seem too thrilled with it as I gently tied the pieces around her legs, but she didn't try to run away either. I had to bribe her with treats so she wouldn't look so sad and I liked how the fabric fell down, closer to around her paws. It looked more mummy-ish with it there.
 Sasha was really good about running back to me to stand by the pumpkins after I called for her, just 20 seconds after I let her run outside. I guess there weren't any kitties near by to growl at. But she wouldn't sit down for any of them. Maybe because a piece of the fabric was touching her butt, which wrapped from her back leg to around her body. And then Michael photo shopped this one:
Happy Halloween! I've been finding some cool/creepy make up ideas on Pinterest lately, so hopefully Michael can do some on me this weekend or next week and I can model a little bit, or I can try them myself later on, during the days that he is filming the movie in the woods.