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A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Easy Granola Recipe

I love granola in my yogurt... or even just with milk. I have posted a granola recipe on my blog before, and have only made that one... but it is kind of expensive because you have to get ingredients at the health food store. So I was wanting to try another recipe that was good and easy. I found this one. It also didn't have to bake as long nor did I have to stir it around every 10 minutes. All about that. I love making granola because it makes your house smell so good. :)

Ingredients 

This master recipe helps you customize your own homemade granola so you can put your favorite ingredients and flavors in.
Base: 
4 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Chips (add more nuts and oats if you don’t want the coconut)
Spices:
1 Pinch of Salt
1 Tablespoon of your favorite spice like cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or a mixture of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and cloves for a gingerbread taste.
Nuts or Seeds:
1 Cup of raw sliced almonds, chopped pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or a fun combination.
Dried Fruit:
1/2 Cup of dried cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots, chopped cherries, ect.
Oil or Fat:
1/4 Cup Melted Butter, Canola Oil, or Coconut Oil
Sweetener:
1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup, Honey, Agave, or Sweetener of your choice.  I usually use a Brown Sugar and Honey combination.  You could also try 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
Flavoring:
1 1/2 Teaspoons of vanilla, almond, or your favorite extract.
Optional: Lemon or Orange Zest
Directions

First, preheat the oven to 300° and line an edged pan with tin foil.  Then mix together base, spices, nuts, and dried fruit in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl or measuring cup combine the oil and sweetener until it resembles a liquid caramel. 

Then spread out the granola evenly on the foil-lined pan and bake for about 30 minutes until it is lightly golden.  If you want your granola to stick together in chunks, don’t stir it!  Set it on a wire rack and let it cool completely before breaking the granola up.  If you don’t like your granola to stick together, stir every 8-10 minutes during the cooking time and right after you take it out of the oven.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Flashback Friday 169

I was going through my pictures and found this one taken in 1994 at my oldest sister Kristy's graduation. Gotta love those yellow graduation robes.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 222

Last night I went in for a much needed massage. I have been going to this place long enough that I feel like lots of people are starting to know me there. I like it... it's like a new circle of friends. I already knew my one friend that does hair, but now my massage therapist is my friend and the girl that was doing my waxing is my friend too. As soon as I came in all of them were like... oh my gosh you are back! How was your trip!? How did it go traveling with your ex boyfriend! Ha ha... makes me feel kind of special that people care. I like making new friends. Boy did I need that massage after that trip! I was SO bummed to have to cancel last week because of the work conference. After sleeping on crappy beds, buses and planes and carrying around a big backpack... I needed that massage.

Still watching Chuck since I took that two week break. I'm SO close to being done though. One more season left. I'm ready for a new show. Still not sure what it is going to be yet.

I got some interesting messages on Tinder this week. If nothing else Tinder brings entertainment, that is what I always tell people... but I'm always hoping it is going to bring me dates. Feels like I go through phases. I either get a lot or none. Two top messages this week.... a guy that I have talked to for a little bit is already VERY attached and we haven't even met. How do you get attached that quickly? Or is he trying to just win me over and thinks this is going to work?


The other one is my favorite. I came across a profile that was a stock photo and his name was Mr. Compliments! He said if you swiped right to him that you are guaranteed a compliment. I almost didn't do it because I thought that was silly... but then I was like... no, this is awesome and I want to see what my compliment is. I love compliments after all. This is why I bought them at the ward auction. He said to be patient and he can take a while because he is busy, but I got my compliment right away. I thought it was a great one too. Here is what Mr. Compliments said to me.


Great right? He also started following me on Instagram and likes most of my pictures. If you follow him, he will slowly give funny clues to reveal who he is.... you better believe I am following. Just so curious! Anyway, I thought it was great, Gave me a smile.

Speaking of dating... have I told you I am open to any opportunity that comes my way? I gave my number to my massage therapist to give to her neighbor who is single. I tell people to set me up all the time, but sadly it rarely ever happens. I have tried online. I obviously do the Tinder thing. My latest new thing? I applied to be the Mormon Bachelorette for it's 5th season which they are working with LDS Matchmaker.  I had my Skype interview today and now I have to make a 2 min video of myself. I really doubt I will be chosen because most of the girls that go on there are like models... but whatever, you never know unless you try.... and we all can't say that I don't try. My friend Erin is the host and co-producer of the show. I asked her if I should sign up, if I would be a good candidate. She said yes.... we have had some heart to hearts about dating since she was in my same shoes until she got married at 32. Anyway... I'm sure she was just being nice. We shall see.

I started Insanity the other day. When I say I started what I really mean is... it was just the fitness test before you start which is a half hour. It about killed me. I don't know if I will do it every day, but I think I would like to do a couple a week while doing other work outs other days. I don't know what my problem is, but since I got back from Peru my motivation to work out is at about a 2. I mean, the idea of it was exciting when I got back. When I do it of course I feel great, but I need to do something to get my motivation back and doing it regularly again. I think it's just because I'm out of shape again from going out of town and out of my regular schedule. I will get back... I just need a little push.

On Sunday my cousin and his family and my aunt came to my parents house for dinner. I love my family. All of them. They are just great and I really enjoy being around them. I feel lucky to be close to so many of them. While talking to my aunt, the subject of selfies came up and she didn't know what it was. I taught her how to take a selfie and it was so funny watching her go around and take selfies with her son and mom and brother (my dad). My family is great. :)


I suck a crosswords. They make me feel dumb. My roommate does them a lot. Sometimes she asks me about some and I totally get them, but I was like, oh... I should totally download that app and do crosswords. Do I did... but then I just felt like an idiot because my brain just doesn't think that way. So maybe I should delete the app so I don't feel bad about myself. Or maybe I should just keep trying because maybe I will get better and then I will feel smarter? Ha ha... I don't know.

This last weekend I focused on Project Patio. Making over my patio and replanting all of my pots and such. My parents were nice enough to help me with a couple of projects and shopping for those projects. They are the best. It looks great. I just need some last final touches before I take pictures and do the big reveal of my cute patio. I have been posting little things on Instagram to get people excited for the finish product though. I don't know if other people are as excited about it as I am, but whatever. Who cares. ha ha.

Tonight I went to my first of hopefully many outdoor concerts. It was held in the beautiful little backyard in Provo. My neighbors (and friends) Ben and James were two of 4 or 5 performers/ groups that played cover songs on the the piano or guitar or both. I thought what they did was really cleaver and fun. The hooked up a computer and displayed the screen next to the stage. They would give the options of the cover songs that were going to be played and would have the audience text the number that showed next to that song. The votes showed up on the screen next to the song. Whatever song got the most votes went first and that group or performer would get up and play that song and the show went in order of the votes. Cool right? It was fun and everyone did an amazing job. I loved all the music and I was glad I went... even though I went by myself and sat by myself. ha ha. I just enjoyed being outside and listening to great music. The only thing I thought they were missing were some mood lighting in the yard. It was great. Here are my friends Ben and James. Both talented musicians.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Photo of the Week 220

Before we went to Machu Picchu, we traveled to a city called Aguas Calientes. It is the closest town to Machu Picchu, so we stayed the night there. It's a cute little town. I took this picture of a church there.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Saltwater Tank - Phase 4

So since I last posted about my tank, my cleaning crew has done well. Almost all of the Aiptasia is gone thanks to my shrimp and the snails so a pretty good job cleaning all of the algae that grows on the sides of the tank and on the rocks and in the gravel. My crab however, he died while I was in Peru... the the green algae still needs work. I'm going to get more hermit crabs and another emerald crab to help with that... meanwhile I have just been pinching it off.

Guy from the fish store said my tank is in pretty good shape. My poor anemone's may never come back... I think they just couldn't handle all the tank drama they went through. That is ok though... you want to know why? Sunday was a great day for me. It was the day my cousin Dave (king of the fish nerds) called me and told me he was going to be at my parents house and was bringing me coral for my tank. I was SO excited.  I felt like I was graduating in the saltwater tank world. This was the day I was waiting for.

Why was I so excited for coral? Coral is just as exciting as the fish in your tank. There are so many different kinds. They are all different looking. They are colorful AND most of them glow! It's so rad... and Dave grows his own coral. There are many reasons why everyone with this hobby in Utah knows my cousin. He is legit. I'm like famous by association.


When Dave came to my parents house, I was expecting him to maybe give me a few different corals. Then he handed me a container with 7! It was like Christmas. I was so excited to go home and put them in my tank. Let me tell you what. My tank is WAY cooler now. My roommates sat and ooed and awed while I put each one in. It was so fun. The pictures are not the best and it all looks way better in person, but let me show you what Dave gave me.







Cool right? I hope they thrive and grow. Next I want to trade out my fish and get some cooler fish now that I have my tank under control. Add a thing here and there. Now this is starting to get fun instead of stressful. :) Thanks cousin Dave! You are the best and I am going to bring you a treat for hooking me up with the goods for my tank. :) Thanks for being patient with me and answering all of my questions as I joined the fish club.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day

I'm so thankful for all that have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for our country which I love so much.

I live right next to the Provo cemetery. When I was done having a yummy BBQ at my friend Ellis's house, Quinette, Daniel and I walked over to the cemetery to walk around and remember why we have a day off of work. I LOVE seeing all of the flowers and flags covering the cemetery. I couldn't get a picture that does it justice.

Hope your day was great. Happy Memorial Day!





Sunday, May 25, 2014

Work Conference

Last week we had about 9 or 10 people from the Attachmate office in Seattle come into town and we had a two day work conference at the head of the Legal department's cabin up Provo Canyon. It was a long 2 days (especially Wednesday... I got picked up by my friend Tyler at 8:30 am and he didn't drop me off until 10 pm) of a lot of legal presentations.... but the scenery was good and we had some good food and we got to do some fun stuff as well. Like our "ice breaker" activity. We made paper airplanes and wrote two facts about ourselves and then threw them out of the window and everyone went and picked one up and read the facts and we guessed who the airplane belonged to. The 3 people's planes that went the farthest also got a prize.



At lunch we had a picnic at the park just up the road from the cabin. Some people rode bikes, some people played Frisbee, I on the other hand just sat on the grass and soaked up the sun. It was nice.


Later that evening, we headed to Sundance to take the ski lift.... which I love. Such a great way to relax while we enjoy such beautiful scenery. Once at the top most people hiked around... Tyler and I hung out for a little bit but then took the ski lift back down. A little bit later we had a dinner reservation at the restaurant there and had the most delicious 3 course meal that took us over 2 hours to get and eat. We estimated that our group's dinner bill was close to $1500! I could have bought a lap top!






The next day was a little shorter, we had lunch in midway at Taramuhara (which has an awesome salsa bar) and then we actually ended a little early which some then went to the airport, some hiked to the Timp Caves.... I wanted to go home early.... It was a good conference although it was tiring. It was nice to be out of the office doing something different for a couple of days. It was also nice to meet some of the people we work with in the Seattle office. Always better to know people personally when you work together.



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

Tonight, Quinette and I hung out, watched a movie and made a dessert. A VERY yummy dessert that I will for sure be making again this summer. I seriously love it, but I guess I say that with every dessert I make. #sweettooth. If you are in the mood for something sweet and fruity, but not heavy or sugar overload ... give this one a try. Between Quinette and I, we had all of the ingredients on us. I thought that was pretty awesome. I like recipes that call for most stuff that you keep on hand.

Strawberry Shortcake Bars
Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Cream layer:
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (8 oz) Cool Whip (frozen whipped topping)
2-3 cups fresh strawberries, diced
Directions:
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Mix in vanilla.
In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased, rimmed baking sheet (I use a 13x18x1" pan/cookie sheet).  The dough will be just like cookie dough- heavy and sticky- so it’s best to spray your hands with a little nonstick spray and use them to help mold the dough into the pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
Mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth, then fold in the Cool Whip and stir well. Spread cream cheese layer over cooled sugar cookie bars. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the cream layer set up. Top with fresh strawberries, cut, and serve.
I learned that these look the best if you put the strawberries on right before serving, otherwise the juice from the strawberries can tint your cream layer pink. Store leftovers in the fridge.
Makes 40-48 bars (depending on how large you cut them).


Friday, May 23, 2014

Flashback Friday 168

My pre-school picture. I was a cute kid... but why didn't anyone fix my hair?



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 221

I seriously can't believe that I have been home from Peru for a week. In a way it seems like I was just there... in another way, it seems like I never went, but I always feel that way when I get back from trips. If I didn't have a million pictures to prove it, it almost seems like it was a dream. Sad how quickly you go back to normal life. I wonder if John feels the same about me being there. He is probably very used to being by himself again.

On Saturday I went to the fish store. Everyone there seemed to know my cousin, Dave, and know more about his life than I do. Sad? Weird? I don't know. All I know is that I have gone into the fish store enough times stressed out about my tank that the guy that runs the fish store finally came over tonight to check out my tank to see if it was really as bad as I was making it out to be. I guess it isn't. He cleaned it up a bit for me and told me I need a new air stone in my protein skimmer and I need some more crabs to help get rid of the green algae but besides that... I am good to go to get coral and other fish! Woot woot! That guys is awesome and I will be making him a treat for when I go into the fish store next.

So obviously I took a 2 week break from watching Chuck. Back watching and now on Season 4, this season and one more to go. It's been cute... but  haven't been hooked like other shows. It's entertaining though and fun to have on in the background while doing other stuff.

Right before I went to Peru, I got a manicure. It was the first time I have tried getting shellac on my nails. She told me they wouldn't chip on my trip and so I figured I would give them a go. I kind of love it. It makes your nails thick and smooth and they really don't chip. They just grow out. I have now had them on my nails for 3 weeks and they look as perfect as when I first got them done... except that they are looking grown out. I need to cut them. Not sure how to take shellac off of my nails. I'm not used to having my nails this long anymore. I usually cut them real short every week and paint them a new color.

On my way to and from Peru I really got to catch up on some movies that I didn't see. Some I wanted to see while they were in the theater and other's I didn't care and watched out of boredom. I flew from Salt Lake to LA to Houston to Lima. On the way there my flight from Houston to Lima was the only one I could watch movies on. I watched Delivery Man, The Book Thief and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Yeah, that flight is 6 1/2 hours long. So on my way back (which was red eye) I watched most of the Lego movie... but fell asleep somewhere in the middle. But then I also could watch movies on my flight from Houston to LA which gave me another 3 1/2 hours of movie time. I watched Anchor Man 2 and Last Love... which I had never heard of... and it was ok. It kept me distracted until we landed. That's the point right? I'm thankful for movies on the plane.

Yesterday and today we had a work conference. 9 people flew in from Seattle and we met up at the manager over Legal's cabin (up Provo Canyon) and stayed there all day and talked about everyone's rolls in the legal department and what can be improved and how we can work better together. The meetings were actually very boring, but it was fun to meet the people from Seattle and it was nice to get away from the office for a couple of days and go up the mountain to the cabin. Also lots of good food was provided. We went out to lunch in Midway today at a Mexican place that has a salsa bar. I have eaten there many times before. SO good! Last night we went to Sundance and took the ski lift and explored and then had dinner there... which I never had before. YUM!!! So good. We estimated that each person was about $40 - $45 a plate and that total the bill had to be about $1500 since they also ordered a few bottles of wine. DANG! I could get a new laptop for that amount of money. I will blog more about all of this later.

As much as I love traveling... and I LOVE traveling, a lot of things about it... there are also a lot of things I appreciate about coming home. Having something besides bread and jam for breakfast. Having salads again. Not sleeping on a bus or plane.... sleeping in my own bed. Warm showers. Normal bathrooms... that is probably the biggest one to be honest, public bathrooms in other countries are THE WORST! For real... in Peru there were never toilet seats on the toilets so you always had to squat. I hate that. I hate having to pay to use a crappy (pun intended) bathroom. This is totally TMI, but I can hold it... I can hold it WAY longer than the average person. However, when it is that time of the month, you have no choice and you are forced to deal with what you have, which most of the time is not great.... not great at all. I also appreciate getting to exercise again. There are a lot of things I miss about the travel life though. I will just have to reminisce through my pictures and video.... which you will see soon.

I think most people are guilty of taking selfies. In my opinion, there are some selfies that I completely acceptable and others that are just weird and or annoying. Acceptable selfies to me would be if you want to take a picture with a friend and there is nobody else around to take it or you don't want to bug anyone to take it. A picture of yourself in the mirror if you are pregnant because there is nobody around to take it. A picture of yourself after you get your hair done as long as you are not making a duck face. If you are traveling by yourself and want a picture of yourself in front of something awesome and again... not wanting to bug anyone to take a picture. When are selfies annoying and or out of control? A picture of yourself with the caption "It's just one of those days" just for an excuse to take a picture of yourself. Or pictures of yourself making cheesy or serious pictures in the mirror because you think you look cute in your outfit and you want everyone else to validate how you feel. Lot's of pictures of yourself for no reason at all. I felt like while I was in Peru I saw a lot of selfies getting out of control. I saw a lot of locals taking pictures of themselves sitting in their seat on the plane. Lot's of selfies in the airport. The worst case I saw though was in Puerto Maldonado. John and I were waiting for our boat ride out of the Amazon. We were next to these two Peruvian girls that were also waiting for the boat. The girls were giggles and taking selfies of themselves while smiling, being serious and giving peace signs... every once in a while adjusting their hair and laughing the entire time we were waiting for the boat which was a good half hour. Once we all got on the boat, their selfies continued for almost the entire hour boat ride. The only time they would stop taking selfies is when they stopped to look at the pictures they just took of themselves (which all pretty much had to look the same) and giggle and go right back to it. I just watched in amazement. What do you do with 100 pictures of yourselves that all look the same? Don't you think you would get tired of taking pictures of yourself? Why not at least switch it up and through in different poses or faces? Are these all going on Facebook? Are people impressed by these pictures and that is why people take them? All of these thoughts went through my mind as I watched the Peruvian girls selfies go down for over an hour. Wow... just wow.

SELFIE!!!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Photo of the Week 219

I saw this in Lima, Peru. I had to take a picture... the placement was perfect. Do you think they realized when they parked there?


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Peruvian Michael Jackson

I have always been a big MJ fan ever since I found out who MJ was. John is also a MJ fan. In fact we spent a few nights over the months watching Michael Jackson video's.

So when John and I were wondering around Lima, Peru and we came across a crowd and a guy that looked a lot like Michael Jackson, we had to stick around and watch him perform.


He was obviously lip sinking, but we were actually quite impressed with this guy pulling off Michael Jackson. He danced and played and looked the part pretty well. Had no idea that MJ was such a big deal in Peru.

John and I stayed and watched for a while. We loved it... truly. We both felt like it was one of the highlights of the day. We were glad we happened to run into him. We actually ended up running into him again later that night in a different part of town, but we didn't stick around to watch him because we already had.


Here's the Peruvian Michael Jackson. Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Peruvian Shoes

When I travel somewhere out of the country, I'm always excited to to get souvenir's. Whatever the popular thing is to get there. Although it also has to be something that I would actually use or wear or whatever. Sometimes I debate in my mind the entire time I am there if I want to get a certain thing. I think it is cool at the time when I am there and everyone is wearing it, but will I still think it is cool when I get home? Sometimes I leave the country and I talk myself out of getting the souvenir and I regret it a little bit when I get home. When I left India I wished that I would have bought a sari. I feel like there was something on my last trip, but I can't think of it right now.

Well, on this trip John was surprised with my lack of shopping in the beginning. He kept asking me if I wanted to shop... I would say no. Partially because I like to look around for a little while before I decide what I want. I knew I wanted Alpaca stuff... because that was the thing there. I got it. A few things, but there were other things that I thought were cool and talked myself out of getting. On of which were these cool Alpaca backpacks and bags. I feel like I could use a little duffel bag for weekend trips instead of having to lug around a big backpack or suitcase. They were cute too... but alas I didn't get one. I also debated with getting a flute... but when I saw John with the one he bought and how much he struggled to play it (when he used to play the saxophone) I figured it would be a waste... but a part of me wishes I would have.



The other thing was the shoes. They draw you in. How could they not! They are so colorful. I kind of wanted a pair right away. I kept telling myself not to get a pair. How would I choose? Would I ACTUALLY wear them once I got home... I mean really? They are kind of out of my style... what is my style? I'm not even sure. I'm still not sure if I still regret not getting a pair, but at least I got a picture. They are pretty cool.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sushi Making Class

Back in January I saw a Groupon for a Sushi making class. I asked Allison if she would want to go with me. She is always up for an adventure and we both love sushi.


The class was yesterday at a Japanese restaurant called Rice Basil. Nate was our Sushi master who was going to be teaching us our sushi skills.


We were in a room with 6 other people to learn the art of sushi. Two other girls and then two couples. The two couples seemed to be good friends, but I didn't really pay much attention to them beyond that. They were friendly and chatty. The guys of the two couples were these guys....


I didn't recognize them, but at the end the other girls asked to get their picture with them and said they were fans of the Piano Guys. Oh.... the Piano guys. I have recently heard of them. They are good. If you have never heard or seen any of their stuff... you can see a video here.


Anyway.... back to the sushi class. We made three different types of sushi rolls. First roll was more what I like to call the sushi cone. I have never seen sushi made this way.... but we did. I feel like the seaweed paper is a little hard to chew this way, but besides that, it was very good. This one had tempura shrimp in it.


Next roll we made was the special roll. These are my favorite. I think in order to make these work, you have to have the perfect sticky rice (which Nate said the trick is after cooking the rice adding rice vinegar). You put rice all along the seaweed paper and then flip it over. Then on the other side you add avocado, cucumber and a crab salad. Then you roll it up so the rice is on the outside. Once you rolled it up nicely, we added raw white tuna on top and thin slices of lemon. Roll it again and cut it up and add yummy eel sauce and spicy mustard sauce. SOOOO good! Looks pretty too. I was proud of my roll.





The last roll we made was a competition. That got the excitement up in the room. I have also never had a roll like this, but I watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi on Netflix and he makes a lot of rolls like this. Maybe watching that documentary is what helped me do so well in the competition. I just thought... how was Jiro make it. ha ha. However... I didn't win. I came VERY close to winning... but I didn't. I came in second. First place winner got to take home some sushi that Nate made. Of course I was disappointed, but I'm also happy that I was a natural at making the sushi.


Allison and I were both so glad we went to the class. It was fun and super delicious. I LOVE sushi and maybe I will try making it on my own sometime....