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Archive for December, 2013

Recipe Recommendation: Chicken Rigatoni and Cheesy Bread Sticks (Pioneer Woman)

December 31, 2013 Leave a comment

So today is New Year’s Eve, and it’s cold and rainy outside. On the downside: It’s cold and rainy. On the upside: My neighbors can’t party all night and keep my dog up whining about the fireworks.

As the new year and resolutions start tomorrow, I decided to try out one last recipe before I go on the wagon food-wise. So here ya go, Chicken Rigatoni and Garlic Cheese Bread sticks from Ree Drummond’s show on Food Network called The Pioneer Woman. Photos below:

Rigatoni with Chicken Thighs

Fresh Mozzarella makes the difference, big time.

Fresh Mozzarella makes the difference, big time.

What I liked about the recipe is that the sauce ended up really thick. I think it’s because the chicken broth was reduced with the onion and was a thicker base for the crushed tomatoes. Overall, very tasty and I’m definitely keeping the sauce in my file for other marinara-based recipes.

Have a Happy and safe New Year everyone and I’ll see you again in 2014 🙂

Product review: Urban Decay’s Naked 3 Palette/ Benefit’s Gimme Brow

December 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Urban Decay's Naked 3 Palette

Naked3A(click pics for higher resolution/detail)

The original Naked (bronze) and Naked 2 (taupe) palettes are beautiful, but I hesitated buying them because I already have eyeshadows in those shades. Naked 3 follows a similar pattern in neutrality (for want of a better term), but the shades are rosier.

The colors are very well pigmented and I haven’t seen signs of flaking. There’s some glittery lighter shades (very pretty) but the matte darker colors are in attendance also, and they work well together and separately. So far I’ve tried Dust over the entire lid, with Buzz over the eye and Mugshot in the crease. So many more combinations to try!

I will admit, this palette is pretty pricy as far as those go. But if you figure that you’re basically getting 12 full sized eyeshadows in one palette that are well pigmented and last for-ev-uh on the lid and just in general, it’s not such a bad deal in the end.

A note: I visited two Sephora shops who were completely sold out in all the Naked palettes. But, Ulta had a few left so I lucked out a few days after Christmas. True I could buy it online, but it’s so much more fun to swatch the colors in person.

Benefit’s Gimme Brow

BenefitGimmeBrowThis stuff works wonders. The gel isn’t overly thick, which is a plus. Not only does the product keep the eyebrow hairs in place, but if you’ve got thin brows and want some volume and color, Gimme Brow will do just that. And, the color stays in place with no worries.

If you have any questions about either product, feel free to leave a comment 🙂

Why I think Sons of Anarchy plays with my emotions, and Happy Holidays

December 26, 2013 Leave a comment

So I’m a recent new addition to the Sons of Anarchy world of mayhem and hotness (hullooooo Jax Teller!). We’re about halfway through Season 6 and I’m not sure how much more I can take. It’s like there’s a steamroller that keeps progressing through the season, just like the previous seasons.

How is it that I feel these things about felons, killers even? It’s like with the Sopranos… these guys were mobsters but damn if Tony Soprano didn’t worm his way into my heart from the first episode on. SoA does this goodstyle also. Kurt Sutter (also the showrunner) does this especially well as Otto. No spoilers here, but truly Otto is always in for the biggest world of hurt. And how is it that a weirdo like Tigg ends up as one of my faves? He’s nuts as hell in so many ways!

Ugh, I need to figure this out. In the meantime, check out the show only if you’re cool with violence, bad sexual situations (think Oz, my friends) and lots of naked butts (thank you Jax!).

A word (or two) about the holidays

Happy Holidays! If you have time off, use it wisely to catch up on your favorite shows and check out some new ones. If you have to work, well I feel your pain, brothers and sisters. I hope Santa brought you some of your favorite indulgences. Mine did 🙂

If I lived near a Lush store, I’d have to admit a real problem.

lush_haul

I also did some cookie baking for my nearest and dearest. Took me the majority of Christmas Eve, but it’s gotta happen, right?

ChristmasCookies

I’ve gotta go into cookie rehab now, I think. Hopefully they take walk-ins.

Movie recommendation: Stay

December 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Directed by: Marc Forster

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling

Written by: David Beniof

From IMDB:

This movie focuses on the attempts of a psychiatrist to prevent one of his patients from committing suicide while trying to maintain his own grip on reality.

This movie will mess with your head. It’s worthy, though.

Video: Cat thinks peas are musical (and therefore must die by slapping)

December 18, 2013 Leave a comment

If you ever stop to watch a cat do the slap thing, well I just find it unbelievably hilarious. I sometimes get my Big Kitteh into a boxing match with me just for the giggles although I do have to watch his claws and fangs if he gets too into the game. When a cat can’t figure something out but feels the need to physically do something about it, that’s when you’ll experience the slap. Like this:

In the cat slap vein, here’s an old fave:

Categories: Critters, Funny, videos Tags: , ,

Video: Ginger Cat vs The Paper Army

December 17, 2013 3 comments

I love cats. Dogs too, but I identify with cats the most. They do their own thing, but when they’re ready they come over and show love. Soulmates, man… soulmates.

Here’s a feline going to war:

Categories: Critters, Funny, videos Tags: ,

I have completed my academic mission (update and a bit of a rant)

December 16, 2013 Leave a comment

So, first and foremost: I finally graduated with my Master’s degree over the weekend. This past semester was probably my most difficult by far, because of one class in particular. Sure, I hadn’t finished my practical project and I needed to also write a 30 page paper, but that one class really just overwhelmed me. Rant will begin below:

I’m not an educator by trade, so I don’t have a lot of experience teaching (aside from conducting trainings sometimes). But, I do know that if you don’t specifically make something a prerequisite, don’t act surprised that the students don’t know how to do what you want them to do.

Case in point: this class was an e-commerce class. No pre-requisites to speak of. In our program, we’re expected to take one of two programming languages, either C++ or Java. So I did, and I did reasonably well despite my lifelong hangup about coding. I think to myself, “well, we’ll probably use one of those languages”. NOPE! The first 4 assignments were in JavaScript. Completely different. Half the class had never even coded (their first semester in) and the other half never touched JS (that would be the rest of us).

Needless to say, it was a difficult class. In the end our semester project was to code an online shopping cart, where you could manage inventory and have customers pay through a Paypal sandbox. I did mine in PHP, another language I had never coded in. Oh, and we also had to learn all about investing, hiring and firing, buying property, and running a business. It turned into a Management/Programming class by the end of the semester. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always glad to learn about things that could benefit me later on, but the structure of the class made it difficult. It’s done though, so no more griping from me I guess.

And now, I have some tips for those of you looking to go into grad school:

  • Don’t wait too long. The older you get, the harder it is to go back.

I’ve been out of school for more than a decade after undergrad. In that time period, I started working a full time job, got married, bought a house, and generally grew up into an adult with a lot of responsibilities. To juggle all that with school was pretty tough. I’ll admit, there were times I just wanted to say “the hell with it, I’m not doing this”. But then I’d just put my head down and power through.

  • The assignments you got as an undergrad are nothing compared to grad school.

Be prepared to write 20 and 30 page papers, midterm exams and finals with all essay questions, and then after doing all that you’ll have to pass comprehensive exams that take hours to complete. If your cursive is shaky from non-use, re-learn it if you write faster in that than print. If print is your go-to, then use it!

  • If you don’t have a laptop, get one. You’ll need it.
  • Two words: GROUP PROJECTS.
  • Dropbox and Sharepoint are your friends. Learn how to use them.
  • If your class only meets once a week, don’t skip. You’ll lose out on a ton of material the one time you skipped out to go shopping.

So people have been asking me “What are you going to do now?” My answer: continue working 🙂 That’s what I do. The big change is I’ll be able to spend more time doing things I want to do instead of constantly thinking about that assignment or project that’s due in a few weeks. Less stress overall is a good good thing.

Categories: Uncategorized
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