Thursday, February 27, 2014

{Relationships} I Can Be Nice Sometimes

This week, my evenings are spoken for: last week I spent the evenings with netflix in the background, chatting with T while he did hobby-stuff, while I went through all my random notebooks, binders and post-its with inviting notes and ideas, and consolidated them onto one three-page list and the app Wunderlist. (Have since gotten several forgotten-tasks done, thank you very much.) This week, I'm being a good (rather a FANTASTIC partner) and helping T with his hobby stuff: getting him ready for the gaming tournament this weekend.
What does that mean? I'm painting Warhammer 40K miniatures/models.

Since this photo was taken some detail work has been done.
Yeah, I painted that.
It's not done, but has the required 3 colors, and we still have 1 more evening to do the detail-work. I painted 3 large guys like these and about 20 little guys. It's boring and tedious; the tedious part doesn't bug me though- most of my hobbies/work is repetitive. (Different colors would have been more enjoyable- i kept suggesting his armies be pink or sparkly purple but no.)

Why am I doing this? Because otherwise he wouldn't get it done and because I felt like being nice and helpful. To me, part of being an accomplished woman is also to be a good partner. So I help him out from time to time, even if it's for a hobby of his that I really don't give a damn about. (I'm not saying anything here that he doesn't already know, ha!)

I also make sure I've combed my hair before he comes home from work (at the risk of sounding like a 1950s housewife manual), that I don't pounce on him as soon as he comes home telling him every little (cute) thing that the cats did, and I sometimes cook something special for him for dinner. Last week we had steak, last night I tried chicken fried steak (never made it before but I know he likes it and it was really good!) and today I'm going to learn how to make his favorite dish from mexican restaurants, carne guisada.

Nothing major or expensive, but little things to show I care and appreciate how hard he works so that I can run my business full-time. And if I end up with acrylic paints all over my fingers at the end of the evening, it's a small price to pay.

What's a favorite meal that you prepare to make someone feel special?

Cheers, 
ashley 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

{In the Kitchen} Homemade Brownie Mix

Rather than picking up a cheap mix from the grocery store, I finally made my own mix to have on hand.
Yummy gooey brownies made with homemade mix to keep on hand.
Yum- super moist brownie. Least favorite words: portion control.
I looked online and started with one recipe, changed to another halfway through, and still made a couple more changes while baking. 

In an airtight container (or gallon ziplock bag), combine:
3 cups all purpose flour (i might sub 1/2 whole wheat next time)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt (for baking I use LoSalt for reduced sodium)
3.5 cups white sugar
4 oz unsweetened cocoa powder (used my postage scale for measuring)
Mix well


When you're ready to bake brownies (hooray), preheat your oven to 350* and grease 8x8 (or your favorite brownie) pan
Mix:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla (or peppermint extract, yum!)
2.5 cups prepared brownie mix
Stir until combined, pour into prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (25-30 minutes for me). Let cool.
Made tasty, fudgey brownies.
Next up, I'm going to try the mix with a can of black beans for "healthier" brownies, but I wanted to make sure the mix was good first. Will double the mix to keep in the pantry, though if I don't go through it in 3 months, it will live in the freezer with the fancy flours.

How do you like your brownies? Chocolate chips? Andes mint pieces? Nuts?

Cheers,
ashley 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Look + Handmade Items

So by now you've probably noticed the new blog header above, and logo to the right. I decided to start selling some of the items that I create while relaxing during the evenings which means I need a little earring card and a logo. (Which led to a whole bunch of things actually.)

But first up, the logo.
I have a vector file of vintage labels and found on that I liked. After changing the label part for Propriety with a twist in Jane Austen's handwriting, and the color to be more tiffany-blue/aqua, I was trying to get the logo to be squared just right. After taking the branches and skewing them, I laughed and thought it looked like the Cylon Raider toy on my desk.
And I couldn't change it back. A Cylon raider is the perfect twist to my proper little logo. Sold!

"You Can't Go Home Again," S1E5 is my favorite BSG episode.
Starbuck is the ultimate problem-solver.

So having a logo meant I needed to at the very least update the color of the blog header (but of course I couldn't just do that.) And the facebook page needed the logo / cover image, and the etsy shop needed logo and a banner for it. Oh, and instagram.

But Etsy. Banner, profile picture, and brief-brief-brief announcement/about. I'll worry about that on a weekend that I don't have a show. I have added the shop link above, under the header, and even added a product!

Might have to make a pair to keep for myself...
It's a start. (Not sold on the photo set up and need to work on my lighting. I'm so used to lighting paper, earrings are way different.)

With T painting his models every night, it's the perfect time for me to sit and craft, so that's what I've been doing. Waiting for a good hair day so I can model the necklaces that I've made. They're fancy!

Cheers,
ashley

Monday, February 10, 2014

Occurrences, Week of 2.7.14

Reading: Personal Velocity

Watching: More Dexter while working, and caught up on Downton Abbey, Sherlock & The Following. 

Listening: New 90s playlist plus the usual The Smiths station

Eating / Drinking: Surprisingly I made steaks for dinner! But that's about it- still baked oatmeals for breakfast and light snacks/lunches. Boring.

Learning: Last Friday night, T challenged me to learn the bass line for Otherside. I of course rose to the challenge and my fingers hurt- I haven't played bass in ages! It's funny that neither of us are big RHCP fans, but even I have to admit, it's a pretty good bass line.


Corresponding: Sent out a birthday card to my Grandma

Creating: Lots of jewelry!

Working: Had a show on Saturday so prepped for that, and created some new designs. 

Goals / Resolutions: Exercising 6 days a week! I feel a little slimmer but the scale isn't telling me it's true. Telling myself that while I'm weighing the same, i'm swapping chub for firm, so it's okay. Jeans are getting loose in the butt, might need to go shopping soon!

Cheers,
ashley 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Occurrences, Week of 1.31.14

Reading: Twenties Girl, finished it last night. Started off meh but I did enjoy it.

Watching: Finished seasons 8-12 of Law & Order SVU, Dexter (rewatching since the latest season is now on Netflix. We've been watching this show about Alaskan homesteading on netflix; it's pretty hardcore living off the land up there like they do.

Listening: Santigold and Chopin pandora stations with a little Depeche Mode thrown in for solo dance parties.

Eating / Drinking: not as much. Baked oatmeal for breakfast, chicken & rice dinners with loads of broccoli for dinner, grapes/apples/cheese sticks/chai lattes for snacks, and soups for lunch. Pretty boring but am determined to shed a few inches. Had a glass of wine with dinner the other night, splurge!

Domesticating: On Sunday I had nervous energy to get out so I ironed all my cloth napkins and reorganized the drawers of the sideboard. They look great! Plus, I pulled a few more things for the donation box.

Corresponding: Sent out a thank you note on Monday and a little Just Because note today.

Creating: Haven't done much other than crochet in the evenings.

Working: Completed the Jane Austen Centre project, and now working on wedding and party invitations. One of my dearest friends is getting married in May so I've started designing her wedding invitations. Also printing a wedding invitation, sxsw invitation, and pet sympathy cards.

Goals / Resolutions: Really determined to be healthier so I actually exercised every day this week (and woke up sore every morning). Wednesday was really rough with the cravings but somehow I made it through.
Keeps me on track!

My Favorite Instagram(s) of the Week:
Tea with Mom, back of the JAC cards, organized sideboard drawers, and working on wedding design for a dearest friend.
Have a good weekend!

Cheers,
ashley 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tired of Feeling Chubs

Feeling.  That's what T doesn't understand- it doesn't matter if i don't look chubs, it matters if i feel chubs. So, sadly, Monday, January 27th starts a stricter lifestyle. We'll see how stabby I get. This is probably a bad time to start as I have 4 print jobs for inviting to complete but I'm sure if I just time my snacks right, it will be fine.

After finding some Ballet Fit-ish videos on you tube and checking out the weather report for next week, the fitness portion looks like this:
M: video #1
T: videos #3 and #4
W: video #6
Th: video #5
F: Zombies, Run! 2.5 miles + Ballet Beautiful Bridge Series
S: video #2
S: Zombies, Run! 2.5 miles + BB Bridge Series

Here are the videos. We'll see how they/I do.


The dressing room has been cleaned, floor thoroughly swept, free weights found and dusted off, and I am ready for Monday.

I also made little daily health trackers, to make note of meals, water intake, fitness activities, whether I did stretching, weight and waist measurements. Because I'm crazy. If you want a copy (they print 4 cards / 8.5x11 sheet) leave a comment with your email address and I'll send the pdf to you.
As for those meals and snacks, this week I have planned:
Breakfasts
cranberry apple baked oatmeal
green smoothie (not appealing on cold mornings)
Lunches
pea soups or turkey chili from freezer
tuna sandwich (less mayo) on homemade bread
Dinners 
sesame honey chicken with rice and broccoli
...need another recipe... maybe a chicken curry, low salt
Snacks
plain air-popped popcorn
homemade chai latte with soy milk (snack)
toast slice with almond butter
diced apple with cinnamon
Drinks
water, water, water
lemon water (hot)
green tea (hot)
I hid the cocoa mix. :(

This is going to be an awful week but I need to share so that I'm more likely to stick with it. Days that I exercise, I get a heart sticker on my calendar. I want this week full of heart stickers. Need a sticker sheet for healthy eating, too. (Can't use gold stars; those indicate sales. It should go without saying that I want those every day, too.)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Occurrences, Week of 1.24.14

Reading: Dog Handling. Read it years ago and now it's going into the To Donate/Trade pile. Picking a new book tonight.

Watching: The usual: Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Law & Order SVU; Red Dawn, Clerks, and in preparation for the new season, The Following S1. Saw The Hobbit 2, meh. Was amused that the Pie-Maker was the elf king.

Listening: Pandora stations for Santigold

Eating / Drinking: Marathon cooking on Sunday: 4bean turkey chili, cornbread, sandwich bread, and chai latte concentrate. Lots of chili this week, and went out for sushi on Tuesday (a nice treat!). Hot toddies for drink; who knew I would be drinking this much bourbon?

Domesticating: Spent a lunch break rearranging and cleaning the back living room, and another lunch break tidying the dining area. Post-holiday the house always gets chaotic, putting it back to normal. The box to donate is getting full.

Learning: Still haven't picked up the French, but in doing research for a project, I did learn that Mark Twain hated Jane Austen's novels: Jane Austen's books, too, are absent from this library. Just that one omission alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it. Ouch!

Corresponding: Sent out 3 cards and a birthday postcard to friends. Hope you're stocked up on stamps, prices increase this weekend!

Creating: Crocheting very fine, fuzzy yarn. Will make an amazingly soft scarf if I can ever finish it.

Working: Completed designs for an inviting project, have 4 jobs to print in the next 10 days :)

Goals / Resolutions: Finished Season 1 of Zombies Run and started Season 2. Running much more and it's somewhat enjoyable, but I am distracted from the pain with the stories. Shins are still giving me trouble. Painted my nails this week, they're still short but not jagged so I figured why not?

My Favorite Instagram(s) of the Week:

Have a good weekend!

Cheers,
ashley