So I Tried Some…

Part Two of Recommendations

Again thanks so much for reading and responding! I had some pretty good recommendations on my blog and in person.  I have added links to Goodreads, IMDB and Youtube videos if any of the following media interests you.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley  (book)
More steampunk from the 1880s in this historical fiction. It has mystery, a mysterious pocket watch, and even more mysterious characters. The blurb seems oblique which likely means there are too many twists, turns and mysteries to summarize properly. My sister in law had just started reading it when we went on vacation together and I never got to hear how she liked it, but I am looking forward to trying it myself.

Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changes America by Eric Larson (book)
The blurb reads like fiction. 
Everything seemed to happen at these world fairs. One of my favorite fun facts about the 1893 World’s Fair is that is where Pabst Blue Ribbon beer won its blue ribbon. Although the title seems all inclusive let me share that the book mainly follows the architect for all the amazing buildings that spring from ground and another serial killer that must be drawn to the masses of easy prey. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. 

Max Headroom (TV series)
I came around after the swell and ebb of fascination with sassy, glitchy music VJs. This was another show that was recommended to me and I got to view it right after. I was coached beforehand that this series was created when there were computers, but there was no Internet. I do remember before my family had Internet. And then we exited that musty old cave. Anywho, the show is futuristic (specifically 20 minutes in the future) and the most important difference in this Blade Runner type world is that televisions have no off-switch and they are two way. The show focuses on wordplay and human emotion so despite the sometimes (VERY) silly sounding tech talk this show is still entertaining. Carter, Max and a team of misfits uncover some treachery in the way things are run in their world by broadcasting the facts.  

Mokoomba (band) and specifically the song Masangango
I gotta say, this is not my normal style of music, but I loved it! My friend really sold it when he recommended it to me by saying, 

Mokoomba is an exciting, Afro-fusion band from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Their sound has elements of Afro-pop, hard reggae, and rock. Vocalist Mathias Muzaza’s powerful singing is matched by the incredible musicality of the band. This particular song is a masterpiece. The melodic intro with haunting vocals and subtle blues licks on guitar soon lead to a happier rhythm, punctuated by the traditional African mbira thumb piano. The song builds from there, yielding the fierce and powerful vocals for which Muzaza is famous!…The listener may not know the meaning of the lyrics, but that fact will not diminish the power of song or the enjoyment of it.

Thanks for sharing, Thor! Catch more snark and tune recommendations from Thor on Twitter @RadioThor. The song has an awesome blues/reggae vibe that sits just right and I’m following Mokoomba on Spotify. I suggest you check out more of their music as well.

Naked in Death by JD Robb (book)
Futuristic lady detective who gets involved with one of her suspects. There are quite a few books in the In Death series penned by Nora Roberts under her pen name. I don’t believe I can get through 30+ books, but I will definitely look into the first few books soon.

 

Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander (books)
I can’t tell you how many times I have been told to read this series. Young boy is charged with babysitting a magical pig. It’s a very famous fantasy series with adorable cartoon that doesn’t hold at all true to the books. Maybe I will give this another go. I haven’t ever really given this book a chance.

Pink Panther (movies)
I know I have seen bits and pieces from the Peter Sellers and the Steve Martin versions of these films. Of course, Sellers is the classic. I need to go through and watch the movies again. Good old physical comedy from the way back whens.

They Told Me To Try It

Part one of recommendations

I had some pretty good recommendations on my blog and in person. Thanks for reading and responding! I have added links to Goodreads, IMDB and Youtube videos if any of the following media interests you. There will be more coming soon.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (book)

Src: Goodreads

This was recommended to me when I told one of my historian friends that I had started A Young People’s History of the United States (Zinn, adapted by Stefoff). I am having some trouble getting through it because there is little cheer in highlighting every group’s battle with oppression. Assassinated presidents sounds like another jolly topic, but from all the reviews I’ve read the writer presents it with some wry humor and it sounds organized like a travel journal. I’m a voyeur and how can you blame me since I have kept a private journal for nearly 12 years.

Banks of the Ohio (song)
I listened to several versions of this to get a feel for this creepy, creepy song that was first recorded in 1927 (Wikipedia). Bill Monroe and Doc Watson was the first that I listened to. It has all the charm of an Uncle picking on the back porch with a couple of the other older farmers. Feet dangling off the back porch and smoke curling up through the battling heat and humidity. This is a song that falls under the sub genre of murder ballads of which there were at least enough for Nick Cave to fill an album of them. The second one I listened to was by Dolly Parton, which I had hoped was a tweaked female version. It takes a very Dolly spin in the way it sounds and although some lyrics are different the main change is found in the first few lines: “I went into his prison cell/To write his story, if he’d tell/He spoke as tears fell from his eyes/And he told me when and how and why/And he said…” before moving onto the story. Olivia Newton-John changes to a female perspective and has the same “knife to breast” murdering that Dolly sings about. I prefer Bill’s straight off pushing and drowning murder. Seems simplest. Johnny Cash has the best of both worlds as he stabs and then pushes his love into the Ohio River. Moral of the story, if the man’s name is “Willie”, don’t turn him down by any sizable body of water.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (TV series)

This is a TV show that got recommended to me and then I got to watch several episodes. First off, if you are a Bruce Campbell fan and haven’t seen this, then you might need to look to fixing your life. This is a wild west TV show in which a man comes to town to avenge his father’s death (Brisco County Senior). It’s your typical wild west TV show (27 episodes), if your norm involves the Chin himself, snorting with laughter at Julius Carry (who played Sho-Nuff in The Last Dragon), and a little bit of weird that can most easily be categorized to 1890s steampunk. Watch it.

Gary: Tank Commander (TV series)
I have already started watching this on Netflix and as I have gotten into it, I dinnae ken who can avoid watching it! Okay, it’s not going to change your life, but this is a funny Scottish military TV show. Gary barely scrapes by without keeping out of trouble and the many duties that the armed forces take on while at home. I still have to have subtitles on and near the beginning of the series the actors poke fun at Americans who can’t understand their slang and accent so there is plenty of cheek. There are a few jokes that are culture specific, but I haven’t had to look up anything that I didn’t understand by context. It kinda reminds me of the pranks and scrapes of the characters in MASH except there aren’t any episodes that include folks getting dead. Around the time of posting, Netflix has 3 seasons available.

Vegan Bourbon Hazelnut Pancakes (recipe)
This is not actually a recipe I made, but one that I ate. The recipe that my vegetarian friend was one that she got from a vegan recipe book. I’m not certain, but this one seems damned similar. Let me clearly state, I don’t like pancakes. I’m also a lover of cheese, milk, butter, and eggs, so vegan recipes are hard for me to get behind. However, I’ve got a friend who is brave enough to try it and forces me -nicely- to try stuff. These were THE BOMBDINGO. We ate them with plain maple syrup, but you could have eaten them plain as well. I ate huge helpings and was waddling around after dinner. If I had any complaint, the ‘butter’ didn’t quite melt like butter. None of that mattered since it tasted ah-mazing. Get outta here with your banana pancakes, Jack Johnson.

Did this short list remind you of other awesome things you’d like to share? Please post below.

Have you already tried some of the above things listed? What did you think?

johnny 5

Photo: movieweb.com

Over Christmas and New Year’s I got exposed to some new-to-me music, movies, games, and books. One game especially kinda pulled it all together. There’s a card
game named Slash in which you try to find the best mate for each character. All the character cards are from TV, movies, and books. This brought to my attention to how many cards I needed to discard since I was at a loss as to who or what the character was.

I would love to get recommendations for all types of media in the new year. It is so readily available but it’s like diving into the middle of the ocean. Where to begin?
It doesn’t have to be new media either. For example, I watched Die Hard just before Xmas for the first time. Alan Rickman makes a cool bad guy and I hope he’s enjoying some peace just now. Oh, and dear god, get that cop some shoes.

alan rickman

Photo: Buzzfeed

So, can you recommend some media to me?

  • Movies–I like comedies, romances, thrillers, action films. Not keen on angst ridden, artsy films nor horror flicks. Although, classic horror is good.
  • Television–Similar to movies. I like crime shows and comedies. Such as NCIS, Castle, and Parks &  Recreation.
  • Anime or Cartoons–I love all things Studio Ghibli. I am not into mech.
  • Books/Graphic novels–Mostly fiction/fantasy/sci-fi and some biographical nonfiction.
  • Music–I really like singable and dance-able music and sometimes I need chill background music.
  • Podcasts–I like em short, informational (somewhat), and funny.
  • Games–Solitaire type games, two person/small crowd, cards, dice, paper–I’m easy.
  • Recipes–I love cooking! I am not the most experienced, but I love playing with recipes!

Here are a few things I’ve been taking in recently:

  • Movies–Watch Die Hard if you haven’t. If only to hear Alan Rickman say “Yippie Ki yay, mother fucker” one more time. (Spoiler: https://youtu.be/7tKr5XRPGmQ)
  • Television–iZombie has been getting recommended to heaps of folks by me. I want to get into Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series.
  • Anime or Cartoons–Last animated feature I watched was Animatrix (again)–some not so bad ones in there.
  • Books/Graphic novels–Reading Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.
  • Music–Uhm, I have been listening to same playlists for years…
  • Podcasts–Thrilling Adventure’s Sparks Nevada Marshall on Mars is great!
  • Games–I enjoyed King of Tokyo over the holidays among several others.
  • Recipes–I don’t know why but homemade chicken salad is so simple and worth every ounce of effort.

Please leave me some recommendations in the comments below. I would absolutely love all input! I can quickly do a search and read a quick blurb on the media you suggest, but I would much rather like to know why are you recommending this? I assume because it was good, but it is thinky, inspiring, funny, great for a party, perfect with a cup of tea?

 

Body Shot Invention: Hottie Body Toddie Shots

I realize it has been an embarrassingly long time since I posted anything on my blog. Figured if I was gonna start blogging during the [awful] winter months, that I should return with a BANG!

With Thanksgiving just days…Yeah, it’s tomorrow, folks, it is the time of year where we put away our margarita mixers and Thanks, centercityteam.combring out the eggnog, cider and whiskey drinks. Let’s focus on the whiskey drinks for a minute. Hot toddies are quite yummy and very simple. Great for when you’re sick or if you just want to feign sophistication while you get hammered in front of a lovely wood burning fire.

Tequila and its little hoodlum friends have ruled the [trashy] custom of body shots for too long. Salt, lime, tequila and a drunk, agreeable stranger. During a dull moment at work I put my creative juices to work. I do want to give partial credit to my coworker, who I’m sure wishes to remain anonymous in all this, but she was a huge help in talking out the order of things with me.  After a 30 second Google search and scan of the results, I realized no one else has written up instructions for this awful idea. I feel obligated to share for other cold, trashy people that enjoy drinking.Thanks, personaltrainer.gr

Tools

  • Brewed, still warm/hot tea
  • Two shot glasses (preferably non-breakable)
  • Honey
  • Whiskey  (honey whiskey if you can shoot it)
  • Fresh lemon, cut into small wedges
  • An agreeable person (Shot Holder)

I noticed on several other sites that the authors pointed out the people you’re doing body shots with should be totally okay with this and not coerced. Also, you should drink responsibly and make sure everyone has a safe ride home. As if you’ll be getting up off the floor when you decide to do this one evening. There, disclaimer made.

Method

1. Pour shot each of whiskey and brewed tea. Do not fill to the very tip top. Your drunk friends will spill it.

2. Depending on the size and shape of your Shot Holder, you may want to adjust the placement of the items. So, with a dash of tequila salt, do something like this: Have the Shot Holder lay down andThanks, air-n-water.com

  • Hold the shot glass of tea in mouth
  • Drizzle a preferred amount of honey around the clavicle of the S.H. (~2 teaspoons)
  • Place a lemon wedge in the area of the base of the ribs (solar plexus)
  • Balance a shot above the naval of (probably uncontrollably laughing) Shot Holder

Once everything is placed, don’t waste time or spill your liquor! Work your way up starting with the shot, biting into the lemon wedge, licking up the honey and gulping down the warm tea. Good luck getting past the honey, honestly. Especially if you think the collar bone is too mundane a place to drizzle honey. Feel free to adapt as needed.

There you have it, the

Hottie Body Toddie Shot

To protect the agreeable folks involved, I have not included photos. None of these pictures belong to me. Full cred and thanks to others. Enjoy those stock photos until you make some of your own memories.

 

Vidalia Onion Pie {Recipe Revealed!!}

Recipe by request from several of my Facwbook friends

Vidalia Onion Pie

For a regular size pie plate:
Crust:
1/4 box cheese its
2 tbsp butter
Insides:
2 large or 3 small onions
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 eggs
1/2 cup of milk

If you have a deep dish pie plate, you’ll need a little more of everything.

To put it together,  crush the cheese crackers and add butter to make the crust and sautée the onions (with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes).

Layer the cooked onions with shredded cheese in the pie crust (I usually start and end with cheese).

Then mix the milk and eggs with salt and pepper and pour over top. Poke through the onions to let it sink in and add more milk if It looks like it needs it. Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes, or until set.

If it’s deeper, do three large or four small onions. Obviously, double thethe recipe if making two shallow pies.
I have never measured the cheesy crackers. I just crush em and line the pie plate until things look right.

This is very similar to a quiche and great for cheese and onion lovers.

Homemade Sushi

Again my sister in law braved the strange foods and helped me get over my fears of sushi making too.
We gathered the supplies: nori (seaweed) wrappers, sushi rice, sushi vinegar and spices, and several sushi fillings.

image

I will admit that the firsf three rolls I made I refused to take a pictures of. They were that bad.
Which brings us to common mistakes #1: overfilling nori with rice and other fillings. Results include not enough to wrap and seal roll and/or ingredients busting out the ends.

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After getting a good tight roll, I discoverd common mistake #2: Learning a gentle hand and cutting with a sharp knife. This is what ruins most of my rolls. I squeezed the rolls too hard or the knife would mash instead of cut.

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I tried making a rice on the outside roll. They were extremely difficult for me because it was harder to slice into the nori after the knife got sticky from the rice.

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By the end of the evening I had eaten a lot of mistakes and had some yummy lumpy rolls to eat.
Recently, I tried making sushi for a lunch my house. Kit can be odd about non-steak-&-taters meals so I was worried at first. He loved it!

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These are traditional sushi rolls with raw fish. I had to consider my budget when making this lunch. The fillings for my sushi were canned flakey crab and cream cheese. I took canned tiny shrimp and marinated them in lime juice, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. The result was a spicy shrimp roll. The ginger was perfecto.

Which leads me to my final sushi making tip and the best advice we heard from the dozens of youtube videos we watched. Give yourself a break. The best way to make good sushi is keep trying. It proves itself too, my second attempt at making sushi for Kit and me was a huge sucess. I had to eater fewer dud rolls than the first time.
Can’t wait to try different ingredients and give it another whirl.

Have you ever tried sushi making at home?
Have any tried and true tips you want to share?

Keeping Clean

Or:
Some sweet cleaning pins I discovered
and can’t imagine Life without them now

People are always saying to me, “Kat, how do you manage it all? Keeping such a spotless house and a cool head.”

That is a complete lie. No one has ever said that to me. In fact, one friend said, “this is the cleanest I’ve ever seen your house!” Once when he came to visit. And he was actually paying me a compliment.

I do not want a Martha Stewart house by any means. I love homes that are lived in by real people. However, there is a certain level of organization that I believe my home lacks.

I have discovered a few Pinterest links that have served me well. I wish to share these with my readers so you can have the same amount of control over one miniscule aspect of your life. These aren’t life hacks. Life isn’t easy and espcially when it comes to keeping a home.

1. Fan Blade Dusting

I can’t imagine returning to Plato’s Cave again. This one is amazing. It is stupid how easy this makes dusting fan blades. Take a pillowcase and pull it over a single fan blade. Add a bit of pressure to the top and bottom of the blade as you pull the pillowcase off.
You won’t get a face full of dust and you won’t sneeze a hundred times. If you missed a spot on the fan blade just recover it with the pillowcase and do it again. Once all the fan blades have been dusted, throw the pillowcase directly into the washer.
Thank you, Apartment Therapy! Source

2. (Sorta) Homemade Fabric Softener

Instead of tossing/recycling the old fabric softener bottle keep it around and refill it. Combine 6 cups water, 3 cups white vinegar and 2 cups hair conditioner. The original poster said to stir not shake to avoid suds. I shook and had no issues.
Thank you, Jillee @ One Good Thing! Source.

3. Liquid Concentrated Laundry Detergent

I tried making a powder laundry detergent but (I assume) because my washer is HE it doesn’t use as much water and the powder ended up clumping. So I took the powder that I had painstakingly put together, added it to water with a bit of dawn soap and boom. Perfection.
Part one includes grating a Fels Naptha bar (optional), Borax, OxyClean washing powder and baking soda. Part two, mix 1 1/2 cups of mixed powder, half cup of dawn dish liquid and warm/hot water shaking as you fill up the jug to ensure all the soap has dissolved.
Thank you, Jillee @ OGT! Source & Source.

4. Clean Front Load Washing Machine

This absolutely needs to be done. We clean our washer about once every two months or so. We should really do it more because after cleaning we can smell a significant difference in the quality of the clean clothes. Run first hot water cycle with empty washer and  2 cups vinegar in the detergent slot. Run second hot water cycle with 2 cups bleach. Run third water cycle with just plain water. Remove the soap dispensers and soak/wash them in the sink. Take a cloth damped with very diluted bleach water and wipe down the rubber gaskets around the door. The last steps sound tedious compared to the press-button cleaning process. I promise it is all worth it.
Thank you, Jillee @ OGT! Source.

5. Homemade Body Wash

There are tons of recipes out there for grate and heat body wash. gratedbarliquidsoapAny old Google search will reveal tons with slight differences. I honestly don’t have all the answers. I feel like each brand of soap will give slightly different results. However I will share my best tips for making it.
Combine 3 tablespoons of glycerine, 6 cups of water and 3 bars of soap (grated) in huge cook pot. Heat on medium to melt soap flakes. Avoid boiling! Burnt soap is a bad, bad thing. Once the soap bits are completely melted turn off the stove and allow the soapy water to sit overnight. Next day use a hand mixer to break things up. Add more water if you feel that the mixture is too thick. Bottle and go.

6. Bathtub Scrub

For some reason I haven’t been able to hunt down the the proper recipe original pinner I copied the idea from. Many apologies to the person I took this idea from. Grab a spray bottle and mix together equal parts of dawn dish liquid and white vinegar. Spray this all over your disgusting shower and allow it to sit for 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on your free time. As a warning to sensitive people, the combo of these two makes for a strong smell. If you are sensitive you may open a window when you go to wipe down and rinse off the walls of the shower.

7. Organized Cupcake Liners

This is much like the first tip above. Very simple and it makes life just that much easier. Take all the random half cellophane masonjarcraftsblogcupcakelinerorganizationwrappers full of your mismatched  cupcake liners and stack them in a mason or bell jar. My only complaint about this is I usually want the V-day/Xmas/Halloween liners that I have put at the bottom of the stack. It looks pretty in the cabinets I think and you know we all secretly want beautiful cabinets.
Thank you, Mason Jar Crafts Blog! Source.

8. Cheaters Car Wash

This is a great in-between washes way of making your car a bit more presentable. Use Pledge or a similar off brand furniture polish. This cuts the nasty road grease. After you wipe away all the nasty get a fakeitfrugalpledgecarwashclean microfiber cloth or paper towels and buff the residue until you can see your face. I bought the cheap store brand version and it worked just as promise.
Thank you Fake-It Frugal! Source.

9. Denture Clean Water Bottle

This is another easy one to help avoid the soapy taste and nasty bacterial smell after filling up your reusable bottle. Grab two of the denture cleanser tablets and toss them into your bottle with warm water. Allow to soak before dumping and rinsing the bottle.
Thank you, Jenny @ Popsugar! Source.

10. Homemade Windex

Easy to mix up and works better than the store brand. You’ll a spray bottle, 1/8 cup white ammonia, 1/4 cup isopropyl rubbing alcohol and 1 drop of laundry detergent and warm water to fill the bottle up. This is great in the bathroom for good cleaning and doesn’t leave streaks on mirrors/windows.
Thank you, Fake-It Frugal! Source.