Lunatics Hanging Out of Trucks (Or How to Make an Orange Julius)

Remember on Friday when I said I thought I was coming down with a cold?

Yeah, well, I was kind of right.

I am sick, but it’s more of a nuclear germ assault affecting everything above my neck than your average garden variety cold. I’m actually going to the doctor today because I can hardly swallow, it hurts to speak above a whisper, and each day it gets worse instead of better.

When I woke up this morning I wanted to tear out my own tonsils with a kitchen knife but decided to make myself an orange julius instead. I didn’t have any concentrated orange juice in the house, so I had to walk up to the market on the corner to get some.

I threw on some fleecy pants that add at least five pounds to my legs, a huge cashmere granny sweater that gives me an ass for days, and I twisted my un-brushed hair into a makeshift bun. I was wearing my glasses and my chucks, and I generally looked (and felt) like all-around hammered shit.

As I was walking home, frozen OJ in hand, I heard incessant whistling over my shoulder. I looked over to see some lunatic hanging out of the side of a pick up truck waving at me. When things like this happen I often wonder why I ever bother to brush my hair or apply make up because I swear weirdos will nearly fall out of moving vehicles gawking at you no matter how heinous you look.

I’m sure there’s some lesson in there somewhere only I’m too tired to figure out what it is right now….

I was on the fence about whether it was culinarily responsible to post my orange julius recipe when I couldn’t actually taste the one I made this morning but decided to do it anyway because I’ve been drinking them since I was a kid and they always tasted OK before.

I’m sure this one was great too.

At least it looked like it tasted good.

At least it looked like it tasted good.

Orange Julius

4 oz Orange Juice Concentrate
1 C Whole Milk
8 Ice Cubes, Crushed
2 T Honey, Melted
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 C Water, optional*

Put all of the ingredients into the blender. Blend and enjoy.

And before I head to the doctor, here’s a cheerful break up song to add a little skip to your step. I can’t get enough of it even though I haven’t really broken up with anyone since February, and that was only sort of break up adjacent because we didn’t go out that many times.

Whatever.

The beat is awesome, and Kygo is everything.

* I like mine to have more of a kick so I skip the water, but you do you. 

Puppy Teepee (Or Ziggy the Fluffy Messiah)

OMIGOSH, it has been SO long since I talked to you about dogs… or decor. So today I’m totally talking about both.

Last weekend I went to see my long lost Gillian. She and I went to USC together and bonded over a mutual love of Twin Peaks when we were wee ones in grad school. We worked in the same office for separate non-profits when we were students, and after graduation we coincidentally worked for two producers who happened to be best friends.

We used to talk every day.

Now she is an incredibly successful producer in her own right, and she travels a lot for work.

We see each other when we can, and even though we don’t talk every day it’s as if no time has passed at all each time we do.

That’s the amazing thing about old friends. ❤

Anyway, she has this darling little dog that I used to babysit when she first adopted him. My mummy met him once, and she loved the little guy so much she referred to him as the fluffy messiah. (My mum doesn’t even like dogs….)

When you see Ziggy you’ll see why she was so taken with him.

Here he is at our Thanksgiving Dinner.

He loves meat pies.

Couldn’t you just die?

His bow tie is beyond.

His bow tie is beyond.

Do you know what else is beyond?

His dog teepee.

Chevron + Puppy Tee Pee = <3

Chevron + Puppy Tee Pee = ❤

Gillian’s interior designer found it on Etsy… and when I saw it this weekend I was like, “I need one for my bubba!”

The only problem?

This is my dog.

He is the size of a teenage boy.

He does not weigh nine pounds like Ziggy.

He is the size of a teenage boy.

His teepee would take up way too much real estate in my little place.

So, we’ll just have to wait on that for now.

If you don’t have a man-sized dog and want to get a puppy teepee, here’s the link to the Etsy store.

Come on, you know you need one….

Michigan Men and Wolverine Women (Or How to Make Peet’s Maple Latte)

OK, this post has to be kinda quick because I have A LOT to do today. I’m on page 50 of my script rewrite, and I need to finish revising it this weekend. I also have a whole bunch of Grey’s Anatomy episodes to study for story structure, and I really need a massage because my body is a mess.

Oh, and I think I’m coming down with a cold.

In the spring. When it’s like 95 outside.

Whatever.

SO…

I usually limit my caffeine intake to one latte at dawn, but today I’m really dragging so I decided I needed a little more espresso in my life. Peet’s Coffee is by far my favorite in LA, and they have this totally amazing maple latte that I sometimes sip for a special treat. It’s actually made with real maple syrup (I asked), so it’s not as crazy on the glycemic scale as a Torani syrup. (This makes me happy.)

Plus, I’m half Canadian and everyone knows Canadians are genetically obligated to like maple syrup so there’s also that.

I didn’t want to schlep all of the way to Peet’s and shell out $4.75 for maple goodness when time and money were precious today, so made a maple latte at home.

See?

Here it is in my Michigan mug.

Here is my happy maple latte in my happy Michigan mug.

I made that vase for a Michigan Alumni Club event I threw last year, and the club gave me this mug as a thank you for my efforts. (Cute, right?)

Here’s another look at the latte up close — in case you don’t know what coffee looks like.

I love Michigan. And espresso.

I love Michigan. And espresso.

I know you’re probably all like, “Of course you love your alma mater. Whatever,” but I need to be honest with you.

I didn’t want to go to Michigan.

I was super, super angry my parents made me go to a state school for budget reasons, and I was very ungrateful for the opportunity to study at a top-rated university because I thought it was beneath me — and because I didn’t want to be surrounded by people from my high school who had lower test scores and lower GPAs than I had.

I also wanted to run away from my past and everyone from my high school who knew about it — only they were everywhere on campus. There were 324 of us in my graduating class, and 75 of us went to Michigan. At least 15 were in my dorm, and seeing them was hard for me at times.

In retrospect, they weren’t the problem.

My anger was.

I eventually made peace with Michigan, and now I’m also making peace with my past. Writing has played a huge part in my healing, and I’m so grateful God gave me the ability to express myself in this way.

I’m grateful I had to sit in my discomfort for four years in Ann Arbor because it made me stronger. And now I’m grateful for the opportunity to give voice to my story.

This quote I found in the Michigan Alumni magazine sums up how I feel about Michigan, and it means so much to me that a Michigan football player said it since writing a football script has helped me heal.

And that quote is held up by a magnet given to me by one of my oldest and dearest friends from high school who knows my past.

It’s held up by a magnet given to me by Kristy one of my oldest and dearest friends from high school who knows everything about my past.

I may not be a Michigan Man like that guy, but I am a Wolverine Woman, and not a very well-behaved one at that.

I never have been…

These magnets were given to me by Nicole and Sarah, two other warrior women who just happen to be Wolverines like me.

This photo of mouthy little me is held up with magnets given to me by Nicole and Sarah, two other Wolverine Women.

And by the way, I will never be well-behaved because I’m fighting for myself and for what matters to me.

So bring it on, world….

God, my maple latte, and I have got this!

Oh, and if you want to make your own maple latte to face whatever battle you’re facing, here’s how I did it:

Maple Latte

2 Espresso Shots
1 T Maple Syrup, Grade B
2/3 C Whole Milk, Steamed

Add maple syrup to espresso. Pour in steamed milk and enjoy!

Hail.

David Lynch, Lindsey Stirling, and Cola Carnitas (Or How to Make Slow Cooker Cola Carnitas)

Guys! Exciting things are happening!

First of all, I’m almost done with season 4 of Game of Thrones, and I got HBO back yesterday — just in time for the April 12 premiere of season 5.

So this is all terribly exciting in a nerdy kind of way….

Also? I saw Blue Velvet for free at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood last night. The movie is beyond super messed up, and I wrote my honors thesis on it when I was a wee one in undergrad. (Another nerdy thing.) Seeing it again all these years later I was like, “Wow. I should not have watched that movie when I was 12. No wonder I had to write 75 pages about it in college. I was probably trying to heal my adolescent trauma through academia.”

David Lynch?

Is not for kids.

Who knew?

ANYWAY…

In other news, I finished yet another pass of my script last night before watching Dennis Hopper torment Isabella Rossellini and Kyle MacLachlan for two hours. I can’t REALLY say the fourth draft is done because I know I have messy bits that I still need to tie together, but it’s CLOSE to being a fourth draft. This makes me SMILE.

Do you know what else makes me smile?

Carnitas.

True story.

I made cola carnitas in the slow cooker for my cousin Maddie on Tuesday, and it was so delicious we almost died.

More pig. Duh.

More pig. Duh.

I did a whole taco spread with gluten free chips, corn tortillas, cotija cheese, salsa verde, and black bean dip. We talked about boys, I gave her half of the clothes in my closet, and we laughed our heads off while we stuffed our faces with piggy goodness.

It was beyond.

If you want to make some cola carnitas yourself, here’s the recipe.

Slow Cooker Cola Carnitas

4 Pound Pork Shoulder
1 Medium Onion, sliced
4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
2, 12 oz Bottles of Mexican Coca Cola*
1 7 oz Can of Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce**

Put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker on low and allow the pork shoulder to simmer all day. If you’re in a rush, you can put it on high for about 4 or 5 hours.

Once the pork is cooked thoroughly, take it out of the slow cooker, remove the fat, and shred the pork with a fork. I discard the other ingredients, but you could use the onions if you’d like. They’re really tender and sweet.

After you eat the carnitas, try not to dance like a lunatic like my family does when we have Mexican food.

My family is super fun.

We are mentally ill for Mexican food.

(We are also super fun.)

And because I’m into spreading fun, here’s a song I’m way into right now. It’s Lindsey Stirling, and the video has a whole M.C. Escher thing going.

❤ I LOVE Lindsey Stirling. And M.C. Escher. ❤

*Mexican Coca Cola is made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup. I’ve never tried it with traditional cola, but I’m sure it would be fine if you can’t find Mexican Coke.

**Sometimes I only use half the can if I want it less spicy.

OK, I’m done rambling now. I’m off to USC to handle some bizznass.

Mint Chocolate for My Mouth (Or Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls)

Remember how I was all into the Cookie Dough Protein Balls from PaleOMG a few weeks ago? (If not, you can find the Balls for Breakfast post here.)

Well, I am still into them. WAY into them. Only, I was eating a handful one day and thought, “What if I put MINT in here?”

If you’re thinking, “Mint with almonds? Have you taken leave of your senses, woman?” I understand.

But go with me for a moment here because it’ll be worth it.

I promise.

Spence the Spinosauraus Can't STOP with these things.

Even Trudy the Triceratops can’t STOP with these things.

If you think Trudy and I are on to something with the mint in our mouths, here’s the recipe.

Mint Chocolate Cookie Dough Protein Balls

1/2 C Trader Joe’s Vanilla Hemp Protein*
2 T Coconut Flour
1 T Coconut Sugar
pinch of salt
1 T Almond Butter
2 T Almond Milk
1 1/2 T Coconut Oil, melted
1/2 tsp Pure Mint Extract
2 T Miniature Chocolate Chips, Semi-Sweet

Mix the first four ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix the almond butter, almond milk, coconut oil, and mint extract together in another bowl and stir to create uniform consistency. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix to blend. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll into balls and allow them to firm up in the refrigerator.

Try not to eat them before they set up….

Oh, and the other thing I’m into right now?

Is this song by Thomas Jack.

Please don’t get all uppity about the Chaplin film that contains this speech and give me a lecture on sensitivity. I just like the words in the context of the song.

*Trader Joe’s also makes a chocolate hemp protein. That would probably be good as well. 

Healthy Strawberry Banana Mousse (Or Fluffy Goodness for Your Mouth)

Wanna know something?

Ice cream is hands down my favorite dessert on the planet.

Hands down.

But if I’m being really honest with you, it hasn’t always been an easy relationship. I had an eating disorder in college that left me with some really bad feelings about my favorite dessert. We made up last year, which was kind of spectacular and uh-mazing, but that’s a better story for my other blog ‘cuz it’s kinda long.

Anyway…

Even though ice cream and I are playing nicely now, I don’t indulge every day. I prefer to save it for a special occasion.

If I want something with a creamy texture that isn’t off the charts sweet for a regular day I make this.

So fluffy.

Get in my mouth, fluffy goodness!

“What is that?” You ask.

It’s a strawberry banana mousse, and it’s super light and satisfying. It gives me a taste of something sweet and also satisfies my desire for a smooth, soothing texture without being bonkers on fat and sugar.

Here’s the recipe in case you wanna make your own.

Strawberry Banana Mousse

1/2 C Frozen Strawberries, Sliced
1/2 C Frozen Bananas, Sliced
1 C Whole Milk
2 T Coconut Sugar*

Place the bananas and the milk in the food processor, and combine until blended completely. (You have to use a food processor to achieve the fluffy consistency; a blender will make a smoothie instead.) Add the strawberries and the coconut sugar, and whip until fully combined.

It makes about 1 1/2 – 2 C.

You have to serve it immediately otherwise the airiness will diminish if you put it in the refrigerator or let it sit out too long.

*If you have sweet, organic frozen strawberries, you can get away with 1 T of coconut sugar. If you’re using the cheaper frozen kind you’ll probably need the full 2 T of coconut sugar.

OK, that’s all.

I’m off to write my football script for a while.

XOXO

More Peter Rabbit for My Purse! (Or Easter Cupcake Inspiration)

It’s another sunny Friday in SoCal, which is a reason to smile even if Buzz Feed says we’re three years into a vile drought.

This drought's for real. Source.

This shit’s for real. Source.

So, that is all terribly sad.

Wanna talk about bunnies instead?

Good, so do I.

I happened upon this darling Peter Rabbit cupcake kit when I was wandering around Pasadena yesterday, and it cried out for me to buy it.

I mean, who could blame me?

Williams Sonoma KNEW I needed a little more Peter Rabbit in my life.

More Peter Rabbit for my purse! Thank you, Williams Sonoma!

I’m going use them for the Easter beach picnic I’m planning with my friend Nicole. It’s her sister Elle’s birthday that day so we’re having an intimate gathering of close friends that will serve dual functions.

When I asked Nicole what flavors should fill my darling find, she requested lemon curd and chocolate peanut butter. (Not together. OBVIOUSLY.)

She loves the lemon curd cupcakes I made for my grandma’s birthday (you can find the recipe here), but I don’t have a go-to recipe for chocolate peanut butter, so I’m doing some research.

See, I’m trying to decide if I want to do peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate filling or chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling.

What do you think?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Albus and I are heading out for a walk while our spicy maple ribs slowly get amazing in our oven.

XOXO

P.S. If you want to buy the cupcake kit but don’t want to leave your house, you can find it here.

P.P.S. I do actually care about the planet and if you do too, you should check out Chef Nathan Lyon’s article on the impact of California’s drought on the rest of the country here.

‘Cuz Candied Bacon (Or Kinda Low Carb Maple Candied Bacon with Cayenne)

Last week I candied bacon because… well, bacon + maple syrup + maple sugar + cayenne = SUPERFREAKINGAMAZING in Your Mouth.

If the idea of candied bacon makes you like this:

IMG_1465

There’s maple sugar and cayenne on this?

You need to trust me and make some anyway because, eating it made me do this in my kitchen.

I am not mentally ill. I swear.

I am not mentally ill. I swear.

It also converted this guy into a carnivore.

It was so good it converted this guy into a carnivore.

So long leafy plants!

I have my writers’ group tonight, so I think I’m going to make another batch. (The first one didn’t last long.)

If you want to make some yourself, here’s how I did it:

SPICY MAPLE CANDIED BACON

1/2 C Maple Syrup, Grade B
2 tsp Dijon Mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
4 tsp Maple Sugar*
1/2 tsp Cayenne
16 oz Bacon, Thick Cut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a metal drying rack on top of the foil.

Mix the first four ingredients together. Place the bacon strips on top of the drying rack. Using a pastry brush, paint each strip of bacon with the glaze.

Place in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes. Using tongs, flip the bacon over and paint on the remaining glaze. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until you achieve desired crispiness.

Try not to burn your fingers by eating it while it’s still hot. You need to allow it to cool on the rack, but it’s hard to wait!!!

*Maple sugar is lower on the glycemic index than regular brown sugar and can be found at specialty stores. If you can’t find maple sugar you can substitute coconut sugar. If you don’t care about the glycemic stuff, it’ll work with brown sugar for sure.

Blame It On the Leprechauns (Or a Super Fun St. Paddy’s Day Idea for Kids)

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and even though I’m not Irish, I’m ALL about any holiday that celebrates the sanctity of corned beef. But before I run off and stuff my face full of it…

My friend Kelley has a darling St. Patrick’s Day tradition for her kids that I absolutely have to tell you about.

Kelley and I met in the Pi Phi chapter room 17 years ago when we were supposed to be studying. We talked all night instead, and have basically never stopped.

I do not have words for how much I love her.

Here we are with a lobster's butt in Naperville.

Here we are with a lobster’s head on a platter.

(You may remember her from the Rosemary Meyer Lemonade with Vodka post if you were around in the old days of the blog.)

She lives in a fancy suburb outside of Chicago, and I don’t get to see her nearly enough.

ANYWAY, the thing she does for her kids:

She and her husband came up with it a few years ago, and it’s so great I want to steal it for my own kids some day.

The night before St. Patrick’s day, they stage a treasure hunt that looks a lot like a leprechaun invasion. When the kids wake up in the morning, she tells them that leprechauns vandalized the house while they were sleeping, and they have to follow the trail of mayhem looking for clues.

When she told me about it, I made her send me photos because I am bossy.

The first photo arrived with the following caption, “It’s 11:15 here and I am like a lunatic, literally teepeeing my own house. I am a suburban weirdo.”

Fun, right?

Fun, right?

She is NOT a suburban weirdo; she is an excellent mom who happens to be very creative.

IMG_1568

She also has a kitchen I would kill for.

I am so overdue for a weekend visit so we can cook something exquisite together. I digress…

FullSizeRender-3

Here’s some more of the leprechauns’ handiwork.

The trail goes all throughout the house with the final clue in the bathroom.

IMG_1572

The green water is not the result of one of those 80s toilet tank thingies. The leprechauns did that too.

After taking in this year’s mayhem, her six year old son Blake told his sister Audrey, “Leprechauns should be covered by insurance.”

I am not making this up.

See why I love Kelley and her family?

I did not vandalize my own house because my dog seems to do that pretty well on his own, but I did accidentally end up at St. Patrick’s Day mass this afternoon. That is a very long story that belongs on my other blog.

Before I write that story, I’m off pay homage to the saint who sent the snakes away by stuffing my face with corned beef.

See ya!

Friday I’m in Love (Or Three Things I’m Into)

It’s FRIDAY!!!!

And I’m in LOVE. ❤ ❤ ❤

But not in the way you think I mean. I’m in love with my life, and I want to tell you about a few things that are making me happy right now because I’m all about spreading love and happiness. ❤

MY FAVORITE GLUTEN FREE CRACKERS:

They’re the Sea Salt Brown Rice Crackers by Food Should Taste Good, but a better name might be Crack in a Box.

The government should require a warning label for these things.

I mean…

Monica loves them so much, I think she might fight me for them.

Monica loves them so much, she snuggles with the box. 

They used to carry them at Costco, and I got ADDICTED. They stopped stocking them last year, and I nearly had to go to therapy.

I recently found them at the high end market on my street for 6x the price I paid at Costco. I only let myself buy them as a special treat because I’m not trying to be homeless because I’m addicted to amaranth and rice crackers.

Today felt like the right day to splurge, so I bought a box.

You probably should too, but please don’t blame me if you end up living in your car because of your addiction.

WALKING THE DOG WHILE LISTENING TO SCREENWRITING PODCASTS: 

I’m ALL about maximizing efficiency, so I get excited when I can do two things at once. Yesterday, I found a way to do THREE things at once, which was so fabulous it was almost like having an orgasm.

See, I figured out how to work out, tire out my enormous dog, AND solve some script problems all at once.

The solution?

Walking the dog while listening to screenwriting podcasts.

Genius, right?

I decided to make it an extra relaxing time for us, so we even lay in the park for a while as I listened to smart and famey writers talk about writing.

See?

Aren't you glad I showed you my armpit?

Aren’t you glad I showed you my armpit?

Nature + Learning = ❤

Plus a humming bird joined us for a while.

It was awesome.

That's not dirt. It's a bird.

That’s not dirt. It’s a bad photo of a little bird. I promise.

Time with my dog + birds + learning = ❤ ❤ ❤

If you’re into this sort of movie madness, you can check out Scriptnotes here.

And last but not least….

WRITING TO YOUTUBE MIX TAPES:

I started doing it this week, and it’s uh-mazing. Most of the mix tapes run about an hour, so you get uninterrupted beats without having to deal with ads.

True story.

I put one of my favorites below. This one happens to be all Kygo tracks, but I’m not mad about it. It includes remixes of Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire,” Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.”

Plus Owly, the genius who created it, even lists the tracks on the playlist so you don’t have to interrupt your writing flow to shazaam a song when you like it.

OK, I’m off to implement some of the screenwriting tips from yesterday before going to dinner with my adorable aunt and cousin.

We’re going to listen to country music while eating our favorite burritos.

It’s going to be beyond.

XOXO

❤ ❤ ❤