Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Try Again Tomorrow

Something I need to try and remember: 

Today, this week, this's all been one challenge after another.
Work, my health, love....all pushing me to the point of screaming and running away.

How much can I fight?
How much can I endure?

What happened to my roar?
How can I embrace that quiet voice inside me saying "try again tomorrow"?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Much Needed Break.

We are only five weeks away from our school's commencement - which means the BUH-HIZ-EE* season for me at work. Not to mention dealing with the recent breakup and just general stress. Luckily one of my BFFs birthdays lands during Memorial Day weekend and I was able to escape this last weekend for four glorious days out to the Oregon Coast in celebration.

Since I took almost 300 photographs over the four days I've pulled together a few collages to share my weekend in Gearheart, Oregon.

The house we rented (below) was a 2bd 2bth little place with a wrap around deck, bbq and hot tub. What else could we want. Oh wait, how about an amazing view of the grassy dunes. So beautiful. 

We didn't just stay at the house the whole time. On Friday we drove down the coast to the Tillamook Cheese Factory - walked around looking at them packaging cheese, sampled cheese, bought cheese...oh and ice cream. Yummy. I had Grandma's Cake Batter and Mudslide.

On the way back up we stopped at a number of view points and took pictures. My favorite was Haystack Rock. So beautiful.

On our last (full) day we drove North to Astoria (right on the Oregon/Washington border) and puttered around the whole place. Our first stop was the Oregon Film Museum in the old County Jailhouse. Apparently over 300 films have been filmed in Oregon - this museum however predominately highlighted the Goonies (which I've never seen).

Our next stop was Astoria Column. It's on top of a hill over looking the Columbia River and out to the ocean. We didn't climb it's 164 steps to the top but we did get some great pictures from the hilltops.

On our way to lunch we swung by the Oregon Maritime Museum, strolled the docks and took pictures of some of the ships and equipment out on display.

Speaking of lunch. If anyone is ever in Astoria, OR make sure to swing by Bridgewater Bistro. It's advertised as a quiet romantic spot - which I can see - but it's also good for groups (most of the people there were in 4+ groups). The food was so yummy. You got free muffins with a tangy and sour lemon curd....OMG I could have eaten it by the spoonful!!

When we weren't out exploring though we were relaxing and just absorbing the peacefulness of the coast. How could we not with the ocean just over the dune horizon - only about a minute walk away. We went at least twice a day. Of course we collected all kinds of sea shells, sand dollars and drift wood while playing in the sand and tide pools.

I hope to get back to the coast very soon. I love falling asleep/waking up to the sounds of the ocean.

*BUH-HIZ-EE = Busy

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fashion Friday: Plus Size Handbag?

So I've heard before that your purse should match your body type/size. That if you are a plus-size woman you should carry larger purses (and smaller built women should carry smaller). That it's all about proportion and balance.

Some of these declarations/articles (such as this article) make some good points about how a bag on your hips will accentuate that area but statements like "Never ever use a small handbag if you have a plus size figure. As we said above, toting a small purse will only call attention to your size" always just rubs me the wrong way.

Which is maybe when Style has No size posted a blog called "Bags have no size!!" it made me smile. It's true though, I don't ever have to walk into a store and worry about if they'll have "my size" purse.

Maybe it's because I'm a purse fanatic. I honestly can't tell you how many I have in my closet. Different colors, different styles, different sizes but all me. Just because my body is a size 26 doesn't mean I should be fashionably restricted to larger bags. That's the same mind thought that says I shouldn't wear stripes, mini skirts or tight clothes.

Forget that! I'll buy and wear what I want - whether it's a shirt, dress, purse or earrings. I say buy what you like and stay sassy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hot Lips Houlihan

"I've got the only heart in Korea with a revolving door"-Margaret Houlihan, M*A*S*H

My brain is full of M*A*S*H quotes, scenes and clips. I grew up watching with my parents and grandparents. I remember learning to tie my shoes while in my grandmother's tv room with M*A*S*H playing.

More and more I'm feeling like Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan is my inner M*A*S*H character - complete with a revolving door heart.

"The latest Mr. Right just left"...both a line from M*A*S*H and how my day went today. After three years of on-again/off-again and thousands of miles in a long distance relationship...the BF and I broke up.

We ended by calling it a "separation" and saying we just need some time apart, dating other people, figuring out what we want in life...but I know in my heart that we're over. Or at least over until he can step up and prove that he can be the man I need. 

No more games. No more guessing. No more broken promises. 

There have been some misty eyes and a tear or two have found their way down my cheek but for now I'm more angry - angry at him, angry at myself, and mostly looking to just move on. To find someone who is what I need and who wants what I want. Not someone who, no matter how much I love, can't seem to meet those. 

I need someone who wants what I want not someone who may or may not someday maybe want the same things.  While I already miss him and wish this wasn't what I was blogging about today. It's where I am and what I'm facing.  

Following in the Margaret's footsteps I'm out to find my spirit again, feel like the real me and not let anyone stand in my way. I know I deserve someone who is going to put as much effort into the relationship as I do. Someone who is going to want to spend time with me and is willing to travel the world to see me. Someone who wants the same things in life, in a relationship, as me. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Filling

This last weekend our (extended) family got together to celebrate not only Mother's Day (we have 6 moms in our PNW family) but also the 4 birthdays we have in the month of May. We got most of us together (about fourteen of us) for a family potluck dinner, gift exchange and dip in my condo's newly redone pool (nothing fancy but at least the pool is no longer crumbling under your feet).

We had crock pot lasagna, Hawaiian mac salad, fruit salad, chicken and rice baked mini burritos and more desserts than you could hope for (2 fruit pies, a lemon bar, chocolate ice cream with peanut butter sauce and a chocolate cake). - we asked each of the four birthday people what they wanted as their "special something".

My youngest sister (who turns 21 TODAY!) asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and strawberry filling. What my baby sister wants she gets. So here's what I did for her.

A trick I learned (Martha? Paula?) is to butter and dust your
cake pans with cocoa powder (for a chocolate cake) this way
you don't have the outsides coated in white flour.

3 POUNDS of diced strawberries later

1/2 of one cake round, chocolate frosting to seal the edges and prevent
strawberries from spilling out the sides

Layer all the way up!!

Crumb frosting layer
ta-da!!! Strawberries on top and white pearls on the sides

Wholesome Family Vacation

I spent this last weekend on a nice wholesome family where you ask? 

A casino of course!

My youngest sister turned 21 last week and on Saturday my older sister turned 30. So my mother, aunt, both sisters, a boyfriend and I packed our overnight bags and headed out to Lincoln City, Oregon and the Chinook Winds Casino.

View of the casino (and parking lot) from our hotel door
My aunt (who had to work during the day on Saturday) and my older sister (who had errands to run) drove themselves. However my mother, sister, her bf and I piled into my mothers car and drove together out to the coast.

It really is a beautiful drive out there. The farms, vineyards and tourist spots along the way just call for you to stop and visit for a while. But we were on a mission and not even the Spruce Goose was going to distract us. 

Howard Hughes Spruce Goose airplane

We didn't even stop when I spotted this patriotic car suspended in a tree...
I still don't know what this was about.

Once we finally got out to Lincoln City we made our way over to Siltez Bay and the Taft Historic District. It was a chance to stretch our legs, hit the head and just take a look around. 

Next time I'm going here. TINY little tiki bar with lawn chairs out front to relax in.

This would be Mo (my nickname) in front of Mo's (restaurant)
We didn't eat here but have had dinner at the one in Newport
We had dinner plans with the whole family later that night at the casino but after a two hour car ride we were all a little hungry. So we stopped at Barnacle Bill's Seafood Market (recommended by one of my mother's friends) for a quick bite of DELICIOUS smoked salmon ($21/pound) and shrimp/crab cocktails.

We just got smoked fillet but next time I'm all over those cheeks!

Eventually we made our way to the hotel and checked in, my younger sister and her boyfriend hit the casino (bar) right away. I had a hard time being pulled away from the view of my hotel room. 

I could go to sleep and wake up to the crashing of waves every day.

The rest of the weekend turned out great. Dinner was good. We had fun gambling (I lost a whole $4). And while my older sister did have her wallet stolen (boo-birthday) she did get it back with only the cash missing.

For breakfast we went to a place called Lil Sambos. Apparently it was a big chain in the 60s and my mother remembers going as a child. However, most closed down in the 70s and 80s...not the one in Lincoln City though. So we went and carbed up for the long car ride home.

Based off a children's story from the 1880s
I hope in the end my sisters had good birthdays, my aunt enjoyed her first trip to the Oregon Coast and we all had fun at Chinook Winds. It definitely got me wanting to go back to the coast soon...oh wait I get to go back this upcoming weekend for Memorial Day. 

Hot damn!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fashion Friday: Beachwear through the Ages

Since the next two weekends will include me out on the (cold) Oregon coast I thought I'd have my Fashion Friday (no I didn't forget about them) be about beachwear - specifically more swimsuits. I'm currently in the "market" for a new swimsuit (in that way I know I need a new one but haven't bothered to go shopping at all)....although I've been thinking something along these lines

Being a history and fashion lover I had an idea to look at beachwear through the ages. It sure the clothes change from decade to decade....


My personal favorites are the 1940s and 1950s (big surprise there right)...which are your favorites?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Burn Out

I've been a bad blogger lately. I've slacked on my reoccurring entries (Media Monday what? Fashion Friday who?) and just either haven't had inspiration or I start writing a piece and abandon it 1/2 way (debating if it's too personal to share with the world or the piece just takes an odd turn and I lose myself in it).

It's nearing the end of the school year - which means the busiest time of year for me planning graduation (the ceremony as well as events and galas that go with it) as well as trying to get myself up and running with planning new student orientation. There has also been much frustration, heartache and anger around work lately that has caused me to just be thoroughly BURNT OUT. 

However, there is hope. 

This upcoming weekend I'm spending Saturday/Sunday out at the southern Oregon coast with the family celebrating my youngest sister (finally) turning 21. We're celebrating as any wholesome family would and taking her to the casino for drinking and gambling!! 

Then (and this is the one I'm looking forward to the most) over Memorial Day weekend I'm spending four days at the northern Oregon coast with my BFF and her hubby - celebrating my bestie's birthday. 

Two weekends in a row out at the gorgeous Oregon coast doing nothing except what I want to and relaxing. 

Hopefully it will help rejuvenate and revitalize me as I so desperately need. 

Here's hoping.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Are you guilty?

The Chicago Tribune ran an article today called "Nine Disturbing Behaviors on Social Media That People Need to Stop Right Now".

Are you guilty of any of them?

1. Too Much Information "A log of every morsel of food you put in your mouth, labor-frequency and pictures of your ingrown toenails are examples of information that should be kept to yourself"

This is definitely one that gets me. I don't need to know that you've become more flatulent in your second trimester or that you're driving your Aunt Margaret's to electrolysis today. Some things are better left unsaid.

2. Fake Wedding Planning "It's OK to dream about your day, but actually dedicating an Internet page to your fake wedding seems a bit...desperate."

I blogged about this phenomena once before here. It's one thing to be browsing wedding blogs and pinning for your wedding day inspiration when you're engaged and actually getting married (also read: having a baby). But having your wedding planned before your partner has even popped the about you slow your roll and wait for an actual wedding to plan.

3. Living too Virtually " that moment in real life before sharing it online. The girl you sat next to in eighth-grade science lab shouldn't know you are engaged before your Aunt Mary does."

I am amazed at how many people I see snap a picture (and post it on Facebook) of their engagement ring the first free second after being proposed to. Or how many people announce they are pregnant only a few weeks into the pregnancy (we can add showing a picture of your home pregnancy test to #1 and "too much info"). I have to say I have seen (a few times) family members post their surprise (and sadness) that they are finding out about a life event (wedding/baby/death) via social media. PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL YOUR FAMILY.

4. Cyberstalking Celebrities "...don't retweet Ryan Gosling to tell him he's a fox. Don't be a 'Real Housewife' to retweet you because it's your birthday."

Do people really do this? I mean, yes I follow a few celebrities on Twitter but usually because they are too hilarious and give me a good chuckle. But I have both feet planted in reality and know that Anthony Bourdain isn't going to suddenly Direct Message me saying he loved my last tweet and invite me to coffee the next time he does a book tour in Portland.

5. Incessant Complaining "Gas is expensive. I hate traffic. My meal was horrible. Work is hard. I hate snow"

We all know who this person(s) is and if you're anything like me you do one of two things 1) tell them to stop complaining in a way they think is humor but you're dead serious or 2) hide that SOB.

6. The Braggart "Achievements are perfectly OK to share with friends and family via social media, but egotistical status updates are obnoxious."

There is one thing to share with us big news - promotion, graduating from college, announcing you're having a baby (see #3 first though). That's fantastic. That's what social media is for - to stay connected. But #6 and #1 go very hand in hand. We don't need to know some man on the street asked if you were a movie star (he was just trying to distract you while someone else picked your pocket). We don't need to know the dollar amount of your latest raise. There is sharing and then there is bragging.

7. The Drunken Diaries "Drunken debauchery sometimes happens, but there has to be discretion about what's actually posted."

It's called waiting until the morning to post pictures, go through and un-tag yourself or ask friends to take down the pictures. Otherwise you chance your grandmother or boss seeing the picture of you in your bra covered in whipped cream on top of the bar. 

8. Drama-rama "Keep it classy...These types of updates leave the rest of us feeling uncomfortable."

I get whiplash sometimes from friends who go back and forth, in and out of the same relationship every other week.  Or a comment to a crying screamo youtube music video saying "This is for you". Really? Keep it out of the public and leave that shit at home. I'm here for you if you're having a bad day but don't go fishing for comfort or trying to pull me into your drama by cryptic HS games. 

9. Misguided Politics "If you post to say that you do (or don't) like Obama's health care policy, make sure you have the know-how to back it up. The best way to support causes is to back away from the computer and vote."

I can't agree with this one more. If you're going to (very) publically stand up for or against a cause/politician/debate point at least get your facts straight and now what you're talking about before positing it. Also, posting the color of your bra, where you put your purse at night and your shoe size does nothing to support Breast Cancer, Autism or ending the war in the Middle East. Just in case you were confused. 

Did they forget any?
What are your social media pet peeves?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chocolate Heaven Cocoa Brownies

I was bored last weekend. It was cold and rainy and I just wanted to bake something. So I looked up a cocoa powder brownie recipe - something I  knew I had the ingredients for. I'm so glad I did because these turned out to be THE BEST  brownies EVER. 

They're super moist - even days later sitting out on the counter in a tupperware they retained their moistness.  

Very light and fluffy - you have to like your brownies "cake like" they are so airy. 

The trick is to really make your 4 eggs light and fluffy through beating

Add both sugars (1 cup each)
Mix the 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder, 2 tsps vanilla extract, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 tsp sea salt
Add the 1 cup melted butter and mix well. 
The batter will be light and almost mousse like
Butter and flour an 8 inch round or square pan (don't forget to dust out the extra flour)
And if you can resist eating all the batter raw put it in a 300 (preheated) oven for 40-45 minutes

When you take it out it will be fluffy like a cake or soufflé but once it starts
to cool the whole thing sinks and makes a crater. THIS IS OKAY!
It still comes out DE-LICIOUS!