Sunday, December 15, 2013

People will like you more (scene from Skins)

Another scene from the British show "Skins" that I particularly enjoyed. It was in season five, episode "2."

Friday, December 13, 2013

Breakdancing Street Performance in Dublin (video)

This video is of the breakdancing crew "Sons of God" performing on the street in Dublin July 8, 2013. We were shopping and stumbled upon the performance.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Obi-Wan Kenobi is like God (scene from Skins)

Timmy and I have been marathoning the British TV show "Skins." There was a particularly funny moment from the first episode of the fourth season that I wanted to share.

One of the characters, Thomas, moved to Britain from the Republic of Congo. In this episode, Thomas' mom takes him and his siblings to a church that is presumably made up only of immigrants from Africa. After the service, his family approaches the father ("father" in the religious sense) on their way out; Thomas' mother expresses her concern about Thomas' British friends and how he has been behaving. The father basically tells Thomas that his British friends won't be there for him when he really needs them, and then this conversation occurs:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Clothes that I'm selling on ebay

I put six items up for sale on ebay. Everything is brand new, except for the Cubs' shirts (which were only worn once).

I based their prices on a percentage of their value, rather than awesome-deal prices. Basically, if the prices seem high to you, it is because if I can't get close to what they are worth, I'd rather keep them. The Stop Staring dress, for example, I gave a starting price of $99, but the dress sells for $154 on Stop Staring's web-site. The dress is made with such amazing quality (it is even made in the United States) that I wish I could fit it right now; the material is this amazing thick, stretchy fabric that is really flattering to curves.

Click here for ebay auction

Click here for ebay auction

Click here for ebay auction

Click here for ebay auction

Click here for ebay auction for size Medium
Click here for ebay auction for size Extra Large

Friday, December 6, 2013

Our surly Christmas tree

Timmy and I have not had a Christmas tree in years because we do not have the space for one (and I'm not a fan of miniature trees). This year I had the idea to create a non-traditional "tree" that would amuse us both: decorate my beloved surly hippo, Viola, up as a Christmas tree. Bonus: it will keep her from juggling flaming knives over Timmy's head while he sleeps.

I was going to top Viola with our star tree topper, but it was too heavy. I went off in search of something we already owned to top her with and decided that my bow bracelet would work. I love the bracelet so much so that it received its own blog entry earlier this year.

Viola sits atop our SkyBox (a personal vending machine), so, she can be the center of attention.

The ornaments just happened to match our wreath that we already owned.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Forno Rosso Pizzeria Napoletana

I have a bookmark folder on my browser called "Chicago Places to Try" that I am constantly adding places to; however, I am such a creature of habit, especially when it comes to food, that we rarely actually visit the places I have saved. Yesterday I decided that Timmy and I should visit one of those places today. The decision to visit Forno Rosso Pizzeria Napoletana was an easy choice after I revisited their photos on Yelp. In truth, the photos "called to me" so much so, that I contemplated heading out there at 10:00 pm (thankfully I didn't, because our waiter said that the kitchen usually closes at 10:30).

Forno Rosso means "red oven" in Italian; all the pizzas are cooked in a bright red wood-fired oven. It is located just a half mile south of The HIP (Harlem Irving Plaza) which makes it a convenient stop on a shopping trip.

When I looked at Forno Rosso's menu, the first thing I noticed was that the pizzas did not come in varying sizes. Since each of the pizzas cost around $13, I assumed that they were a small, personal-sized pizza, so, Timmy and I ordered a focaccia and two pizzas to split. Turns out the pizzas are actually large enough that two normal people (IE, not Timmy and me) would be happy just splitting one, or maybe one pizza with an appetizer if they were particularly hungry. So, two people could easily get their fill for $20 (before tax and tip). For those curious, I would estimate the pizzas to be about 12 inches wide, or about the size of a typical frozen pizza.

We ordered the Locale and the Affumicata. The Locale is described as "tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, sausage made by local butcher for Forno Rosso, organic mushrooms," although we left the mushrooms off. The Affumicata is "imported smoked mozzarella, hot sopressata, bell peppers, basil." Both were really good, however, I was in love with the Affumicata; I especially loved that it didn't have tomato sauce (I have a tomato allergy/intolerance).

The service we received was exceptional. Our waiter was very friendly and attentive. The owner stopped by our table on his way in and introduced himself; when we mentioned we found Forno Rosso on Yelp, he let us know that we could save 5% on our menu by "checking in" to Forno Rosso on Yelp.

Two other random notes: 1) Free refills on pop! This may seem like a given, but in Chicago it is not, 2) About half the pizzas do not have meat, which makes Forno Rosso a nice choice for vegetarians as well.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Horse trek in Ireland (on the Wicklow Mountains Day Tour)

Timmy and I enjoyed our second day tour in Ireland (of the Wicklow Mountains) much better than the first. The Wicklow tour only had about 12 people which made the tour much more personal. The first part of the tour involved an activity; each member of the tour could choose from a guided walk, cycling, or a horse trek. About half our group, including Timmy and I, choose the horse trek.

The horse trek was at Killegar Stables. I had only rode once before in my adult life (in the United States), and it was quite different. When I rode previously, it was a lot easier (and therefore, less intimating) than it was at Killegar for several reasons:
  • Our Killegar horses were taller, and/or the block to get on the horses was shorter.
  • American saddles have horns to hold onto (which made it easier to get on/off, and made me feel more secure when I was on the horse).
  • In the US, we only had the horses walk but at Killegar, we had to have them trot.
  • We had to do posting trots, and I have no coordination.
  • In Ireland we were on steep blacktop roads most of the time, instead of a dirt trail.

I just came across this interesting article on Western riding; it says Western riding developed because of a cowboy's need to control a horse with only one hand; American horses are generally trained to need less rein control than European horses.

All that said, the people at Killegar were wonderfully helpful, patient, and friendly. Unfortunately we did not get any photos during the ride, because my camera strap malfunctioned, and we had to leave it at the stables.

The van ride up the mountain to the stables was a little scary.

Timmy on his horse.

Me awkwardly getting on my horse.

After our horse trek.

Gorgeous view from the stables.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Jalapeno chicken popper pizza recipe

About a week ago, Timmy and I decided to try this recipe for a "Jalapeno popper pizza." We changed several things, so, I am going to share what we did. Also, when we make homemade pizza, we always double the recipe and make two pizzas; it doesn't take much more time to make two pizzas at once, so, we wrap the second pizza (unbaked) in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge to bake and eat within a couple days.

Here is what the pizza looked like assembled before being put in the oven (please forgive our dirty stove-top, I am a messy cook):

For two pizzas
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning from this recipe
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 boxes Jiffy pizza crust
2-3 tablespoons corn meal or flour
5 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces sour cream
4 cups shredded cheese (we used a mixture of mild cheddar and reduced fat Mozzarella)
4 jalapenos, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced

1) Cook the chicken breasts in a pan with 2 tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning (add more or less to taste).

2) Cook and crumble eight strips of bacon. We used microwave bacon; I like that it takes less than a minute to cook, and usually has less gristle.

3) Prepare two boxes of Jiffy pizza crust. We always add spices to the dough mix before we add water; for this pizza, we just added some garlic powder since the chicken was so seasoned. We find the Jiffy dough is usually overly wet when we add the recommended amount of water, so, we add a little bit of corn meal to the dough to make it easier to work with (you could also use flour instead). I am sure the homemade dough listed on the original recipe tastes better (what homemade crust doesn't?), however, I like the ease of Jiffy.

4) Mix cream cheese with sour cream, and spread on prepared pizza crusts.

4) Top pizzas with cooked and shredded chicken, bacon, cheese, sliced jalapenos, and sliced green onions.

5) Cook according to Jiffy pizza crust instructions.

Our sour cream/cream cheese mixture for our two pizzas was about 4 ounces total (in keeping with the original recipe). When we ate the pizza, we could not taste it much, so, we ended up adding more sour cream to the top of the pizza. So, I changed the recipe above to say 7 ounces total of the mixture, and hopefully that will be enough to be able to taste it under the other toppings.

The pizzas were delicious, however, they didn't look as great as Rachel Schultz's version; she used less cheese overall, more white cheese than orange, and of course, is a good photographer. Here's one of ours out of the oven:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Seven years with Timmy

Today is Timmy's and my seven year anniversary; so, I thought I'd overload you all with photos of us from our seven years. As many photos as I take, it was difficult to narrow it down to just these 35.