Sunday, February 24, 2013

Food Adventures with Alivia!

Hello, friends!

As you know by now, I oft am running around working and visiting my man and that means I don't get much time to hang with my friends. It's a little sad, really, but my friends are great; the bestest of the best and I always seem to work it out. :)

Alivia is one of the bestest of the best, for sure!

She came by one evening this past week to hang out, eat some pizza, make some cake batter truffles, and drink some Silly Cow Farms Hot Chocolate! It was a fantastic time, fun and funny and just a nice break from everything else in life. :)

I love Alivia. She's pretty much the greatest! Heehee!

I sprinkled the sprinkles while Alivia coated the truffles in almond bark. Teamwork, that's what that is.
This is her "spider face."
After we made the truffles, we found our favorite mugs (per the instructions ;) ) and made us some Silly Cow Farms Chocolate Truffle hot chocolate. Yummmmmmmmmmm. I was so excited to see this when Alivia brought it over. I had actually seen this hot chocolate on a blog somewhere down the line and thought it was the cutest and coolest thing. Now I'm excited to know it can be found here! Awesomeness all around!

The truffles were pretty good too! They were a lot like cookie dough without the eggs. The end result truffle is really good with its coating. I think all around it was a great success. :) Tasty tasty! Here, you will see an interesting phenomenon that we noticed. As the inside of the truffles warmed up from being chilled in the freezer, it expanded and poked through the weakest part of the coating. Silly!

(Alivia, I did that thinking about it much too hard thing and asked Kyle what caused it to happen and he was like "duh" and told me. And I was like, "....duh." Haha!)

I hope that wherever you are and however busy you are, you get chances to hang out with friends. :) I cherish every moment I get. And Anna, Alivia and I look forward to the next time we can all hang out SO much. We need to do a bean dip and movie sleepover for sure. 

Friends of 2FT, this slumber event is somewhat of an old tradition. Do you have awesome traditions with friends? What do you do?! We'd love to hear from you, so drop a line! 

Until next time, stay excellent! 

- Jenny - 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Food Adventures: Valentine's Day Crepes!

Hello, friends!

So Valentine's day has come and gone. For some, I'm sure that you're relieved to see it go. I have once been one of those anti-Valentine's day people. I disapproved of the idea of having media and retailers demand and pressure us into purchasing items to display our affections. Of course, I was also without a Valentine on those days - but that was beside the point! or at least that's what I told myself then.

To be truly honest, with or without a Valentine, I love Valentine's day.

Here's what I posted to my Facebook as my status on Valentine's day:
"On this day, whether walking to your own beat or joining a special someone's melody, remember that today is a day to remember to love and to live in love. Don't let the day make you bitter and remember that love is far more than romance, the famed center of retail and media on this holiday. To live in love and to know love is to care for others, be they friends, family, lovers, or simply fellow humans. I think of it as an awareness day, making me aware of what not to take for granted in this life. Just my two cents."
That is really how I feel, too.

Just ask Anna, I love love and I love to love love. It's always been more than romance to me. I have so much love in my life. There are a couple friendships that come to mind that really take my breath away; I honestly can't even believe that some of my memories actually happened. They seem like they were taken straight from a movie or a book... Maybe one day I'll write a book, using those moments. Yes, *scribbles in life to-do list*

But, really, I love love. I love to volunteer in my community. I haven't in a long while and I'm looking to become more active again within the coming months; just have to find a project/organization to join or rejoin. :) The more I can do to make anyone feel more loved, the better everything is. That's my view at least.

With all of that, I also love romantic love, of course. I have a great man and I did have the opportunity to remind him of how much he means to me. An opportunity that I get every day and try to take advantage of every day.

So, because I only kind of give into the retail side of the holiday, I got him  a small box of chocolates and gathered him a movie date night pack, for us to enjoy. :) Then I made him a card and set out to make dinner and breakfast! Since Valentine's day landed on a Thursday, we postponed the foods until the following days. Below are some photos of his card. I'm pretty proud of it! I made a shnazzy popup card!

I visit him almost every weekend. I tallied up how many times I visited and calculated how many miles that's been. Impressive, eh? ;)

I cooked up some mixed veggies and New York strip steaks for the dinner; that was all fairly commonplace as it is kind of my go to date night dinner. O.o

My real adventure was my first stab at crepes! It was a real success! They were delicious, beautiful, and so fun! I was SO excited to have succeeded at this; I love crepes!

I followed this recipe for chocolate crepes with strawberries and cream cheese. I followed the batter and cream recipes to a "t." I made the batter in my blender the night before and allowed it to chill and settle overnight.

This recipe doesn't tell you much about how to cook the crepes, but don't worry I'll let ya in on my secrets. ;)

I don't have a crepe pan. I don't expect that many people do. Instead I used a ~10 inch nonstick saute pan.

I set my pan on the stove to heat at medium heat. As the pan heated, I brushed the cooking surface with some canola oil, using a basting brush. When I was confident the pan was fully heated, I scooped out 4 tablespoons of batter onto the pan and tilted the pan in a circular motion to cover the pan with a thin layer of batter.

It only takes about 10-20 seconds for the crepe to cook on that side. You want to go to flip the crepe when the edges start to curl a bit. Slide your spatula under the crepe... Then with a flick of the wrist - Flip! Then about 10 more seconds on that side and your crepe is finished! Out of the pan and on to a plate for cream and strawberries, followed by any method of folding or rolling for final presentation and eating!


They were so good. I know you're jealous - don't be! They're easy to make! Just have a little confidence & fun and crepes are a cinch!

Whether you were enjoying Valentine's day with your special someone or kicking it, enjoying the soundtrack of your own heart - I hope you had a great Valentine's day.

I send you love, all of you.

Until next time, friends - Stay excellent!

- Jenny -

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Where I've Been & What's New!

   So, I've been an absent friend on this blog....for quite some time I'm ashamed to say. I am sorry about that friends, I have no excuse, especially to my dearest friend Jenny, who has been holding up this whole show throughout the entirety of my absence. I can only apologize & thank her for her patience & support, as a true friend, I appreciate it enormously. Thank you for being you Jenny & for being such a strong & loving friend. I love you!

   Now, to address what's been going on, there's a lot to tell, but for time's sake & not wanting to push my entire life on those who happen on this post, or are first time friends on the blog, I'll keep it as short as possible. From last April, to the current year, I've been experiencing change, the kind of change you need time to wrap your head around. I've not been good at it, & I freely admit it. Some of that change consisted of good things, a new & wonderful man in my life, for example was long overdue & very exciting! However, at the beginning, it was a long distance relationship & occupied my time & mind constantly. It had been so long, I'd been so out of balance in that area of my life that I got a little over-focused on it. Part of that was good, the effort on both sides of the relationship kept us together & brought us to where we are now, which is together & happy with each other. The other part of that focus was depression related...a feeling which has finally loosened its hold on my spirit in recent days. 

 In the beginning of September of 2012, I left my job of five years, my home, my friends & family behind for the trees & mountains of Montana. I loved it here the first time I set foot inside the state. I loved the Tri-Cities, because it was home, but there was something in me that tumbleweeds couldn't fill, the love of the outdoors, hiking, trees, mountains, wild things! So the move to a new place was exciting, even more so, considering I'd be on my own for the first time & living with my boyfriend after we decided we didn't want to let distance get between us anymore. 

 The start was great... right up to the point where depression set in. I had no friends here, save the ones I was living with, I didn't know the area very well, & I quit two jobs in a matter of days after being    
hired. I was alone often (when my boyfriend & other roommate worked), lonely, missed my family terribly, & felt guilty for leaving my dog behind(my family told me he was depressed too). After quitting the last job I hated(telemarketing job disguised as something else), I decided two months of being out of work was enough. I went home for about a week,visited with my family, collected some things I left behind, Obie (Australian shepherd) included, & went back to Montana. I couldn't move back to WA & leave the man I loved alone. Putting six hours of driving back between us was not something I wanted. No matter where I was, I was missing someone I loved. I have to thank my boyfriend for being very strong, patient & supportive during this time. If this is a place to acknowledge my friends, he especially, must be given credit. All this time we talked about being together, me moving & then up and leaving AGAIN must have been very hurtful & frustrating. Not to mention my emotional idiocy at the time, made me irritable & most likely hard to be around. He also went through a series of jobs at this time, was often tired from work & yet still found time to support me emotionally. He took me out hiking & crystal hunting on his days off & went spent an amazing amount of time together, that part to me, was heaven, it kept me safe from my bad thoughts & having him near me everyday kept me sane & alive.

 After spending time in two jobs that I hated I asked another friend, our roommate to help me find & apply for something I liked. I literally went & walked into places & applied. Anywhere that interested me was visited & I soon had a stack of paper to fill out. Turns out, the first one I filled out was the one that was destined to be my new job! The Book Exchange called me only a few days after having applied there! I saw the stack of applicants & new I was lucky. I also found out later that my previous boss had been called & talked up my work ethic & usefulness as much as he could. After a one hour interview the following day, I was in! I now work full time, I make a decent wage (for Missoula area, we Washingtonians are spoiled when it comes to wages), & I live with m boyfriend & dog in the most beautiful state in the world. 

 What I learned from all this, was that things get better. Everyone has valleys, hard times, you can even get sad for a long time... but if you're lucky, if you have the love of good friends to rely on, you can climb your way out of your old skin & into a new better you. Everyone needs good friends to sharpen them, to pick them up & hold them tight. I thank mine, every chance I get because without them, I know now, I wouldn't be here! Thank you all, & I love you!

 As for the blog, hope to see you all much more regularly & with new & exciting adventures soon! happy trails! ~Anna 

Above is a digital piece I did of my new character Avis Wolf called, "Stronger"

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I Pin. I Conquer: Sartorial Thoughts

Hello, friends!

As I'm sure you're all well aware, I am fairly well addicted to Pinterest.
I've always been a collector, ever since I was little. I used to collect all manner of things. I had a rock collection, a shell collection, a stamp collection - you name it, I collected it. The term "pack rat" comes to mind. Since beginning college and moving in and out of residences along the way, I have discarded many "useless" collections in favor of minimizing clutter and volume while on the move. Not to mention I've seen Hoarding: Buried Alive and Hoarders and I really don't want to let my pack rat nature get the best of me... O.o

In addition to collecting items like coins, Pokemon cards, and glass soda bottles, I clipped magazines for their cool photos, ideas, clothing, art, and anything else that tickled my fancy. I had peechee folder upon peechee folder upon binder upon zipper bag full of clippings from newspapers and magazines. It was a little out of hand when I was about 10 to 13 years old.

Just under ten years later...
Enter Pinterest.

It's one of those "DUH" ideas. Once I got into the digital world and the universe that is the interwebs, I had file folder upon file folder of saved pictures from the pages of the internet and also tons of folders and subfolders organizing my various bookmarked sites. It only makes sense to combine the "old school" magazine clipping and bulletin board method with the internet!! What a revelation!!

So... I am a hoarder - - - of digital items.

Let me tell you, it's much easier to manage digital clutter. And it's a lot easier on my wallet and living space. Probably easier on my man too. ;)

That's the back story of me and my attraction to Pinterest. It was only natural for me to move into this sector... and to bring out the tiny little hipster in me, "I totally jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon in the early stages of its popularity." ;)

I have a few Pinterest boards that I am particularly proud of:
Of all of my boards, however, Sartorial Thoughts has become my most popular. It's been gaining a lot of followers recently. I'm currently three shy of 250! I know for some of the really popular boards 250 is not that many, but it's exciting to watch it grow! And it's really a fun board. 

I have a really wide and varying interest in apparel. My most commonly worn category of apparel is casual, obviously. For me, casual is Converse or another comfy, usually canvas shoe; jeans; and whatever top I feel like at the time. 

Left image via Poketo.
Right image via Free People.
Image below via Polyvore.


Of course, every girl has her form of a sartorial dream (like "I love this but would never actually own this and if I did, I'd rarely wear it because I don't have places to where it to"). I love formal wear, dresses, and skirts - but I am a practical and, frankly, cheap person. I can't justify buying dresses at over $100 a pop when I'll only wear them approximately once a year (and that's for dresses I really like). That and as an engineer, though I work in an office, there's isn't much call for heels and dresses. And in my free time I like to lounge and run around like the tomboy I am. But that doesn't mean I don't dream of dressing up like a lady (who can still kick ass and climb trees because I wear spankeys under dresses when I go out in the day time. haha). This first outfit I'm actually thinking of acquiring within the 2013. I like the look and it's not too far a stretch from my usual e'r'day wear: American Apparel U Neck dress and some Converse. 

Sugarmess Maxi Dress
Free People Gianna’s Limited Edition Leather and Lace Gown

And of course, there are accessories, tattoos, and makeup.
As I mentioned in my To Infinity & Beyond post, I have been seriously considering a tattoo. I think I will get one, but I don't want it to be just another errand. I want the choice of when to get it to be special.. So we'll see when that moment rolls around. ;) I also love love love accessories, specifically rings, bracelets, and scarves. So I include these things on my Sartorial Thoughts board, too.

by Fossil
on Etsy by ScarlettJewelry

I really enjoy pinning and it's fun to see others interested in the same things. Finally, I have a way to collect and hoard that won't detriment my nearly OCD need for organization and won't drive my babe up a wall with having to look at magazine clippings and internet print-offs. 

If you like my Sartorial Thoughts board, you should follow it! And better yet, check out the rest of my boards

Pin on, my friends! 

Stay excellent, 
- Jenny -