Thursday, September 30, 2010

10,000 Hugs

Hey there Friends! Old and new alike. Just wanted to say "hi" and thanks so much for making this such a fun week. And welcome to all the new "followers" (eek I despise that term, but it is what it is I guess).

I just wanted to let ya'll know that the giveaways will all be open until Sunday night at midnight. If you haven't left a comment to enter them go here to visit Heather and enter to win a book bag from moi. Go here to enter to win some yummy jam and a Betty Crocker cookbook from Julie. Go here to enter to win a $25 giftcard from Whole Foods and give Jules some hippie love, and lastly go here to enter to win some vintage goodness in the form of milk glass.

We have Lindsey from the Pleated Poppy tomorrow, holding court for the weekly Playgrounds & Lollipops post! Don't you just love Lindsey's WIWW posts? You'll really love her spin on what she wore this week.

And on Saturday we have our 6th and final guest post from Paper & Cake. They're the printable partyware company that helped me make Syd's 3rd birthday party out of this world. There will also be one last giveaway as well, and it's good, real good! I'll give you a hint, it has something to do with an upcoming ghoulish holiday!

Alright then, time to get to bed! This momma has a busy day ahead of her. Up at 6 am to pack up the car and head on out to Oak Glen to go apple picking, then heading to Palm Desert for the weekend. It's only supposed to be 98 over the weekend. Pssh, weak sauce! Show me 115 and then we'll talk!

Rachel From No.17 Cherry Tree Lane

I'm Andrea Howe, and I endorse this message:
I'm lucky enough to know Rachel in real life, and not just in blog circles real life, but like, she really is a friend in real life (there I go getting all SoCal on you again with the "Like" word, sorry).  Rachel is sassy, she is funny, and her personality is larger than life, as is her love of all things vintage, and of course Mary Poppins. Duh. Hence the No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane reference. Rachel writes from the heart and I love her for that, and to prove that, here is one of her beautifully written posts that truly hits home for me.
It's not a mystery to anyone who knows me that I'm not Southern California's biggest fan. I fancy myself a woman that would fit in perfectly in the deep South. Large plantation shutters, slower lifestyle, no Blackberrys, all-day lemonade and long, drawn-out conversations, on my wrap around porch.
That's much more my style.

Last evening we joined friends for dinner and while we were waiting for them to box up our leftover fajitas and for the husbands to pay the bill, a revealing conversation began (isn't that when all great conversations start? Just when you have 3 restless children, needing to go to bed and a waiter waiting for you to leave your table). How it came up, I have no idea, but within 3 minutes, both my friend and I were sharing how we longed to leave Southern California. Not in the "I hate So Cal" kind of way, but more of the "general discontent with the lifestyle" variety.

We played verbal tennis, shooting reasons back and forth about why we would want to leave. There were plenty of reasons shared and enough realistic to solicit a move. We both agreed that moving would be the easiest part.

All through the conversation, the phrase, "Bloom Where You Are Planted" kept creeping through my mind. It was quite annoying, to tell you the truth. Besides being kinda kitschy, it's never something I say or share with others. It's not a cliche statement I email often, so why was it there? The more I thought about it, the more I realized it's purpose. I totally got it-in fact, for the first time last evening, I embraced it.

I have been placed in California. Southern California.
God has selected this to be our home for the time being and while I tend to think I know best, intuitively I know that the Lord doesn't make mistakes.
He has us embedded in this community, on this street and in this house.
He has us mingling with our neighbors, attending our church and spending time with the dear friends we have made here.
We live here for a purpose and this purpose won't and shouldn't be wasted because it's for a divine reason.

Believing that God has a reason for what He does, I can only assume that there is a reason we are here and here is where we will remain until HE gives us a reason to leave. Not until I find one.
Otherwise, imagine all of the wonderful opportunities I would be wasting. Imagine the friendships I would be saying goodbye to and the home we would be driving away from.

Yes, Southern California might not be my very favorite place in the world.
But my LIFE in Southern California is special to me. My friends, family, church, home, community.

They are mine.
And I will Bloom Where I Am Planted.
Enjoying the moments, rather than complaining about the weeds.
Since when I think of Rachel, I think of vintage, I am offering up for grabs to one lucky reader, a piece from my personal collection of vintage milk glass. The sweet little candy dish on the right is up for grabs, not the bell or the dish on the left. Those belonged to my grandmother and you ain't getting your grubby paws on those hehe! So you know what to do people! Leave a comment for sweet Rachel, get an entry. Blog about it, tweet it, facebook it, get an entry. Subscribe to Four Flights of Fancy or Cherry Tree Lane, get another entry. Just leave a comment for each entry :) That's it folks!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jules of Pancakes and French Fries

Is it possible to like someone so much, even though you've never even met in person?  And is it weird to refer to someone as a friend that you've never met before?  No?  I didn't think so.  That's why I love blogging so much, I knew you'd all understand.  So I really like Jules.  She's smart (hello, she is a non-practicing attorney), she's funny as hell and writes quips such as "I'm bringing marmalade back, like sexy", she is a bookworm, she loves to write about good food, and the girl can appreciate the power of a great beauty product.  I think we were separated at birth, although she's from Argentina, so I'm not sure how entirely possible that is?  Enough from me, here's Jules from Pancakes and French Fries!
Mikey Pictures
Well, I certainly hope you enjoyed Julie's guest post yesterday as much as I did, because my name is Jules and I'm here to make you feel guilty about everything you eat. Then I'm going to suck the pleasure out of living and make you roll your own pasta from the flour you milled with rocks you collected in your backyard.


Sort of!
You see, I'm a bit of a nerd. A bookworm. A lover of taking things apart and putting them back together again. That's why on my blog I often share recipes for polishing silver, copper, or brass with pantry ingredients. Or my recipe for hair conditioner. Or the time I made my own deodorant. But not sore throat remedies. That one left a mark. Anyway, in furtherance of what one reader called my "anti-cool" status, I also enjoy studying nutrition and food science. I'm fascinated by health and healthy eating and do my best to avoid processed foods and chemicals. I said do my best. I'm not perfect, and I don't believe in boycotting fast food or major food corporations because theses companies have helped out many a harried mom put food on the table. And I certainly wouldn't push away a Citrus Kissed Thumbprint. Still, almost everything I make is from scratch because it's good for you and, at least for me, fun.

Also fun? Health food stores. Love them. I'm always more than willing to drop cash on the random bottle of subterranean purple rock salt that is fair trade and harvested by garden gnomes. But, since not everyone reads nutritional studies for fun, Andrea asked me to divulge my favorite random health food ingredients that I consider indispensable. Indispensable because, yeah, I'll admit that some of the stuff I buy goes on the never again list the second I get home and take a taste.

Of course I have quite a few products I love, but these are my favorites, the ones I buy repeatedly, and the ones you can easily fine online or in most health food stores and, in some cases, supermarkets and super-stores. They are what I use most often in my kitchen to build recipes and meals. They help make healthy food taste yummy.

My Favorite Four

I don't know if you use table salt to season your food, but if you do, I recommend you give Real Salt a try. Table salt is loaded with chemicals, including dextrose, a form of sugar. Weird, right? Real Salt, on the other hand, is harvested in Utah and loaded only with 50+ trace minerals, including iodine. The taste is clean and mild.

For an all around seasoning mix, I use Herbamare. It's pretty much a blend of organic vegetables and herbs. I use it on anything that needs a kick, like salads or vegetables.

For salad dressings or recipes that call for vinegar, I will often use Dr. Bragg's apple cider vinegar. Actually, that's not true. I have a new favorite for salad dressings, so for now I add apple cider vinegar to my water. Sound crazy? It's actually a well known, well studied way to improve digestion and slow the release of sugar in the blood stream, which protects against diabetes and may promote weight loss. I add two teaspoons to a tall glass of water, but if you find it a bit sour (it's like lemon water) I know people who add a teaspoon or so of honey, too.

Up next is Nutritional Yeast, only my favorite thing, ever. It's a deactivated yeast that started off as a nutritional supplement decades ago. (It's high in B vitamins so vegetarians often use it.) But, because of its nutty/cheesy flavor, it morphed into a seasoning of sorts. I sprinkle it on salads, use it in dressings, add it to sauces, and--best yet--sprinkle it liberally on stove-popped popcorn. If you make your popcorn in the microwave, don't tell me. You'll crush me.

Here is a recipe for salad dressing using three out of four of the above ingredients from the book Becoming Vegan.
Just 2 tablespoons of this dressing provides 3.8g of omega-3 fatty acids (your days supply and then some) along with 40% of your B12 for the day. This creamy dressing is packed with riboflavin and other B vitamins - plus it's very tasty.

Liquid Gold Salad Dressing

1/2 c. flax seed oil
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 T balsamic or raspberry vinegar ( I use apple cider vinegar)
1/4 c. Bragg liquid Aminos or tamari
1/4 to 1/2 c. Red Star Nutritional Yeast Support Formula Nutritional Yeast
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. ground cumin

Blend until smooth. Dressing can be kept in a jar with a lid, refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 cups.

per T: calories - 78, protein - 1g, carb - 2g, fat - 7g, dietary fiber -0 .4g, sodium - 180mg

My Love of Coconut

Coconut is one of those flavors that you love or scrape off your tongue with a scouring pad. I once had a reader say she hated coconut so much she could taste it even if it was the 38th ingredient listed. I get that, because I feel the same way about root beer, licorice, and anise. GAG.

But I don't feel that way about coconut. It's a healthy fat and a metabolism booster. I'm trying to coconut oil as my cooking fat, but it's expensive. I do not use it in salad dressings because it remains solid at room temperature. The brand I like the best is Nutiva. The flavor is mild and doesn't impart a coconut taste to your food, which is important when you're making tomato sauce.

I just today tried coconut flour. I had no idea it was so high in fiber and protein, and gluten free to boot.

Of course, I love young coconuts. Not the ones with the brown husk. The white ones you crack open with a cleaver. I blend the water and meat with a frozen banana and two cups of frozen pineapple. It's like a tropical drink, but full of electrolytes and minerals. Coconut water is great for keeping hydrated, and with this weather we're having, they'll have a permanent place in my fridge for a few months.

Coconut vinegar is my new love. It's very mild, like a champagne vinegar. It does not taste like coconut, but instead has a buttery flavor that does I don't even know what to avocados, but it's amazing. That's my favorite way to use it, by the way. I mash an avocado, sprinkle it with coconut vinegar, and use red pepper strips as edible spoons. It's perfect for the crazy heat we've been having!

Here is a recipe for gluten free coconut muffins that uses two out of four of the above ingredients.
Super Quick, Gluten Free, Coconut Muffins

3 eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil1/4 cup honey, or maple syrup (or mix them up)
1/4 teaspoon salt1/4 cup sifted coconut flour1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons dried shredded (or flakes) coconut

Preheat oven to 350 or 400 degrees F. Grease 6 muffin tins with additional coconut oil. Set aside.

In a small bowl beat eggs, coconut oil, and salt together. Combine coconut flour and baking powder together and whisk into batter until smooth.

Fill prepared muffin cups half-way with batter and sprinkle coconut on top. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.
Are you still there? I know. I told you found this stuff interesting! Well, if you made it this far, Andrea will reward you with a little something on point, I imagine. Good luck, and good health! :)
Alright ladies and gents. One of you could be the recipient of a Whole Foods gift card valued at $25! Then maybe you can run into Jules trolling the aisles, on the hunt for some random supplement :) You know the drill. Leave a comment gets you an entry. Subscribe to my blog or Jules and get an entry, yadda, yadda, yadda. Leave a comment for each shenanigan :) Good luck!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Julie of Joy's Hope & Her Betty Crocker Fantabulousness

I met Julie at Blog Sugar last February and I asked her nonchalantly "What do you blog about?" Do you remember that Julie? She said in reply, very nonchalantly, "Oh, this and that." After Blog Sugar, I went home and blog stalked all the people I had met that day, including, Joy's Hope. And I said "Dude! This girl's like, big-time. Like the biggest name in blogging I've met IRL." (We're from Southern California, so it is totally appropriate to still, at age 34, say words like Dude, Like, and Totally. Just so you know.) There is a reason Julie has such a following. She is real, funny, dang good in the kitchen and dang good at making a ginormous chalk board. But she is also amazingly encouraging and filled with faith. Need a pick me up ladies? Head on over to Joy's Hope. But I'm sure most of you already know that...so here is Julie in all her Betty Crocker loveliness.

Last month I was invited to bake in the Betty Crocker kitchens.  It was a dream come true.  A dream that I didn't even know was possible to have.  We spent the day going from station to station, with everything set up for us, then someone to clean up after us.  Pretty much baking bliss.
A highlight of all of the recipes were a simple, yet elegant version of sugar cookies.  They were called Citrus Kissed Fig Thumbprints.  Beautiful, festive and incorporating figs, which are apparently all the rage in culinary circles.  Speaking of which, I would love a bowl of Andrea's Vanilla Fig ice cream right this very minute.
But so much of me wished I had smuggled my most favorite preserves through airport security.  Three ounces totally disguised as shampoo?  Not questionable at all.  I knew what I would make when I returned.  Citrus Kissed Thumbprints with a desert island twist.
A nice benefit of having a giant chalkboard in your kitchen, is that you can randomly write recipes upon it. Easy to refer to as you are baking, say if you lost your glasses...
This is difficult.  Very difficult.  This sad little bottle of vanilla is a cold harsh reminder of the one that has gone before it.  My precious, precious Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla.  My beloved friend that took a dive off of the pantry shelf to it's ultimate untimely demise.  I'm still not over it.  I may never be.  That is until he is replaced.  But my pantry does smell delightful.
I discovered and fell in love with Betty Crocker's easy pouch cookie mixes.  I don't know where they have been all of my life.  There are a million and one ways to doctor them up.  My favorite jams and jellies being one of them.
I am not a foodie.  I am not a snob.  Well not totally true.  I truly believe that life is too complicated to eat store bought frosting.  Or bad preserves.  I still remember the toast and marmalade I had in Australia nine years ago.  I even smuggled quite a bit home with me.  There is really no comparison to handmade, homemade, small batch jams and jelly.  The care, creativity and freshness that goes into each jar cannot be duplicated by store brands.  Last fall I fell absolutely in love with a jar of Blackberry Jalapeno Jelly from Edible Creations.  Honestly, I always thought jalapeno jelly was weird.  Maybe because the ones that I had seen previously have all been a strange glowing green.  But out of curiosity I tried it.  One taste.  My knees nearly buckled.  I was done for.  I originally bought it to pour over warm brie for girl's night out.  But then I came to my senses.  This was not to be shared.  This was mine.  All mine.  Not even with my best friends.   But today I am feeling crazy.  Generous even.  Mark it down.  Days like this are few and far between when it comes to my precious.
I always do my best baking while listening to good music.  My current love is Mumford & Sons, although they sort of make me want to put on a wool coat and drown my sorrows at the local pub.  I'll drown them in a bowl of sugar cookie dough instead.

So what do you do with the ingredients, you ask?
Preheat oven to 375º

Combine cookie mix, flour, melted butter, lemon peel, orange peel, vanilla and egg until a soft dough forms. (I used the zest of an entire lemon and an entire orange.  Trying to collect it and put it in a measuring spoon... who has the patience for that?  If you don't have yourself a microplane yet, do yourself a favor.  You will be zesting like it is your job!)

When the dough is good and combined roll it into 1 inch balls.  Then roll each one in sugar.  Feel free to use regular, super fine or course.  Sometimes I love the crunch of course sugar, but I don't always have it in my pantry.
I happened to have four flavors of Edible Creations in my fridge.  Two for me, two for the husband and kids.  I decided to make a myriad of flavors to please everyone, but I had to make a concerted effort not to grab a spoon and eat them straight out of the jars.
Can we chat for a minute about mason jars?  I love them.  Adore them.  Their timelessness.  Their usefulness. Old ones.  New ones.  Cupcakes in them.  Flowers in them.  Lemonade in them.  They are one of my favorite things.  There is no such thing as too many.  Don't get me started on this drink dispenser... sigh.  It is just too wonderful.
 But back to the cookies.  Place them two inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Using your thumb or for your OCD girls,  the handle of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.  Spoon about 1/4 teaspoon of preserves into each indentation.
Bake at 375º for 7-9 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.  Cool two minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  If by chance there are any left over, store tightly closed at room temperature.
And while I want to keep every single scrumptious morsel of my desert island jelly, I want to spread the good name of jalapeno in jellies.  I want the world to know the wonder that is Edible Creations.  This 16 oz. jar of awesome is looking for a new home.  A home that will love it as much as I do.
I also couldn't resist throwing in a copy of Betty Crocker's Fall Baking magazine.  I am not a big fall girl, mainly because in Cali we don't see much of the season, but I do love me some cozy fall food.  I could make one of every single recipe in this pretty magazine.  With Bakerella on the cover, no less!

Thanks for taking this rambling cookie making journey with me.  For letting me ramble on about my girl Betty Crocker, preserves and mason jars.  Happy baking.  Let me know how they turn out!

Alright friends, you know what to do! Leave a comment, get an entry. Tweet, Facebook, blog, become a follower, you name it, get even more entries! Just leave a separate comment for each shenanigan. And one of you lucky souls will walk away with some JAM and a dang cool COOKBOOK!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Well This Has Been Fun

I think I squealed about 5 times today. I also ran downstairs at work to call my husband, and then my friend Miranda. And then I squealed some more. I am just so excited and overwhelmed with all the positive response and feedback to my blog redesign. It's been a very exciting day for me. For Reals.  Thank you so much for all the kind words for both me, and Heather!  Isn't she amazing?  She jokes that she has no skillz in the kitchen.  But that's okay because I think what she lacks in kitchen talent, she makes up for in home decorating talent don't you think?

So I had plans to work on some final touches tonight to my blog. Like rewriting my Playgrounds & Lollipops page, my About page, and adding my Blog Roll.

But then I got sent home with a work project, and p.s., I have to be at our flagship store in Beverly Hills at 8 AM! So here I sit at 10:00 at night, getting ready to embark on the spreadsheet of death. I seriously think this spreadsheet is going to kill me. I just recently went back to work in the fashion industry as an Account Manager for an LA based clothing company. My friends think my job is fabulous. If they only knew...this spreadsheet alone would make them stick hot pokers in their eyes.

So my little tweaks will have to wait till tomorrow friends. To new followers, welcome! Thanks so much for clicking that subscribe button. I hope I don't disappoint.

Tomorrow, bright and early, come back here to see what Julie from Joy's Hope has up her sleeves. Be here or be square.

p.s. Wish me luck with the spreadsheet.

Heather of Blessed Little Nest

Welcome to Blog Relaunch Week here at Four Flights of Fancy!  I am excited to welcome my first guest poster, Heather from Blessed Little Nest.  I started reading Heather's blog late last year, and instantly became hooked.  I poured over her archives one night and was struck with just how genuine she came across in every single post.  I wrote her, and since then we have exchanged countless emails, tweets, comments and blog love over the Internet superhighway!  I was honored when she agreed to be a guest blogger.  Now, without further adieu, Heather...

Hi there Four Flights of Fancy readers!!
My name is Heather from Blessed Little Nest and I'm delighted
to be participating in Andrea's guest blogger series.

I've always loved fluffing my nest, but in the past few years
it's taken on a whole new meaning for me.  In the Fall of 2007 my six
week old son Samuel died from a rare form of bacterial meningitis.
As I've learned to live this new life of mine without him, I've come to
understand how important my home environment is. 


Before Samuel was born I would spend much of my
time trying to make my house look like something out of a
catalog, when in reality what I needed was a home that was
healing and inspiring, not the exact room setting off of page 12.


 "Whatever else anything is,
it ought to begin by being personal."

Tell me you know what movie that's from.  C'mon!
I know you know.  It's okay if you don't, we can still be friends,
but it'd be a whole lot cooler if you did.
Ha!  I did it again.  What movie's that line from?

Okay, I've gotten completely off track.  Movie trivia
tends to do that to me.  Back to what I'm here to talk about....

everything looks prettier in jars.

I love that quote and find myself coming back to it often.
I believe that no matter what life throws at you, it's important
that we all have a space to come back to that we can call our own.
For me that space includes a mix of vintage, modern, and industrial
with a nice big dose of handmade thrown in for good measure.


I enjoy shopping at thrift shops and junk sales, and love to
upcycle things to fit into my design aesthetic.


  By taking something new, like this pillow cover, and adding a few
vintage sewing notions and a needlepoint design that I found on one of
my thrifting adventures, I end up creating something personal to me.


And since I have two small kiddos at home under my wing
it's important that our home not only have an inspiring, cozy and
happy environment, but that it function as well.  In order
to make that work I find ways to combine the two worlds, like
using old suitcases to hold dress up clothes and using pretty
blankets for fort making.


I'm always thinking up new and creative ways to display their artwork, too.

So, while you will likely never see my home in a catalog
or magazine, that's kind of the idea.  It's created to perfectly suits the four
people that live in it.  And for us, we couldn't ask for more.

Thanks for having me Andrea!

In honor of Heather's work and dedication to the Joyful Life Library, I thought it only appropriate to give away a children's book bag from my Etsy shop.  To enter, leave a comment just to say hi to Heather!  Additional entries can be made by becoming or being a follower of Four Flights of Fancy and Blessed Little Nest, Tweeting, Blogging, Facebooking, you name it.  Just leave a separate comment for each shenanigan :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Labour of Love

Hi There Friends!

Welcome to my new digs! I can't believe this little labour of love is finally done after months of going back and forth. I am thrilled to have my new space, and am even more excited to share a fun-filled week of guest posts and giveaways with you all, starting tomorrow morning at 8 am!

On the roster are some of my absolute favorite bloggers including Heather from Blessed Little Nest, Julie from Joy's Hope, Jules from Pancakes and French Fries, and Rachel from Cherry Tree Lane. Each day they will be bringing you a little piece of them, and we'll be hosting a fab giveaway to tie in with their post.

Tonight I will be doing some tweaking and teetering in here, including rewriting my Playgrounds & Lollipops section and About section. I will take a stab at it, but if I'm not pleased with how it turns out, I am going to enlist the help of Jules, because she will undoubtedly make me sound more interesting than I actually am. Plus, I gotta feel important somehow, and what better way than to have someone write your Bio, right?

I want to first thank Heather Myers Graphic Design who designed my cute little logo about 3 months ago, and has been patiently waiting for me to finally preview it.  I kept telling her I was waiting and waiting to find the right blog designer to work her magic with it, and I finally found that person in Shalon from Pretty Lovely Design.

Shalon has been amazing to work with, and I loved what she came up with instantly.  After a few tweaks here and there, we had our layout and have been spending the last week fine tuning it.  She has been so patient and gracious with me and I can't thank you enough Shalon.  I tweeted at some point yesterday that I thought my blog designer was going to take a hit out on me, but alas, it all worked out and I can feel safe sleeping at night now.  Oh, and she designed some cute little buttons for my blog relaucnh week.  Grab one if you'd like...I'd be eternally grateful!

This blogging world has been a roller coaster ride at times, and I even thought about quitting once or twice.  But I truly feel like I have finally found my groove and am honestly enjoying it.  In fact I love it damn it!  You may have noticed I added a tag line, A Life-Style blog.  Lately I've thought a lot about what I post about, and what I love to post about, and it came down to 3 things:
I think the first 2 can be summed up in the "Life" category, and the last in the "Style" category.  I know it's not necessarily the most clever tag line, but I'm not the most clever person, and I'm okay with that.  But for me it works.  Anyhow, enough rambling from me!  Off to get my first guest post ready for tomorrow morning.  I can't wait for you all to read Heather's post!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ebb and Flow

I have the worst timing when it comes to crying in public.  The girl that made my salad today must
have thought I was some crazy huera.


I am in week 6 of my return to work.  I haven’t talked much about it because I haven’t really known what to say, what to feel. 
Some days I get up with gusto, excited to have an opportunity to be part of an industry that I love, to bring home a paycheck for my family, to experience that feeling of monetary contribution. 
To get dressed, to take part in meaningful business related discussions.  To eat lunch in peace.

Other days, days like today, days when I am running on empty and am tired, I do not get up with that same gusto.  I stay in bed and snuggle for an extra 15 minutes with Syd.  I drink my coffee real slow in the morning and I get in the car.  I travel down that damn 710 freeway, with semi trucks crowding me on both sides, bumping up and down on the pot hole ridden roads, and I think to myself, “how in the hell did I get here?”

I sit in my chair, stare at my computer and feel lonely.  I’m in an office building I’m not familiar with, in a town I’m not familiar with, working with people and rules and procedures that I’m not familiar with.  I think it’s human nature to cling to the familiar, long for it, when in uncomfortable and unknown situations.

Today, right now, I miss my kids.  I miss my house, my kitchen, my favorite candle.  I miss Art, and the comfortable feeling of knowing he's just 5 minutes down the road at his office, nerding out. 

I went to lunch today and I could see the high rise buildings of Downtown LA, including the US Bank building where my brother works.  I missed my brother today.  That statement speaks volumes to how I'm feeling right now.  I don't regularly miss my brother.  We have had a LOVE/HATE relationship.  Now I think it can best be described as RESPECT.  We are so much alike it's scary, he just has a lot more testosterone than I do.  We get each other now, we know what makes us tick.  I think if I were to drive down and see him in that high rise office of his he would say "Andy, suck it up.  Stick to the plan, keep your eye on the prize.  Don't be a sissy."  And I would say, "Okay Johnny, you're right."

But I didn't go and see my brother.  Instead I just sat in my car staring at those buildings in the parking lot.  And then Katy Perry came on and I started crying because all I could think of was Keenan Cahill and his genius You Tube video and how Art and I watch it daily now to get a laugh, and how I hate feeling alone when I am surrounded by people.  I walked in to get my lunch and I still had tears in my eyes.  Hence, the girl at the salad counter thinking I was a crazy huera.

Ebb and flow, up and down, back and forth, highs and lows.  That's how I feel on days like this. 
I pick up my salad and my XLarge Iced Tea, get in my car and start to drive back to my office.  I stop for a moment and look at the ridiculous Farmer John mural that is painted on the entire meat- packing facility, and I notice a couple of bullet holes in the wall.  And I think to myself, "Damn, someone has bigger problems than me." 

So I suck it up and know that tomorrow is another day, and not just any day, but Friday.  And I am happy again.

I'm Petitoning...

...that oxfords take the place of the ballet flat for Fall 2010

What do you think?  Will you sign on?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tales From The Style Blogger Crypt - Trussing A Chicken

Good Morning Kendi,
I thought I would share with you what it is like for a mom of 2 when she tries to take pictures for her style blog.  See, she got dressed real cute-like to go to the flea market in the morning, by herself, and she thought, “gee, wouldn’t the flea market be the cutest place to take pictures for my style blog?”  Why yes, it sure would be, but you are alone remember Mom Style Blogger?

“Oh that’s right.” 

So when Mom Style Blogger gets home, she says to her husband of 11 years, “Hey honey, can we go back to the flea market and take pictures for my blog in a little bit?”  He gives a stare that implies, “No”, and Mom Style Blogger asks “is that a bad idea?”  Dear husband says, “Yes, that is a terrible idea.”  Mom Style Blogger has to agree, because she knows deep down that loading two young children in the car just for them to sit in the car while mom and dad take pictures is torture for them, which equals torture for the parents in the long run.  Something akin to the feeling of hot pokers in the eye.  Ask your sister Kendi, she would probably agree.

So Mom Style Blogger says to her dear husband, “Let’s take pictures of me in the kitchen while I cook dinner then?”  He really at this point doesn’t have an out, so he agrees.

Long story short, the photo shoot turned out ridiculous because a) even though Mom Style Blogger wore her cute head scarf all day, she certainly in real life wouldn’t wear it in a kitchen with a preheated 400 degree oven going, so  the whole shoot is unbelievable and hence doomed from the beginning.  And b) the husband couldn’t get a decent shot anyhow, and so Mom Style Blogger ended up wielding a knife, wearing a really ugly twisted expression, yelling “Take a damn picture of my shoes!”  Not a pretty moment for Mom Style Blogger.  Not pretty at all.

Attached are a couple shots from said epic fail photo shoot.  Enjoy, and hope this tale from the style blogger crypt brought a smile to your face.

Mom Style Blogger
 The chicken that refused to defrost after 8 hours of defrosting
"Now what am I going to do with this damn thing?"
"Stop messing around and just take some pictures okay, I'm hot!"
"Oh wait, I'm supposed to be happy and smiling, not angry and psychotic"
"Why are you taking pictures of me slicing an onion?  This is an outfit post, not a recipe post."
You can see I'm starting to fume here. Look a the exasperated under bite.
"I'm gonna throw this bag of carrots at you!"
 "Seriously, stop messing around!  I'm holding a knife mister!"
"My wife is scaring me right now."
"I'm over it. I'm gonna feed the dog now."


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