Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Little House

On Sunday I had to say goodbye to my little house. With the wedding coming up and Jason needing to move out of his current place in August, I decided that the best thing I could do is move out of my little house and save the money I would have spent on rent and utilities as a little nest egg for Jason and I to start with.

While I'm confident that this decision is the best and most responsible one I could make, that little house changed my life. I moved in there with a broken heart, and found a place that I could heal, grow, and become truly independent. I learned how to really manage my finances, what expenses are truly important and what I could do without, and how to be alone with my thoughts. I healed in that house, I grew in that house, and I became the person I am today in that little house. A little more than a year later, my life is so very different! As my mom put it, "That house served it's purpose." So while it is time to move on and forward, I do so with a little bit of sadness and definitely some tears.

Thank you, Little House. I hope your next tenant appreciates you as much as I did!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Okay, so I'm not much of a cook. My mom is a great cook, my dad can grill, and somewhere along the line I learned to bake. Mostly I just love to eat. :) But I've never really applied myself to cooking. I really have to think about it - combinations for meals do not come to me naturally. Sometimes I'm really baffled by how people know just what will go together, how to combine it, what spices, etc...

Now, Jason (my fiancee) is a pretty good cook, and he knows how to look in the fridge and cabinet and make something out of what is in there. Me... well, when I cook, it does usually turn out decent, but it takes TONS of thought like I mentioned before, and at least one trip to the market, which is usually expensive.

So today, I ended up with a rare day off. Since Jason worked all day, I decided that I would make dinner for both of us tonight.


I used some ingredients we already had, picked up the rest, and walked out of the grocery store with everything I needed and extra kitchen staples for under $20.

Then, it's time for dinner... I cook, and it doesn't take me hours! 30 minutes start to finish. The menu? Sausage, roasted veggies (peppers, onions, tomatoes), and gluten free Cheesy Penne (aka fancy shmancy mac and cheese). Jason loves it, says it's so good he wants to take leftovers to work tomorrow. Jason never takes his lunch to work! For me this is success!

The best part? I made one of the foods I've been craving lately, but haven't been able to have due to my gluten free diet: mac and cheese. But this... oh this is amazing mac and cheese. It was so easy, so gooey, and I just switched the pasta from regular penne to brown rice penne that I picked up at Trader Joes!

Make it gluten-free or full of gluten, your choice! The recipe is below. :) Sorry, no pictures. We ate it too quickly. :)

CHEESY PENNE (Mac and Cheese)
Adapted from Claire Robinson's Recipe (Food Network)
4 cups penne pasta (I used Brown Rice Pasta since I'm gluten intolerant)
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz. grated cheese (I used a mix of smoked cheeses: mozzarella, gouda, cheddar - thank you Trader Joes for your pre-shreeded mix!)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water, add pasta, and cook to al dente. Drain. Return pasta to the saucepan.

Whisk milk with dijon in a small bowl and add to the pot with the cooked pasta, along with cream and shredded cheese. Stir over medium-low heat until the cheese melts and the mixture is nice and thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's the Doody Dude!

I was stopped at a light on Friday and I saw this truck. I feel like this is a job for Mike Rowe on Dirty Jobs. IT'S THE DOODY DUDE!

Mothers Day!

Usually for Mothers Day, we do something like go out to eat, which is all fine and good, but this year we did something much more suited to Mom and her personal tastes. This year, we set up a picnic at Abalone Cove state park, up on the cliffs of Palos Verdes. It was Kelli's idea, especially to set it up using her antique China. Mom just loved it!

Setting up with Kelli.

After Lunch, it was time to hike down the cliff to the beach where we occupied ourselves for an hour with a game of rock throwing. Yes. Someone would pick a target and we would see who could get closest to it. Sort of like rock bocce. :)

I'm dangerous when throwing anything, so eventually I just picked up the camera and enjoyed myself documenting instead of nearly hitting my mother with several rocks. That would not have been a very nice Mother's Day gift!

Such a beautiful day, and a wonderful time had by all of our family. :) Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there. Thanks for all you do for your families and those around you!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hello, May!

It's been a little while since I've posted. Mostly I've been up to my eyeballs in work, wedding planning, and moving! (GULP).

Yes, I've decided to give up the little house that I love and move home with my parents until the wedding so I can save some money for Jason and I to start with.

One of the things I've been working on is our wedding website and finalizing all of the details: Speer

Other than that, I've been working a ton (both on ALL SHOOK UP and substitute teaching), cleaning and getting ready to pack up and move out.

Last night, when I was working at Starlight, our Xpress group continued working on their new material from Chicago (Xpress is sort of difficult to explain, but they do performances around the area, and this year their season is comprised of material from 4 musicals...) Aside from the fact that they almost made me go stark raving mad (that happens sometimes...), I was smacked in the face with a story from last summer and twelve years back, one that I wanted to share.

When I was fifteen, and had to work on my high school musical as part of Advanced Dance, I was privileged to do some of the choreography, along with my best friend Solange, and our teammate, Connie. As a thank you at the end of the musical, the high school bought us tickets to the national tour of CHICAGO, which had just started it's revival run on Broadway. I'm pretty confident that they didn't know the content of CHICAGO when they sent us, but I thank God they didn't because I just LOVED IT. If you read one of my older posts, you will know that this is when my life began to change.

Fast forward 11 years to last summer, when I was leading a study abroad for World Learning in the UK. We had limited funds to see a show on the West End, and the only one that had tickets we could afford and enough seats for all twelve of us was CHICAGO. This was not the show that my group wanted to see. In fact they all wanted to see just about anything else. But still, we went. It was the same revival production of CHICAGO that I had seen all those years ago in Los Angeles, with the exact same staging and the Fosse choreography. I was mesmerized, all over again. What I realized when I saw it was just how influential that single production had been in my career as a director and choreographer. Everything about the bare bones style that I prefer to stage shows in, everything about the speed of the storytelling, everything about the use of the stage, orchestra and audience reflects how I choose to work today. I was dumbfounded because I had truly never realized how influenced I had been by that single production.

I have seen so many incredible shows since then (shows that may truly have been "better") and have taken away many amazing moments and ideas, but NONE has hit me so personally as CHICAGO. So, thank you Mrs. Vorhis and West High School for sending me to see that production. I cannot express what it did for me.