3.30.2013

BEAUTIFY: Strange Hand Photo, Tiny Glitter Bottles.

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        Here is the other glitter set I ordered!  Aren't they precious?!  Why are miniature things so cute?!  I don't understand.  Ben & Jerry's ice cream pints?  They're super good, but nothing special.  MINI-SIZED Ben & Jerry's ice cream?  IRRESISTIBLE!!!  It's stupid, but I can't help it.  Apparently neither can anyone else.  Just sneak a peek at Etsy and you'll find tons of crafts dedicated to things in miniature.

But I digress.


        This is the manicure I came up with to showcase my lovely new glitter treasures:  strategically placed chevrons and lots of shiny topcoat.  I used my nifty dotter tool again to set each glitter piece just right.  (Maybe I should get a photo of it?  Poor thing does all the work and gets no credit!  hahaha)  I'm glad I was able to photograph it okay, I wasn't sure the hologram glitter would show up too well.  Pretty and practical, I figured something understated and easily repaired was best since I have tons of packing to do and not really much time to sit and play with nail polish right now.  Boo-hoo.
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3.24.2013

BEAUTIFY: I Could Use A Rainbow


         Been on a bit of a writing hiatus this week... reading all the nonsense in the news this week has really got me down and I didn't want to spew any more vitriol into the world by adding another angry blog to the pack.  I have a few posts in bones right now, but I just couldn't bring myself to finish them.  Next week looks promising -- I'll just have to make sure I finish writing before I read the news.  (Wah-wah.)

        Doom and gloom aside, I finally got one of the new glitter packs I ordered!  This one is a pretty rainbow mix I ordered from pinkypoo39 on Ebay.  I thought the squares were gonna be a bit bigger, but apparently I don't know how to read!  (It clearly has them listed as .8mm, but duh! I didn't pay attention to that!)  Since I have all those other glitter pots from last time, I'm thinking I should make a custom mix with some of them.  We'll see.  I have another order of glitter on the way which I know is also going to be awesome.  Horray for cheap entertainment!







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3.16.2013

EAT: Everything I Needed to Know About Cooking I Learned From the Veganomicon

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This beautiful gem has been in my possession since 01.07.08!
        This is the post where I'm gonna get all mushy-like and profess my love for all things food.  I must admit, we haven't always been best friends; there is a formidable period of time when I hated my body and we were downright bitter enemies, food and I.  Now as a woman on the cusp of turning thirty (ZOMG!) who has weighed approximately the same weight for around 10 years, it's safe to say this is the body I'm made with and I should probably accept it because it seems to like being how it is.  My acceptance does not equal negligence; I have maintained a more-healthy-than-not diet and prefer to stay fairly active to avoid stress and boredom.  It's a pretty average body, but together we have done extraordinary things.  And without it, well... I'd be dead and that would be boring.

        Because of this love for food, cookbooks hold a very special place in my heart.  I don't just look up recipes in them, I learn an entire new way of life.  Cookbooks have become significant enough in my life to have attained the status of being regarded as a "holy book" for at least the past five years.  When I first moved out on my own, my cooking skill was just high enough to keep starvation at bay.  Eating out at fast food places was too expensive and not to mention wildly unhealthy.  I was also a pretty strict vegetarian at the time too, so even when I did have money to go out, most of the enjoyment was lost due to the time spent scouring the menus for items other than salads and french fries that I could feel okay about eating.

        I knew how to cook a few staple meals:  spaghetti, burritos, rice, oatmeal, brownies...  uhhh... now that I think about it, what the hell WAS I eating?!  Hrm...  I think I ate a lot of cold cereals and noodles with frozen veggies -- cheap, easy, and (mostly) fool proof.  It was around this time I found out the hard way that my oven didn't work.  I had waited the obligatory 15-20 minutes for a frozen pizza to bake, only to I realize, "hey, it doesn't smell like pizza in here."  I ended up having to chop it into chunks and cook it piece by piece in the toaster oven.  Wah-wah.  (Thankfully maintenance fixed this problem once I alerted them to it.)  Spaghetti was a tasty, easy meal to make, but I'd only ever made it for my family, so me, not knowing how to adjust for less people, would end up eating a mountain of spaghetti for a week.  I didn't have easy access to the internet (hello free wifi hotspots!) and I never thought to look recipes up when I did.  If I had, maybe the two meals that went horribly wrong (and still haunt me to this day) could've been avoided.

        I had been trying to be fancy and make a "restaurant" dinner for myself.  The easiest meal I could think of was fettuccine alfredo with spinach.  Not too difficult, right?  HA!  It would've been fine had I not used CANNED spinach instead of FRESH.  I don't remember if the canned spinach was flavored or not, all I know is that it DID NOT make my meal taste like the pasta I got at the restaurant.  I didn't drain it, I just opened the can and tossed it right on top of my lovely noodles and sauce (which was also from a can.) It was just wrong and icky and I didn't know how to fix it.  And to make things worse?  I HAD TO EAT IT.  I had a strict budget for food so that meant what was in my pantry was all I had to eat.  Ugh.  What better incentive to learn how to cook than to be stuck eating the gross nonsense you thought up!

        The other incident involved jalapeno poppers. This was not as dire a mistake as the alfredo, just a very painful one.  I thought you could just shove some cream cheese in a hollowed out jalapeno, stick it in the oven and call it awesome.  Nope.  Truth is, you burn your face off and have to give in and throw them away because they're just TOO DAMN HOT!  I'd had enough.  I was tired of eating crappy food.


        That's when the magick happened.  I was wandering around Barnes & Noble one day after work and a book left on a table caught my eye called the VEGANOMICON: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook (written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romano).  All I could think was "What the hell, this looks good, what is it?!"  I sat down, cracked it open and am forever grateful I did!  Though I was a vegetarian at the time, I didn't really have the convictions or the know-how to become a vegan.  I had a couple of friends who were, but no one really close who could teach me how to cook.  I also thought it would be too expensive to go vegan since the majority of things on the market are horribly over-priced.  This book quickly changed my mind.

        With an emphasis on using real foods rather than over-processed imitation foods, Veganomicon teaches you how to create all kinds of delicious meals that are often quick and cost-effective.  It has everything from breakfast to dessert to snacks and gourmet dishes!  I only scanned a few of the pages, but it was enough to convince me that this was the book I needed to treat myself to.  (I had started a habit of saving a bit of money each month to allow myself to purchase something nice for myself, often times it was an art book from B&N since I got a discount there for being a GameStop employee.)  I left cradling my lovely new possession under my arm, not knowing at the time how great an impact it was about to have on my life.

        Actually READING this book can teach you what foods make good staples to stock your pantry with, what equipment is most useful to keep in your kitchen, definitions of commonly used cooking terms, and basic instructions for cooking most veggies, beans, and grains.  Again I applaud the author for not relying on commercially produced vegan/vegetarian products and teaching you how to make real, made-from-scratch food.  I feel it's an essential skill to have and saves you a lot of money in the long run.  (Not to mention the health benefits received by eating non-overly processed foods.)  And to make things even more interesting, each recipe is often embellished with a cute anecdote worth reading too!

        To give you an idea of the range of recipes you'll find in this book, I'll list some of my favorites (in order of appearance in the book, I don't think I could pick a favorite!!):
  • Everyday Chipotle-Vegetable Tamales
  • Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes
  • Blueberry Corn Pancakes
  • Snobby Joes
  • Roasted Butternut Squash with Coriander Seeds
  • Ancho-Lentil Soup with Grilled Pineapple
  • Almost All-American Seitan Potpie
  • Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chili Sauce
  • Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-fry
  • Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies
  • Individual Heart-Shaped Apple Galettes

        I wish I could thank whoever it was that left this book on the table that day at the bookstore!  My copy is so well-loved now:  bulldog clips dividing each chapter, stuffed with recipes I've found from different sources, all the notes I've scrawled on the pages while cooking each recipe...   Though I never went full vegan and have since incorporated meat back into my diet, I still rely heavily on the recipes in this book.  It makes it easy to add (or sneak!) more veggies into your diet by providing countless examples that go above and beyond the standard flavors of steamed or saut√©ed side dishes while maintaining the amount of ease with which you can cook them.  Want to make pancakes but you don't have any eggs or butter?  I know how to make that happen now!  Learning vegan substitution for common foods comes in handy when you're missing certain items or want to make your groceries stretch a little further than normal.  Plus when you do entertain company with special food preferences, you'll be able to accommodate them without pressure! 

        The authors have several other delicious cookbooks which you can find listed at their website The Post Punk Kitchen!  You should just check out the website in general because it's awesome and there are tons of recipes on there for free if you're not convinced you need to buy this book yet.  (Well why not?!)  I can't tell you enough how much I love this book.  Well, yes I can, but I don't think a page full of OMGGGILOOOOVETHIS!!!111!! would make for good reading. 

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BEAUTIFY: Maaaaaan...

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        I waited a week for my awesome shipment of awesome to come in and this was all I got.  Poop.  Okay, this is better than poop, but only slightly because it'll prove to be just as versatile for my nail art as poop would.  "There was a mix up with inventory, yadda yadda yadda, keep what we sent you, we'll refund your money."  That's cool and all, I appreciate your prompt response, but dammit!  I wanted what I ordered!!!  Round two of internet glitter hunting has begun; this time I took my search to Ebay since Amazon is full of disappointment right now.

        Oh, and the glitter on my nails in this pic isn't even anything from this set.  It's just some random old craft store glitter I had stashed in a box!  Gold squares and black mini-rectangles over Sally Hansen's "Blue Me Away!" with lots of top coat. 

        What better blow me away are my shipments from Ebay...dammit.
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3.09.2013

ENLIGHTEN: A Lesson in Submission, Or, Why I Don't Go to S&M Clubs Anymore

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Vice's Doggie Fashion Show
        Maybe I should've done what the average modern bride does and blog about all the ooey gooey details of planning the wedding and adjusting to married life, but there were plenty of other things going on in our lives that preoccupied a good chunk of that time.  While I would never say I'm happy that my dad got sick, I will acknowledge how grateful I am for the months of reflection it offered me.  2012 was the most crazy shake-up year of my life (let's pretend puberty never happened, okay?) and I feel it would benefit me to analyze the spectrum of emotions I felt and to take a closer look at all the events which occurred to better understand where I am right now.  (Not to mention it'll offer me a semi-regular topic to blog about for awhile until I can think of more.  HA!)

        I think the biggest light bulb that went off in my head actually had a little something to do with the following Bible verse:

Ephesians 5: 21-24  
 22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

        I've always hated these verses and I've engaged myself in countless debates with Sunday school teachers and other conservative religious types about "a woman's place".  I was never taught growing up that it was right to judge someone by class, race, sex, ability, or orientation.  I was raised to believe that I was equal, intelligent, and had just as much of a right to make my place in this world as anyone else.  So when my family started going to a Lutheran church, (which was my idea, really) it was understandable that after awhile I began to have my reservations about the whole "religion thing".  At first it seemed great:  I got to hang out with my best friend, eat delicious food at potlucks, find salvation, be forgiven, yadda yadda yadda.  But it wasn't for me in the long once I realized I was supposed to be taking a back seat to the dudes! (I have countless other complaints, but for the sake of trying to write a semi-coherent post, I'll save my rantings for a different time.)  Why did I have to be the one to submit and all he had to do was love me?  It didn't seem fair.

        But there is actually a lot more going on here.  When looking up this verse to quote it properly, I ran across Provocative Christian Living, offering their explanation of it.  As with anything, if you only look at something piece by piece, rather than as a whole, it's easy to draw drastically different conclusions if you can't see the entire picture.  This made me think about what caused the REAL change in my life this past year.  It wasn't finding my forever best friend, it wasn't facing the mortality of my father, it wasn't losing my job and the people who I thought were my friends.  It was the submission of my ego.

Every kind of ignorance in the world all results from not realizing that our perceptions are gambles. We believe what we see and then we believe our interpretation of it, we don't even know we are making an interpretation most of the time. We think this is reality. – Robert Anton Wilson

        My ego was out of control.  I didn't believe that someone else should come before me.  MY feelings and MY opinions were the ones that mattered most because in the end, who is the one that's stuck with them?  ME.  It made sense and that ideology carried me through a decent part of my adult life.  (This seems to be a common sentiment now, check out this article on A Generation's Vanity, showing how we're apparently the most narcissistic generation to date.)  I'm sure this makes me sound like an inconsiderate asshole, which I probably still am in many ways.  It was just a defense mechanism that happened to work for me.  I was too kind and trusting for my own good when I was younger; I got taken advantage of because of it and feel like I lost a good chunk of myself to other people by giving and loving endlessly to psychic vampires.  So, the natural reaction was to snap back completely the opposite direction.

         I don't want to sound like one of those overly-ardent wives who always talk about their husbands, but I really feel he played a great role in helping turn me around.  He was NOT going to put up with my bullshit and he wasn't afraid to call me out on it either.  He made me uncomfortable, he challenged my ideas; he was a real pain in the ass sometimes to be quite honest.  But he gave me what I needed.  I needed the mirror held up to my face for a nice, close inspection of all the things I was covering up with my inflated ego.  As I learned to really trust someone again and feel good about myself, it was only natural to want to open up and share again too.  Which brings me back to that much maligned Bible verse.  What's often missed is that the verse is actually being continued from the one ahead of it:

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.           

        BOTH parties are to submit, so I guess this verse is fair after all. Thanks to the publisher adding a title between the verses, it causes some extra anger and grief that probably could've been avoided, at least in this instance.  Doesn't the Bible say somewhere that God told people not to add or subtract to it?!  Oh yeah, it's in Deuteronomy 4:2.  I'm sure someone will be offended by the fact that I keep quoting Bible verses while professing my desire to not be seen as a Christian, but these are the texts I am familiar with and are [primarily] what have caused the various beliefs/dis-beliefs in my life.  Isn't the common saying: 'go with what you know'?

        Submission, to me, means destroying your ego.  I am no longer the most important.  I don't need to exist purely to satisfy myself.  I am bigger and more meaningful when I becomes WE.  Something magickal happens when you allow yourself to lose the concept of being the most important, most meaningful, singular being in the world (heaven forbid you think outside of existence on Earth!) and realizing that you are part of something bigger:  the collective unconscious.  You don't need to do this in order to please Christ, Buddha, the Great Goddess, the Spaghetti Monster, or whatever.  You do this to be a decent, sentient being who shares the world with countless other decent, sentient beings as long as your conscious mind remains intact.  If everyone would submit to the idea that there are other important things in the world besides themselves, where could we be now?  What impact could the simple change of losing your narcissism have on your life?  On others?  I found a soul mate.  I found love.  I found trust.  I found an inner peace that I had been lusting after for far too long.  What will you find? 

“Consider that you can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. As you read this, you are traveling at 220 km/sec across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not “you.” The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato. The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at a rainbow, you create it. This is pretty amazing, especially considering that all the beautiful colors you see represent less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum.” –Sergio Toporek


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BEAUTIFY: Sad Nails Need Love Too!

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        Ugggh..... so my nails are worn all the way back down to stubs again! *poutpout*  Please don't gawk at my painfully short ring-finger nail...ouch!  Sadly, this hand was actually the better looking of the two!  My poor right hand has a band aid on it from a dish washing accident... don't ask, I'm a klutz.  The anxiety of getting a root canal the other week and forgetting to take my vitamins has done a number on my nails (not to mention my bank account too, BOO URNS to dentist bills!!!)  But I decided to try making them pretty again anyway.  Used three coats of my favorite nail color (Whimsical by Revlon) and added tiny silver hearts from the polish my husband bought me for Valentine's day.  They're pretty cute, not quite the best polish job this time around, but it'll have to do because I'm lazy and don't feel like taking it all off to start over!

        In good news though, the nail art bundle I order from Amazon this week should be on its way!  SOON, VERY SOON, I will have 72 new styles, colors, and/or types of glitter and things to put on my nails!!!  I am so excited for this stupid package, it's, well... stupid.  But hey, it's cheap entertainment and it keeps me out of trouble!  (Mostly...)
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3.07.2013

The End Is Near!

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But it's really the beginning...


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