About Me

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What is a PRG?? PRG is something someone started calling me long ago - almost in another lifetime. It stands for "Puerto Rican Goddess." Most days lately, I just feel like a Pretty Regular Girl. So this blog will journal my days as a PRG. Some days that will mean my adventures as a Puerto Rican Goddess; other days I'll just be a Pretty Regular Girl. I hope you can find entertainment in both.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: New Years Eve Champagne Cocktail

2010 is almost over. I love new beginnings, so what better way to celebrate than with a cocktail?! Today I am sharing a champagne cocktail that is just as good for a midnight toast as it is with your breakfast toast! (Yep, I think I just solidified my dork status!) You'll need:

  • Strawberry Puree
  • Orange Juice
  • Champagne

The amount of each that you'll need really depends on your taste. I like to fill the champagne flute about halfway with the strawberry. Then I add orange juice until the glass is about 3/4 of the way full. Top of with a good champagne. I prefer an Extra Dry champagne, as it is a little sweeter.

For a kid-friendly version, you could use sparkling apple cider or sparkling grape juice. I don't add ice cubes to this one, as I feel it will water down the champagne. You could, however, add frozen raspberries or blueberries to keep the drink cold.

What New Year's Eve traditions do you have? Come back tomorrow when I discuss lessons learned from this year, as well as resolutions I'm making for 2011. Enjoy!


Wordless Wednesday: Self

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Two-fer Tuesday, Take 2

This recipe is a fun take on peppermint bark. You'll use the same ingredients, but the presentation is a little more "formal," in my opinion. I love the surprised look on everyone's faces when they bite into my chocolate truffles and find them filled with a white creamy filling and peppermint!

To make these bite-sized treats, you'll need:

  • 1 bag white chocolate chips (12-16 oz)
  • 1 can prepared white frosting
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 12-16 oz)


Crush 1 box (12 count) candy canes and set aside. Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave (30 second bursts, stirring in between, until completely melted). Add one can of prepared white frosting. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract (I also add peppermint extract); blend in the crushed candy canes.

Refrigerate until firm enough to handle, about one hour. Roll into balls and refrigerate again, usually overnight.

Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Dip truffles in semi-sweet chocolate, then set onto waxed paper. Refrigerate again until firm.



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Two-fer Tuesday, Take 1

Oops! The holiday weekend sort of knocked my regular posting schedule for a loop! To make up for it, today I bring you "Two-fer Tuesday"...two, two, two recipes in one!!!

Jeremy and I had a fantastic Christmas - our first together. I've written extensively over the past month about planning my menu and decorating his apartment. What I hadn't planned for was the surprise we got on Christmas Day. I got up early to make breakfast - Banana Butterscotch Muffins. He got up shortly thereafter and talked to his mom on the phone. During the conversation, she mentioned they had a freezer full of deer sausage and still had some left over. They were trying to figure out how to get the sausage to us so it wouldn't go to waste.

The conversation ended with them coming up from Houston to share Christmas dinner with us! The plan was for them to bring the sausage, stay for dinner, and stay the night. They returned to Houston Sunday morning after a great day spent together eating, laughing, talking, and drinking.

I hope your Christmas was as fun and full of love as ours was. After all that cooking, though, I'm ready for a break! Tonight we're keeping it simple with deviled eggs, leftover chicken 'n dumplins, and spinach salad. For part one of this post, I'm sharing the deviled eggs recipe I'm using. You'll need:

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp shredded cheddar
  • paprika, and Cayenne pepper or cajun seasoning to taste

Begin by hard-boiling your eggs. Once cooled, cut eggs in half and separate the yolks into a medium sized bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the yolks, and stir until well-blended. Pipe the filling into the egg halves, overfilling slightly. Garnish with paprika or seasoning of your choice.

I assume everyone knows how to make deviled eggs, but this is my recipe. I realized while I was writing this that I forgot to include the bacon and cheddar cheese in the photo - I left them in the fridge! Also, while preparing the filling, I decided to omit the apple cider vinegar I had originally included in the picture. As you can tell, my method in the kitchen is to keep things fluid!

Enjoy, and stay tuned for Two-fer Tuesday, Take 2!


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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: French Vanilla Eggnog

For today's Thirsty Thursday, I wanted to give you a twist on the seasonal favorite, eggnog. I'm not the biggest fan of eggnog myself, so I don't have a tried-and-true personal recipe. Instead, I'm leaning on my old friend The Food Network for this one.

3 cups milk
6 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
4 oz brandy
4 oz rum
2 oz creme de cacao
3 cups French Vanilla ice cream, melted

Begin by whisking the milk, sugar, and nutmeg in a pitcher or bowl. Whisk in the 3 liquors. Finally, add the melted ice cream.

You can find this recipe among the "50 Holiday Drinks" on the Food Network's page, here. I'd still like to find an eggnog recipe I like. I'm going to try this one, for sure. If you've got a go-to recipe you'd like me to try, feel free to send it! Enjoy!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Follow Friday: Another Foodie

I was perusing Twitter this afternoon, and stumbled upon another foodie blog, Bakers Royale. I started reading, and WHOA! was I blown away! Naomi is the Chef-in-Chief at Bakers Royale. She shares her own successes and not-so-successes in the kitchen, as well as reviews of other food bloggers' recipes.

I was going through some of her recent posts, and there was one that really impressed me. Naomi posted a tutorial on "How to Make Homemade Chocolate Dessert Cups" as part of her Basic Baking Series. Believe it or not, they are relatively easy to make, and will make a great impression at your holiday gathering. She even included a recipe for her Pumpkin Caramel Mousse as an idea of how to fill your dessert cups.

Be sure to check out Naomi and her creations. And let me know if you think there's someone I should be following!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Maple Butter Kiss

I found this recipe on the Food Network website, and decided I probably ought to try it. It sounds festive and tasty. The Maple Butter Kiss combines my very favorite - VODKA! - with butterscotch and maple syrup. I ask you: what could be tastier?!

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • .5 oz butterscotch schnapps
  • .25 oz real maple syrup
  • 1 oz half-and-half
  • Fresh ground nutmeg

Pour all liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with fresh ground nutmeg.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Menu Planning

Well folks, I think I've really done it this time. After much careful planning (read: panicking bc Christmas is 10 days away!) I believe I have come up with my Christmas menu. This will be my first year preparing a "real" Christmas feast, and I'm very excited!

I have a semi-picky eater to cook for, which means no mushrooms, no black olives, no avocado. I am VERY picky, so that also rules out turkey, fish & all other forms of seafood. What we have managed to agree on, however, are the following:
  • Apricot Pork Tenderloin
  • My Mom's (and quickly becoming MY) Famous Cheesy Potatoes
  • Green Been Bundles
  • Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Apple Cider and Bacon Vinaigrette

I'll share with you today the recipe I found for the tenderloin. Of course, as almost always, this one comes from Allrecipes.com.

Apricot Pork Tenderloin

  • 2 lbs pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 (18 oz) jar apricot preserves
  • 2 Tbsp honey, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Spread butter all over the pork tenderloin. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Combine garlic powder, apricot preserves, honey, and sherry in a seperate bowl.

3. Roast the pork in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven and brush with the apricot sauce. Return the pork to the oven. Continue roasting, basting ocassionally with the remaining sauce, until the pork is no longer pink in the center, about 15 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 160 degrees.

I'm really looking forward to trying these new recipes. So far, The Boy has liked everything I've cooked for him. I hope I can continue the trend. What new recipes are you trying out for Christmas? Any old stand-bys you're including? Share a recipe!


Monday, December 13, 2010


This has been such a trying year for me, in so many ways. I've had to adjust to changes in my personal life, my professional life, and my financial status, just to name a few.

I've struggled a lot more than I've been willing to admit until now, but I've made it through. Every day I am learning new things and finding new ways to be happy. Here are a few things that are making me happy right now:

*Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Starbucks
*Waking up next to someone I love
*My new phone - the HTC Evo - that's smarter than I am
*Girlfriends, and Girls Nights Out
*Making plans for the future
*Being loved for the real me
*Discovering that I'm a decent cook after all

What are some things that make you happy?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Fun Day!

Hangin' with my crew @ Texas 12 Man Jam tonight. Tune in tomorrow for your regularly scheduled programming!
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Follow Me as I Follow...Someone Else

Today I wanted to talk about a wonderful hostess, entertainer and author I have recently discovered. Her name is Sandy Coughlin, and she has written the book The Reluctant Entertainer. Sandy discusses all aspects of entertaining on her blog, from preparation, invites, and menu planning to the execution of the party.

What I love about Sandy is that she places the emphasis on family, friends, and fellowship. The party is just the avenue used to create lasting memories with people we love and cherish. Right now, I am devouring her series 31 Days to Stress-Free Entertaining. I've only read through Day 9, but so far I'm loving her ideas, her inspiration, and her reassurance that people don't care what kind of china they're eating off of!

Sandy has a giveaway on her blog today, which she is co-hosting with The Hip Hostess. You could win a copy of Sandy's book The Reluctant Entertainer, as well as an adorable apron from The Hip Hostess.com You have to hurry, though! The giveaway closes at midnight. Check out Sandy's blog post here for all the details. Happy Entertaining!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thirsty Thursday: Winter Warm-Up

In an attempt to blog more regularly, I have decided, like many bloggers, to theme my days. This should (hopefully) prevent me from being at a loss for what to say. Many people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply post a photo. I did this a while back, and am going to incorporate that again.

For today's post, I give you......Thirsty Thursday!! Since I am a bartender, I may as well share some of what I know. People are always asking me what my favorite drink is to make, what my favorite shot is to take, and if I really love my job. In reverse order, the answers to those questions are:

1)Most days

2)Scooby Snack

3)Adult Apple Cider

Of course, like everything else, the answers to those questions change on a daily, weekly, or hourly basis. But I am currently satisfied with my job (although I wish I had more quality time with my family). My favorite shot to take is a Scooby Snack (recipe here), and I just created a fabulous Adult Apple Cider. It's super simple, and a nice winter warm-up.

You'll need:

2 packets of your favorite Apple Cider mix (I used our old stand-by, Alpine. If you're using loose powder, you need 2 servings.)

12 oz hot water

2-4 oz Pinnacle Whipped, Whip Cream flavored vodka

This recipe is so simple, all you do is follow the directions! Place your powdered cider in a cup and add the water. Stir until dissolved. Add 2-4 oz of the vodka. Since I made double servings of the cider, I added a double shot of vodka.

Some suggestions you might try: add real whipped cream or a caramel drizzle to your cider. I was going to attempt this, but once I tasted it, decided it didn't need anything additional. The vodka is *very* sweet!

We ended up drinking A LOT of these while putting up the tree the other night! It got us in the Holiday Spirit, they were tasty, and we had fun. These quick little cocktails are a great way to add some spice to your holiday party, or just to add a little "something special" to a cozy night around the fire. When will YOU try it?!


BTW, I am in no way affiliate with Alpine or Pinnacle. I'm just a bartender. I like vodka. That is all.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In The Kitchen: Habanero Hellfire Chili

Today I attempted chili from scratch. But not just any chili. I had to attempt Habanero Hellfire Chili from Allrecipes.com I decided to try chili, because The Boy and I were planning to put up the Christmas tree and decorate at his place tonight and chili sounded like a warm, Christmasy kind of meal.

Here's the recipe as I made it:

1 lb Hormel Black Label Thick Cut Bacon
1 lb 80/20 ground beef
1 lb reduced fat ground pork
1 pkg Texas Traditions Hickory Smoked Beef Sausage (6 links)
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 oz chopped yellow onion
4 jalapenos, chopped
2 habaneros, seeded & chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1.5 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp beef bullion granules
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (not drained)
2 bottles Bud Light
6 oz tomato paste
1 can whole kernel corn (drained)

So the first instructions for the recipe are to place the bacon in a large soup pot and cook over medium-high heat. I should mention here that as much as I love bacon, I cannot cook it to save my life. So of course, I burned the first six pieces I put in the pot.

Next, I googled "easiest way to cook bacon" and discovered that it can be made in the oven. 20 minutes later, I take my beautifully cooked bacon out of the oven & turn to place it on the sink. Hot bacon grease sprays all over the mat in front of the sink. The score is now Bacon-2, Sarah Jane-0.

I proceed to cook the ground beef and ground pork in the pot. Once the meat was fully browned, I added the remaining ingredients: the peppers, spices, tomatoes, and the beer. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45-60 minutes. Add the sausage and bacon and simmer another 30 minutes.

During the last 30 minutes, I put a loaf of Pillsbury Simply Rustic French Bread in the oven. Whoa! That stuff is awesome! Perfectly crusty on the outside, light and slightly sweet on the inside. It matched perfectly with the heat of the chili.

The chili turned out really well, too, despite the Great Bacon Debacle. It was a little soupier than I typically think of chili, although still very hearty. I think the only change I'll make next time is to reduce the amount of beer. The original recipe called for one can of beer + two cups of water. I eliminated the water entirely and added another bottle of beer. I think I'll stick to one bottle, but still eliminate the water next time.

I'd love to hear suggestions on your favorite chili recipe, or any other recipe that gets you in the mood for Christmas!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Another Quickie

Hey there, readers!

I wanted to take a couple of minutes for another super-quick update. I'm working on moving to a new place, so I'm trying to get everything organized.

A couple of things I've been able to check off my 101 list:

3) Participate in NaNoWriMo
29) Go to a game at Cowboys' Stadium
33) Ride a mechanical bull (I really did!)
99) Eat something fried at the Texas State Fair

I plan to write about each of these in greater detail, but that will take more time than I have today. I am working on planning my Christmas menu for me and a very special someone. This afternoon, I am attending the wedding of two fabulous people, Anne & Paul.

Speaking of Christmas menus, there are only 22 more shopping days until Christmas!! I'm not even close to being ready. Are you? What special traditions or plans do you have for Christmas? How far along are you in your planning? Please tell me I'm not alone!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Quick Update

I know, it's been over a month since I've updated. And I was doing so well for a while!

So here's the good news: I've been able to check a few things off my 1,001 list. YAY! Of course, I haven't had the time or the energy to post about them, but that's coming.

The other big news is that it's time for NaNoWriMo!! NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writers' Month. During the month of November, crazy people all over the world attempt to write a 50,000 word novel. I've known about the event for a few years now, but this is my year to participate.

I'm about 1,010 words in, but working hard. I plan to post excerpts from my novel to this blog as time permits.

Wanna learn more about NaNo? Check out their website: www.nanowrimo.org . And stay tuned to this blog - which I promise to update more regularly - for more info on my novel.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pre-Birthday Present

Birthdays are a big deal for me. I'm not particularly close to my family, so holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving are uncomfortable at best, depressing at worst. However, when I started dating Jay many moons ago, he always made a big deal about my birthday. We always went somewhere great for dinner, and the festivities usually included a big shopping spree.

Now that we're not together anymore, I knew better than to expect a big shopping spree this year. However, he still did something completely over-the-top and generous for me this year. He knew I had been talking about buying myself an iPad. In fact, I even took him to the Apple Store one day to test drive one and show him what it was all about.

Well, several days ago, I decided the nearly $800 price tag was too steep for me right now, and I really ought to do something more responsible with the money I had been saving. So I decided to buy a Barnes & Noble Nook for now and keep saving my money to pay off some other things.

Jay actually took me to B & N and paid for half of my Nook as my birthday present!!

And of course, I had to get a protective case for it. If you know me, you know I am a gadget geek. However, I am also a klutz! Hence, the need for the case. This one was designed by Johnathan Adler and I was drawn to it immediately.

I can't wait to start reading on my Nook. I was hesitant to get an eReader at first. To me, there's just something about turning the pages of a book, ya know? But now that I've had a chance to play with one a few times, I really think I'm going to like it.

Do you have an eReader? Do you like it? What are you reading now?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Personal Ad

Today I thought I would do something fun. I was talking to a friend today, who was trying to convince me what a great "catch" I am. Have you ever had friends like that? We were talking about a relationship that didn't work out, and he was reassuring me that I'm going to find someone who deserves me.

That got me thinking. What does someone who "deserves me" really deserve? If someone wins my heart, what comes along in the package? So I thought I would write my own personal ad. An honest description of me, and what you get if you "get" me.

Me: Equal opportunity sports fan, Football fanatic. Don't send me flowers, or take me for long walks on the beach. Buy me a book and take me to a UFC match and we'll have a great time. Avid reader, adventure seeker, and perpetual student. I could live on steak, and make the best dessert you'll ever taste. Love to travel, meet new people, and try new things.

Petite, but a spark-plug in a small package! I enjoy working out, but also enjoy a fun night out. I can be the center of attention, but also know how to relax and go with the flow. I always have a song in my head, and often dance to the beat of my own drum. Fiercely loyal to my friends, I'm often looked to as a trust-worthy confidante.

You: Equally trust-worthy, enjoys outdoor activities and trying new things. Strong sense of self and good character a must. Strong enough to take care of himself, and stand up to a feisty Puerto Rican when necessary! Mamas boys and co-dependants need not apply.


Word Count: 286

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend Recap

I had such a fantastic time this weekend! I spent the weekend with my fellow bartender, Shasta. We made it a girls' weekend and had a blast! We left work early Friday night and headed out to one of the pubs in the area. We danced the night away, and before we knew it, it was 2 am!

Well, what are two young, good-looking bartenders to do after the bar closes? Find an after-party of course! We ended up heading over to my buddy Matt's place, where we hung out with my regular Thursday night crowd of guys. They're my boys that come up to see me at the bar every Thursday night. Here's a picture of me and one of my boys, Philip:

We stayed at their place until it was time to take Janet back to work, which was about 11 o'clock the next morning! Saturday we lay pretty low. Hung out at Shasta's house with her mom and her kids, who are adorable! Soon enough, it was time to get ready for Saturday night. We had planned to go to Billy Bob's Texas, the world's7 largest honky tonk.

Now, those of you who hail from somewhere outside of the great state of Texas may not be familiar with the term "honky tonk." Basically, it's a country bar. But really it's so much more than that. According to dictionary.com, a honky tonk is a "cheap, noisy and garish nightclub or dance hall." That pretty much describes Billy Bob's! It's located in the Fort Worth Stockyards, not far from where I used to work. I had never been to Billy Bob's before Saturday night, although it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the area. Here's a pic of me and Shasta at the beginning of the night:

Froggy's is a really cool place on the water, and they have a sand volleyball court and a slip 'n slide! And *this* is Justin, our bartender at Froggy's. Notice the very nice eyes Justin has? Careful ladies, he has a "kind of" girlfriend! Huh? Yeah, I'm actually *really* over these guys and their "kind of" girlfriends. Man up, for crying out loud! (Justin is actually really sweet & a fantastic bartender. He's not committing bc she just moved away, so...)

The saddest site at the end of the night is a bunch of empty shot glasses.

And here's a pic of me and my kickball buddy, Brian. All of his friends call him "Carp." As in, "drinks like a fish." LOL

So that was my weekend, in a nutshell. We ate, we drank, we were merry! We laughed, we cried, and a good time was had by all!
I promise to get back to your regularly scheduled programming after today. This weekend was definitely the exception, rather than the rule, for my posting. I had intended to post some this weekend, but when you're staying with someone else, it's difficult to plan alone time.
Hope everyone had as great a weekend as mine was. Let's have a great week!

Word Count: 514

Friday, August 27, 2010

Words of Wisdom

I don't have a lot of words of my own today. Rather, I am quite "down in the dumps." My mom keeps telling me that I will have good days and bad days as I try to sort through my life, my feelings, and my thoughts about everything going on in my life.

Today is definitely one of the bad days. I don't like to post a lot about my personal life on days like these. No reason to drag everyone else down with me. Suffice it to say, I have a lot going on in my head that wouldn't be much fun to read about.

So...today I thought I would share a few quotes that are helping me through. The first is a quote from Erma Bombeck, a novelist and humor columnist in the latter part of the twentieth century. "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'"

This is a quote that reminds me to give my very best every day. Even if I am just tending bar and slinging drinks all day, I can still be friendly. I can be a good listener, and put a smile on someone else's face.

The next quote is actually from The Message, and is found in Matthew 16:24-26 "Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. 'Anyone who intends to come to me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?'"

This quote gives me great comfort knowing He is in the driver's seat. I wouldn't say that I'm exactly to the point of embracing the suffering, but I'm definitely trying to learn from it. I know that I've talked a lot about finding myself and discovering what I want out of life. This verse says that self-sacrifice is the way to discovering that. To truly give up everything I thought I knew, I thought I needed, that I thought I wanted. In so doing, I will find my *true* self - the person I am meant to be.

Finally, I leave you with one additional quote. This quote is actually part of someone's signature line on the NaNoWriMo board. There is no annotation, so I don't know to whom I should attribute it. It's too bad, really, because I love the quote. "Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter, try again, fail again. Fail better."

I love this quote for so many reasons. First of all, it is a reminder to KEEP ON TRYING. That you *will* fail. That mistakes will be made. But it is what we learn from each experience that is important. A mistake is only a mistake if we fail to gain anything from it.

I hope some of these quotes are able to help someone else. I know they have been and are a tremendous help to me. I have to remind myself to take it a day at a time and not try to fix all the world's problems at once. So I'm curious to know what has helped you through a difficult time. Is there a quote you've read, a mantra you've adopted, or a ritual you do that has helped you? Feel free to share!


Word Count: 721

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yes, Sarah Jane, You are a Grown-Up

I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping up my blogging every day. I just went back and counted, and I started updating again August 12. Since then, I've had eleven (this will be twelve) posts. That means I've only missed three days of blogging in two weeks. I know it doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but I have a hard time sticking to anything!

Today, just for fun, I thought I would write about my first "grown-up" purchase. For most people, that would be a car, or a house, or maybe something for a baby. Not for me. I've had a couple of different cars, and I've bought a house. No baby yet, but I've bought plenty of baby paraphernalia for others!

Today's post isn't about any of those things. There is, however, one semi-major purchase that sticks out in my head as being my first "grown-up" purchase. It ranks right up there with my professional Kitchen-Aid mixer, but the mixer came a few years later. Behold, my very first - and arguably my very favorite - grown up purchase:

A Dyson vacuum cleaner! I had been wanting one forever, but they were just too expensive. So we kept going to Wal-Mart and spending $35 on a cheap vacuum. That would last a couple of months, then it would break. Pretty soon, we were right back where we started: in the vacuum aisle at Wal-Mart, picking out our next cheap piece of crap vacuum cleaner.

So...one day Jay and I were at Best Buy. I don't remember our original reason for going, but I'm pretty sure it was to buy a video game or some other important piece of electronic equipment. Then I saw it, and it was like the heavens opened! They had a new Dyson that was at a reduced price because it was out of the box. I don't think it had ever been used, but the box was destroyed in shipment or something.

Anyway, I left Best Buy that day a very happy girl, with visions of a sparkling clean home in my head. I can't promise that my home has been immaculate and sparkly clean every day since then. What I can promise is that I get a little gleeful every time I use my Dyson. Or, as I like to call it, my "Big Girl" vacuum!

So tell me...when did you first know you were a grow-up? What was the first grown-up purchase you made?


Word Count: 1,182

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stream of Consciousness Writing

Someone on the NaNoWriMo board suggested "stream of consciousness" writing as a warm-up exercise. I thought I'd give it a shot, so while I was sitting at lunch today, here's what I came up with. Fair warning, though, it's not all sunshine and roses.

*Sydney - I feel bad for abandoning her - guilt? Makes me feel like a bad person. And of course, as always, I fear if I'm not a good "dog-mommy" I won't be a good real mommy. I always feared I would be a bad mother, which is one BIG reason I never wanted kids. All of that changed when I met Jeremy.

*So kind, so sweet, and I love watching him play with Cheyenne. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life making him happy. Nurturing each other and nurturing our children.

*Savannah Dai, if we had a little girl. Now I may not get my baby girl. But I will have my Savannah Dai. She will be the female main character of my NaNoWriMo novel.

*It doesn't have a name yet, but Savannah Dai's novel is part chick lit, part memoir. It's the story of a girl who loses everything - her job, her money, her love - and has to find out who she really is.

*I'm excited and terrified to take Savannah Dai on this journey to find herself. I'm heartbroken that I have to take this journey myself. I heard some good advice from a bar guest on Sunday, but it's so hard to take. He said that I should pray at the end of a relationship. Pray and say "thank you."

*Take what I've learned from it, and thank you that now I can move on to other things. It makes sense, but at the same time, it's the hardest, stupidest advice I've been given.

*I don't *want* to move on. I don't *want* to cry every day. To feel my heart break a little more every time he crosses my mind.

*I'm not a girl who *needs* a man to feel complete. But I *like* being around him. I *like* having him in my life. No one has ever made me feel so beautiful, sexy, and special.

*I know eventually I will have to dig deeper to resolve these feelings and move on. Especially as Savannah Dai begins to develop and I start to flesh out her story. I just don't feel like I can do it right now, today.


Word Count: 415

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New 101 List is Up!

As prep for NaNoWriMo, I have a list of writing exercises to perform each day. Today, I decided to tackle one that I should have done a long time ago. It's my "101 in 1,001" list.

101 in 1,001 is a list of 101 things I'd like to accomplish. Then I have 1,001 days to check them all off my list. So without further ado, I give you my new list! It's over in the right-hand column of my blog, and I'll be posting about each item as I check it off my list.

I already have a few things planned, like #30: Float the river with friends. We're planning to go September 25, so check back around then for that post. I'd also like to check off #29 soon: Go to a game at Cowboys Stadium. Last season was the first season in the big beautiful new stadium, but we were pretty strapped financially and didn't get to go to a game. This season I really want to make that happen!

There are some fun items on the list, too, like #81: Take a photo with a random stranger. I'm gonna get a real kick out of checking that one off my list! Of course, I had to put some things on the list to challenge myself. See, for example, #90: Go vegetarian for one week. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but surely I can survive one week, can't I? CAN'T I?!

You can read the whole list for yourself at the right. Which ones stick out to you? Which would you like to see me accomplish first? And of course, please share what you have on *your* list!


Word Count: 1,292

Monday, August 23, 2010

Working Toward a Goal

Have you ever noticed the list in the right-hand column of my blog? That one over there? >>>>

It's my 101 in 1,001 list. The idea is you make a list of 101 things you want to do. Then you have 1,001 days to complete your list. That's just under three years. I made my list a long time ago, but then I sort of neglected it (along with my blog). In the spirit of reinvention, I'm trying to revive my blog. Therefore, I need to revive my 101 list, too!

One thing I know I'm keeping on my list is to participate in NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writers Month, which is the month of November. You - and many other crazy people like you - attempt to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days.

To reach my goal of 50,000 words, I need to write at least 1,667 words per day. As of today, there are exactly 70 days until the start of NaNoWriMo 2010. I am going to be updating my blog more frequently as a means of practicing writing. I'd love for you to help me! I need writing prompts, as my life isn't that exciting.

So, what would you like to read about? Books? Movies? Family? I'll talk about almost anything!


Word Count: 220

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'm on a Boat!

OK, well, not right this second, but I was on a boat all day yesterday. The funny thing is, all day, I kept thinking, "I'm on a boat." It reminded me of that hilarious Old Spice commercial. You know the one. Where at the end he says, "I'm on a horse."

What?! You don't know that one? OK, well because I'm the nice girl that I am, and because I believe you need to laugh histerically like I do when I see this, I'll show you the one I mean.

See? Hilarious, right? I KNOW! (Said in my best "Monica" voice.) Watch it again, you'll laugh even harder!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Confession #7

I'm a reality TV junkie! I simply cannot resist the carnage that comes with these reality "stars" getting so caught up in themselves! The shows I am watching currently are:

*Big Brother
*Real Housewives of *Everywhere*
*Project Runway
*Top Chef

And here's one I can't believe I'm about to admit -Repo Men. To be fair, I've only seen two episodes, on the recommendation of a new friend. When I told him I was a reality TV junkie, he asked if I watch tosh.0 and Repo Men. Never having seen either, I had no idea what to expect.

That very night after I got home, I was having a hard time sleeping. I started flipping channels and lo and behold found Repo Men. I watched a couple of episodes, but I'm not totally sold. I finally watched tosh.0 today, which did have its funny moments. tosh.0 is a show that basically recaps all sorts of funny videos from the internet. Some are funny, some are gross, others downright stupid! It's something I might watch from time to time, but I certainly won't set my Tivo for it.

So, what are your favorite TV shows? What should I be watching that I'm missing out on? Feel free to share!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thirsty Thursday

I went out for drinks with a girlfriend last night to celebrate her starting a new job. She used to be the bar manager at the bar where I work. In her honor, I thought I would post my current favorite shot, a Scooby Snack.

1/2 oz Malibu coconut rum
1/2 oz Midori melon liqueur
1/2 oz pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz cream

Pour contents into a shaker filled with ice. Cover and shake until mixed and chilled. Strain into a highball glass and shoot.

And just for fun, here's a shot I made up when we were experimenting with a new bottle of whiskey.

Hot Apple Pie
1 1/2 oz Apple Pucker
1/2 oz Fireball cinnamon whiskey
2 drops grenadine

Pour Apple Pucker and whiskey into a shaker filled with ice. Cover and shake until mixed and chilled. Strain into a highball glass rimmed with brown sugar. Add two drops of grenadine and shoot.



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Blog Look!

It's been a long time coming! I've been blogging (sporadically) now for over two years, and had the same generic template the whole time.

My friend Denise has a great blog about being a wife, mother to triplets, and deal-finder. She updated her own blog recently, and it looks great. She was gracious enough to share her source with me so I could do the same.

Denise also has started a photography business recently. I wonder if she can photograph food. ; )

Be sure to check out her blog, Bits & Pieces and her photography blog Denise Slater Photography. (Also, lemme know what you think of the new look!)


Monday, August 16, 2010

Confession #6 - I'm a Tech Junkie

I think I *literally* bought the third iPod ever created. We're talking Generation 1 here! Of course, since I have HORRIBLE luck with electronics, I am now on my 8th iPod, but that's beside the point.
I also have a couple of laptops, three SLR cameras (one is DSLR, 2-35mm), a Wii, XBox, XBox 360, and myriad other electronics paraphernalia. So, what's my latest quest, you ask?

Behold: (queue angelic music)

iPad awesomeness!!
I know, I'm really late to this party. I'm not actually *late* per se, but they have been out for a few months now. I'm actually right on schedule for mine, though, as I had always planned to buy myself one for my birthday.
In case anyone's counting, my birthday is exactly 31 days from today. I went to the Apple Store this evening where two things happened. 1) I got the BEST customer service I think I have ever had and 2) I got completely sold on the iPad.
A very friendly girl named Chelsea approached me, and - poor thing - I don't think she knew what she was getting into! Forty-five minutes later, I left the store, feeling completely satisfied with my impending purchase. In case you've been living in a cave, here are some of the things I'm looking forward to on my iPad:
*eReader app called iBook (also has a Kindle app available for download)
*mobile web browsing without having to lug around a laptop
*over 100,000 apps including geocaching (see yesterday's post) & games for my nieces/nephews
*stylus available (add'l purchase) to write notes, draw pictures, etc
I'm really excited to get my iPad and figure out all the cool things I can do on it. I've been reading the threads at 2 Peas and, from what I can tell, I won't be able to put it down! So, what do you think about the iPad? Do you have one? Love it? Hate it? I'd love to hear what you use *your* iPad for!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I Believe I Could Have a New Addiction

So, I was cruising around the interwebs today, and came across a blog that mentions geocaching. Wanting to find out more, I went to www.geocaching.com. What a wealth of information!

According to the site, what geocaching is, in a nutshell, is a treasure hunt. Sure, you use more high-tech gadgets than you did when you were a kid, but it's the same basic concept. People from all over the world hide treasures ("caches") and then give the latitude/longitude. Once you find the cache, you sign the logbook & record your experience online. Sometimes there is something to trade, such as a trinket or a note.

I definitely have more to learn about geocaching, but so far I'm intrigued. Any experiences or helpful hints would be appreciated.


Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Still Not a Food Photographer

However, I wanted to post another recipe I've tried recently. I adapted this recipe for Strawberry Lemon Granita from www.mybakingaddiction.com .

1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp Country Time Strawberry Lemonade mix
3 cups frozen strawberries, slightly thawed

Combine the water, sugar and lemonade mix in a saucepan over medium heat, just until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

Blend strawberries until smooth.

Pour cooled simply syrup into strawberries and blend to combine.

Pour the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and place in the freezer.

After about 30 minutes, ice will begin to form around the edges. Using a fork, scrape the ice crystals toward the center of the pan.

Repeat every 20-30 minutes for the next 3-4 hours, or until the entire mixture is frozen and "crumbly" texture.


(You'll want to store leftovers in an airtight container -if you have any!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Am Not a Food Photographer

I would love to be, but it's going to take a lot more work on my part. Not to mention a regular blogging schedule. Some of the blogs I follow have certain days when they post about certain topics. Maybe that would help me be more "regular." (LOL, I make myself laugh!) I'm not a food photog, but I *really* like food, and I love to cook. Therefore, one - or more - of my days will definitely be devoted to what's going on in my kitchen.

For your viewing pleasure today is what we had for dinner last night. For starters, I created a salad of cucumbers, grape tomatoes, queso fresco and balsamic vinaigrette. Queso fresco is a Mexican cheese, commonly found crumbled atop salads, or used to stuff chiles and quesadillas. It's mild flavor makes it possibly the most common cheese used across Mexico.

The main course was my mom's famous stuffed shells. I cheat a little on the sauce, and start with a large can of Prego flavored with meat. To that, I add 2 lbs of cooked ground beef, a can of diced tomatoes, and a small can of tomato paste. Allow that to simmer for at least an hour. While simmering, you can start on the filling.

For the filling, combine 16 oz of Ricotta cheese, 16 oz of cottage cheese, 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, and two eggs. Season to taste and refrigerate for at least an hour. During this time, you can boil and cool the jumbo shells.

You are now ready to combine everything. Fill each of the cooled shells with a large scoop of the filling. Place in a large casserole dish without crowding, seams up. Cover with plenty of sauce. Cover with foil and bake for an hour. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving. They'll be HOT!

Finally, for dessert we had one of my favorites - Sopapilla Cheesecake! Another southern favorite, it's super easy to make and makes a great impression.

Begin by lining the bottom of a baking pan with one (8 oz) tube of crescent rolls. Next, you'll want to add the filling. Combine 16 oz of cream cheese with one cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Place over the bottom layer of crescent rolls. Next, take a second tube of rolls and line atop the filling layer. Finally, melt 1 cup of butter and spread over the top. Combine a cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Spread on top of the butter layer and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A L'il Bit O Me (AKA Confession #5)

(Fair warning: This list was swiped from a couple of Peas' blogs)

1: Real Name: Sarah
2: Nickname: Sar-z, Sarah Jane, Sar, Sarz
3: Real Age: Eek! OK, I'm 30, but I lie & tell people I'm 24
4: Horoscope: Virgo
5: Male or Female: Female
6: Elementary: Eastland Elementary
7: Middle School: Eastland Jr.
8: High School: Roseville High
9: College: Southwestern A/G University & University of North Texas
10: Hair Color: Dark Brown with Blonde & Maroon highlights
11: Long or Short: Long, going for longer
12: Loud or Quiet: Anyone who knows me, knows I'm loud!
13: Sweats or Jeans: Jeans, always
14: Phone or Camera: Camera, unless it's for texting. But I hate talking on the phone
15: Health Freak: Nah, not a freak, but "conscious"
16: Drink or Smoke: Drink; hate smoking
17: Do you have a crush on someone: Yep, and I think he likes me back! ; )
18: Eat or Drink: Unfortunately, eat! I am always snacking on something!
19: Piercings: I used to have 13 in my ears, but most of them closed up. I also have my tongue pierced.
20: Tattoos: None yet
21: Social or Anti-Social: Mostly social, but very shy at first
22: Righty or Lefty: Righty
23: First Piercing: Ears; I pierced my own at age 7!
24: First Relationship: First "real" one was at age 18
25: First Best Friend: Jennifer Legumina (we called her 'Jenny Legs')
26: First Award: Perfect Attendance in Kindergarten. Maintained through most of my school years, along with Honor Roll
27: First Kiss: Age 19
28: First Pet: 2 goldfish, Lucky & Looney, I won at the MI State Fair
29: First Big Vacation: Cozumel in 2005
30: First Love at First Sight: Yes! Definitely YES
31: First Big Birthday: Probably 18
32: First Surgery: None (knock on wood)
33: First Sport You Joined: Basketball in 4th grade

This or That
34: Orange or Apple Juice: Orange - no pulp, please!
35: Rock or Rap: Rock
36: Country or Metal: Mostly Country, but a little Metal every now and then
37: Salty or Sweet: Sweet, but love the salty/sweet combo!
38: Coffee or Tea: Gimmee coffee!!
39: Night or Day: Night
40: Sun or Moon: SUN!!!
41: TV or Internet: I have to choose? OK, TV
42: Playstation or XBox: XBox or Wii
43: Kiss or Hug: I kiss everyone!
44: Pepsi or Coke: PEPSI
45: Wine or Beer: Vodka, chilled
46: Fall or Spring: Fall always reminds me of home
47: Limewire or iTunes: iTunes
48: Early or Late: My internal clock is perpetually 3 minutes late!
49: Troublemaker or Peacemaker: mostly troublemaker!
50: Sensitive or Loud: definitely both

51: Eating: Just finished some Cheetos
52: Drinking: XXX Vitamin Water Zero
53: Excitement Level: Pretty excited, but not in a good way
54: I'm About to: post this, then run to Wal-Mart
55: Listening to: True Blood Season 2 reruns, gearing up for Season 3
56: Plan for Today: Wal-Mart, then cooking an awesome dinner from my mom's recipe
57: Waiting for: something good to happen
58: Wearing: standard "Day Off" uniform: T-shirt, jeans, flip flops, baseball cap
59: Wearing glasses or contacts: Glasses
60: Perfume/Cologne: None right now
61: Thinking of Someone: Yes
62: Want Kids: Thankful I don't have to worry about anyone but me today
63: Want to Get Married: My husband wouldn't like that
64: When: See #63
65: How Many Kids Do You Want: One, maybe
66: Any Names On the Mind: I'd have to be more serious about it to think of names
67: What Did You Want to be When You Were Little: famous
68: Career: Bartender/Student
69: Mellow Future or Wild: Exciting, full of opportunities, but probably not wild

Gotta go make that Wal-Mart trip I've been talking about. More to come!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weight Loss Update

A while back, I talked about wanting to lose weight (don't we all?) and what I was going to do to make that happen. So, here's the update:

1) I started the Couch to 5k running program four weeks ago. I slacked off when we went to San Antonio, so I started over again. Now I'm on week 2. During the program, you start as a non-runner and gradually work your way up until you can run a full 5k (about 3 miles). After I finish this program, I'm going to train for a 10k, and I hope to run a half-marathon (13.1 miles) for my birthday in September.

2) I've also been weight training with a couple of friends. I'm doing a lot of reps at a lower weight so I build tone instead of bulk. I can already see more definition in my arms, although I have a long way to go. Also, my thighs, which I get from my mother, are shrinking!

3) Of course, none of this would make any difference if I didn't change my diet. Working in a restaurant, I have plenty of unhealthy, albeit tasty, food options. I've tried to stick to our low-carb lunch option, steak, or salads. The hardest part is not drenching everything in Ranch dressing! I have a MAJOR sweet tooth, so when I eat at home, I do allow myself a mini Reese's peanut butter cup (yes, just ONE) after each meal. I think it's important not to deprive yourself too much when making changes. I know it just causes me to get frustrated and give up easier. I also try to start each day with a smoothie or a bowl of fruit.

For another take on losing weight quickly, check out this blog article, here, by Stephanie Klein. She's one of my guilty pleasures. Fair warning, though, some of her thoughts are quite provocative.

What goals are you working on? Feel free to share your progress!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Let the Countdown Begin!

In approximately 96 hours, I will be with my sister, Steph, my niece, Zoe, and my mom in San Antonio. I can hardly wait! It's been a really long time since I've seen my mom, and I miss her terribly.

I'm also excited to spend some time with my sister and my niece. When Zoe was first born, I spent a lot of time with her baby-sitting, playing, teaching her to shop... In the last couple of years, though, things have changed, we've all gotten busier, and I haven't been able to spend as much time with my family as I would like.

We're going to see the Alamo, ride a boat down the river, and be tourists. I plan to take a ton of pictures and will try to upload some when we get back. I'm so ready for a vacation, and ready to see my family.

What are you looking forward to? Any special summer plans?


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day 2010!

Today is Earth Day, the day where we are supposed to take stock of our carbon footprint and do things that reduce our impact on the Earth. By now, many of use recycle, drive hybrid vehicles, and buy less in general.

For my contribution, we have switched our business to use 100% soy wax as our candle base. The soy we use is locally grown, helping support a local farmer and reducing gas use to transport. It is also cleaner burning than "regular" paraffin wax, reducing its environmental impact. (More on the business later.)

I'm also searching for the *perfect* reusable water bottle. I'm taking suggestions. I have found several different types, including plastic, metal, and glass, but I'm still not sure which is the best.

So what are you doing to reduce your carbon footprint? Any suggestions for the perfect water bottle? Please share!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I May Be Overthinking This, But...

Here's the thing: I'm a Broadcasting student. I've spent much of my adult life studying, writing for, analyzing and critiquing TV and film. There's not a lot that really WOWs me, and I'm a pretty tough critic in my head.

Here's another thing about me: I *love* Sex and the City. Not so much for the sex (a nice bonus), but because I have an unending love affair with New York City. I visited once in college, but it really started long before that, when I was a child. My dad worked out of NYC and flew there often. He always came back with fascinating tales of the city, the food, the people; I couldn't wait to experience it for myself.

So what do these two things have to do with each other? And what's my problem, you ask? Well I just watched the trailer for Sex & the City 2 which hits theaters May 27. I was a little skeptical when the movie was first announced, because really, what else is there that we haven't seen in 6 seasons and 1 movie? Judge for yourself:

Is anyone else a little annoyed that the movie does not actually take plan IN the city?? As previously mentioned, that was my main draw to the show. I assume I will probably be in the minority on this one, because the costumes, the scenery, the movie itself, after all does look pretty fabulous. Call me a purist, but I'll still miss seeing so much of *my city* this time around.

What do you think? Do you plan on watching the movie? Any thoughts on the change of venue? Am I completely off my rocker? Let me know!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Usborne Books Giveaway on 'Life as Lou' Blog!

Hey fellow readers and book lovers! One of my fellow Peas is giving away a HUGE gift certificate on her blog, Life as Lou. She has a great blog, filled with stories of military life and mommyhood, always with great pictures illustrating her adventures.

Be sure to check her out, and leave a comment for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Usborne Books.


Confession #4

I'm a craft-a-holic. You name it, I've tried it. From latch-hook in the fourth grade to my recent obsession with stamping (ok, what I really mean here is collecting stamps), I have a serious problem. Some other crafts that I've tried include:

Jewelry making

What crafts have you tried and loved? What would you like to try? Please share!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Confession #3

I am horrible at following through with what I start. This probably isn't a huge revelation, since I started these confessions quite some time ago. But just in case you're not convinced, I've also never finished college, although I did start back two years ago. Of course, in keeping with the theme of my life, I've changed my major/career path approximately 842 times, most recently just before this semester started.

I also have a hard time sticking to a diet. I'm sure that's true for a lot of people, but I at least feel guilty when I "cheat." Also, I *love* to make lists! Things to do, things to buy, places to go, photo shoots, vacation ideas...you name it, I always have at least half a dozen lists started in my head. How many of those things I actually get accomplished on the other hand, is a different story!

One thing I will say for myself is that I am very loyal to my friends. Of course, as with just about anyone, I've had friends come and go over the years. But there are friends who I don't see often, and we speak seldom, but if I ever needed them, they would be there in an instant.

What types of things do you have trouble following through on?