Tuesday, March 1, 2011

American Idol - My Favorites!

Full Performances Available from Final Audition Round
I have three papers to finish but instead I'm going to blog real quick about American Idol! This is the first season that I've watched all the episodes and I want to watch it all the way through to the end. Below I've listed my favorites so far this season!

Casey Abrams:
Casey AbramsThis man has some amazing natural talent along with great humility. He can play the upright bass like no one I've seen and makes it sexy to boot! Keep an eye on this one! 

Jacob Lusk
Jacob Lusk: This boy makes me cry each time I hear him sing. He sings with his entire heart and soul. He is amazing.


James Durbin
James Durbin: I'm not sure how far he will go but he sure has quite the range on him. I really hope to see him go far.

Julie ZorrillaJulie Zorrila: This girl can sing! She has the potential if she digs deep enough. She is a natural star and I see big things for her. Plus I love her dresses, she's so cute!

Lauren Alaina Lauren Alaina: This girl sings with her soul. I don't know if she'll make it all the way, but I love her spunk and enthusiasm.


Rachel ZevitaRachel Zevita: This girl is crazy good. I'm not sure if she's got a particular style yet but she can do it all. I love her!

Scotty McCreeryScotty McCreery: It's definitely his low deep country voice that's keeping him in so far. I'm not sure how long he'll last but I love to hear him sing.

Thia Megia 
Thia Megia: I don't know if her parents were cognizant of future humililating nicknames for their daughter during the name process but regardless this girl can sing! 

So far these are my favorites. I really want them all to win American Idol but I know that can't happen. I'll be there each week rooting them on though! Join me! Who are your favorites?

Pics via American Idol.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Book Review

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of ThingsStuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was eye opening and morbid and fascinating and scary all at the same time. The authors are truly experts in their field but yet write so clearly to the everyday person. They share the unique stories of people, not to expose them and humiliate them, but to show how hoarders exhibit the wide range of symptoms and how little is known about hoarding. Although this books highlights the extreme cases of hoarding, I see myself and my family in these stories. Maybe that was the authors intention; to show how human these people are despite their compulsions.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Handy Grocery Reference

It's a cute little pocket reference on the dirty dozen. The dirty dozen is a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the most amount of pesticides in them. YUCK. Who wants to ingest pesticides?

However on the other side shown here are the clean 15, which are the 15 produce that have the least amount of pesticides.

To download and print: Click Here

For more information please visit Re-Nest.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Todays Free Apps GIVEAWAY

Dan loves looking for free iPhone apps. He purchases quite a lot but he loves games and he loves a good deal so he scours around looking for when apps go on sale. Then he posts them with a link to the App Store on Twitter which updates his Facebook page. Now he also updates a blog with description of the games from the App Store.

Dan is doing his second GIVEAWAY. Last time he gave a $15 giftcard. Once he gets 50 blogger followers or 1100 Twitter followers he will do another giftcard giveaway so spread the news! I imagine I'm disqualified from the giveaway :P

Chocolate Creme Filled Cookies A.K.A "Oreos"

Dan got a craving for Oreos. Normally I'll ignore his junk food cravings but we didn't have any sweets and this one was calling to me as well. Instead of going to the store I suggested we make some instead. He gives me an incredulous look and says if we didn't have any refrigerated dough, how were we going to make cookies? I tell him we'll make it from scratch and at this point we look at each other like the other has a third eye we just noticed. It has never occurred to him to make cookies from scratch and I know for a fact his mother bakes almost a million cookies every year.

After we overcome our shock, we get right to mess up the beautiful clean kitchen. I looked through my cute cook book on cookies (pictured left). Dan overlooks my shoulder and I can't find a good chocolate cookie recipe. He points out all the recipes call for store bought dough anyways. Oh well.

(I made the cookies on the cover one time. Aren't they adorable?! An ex-acquaintance snobbishly told me I had too much time on my hands if I could make those. But since it was refrigerated dough it didn't actually take as long as she thought.)

We didn't have a recipe so I just googled one until I could find one I liked and came across this Martha Stewart one which I didn't follow closely. I just needed the ratio of ingredients to be honest.

Our stand mixer was somewhere in the utility closet and since it's an off brand, the flour still flies every direction and is no easier than hand mixing the batter.

However if I were to do it differently I would have set the butter and cream cheese out to soften before hand. Those were a pain!

On the Martha Stewart website she's got a recipe for the filling but since I didn't have any shortening I googled a different recipe. Of course I can't find it now but I remember it so it's all good. Since I used cream cheese, the cookies have to be refrigerated.

         Chocolate Cookies:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (I actually used some chocolate a friend got me from Abu Dhabi)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for flattening cookies
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl beat the sugar and butter together. (This was HARD. Softened butter would have been easier but I didn't pre-plan this craving so I made it through just fine.)
4. Then mix all the ingredients together.
5. Roll the dough into little balls. (They have to be small so when they flatten out they are oreo size. They won't be flat like oreos but flat enough.)
6. Bake for 9 minutes. (MS says bake 10-12 minutes but I like my cookies a little soft and my oven cooks hot so 9 minutes was perfect.)

We only own one cookie sheet so while the first batch baked we put together the cream cheese filling.

           Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 8 oz of Cream Cheese (SOFTENED)
  • 1/2 lb of butter (SOFTENED)
  • 4 cups of powered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

I couldn't believe the amount of sugar so I tripled checked and it just seemed outrageous but I followed the instructions. It makes my teeth hurt just typing that!

If you have a large bowl and a hand mixer go ahead and use it. Unfortunately ours is a bit crazy so we don't use it. That's what you get when you buy cheap! It has 7 "speeds" but really setting "1" is like turning on a motor boat. Dan asked if I was sure I wasn't on the top speed by mistake so I rev-ed it to to "7" for him. I'm pretty sure his eyeballs jumped from his socket. LOL. We abandoned the hand mixer and opted for Liz muscle instead. Meanwhile first batch of cookies finished and Dan not so sly sampled one. I guess he didn't figure they would be screaming HOT. He didn't whimper though. What a trooper. He rolled the next set while I was still mixing the frosting. I finally finished and put it in the fridge to firm up a bit.

Meanwhile we sped cleaned the kitchen while the second batch was in the oven.

I think it was 3 or 4 batches total. We left them to cool and played some video games. Then we came back and frosted them with a small dollop with spoons. We had a ton of frosting left over so I'll buy some cinnamon buns today so we can frost them with the leftovers.

Man, this memoir of a blog took a lot longer than I expected. Time for a cookie! :D

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Controversy Over Editing photos

To edit or not to edit?

This is a difficult question and it really is up to the photographer.

For me personally, the most editing I may do is cropping and or straightening a photo. If I do more I feel like my skills can't stand on their own and the photography starts to merge with digital art which is not my aim.

Take a look at these photos from 10,000 Words. News is obviously one realm where digital art is not appropriate. 

Sometimes I love the interwebs

From Postsecret:

"This secret from last week sparked a movement

In seven days over 50,000 of you joined an online community offering encouragement and help.

Today (Sunday) at noon hundreds are meeting on the Golden Gate Bridge to take a stand against suicide at the very place where it happens most in the world. (You're invited, look for the yellow balloons and ribbons).

This hopeful story has received international press coverage including this first report on Time Magazine's NewFeed.

I haven't heard from the person who mailed this postcard, but I have heard from many who have felt lifted by this flashmob of kindness."