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blue evening :: driftclosely.com | drift close to me and sideways bending, whisper delicious words

The murder and execution of James Wright Foley has been eating away at me. I am still very, very saddened by the news of his death. Throughout the day, I find myself thinking of him, and I mourn for his loss.

The world seems to be an uglier place day by day, but in my heart, I’ve always held that good people doing good things still exist – people who will fight for what’s right, the truth, and the betterment of humanity.

Mr. Foley ultimately found his calling as a journalist. Even after his capture in Libya and numerous close calls, he continued to report from dangerous, war-torn countries. He believed in his work and had important stories to share with the world.

No one, especially the innocent, deserves that savage indignity.

Mr. Foley was brave; brave and steadfast until the bitter end, most likely in a conscious effort to protect Mr. Sotloff. I honestly will never be able to understand or comprehend the senseless brutality of his death, but I do know that the world is truly a darker place without him.

As his friend and college Nicole Tung stated in interview with NPR, Mr. Foley – at the very least – should be remembered for his grin and not for the depiction of his last moments.

Here’s to you, Mr. Foley; you have touched so many lives, including mine.

Photograph by Nicole Tung for AP.

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Would you like to see an ancient sewing project? I’m sure you do! :)

I came across Revoluzzza’s Easter Bunny Pattern last year and thought it was the sweetest thing! I made 3 as “just because” gifts for 3 little girls.

I did not add a seam allowance onto the pattern and just kind of winged it. This pattern is wonderful for using up scraps or small pieces of fabric!

I used both wool-blend and poly felt and hand-embroidered the faces…

And then I sewed them onto the body!

I embroidered the accent heart and put those on the body, too.

Bunnies gotta have appendages, right? (Seriously, this is a great stash buster.)

I used bamboo to stuff these little dolls instead of polyfill. Definitely worth the extra bit of spend.

Miss Red Bun got a little blue removable scarf and resides in Houston, hopefully still loved! It’s what I can only hope for. :)

And here we have our bunny brigade before they each found new homes… Green Bun is in Canberra, sleeping on a precious 2 year old girl’s bed with 3 other stuffies while Yellow Bun is somewhere in North Carolina.

Bunnyfrenz4lyfe!

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A brief summary of why this website has been neglected for so long:
After FileVault completely screwed up my backup (and at least 4 trips to the Apple store), I lost everything of value on my hard drive. I lost my pictures, programs installed, and setup. It took nearly a year to put it back together and come to terms with reality, but I’m back and hope to write with some regularity!

A lot can happen in a year: a lot of experiences that are neither positive or negative but rather, give you new perspective.

I am discouraged by society in general (do you know how emotionally difficult it is to keep up with the news), but I still have faith and positivity in humanity. But I want to know: how did we get here? Is there a way to prevent this? Is there anything I can do? Something that actually makes a difference instead of another douchey Kickstarter/GoFundMe campaign that funds someone’s vacation under the pretense of “raising awareness.”

Growing up in a relatively diverse city that is still surprisingly segregated, I personally believe that a lack of community and an underlying lack of understanding contributes to a lot of the problems we face.

I’m not a saint by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d like to think that I’m a realist: a realist who is able to make a difference, even if miniscule. After some serious consideration, I decided to apply with Big Brothers Big Sisters as a Big. BBBS typically works with children who come from high-risk neighborhoods, backgrounds, and families, and let’s face it: many of the children who are in the program lack privilege. (I won’t go into a diatribe about privilege, but suffice it to say, it’s not a word I loosely throw around.)

Nearly 4-5 months after I applied (any age, boy or girl), went through somewhat of a grueling interview process, aced the training, and mentally began preparing myself for my Little, I was matched!

I’ll be writing about my personal experiences with this program that may hopefully give some ideas to other Bigs or maybe convince others to volunteer as well. Already, after nearly a year, it has been an eyeopener to say the least, and I am still working with some behavioral issues. It has NOT been easy, and I’ve had to already make some pretty difficult calls in our relationship… Which brings me to one of the most important things I can say about this program:
KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR MATCH SPECIALIST! They are 100% there to help you with any questions or concerns. Cultivate that relationship as well. :)

That being said, the really specific, serious stuff – it’s not going to be included here. I have permission from my Little’s mother that I can post her photograph on social media or wherever, but I will not do so here.

Thanks for taking the time to reading about my “new” endeavor; I hope you have been well. :)


Me and Miss KK on Match Day! Her mother took this photo with her phone. :)

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Stating the obvious: yes, it’s been almost five months. Cool stuff has been happening, and I’m looking forward to recap the experiences (although, I probably still need to catch up on some of the trips I took last year…).

That being said – this happened on March 13. ;)

Urban Harvest is, IMHO, Houston’s most authentic (and best!) farmers’ market. They’re strict – but in a good way – about what can be sold here. Unlike some other farmers’ markets that resell imported goods, they truly encourage local Texas farmers and craftsmen to grow or make whatever they’re selling. I know some local things can cost more, but every little bit does help. I think going out and seeing all the vendors and meeting people in the community is a very good thing!

Before the market took a break for the summer, I would frequent the Downtown City Hall market where I’d take my lunch. I’d buy produce for my meals, but I’d also venture out to see the people who would come out in support of the market. Yeah, I know some people are grabbing a lunch, but it’s nice to know that we’re all connected in even a simple way.

The best Urban Harvest market day EVER? Their RODEO DAY.

Now, what does this mean?
ANIMALS. PETTING ZOO. ANIMALS.

I want to touch all the animals.

Conveniently enough, I was also making my second trip to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo that evening. :) (More on that…)

There were lots of kids vying to touch the animals, so I had to hold my own. You know, without looking like a complete and utter psycho by shoving them aside because that’s socially frowned upon. And can you believe that some kids were cutting?! I was waiting, too, you know. :|

They had baby chicks and chickens. I couldn’t even get close.

But I did see a baby goat drinking milk!

And then I saw a pig! I even got to feed the pig a handful of Cheerios. Apparently Cheerios is one of their favorites.

Having Urban Harvest Downtown is honestly a lovely venue. You can see people sitting under the umbrellas or lounging near the water enjoying the actual spring weather we got this year:

While wandering onto the other side, I saw a man with a goat. And because I couldn’t even get close to touching that aforementioned baby goat, I politely called out to him, “HI, CAN I TOUCH YOUR BABY GOAT?”

And that man was super nice and said I could totally touch his goat. Her name is Cyclone. They named their goats after rides of the now-defunct Astroworld. He even let me hold her! (It wasn’t that easy; you have to really support their legs or they freak out.) I asked my coworker to take my picture, but the pictures never turned out, so Tim came back and let me take some more pictures. :D

Cyclone was so friendly! She kept kissing me and got super close to me and was all over my ear – probably the most action I’ve seen in months! But seriously, thank goodness she didn’t inhale my earring off.

Tim @ Swede Farm is a real gent and a class act. He also gave me his card in case I ever wanted to raise my own goats (I’m really glad that someone has that faith in me).


Oooh!!


Not the best but one can’t be too vain in moments like these.

Ahhh, this was probably the MOST FUN farmers’ market day ever!! I can’t wait until next year’s. :D

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I never purchase during the season – always after. :)
After my brush with Billy Reid a few years ago, I’ve fallen in love all over again.

I picked up these pieces from his Autumn/Winter 2012 collection and am thrilled to have these classic staples in my wardrobe! All pictures from BillyReid.com.


This was totally my precious. I saw this in their newsletter and knew for a fact that I couldn’t afford this. As such, I saved all the photographs of this coat, so I could salivate over it in the future. Suffice it to say, the Houston store hooked me up! 100% wool, natural horn buttons, leather undercollar, bound seams, made in Italy. I fucking died.

I’m getting the sleeves shortened. I can’t wait until it’s back into my paws. I’m hoping it gets cold enough for me to wear it a couple of times before spring. Please!! :)


The *perfect* coat for sweaters and bulky knits. I’ve been wearing this coat recently, and I adore the wide sleeve openings and warmth provided. I know everyone isn’t a fan of cropped sleeves, but I am! 100% camel hair, chocolate lambskin trim, gold flat-top buttons, made in the USA, woo!


Two flowy silk shirts with natural mother of the pearl buttons in camel and slate. Both proudly made in the USA. These look a lot better on people than on the rack. This is cut slim in the shoulders, so I sized up to an L (hi, man shoulders). The drape is gorgeous; I love how this pairs with a white tank and jeans.

…I’ll get around to that sofa, I swear.

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Every year, my company has a pretty nice Christmas shindig. Seriously, this is the annual highlight of my job. The party is hosted at the Hilton Downtown, and the food is delicious. I try to cram as much stuff into my piehole, roll myself out the door, and then pass out in my bed. A+ game plan if I say so myself!

This year, we decide to make it a family event. Mom brought my brother as her date, and I took my sister. For the first time – honestly – I had a blast. It was a real party. ;)


I am 99% sure that my brother’s phone is fused to his hand.


Family portrait! Time to class things up.


Yellow people are yellow. Oh shi-


Okay, that’s much better. :)


Jerry’s obligatory “pimping” photo.

Okay, so here’s the story on these pictures. I am *terrible* when it comes to posing. Like godawful. It’s so unnatural to me! When Jerry takes pictures, he lifts inspiration from the sorority girls who know how to pose ever-so-perfectly. How do their bodies move that way?!


Awkward!


Nailed it.


My sister and brother rocking it out on the dance floor. ;)

Side story: the DJ played Gangnam Style, and Jerry was shaking his head disappointingly and said people weren’t doing the dance correctly. So he decided to go out there and show them how its done, exactly like the music video.


After the dance number, the kid was high-fived to death after and even got drink tickets from a pretty lady for a job well done. (God, who knew Jerry was s0o0o0o cool.)


Cheers!

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It’s been a long time since I’ve used a cookbook that I really enjoyed. After doing my second Whole30, which is still ongoing, I needed some inspiration. Truthfully, I was getting bored with the food I was eating.

I ordered Well Fed* by Melissa Joulwan during my first Whole30 but never really got around to actually using it. After cooking from it this past week, I wonder WTF was wrong with me.

One thing that I absolutely adore about this cookbook? The fact that there are gorgeous colored pictures for every. single. dish. Why aren’t more cookbooks like this? The book reads well and is packed with a ton of helpful information, pairing suggestions, and tips. Plus, the recipes really demonstrate a showcase of exciting flavors.

I purchased some organic chicken breasts that were on manager’s sale. What to do with them, what to do with them… Personally, breast meat is not my favorite. At all. It tastes flavorless and is easy to overcook.

Enter the Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat.

The secret: brining!
I didn’t use everything in Melissa’s recipe, but I followed the general 8 cups of water to ~3 tbsps of salt. Next time: I’ll use sea salt. I only had the iodized stuff on hand. I threw in pressed cloves of garlic, slices of lime, pink peppercorns, and coconut aminos. I let my butterflied chicken breasts bathe in the salty concoction overnight.

The next afternoon, I pat the chicken dry and seasoned the chicken breasts by sprinkling Mel’s spice seasoning over them, thinly and evenly coating them. I didn’t have chili powder and subbed that with paprika. Over medium-high heat, I grilled them on my cast iron grill pan and smartly used a glass lid to cover my chicken (ha). Note to self: buy a proper cover. Also: grilling indoors, even with the range hood roaring = lots of smoke. Oh well. :)


They cooked in the specified time (whee!). Also: my iPhone’s camera lens is scratched up. Apple, y u use plastic there. Yyyyy.

Words cannot even describe just how succulent this chicken breast was. I won’t lie: I’m shocked that I even made this. And it was damn good.

I paired this with the Moroccan Dipping Sauce (subbed out parsley for double cilantro) on salads for lunch during the week. One of my colleagues tried my chicken and was blown away by how tender and tasty it was. Another loved how the Dipping Sauce smelled. All in all: success.


Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat on a bed of mixed greens, sliced Persian cucumber, heirloom tomatoes, Moroccan Dipping Sauce. Lunch of the week!

*I’m not sure if this is an Amazon affiliate link. I purchase my Amazon stuff through someone’s affiliate link, and I’m not sure if it generates a link that reflect his link for items I look at. Just wanted to be upfront about that. :)

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Happy February!

I’m really excited about this month. I recently acquired a second job part-time, so I’ll be moonlighting on the weekends in a mostly stress-free environment. :) Also, I’ll have a special visitor come the first week of March, so I’ll need to get my home in tip top shape! Should be interesting since I’ll be working at least six days out of the week…

Oh, I’m still riding the Whole30 wave. Tasha decided to do it, so I figured why the hell not. It’s been going well. I still want to eat junk food, but I’m not crippled by it. I honestly don’t get people who go on and on about how fruit is candy to them. Yeah, whatever. I like fruit, but it’s not fucking candy or cake. And frankly, while I do enjoy fruit, it’s not even remotely close to a slice of domino cake.

Anyway!

I made some “egg-like” bread last night using the recipe in Paleo Indulgences. Ingredients are still Whole30 compliant since I subbed out the sweetener with applesauce. My “bread” didn’t look like the recipe, but it’s okay. I guess I expected this to taste like some of those Chinese breads I’ve eaten (ha, wishful thinking!). Despite the bit of coconut flour, it’s not really bread – more like an air filled omelette.


After they were toasted in the toaster.

Since I had an unruly yard to tackle, I figured I’d load up with a breakfast fit for champions. ;) I scrambled two eggs in ghee and made a pancake; then I sliced them into quarters for my sandwich. I reheated three slices of bacon and portioned the pieces out. After slicing a tomato and adding some baby spinach, a sandwich was born!


Boss.

After helping myself to sparkling water and two clementines, it was off to fight the unruly yard!

I should’ve taken before pictures. My yard was *bad*. People who garden would be totally embarrassed for me. Mark fixed the lawnmower that was left behind, and he advised me to mow today. I figured this was good advice since I will have very little free time. Quick yard trims will be done before I drag myself into work on the weekends (sorry, neighbors).

I took a partial shot of what my yard looked like. Now, this is just a part of it, but imagine this everywhere. Imagine dandelion stalks. Imagine even more weeds. That’s my yard in a nutshell!


/shame

My lawnmower was probably thinking, “WTF is this shit.” It quit on me repeatedly because of how clogged it was getting. Mowing a weed-infested yard is tough work! Firing up the damn mower is tough work! I was pouring sweat, but thank god for ridiculous sombrero-like hats. They’re a lifesaver. Oh, I was wearing my Fitbit, and this morning’s yardwork shenanigans earned me about 4K steps.


Bitch be PROUD. :D

I managed to get bitten on a beautiful 70 degree day; probably from disturbing some growing weeds bigger than Ashlin (no lie). Coupled with the pouring sweat, there was only one thing left to do…


Rub-a-dub-dub… Jack Froth + Lush Pud!


It’s a bit like a cappuccino with some cocoa/cinnamon sprinkled on the top, don’t you think? :)

For the rest of the day, I ended up cooking a bunch, and then ran off to Ikea, the big Trader Joe’s, and the crappiest Whole Foods ever… I’m ready to take this week head on!

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I guess I didn’t announce it here, but I’m doing the Whole30 again this month. After a ton of bad eating on my Mexico trip and refusing to go grocery shopping when I got back, I direly needed to clean it up. I may or may not have made a bag of cookies one of my last meals before the Whole30 -ahem-.

I managed to recruit a partner during this! (Hi, Nic/Radiotrash!) I’ve really enjoyed keeping in touch with her, sharing our statuses and encouraging each other. It’s been great.

Anyway, it’s the end of Day 15, and things are going pretty well! It’s been easy to say no and walk away from stuff. I think the accountability has made this go a lot easier.

However, I’m bad, though. I went to the store yesterday and bought some cookies to eat after the Whole30. We’ll see if I still want to eat them. If not, I’ll give them away as gifts. :D Funnily enough, I’m not even tempted to eat them during this process. Woo!

One of my go to meals now that I’ve portioned out is pork meatballs in spaghetti sauce. It was pretty easy to make. Ground pork, 2 eggs (I’d cut it back to 1 next time), lots of minced fresh garlic, fresh basil, almond flour, salt, and pepper. I cooked them on the stove in coconut oil. They’re not perfectly round, but they work. ;)

I then made the spaghetti sauce by browning minced onions and garlic with a can of diced tomatoes. I seasoned with dried basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. After the sauce cooked for awhile, I tossed in the meatballs, so that they could absorb some of the sauce. In went mushrooms, and boom! Lunch for a week.

I currently eat this on a bed of spinach. I have a spaghetti squash, but I’m too lazy to roast it…

Most of my meals are usually the same. I don’t have that much time to cook, and I’m okay with eating the same things each day as long as I vary it up the next week. :)

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My TKB order came in, so I spent the weekend pressing my full-size pigments. I used 36mm pans, isopropyl alcohol, TKB mixing medium, and glycerin. Now, I personally prefer this size for full-size containers.

My favorite “palette” that I made:

Sorry for the slightly washed out colors; they were kind of a bitch to photograph with my phone in natural daylight. Doesn’t help that my lens is a bit scratched up. :(

Comprised of the the following shadows:
- Left top: Morgan’s Crypt Cyprium metallic copper bronze
- Right top: Morgana’s Crypt Enchanted Forest deep brown with intense gold to blue-green flecks
- Left bottom: Fyrinnae Arcane Magic: Dark Fantasy intense grass green shimmer on a black base, which changes to a golden-peach to deep orange-coral (not seeing any of the peach or coral)
- Right bottom: Fyrinnae Dressed to Kill glimmering, glowing, gilded green with flashes of gold and green sparkle” – hello alliteration

More accurate picture of the colors:

My absolute favorite is Enchanted Forest. It is *so* sparkly.
I was really pleased with the quality of Melissa’s eyeshadows. These two looked like the MAC crushed metallic pigments but were smooth and silky in texture. You can definitely see the blue green sparkles in this picture:

Here are all of the full-size containers I pressed:

And as usual, all items were purchased by me. :)

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