Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Uniform

Summer Uniform

What I have been living in the last 5 out gear

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Best Orthodontist EVER.

Today I had to go to the orthodontist. I felt really out of place given I was a good ten years older then most of the people there. You see, my bottom permanent retainer broke, so I went in to see what my options were to fix it. I biked up to the office, and was welcomed by an astoundingly friendly receptionist. It is moderately troubling to me that I so quickly noted her friendliness and it seemed so out of place, as I feel as though it is in the receptionist's job description to be friendly, however most that I run into in medical facilities seem to have a big case of the sourpuss. But this woman was LOVELY. She had a warmth about her that for a moment I contemplated telling her my life story and all my troubles. Anyways, as Kristen welcomed me, she said, "There's coffee and tea to your right. Computers are back behind that wall. Arcade games to the right." YES. THEY HAD A FULL ON ARCADE IN THEIR WAITING ROOM AND A COMPUTER LAB. Oh! Had I been a teenager... GAME ON!-- I would have been so excited to go--I was excited enough as it was back in the day because I was able to go get the rubber bands on my braces to match my middle school colors (go gold and purple!). I couldn't figure out why the angsty teen next to me didn't look so thrilled. I especially couldn't figure it out when I was ushered into a room with a TV AND X BOX. I don't even like video games, but that is LEGIT! On top of it, every single person who passed my open door gave me a warm smile and hearty hello--had I gone to heaven? Oz? This was a magical place filled with perfectly straight, toothy grins, positive can-do attitudes and VIDEO GAMES. My orthodontist then proceeded to tell me that it would cost approximately FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS to fix and replace my retainer. Oh, and insurance will not pay for it. I then put two and two together and realized that this was how the dazzling pizazz came to this place--on the backs of poor graduate students like myself and awkward teenagers straightening their smiles. My retainer alone would pay for the Keurig and coffee that I enjoyed earlier. Sigh--I had to make an appointment with my orthodontist back at home who will replace my retainer for free, which is now going to seem far less exciting given that they have no entertainment systems when I go to that office, but I will imagine all the exciting things I can do with the $500 I will be saving. But still...X BOX IN YOUR WAITING ROOM!!!

Black Bean Brownies

Sound gross? Much like I felt when I believed that the Tea Party was just a fun thing you did with your 5-year-old friends and not a scary political party I WAS WRONG. YOU NEED TO TRY THESE IMMEDIATELY. It's one of those things that you say to yourself "that sounds so disgusting, yet someone was crazy enough to try it it er go it MUST be DELICIOUS." Like Peanut butter on hamburgers (yup. I've eaten it and it's amazing-thank you Grandpa). Bacon maple donut bars (all pre-vegetarian days of course). Tomatoes. You know. As a skeptic myself, I decided I needed to give these a try immediately. If I love two things in this world you can be sure that those things include baked goods and fiber. OK well they wouldn't be my TOP two--they would fall behind goldadoodles, bike riding, good chapstick, Seattle, Darren Criss and caffeinated beverages. But still, both VERY significant in my life. And one would assume that these two things cannot go hand and hand. How can something SO delicious and sweet ALSO be SO nutritious? Well, my friends, I've found the solution to satisfying your sweet tooth as well as regulating your B.M.s and helping your heart out (and most Americans don't get enough fiber in their diet anyways!). It's pretty much like taking two super awesome but seemingly contradictory things and mashing them together to make one super something--sort of like if Jon Bon Jovi and Tina Fey had a love child that they named Feminism and she wore a ring that could produce cupcakes on command (Captain Planet Style) while also singing and dancing to Glee-esque showtunes. Yes, Black Bean Brownies are THAT awesome.

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

Makes 16 Servings

This recipe has been so popular that we decided to feature it in our new family cookbook, No Whine with Dinner. We hope you enjoy the brownies … and our cookbook!

  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed very well
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peppermint extract as desired, baking powder, and salt and process until smooth. Add ¼ cup of the chips and pulse a few times until the chips are incorporated.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.

4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before slicing into 2-inch squares.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

LOVE THIS. John Cusack on his hero--funny, he and I have the same one.
I think we should go back to these times.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Things I've Made

Thanks to the little devils known as Pinterest and New Dress a Day that have sucked up my life for the past few weeks (alright! I kid! They are not little devils, they are pure angels sent from God above in heaven--they are WONDERFUL!!!) my creative juices have been gushing as if someone just blew up the Hoover Dam. Here are some of the things I have made:

My friend Tee told me that she had a dream about them because they were that good after she ate them. Skeptical? My friends were, but they all said "WOW" and became BELIEVERS, so TRY IT.

Rachel demonstrating. Basically to make these I made buttermilk pancakes (I made them with whole wheat so they were "healthy" which means you can eat twice as many...right? Right.). Then I looked up a cinnamon roll recipe and made the insides to a cinnamon roll (brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon--I just sort of added whatever amounts until the consistency came out right. I felt so Rachel Ray because you know "real" chefs don't measure anything...). Then I made a cream cheese frosting out of (gasp!) cream cheese (you guessed it!!! YOU'RE SO SMART!), almond milk (because that's all we had), goo gobs of powdered sugar (try to quantify THAT amount), and vanilla. All of these ingredients equaled MAGIC. Which leads me to my next delicious treat (can you tell I like sweets?!):

Though Coca Cola generally freaks me out because it is basically a bunch of chemicals packaged as a beverage (and always makes me burp a lot) and it can be used to clean car batteries and remove the enamel from teeth, it turns out that it is DELICIOUS when packaged as a cake. My boss really likes Coke (the BEVERAGE, not the illegal drug people!) and so I wanted to make something for her birthday that honored her. I put Twizzlers and white chocolate chips on top to display Coke's colors. Rachel suggested powdered sugar for various reasons, but I resisted the urge. I DID measure ingredients for this one--Here's the RECIPE. I added a lot of flour to my frosting because I didn't like how thin it was. The result was ah-maze-ING!

My next project was inspired by the New Dress a Day Blog where this woman takes dresses and alters them to make something spectacular. I love it because it's a simple way to be green, AND it's cheap! Check out this sailor suit I got to make my friend Brittany's birthday gift:
GROSS right? But I loved the material because it's SO Brittany (she loves nautical stuff). I felt like I was doing a service to humanity by taking it off the rack, because no one should EVER be seen wearing this. Stacey and Clinton would immediately rip this off someone's rack and throw it in the garbage on What Not to Wear with an "OH MY GOD WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!" Best part: It cost me $2. The lining was a yellow skirt I found for $2. I used the little red tassles for ties in the middle of the bag at the opening. And THIS is the product--a perfect summer bag to tote around town!
Her birthday card was a card inspired by Pinterest. Simple yet wonderful--we're both from Boise, so I thought I'd honor The Gem State:
Cute huh?! I don't care if you agree. I think it's AWESOME. I did the same thing and made a bag for my coworker Tai:

Did you like how I snuck my Bon Jovi poster in there? Did ya? Did ya? I didn't plan that. But it worked out nicely. THIS was the result. The second dress was used as the lining of the bag and was a nice blue velvet. When I see this bag I want to sing "BABY YOU'RE A FIRE-WOOORRRRRKKKKK" only I don't because I HATE that song because they way over play it and I get angry every time I hear it. But it's just so damn catchy. Anyways, this is a perfect 4th of July bag, don't you think? Or one to take to the Farmer's Market in the summer?!
I apologize for the gross flash--I still don't know how to work my new camera very well. But you get the idea.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Am Tina Fey

I am reading Tina Fey's memoir Bossypants right now and she is me and I am her. Or maybe I'm closer to Liz Lemon from the hit television show 30 Rock. Or a combination of the two. An awkward feminist who is a hot-but-endearing mess when it comes to relating to men. And someone who likes to eat.

Tai told me today that I'm one of those people that tends to be a bit "accident prone" when it comes to men I like. "You're going to say or do something ridiculous Jess, you might as well embrace it." Though these words may be difficult to swallow, I've known they were true ever since my first crush back in the 5th grade when everyone in class knew I had the hots for Johnny Smith (name has been changed in the event that he changes his mind somewhere in the future, decides he DOES in fact love me and googles me and finds this blog), and one student decided to scream it to everyone right before gym class. "SHUT UP MICHELLE!" which of course validated that what she said HAD in fact been true. My crush pretended he hadn't heard. And unfortunately the pattern has continued ever since.

As we have already learned, I generally am not in control of anything I do or say when I like someone, and it goes without saying that I WILL at some point in the conversation say something dumb. Sometimes people say things like, "There's no such thing as a stupid question" to make others feel at ease, i.e. this is a "safe zone," but let me tell you there are really stupid things you can say in front of people (a.k.a. cute men) because I have said them. And usually my defense mechanisms go up and I go into "flight or fight mode" (i.e. sweating profusely, perhaps turning the color of the tomato I ate earlier today, getting extremely chatty) and I do things but I don't know why I do them, or even that I'm doing them until it's too late. I lose all the qualities of a thinking, rational human being. I will inevitably get advice from others like, "Just play it cooooooool." I scoff at this, because then I have to wonder if the person I'm talking to has met me prior to this conversation.

This takes me back to my senior year of high school. My high school crush and I had been hanging out under the guise of friendship for the last nine months. Yes, nine lonnnngggg months of pure hormonal teenage TORTURE. We often shot the breeze on my brick of a cell phone and I used up all my minutes for the month (Mom: "Why can't you just talk to him on our land line?" Me: "That is SO not cool!"), and sat at opposite ends of the couch in my parent's basement. Most high schoolers probably would have been making out or at LEAST cuddling, but no, I kept it G rated. Leave room for Jesus. We had met at church, so I imagine that's what contributed to most of the problem. He had finally professed his love for me over a game of Rummy, so one would assume my confidence level might have gone up a few percentage points but as you can probably guess from the tone of this blog that is NOT the direction we are headed. Which leads me to the Barnes & Noble parking lot where we had spent the evening, because that's apparently the cool place that high schoolers like to loiter. There I was. There he was:

Teenage Dream: "Can I kiss you?"

Me: "No."

The End.

And then all of a sudden he got really "busy" with "football and school and stuff" and I didn't see him until about two years later.

I don't know why I said it. I think I was just scared. Maybe scared I was a bad kisser or that I would have bad breath? Nope. It was because through his lips were the gateway to all sorts of sin and debauchery and would lead me right down the path of unrighteousness! I had learned in church that God didn't like impure Christian girls and I was a RULE FOLLOWER! Or at least, that's how I interpreted it. Let me be clear--I really WANTED to kiss him--it would be very anti-feminist of me to not support the decision of someone who wants to say no to physical intimacy, but I wanted to-BAD. In my defense, this was my first real pseudo/almost-boyfriend, so something awkward was bound to go down. Embarrassingly enough, I'll admit I told Teenage Dream that I wanted to wait until I was married to kiss someone. This was a cute (though in hindsight a VERY lofty goal) idea at the age of eighteen, but when you're twenty five and have had a really long dry spell, one's patience admittedly runs very thin and you begin to regret these decisions. The thing is that if you're not raised in the church culture, these things don't make sense (as I've found out from convos with people who live outside it), but I had been TRAINED to live a life of purity, so it made sense in my high school mind. I don't want to blame church or say that there is a causal relationship here (nor that purity is a bad thing), but I will say that it did aid in a bit of phobia regarding sexuality, and ultimately led to the Barnes and Noble Parking Lot Fiasco of 2004.

This tragic experience has stuck out in my mind the last few years. When I've recounted the story to others, it is usually met with some variation of "What the HELL would possess you to say no when you liked him?!" I decided that I would NOT let it happen again and mine would be a life of no regrets!!! But as it turns out seven years has led me to a big fat path to NOWHERE in learning ANYTHING. Awhile ago there we were, painting the town red, having a grand time, and he asked, "Would you like a piece of gum?" This either implies "please take this gum dear god because you need it," or "I want to mack on you." Either way, I said, "No." I don't know why I said it. Immediately after the word escaped my mouth, I realized my transgression. Because logic would lead one to believe that in any capacity nothing bad could come of the gum. Rob's question: "Who says no to gum?" Touche. What this is really leading me to believe is that whatever my first instinct is I should just go ahead and do the opposite. Because had I said, "Yes," it would have been win-win. I would have long lasting fresh breath or I would have gotten to kiss a cute boy. I didn't even try to remedy the situation with a, "WAIT! NEVERMIND! GIMME GIMME GIMME!" Nope. I remained silent and watched life pass me by. I do not know why I do the things I do. I really don't. Maybe I fear intimacy. Or maybe just communicable diseases.

Which leads me back to Tina Fey/Liz Lemon. Because what I love most about Tina Fey is that she embraces her awkwardness and turns it into a humorous sitcom episode. Like when she writes about a guy she tried to kiss who literally took off running away from her. I'll bet he regets THAT decision. Mainly, she doesn't seem to take these things so seriously. I was admittedly down for a few days about the whole situation--IN NO WAY ARE YOU NORMAL! Which was confirmed by multiple people. WHY CAN YOU NOT GET YOUR LIFE TOGETHER?! HOW DID YOU MISS THIS SOCIAL CUE?! But I will look onward and file it in my catalog of hilariously awkward experiences which I will one day turn into a best-selling memoir that will then be turned into a Broadway musical starring Lea Michele and will then eventually become a movie or perhaps TV sitcom in which Sandra Bullock or Jennifer Garner will play me as they are the two celebrities I am most compared to. Idina Menzel would also be acceptable. I won't even dare to dream because this WILL be reality. And someday someone WILL find my awkwardness endearing... (fingers crossed).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My New Obsession

Be prepared to spend a LOT of time on this site...

Monday, June 6, 2011


My new obsession!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Food for Thought

Click to Enlarge

Ssssccchhhoooolll'ssss Out FOR THE SUMM-A!!!

Here we are awaiting for the drive-in to start...and you know what that means...

Meet the Wrecking Crew: Tee, Tai, Rachel and Me! It looks like I am eating that frisbee, but really it was just in front of my face at a weird angle. But I do love frisbees so much I wish they WERE edible.
Being at the drive-in made me remember back to college when we went for my friend Britt's birthday FIVE YEARS AGO--where has the time gone?! (actually...nearly to the day because her birthday is June 4--today!!!). It made me miss Seattle friends but also thankful for the new friends I have made since being in Connecticut. And that orange blanket made it to both drive-ins and kept me warm (because I remember it being equally as frigid last night as it was 5 years ago).
I'm still trying to remember why Brittany was wearing cat ears on her head...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Don't give me no lip I got enough of my own."
--Aerosmith, "Falling in Love is So Hard on the Knees"

Oh Steven Tyler, I feels you! I think this might be my new line for if/when people decide to ever talk back to me...