All Dogs Go to Heaven

They're part of the family. And, when you finally have to send them to Doggy Heaven it's never easy.

When it was time to let her out, or feed her, she was Tyler's dog. Truth be told, she was the family's dog. She was the sweetest Lab/Setter mix.

Sunnie, I'm going to miss you greeting me when I come home. I'm going to miss you begging for treats incessantly. I'm going to miss you pacing to go outside every 10 minutes, and then pawing at the door seconds after you've been let out. I'm going to miss you begging to go on car rides (and sneaking away to McDonald's to get an ice cream cone). I'm even going to miss you barking like crazy when you  spotted a squirrel, rabbit, or the neighbors dog. I'm going to miss you snuggling in bed. I'm going to miss your unfaltering, unconditional love.
April 1, 1998-July 29, 2011
Sun, we're all going to miss you.


A Very Unwelcome Dinner Guest

An evening of dinner outside on our patio was rudely interrupted by an extremely unwelcome dinner guest.
Hanging from our grill was a spider that very much resembled this nasty bugger. Naturally, suffering from severe arachnophobia I didn't do much but instantly froze in terror, and got the heebee geebees. At first I told Scott I thought it was a Black Widow. With a bit more frozen-in-terror staring at the thing, I'm more convinced, now, it was a Brown Widow.

Of course neither Scott, nor I, was fast enough, or had the right tools to smash the thing into oblivion... So, it's still lurking somewhere outside. On our patio. Near our back door. Which opens to our living room. Which, thinking about where it is, or where it could be is making the hair on my neck raise. 

Side note: Brown Widow spiders are about two times more venomous than Black Widows, but they only inject about half as much venom. Phew, now I can sleep at night.

Photo Source: Wikipedia 


Hot Off the Grill

Speaking with my mom the other night she mentioned how hot it has been in Iowa (and everywhere in the Midwest). She said how turning the oven on was the last thing she wanted to do in preparation for dinner. Lucky for her, she found a super easy recipe that required the grill. And, who doesn't love a good meal hot off the grill?!

There was no name attached to the chicken recipe and I have yet to come up with one of my own. But, here's one of the easiest recipes, ever:

No Name Chicken
3-4 chicken breast
2 cups french fried onions (the kind that you put on top of green bean casserole)
1 Tbsp Lawry's seasoning*
1/2 Tbsp Garlic powder*
1/2 tsp black pepper*
2 egg whites

*The original recipe did not contain these, but I felt compelled to use them
The breading concoction 
Crush up the french fried onions, place in a mixing bowl
Add Lawry's, garlic powder, black pepper (optional)
The breading
In a smaller bowl, place the egg whites, whip until frothy
Dip each chicken breast in the egg whites
Coat each breast with the onion mixture
Place chicken on grill - LOW HEAT - flip chicken every few minutes for 10-15 minutes
Note: the breading is very sensitive to the flame, so be sure to watch it carefully.

Taadaa - deliciousness!
(In cooler weather the chicken can be cooked in the oven at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until fork tender.)
I paired the chicken with grilled onions, grilled red peppers, and grilled corn on the cob. Yummy!

If you've never tired grilled onions, for my sake, PLEASE do! Grilled onions are one of my all time favorites, and they're so easy to make! How to make them:

Grilled onions
1 sweet onion
A dash of black pepper*
A pinch of garlic powder or garlic salt*
Cut the onion in half, roll up in aluminum foil
Place on top rack of grill, on low heat, for 30 minutes
Rotate the onions every 5 minutes or so
The end result in one very tasty caramelized onion

*optional items
The onion, prepped and ready to be placed on the grill
Grilled Red Peppers
1 red pepper, sliced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of black pepper
Lightly coat the cut peppers with the oil/seasoning mix
Place on grill rack and grill for 15-20 minutes, or until peppers appear tender, and tips may begin to blacken
The prepped peppers, ready for the grill
Corn on the Cob - my mother-in-law taught me a very quick and easy way to cook up some yummy corn on the cob (being from Iowa I thought I knew all the tricks)
1 ear of corn
Dab of butter
Cling Wrap
Spread the butter over the ear of corn (it's easiest to just get your hands buttery, and skip trying to butter the corn with a knife)
Wrap the corn up in the cling wrap
Place in microwave for 3 minutes
*for each ear of corn, add three minutes in the microwave
After a quick stint in the microwave I placed the corn on the grill for about 5 minutes
The prepped corn, ready for the microwave
Ahh, the sight of the grill with all the goodies on it. The smells that permeated were fantastic and mouth-watering.
The plate appeared so pretty when dinner was placed upon it... And then it disappeared. I'd say dinner was a success!


Congratulations Holly and Zach!

YAY for babies! One of my best friends, Holly, and her husband, Zach, welcomed the newest addition to their family!!
Introducing Mr. Carson John!!!
Carson arrived Tuesday, July 26 at 11:20 a.m. weighing 8 pounds, and measuring 21 and 1/2 inches.

He is beautiful. 

A baby is an angel whose wings decrease while his legs increase.
-Author Unknown



Miss Dena...
To one of my besties, it was so hard picking pictures to complete the collage, we have so many! And, it's impressive how many photos I have of you, just you :)

I hope you have a FABULOUS Birthday!!
Miss and love you, can't wait for October! 


Sunshine Saturday BBQ Chicken

Scott and I try to volunteer at a food kitchen during our free Saturdays. It is one of the most rewarding things we've done, thus far, as a couple.

This Saturday, due to a surprise surf session Scott set up, we were not able to get to the food kitchen. However, we did donate food. This weeks menu was one I suggested, and the recipe is so easy, and good, I just had to share it with everyone I know - and to anyone who would be thankful for another meal.

This recipe is courtesy of a friend who blogs about all the yummy meals she makes (if I had the funds, I'd fly her to L.A. to become my personal chef). If you're looking for some amazing recipes to try I urge you to follow her blog http://justaddasliceoflove.blogspot.com/

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

4- boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 packet - Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
1 - Small Yellow Onion(sliced)
4 TBs - Butter *
10 oz bottle Buffalo Wing Sauce **
Bleu Cheese Crumbles ***
Provolone Cheese
Sandwich buns 

* I omitted the butter.
** Because LA has no idea what BBQ is, or Buffalo Chicken for that matter, I had to use a generic BBQ sauce that can be found at any grocery store.
*** I omitted the bleu cheese crumbles.

Slice the onion and layer it on the bottom of the crock pot
Add the chicken breast atop the onion
Sprinkle the Ranch packet on top of the chicken
Add the Buffalo, or BBQ sauce, on top of the ranch/chicken
Here's the chicken after I shredded it - and yes, crockpot liners are one of the best things to have in your kitchen!

Let the chicken sit in the crock pot on low for 4-6 hours
When an hour of time is remaining, shred the chicken and add the bleu cheese (optional)
Continue to cook for the remaining hour
When finished cooking, add chicken/onion mix to buns, add a slice of provalone, and waalaah! 
It's no Jack Stack, or Oklahoma Joe's, but it sure does taste good when you don't have those around!



Happy Birthday BFF!!

We've known each other our entire lives, literally. She knows everything about me, and still loves me. She's the person I call when things aren't so good, and the first person I call when things are great. Though thousands of miles separate us, she's still so close. She's the best friend a girl could ever have in her life. 

 I hope your day is everything you hope, wish, and deserve!


Surfs Up!

Scott surprised me by booking surf lessons for this weekend.

There was a quick orientation on the beach, and then into the ocean we went. It's a safe estimate that we each were able to get up on the board and ride out the waves 10 times (keep in mind, we were at this for almost two hours).
Due to the fact that both of us were having a blast, we didn't get any photos of us actually surfing, but I assure you, there were a few "ride the wave" moments for each of us.
Here are a few things I learned during our lesson:
- I respected the ocean before, but that respect has grown stronger thanks being owned by more than a few large waves.
- Surfers must have the strongest arms ever; my arms are going to be sore for the next week!
- There are some ser-i-ous surfers out there, do NOT get in their way.
- Wet suits are amazing, and a must for the ocean!
- Not a good idea to shave the legs the evening before jumping into salty water (you'd think I'd learn this lesson by now).
- You can ingest a rather impressive amount of salt water through the mouth and nose, and not need resuscitation from the lifeguards!
- Talk about addicting - one Saturday morning on a surf board and I'm/we're hooked!

What a blast!!


What Do These People DO?!

Friday I finished up my last in-home lesson for a family that lives within the 90210 zip code. Let me just tell you, this house was big huge, the pool was the biggest in-home swimming pool I've ever been in, and adjacent to the pool was the family's personal tennis court. Insane.
The picture doesn't quite do the place, and it's hugeness, justice. But at least it gives you a little idea (and a tiny glimpse) of how those 90210ers live.

This home was something you'd picture during "Old Hollywood" times. The decor was a tad on the retro side, but it was still very nice. And, the backyard reminded me of that scene out of Anchor Man, when the pool party takes place. But, imagine this pool as much bigger, and much classier ("You stay classy San Diego," sorry, I just had to take advantage on that little play on words).

Not Even Room Temperature

It is mid-July, right? This is Los Angeles, right?

Shouldn't it be a touch warmer than 71 degrees?!

I snapped this pic at NOON!

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm always cold. If it's 80 degrees outside, it's not quite warm enough. So, this 71 degree business isn't flying with me. Come on SoCal, get it together and bring some of that sunshine you're always bragging about!



Happy Birthday to one of my besties!!
While assembling these photos a few things popped into my mind:
A) I miss this lady and can't wait to see her in October!
B) How did we survive college? :)

Have a FABULOUS day!


November 7

I've been waiting for today since about November 19, 2010 (which was the day I had two plates and 12 screws placed in my right forearm to place my radius and ulna bones back together). I met with my orthopedic surgeon today to set a date to have the plate and six screws removed from my ulna.

Looking at the photo, the bottom plate is the one that will be removed in a few months.

Monday, November 7 can't get here fast enough!!

The plate that helped get my ulna back together doesn't have much shielding it. There's skin, plate, bone. Each time I bump that part of my arm on ANYTHING pain shoots up my arm instantly. It's time for that plate to come out! 

As much as I'm not looking forward to another surgery, or dealing with insurance regarding the surgery, it is time to say adios to this pesky plate!


The Guys Trip

While I was sipping wine and checking out the comedy scene on Sunset, Scott and three of his friends decided to play mountain men.

The four guys left SUPER early Friday morning and headed for Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Mountains to camp.

When I think camping I think RV, or at least a nice big tent. I picture a cooler full of food that will sustain a person for the duration of their trip. For these guys, not so much...
They slept in sleeping bags, on the hard ground... And that's it. They ate MREs (made ready to eat), collected water from the river and purified it themselves; there was an attempt to fish, and an attempt to cross a river with terrifically strong currents.
They had to find wood to start fires the old fashioned way - no lighters here. There was a trip into an old mine shaft, and leisure time spent on the riverbed. 
It appears the guys had a great time. And, should Scott ask me to join on any camping trips I think we'll need to discuss each of our definitions of camping.


Girls Night!

Last night two of my girl friends and I hit up The Comedy Store.
The ladies.
We were seated right in front, pretty much touching the stage. There were some outstanding comics, and some that were ok. We shared a ton of laughs, a few yummy drinks, and enjoyed a girls night out!


The Comedy Store

What to do while the husband is off playing mountain man?? Hmmm... Hit up one of the comedy venues on Sunset Boulevard, of course!

Thanks to Carmageddon, The Comedy Store is promoting tickets for this evenings performances for $4.05 - can't say no to that!

Hope you have a great weekend!!



Car-mageddon. Laugh if you want, but it's been blasted all over the news out here. It's no joke. From transportation authorities to celebs, such as Ashton Kutcher and Kourtney Kardashian tweeting about it, the message is clear, stay home! Don't travel! The closure of the 405 is sure to bring -even more- mass chaos to transportation in LALA-land. *Awesome. 

If you've never been to Los Angeles and haven't experienced the concrete hell that is the 405, let me share some fun facts...

  • It is the busiest and most congested freeway in the US *Awesome.
  • The 405 (aka San Diego Freeway) congestion problems are legendary *Awesome.
  • Jokes about the 405: the interstate was named so because traffic moves at "four or five miles an hour," or drivers need "four or five hours" to get anywhere *Awesome.
  • The 405 interchanges with the Ventura Freeway, or 101, and with the Santa Monica Freeway, or I-10, and each of these routes consistently rank among the five most congested freeway interchanges in the US *Awesome.
  • Average speeds, truly, can hit four to five miles an hour during rush hours - there are times my Garmin is clocking me in around 1.8 miles per hour. You know you're CRAWLING when your traveling at speeds that require a decimal!  *Awesome.
Here's the 405 on any given day. *Awesome.
Signs like these are currently all over the city. And, after this flashes, the next thing to appear is "EXPECT BIG DELAY" *Awesome.
Just makes you want to jump in your car and go for a joy-ride, huh?

"So, "what's the point of these stats," you're asking. This weekend the 405 will be closed. We're not talking a few lanes coned off here and there. We're talking the whole thing, between the 101 and the 10. If that doesn't clock on the radar, refer to bullet point number 4, two of the OTHER busiest freeway interchanges in the nation will be effected in a BIG WAY. 

So, imagine all that traffic in the photo above, and picture all those people trying to find other ways of getting around L.A. Again, awesome. What this means... Traffic in the entire city will be terrible. All those people who generally use the 405 will now overflow onto all the surface streets, and alternate freeway routes. What this means for me... No trip to Six Flags. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Boo! 

Let's hope by Monday, when the freeway is supposed to re-open, all will be well and normal in the world of ridiculous commuting in L.A. Maybe next weekend I'll get my self-induced adrenaline trip to Six Flags. *sigh*



There are several ladies I know who scrapbook, the old fashioned way, and looooove it. I've done a few scrapbooks where you spend hours upon hours up to your elbows in glue and a gazillion little pieces of paper that need to be arranged just right.

It's become very apparent I do not have time (or patience) to spend hour upon hour, weekend upon weekend doing the traditional scrapbooking. My hat goes off to those who can and do.

For those of you who like the idea of scrapbooking, need a place to put photos from special occasions and events, holidays and vacations, I may have found a scrapbook alternative.

Mixbook.com has pulled through for me on more than once.
After Scott and I took our engagement photos I had no idea what to do with them all. I found myself, saying more than once, "What do people do with engagement pictures?!" Through Mixbook I put together a book of some of our photos and used the book as our Guest Book at our wedding and reception.

As Christmas approached Scott and I were trying to decide what to give our parents. With almost 1,000 pictures from our wedding day, and we decided a photo album would be a great gift. Again, Mixbook to the rescue. Each of our parents received personalized books from our wedding day.

And, while my junior brides maid was here a few weekends ago it dawned on me that a photo album of her trip would be a neat gift for her birthday. I haven't printed the book, but if you'd like to check it out on line click the link.

Aside from photo albums, Mixbook also has templates for calendars and cards. There's so much you can create, and the prices are reasonable. I'm a huge fan!


The Art of Patience

It's no secret. Patience is a virtue I struggle to posses. Let's be honest, I'm totally lacking any inkling of patience. Taking a look at the next few months, and all that we have lined up, it's going to be hard to wait...

This weekend Scott's going on a camping trip. No thank you. My idea of camping is a shoddy hotel. That's enough roughing it for me. So, while he's off building fires, I'm headed to Six Flags with a girlfriend to enjoy some self-induced adrenaline.

August will send Scott and the guys on his side of the family packing to the East Coast to catch a Red Sox v. Yankees game. And, I will land in South Dakota where I'll get to spend a long weekend with my lifelong best friend. We'll do a lot of coffee and wine sipping (heaven).

September is our birthday month. We're seriously considering traveling north and stopping in San Fransisco and Napa Valley.

October will bring three of my closest girlfriends and I together, as we are going to make an attempt to relive our college years in Vegas.

Ahhh, there's so much to wait for! The only thing that will get me to each event/trip/activity is a countdown. So, let the countdowns begin!

4 days till Six Flags!
37 days till Sioux Falls!
2 months(ish) till San Fran and Napa!
3 months(ish) till Vegas!


From Kate Spade to Reusable Bags

A friend of mine works for a PR company for movies and other very "L.A." type things. I don't know exactly what this friend does, but I do know every now and again she'll hook me up with some of the SWAG stuff they hand out at premiers.

Not too long ago my friend worked a premier where Kate Spade was prevalent. I made out with not one, not two, but THREE Kate Spade I.D./coin purse. I kept one for myself and gave the other two to my sisters-in-law. I also made away with a half a dozen bracelets that pair well with any summer ensemble, and a water bottle that is great for work.

Last week I made out with a handful of ADORABLE reusable shopping bags. They're almost too cute to fill with produce and Cheerios!


Easy Honey Chicken

A New Year's resolution of mine was to try a different recipe each week. That lasted all of about six weeks. Honestly, I'm surprised I lasted that long. But, in my six week journey of adventuring outside Scott and my food-comfort-zone I stumbled across a cookbook my mom had given me awhile back.

All the ladies on my mom's side of the family contributed her favorite recipe(s) to a family collection of delicious food. I decided to try out a few, and fell in love with a couple.

Easy Honey Chicken has become a weekly dish in our house. It's a great summer-time food, as the honey makes me want to sit on our patio, sip a cool summer beverage and watch the sun lazily sink beyond the horizon. It is also a fabulous winter food, as the title alone seems to imply "comfort food!"

The Recipe
1/2 cup butter or margarine (I use Smart Balance Light)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper (I like to grind my pepper)
2 tsp Paprika (I'm very liberal with the Paprika)
4-5 boneless skinless chicken breast

The Sauce
1/4 cup melted butter (again, I use Smart Balance Light, and I usually measure a little shy of 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice (if you're ambitious, fresh squeezed is best)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt the 1/2 cup of butter in a baking pan in the oven; remove the pan from the oven.
In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and Paprika; dip the chicken into the flour mixture.
Add the chicken pieces to the pan, coat completely with the butter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, skin side up, in a single layer.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients.
After 25-30 minutes of baking cover the chicken with the sauce.
Continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is fork-tender.
Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.
The Honey Chicken pairs well with wild or brown rice, and steamed veggies.



Hollywood and Beverly Hills

No trip to SoCal would be complete without the obligatory stops to Hollywood and Beverly Hills!

The Kodak Theatre/ Hollywood and Highland Mall
If you look really close you may see the Hollywood sign through all that haze.
Winnie the Pooh on the Walk of Fame!
The Disneyland star isn't nearly as much fun as the Disneyland park.
Good ol' Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.
Here we are, Beverly Hills.
The sign was much larger than it appeared!
Where way too much money is spent.
I call it the sliver butt... Right in the middle of Rodeo.
Our last stop before heading to the airport - SPRINKLES! 
Catalina (and my parents) trip to L.A. is now complete!

After our guests left, our house was so quiet. Who's coming to visit next?!?