Friday, October 26, 2012

Catwoman Forever






This Halloween, I am Catwoman. 

I wish I could be Catwoman every day, although my costume would be unbearable to wear during summer months. Nonetheless, I’d probably run around wearing it if I wouldn’t be deemed by society as a crazy lunatic. I was Catwoman at my aunt’s Halloween Party this past weekend and must say that I want more excuses to slip on the suit that instantly turns me into a fierce creature of the night. I suppose my desire to prolong duration of my villainous role is understandable... 

After all, everybody wants to be a cat.



CATWOMAN & BATGIRL


I spent time with my costumed family members over the weekend and we all embraced our characters. This created more interesting interactions between my relatives, who carried on conversations about topics that coincided with their hero/villain’s interests. We all really love the holidays and Halloween is one that excuses the quirkiness we all share. Catwoman and Batgirl spent time catching up with each other and the two found that they had quite a bit in common. Jessica had arrived as Batgirl, which made me feel more comfortable in my skin-tight Catwoman apparel. She and I enjoyed a brief escape from responsibilities that exist in our non-costumed, day-to-day lives. I’ve always admired Jess, though I’d only admit that now that I’m a ‘grown-up’. She and I grew up together and had our share of differences when we were moody adolescents. Now that we’re both married and working full-time, we understand each other more thoroughly and our bond is unbreakable even when we’re not in costume.



Meet Batgirl Jessica. She’s a mommy of two children, which makes her a superhero 24-7.




-->
I have to admit that purchasing a non-specified black bodysuit and then adding a few key accessories created my Catwoman costume. I ended up saving money by this improvisation since a ‘real’ Catwoman costume was priced over my hubby-approved allowance for Halloween expenditures. 

It’s probably a good thing that he suggests limits to holiday expenses because we’d otherwise be destined for financial ruin during the holiday season. I’m an avid celebratory participant of all things that involve playing dress-up. I browsed for costumes at several stores before I stopped in at Performance Studios in Nashville. Excitement overcame me when I entered into the costume store of my dreams. 

So…many…choices… 

My kid-like enthusiasm overwhelmed me, for my Halloween costume choices were seemingly endless. I tried on a Catwoman costume and considered purchasing it before I happened upon a nearly identical black body suit that bore a more optimal price tag for my budget restrictions. 

 I later ended up buying some boots for $20.00. I guess if you wanna get technical about it, I only saved $10.00 since I had to have new boots to go with my ‘it was on sale’ outfit. To reason my festive splurge spree to my husband- and to anyone else who doubts my savvy penny-pinching, bargain-shopping ability, I present the following mathematical proof of my money saving decision making skills:

black suit = $30.00    <  Catwoman suit = $65.00
cloth gloves = $2.00 <  leather gloves = $30.00
Catwoman mask = $12.00 < Other Catwoman masks = $20.00
Boots from Ross = $20.00 < Same boots, other store = $65.00
Belt from Mamaw = FREE < $25.00 belt with Catwoman logo
+

My Catwoman cost = $44.00 < Authentic costume cost = $205.00

(* Deduction of $20.00 has been factored in on my Catwoman cost, as purchase of Fall boots was necessary and these will be worn with other non-Catwoman outfits, making them a non-Halloween purchase that should not apply.)

$205.00 - $44.00 = $161.00 savings

If you really wanna be a stickler, go ahead and add that $20.00 for my boots. This changes the equation but not the outcome…

I still SAVED $141.00 even if you don’t let me excuse the awesome on-sale boot purchase.

If you're at a loss for an awesome Halloween costume this year, go to Performance Studios. You have the option of splurging or bargain shopping, but you'll love the experience either way. :) 

--> Before heading to our Hero/Villain-themed family costume party, Mom and I made a quick stop at a nearby park walkway. B.B. had spotted a bridge that she thought would be a cool photo locale for her passenger, Catwoman, who concurred with a suggestion to stop for a quick photo-op. 

B.B. is a known name to those who frequent my blog. Others should check out other posts dedicated to my mom's photographic talent. Bashful Blogger got some great photos of Catwoman as the feline pranced through a creepily deserted park. 

Ever vigilant, Catwoman was caught while taking a stroll down a mysteriously surrounded sidewalk in Lenoir City, Tennessee. 
I don't normally like to post tons of pictures of myself. 
I can't help but fear that I'll be perceived as conceited 
for uploading self portraits. I fear this because I think 
poorly of those who have at least 1,000 pictures dedicated
 to themselves on Facebook. This posting will be my only 
exception to my rule. I am not Regina in these photos...

 I am Catwoman. 

Catwoman is rarely caught on camera, though millions seek 
an opportunity to capture her on film. 

B.B. and I, er- Catwoman made an agreement...just this once.

You'd feel more confident being Catwoman, too. :)

I want to be Catwoman forever. At least I'll have a reasonable excuse to do it again next year. Hopefully, Jess feels the same way about Batgirl...and B.B. is camera-ready. 

:) HAPPY HALLOWEEN. THIS YEAR, BE WHO YOU WANT...
ALL REPUTATION CONCERNS ASIDE. 

ENJOY. UNLESS YOU'RE B.B. THEN, YOU WON'T APPROVE THIS SONG. 
CATWOMAN DOESN'T CARE ABOUT YOUR OPINIONS NEARLY AS MUCH AS REGINA.




Monday, October 22, 2012

On The Road Again

Lately, I spend a lot of time in my car. I drive all over Tennessee to visit families who have expressed interest in becoming foster parents. I never imagined I'd end up working in child placement services. My job is to help new parents prepare for the challenges of fostering children (and other duties, as assigned.)

Depending on where those families live, I'll drive anywhere from ten minutes to five hours away from the office. I arrive at homes and spend hours talking with prospective parents and their relatives before I hop back in my car to drive back home. This may sound strange, but this is my favorite part of my job. Meeting new people who want to help children is exciting, challenging, interesting, difficult, and fun- all mixed together in an experience unlike any other. I've gotten lost many times when I've tried to locate families- Thank God for my GPS! 

I sometimes snap pictures when I'm traveling for work. This habit helps pass the time and also documents memories of all the places I've been. After spending hours sitting at my desk and staring at a computer screen or filling out piles of paperwork, I can't wait to get on the road again!

 Click to play video and keep on scrollin'...





Tuesday, October 16, 2012

iPad Art & Drawing App Must-Have

PAPER is an iPad app you've got to try!

I love to doodle, draw, paint, and finger paint. When I got an iPad, I wasn't sure what apps could incorporate all of my artistic inclinations until I stumbled on one that lets me use a variety of tools- pencils, brushes, calligraphy pens, markers...you name it, Paper has it. I probably wouldn't have downloaded this app, however, had I not been given an Apple gift card. It's a bit pricey since each tool is priced separately, but I promise it's worth it! Separate journals keep all your ideas and sketches organized and a magical 'rewind' button allows you to erase when you go overboard with creativity. I made both of these pictures below, using just my fingers to draw them. I haven't found another app that affords so much versatility, but I'm always open to suggestions! Doodles have never been so much FUN!

A quick doodle of a doggy! This one could be better if I'd spent more time but I prefer to have fun with quick sketches than to stress with details, sometimes. 

This one took me more time than the doggy doodle but I enjoyed using every Paper tool to make it. My husband was stressed out one
day about an upcoming exam for pharmacy school. I frequently hear him say nonsensical words when he's studying and trying to memorize
every medication known to mankind.  I made this drawing to remind him that I'm the only prescription he needs to succeed. He loved it, but
to anyone else- this drawing could be interpreted to suggest a drug addiction or necessity of drugs to become successful. That's actually
why I like it so much- it will represent different meanings for different people. I had fun blending colors and using my new app's tools to 
create a drawing that I'm kinda proud to display! I've always loved to draw. This app lets me do so much more than I expected and is a must-have
for my fellow doodlers. I welcome any suggestions for similar apps of awesomeness, but I'm partial to favoritism of PAPER.
Happy Doodling, friends! :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Costume Ideas: Green Man, Day Man, & Nightman

SPOTTED IN NASHVILLE- GREEN MAN!
I literally jumped when I glanced down the aisle and spotted Green Man at Performance Studios' costume store in Nashville. 

I'd stopped by after work one day to peruse their selection of Halloween costumes. I've been delighted to have a reason to dress up this year since my Aunt Tina is hosting our family's Halloween costume party! 

I would go as green man, but I have a feeling most of my family members wouldn't know who he is. Since our party's theme is heroes and villains, I selected a different costume, whose identity will not be revealed until Oct. 20th at our annual celebration.

 Nobody but family members have asked me what I'm going to be this Halloween. I've volunteered this information to a few friends since I have a hard time keeping fun surprises a secret! 

For those of you out there who don't know anything about Green Man, permit me to enlighten you...

Behold, the magnificence that is

 GREEN MAN...





I debated on buying this costume...Maybe next year I'll wear this:


Green Man thinks he's a hero, whether you do or not. I may opt to dress up as Day Man, instead. Don't know Day Man? I may as well help you out with learning who he is, too...

PRESENTING: DAY MAN- 
Fighter of The Night Man, Champion of the Sun, Master of Karate & Friendship for Everyone...


 I'm not sure if I could pull off the Day Man Costume, but maybe Josh could be Day Man and I could be Night Man next Halloween...


Day Man & Night Man- Unique superhero/villain costume idea for this Halloween- unless your relatives have no idea who they are. :)

Even though I'm not going to my family party as any of these men, my costume is kinda awesome. Just wait and see...
 
If anyone else goes as Green Man, Day Man, or Night Man, I'm going to be mad that I turned these costume ideas down!

Hope this helps some of you other non-family-event-attending-party-goers with your superhero/villain ideas this Halloween. :)
 

Best Grilled Cheese in the WORLD.

I realized I've gotten old and boring this month, when I was more interested by recipes than sex advice in my issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. Since I'm married now, I skim through the pages looking for topics that are applicable to my routinely, day-to-day living.

I'm never suprised by any sex tips in any issue...I've read them already- They don't vary much. Look hot, turn guy on, wear this, don't wear that, he'll love this, he won't love that, does he love you, does he hate you? I have bigger things to worry about- like what I'm going to cook for dinner.

My outfit consisted of sweatpants and a mis-matched baggy tshirt when I scanned through my magazine as I sat with olive oil in my hair. My leave-in conditioning treatment did not result in the appealing allure of the model who'd tried it on my reading material's pages. She was too skinny anyway and no doubt in my mind that she never eats. I love to eat. I have little in common with models who worry about how to please everyone else and who look fabulous even with greasy hair.

Cosmopolitan could do better to appeal to your average girl. Either that, or I should just start reading Good Housekeeping and admit that I'm probably not a great representation of what is average for the entire female population. There are some really good ideas in my mom's magazines for an old married girl like me. I thought about this as I flipped page after page of Cosmo, until one picture caught my attention.

Go figure that the only photo in the magazine I loved was one of a grilled cheese sandwich. Maybe I'm not too old for Cosmo, after all. This recipe was DELICIOUS, my friends. Here's whatcha do...

 

YOU WILL NEED:

thickly sliced ham
bacon
brie cheese- I had to google this. Still didn't use it.
goat cheese
cheddar cheese
sliced almonds
honey
arugula- I skipped this one.
thinly sliced apples- Gala apples are best!
sliced bread- I used french.


Smear your desired amount of goat cheese onto your sliced bread. I use no measurement limit because I love goat cheese enough to buy a goat so I could have some every day. Dental floss works best to cut through a lump of goat cheese- Using a knife will crumble the stuff to bits.



Place a folded slice or two of ham on top of your glob o' cheese. Top with two slices of very thinly sliced apples. Top with bacon crumbles and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. Top that with almonds, a slight drizzle of honey, and arugula. I skimped on arugula and brie cheese toppings for mine. You do as you please with those dreadful ingredients.

Why 365? I just got tired of pressing the temp button's up arrow, really. I think this recipe would work whether or not you heat at a different temp. Just adjust your cook time accordingly. You knew that already though, you lil' smartybritches. :)


Pop your mini-sandwiches into the oven. I heated at 365 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. I don't remember exactly, to tell you the truth. Just check periodically on your cheese's melting progress.


While your sandwiches cook, go play with your doggy. Here's Lucy, sniffing the sweet aroma of my awesome sandwiches while they cook. She got a little bit of a taste when she followed me to the kitchen to search for any crumbs that had fallen during sandwich construction. It's hard not to give some scraps of table food to my two dogs when they look at me like this! :)


Alert your dinner attendees when your sandwiches are ready.
 Here's my taste-tester, Josh, A.K.A. video game connoisseur.

I bought him those headphones and have never been more satisfied with a purchase in my entire life. My house had constantly sounded like I was in the middle of a war whenever Josh got home from work and turned on his game console to play a few rounds of whatever-he-calls-thems. I call them all vidjeo jims, regardless of which one he's playing. To me, they're all the same- with the exception of Prototype. For some reasons still mysterious, I played the crap out of that game and beat missions alongside my more experienced gaming-professional husband. Annnyway...

Since the purchase of this headset, my house has been restored to its usual peaceful state. The only downside to these is that I sometimes forget he can't hear a thing I say when he's wearing them. I have held entire conversations about my day while cooking in our kitchen, only to realize that my husband's ears have been covered the whole time he's been sitting in the other room. I repeat myself more often than I used to, but at least I don't have to hear explosions or gunfire that results from my non-violent husband's love for grotesque games of gore.

 For any individuals out there who suffer from post traumatic stress associated with video game noises filling your home, I highly recommend these headphones. I tapped Josh on his shoulder to alert him when dinner was ready, for he had not heard me approach him. Few gamers permit unnecessary interruptions during their playtime. Although auditory ability was inhibited for my husband, his sense of smell had persuaded him to cease gunfire and put down the controller.

I'm telling you, friends- these sandwiches are MAGICAL like that. :)


If you have dogs- For the love of all things cheesey, put them in another room or prevent access from your scrumdiddilyuptious sandwiches.

If given two seconds without supervision, your canines will devour your meal. My dog, Halle, once ate an ENTIRE PIZZA in a matter of ten seconds. Don't give 'em a chance, folks. Don't trust that sweet, innocent look they give you.

They WILL take advantage of your trust and you'll be eating Spaghettio's if you're not careful!


All clear for consumption! This would be a two-thumbs up rating, had I not been holding the pan with one hand!


OH MY CHEESENESS, BACONY, CREATION- 
How I LOVE THEE.


Now, plop in front of the TV and listen to your husband tell you how wonderful your cooking is. Mine stopped playing his video game to munch on these...and I accidentally left olive oil in my hair overnight. Guess those are the good and bad consequences of reading Cosmo during your mid-20's.

(I'll still keep buying that silly magazine though...all because of this incredible recipe.)















Global Warming Solutions

I like clouds, trees, sunsets, and all other things fluffy and/or colorful in nature. I can't resist an opportunity to take pictures of the sky when I see a cloud of interesting composition. I have too many pictures of clouds, really. I have no idea if the quantity of sky/tree pictures I've taken is of normal accumulation for any one person to have collected. It is not uncommon for me to glance out the window and run outside to take pictures of the sky. This habit would be more explainable to my husband and to nosy neighbors if I were a meteorologist or storm chaser.

 I have no such logical answer for my sky photo obsession when people ask me what I'm doing pointing my camera at celestial surroundings. However, I've decided to start claiming that I'm charged with photographic duties of visually mapping cloud progressions for scientific and humanitarian purposes. People like to have reasons that justify strange obsessive behaviors of others.

Maybe  I'll start saying that I've got to report to the government about global warming fluctuations, which directly relate to color, size and composition of clouds. Although ridiculous, my claims of epic responsibility to mankind are expected to satisfy the curiosity of questioning onlookers who frequently observe my picture-taking habits. Instead of ,

'Look, Tom- it's that weird neighbor lady out there in her front yard again with her camera aimed at the sky...Wonder what she's doing...her poor husband must be so embarrassed of her crazy behaviors',

I'll start hearing more positive analysis made by fellow dwellers of Dunailie Drive. 'Oh, Tom- It's our sweet little neighbor, out there taking those weather pictures again. Bless her heart. You know, she's working on a government report on global warming so that scientists can find a cure? Thank God she's looking out for all of us, taking all those important pictures like she does...'

I don't think I have a neighbor named Tom, nor do I think his pretend wife would care what kind of reasonable explanation I gave her for my consistently strange photo-ops.

My real neighbors keep their huge dog on a chain in their front yard. They once left a 2-year-old unsupervised in that same front yard. I doubt they give a shit about clouds...or global warming. They undoubtedly think I'm weird for taking pictures of the sky. That's okay because I think they tried to feed a baby to a German Shepherd. I'm fairly certain that their habits  are more likely to disrupt our community and/or pose a threat to civilization than my photo/sky obsession.

Without further ado, I present to the world, my sky pictures...I mean, er... highly classified photos for a specially-assigned,  global warming/humanitarian project that only I am able to execute...

Scientific Observation #1: The sun feels hotter when no clouds serve as a barrier to shield our planet from its rays. (Duh.)

Scientific Observation #2: Our planet heats at a slower rate when trees or clouds prevent harmful sunrays from penetrating Earth.

Scientific Observation #3: We are going to need more clouds and more trees to battle global warming.

This photo demonstrates how a tree protects the Earth's floor from overheating. As one can see, the area that is not blocked by
a tree or a cloud is exposed to harmful sunrays that cause this exposed portion of ground to become overheated.

Many scientists have overcomplicated the topic of global warming as they theorize its cause is more directly associated with the greenhouse effect,
rise of air pollutants, and increase of Carbon Dioxide.

 Hmmm...It seems my presented solution for installation of more trees and clouds
isn't so silly after all, assuming that scientists are correct.

More trees mean more oxygen. Trees rely on CO2 to excrete O, correct?
I seem to remember my third grade science teacher saying something of that sort.
I think Mrs. Frizzle reinforced this theory as well.
I trust Mrs. Frizzle and her magic schoolbus. Planting more trees should definitely solve our global warming crisis. Good thing I
took this picture, huh? Yesssssssiiiiirrrrreeeeeyy...Now, all I've got to do is submit this evidence to the government.

Boy, are those scientists going to be embarrassed that their solution was so easy. Seems I'm quite the little problem solver-
and so FAST with my provision of life-saving solutions! :)

Scientific Observation #4: Fir trees block more sunlight than other trees. Fir trees also make more oxygen than other trees, according
to  http://askville.amazon.com/producer-oxygen-evergreen-leaf-bearing-trees/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=31287465.
Okay, so we should plant sequioas and fir trees...got it.



Scientific Observation #5: There are no ships in this photo.

We will need to install more oceans in rural areas...don't worry, these oceans will be small. Besides, people like beaches so I doubt we'll get much opposition.

Once we get an ocean here, we're going to put a ship on it. WHY?, you ask?...Because we're going to make some more clouds.

HOW?, you say? It's simple, really. We're going to shoot some salt water into the sky from our ship.

Our efforts are going to make longer-lasting clouds, thus creating a more efficient barrier to combat global warming. I can't take all the credit for this proposed solution- but I fully support the installation of more beaches.

Want to learn how you can decrease global warming with your ship? Uh.....YES.

 Go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2191431/Could-man-clouds-halt-global-warming-reflecting-sunlight-Scientist-urges-experiments-using-ships-shoot-seawater-sky.html


Scientific Observation #6: No asphalt is pictured here. Asphalt radiates more heat than concrete or gravel. See how shady the
area in this picture is? Its also cooler here than in urban areas. I motion to country-fy our nation to reduce global warming effects.

Evidence to support my drastic no-asphalt plan may be found here: http://www.ecocem.ie/environmental,albedo.htm


Scientific Observation #7: Power lines are not underground. Power outages are caused by tree limbs that fall on above-ground power lines. I motion to bury these bad boys...and to plant all my trees away from locations like the one you see here. These precautions should reduce energy usage and decrease excessive financial expenditures for energy production. It seems someone else has already suggested this observation. However, I think my photo should assist them with promoting their global warming reduction plan.
 See more at: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-07-05/news/bs-ed-severe-weather-rodricks-letter-20120705_1_power-lines-outages-power-failures

 You're welcome. And to my dog-chaining, nosy neighbors who consistently see me taking pictures of everything- you're the main thing that's got to go to make this world a better place. With your departure from my neighborhood, additional reduction of global warming would be achieved. I do my part by taking pictures and blogging nonsensically. You do yours now. It's only fair. :)


Monday, October 8, 2012

French Onion Soup- In A Flash!

I LOVE FRENCH ONION SOUP. 

 That said, I owe it to Aubree for teaching me a recipe that I should have learned long ago! I have no idea why I thought this recipe would be so complicated- I guess I just assumed that the process of making my favorite soup would have more complex steps than I'd ever care to attempt. I've never been so thrilled to be wrong!

I worked at Longhorn Steakhouse for nearly two years and I ate French Onion soup more often than I'll ever admit. Turns out, this recipe doesn't vary much from one of my favorite restaurant's appetizers. (A secret I could not share until now...)

Here's what you need if you're the only one who's hungry:

1 can of Campbell's French Onion Soup
Croutons- Add as many as you like of whichever flavor you choose. Careful not to add too many, or they'll soak up all your soup!
Parsley and/or basil- I use a dash of both.
1 Slice Provolone cheese
1 Slice Swiss Cheese

Yep...that's it. Seriously.

I like adding a little crushed red pepper because I like adding that to just about everything I eat. You may not like croutons, but trust me- they make this extra delicious!



Dump your can of Campbell's into a large and awesome-looking mug like mine. I guess you can use a bowl if you don't care that yours looks as pretty as the one you see here. :)

Add 5-7 croutons. You can use however many you choose, but I've found that 5-7 keeps your soup from being overly salty or spicy. Depending on whether or not you choose flavored croutons, use a light hand when adding them into your dish!

Sprinkle a bit of parsley, basil, red pepper- or go big, and add all three spices. Stir this up!

Layer your two slices of cheese so that your soup is entirely covered. I use more than two slices because I'm addicted to cheese. I also add more parsley on top of my cheese- then sometimes add more cheese. I guess if you're not a carb fiend, you can stick to just two slices. Just make sure to use Provolone and Swiss! I let my cheese drape a bit over the sides of my dish so that all flavors are sealed inside my mug!


Depending on how big of a hurry you're in, microwave on high for 5-6 minutes or bake for 10.

 I microwave because most of the time because I always forget to preheat the oven. 

I've tried this both ways- It's incredible, no matter which heating method you choose!

Longhorn bakes their soup. I have no time for baking when my craving monster strikes! I opt for saving 4 minutes of my life that I spend later when I slowly sip my soup, savoring its deliciousness, while telling myself what a clever and talented cook I am. 

Whether you bake it or 'zap' it in the microwave is up to you. I honestly can't tell a difference. Just make sure your cheese melts and the edges turn a golden brown color.

While my soup is doing its thing in the microwave, I pop a couple pieces of bread into the toaster. (I'm such a multi-tasker!) I like slicing my bread into pieces like french fries...Don't ask me why- it just tastes better when it's fun-sized. 

Now, sit down and sip on some soup that took you about 6 minutes total to make!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Animal Tracks



PLAY AND SCROLL ON...
















Mountain Man was featured today on NPR- Their music makes my animal track pictures even better. :)