We staycationed this summer, probably my favorite kind of vacation (for many reasons). I like traveling, even with kids, but that's not my idea of a vacation. Anyhoo, here are some outtakes from summer around the Bay. Click through on the photos for more shots of our explorations along the coast and around the Bay Area. From a late-night stop at Bob's Doughnuts after the Dramarama concert, to ollalieberry pie at Duarte's Tavern, I think we did our fair share of eating.
Sailboat made with found objects and sea glass from Glass Beach in Benecia
No matter where our adventures led us, I found hearts woven in the rocks. Some were hidden, and others blindingly obvious.
- How To Wipe Your Butt: A Primer
- Learn To Listen By Not Talking
- Is This The HIll You Want To Die On?: Choosing Your Battles
- Slow Down: How To Travel With Purpose Instead of Up Everybody's Ass
- Rights Are Not Absent Consequences: A Discussion on How What You Do Affects Others
- There's A Sociopath In Our Midst: Identifying The Cray Cray In Your World
- Yours, Mine, And Ours: On Blending It All Together Without Feeling Like You're Living In A Blender
- More China?: Wedding Etiquette for The Previously Wed
- The Meditative Qualities Of Nail Art
- Cats: A Study In Narcissism
Mishing and mashing is what this is going to be, because I just don't have it in me to make a thematic post. I have three or four incredible well thought out and written posts, all of which are ¾'s of the way completed, which means they'll never see the light of day. In lieu of writing yet another one of those, I'm doing this post. Enjoy.
I made the tastiest whole chicken the other day, and I don't think I told anybody about it except one friend and it was just too easy and yummy not to share here.
- 2 teaspoons paprika (I used a blend of chili powder instead of paprika)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon thyme (I was out of thyme, I have no idea how, but I was, so I used some oregano, I think)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper (I used a blend of chili powder instead of cayenne)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 onion
- 1 large chicken
- Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
- Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
- Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
- Cook for 4 – 5 hours (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone. Don’t forget to make your homemade stock with the leftover bones ! (I fucked up this part, because, well, I did. Shh…don't tell. I'll get it right next time.)
I used this recipe, with some modifications, because rules are hard. Anyway, once the chicken was done, it fell right off the bones as promised. I served it with spanish rice, beans, and tortillas. It was so moist and delicious. To die for yummy. The kids loved it, too. So easy.
I have been playing with some new apps you might enjoy. One is called Typic. It allows you to add typography to photos. It includes a few in-app filters, as well, and exports photos to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, or your phone's camera. Here are samples of a couple of shots I've created.
Kind of fun, right?
The next apps are actually my secret to a paper-reduced world. I've used them for a while, but they keep improving, and I don't know what I'd do without them. I am severely paper-averse. I hate filing. I hate managing paper. I hate trying to search through the mountains of paper produced by a large family. Our answer is making sure as much of our paper as possible is converted to searchable PDFs and, unless we absolutely need to keep a hard copy, it's shredded/tossed. Better yet, it never becomes a piece of paper. How do we do it?
First, we use an app called SignEasy (available for iPhone and Android). This allows us to sign and fill out any forms or paper we receive without having to print them out. I know, crazy. SignEasy is my BFF. Once I have signed the forms, I convert them to a PDF or JPG, save them to DropBox or another service of my choice, email them, "fax" them, or print them wirelessly to my Epson printer (God forbid). If it's a document that doesn't arrive in an online format (like something the kids bring home from school or a something received via snail mail, I simply take a photo to "scan" it using an app called TurboScan. TurboScan and SignEasy work well together, and both communicate with DropBox and email. I can literally fill out contracts, sign them, and return them without touching a pen, paper, fax, or envelope. Plus, they're legible. Bonus!
Alrighty, that's all the wisdom and beauty I have to impart on you today, kids. Go stick some words on your pictures and sign some stuff with your phone. Maybe toss a chicken in the crockpot. Until we meet again.
My body let me wake up today, which was sweet of her.
Then she decided to knock me back out for about three hours when I really had better things to do.
I wish she’d ask me about my plans for the day before she does these things.
And we need to have a meeting about the condition of my shoulder. Quite sore. I get the feeling she’s been out partying while I’ve been home playing house with the Brady Bunch.
It's the kind of day that has put me in the mood, or should I say mooood, for bovine and barns. Blame too many years in the Carson Valley, but there's something about a barn and that four-legged animal in a field that just settles my mind.
Wait a minute, you guys aren't bovine. Can't trust those alpacas, no matter how innocent they look.
We went for a short run during Peanut's riding time this week. So nice to get our run in early before the heat hit.
My cabana boy does good work. He's passionate about his job. Also, easy on the eyes.
Sometimes you are left questioning the budget of certain retailers whose catalogs arrive in your mailbox. Way to buck that economic downturn, Needless Markup!
Life. Lemons. Vodka.
Thank you for stopping in for this installment of "Phoning it in with Faux Toes."
- Never trust a cat with dilated pupils.
- Dogs that smell like skunk should sleep outside, but try explaining that to the dog.
- 20" x 20" porcelain tile seems like a great flooring idea until you need to move two pallets of them from the driveway to the garage, one 60-pound box at a time.
- If you water it, it will grow.
We had a rather action-packed Spring Break. I forgot to tell y'all what we did, so I've decided to show you, instead.
Eggs were hidden
by sly Easter bunnies.
A birthday girl celebrated her birthday with a specially requested butterfly cake.
And as we returned to our work week, we enjoyed a quiet moment together,
I'm here. Spring Break, 2012. Buried between the dust of new-home preparations and two-year anniversaries and Easter bunnies and taxes that might actually be filed without an extension OH MY WICKET STICKS WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ABOUT?
Totally phoning it in between it all with some photos for you guys since that's what I seem to have at hand even when I'm buried by life:
This is our old mailbox at the new house. I installed it next to the playhouse so the kids could get mail. It's been getting non-stop use. We won't discuss how the post-hole digger kicked my ass. No worries about me getting a career building fences anytime soon.
I remain Mayor of the Dump on Foursquare. It's astounding just how much crap we throw out, but I'd rather toss it/recycle it than move it. Also, found the worlds best taco truck at the dump. Don't laugh. I know my Mexican food. I know my taco trucks. This one has nearly 5 stars on Yelp. It earned them. SO GOOD. I now salivate when thinking about going to the dump, which is all kinds of disturbing and not what Pavlov had in mind, methinks.
Spring has thrown up all over the place, which includes more gardenias than I can count at the new house. I do so love them. They smell like happiness and not like the dump. I wonder if they'd look strange shoved up my nose.
I'm glad we had this chat. Let's do this again in a few weeks. Maybe I'll find great sushi in a bathroom!
Have you ever been to Treasure Island? We had some business out there yesterday, so we took a little detour around the island and I snapped a few photos I thought you might enjoy. Interesting place. Interesting history. Read about it some time.
Genetic Reclamation Area
No one was watching as she danced.
She loved all of him—the tattered and torn bits most of all.
Try, try, again.
So, I'm killing time, waiting to hear some news. No matter what happens, my day has been made perfect by this:
I've also discovered, after twenty+ years, that I CAN DRINK BEER. Well, some kinds of beer. So, I'm enjoying a lovely bottle of Tangerine Wheat from Lost Coast Brewery. It is, le yum. I highly recommend it.
Another fun find from the past week: Richmond Prick (which, is not penis, I swear) at Up & Under in Point Richmond (EAT IT. Be brave, just do it!) They also have tasty fish tacos and flaccid rugby balls masquerading as light fixtures–how is that not full of win? Also, you should seriously hit this place up if you're looking for the fellas. It was full of men of all shapes and sizes when we were there. Get after it. Or just eat and drink and enjoy your present company. That's what we did.
I don't do desks. It's not that I haven't tried. I have had desks. I have sat at desks. I have tried fancy chairs. I have tried fancy desks. I have tried fancy computers at fancy desks.
I always end up sitting on my bed.
I did my homework on my bed from the time I started having homework. I had a desk. I used my bed. I would sit with my very long legs dangling over the sides of my very narrow twin bed doing my homework. Sometimes my dog would join me. She sucked at math. I didn't. We were a good team.
I realize that using my bed as my desk and office is a colossal faux pas for somebody with chronic insomnia. I don't care. I didn't sleep any better when I sat elsewhere. I probably slept worse because of the pain I had from sitting at a desk. The ergonomics of desk life don't work for me.
So, a bed it is. This can lead to some confusion amongst people who reside outside my home. They think I spend ALL DAY IN BED OH MY GOD.
Me at "My Desk"
Well, I sort of do. I spend a number of hours sleeping and a greater number of hours working and getting shit done online. I process photos, I respond to the colossal cesspool of email I receive, I manage my ad networks, I do the social network thing, I dick around a bit, and I MOSTLY do the other stuff that is my private business that I don't talk about here because, well, it's my private business not your private business. It's what ultimately pays the bills. This gig buys the lattes and the shoes, for the most part. Math is hard or that's what the dog said, anyway.
Pretty fucking exciting, eh?
Sometimes I use a fancy-ass pillow for my neck!
This is the fancy neck pillow I like to use when I have to spend a rather long bit of time on the Interwebs. It makes my neck feel so very loved. Desks do not offer this option. Let's be honest, desks are assholes.
Just like a desk-dweller, I can enjoy a cup of coffee in my office space. Look at me go! (Duck face optional for those of you attempting this advanced move at home.)
My office has some sweet art. It has deep meaning in my life. I like that about my office and my art. It inspires me.
I can talk on the phone in my office—can, but don't. I don't do phone. We've already reviewed this.
Phone is icky. It is only good for the texting and the porn.
Thank you for joining me for this tour of my office. Tune in next time for a tour of my "other office" where I read the Twitter and think fondly of you all. It has the loveliest porcelain accouterments and softest two-ply. You're going to LOVE it; I just know you are!
Alright kids, it's time to stop reading the drivel I post and get your eyes over to some other sites for a bit. Here are a few of my favorites:
When I want to learn about booze, and I mean learn not just tip up the glass, I head over to American Drink. Some people will blog about a cocktail they've whipped up in their makeshift kitchen bar, but these folks have dialed it in. Posts are provided by some of my friends, acquaintances, and occasionally inspired by some random folks I like to laugh at on stage when I get the chance. If you want to impress your friends during the holidays or maybe host a whisky tasting, check out this blog. If you want to learn why tequila isn't the evil shit that made you puke your guts out in college, take a gander at American Drink. Learn about the agave plant and why you don't need to do shots with lime and salt like a frat boy on spring break. Grow up with American Drink.
When I need to get inspired and find ideas for photography, I hit Photojojo. Not always, but frequently enough that I want to share. They have the best gadgets. Like this little doohicky right here: a lens cap holder for your camera strap. How fucking genius is that? They also have a feature called Time Capsule that sends you an email twice a month with photos from a year ago—also, genius. It links to Flickr; poof, done! I love that.
Now, on to my favorite shopping site. I am well and truly addicted to Hautelook. It's a downright embarrassment how often their packages show up on our doorstep, but I have scored some seriously good deals. Want a teaser? If you're into True Religion or Seven jeans, they have them right now for $56. I've found cashmere yoga pants, bamboo kitchen cutting boards, children's books, makeup, and a host of other treats. It's all name brand stuff. It's all deeply discounted. Shoes, furniture, clothing, housewares, toys, Hautelook has it all. The site updates daily and closes out items as they sell out. If Hautelook isn't your thing, head over to my other favorite shopping site, Etsy.
Need to wrap your day up with some shits and giggles? The Bloggess will deliver. My girl can make a chronic disease funny. She can make a sex tour in Japan funny. She can make a dead animal funny. If you have trouble finding your funny, let Jenny help you. She's a professional. I should warn you that you should not attempt her brand of humor at home unless you are wearing safety equipment and a Depends. Plus, sometimes she lets me take her picture in precarious locations, for which I am eternally grateful.
Other times, she wears my shoes and lets me pose WITH her in precarious locations. Again, grateful. (Precarious locations is code for bathrooms, by the way.)
(Photo by the lovely Missdisgrace)
I haven't done one of these in a bit, and short of of telling you what else I've created out of figs this week, I thought I'd share some of my favorite things with you.
This first one is actually related to a fig creation from tonight since it included sliced apples; it's an Apple Peeler, Corer, and Slicer. I got mine from a Pampered Chef party back in the day, but you can find them on Amazon or at a kitchen store of your choosing. You can have a mountain of peeled, sliced, cored apples in minutes. I used mine to make cinnamon sliced apple chips for the Bug and Peanut when they were little, and now that we have an apple tree in the yard, it's getting a work out again. It makes the hardest part of baking an apple pie a piece of cake. (Did you see what I did there? Damn, I'm funny.)
Apple Slice Garnishing Fall Harvest Quesadilla
Kids, pets, and poop stink. I'm not a fan of stink. I have a few products I use to attack the stink (and stains) produced by these three things. Nature's Miracle is a must-have when you live with kids or pets. Nature's Miracle will get ink pen out of carpet, lipstick off of collars (in case you have that problem), or cat puke off your favorite duvet cover (although, I no longer have that problem). There are other products like it, but the price of Nature's Miracle when you buy in bulk is hard to beat. It kills the stain and the stink all in one swoop and without scrubbing. Pour it on; let it work. Second, I like an air freshener that doesn't just mask the smells. Nobody likes the smell of shit and roses. I want something that truly kills the odors, but doesn't smell like grandma's powder puff. That's where my next favorite product comes into play: Fresh Wave All Natural Odor Neutralizing Home Spray. Finally, I like a nice candle to light that lasts a long time, but doesn't cost me $40 a pop. When I'm feeling indulgent, I'll buy myself a Votivo candle, but when I'm buying to defunkify the entire house, I use Vanilla Creme Pet Odor Exterminator Candles. They smell great, aren't overpowering, and last FOREVER. Best of all, they're cheap. I can't always get the Vanilla Creme scent through Amazon, but I can usually find them by doing a search online. I've never paid more than $9/candle. Since they last up to 70 hours, that's a bargain! You Votivo addicts know what I'm talking about.
Alright, let's talk about my face. It's getting older. I'm still a cheap ho when it comes to makeup, but I have sensitive skin. Most of my favorites are made by E.L.F. What I can't find at Target in the E.L.F. section, I buy from their online site. My favorite items are their mineral eyeshadows, hyper shine gloss (only $1!), and mineral concealer. They have great brushes, too. Their small precision brush ($3) makes a great eyeliner brush. I dip it in a little water, then the mineral shadow. And, I'm not easy to please with brushes. I have MAC brushes I've spent a pretty penny on, yet I will tell you the E.L.F. brushes are just as good at doing the job. Same with the eyeshadows, concealer, and glosses. I've bought more expensive products, but for the $1-5 I spend on these products, they last just as long, are just as nice, and I don't mind experimenting with new colors or products. They even have inexpensive nail polish removal pads that are great for traveling.
Now, what would be super cool was if I got these products for free, but I don't. If you buy any of the Amazon-linked products through my links, I get a small kickback from Amazon, but that's it. Really, I just wanted to blab on about the stuff I like. I do have some products to review, but they'll be going in the review section of my blog since they were comped by the product manufacturers. Now, tell me what sets your kite a flyin'. What products make your world go 'round?