Thursday, December 31, 2015

Out With The Old, In With The....

I don't know what it is about Father John Misty but I like it. I was listening to some internet radio station and a song came on and it made me stop what I was doing and listen. Odd because it's not my typical go to kind of music, but music is a lot like love, you can't explain it and the heart wants what the heart wants. If the music moves you then it must be good music.
We've finally reached the end of 2015 and are now awaiting a new year. Do you find it funny how some people think that just because it's a new number means everything will be different? Sure, I s'pose the turning of the calendar gives that psychological feeling of being able to start over again, but we have no control over the earth's rotation around the sun so why do so many people let it dictate how they live their lives? If you want to make a change don't wait until the clock strikes midnight on new year's eve, make the change when you're darn well ready. With that said I'll give you a rundown of my resolutions. I don't really have resolutions, they're more like an ongoing bucket list. First up I want to finish my book. Last year I started this notebook that has colour charts and information about colour and all sorts of art related info. I recently started organising it to turn into a book that makes sense. Not a book I plan on publishing and selling, just something that I started and want to finish for myself. Then I'm going to continue my quest to get rid of stuff. I started this year and have done really well with it. Donating stuff I don't use and getting rid of clutter. When you stay in the same place for awhile you tend to accumulate stuff and that's the bad part, it's just stuff. Stuff I don't need. Last, I want to go to at least five places that I've never been before. I accomplished that this year and hope to do the same next.
Watercolour sketch of my french dip
In order to ease you into your transition to the new year I give you this super easy French Dip recipe.
You only need to get three things at the store, four if you want cheese and five if you want a pickle on the side. Go to the deli and ask for top round roast beef sliced thin. If they don't have top round you can ask for whatever other cut you like. A pound is enough for four or five big sandwiches, unless you're feeding a family of ogres, then get four pounds. Get a package of hoagie rolls and a can of beef broth. Swiss cheese works nice on these and dill pickles too if you'd like. If you have a small crock pot this would be a good use for it. If not you can put the meat in a baking pan then pour the beef broth in and season to your liking. My liking is celery salt and onion powder. Heat at 350 for about 15 minutes, it's already cooked so you're just warming it up. Remove from oven, and make your sandwiches. Then take some of the broth from the pan and serve it in ramekins, or any other small serving dish you have, for dipping. So when you're all hung over from the festivities tonight and you have no energy to make a meal you can turn to this recipe. Seriously, it takes no effort.

Everyone Loves You When You're Dead: Journeys Into Fame and Madness
The book I read this week, Everyone Loves You When You're Dead: Journeys Into Fame and Madness, by Neil Strauss. Neil Strauss has a pretty impressive resume. He also wrote an award winning book about his attempts at becoming a pickup artist. He's certainly accomplished but I can honestly say up until this book I've never read anything he's written. After this that will probably change. This book is just snippets of interviews he did with people. He presents them in a way that you feel like you're sitting down with a friend and he's just telling you a story. Except his stories are about famous people. And they're not stories like when Chunk said Michael Jackson stopped at his house and asked to use the bathroom. These short snippets of interviews say a lot. I didn't like The Strokes before and I really don't like them now. I don't care for their music and after I read the two pages of conversation between him and Julian Casablancas I realised, I don't like their music because this guy is a twat and that's exactly what I hear when his music comes on.  Strauss even interviewed David (Vernon) Koresh's girlfriend, Sandy Berlin. It actually made me laugh out loud. This girl kept talking about the strange things David was doing and how she didn't really believe he was a prophet and she even referred to him as a "baby Christian" as in he was really new to the religion and knew very little about it. But it wasn't until David wanted to take her to Waco in the trunk of his car that she thought he wasn't the right guy for her. It's simply an interesting read. You can see who buys into their own BS and you can see who really comes through as an honest artist. Some of the conversations are even inspiring. It's proof that you just have to ask the right questions. Here's to hoping we get to accomplish all of the things we want to in 2016. Have a safe and happy new year!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Stick It!


Sticky Fingers is a "reggae fusion/indie rock band".  Definitely not in my usual repertoire but not bad for something different to listen to.
Not that long ago I went to an art opening and had a great time. I got to chat with some of my friends who I haven't had a chance to chat with in a long time. One of my friends and I struck up a conversation about one of the pieces in the show. It was well done, but we both agreed it's not for us. It was one of those photorealistic type drawings. We discussed how we could appreciate the work involved but how uncreative it really is. Then we went further into how it would possibly make an artist feel trapped. If that's all you did, copy inch by inch, from a photograph, would you get any sort of fulfillment out of it after the tenth drawing you did, or would it eventually start to really feel like work?  We also agreed that this type of work is a great jumping off point to doing greater things. The thing is, the person has to want to do something different. Some people are comfortable being stuck in a rut, or they make it appear as if they do. Being stuck in a rut has a lot of negative connotations, it just doesn't sound like a place you'd want to be. The way I've always looked at it is, if you got yourself into the rut you can surely find your way out. Trust me. I was the kid who was never afraid to climb any tree, but once I got up there I could never figure out how to get back down. I was literally stuck. I was also not a cat so neither fireman nor Superman was going to rescue me so I had to find my way out. (Sometimes literally stuck too, don't ever climb a hemlock, or park your car under one they have some serious sap.)  Sometimes we find ourselves in ruts because we get comfortable. There's nothing wrong with being comfortable. Until being comfortable gets boring. Challenge yourself! If you like to cook try a new recipe. If you like to paint try a different medium. If you like music try a different instrument. Sure you may not like that new thing after you've tried it, but it should remind you of what you enjoyed about the old thing or inspire new ideas.  Just because you try something new doesn't mean you have to stick to it. Sometimes we get stuck simply because we don't know how to go forward. This is an easy fix, find someone who knows how and have them teach you how. Let's say you enjoy photography and you've found yourself stuck in your rut. You can stay there or seek out someone who's doing something different, something you like. Take lessons from them, educate yourself on how to better your photography skills. If you can't afford to pay someone to teach you then hit up your library and read some books for information. You could also search for photography clubs in your area. They probably won't give you free lessons but being around a group of people with similar interests, you're bound to pick up some new tips. Seriously, the possibilities are endless. Nobody should ever be stuck in a rut unless that's where they choose to be. 
This is a nice article to check out if you have time, The Real Reason You're Stuck in a Rut.
 One of her suggestions is to journal. I like this suggestion but it also scares me. I journal, especially when I travel. However, sometimes when I'm writing down my inner most thoughts I think, crap, what happens if I die tomorrow and someone finds all of these books, they'll think I was crazy. So if I die tomorrow, please burn all of my sketchbooks/journals before reading them.

Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Potato Time!

The Mashed Potato was one of those dances I could just never get the hang of. Mostly because there was a mentally handicapped kid at my school who walked like that and I was always afraid someone would think I was making fun of her so I would improvise and do other stuff. And if you're thinking to yourself that I'm too young to have been doing this dance you're both right and wrong. Sure it's a little out of time but my P.E. teacher had a group of us go in before or after school and she taught us all these fun dances. We even performed the Pata Pata as part of a half-time show at the college basketball game. Of course during class we had to learn square dancing for reasons I don't know. If you get to see actual square dancers in the fancy costumes it's a bit more fun but just in your gym clothes it feels like a cross between playing BINGO and Simon Says plus there's the cootie factor. Ew
Moving on down the dance floor. Since the holidays are coming up I thought I'd share my recipe for mashed potatoes. Which is odd since just last year I made my first attempt at mashed potatoes, or was it this year? I don't remember, but I needed to make Shepherd's Pie so I needed to figure out how to make the mashed potatoes. Sounds like an easy thing to do right? It is easy, what's hard is that they're intimidating. It seems like the potatoes are the one thing that if you get wrong everyone will mention it. Somewhere someone out there is complaining about their grandmother's lumpy mashed potatoes, or "gluey" yea that doesn't sound appetizing. You can make mashed potatoes as complicated or as easy as you want. I go for easy, as long as they taste good. Here's what I do, now that I'm not intimidated to make them.

  1.  Pick your potatoes. This can seem tough as they come in different sizes. What I've found is if you look at the potato and ask yourself, if this were a baked potato would it be enough to fill me up? Do that with each potato for each person you're cooking for. 
  2. Clean them really good. I keep the skin on mine. It's a bit of a wives tale that all of the nutrients are in the skin, but there is a good amount of dietary fiber in it, so in it goes. 
  3. Cut the potatoes. They don't have to be uniform or thinly sliced, just cut up so they'll cook faster. You're going to mash them up in the end so it doesn't matter. 
  4. Boil them in water. Depending on how many potatoes you're boiling is how much water you'll need. Have enough water to cover the potatoes.  It usually takes about 10-15 minutes to boil them. You can check them by putting a fork in one and if it easily falls off the fork you know it's done. If they're not boiled all the way through you'll have hard lumps in your mash. 
  5. Electric mixer time. They should have a dance for that. Stand mixer or hand mixer, either one will work. Drain the water, or strain, from the potatoes and put them in a mixing bowl. Add salt, cream cheese, butter and a pinch of garlic salt. The amounts will vary depending on how many potatoes you cooked. If you did one serving use 1/2-1 Tbsp butter and cream cheese and one pinch of garlic salt. If you did two servings use 2 Tbsp and so on. I rarely add black pepper to anything I cook. I figure it's much like ketchup and mustard. You'd never hand someone a hot dog with ketchup and mustard already on it. If you do you're a turd. Some people like a lot of black pepper and some don't like it at all, therefore you make sure there's some on the table so they can add as much or as little as they like on their own. 

So there you go, it's easier than some people make it seem. Sometimes I think people make a job sound way harder than it really is so they get some sort of recognition for their effort. Those people probably serve hot dogs with ketchup and mustard already on it. (Ketchup has no business being on a hot dog anyway, but that's enough for a whole other post). From start to finish it takes about 20 minutes and about 15 of those are boiling time so you can fix the rest of the meal while the potatoes are boiling.
I was too busy last week to finish the book I'm reading, or maybe it just wasn't interesting enough to finish? Some books I can't put down, others I put down and start a new one. That's how I end up reading three or four books at the same time. Anywho, since I have no book to share with you I'll share this article I read. It did captivate my attention enough to read. It was posted in the comments of an artists's blog where there was a discussion about how social media affects art. This particular article is about a guy who goes around and buys up work from unknown artists and markets them on social media. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/magazine/the-art-worlds-patron-satan.html?_r=0  It was a bit difficult to actually understand what this man does with the art but a good read nonetheless. I hate to think that people are really purchasing paintings and sculptures based on popularity on social media sites, but just look at the music industry. Really good talent seems to go unnoticed and this article sheds a bit of light on why that is. I like the way the author wrote the article though, he made it really difficult to form any kind of opinion on the guy. It starts off with an endearing story about how he was the knight in shining armour to an upcoming artist, but he ended it with basically saying he's running a chop shop for art.
Haven't posted a daily doodle in quite some time so there you go. A watercolour I attempted. I've been wanting to try painting wet roads and I finally gave it a shot. Not the greatest but there you go.




Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rules of Civility & Coffee

Being With You  In Paris-Steve Vai. Steve Vai is one of the best guitarists ever and it only seems appropriate to pick this song to keep the people of Paris in our thoughts. On Friday I went to see Spectre (the new James Bond film) and after leaving the theatre the very next thing I saw was the news. It was beyond surreal. It was one of those pinch me moments because I really thought, there's no way, that death and destruction was only in the movie. One could say that it's hard to believe such evil could exist, but there it is for all to see. If you're a person who believes in prayer please take the time to include Paris, Beirut and Japan in those prayers. You could also include a prayer for the monsters who attacked those innocent people. Pray that they come to realise what they're doing is wrong. It's definitely been a heavy weekend, but the rock is still rotating and the sun came around again. Carrying on after a tragedy can sometimes feel like the hardest thing to do but it's the one thing we must do.

With the holidays coming up I wanted to share this simple recipe.  If you're anything like me you spend most of your holiday cooking time making sure the food is great for everyone else. Sure having people tell you that your food tastes great is wonderful and having people happy with full bellies is the best but it's great to do something for yourself, tell yourself it's a reward for having your guests lick the plates clean. Sweet cinnamon coffee. A lot of countries use condensed milk instead of dairy creamer or worse, powdered creamer. I don't know what it is about that stuff it just doesn't work for me. The powdered creamer seems to leave a gross oily coating in my mouth and the liquid stuff never sits well. Using real milk or half & half is a better solution but sometimes you just want that sweet, like drinking your dessert.  All you need is fresh brewed coffee (please don't microwave your coffee!) can of sweetened condensed milk and cinnamon. Use 1-2 Tbsp of condensed milk, pinch of cinnamon and fill the cup with coffee and stir. The hardest thing about this recipe will probably be to find a churchkey to open the can of condensed milk. You can still buy them so it's not that big of a deal, but it used to be something every household had at least four of laying around. If you've had an overly stressful day of holiday cooking this recipe would work extremely well with a shot of Kahlua.  The Dude would not only abide, he would approve.
The book I read this week, Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles. The story takes place in the late 1930s. It focuses on the life of Katey Kontent. She's a young, single woman in New York trying to make her way in the world. At first it talks a little about the "class system" but wasn't sure where it was going with that, it just felt like it was establishing the characters. It did turn out to discuss this upper, lower and middle class stuff but much to Katey's surprise, no matter how much or how little money you have you'll always have problems, especially if you create your own. It seems like a story that's been told over and over, poor little rich girl/Cinderella nonsense, but the way this author tells it, it's much more enjoyable to read.  The way the author describes everything, it's just like being there. It's very well written and is a nice escape from the real world.
Next week I'm going to share my recipe for mashed potatoes, discuss champagne VS prosecco and of course some random book I pull off the shelf.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Doubting Dames and Divas

What's not to love about Annie Lennox? Her first solo album was titled Diva. The word diva is kind of a funny word, one of those that has taken on a life of its own. Diva used to refer to well known opera singers, then it evolved into a name for female singers with a bit of an attitude. Now diva can be used to describe any person who is difficult and hard to work with.
Another word that gets confused sometimes, hot cocoa. There is a definite difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa but often the two are confused. For someone who doesn't really like chocolate to begin with it really doesn't matter. What does matter is this article about health benefits to drinking hot cocoa. "7 Health Benefits to Drinking Hot Cocoa".  So if you need an excuse to indulge there are seven for you. I already have a favourite hot chocolate, El Popular Chocolate and I wanted to find a good hot cocoa. Turns out finding hot cocoa isn't so easy to do.  The grocery stores around here only stock Swiss Miss and Nestle. I would normally say there's nothing wrong with that but I checked the ingredients and wasn't willing to buy a product that had dipotassium phosphate. I know a lot of products with powdered dairy use it but I don't feel like drinking it. Dipotassium phosphate is used in agar, which is what is used to grow bacteria in petri dishes. Nestle's has sodium aluminosilicate, which is also found in a lot of packaged foods. It helps to keep the powdered food from clumping while packaged, but it's also used in latex paint and laundry detergent. I wanted to try a product that didn't have too many "extras" in it so I chose this Ghirardelli Double Chocolate. Perhaps it has less chemically sounding ingredients because it has to be made with milk?
The fact that it has to be made with milk needs to be considered when you're at the store purchasing hot cocoa mix. Luckily I picked up a 1/2 gallon of milk so I had plenty to make a cup and have enough milk to put in my Franken Berries in the morning. 

As I began preparing the hot cocoa some things started to cross my mind. It would be so much easier to put in a Suchard disc in the Tassimo and be enjoying hot chocolate already. Then it hit me, what if this hot cocoa doesn't even taste good by the time I'm done? What if all of this whisking and heating is for nothing? Then I really got to thinking that maybe this way of thinking is what changed the way we eat now. What if we started doubting our abilities in the kitchen so much that we turned to these pre-packaged, frozen and fast food? What if somewhere out there an exhausted housewife spent all afternoon preparing a meal for her family and nobody liked it? That could have been the tipping point because who wants to work hard on something and it turn out like crap? For some people cooking is a gamble, they never know what they're going to get, but if you go through the drive-thru you're sure of what you'll get. Even if it's bad you know what to expect. Trying new recipes can be scary and expensive so it's no surprise some people turn to fast food. I used to think it was just pure laziness that led people to order the #7 with chili instead of fries. Now I'm not so sure.
It truly can be disappointing spending a lot of time in the kitchen and have something not turn out as you envisioned it. On top of that you have a mess to clean up and you're still hungry. A lot of us could definitely use more confidence in the kitchen and maybe some fool proof recipes for back ups when the baked Alaska turns into charred Chattanooga. Hot cocoa isn't the most complex things you'll make in the kitchen so if you're afraid to mess it up just start slow and maybe buy a whole gallon of milk instead of a half. You know, in case you mess up. As for this Ghirardelli hot cocoa, it was ok. There was no mistake it was cocoa and not hot chocolate. It had a good flavour but felt like it could have benefited from some extras like a peppermint stick or peppermint schnapps or both.
The book to read this week, Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers by Deborah Cadbury.  It gives a bit of history of chocolate and a very interesting look at the families who made their fortunes on the selling of the "food for the gods".  Some of the families are more interesting than others but it's a good read if you're interested in history and those Citizen Kane/Remington type family stories.
The holiday season is fast approaching. Let me know your weird family traditions and dishes you think only your family serves.  One of my great-grandmothers always served oyster stew and always had Tom & Jerry's at her Christmas parties. No one has carried on that tradition but this may be the year I try out one of those recipes. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Chaos Continues

If my life were a television series this would be the theme song. The video is amazing too. It's basically "Paradise Lost" the animated version which was done by Trunk Animation. Chaos, or the gap created when heaven and earth separated, is basically where we all are. Even if you're not a religious minded person, we're all in one place trying to get to another which, of course, leaves a gap in between. Really gives new meaning to the "Mind the Gap". To me it's like saying, I'm here but want to be over there and be mindful of what goes on in between. Say you want to be a doctor, be mindful of the things you do in between here and seeing your first patient. Will you cheat on your tests? Will you alienate your friends and family to get to where you want to be? This is all so heavy for a Monday, isn't it? Well here's something to lighten the mood, Wish You Were Here is free on Google Play right now. Thanks to my G+ pal, Al, I am now able to listen to this album via computer and all my devices. I have this one on CD and vinyl but haven't taken the time to digitize it so I was excited to get it. I was also excited to see that Google Music has stations. I'm probably the last to know, but just in case I'm not there you go. 
So where have I been lately? Everywhere. I've been working hard, entering in juried shows and going to plein air competitions. This year I've won awards in all of the juried shows I've entered and won big at a competition in Amana, IA. I should be more proud/excited about these accolades but it's hard to be when I'm surrounded by such inspiring and supportive people. Yea, make sure you read that last sentence with a load of snark. When you start doing good you really find out who your friends are, which is good and bad. After my first place win I heard it all. One person, who often says nasty things to me so I shouldn't have been surprised, told me what I did was easy. EASY!? It stung at first but then I had to consider the source. I could cure cancer and that person would probably have something negative to say about it. The point I'm trying to make about all of this can be better said by this story about growing corn.

"There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon. 


One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.



"How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" the reporter asked.



"Why sir," said the farmer, "didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn."



He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor's corn also improves.



So it is with our lives. Those who choose to live in peace must help their neighbors to live in peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.



The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn."  -author unknown

 What I took away from this is that I should surround myself with people who are interested in doing better and helping others along the way, not tearing me or other people down. If you surround yourself with people who enjoy tearing others down then think what they're doing behind your back.  I remember back in middle school these two girls just bought the new Megadeth album. I was excited for them because it was (is) a REALLY good album and I was glad someone else enjoyed the same type of music. After they told me they got it they immediately told me not to let this other girl borrow mine. They said this girl was just trying to copy them and they didn't want her to have the album. That was absolutely the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. Funny though, it wouldn't be the last time I'd hear something like that. In my mind it's better to share good music with other people, then we'll all be listening to good music. Why lock it up and keep it a secret?  I didn't stay friends with these girls for very long. If they were holding good music hostage from one girl, what were they doing to me when I wasn't looking? Of course this applies to everyone, not just corn growers, artists and girls with good taste in music. If you have a talent, passion or interest in something, surround yourself with other people who have the same interests and are willing to learn and grow together. 
OK, off of the soapbox, for now. You know I always share a recipe and unfortunately this one isn't edible. I haven't been home much to test out new recipes but things are winding down so I'll do better next time. This recipe is for cleaning. A few years ago I finally traded in the poopy brown 1965 Frigidaire Range and got new black appliances. I like the appliances but they're really hard to make them look clean. Every commercial cleaner I've purchased left streaks. I knew they were clean but they looked horrible. I finally took the internet because what better place to find a group of people who have also tried everything under the sun? I found this blog Sustaining The Powers, that had a recipe for cleaner. I chose this one solely based on the fact that I had all of the ingredients on hand. I mixed it up, used it right away and was pleasantly surprised at the results. They recommend using a microfiber cloth, I just used a paper towel and it worked well. 
Here's the recipe, but check it out on their blog as well, there are lots of helpful tips on there. 
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 cup white vinegar
  3. 1 cup rubbing/Isopropyl alcohol (The stuff you'd find in the pharmacy for first aid, not the drinkable kind.)
  4. 2-3 drops liquid dish soap (Dawn, Joy, Castile, etc.)
  5. 3-4 drops of your favorite essential oil (or extract your own from orange peels - see notes)
Other Materials Needed
  1. 1 24oz plastic spray bottle (found in the cleaning aisle)
  2. 1 microfiber cloth (found in the cleaning aisle)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a 24 oz misting spray bottle and shake to combine.
  2. Spray cleaner onto your appliances in a small area.
  3. Wipe up with a microfiber cloth (microfiber is the key to no streaks).
  4. Repeat until cleaned.
  5. Enjoy your streak-free finish!
Hopefully I didn't scare you away with all of this heavy stuff because next time I'll have a recipe for bread pudding and a fun new/old book I found. Until then, keep your fridge clean and grow good corn.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Handbags and Booze Juice

ICEAGE- Abundant Living is a little different tune for today. They're a Danish band from Copenhagen.  They're considered punk rock, take a listen and see what you think. 
My summer has been extremely busy so far but I did get a chance to take a few road trips and I have two more planned before summer is officially over. The things you get to see and do on road trips are worth driving in bad traffic and having your butt fall asleep from sitting in the car too long. One great thing is that you can buy tons of stuff and not worry about how you're going to get it home. Well, there are limits, but there are no extra baggage fees and security checks. One thing I found on my most recent road trip were these super cute clutches by Lauren Ericka Designs.
 I bought two of them and would have gladly filled my Jeep with them if I had no self-control. They were all really nice but honestly, how many bags does one girl need? That question may sound crazy to some as I know many will say there is no such thing as too many. Unfortunately my closet can only hold so many bags and it's hard enough to shut the door as it is, so two was my limit. They were very reasonably priced as well. Only $35 a piece and there's even a pocket inside to hold your phone. Take a peek at the Etsy store and check out the other patterns they have for sale. 
Now for that booze juice.  Bloody Marys have always been a good drink, even if I used to think of them as an "old lady" drink. Tomato juice isn't all that appealing on it's own so it took me awhile to understand why putting vodka in it would make it any better. Turns out Bloody Marys are quite possibly one of the most versatile drinks out there and hey, it has tomato juice so it's gotta be somewhat healthy too, right?  You can put whatever you want in your Bloody Mary to make it taste however you want. If you want to drink a pizza put some Italian seasoning in it. If you want it to taste like a BLT put some bacon in it. I prefer spicy. I like my Bloody Mary to taste like I'm drinking a nice spicy Gazpacho. If you missed it, I wrote about how I put some of my fresh dill from the garden into a jar with vodka to flavour it. It worked perfectly and it made one amazing Mary. Here's my recipe:


  • Tomato juice
  • Shot of dill vodka- FYI if you don't have a shot glass you can use 3 tablespoons. A standard "shot" in the US is 44 ml. A tablespoon is 14.7 ml. You can do some math or trust me here.
  • Couple dashes of celery salt
  • Couple dashes of garlic salt
  • Dash of paprika
  • Two pinches of horseradish root powder. 
What is horseradish root powder? I'm not really sure but I'm so glad I found it.
I found it in one of those "buy in bulk" stores. This store is actually pretty well known in the tri-state area. People come from all over to go to theDutchman's Store. There's not much else in the town other than this store but it brings people in from all over. 
The powder can be used to make sauces and other recipes. After doing several searches about it I could only find the info that the powdered version can be twice as strong as fresh horseradish so if you're reconstituting it use sparingly.
The book I read this week, Haunted Summer, by Hope Dahle Jordan. I got it at Half Price Books. I always have zero expectations for these books I find there. The ones on the super duper cheap spinner rack. Something I thought was really cool about this was the author's notes. She wrote that she worked for an advertising firm in New York and one day set a goal that she would have something published in three years and here it is. It's, I guess, geared towards the young adult reader. It's about a high school aged girl who was making strides in a "man's" world. She made the boy's golf team. She got a job delivering flowers, something only boys were doing. Then one day she, whoops, up and ran over the newspaper boy. She took him to the hospital and after waiting for awhile she just left. Nobody knows, except her, who hit the boy or who brought him into the hospital. The whole thing weighs on her conscience. In the end she confesses but the police don't believe her. They can't believe that a girl would be in an accident like that. It's not a long read, it's a little thought provoking but mostly it's fun to read what it was like back when girls were too good to do anything bad. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Road Trips and Worker B's


The Jesus and Mary Chain's Just Like Honey is the song for today. 
Last week I went on a road trip and saw some pretty great things. Road trips can be way more fun than flying off to some exotic place for a few days. On road trips you can pack whatever you want, you can stop and see more stuff and you don't have to take your shoes off and get a full body scan. I s'pose you could do that last one but you may not get many friends who'll want to road trip with you. 
A couple of things I did this road trip that I haven't in the past, I used the AAA Trip Tik Travel Planner.  I've been a member of AAA for years and rarely use any of their services. Yea, that sounds stupid but I forget that I have it. This time I remembered and decided to see if they had any services I could utilize for my trip. The travel planner was helpful, except their mobile app isn't compatible with ANY of my mobile devices. I typed in all of the locations that I was wanting to see and the travel planner mapped them all out for me. It was nice because then I could see how close each place was to the others and plan accordingly.  The print options were wonky and it did take a while to type stuff in but in the end I'm glad I used it. 
Another new thing I did on this trip, used my new Barcelona Bag from International Arrivals.  This is the best little travel bag. It has a mesh pocket on the front which was helpful for keeping my hotel key in. I usually throw that in my handbag and end up searching forever when I need it. The inside pocket was big enough to keep my phone, maps I printed out from Trip Tik, lip gloss, etc. In other the words, the usual stuff you throw in a purse. There's a pocket on the back too.  I used it to hold my sketchbook and pencil. This fit nicely between my seat and the centre console.  Surely this bag would come in handy when flying as well. 
Something I came across while on the trip http://www.worker-b.com/ Worker B makes skincare products and other items "straight from the hive",  Check out their "About Us" page on the website and you'll surely fall in love with them. As for the products they sell, I only purchased this treatment stick and a t-shirt so I can only speak for them. I love them. I LOVE THEM! The t-shirt is probably the most comfortable cotton t-shirt I've ever worn and the treatment stick makes my skin super soft. There's only a light scent and, obviously, it smells like honey. Whenever I put moisturizer on, my dogs like to lick it off of me. Yea, sounds gross but I know I'm not the only one, you can read the dangers of this here.. I put it on my legs and hands and suddenly I'm a human popsicle. So when I put this on and they think they need taste test I know it's safe because it's all natural and organic ingredients. 
Next time I will share more adventures from my road trip and a recipe for a delicious Bloody Mary using that dill vodka I made last time. 
Later, switches. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cookies

Google has sent some notification about cookies and how we need to warn readers about them. They were more than vague and I have zero clue if my blog uses cookies or not so I went ahead and found an obnoxious cookie notification that may or may not pop up when you read my blog. Again, I have no idea if there are any cookies, other than those in this picture, on this page I just put the warning as a precaution. Carry on, nothing else to see here.