Saturday, March 31, 2012

Plain to Pretty: Laundry room

Our laundry room was an embarrassment. We had a random hamper full of old clothes, a box full of crap where we threw dryer lint and a storage container with our old comforter sitting on the built in. I've been meaning to clean it for a long time and today I finally got it done.

It took about 10 minutes total and looks so much better. But I want to improve it. We have a cabinet on the wall above the appliances and a built in with counter next to the washer. I've been looking at Pinterest for ideas and I love how you can make a laundry room look nice with paint on the walls and pictures hung up.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

Friday, March 30, 2012

See Michelle Blog...now on Facebook!

Happy Friday!!! I decided last night to make a Facebook page for this here blog. I thought it would be fun to be able to post pictures and thoughts instantly on Facebook and also have a place to link my posts for those of you who are frequent readers and also frequent Facebookers.


I'd like to expand the scope of the content I feature on my blog and I thought introducing some new topics on Facebook would be a good way to integrate them slowly. I've been in a bit of a blogging slump lately, unsure what to post, wanting content that is interesting to people but I'm finding it hard to come up with things. I hope the interaction I can make with my readers through the FB page helps bring me out of this rut.

So please, go to See Michelle Blog's Facebook page and LIKE Me. Tell your friends!


Have a great day and a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

People are Morons: The Proof

 I approached the secretary’s desk at the school I visit once a week for almost an entire school year.

“Oh, I didn’t know you were having a baby.” She says to me and as I’m hearing it, I’m hoping she will stop before she says those magic words “having a baby.”

“No, I’m not pregnant” I respond in a chipper voice despite the rage I feel growing inside my empty of a child uterus, “just chubby.”

The secretary does something worse than make the above statement. She tilts her head to the side and squints. The look says to me: “Are you sure?” She thought I was lying to her. As if I owed her this news. Why are you keeping it a secret from me, the look told me, you are obviously showing, its okay for people to know!

I could have just ignored that and not felt a need to press on but I did.

“No, not pregnant at all. No way I can be with the things going on right now.” I made a circular motion around my stomach. I figured she would understand that I meant I was currently on my period since she is a female and we usually “get” those roundabout ways of talking. And she was already all up in my uterus business so why would I care if she knew I was on my rag? I didn’t.

But she didn’t understand. She continued her head  tilt and said “is everything okay?”

“Yes” I said puzzled. I have spoken to this lady maybe two times in the 4 years I’ve been visiting this school. She asked again.

“Is everything okay with you?” Her head must be made of mush.

“Yup.” I retrieved the paper I was waiting to have photocopied and walked out the door. Trying to hold it together until I got to my car but the tears poured out before I could sit down inside.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had strangers assume I was pregnant. It has happened at least 5 or 6 times.

I always come up with those awesome responses after I leave a situation:

“Oh, I didn’t know you were having a baby.”

1. “Me neither!Thanks so much for being my OB/GYN and telling me! I had no idea you had the kind of vision that allows you to see into a woman’s uterus. Wonderful news!”

2. “I’m not but I have been trying for 3 years so maybe my body is taking the shape of a pregnant woman without actually getting to have the baby. Sucks, right? Especially when people like you say dumb crap like that.”

3. I would type out my husband’s response but it is not appropriate.

So just in case these stories haven’t convinced you otherwise, NEVER EVER EVER ask or assume a woman is pregnant until her water breaks on your shoes. Even then don’t assume because maybe she just has a weak bladder.


 Here is what I was wearing that day. STOP THE PRESSES: I don't have a flat stomach! Sure, maybe vertical stripes really do suck but I like them and don't feel like I look pregnant at all. Not enough to warrant being told that I am pregnant. People starting showing at what, 3 months? So I look three months pregnant. Great. Awesome.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Night Out

After going to bed at 7:15 last night from Hunger Games exhaustion, we are heading out to dinner with friends tonight. Here is my outfit:

Dress: Forever 21
Leggings: Old Navy
Boots: Jillian riding boots by Annie
Necklace: Forever 21
Smirk: I'm hungry

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Survived!

I made it through the night without falling asleep! I'm currently at work (taking my 10 minute break) and wondering how I am going to get through this day. I'm partially caffeinated so I hope it helps.

Let's review how last night went in brief:

1. Jeans, comfy boots, sweatshirt, ponytail and glasses-CHECK.

2. Starbucks and a Pepsi-CHECK

3. Screaming teenage girls-CHECK. After standing in the line that wrapped around to the backside of the theater from 9:00-10:30 (it went by really fast and we were blocked from the wind thank goodness), we snuggled into our seats and waiting impatiently for the movie to begin. When the clock struck 11:00 p.m., a group of girls screamed out "ONE HOUR LEFT!" and when the clock hit midnight, they screamed "IT'S MIDNIGHT!!!!" And when the commercials started playing on the scream, more screams. And when the preview for Twilight came on, additional jubilation. And when it was FINALLY time for The Hunger Games to begin, one set of screams and silence.

Teenage girls are funny (and annoying). They obviously can't handle awkward situations like loving glances between a male and female character or a brutal plea to end ones life from another character. There were giggles in the strangest places throughout the movie and to be honest, it threw me off of my concentration. There were also gasps in certain places which confused me because HELLO, you've read the books right? You knew that was going to happen. And when cheering took place at the end of the actual hunger games, I turned to my sister-in-law and said "yeah, it doesn't turn out so well."

I left the theater at 2:36 and got home in record time and was in bed at 3:00 a.m. I was still high from my caffeine and couldn't fall asleep right away which made me a bit worried but I just relaxed and eventually dozed off.

My thoughts on the movie:
I thought it was good. Not great. Not an award winning film. But I enjoyed it and found myself tensed up in certain parts even though I knew what was going to happen. I admit to forgetting about some things that happened so it was kind of nice to be surprised. You can't fit a 400 page book into a 2 hour and 22 minute movie so I know that characters can't be developed all the way and plot lines can't be completely hashed out and that is okay. I think it was well made, stayed true to the book and set up "Catching Fire" nicely. I really loved the last scene. It was chilling! I'm going to re-read Catching Fire soon so I can be reminded of what happens since I admit to not remembering most of the details of that book.

And yes, I actually do want to go see the movie again. Maybe an early morning weekend showing so I won't be surrounded by teens.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Hunger Games: My Plan for Victory

Tonight, I'll be chillin' at a movie theater for a few hours in order to see a movie the minute it is released. Why? Why am I doing this? I am excited to see The Hunger Games but am I this excited? I just don't know.

I've never been to a midnight premiere. My sister-in-law has been to many. She is young and able to stay awake for hours days at a time without suffering the consequences. I, on the other hand, could go to bed at 7:00 p.m. every night with ease. So of course I decide to see a movie that will have me getting home at almost 3:00 in the morning and of course I have to go to work the next day and have an extremely busy day. I'm scared.

My original plan was to get home from work today at 5:00, sleep until 10:00, mosey on down to the movie theater and feel good about it. Then my sister-in-law told me that the ideal time to get there is between 8:30-9:00. WHAT? That cuts into my sleep time in a big huge way. She told me that I could always catch a few zzzzzz's in the movie theater like she did once. Yes, I would love to fall asleep on the floor of the lobby and drool all over myself as I move through REM cycles.

New plan:
1. Sleep from 5:00-7:30

2. Take a hot shower

3. Dress like a girl from District 12. I'm seriously considering wearing sweats, a sweatshirt, ponytail, my glasses and no makeup. That way, when I get home I can get directly into bed. I might brush my teeth in the car on the way home. AND I can be a super nerd and say that I'm in costume. TAKE THAT, TWEEN DORKS!

4. Drink my favorite tea on the way to the movie theater. Caffeinated tea.

5. Get a fully caffeinated drink at Starbucks once I get there.

6. Probably go pee a lot before the movie starts.

7. Do some jumping jacks or high knees in order to keep my heart beat up. I'll be wearing sweatpants so this will be easy.

8. Curse myself loudly for doing this in the first place when I look at my watch and realize it is only 9:03 p.m. and WTF I have 6 hours before I get to go to sleep.

9. In my sleep deprived stupor, start screaming at annoying teens who refuse to shut up while waiting in line/sitting in the theater.

10. WHAT? There is a Twilight preview before the movie starts. I knew this was a bad idea. Bathroom break!

11. Hopefully stay awake for the entire movie. If you see someone doing jumping jacks and high knees before The Reaping scene is over, you'll know who it is.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Where I Stand

-I think the government should not play a big role in our day to day lives. I don't like that schools police what kind of food kids are bringing for lunch. I heard a story yesterday about NYC Mayor Bloomberg banning churches from giving food to homeless unless they meet the nutritional requirements set up by the city. Yeah, that is helpful for people who just need food. I doubt these churches are just handing out candy bars to people. I don't want to be told that I have to do what the government thinks is best for me just because some people can't act right.

-That being said, I don't support the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. I work in youth alcohol, tobacco and drug prevention and believe that youth getting involved with those substances is harmful and will hurt the future of our country.

-I support legislation that makes children safe. I wish there was a zero tolerance policy when it comes to people that harm children. Touch a child and you automatically get thrown into prison for life. I also support the death penalty.

-I used to just shrug my shoulders when it came to the issue of Gay Rights but now, I cringe and shake my head when I hear people spouting off about how citizens of this country who are gay are harmful, unnatural and detrimental to society. They are just people. People who happen to love another person. Be compassionate. Be caring. Be open-minded. See the bigger picture. How does two women or two men living together, loving each other effect YOU personally? It doesn't.

I'm sure a majority of my readers (including myself) weren't alive when Loving v. Virginia took place. Interracial marriage used to be illegal. The Racial Integrity Act criminalized the marriages between a white person and a non-white person. I wonder how many people who oppose same sex relationships knows someone who is in an interracial marriage. I can count almost 20 of my facebook friends that would be arrested for their relationships if the Racial Integrity Act was still in existence today. Would you EVER say to one of those people, "No, you shouldn't be together. It is unnatural, harmful and detrimental to society." That is how it once was. And I hope someday, we can look back and shake our heads and say "What were we thinking" when it comes to banning gay marriage.

-The more I hear about our choices for President (Republican and Obama) the more I just want to throw my hands in the air and quit. I'll vote for local and state offices and local and state laws but I do not want to vote for a President that I don't have a strong, positive feeling about. I just can't bring myself to do it. How am I being true to myself by casting a vote for someone I think it is completely off their rocker or completely wrong for this country? And lets be real: I live in California. My vote isn't going to throw the state over to a Republican anytime soon.

-I wish social issues weren't even an issue in politics. How hilarious and sad is it to hear grown men talk about birth control pills? Seriously? Shut up. Abortion? Shut up. Gay marriage? Shut up. Focus on the issues that really matter. The economy. Jobs.

-Everyone: Find your sensitivity knob. I think it is located somewhere near your 5th vertebra. Turn it down a notch. Let's stop being so politically correct and get a sense of humor. Life will be more fun!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I thought I would share the recipe I used to make the snickerdoodle cupcakes this past weekend. In my last post, I mentioned that I made the icing listed below but didn't end up using it. It was so horribly sweet (this coming from a person who LOVES sweet things) that I didn't want the cupcake to be inedible for people who don't have a big sweet tooth.

I also don't have a picture of the finish product but I made it look pretty by sprinkling cinnamon sugar on top of the frosting. The pictures below are of the filling process. I picked up this cupcake corer at a baking supply shop. It is super easy to use and comes with two size options. I used the smaller, more narrow core but the wider size would be pretty good to use with jumbo cupcakes as well. I put the filling in a Ziploc bag and cut a small corner off. Because it is cream cheese based, it softened pretty fast when I was filling so I would suggest coring each cupcake first and filling all at once. I also just cut off the majority of the core and put the top back in the cupcake since that was all that would fit over the filling.





The flavor of these cupcakes was almost exactly like a snickerdoodle cupcake. I was thrilled! The only downside is they need to remain in the fridge due to the cream cheese filling. I think next time, I will make the filling with frosting or something else that doesn't need to be refrigerated since I don't like my cupcakes cold.

Enjoy!

Recipe from: www.wilton.com

Ingredients:

Makes:

About 24 cupcakes. (12 jumbo cupcakes)

Instructions:

Step 1

Cupcake Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In mixer bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4. Mix in vanilla and almond flavor.
5. Mix flour with baking powder and salt.
6. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, starting with the flour.
7. Pour into prepared pans.
8. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
9. Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack; remove and cool completely before decorating.

Step 2

Filling Directions
1. In large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon and milk.
2. Beat with mixer until well blended.
3. Refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Fill cupcakes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Step 3

Icing Directions
1. Beat meringue powder and 1/2 cup cold water until stiff, about 4 minutes.
2. In microwave safe bowl stir sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup water.
3. In microwave bring syrup mixture to a boil (approx. 5 minutes).
4. Remove, let mixture cool slightly (1-2 minutes).
5. Slowly add syrup to meringue mixture.
6. Beat on HIGH for 4 minutes.
For top of range: Mix sugar, corn syrup and water in 2 qt. saucepan. Bring to boil; cool slightly and follow directions above.

Step 4

Special Hint
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of the icing for a traditional flavor!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Friends and Dinner

I had dinner with friends last night. A longtime friend was in town from San Diego do we gathered to see her. It was a small group but rather perfect for chatting and catching up.

I made snickerdoodle cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese filling. I found the recipe on the Wilton site. Very easy to make although I would suggest not making the icing listed on the recipe. You need corn syrup and meringue powder and who has those things sitting around? Plus, it is super super sweet and with the filling, it is just too much. So I used regular canned frosting and they were yum. Tasted just like a snickerdoodle and the guests seemed to love them.

I also attached a picture of my outfit for fun. I really love this color combo!

Hope everyone has a happy Sunday. I'll be sitting on the couch until late tonight watching all 8 March Madness games.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Almost better than Christmas (almost)

IT'S MARCH MADNESS Y'ALL!!!

After Christmas, March Madness is my favorite time of the year. I try my best to not schedule a darn thing for the weekends so I can sit and watch nearly 12 hours worth of basketball games. It drives my husband NUTS because I get loud and scream and yell and curse and throw my destroyed bracket in the air when a team I have in the Elite 8 loses but OMG SO MUCH FUN!

I have a dinner to go to Saturday night but I plan on watching as much basketball as possible. Ideally, I watch the games on the little tv's at the gym so I work out extra long but my gym doesn't get any of the 4 channels that games are on. WTF. I should quit that gym.

For posterity and so I can't claim that I totally guessed every single game correctly, here is my Final 4:

Kentucky
Ohio St.
Missouri
Kansas

Championship Game:
Kentucky
Ohio St.

Champion:
Kentucky 

Check back with me in two weeks and I'm sure I will be singing a different tune about March Madness. I think last year I threatened to never fill out another bracket as long as I live. This is serious folks.

 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Child Safety beat Me

I had the pleasure of taking care of my two nieces on Saturday while their parents were either working or playing basketball. We had a picnic at a park, we played on the playground, I drove a train to Chicago and then to Arizona, I explained to the oldest one that we couldn't play hide-and-go-seek because hiding would require her to be out of view which wouldn't make me a very responsible babysitter.

I dropped one off at rehearsal and walked with the little one to get frozen yogurt which we shared. If she had it her way, it would have been all hers but she was up against me and Michelle doesn't share food! She is lucky I broke the rules for her. We picked the oldest one up and we drove home. It was quite a successful day.

But I did face two opponents. One I conquered. The other kicked my behind. The opponents weren't children or animals or a challenging slide at one of the two parks we visited. Oh no. Those things are a cake walk compared to what I faced.

The first opponent was the bottom buckle on a car seat. I could not figure out, for the life of me, how to buckle that damn thing. I saw that the two buckles had puzzle-like pieces. It should have been easy but it wasn't. The oldest child tried to help while the youngest was getting pretty pissed that I couldn't figure out how to buckle it. Their mom was playing basketball in the background but my pride wouldn't allow me to call to her for help. "You are capable, Michelle. You CAN buckle this car seat." And I did. After about 4 minutes which is entirely too long to figure out something simple. I paid close attention for I knew that I would have to buckle it again soon.

 Next up was this damn umbrella stroller. It defeated me. I'm not proud of that. Not at all. I actually consider it one of the greatest failures of my life. I couldn't fold up a lightweight umbrella stroller. I'll say it again: I couldn't fold up an umbrella stroller. What did I do? After calling my sister for help (it didn't help), I threw the stroller in the trunk. I don't know how I fit it in there but I did and if anyone in the parking lot was watching me, I'm sure they were laughing. Probably calling CPS about an unfit parent they saw in the parking lot. "She couldn't fold up an umbrella stroller! Please stop her from caring for those children!"

I was defeated. And sweaty. But overall, I considered the day to be successful. As I drove them back home to a mother who can buckle a car seat and collapse a stroller with her eyes closed, I listened as oldest niece served as a teacher to youngest niece, asking her to help find hidden items in a book. All my failures washed away as I listened to their teamwork. I'm a lucky Aunt.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Happenings

1. I took some personal time this morning so I could go to the gym at 6:00 a.m. I really need to get back on the morning workout train during the week so today was the day that it started.

2. This week I have been eating so much freaking candy that I found myself angry, ragey, irritable and on edge 4 days in a row. I yelled at a freight train yesterday. For real. I am cutting back significantly even though it is going to be really hard since I'm probably dependent on sugar now.

3. It is such a beautiful day today. I'm wearing a dress and love the feel of the sun on my face. Next week it will finally look like winter (one week from Spring) with cloudy, rainy, cold weather which I normally like but man, that sun feels GOOOOOD.

4. I watched two episodes of Project Runway this morning. Aside from all of the Jersey Shore people, doesn't Kenley have the most annoying voice/face on the television? If you look closely during judging, you will see her standing with bad posture, hands on hips, facial expression turned to TOTALLY BORED mode, etc in the background. I'm sure production has told her to just stand straight and face forward but she is incapable of following instructions. Instructions like, "Stop making the same damn dress over and over and over again."

5. Back to #3. You know what I will miss when warm weather comes our way? Cuddles with kitty. During the winter, she loves sitting and sleeping in our laps when we are sitting on the couch or at the computer but when it gets warm outside, she needs her space. Maybe I'll keep the house really cold so she will always want to cuddle with us. It is so sweet.

6. I'm still formulating my "Where I Stand" post and deciding if I should write it or not. I need to keep it simple. I tend to get wordy but I just want to simply say how I feel without delving into too much detail and risk being picked apart.

I hope everyone has a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Biting my tongue/sitting on my hands

The past few days have been tough for me. I have read things online that have made me shake my head, roll my eyes and click "unsubscribe" on Facebook. I enjoy the diversity of people that I have in my social media circles. I enjoy reading different opinions and thoughts but I also have a line. That line has been crossed a few too many times so I must take action to stop myself from going CRAZY. I wish I could take a deep breath and move on but if people put themselves out there to be judged, I judge. Maybe that is wrong. I don't know. But isn't that the point of status updates? To share your thoughts, reasons and feelings? And isn't that the point of the comment box, to agree or disagree?

I have been formulating a post entitled "Where I Stand" and I have been putting my thoughts together on how I can write my thoughts, my feelings, my opinions with intelligence. People might not agree and that is okay. People might comment that I suck. That is okay. But I have this space that is mine and I've always been pretty honest with what is going on in my life and in my head. Why stop now?

Why? I'll tell you why.

The climate of our world is insane. If you aren't with us, you are against us. If you dare speak up against a popular opinion/movement/event, you are stupid, racist, misogynistic, horrible, anti-woman, anti-man, anti-child, anti-fun, anti-forward thinking. I'm coming into my own on several thoughts both politically and socially. There are issues that I feel are not political issues and I wish the politicians, all of them, would STFU and stop talking about them.

So I sit on my hands and I bite my tongue and I feel the Type A personality boiling inside of me, waiting to get out. Waiting to say my piece and have a voice. But I don't want to shake things up and I don't really want to be attacked, especially on Facebook. For some reason, I feel like my space here on my blog is safer even though it is not locked down like my Facebook page.

I worry about people calling me those names I listed above even though in my heart, I know I am a good person. A great person, even. My beliefs don't make me bad. They make me ME. And I should share my beliefs in the hope that someone will read them and say "hey, I feel that way too and I'm glad I'm not alone."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Vacation PTSD

I'm sure I talked about vacation PTSD last year when I had to cancel and reschedule and replan our trip to New York and Washington D.C. due to my husband's work schedule.

The effects are still with me. Our vacation went perfectly but we did lose a little bit of money on airline tickets and broadway tickets. I thought I learned my lesson to be careful when you book vacations, never chose the scary NON-REFUNDABLE option and review everything before purchasing.

Last night, on a whim, I decided to research how much a trip to Kauai would cost. Did I say on a whim? That is a lie. It was prompted by a picture my mom posted from her hotel room in Lanai. It was gorgeous and breathtaking and awesome. It was Hawaii. And while our trip to San Diego was already in the books (at least the hotel), I was curious.

Bottom line: We are going to Kauai in June. It all happened so fast. There wasn't a huge (big but not huge) price difference between three nights at the Hotel Del Coronado, flight and car and four nights in Kauai, flight and car. We've never been to Kauai but I've always wanted to go. And we seem to make a habit of going to Hawaii every other year: 2008 for our honeymoon, 2010 for the Ironman, 2012 for why the heck not?

After I stared at the screen for a good 10 minutes, switched hotels to save a couple hundred dollars and signed up for trip protection, I hit "book" and instantly felt sick to my stomach. Once again, this trip will be at the end of on my husband's 16 hours a day/7 days a week work cycles. Our trip is 8 weeks after it starts and while I've been told it "won't go that long" I feel like I am going to throw up just thinking about cutting it close like we did last year. Because I heard that last year and it didn't end up so well.

You think I would learn. I need someone to hold my hair back for the next three months because seriously....vomit.


Here, I'll use this to distract myself.