Sunday, October 20, 2019

Pepper Ann Costume

There was nothing better than waking up early Saturday morning to this

Ahhhh, the good old days.  The opening sequence was especially epic followed by hours of your favorite cartoons.  Not to sound all  “get off my lawn” old, but this was the heyday for good kids  Saturday morning television.  Nothing has been quite the same since it went off the air in the early 2000s.  All the shows were good, but I have always felt like poor Pepper Ann was the underdog.  To this day, every time I mention the show very few people know what I am talking about.  She tended to be overshadowed by the likes of Doug and of course, Recess (arguably one of the most iconic cartoons of the late 90s and early 2000s)  Even though I tend to root for the underdog anyway, she was truly my favorite of the 3!  The show was witty, relatable, and well written.  She had a charm that no other cartoon character at the time could compete with.  After all....

"No one’s cooler than Pepper Ann. She’s her own biggest fan Pepper Ann. Catch her if you can Pepper Ann"

One random day I decided I needed to pay her homage and be the coolest 12 year old for Halloween.  It's like it was meant to be because that very same day I stopped at Goodwill on my way home from work and whaddayaknow......the perfect yellow skirt in my size.  

There would be no way they would also have a purple shirt in my size too....wrong.  They sure did.

All I had to do was order a red curly wig, some teal leggings, and glue on some felt details to create the skirt pattern.  Overall, it was pretty easy to throw together.

 I hope I did Peppe proud 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Be Someone's Charis Key

After a night of barely sleeping at all, I opened my bedroom door to find an Us Weekly and a note from my older sister, Heather, laying on the hallway floor.  “Take this magazine with you so if you don’t have anyone to sit with at lunch, you still have something to do.”  Good thinking! The perfect way to seem completely unbothered by my lack of friends. Just flip through that magazine confidently and everything will be fine. Yep…it will all be fine.

I’m happy to report that I ended up not needing that magazine…but let’s back it up a bit.

It was the first day of my Freshman year of high school and not only was I brand new to the school and district and didn’t know a soul, it was also my first time venturing out of my tiny bubble of a life.  You see, I spent K-8 going to a traditional school.  It wasn’t a neighborhood school, you had to test into it.  Families drove from all over the valley (making socialization outside of school seldom and difficult) to go there and the same families attended year after year.  Very few people left and very few new people came in.  It was small, tight knit, and extremely rigid. 

No makeup or nail polish allowed, no shorts, shirts had to be tucked in and a belt had to be worn at all times….just the tip of the dress code iceberg really.  On top of that the workload was heavy and advanced.  Incredibly different from your average neighborhood school.

I’m anxiety ridden by nature as it is, so throw me into a completely unknown place without knowing a soul along with the impending culture shock was more than I could handle.  I had been anxious for over a month leading up to this day.

At first it did help being able to put on eyeliner and cheap Cover Girl foundation (that was waaaaay too light might I add) and by golly I even wore my shirt OUTSIDE my pants and there was no belt in sight (gasp!)  I felt like kind of a badass for about 10 minutes…..that was until I showed up to the bus stop and the girls were all wearing the teeniest jean skirts I’d ever seen and some of the boys had pencils going through their gauged ears. I quickly remembered that I was a sheltered square….just wearing nail polish.

I sat alone on the bus ride and when I got to campus, I had no idea what to do with myself.  The only thing I could think of was to start heading toward the vicinity of my first hour class.  I made my way across campus and through the crowds of kids comparing their schedules, talking about their summers, and laughing obnoxiously loud as 14-year old’s do. 

I found a cinder block column near the front office and perched myself against it. I of course felt like everyone knew I was alone, at the same time trying to convince myself that probably nobody noticed.  They were too busy with their friends to notice the chubby loner in head to toe (and back!) pink. (Pink shirt, pink backpack, pink Jansport to be exact).  But I was right….somebody did notice.

A short blonde-haired girl leaned back from her circle of friends with a wave and said “Hey! Hey…do you want to come over here?”
Like a scene out of a movie I turned my head for a split second only to realize that the only thing behind me was the cinder block column, followed by a pointer finger to the chest and the awkward mouthing of the word… "ME??”

“Yea! Come over!”

So, I went over.  Her name was Charis, Charis Key. The circle of friends was all from her prior elementary school and for a few minutes I just smiled and laughed as I listened to stories about their lives, I knew nothing about.  I still felt awkward and out of place but was just happy to “be” somewhere “with” people.  Charis asked me what my schedule was like and as I rattled it off, she said “Hey, I think you have first hour with HER!!” as she pointed to one of her friends.  Sure enough, we had first hour PE together.

When the bell rang said friend of Charis and I walked to class together.  We ended up sitting next to each other that first day and then together began talking to new people.  It’s not like she and I knew ANYTHING about each other at all, but I don’t think anyone can argue that it’s so much easier walking into something new with someone at your side whether you met them 5 years or 5 minutes ago.

Skipping over a few classes, lunch time rolled around.  Ugggh!  The bell rang and everyone began swarming.  Our school was brand new and not even finished being built yet, so we didn’t have a cafeteria.  Everything was sold from carts and the only places to sit were a few scarce picnic tables and some planter walls which all were occupied by the time I made it out to the courtyard.

Crap! How was I going to read my magazine all nonchalant like now??  Maybe there was a wall I could lean against.  Will I just have to plop down somewhere on the burning August concrete?  I scanned the area for a place to flip through my magazine. As I was scanning I made eye contact with another girl from that circle of friends earlier this morning.  I didn’t want to seem too eager as she and I really had not even spoken to each other, she was merely a familiar face.  Luckily, she made her way over to me!  I was relieved.  And in that moment, it also dawned on me that while she knew waaay more people in this school than I did as a whole, in this place and time she was just as unsure and seemingly alone as me.  Together we found more people and I was able to leave that Us Weekly zipped up in that pink backpack of mine.

The kindness of Charis didn’t stop there.  When she found out I didn’t have a locker, she generously offered to share hers with me.  I was ridiculously excited over this.  Lockers weren’t a part of MY real life!  They were for 80s teen movies and Lizzie McGuire.  The bottom half became mine and I proudly displayed my little pink magnetic mirror and I Love Lucy heart cut out.  Dreams do come true people!

Charis in front of "our" locker.  Peep the mirror and I Love Lucy heart

Moral of the story here….you never know what a small gesture of kindness can mean to a person.  I don’t think she ever realized what an impact it had on me and how it made my transition into a new a scary experience so much easier.  Being kind to someone doesn’t even have to mean committing to being their lifelong best friend.  She and I ran in the same circle until she ended up moving out of state the following year, but we were never “besties.” We now have the typical relationship of classmates nearing their 30s…..we are friends on Facebook and I enjoy reading the occasional funny quips she shares about her kids but that’s about the extent of it.  But that is besides the point. Close relationship or not she will go down in the history book of my life as a kind and genuine soul who I will never forget.  I vaguely remember telling her this story maybe 5 years ago or so through the comments of a Facebook post.  She had no idea; she didn’t even remember any of this.  To me, that’s a good sign.  She wasn’t doing it for a pat on the back or to be remembered….it just came naturally to her to include someone who she could tell needed it at the time.

I think of this every year as back to school time approaches.  Let’s encourage our kids to be kind and aware of those around us.  To say hello, give a smile, and be inclusive.  And let us as adults also remember that this isn’t limited to kids on the first day of school. But that life for adults is hard and scary too sometimes and a small kind gesture can mean the world to someone.

Be someone’s Charis Key.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bangin' buys #3 - Pot Edition

It's been quite some time since I've posted a Bangin' Buys.  I did notice though that I started this "series" (if you can even call it it that.😏 I think I would need to be more consistent to call it that for real) last Spring so it seems it just comes most naturally to me this time of year....I dunno.....

This time the post has a theme and you know I LOVE me a good theme!  These buys are all pot related.  No, not the Mary Jane.  Herb, Ganja, Reefer.  Nope, none of that stuff.  I mean the thing you put your plants in.  

I guess you COULD grow your pot out of these pots....maybe.  I mean I don't know how it all works or what kind of vessel it reqires.  I think it takes a lot of light and most people grow it in their showers and get crazy paranoid about their electric bills being high from all the lights so they turn off basically everything else and you sweat do death living in AZ so the pot plants can thrive. Or so I hear......

(Really, it's what I hear.  I've never smoked pot in my life.  I'm a square like that)

Moving right along.....

99C Only

The good ole 99 will always have a big piece of my heart.  You can just get the greatest stuff! Check these out.

Let's start with the basics; a terracotta pot.  What I like about these is that they are a different shape from the classic ones.  Granted, if you are looking for the classic ones they carry those too, I just featured this one because I liked that it was less flared in shape and had a rounder, thinner top edge.  And being so plain and porous they can easily be spray painted and completely customized to your style. 

Next up, these cute square patterned pots.  Back in Bangin' Buys #1 I posted smiliar-ish ones.  These are slightly different patterns and all square and most are navy. Last year some were round and all were black.  I like that they put out new ones each year.  I'm curious if they will continue next Spring (stay tuned!)

These hanging pots are super cute and come in both black and white

I love all these concrete patterned pots! And since the pattern is part of the pot mold itself, you could totally paint them and still maintain the patterned details

These small llama and bulldog planters are the CUTEST!

Looking for  a basic black pot? Gotcha covered!  I love the simplicity and that is is completely straight up and down



I had to include these when I ran across them in the dollar section at Target because they look like mini versions of the ones above from 99.  


Look, look! This cat planter made me audibly squeal and then a loud "oh, it's HAPPENING" could probably be heard from aisles away.  I had to have it.  Here it is in my living room

Again with the concrete cute! And one is punny too

I like the geometric patterns and kines of these white pots

And you can't go wrong with these AMAZING plant stand!! The light pattern is so dreamy. Droooool!

At Home

Last but not least....for the people who love a wiener. (settle down ladies). I saw this and instantly thought of my friend Ashley who is a wiener mom.  Just imagine how cute this would be with small succulents planted all along its back. CUH-UTE!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Encyclopedic Cookbook Recipe Series- American Kedgeree

It's time for Recipe #2 of  The Encyclopedic Cookbook Recipe Series!  If you don't know what that is, I'll give you a quick rundown. 

A book caught my eye in the thrift store. It was from 1966.  I love things from the 60s.  My house was built in 66'. It seemed like fate.  I decided to cook one recipe from the book every month of 2019. The food back then can be weird.

Hopefully that was fast enough while still getting all the deets relayed.

So I tried to ease y'all in the first month with a simple soup recipe.  Granted simple also meant bland AF, but simple nonetheless. Really though, as I have flipped through the book I have been hard pressed to find any recipe that doesn't make me go either 😲 or πŸ˜•

Food back in the 60s was a little sketchy.  

The style? Cute! 
Home dΓ©cor? Mostly cool.  
The music? Awesome! 
The food?  Weird.

I had been eyeing a few recipes as potentials but I gotta be honest, I ended up going with this one because the end of February really creeped up on me (this month just really does that to ya doesn’t it?) and I had everything I needed to make this recipe without a trip to the store...score!!

So I present to you, “American Kedgeree”  A combination of kidney beans, potatoes, curry powder, and hard boiled eggs.  If that doesn't make your mouth water I don't know what will!😜

Upon a little research, I found that Kedgeree is a British dish that traditionally consists of flaked fish, rice, curry powder, and hard boiled eggs and is usually eaten for breakfast.   This "American" version subs beans for fish, potatoes for rice, and the whites of the egg are chopped and mixed through while the yolk is finely sieved over the top.

So I got to work making the dish following the series rules of sticking to the recipe.  The recipe gave the option of adding 1/2-1 cup of cream or sour cream, so I added 3/4 c. of sour cream. I'm surprised this part was "optional" because it seemed necessary to me to bring everything together in it's sauciness.  I feel it would have been dry and hard to get the flavors to meld together without it.

  The verdict?  Surprisingly good!  I certainly wouldn't be requesting it for my last meal on death row (I also don't have plans to make it to death row) but it was tastier than I imagined the combination to be.  Versus the soup from last month that was a bit (or alot) bland, this dish actually had some decent flavor!

Join me next month as I dive deeper into the weird culinary scene of 1966

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Encyclopedic Cookbook Recipe Series- Crab & Tomato Bisque

If you follow my Instastories you might know the backstory of this book. For those that don’t, I’ll explain.

One day, I was cruising the thrift store as I often do, and a book caught my eye.  All I saw was the spine but the color and style just instantly drew me in. 

 I pulled it off the shelf and chuckled that it was a cookbook “The Culinary Institute of America Encyclopedic Cookbook” to be exact.  Even crazier was that when I opened it I saw that it was from 1966…..1966 you guys!

So, what’s so significant about 1966?  Well, first of all I’m obsessed with all things mid century to begin with.  I love the style, the history, the pop culture...all of it!  But 1966 has specific significance because that is the year our house was built.  I had told The Boy I wanted a collection of periodicals and books from that year to fill our coffee table and built ins as a nod to the history of the house.  So of course this meant Goodwill got my money REAL fast!

I was showing the book to The Boy and as we admired it’s great condition and the odd recipes in it (Calf’s Brain Fritters anyone?) when he came up with a great idea.  Why didn’t I do a Julie & Julia style series where once a month I cook and blogged one recipe from the book for the whole year of 2019.

The Encyclopedic Cookbook Recipe Series was born!

The rules:

1.Cook one recipe a month

2.Must follow the recipe to the T. No adjusting allowed!

That’s it!

First recipe up…Crab & Tomato Bisque.

So here’s the thing.  I was already taken aback by the simplicity of the recipes as a whole.  They have so few ingredients and it sort of blows my mind!  Like this soup contained no garlic at all…. say whaaaaaat?? But I followed the rules and it was….meh 

Not bad per say, but bland.  And I was really surprised at how PINK it was. Like that is not a's really that pink. The ratio of dairy to tomato is different than what I would have done that it looks like your slurping down a big bowl of Pink Squirrel 

I look forward to sharing 11 more vintage recipes with you.  The weird and the good (I hope! lol)