Sunday, January 24, 2010

Punk Portrait




I love having red hair. Tonight- on a whim- I decided to do a portrait of a person (based on a pic I took of myself) with punk red hair.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vegetarian Food (and other stuff) Review

Brought to you with the same sarcastic love as the "Naturally Green Review".

Textured Vegetable Protein If you want to save money and be vegetarian buy this. It's super versatile when it comes to cooking. For example: Want sloppy joes? Mix this stuff with some Manwich mix and voila! Want a 'meaty' sauce for your pasta, put some of this stuff in and you're good to go. I've included this (along with veggies and black beans) to make homemade burgers, as well as used them with some maple syrup and spices to make sausage patties. This stuff is SOO-PAH cheap (especially when compared to the Morning Star or Smart crumbles. How do you use it? Add water. No seriously. That's it. If you want a more veggie-ish taste you can put a veggie boillon cube in with it but often times I leave that out. If you're mixing it with a sauce just put a little water because the TVP will absorb the flavors of the sauce you're cooking it with.


Boca Vegan Burger You don't have to be a vegan to love these burgers, or pretty much anything that Boca makes. Their 'Chicken Nuggets' rock. My favorite one is definitely the vegan one. It tastes the most like meat. See... I'm a veggie that loves the taste of meat, but love my farm friends more and think animals should live long happy and HEALTHY lives.



Morning Star Nuggets If you opened my freezer right now you would see a nice large stash of Morning Star products. From their crumbles to their 'Spicy Black Bean Burgers' to their 'Ribblets', I love it all. I've tried Boca, Morning Star and Quorn 'nuggets' and have to say that it's between MS and Boca. Quorn adds some kind of pepper that's good, but not my fave. If you like 'sweet and sour' chicken (or like me, did at one point in your life before you stopped eating meat) there is a great recipe for it using these nuggets. Ingredients: One pack of 'nuggets', One jar of sweet and sour sauce (I prefer La Choy to Kikkoman), One small can of chunked pineapples, one carrot. Simmer the whole jar of sauce on the stove with the pineapples (drained, duh) and thin slices of the carrot (not the whole carrot---- unless you REALLY LOVE carrots). Bake the 'nuggets' for the directed time. When they're done, mix them into the sauce and serve over rice for a fantastic and quick meal!




Quorn 'Chicken' Patties Love them! They go great as a sandwich, or you can cut them in strips and bake them (or lightly fry them) for toppings on a salad. I've made chicken parm with them, with a side of pasta as well. Yummy!



Safflower Oil Little did you know, my ninjas in training, that not all oils should be used for the same kind of cooking. For example, Olive Oil turns carcinogenic when you heat it to high temperatures. If you're going to do some stir fry, do it in Safflower oil.... not in a pan-'o'-cancer. Safflower oil is good up to higher temperatures than Olive Oil or vegetable oil. Sometimes the recommended temps are on the bottles, but if not- check it out online first before serving yourself or your family a big plate of 'future death'.


Smart Dogs These hot dogs taste a lot like actual hot dogs, though I'm not totally convinced that it's not possible to make cardboard taste like hot dogs. I've tried cooking them several ways, and because of their 'softer' consistency than actual hot dogs I prefer pan frying because it toughens the skin on the outside a bit, but you have to use oil and keep them moving or they'll bubble or stick. You can also put them in the oven, but I would recommend putting them on a pan (not on the little rack in the toaster oven) because they let off some water which can drip and smoke. Boiling them leaves them soggy and blech (yes, blech... don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about). Microwaving doesn't cook them in a way that makes them taste great, and I don't know what else to say about that.



Purely Decadent SOY Delicious They should call this stuff, Purely Craptastic with all new flavors like Nut Flavored Kind of Almost Slightly Ice Cream flavor, and Frozen Yuck. I haven't tried all of them but from what I've experienced so far with this brand, it'll probably stay that way.



Silk Yummy yum yum. Great source of calcium, and wonderful alternative to milk. If you've never had it, it takes a gallon to get used to, but you'll never want to go back to the bland taste of milk. I switched when I was 21 after becoming lactose intolerant, and I used to LOVE my milk (as in 'go-for-a-run-and-then-drink-milk-instead-of-water' kind of way). Now when I go to visit my parents and have to use regular milk for my cereal I leave most of it in the bowl-not because of the intolerance thing, but because the taste simply grosses me out. Soymilk has a slightly creamier consistency, and a nut/rice flavor, which-when foreign to the tongue- can be a little bit odd at first. But trust me, you'll love it too. If you're a dude, just be careful about chugging gallons of this stuff... you might want to switch it up between Soymilk and Rice Dream (rice milk) because of the levels of... um... something like estrogen that you shouldn't have too much of that's found in soymilk. Hey, I'm not a scientist- what do you expect. If you're a casual consumer, you're probably fine.



Egg Beaters Love them. Tried "Better 'n Eggs" and trust me, they weren't. Nor were they better than Egg Beaters. I love eggs, so I used to eat them daily, but the cholesterol and calories in eggs worried me a bit. So I switched (reluctantly at first) to Egg Beaters. They're just SO much more expensive- or so I thought. Actually, Egg Beaters lasted me longer than my 12 eggs because there's a lot in there. They save me the time of having to 'beat' the eggs, or wash the dishes I had to use to 'beat' the eggs. You can even get flavored ones, like Southwest or Garden Veggie, which are SOOOO good! Sometimes, if you look hard, you can even find coupons online for them!


If you have any requests or reviews you'd like to add, please feel free to leave them in the comment box. And this review is for everyone... not just veggies. A vegetarian rich lifestyle is often lower in fat, calories and cholesterol.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Beast Cats in the Drain!

I'm not kidding. I saw it myself!

Okay- let me start from the beginning. I live by a small plot of woods where a clan of feral cats live. Not just one kind of cat. Cats that look like they come from all over.



There are 4 cats that I feed from my back porch (at least 4 that I know of). A black one with a white spot on its forehead that Stephe named 'Minus', a short grey haired cat that I haven't seen in a while, a long haired grey cat 'Dr. Evil', and a brindled cat 'Checkers'. They make their rounds through the complex daily and look well fed, and hey... freedom is pretttttty sweet so I think they're happy, but are still skittish when they see me. If nothing else my cats, Ninja and Diego, enjoy watching them. These 4 cats seem... large but not ABNORMALLY large. I've put water out before but it froze, so I wondered where they got their water from... then today I found out.

Today as I was driving home I saw a black one come out of the woods. Thinking it was 'Minus' I went straight instead of turning into the complex. It was not minus, but instead a BEASTLY all black cat who came to the curb and then CRAWLED INTO THE DRAIN!!!!!! When I turned around and came back I saw a HUGE orange cat crossing the road heading back towards the woods, and with two cars coming the thing picked up to a 'slow trot'. Needless to say, I'll continue to feed my friends out back, but I'll stay away from the woods and the drains. Creepy!

Note- Please make sure you have your animals neutered. I'm currently working on finding a way to Trap-Fix-Release the cats behind my apartment, so that they can live beautiful lives but not perpetuate a feral community. I'm looking into Alley Cat Allies for assistance. If anyone knows anything about it, please let me know. THANKS!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Broke! My Ankles are BROKEN!

Okay, so my ankles aren't REALLY broken- but they sure feel like it. I've been doing the robotic jumparoundstomp dance moves associated with the game Dance Dance Revolution. I know, I know.... it came out a long time ago, and yes I'm just getting on this band wagon. Hey, I wanted a fun way to exercise. What I'm getting is a fun way to exercise, and ankles and feet that are KILLING ME! Standing up in the morning make me feel like my feet have permacurled into an unnatural position and that standing on them is shattering my bones. I literally limped down the stairs the other day. Fortunately it only lasts about 30 seconds where I'm in a lot of pain and then it generally goes away. Yet, my ankles have begun hurting more. Fun. Perhaps God doesn't want me to exercise (haha, right).

In other news- I began a new painting today. Here is the partial version for now. I'll show you the rest when I finish. The white dots are where the rest of the trees will go.

In case you're wondering where I got the "Broke! My ankles are broken!" line... check out this video. The first time will be sad, and then you'll slowly find yourself laughing at how horribly shrill his voice gets.



Guess I just can't DDR fast enough..... sucks.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Breakfast IS Champion



Breakfast, oh breakfast, in my heart you have a place, because there are so many combos in which create-ith a face. Delicious, and good, you taste so darn yummy, eggs and a bagel inside of my tummy. You are the best meal, this much is true, my favorite smilie face to see..... belongs to YOU.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Request of Love

Hey everyone who has tapped into my sense of humor, or followed a blog or two! Thanks for reading these silly rants and expressions of nerdacity. It's a new word. I made it up. You can feel free to use it. And you're welcome.

If you're able to, or not morally opposed to clicking the 'follow' button, or leaving a comment, I'd personally love it. I "heart" (this is where I make some weird little heart symbol with my hands in front of my chest and smile real big like a self obsessed 15 year old girl trying to flirt) all of the comments on facebook and LOVE that you're reading these. It makes me feel really fuzzy and warm. So do my fuzzy warm socks, but they can't type to add me. Sad, I know. (We've had a talk about this, and they just simply won't try).

I didn't choose the term "follow". To me this suggests that one day I will lead all of you out into a field, ask that you put on blue scrubs and drink arsenic mixed in generic fruit punch while we wait for the aliens to 'come back for us'. This is NOT the case. It just lets me know who checks out my blog, and reassures me that this isn't all in vain.

Anyhow, even if you don't comment or click the "follow" (also known as the "pseudo-clan") button, I'm still very grateful. Always know this, and smile because I think you're fantastic.

Erin

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Naturally GREEN Review

This is a truthful (and hopefully entertaining) review of Green Products for your home, to help people live a little better *YAY!*

I'll keep it simple and to the point with between 1-5 stars, 1 being you should NOT buy it unless you're at gun point or perhaps there's some kind of apocolypse and thats the only thing left, and 5 being you should buy it before an environmentalist holds you at gun point and turns your happy little world into an apocolyse.


Whole Foods brand shampoo #1 I tried the 'grapefruit' scented one. It made my hair feel dry and it smelled like alcohol. Couldn't wait to RUN OUT of this awful shampoo. I even tried to mix it with 'better' shampoo but it just made the 'better' shampoo suck at life too. ( * - - - Star)






Whole Foods shampoo #2 I tried this after the first failed. Thought it would be better because it's organic. It's NOT. At least not by much. If you punched me repeatedly in the face and made me choose between the two I'd go with this one, but it'd take a lot of beating before I gave in. (* - - - Star)





Method Glass Cleaner Fantastic minty smell, and works pretty well too! SO much better than the cat urine that's mislabeled, dyed blue and called Windex. It can streak a little, but not much at all. If I had a half star this would be a 4.5... but since I don't... ( * * * * - Stars)





Bamboo Compost Pail If you compost- and let's be honest, you SHOULD- you absolutely need this. With its removable inner plastic pail and carbon filter in the lid, it looks great, smells great, and is super easy to empty and to clean. (* * * * * Stars)






Hefty One Zip Bags Though these use more plastic than some of the other companies who have cut back, I actually prefer these. As a Pescetarian (a vegetarian who occasionally eats seafood), I eat a lot of veggies. To store them I have designated bags with labels so I know what veggie goes in what bag. When I finish a veggie I wash the bag with soap and hot water, let it air dry and then reuse it. Most of the 'less plastic' bags have broken and gone into the trash- but not my Hefty bags. Their name holds true. I wrote them recently about my 1.5 year old "Onion" bag in good condition and they sent me a coupon for a free box! (which will last me a life time) ( * * * * * Stars)






Compact Fluorescent Bulbs If you're one of the remaining 3 people who haven't switched to these, DO IT NOW. Okay, well don't be wasteful.... wait until you need to replace your bulb and then do it. They take some time to warm up, but use a TON less energy. Downsides- if they break you have to air out your home, and you have to take them somewhere to dispose of them because they're bad for you. Where do you take them? I don't know... mine have been going strong for over a year and I haven't had to replace them yet. Sometimes they do make my lights 'buzz' a little... but often I don't notice it. ( * * * - - Stars)





Scotch Bamboo Sponges Scotch has come out with compostable bamboo sponges, scrubbing pads, and wipes. I just have the sponge. It works as well as any other sponge, and when I'm done using it with my all natural soap I can put it in my compost pail! (* * * * * Stars)





Method Dish Soap Do I like the soap? Yep. Sure do. The bottle design Buh- LOWS! It's slippery when it's wet, and makes it almost impossible to open. More importantly though, the soap comes out through a long opening and I find that it gels in there and makes it super hard to get it out. I bought Seventh Generation Soap to replace the Method Soap when I'm done, because I'm literally done trying to mess with this stupid bottle design. At least it's sleek design will make it aerodynamic on the day I chuck the blasted bottle out the window. Soap gets 5 stars. Overall.... (* - - - - Stars... cuz soap isn't worth all that effort)





Natural Dentist Products Unlike Tom's natural tootpastes which are slightly gritty, bland, and come in a metal tube (which will ultimately prevent you from getting it all out before you slice your hands to shreds in a near death display of acrobatics trying to extract the last half of the tube of toothpaste onto your brush.... and BREATH...), the Natural Dentist toothpaste actually tastes good and has the texture of toothpaste. I came across it at the D.C. Green Festival when I tried their DEE-LISH-OUS mouthwash. I found it hard not to want to DRINK it, it tasted so good! And it has flouride, unlike Listerine. ( * * * * * Stars)





ShamWow I think this pic is hilarious. Anyhow, I'm not trying to necessarily promote ShamWows, but I AM trying to say that they work well as reusable cleaning rags, and ultimately equal less trash. Not overly impressed, but better than the knock-off counterparts. Guess the Germans really DO make good things... or at least things I can use. (* * * - - Stars)

Other things to consider:
A drying rack... I haven't used a drier in months! Ikea has great size ones for indoors/ yardless people like myself.

Kitty litter: Try Swheat Scoop. It's not poisonous like most clay ones. How's that for an advertising line, "Won't Give Ya Cancer!" Clumps great, and fragrance free, AND you can FLUSH IT! I tried "Yesterday's News", which is nice for recycling purposes since it's made from old newspaper, but dear god the stuff is hard to clean out.

Seventh Generation Products: So far I've used their dish detergent (which I like better than Method's compacted capsules), and their all-purpose cleaner. Love them both.


Okay! That's it for now! Hope you enjoyed my Green Review of products...and appreciated my bastardly sense of humor. As far as paying for all this stuff, you can check online for coupons. Seventh generation has a lot usually, so does Swheat Scoop. And in the end when you're not melting in a poisonous radiation filled world, you'll thank me.
Now run children- like free birds on the Greenish wind of Green change and be Green.

Erin

Ol' Drool Face

Real quick- I had 3 cavities filled yesterday. Things that are NOT fun- the panic feeling I get when there are several cotton balls, 2 sets of hands, a sucker thing, a drill, a mirror and a jet of cold water in your mouth all at the same time.

Other things that are not fun... when the novacaine wears off. Ouch!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The 1 a.m. Sunday Night Taxi Ride

Teaching has made me frazzled. This carries into my personal life far too often. A once well oiled machine able to keep a running list of 'Multiple Things to Do' and get them done, I am now the kind of person who asks students to come see her and then looks at them blankly- as if a deer in headlights- and is forced to ask, "why are you here? remind me again? elaborate more please...." It's pathetic.

SO HERE COMES THE GOOD PART
This frazzled state carried into my personal life this weekend in a F.M.L. kind of way.
Background- Because of going to an 11:45pm movie Stephe and I didn't get much sleep Friday night. Meaning, we were tired to start the weekend.
Then Saturday was my good friend, Lauren's 21st (for the 6th time) birthday get together in West Falls Church. Stephe and I- coming from different areas- decided to meet at my old complex in Fairfax, park my car, and then we'd ride together in his van to the party. We go, it's great to see friends I haven't seen in a while, we enjoyed Thai food and some drinks and music, and then headed home for the night. Exhausted we slept not only Saturday night, but halfway through Sunday. By 7pm Stephe headed home and I started doing things like exercising and painting and cleaning. By 12:45 I was just starting to get tired- you know... since I'd slept half of the day away... and knew that I had grading in my car that I should do. Though I didn't want to do it, I figured I'd at least bring it in to do while I ate my cereal in the morning (in 4 hours).
I venture in my most sexy hoodie and flanel pj bottoms and socks out into the cold to retrieve my work... I look left..."Oh, must not have parked over here," I say to myself. "I must have parked to the right!" as my eyes pan to the right. No car. Brief moment of calm clings like static to my brain. "Where did I park my.... OH MY GOD! MY CAR IS STILL IN FAIRFAX AND IT'S 12:45 ON A SUNDAY NIGHT!!!!" This was followed by panic, blasphemies, and more panic.

Needless to say I spent 10 minutes booting up my computer to call a taxi who took 15 minutes to get to me, to ride 25 minutes to Fairfax, to spend $31 bucks I didn't need to spend, to drive 20 minutes home (cuz I drive fast, yo....but not TOO fast) to go to bed at 2am and get very little sleep. Yeah. F.M.L.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Not Quite Art

So the other night- because I'm such a fantastic girlfriend- I decided to make some 'awesome' pictures of Stephe (pronounced Steve) and I by altering photos I had of us on my computer. I always wondered what we'd look like with our mouths on our foreheads, so by playing around in paint I created the 'works of art' below.

WARNING!: The images you are about to see may startle you into urinating in your pants.


I have it saved as, "The Cute Couple" on my comp. Enjoy!

Raising a "Teenager"

Over Christmas Break my cats, Diego and Ninja, stayed with my boyfriends family. Though they have a lot of potted plants I was sure to communicate that the poinsettias be moved out of reach before I left. Yet, when I came to pick up the cats I noticed that Diegos chin was FILTHY! I scrubbed away all the 'dirt' and made sure to monitor him for a couple days, but he seemed okay so I didn't worry. Today as I was playing with him I noticed that once again his chin was extremely dirty. As I cleaned it I checked to make sure that it wasn't bugs, and when I didn't notice anything crawling or anything with legs (YUCK!) I didn't know what to think. I don't have plants that he could get into, and yet here he was with a filthy chin.

So I turned to the internet for help, and lo and behold I found an answer that I'd never heard of until now. Diego has Feline Acne! Who knew?! So now starts the counseling process of me telling him how beautiful he is on the inside, and how girl cats will still think he's cute, and not to worry because we still love him even if he's a pimply mess. Haven't we all been there at some point or other. Sad. Poor guy.


I've included some info on it, in case anyone else with a cat ever runs across this issue.

HOW IT LOOKS: Like your cat has a dirty chin, as if they've been rubbing it along the ground. When you try to get it off, it's difficult even with a wash cloth because it's almost stuck in the hair. Your cats chin might be a little swollen as well.

CAUSES: It might be cleanliness, but often times it's from using plastic bowls or dishes (which I'd switched to just before Diego 'broke out'). They're apparently bacteria brothels and if not, your cat has a higher chance of having an allergic reaction to them. Switch to ceramic or metal or glass.

HOW TO TREAT:
Use some cotton in a ball shape soaked in peroxide for cleaning the chin area.
Benzoyl peroxide shampoo used twice a week can also keep the acne under control.
Washing the chin daily with an antibiotic soap can clear the skin of built-up oil and dirt, and using an antibiotic or anti-fungal topical ointment can prevent the pores from becoming clogged.
Daily cleaning your cat’s chin with warm salt water can also help reduce the risk of infection.

Cheers!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Exhaustion



Talk about a long week! I've been at work everyday for 12+ hours this week... today 6:45am-9:15pm. Sorry I haven't written much.

Good news is that I've started a few more art works! I wish I had more time to work on them, but I'm posting my latest and would love a critique.

Over the next few days MUCHO MAS will be posted to my etsy. Please keep checking back!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Risky Behavior


Over break I went back to State College, PA to visit my family. While there I decided to use my dad's camera to photograph some of my artwork, which meant getting it out of the garage attic via a ladder. My dad was nice enough to built a huge box for all of my art so that it would stay safe from all the 'other' things in the garage attic. Getting to this box was a bit of an issue, since I don't often go up there and items seem to accumulate on top of the box. So, first I had to remove the items on top of the box and dance gingerly around the huge hole in the attic floor through which I'd climbed up while holding various bulky items. Scary, but not really my idea of 'fun risky behavior'.
When I finally was able to open the box I found well over 100 pieces of art stuffed into FOUR portfolios, or laying out within the box. "Good Lord!" I exclaimed, "When the hell did I have time to do all this art?!"As I went through I questioned why I'd kept some of it for so long, and ultimately threw out about 10 pieces right then. As I dug deeper and deeper into the box-o-art I decided that the best option would just be to bring back a bunch and photograph it later because it was taking WAY too long to figure out what I wanted to take pictures of, since there was so much to consider.

Now that it's here in VA with me I'll be uploading a LOT of art within the next couple weeks. Some of the drawings I'll be redo-ing and fixing. Some will go from drawings or sketches into paintings, and some will just be cleaned up or put on better paper. I'm posting pictures of my most recent work. If I can get the video-log thing to work I'll upload that... until then, the finished image will be available on http://www.etsy.com/shop/ebm126 So feel free to buy it ASAP~! or tell your friends about it. LOVE!