Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Long time, no type

Heeyyy. How's it going? No, I didn't forget about my blog*, I've just been super busy what with quitting my job and starting pastry school full time.

Speaking of, I'm in serious need of getting my booty back on my monthly goals track. I've gained a few of my pounds back, but you would too if you were making danish, croissant, and baked Alaska 4 days a week. On top of that, we took our annual Shake that Big Bear ski trip the first weekend of Feb, and who sprained her MCL? This girl. While I'm not gimping around town anymore, I'm starting to swim tomorrow in an effort to maintain my new found daily pastries habit. What, a girl needs her sweets.

So what have I been up to? Here's the bullet version:
  • Went to Raleigh for work meetings in Dec, and went to a bar with skee ball. SKEE BALL! How freaking sweet is that?
  • Went home to MD for Christmas, drove around like a freaking manic, and swore to never return again. Except we have like 50 million wedding to go to this year, and all of them are there. Drat.
  • Gave Duff a bath. Evidently he's a bit stinky.
  • Finished working in Jan, job searching all of Feb, and so incredibly thankful I can now enjoy my Blackberry rather than thinking of it as an evil tether to Boss Lady.
  • Moved. Like 6 blocks. $100 more per month in rent for a parking space, laundry, two times as much space, and an ocean view. Yes, I'm crazy.
  • Joining a book club when I was so adamantly against joining one in the past. Justification: I need to meet new people other than the obnoxious 18 year olds in school with me. And duh, I like to read.
  • Babysitting Liam! OK, only once, but J and I kicked ass at it! I mean, we were excellent role models for the young man.
I don't think I'll be able to update often as I have in the past, but here's a little peek at what I've been up to!

Little Venice Baker

March Goals:
Get back on track with my exercise, most importantly, keeping my knee healthy.
Convince my friends to have weekly family dinners so I have somewhere to put all my baked goods, other than my mouth.
Start my etsy shop with local delivery for most goods, and shipping for others. Cookies anyone?

xoxo James

* I still use it to read all the fabulous blogs in my roll, Google Reader what? Now I just need to get on actually commenting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just a wee bit intoxicated

You may have noticed by my twitter, maybe not. Either way, I was drunk as a cute little skunk last night. Monday night. WTF?

Maybe it's because I'm hopping on the paranoid train with everyone here at the office. Seriously, I think I'm getting laid off this week. Last week was pretty rough in the office, what with 1/3 of HR out the door, with no announcement. IT tells us this week is going to be even worse. It's to the point where we debate sending out company wide "test" emails to see which ones bounce back. I mean, it's not like I would be upset if I lost my job. I think it's pretty obvious that I hate my job. I just don't like this feeling of uncertainty, and I certainly don't like the idea of no money.

Actually though, last night's drunken escapades were a result of a lovely evening with Jota. I made us the tastiest, easiest dinner ever (Balsamic glazed chicken and brussels sprouts with pecans), and then we sat in the nook peeled paint off the table, and listened to music. That is until I got bored and ditched him for Gossip Girl. Love you honey!

And seriously, dinner was so easy and great that I have to share. Enjoy!

Balsamic and Strawberry Glazed Chicken

4 chicken thighs
1 tsp french tarragon
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbs strawberry jam
juice from 1 lemon

Heat olive oil in a skillet, toss thighs in and season with salt, pepper, and tarragon. Cook chicken through and remove. Put balsamic vinegar, jam, and lemon juice in the skillet to remove any bits of goodness. Heat through, and toss the chicken back in to coat. And you're done.

Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

1 lb of brussels sprouts (or like the bag from Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup of butter
1 tbs of butter
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1 oz chopped pecans

Chop brussels sprouts so they're all shredded. Melt 1/4 cup of butter in skillet, toss sprouts in and cook until wilted, about 3 to 5 minutes. In the meantime, combine other tbs of butter (I never said this was healthy) with maple syrup and apple cider vinegar in a small sauce pan. Heat through, toss with finished sprouts and pecans.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Parking Wars

So I might have yelled at a grandma the other day. I might have called her a bitch, and told her to go fuck herself and then play in traffic. I might have a bit of road rage. I might not give a shit because I did grandma a favor. I mean, if she seriously thinks she can get away with the parking lot shenanigans she pulled with me last night, she's in serious trouble this holiday season.

First, let's go over some parking lot ground rules.
  1. Please use your blinker to indicate that you're waiting on a spot.

  2. Please pull as far to the right as possible so that other cars can get around you while you wait.

  3. If you're going to slowly drive behind someone while they walk through the lot, ask them if they're actually going to leave. Not doing so is just plain creepy.

  4. Once you've passed a space, do not back up. Deal with it, and continue to wait patiently.

Last night I stopped at Joann's Fabric on the way to my work event. I pulled into the small, horribly designed lot, and holy crikey was it packed. I was actually still sitting with the ass end of my car out on Lincoln Blvd, that is how crowded the parking lot was. So I'm sitting, and I'm waiting. The car in front of me, obviously frustrated, austin-powered around to get out of the lot. So I'm thinking, "Sweeeet, one less person for me to wait on."

I pull in so I'm not blocking the sidewalk, and luckily a woman walks out her car, the spot at the end of the parking lot. Yes, this could not work out any better. Oh I thought too soon. Crazy Grannie (who's waiting at the top of the lot) throws her car into reverse, skidding into a stop, blocking the car who's trying to leave. Then she sticks her had to wave me along. Excuse me? EXCUSE ME! I sat, didn't move, kept my blinker on. The lady trying to leave starts honking her horn. I'm all, "Dude, I'm not the one blocking your exit."

Crazy Grannie is all, "Well I'm not moving, I've waited 30 minutes for a spot."

Please see my diagram if you're having problems visualizing the situation.

Me, better the bigger person and all, decides to leave, but not without unleashing the fury on Botox Babs. This Christmas season, I hope she runs into her friend Silicone Sally who drives a Range Rover while trying to park at The Grove.

Working Girl

So last night my entire team ended up going to The Parlor in Santa Monica to watch the Lakers/Clippers game with our client. Fun, right? Or not. Boss Lady put me "in charge" of the viewing party, and by in charge I mean she picked the time, location, invitees, etc. All I really needed to do was get there early and make sure food and champagne was on the table when everyone arrived. Of course, she was nearly an hour late, meaning the apps I had ordered were long gone, and everyone was bored as hell, sitting around waiting for her so we could order dinner.

You'd think we would have been a more lively bunch. I mean here we are, sitting in a pretty decent bar, eating pretty decent food, drinking multiple bottles of pricey champagne; and people are more into watching the commercials and half time than the actual game. This is why I will never, ever, watch an NBA game with people from work again. I just wanted to scream, "People, enjoy the game! Stop bitching about AT&T this, Motorola that."

Ahh marketing. I hates it. The only good part of the night was my genius idea of absconding the unopened bottle of Veuve left on our table. Hello and welcome to High Class Halloween at the Jotas tomorrow night!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Time

I'll admit it. I love Halloween because it's the one day of the year I can dress like a slut and not have to worry about it. There, I said it. Mainly because my idea of slutty is totally G rated compared to most girls in LA who go all out for Halloween. Slap a leotard on me with some cute bunny ears and I'm good to go.

This year though, I have no idea what to be. I have all of these great costumes and parts of costumes, but no direction on what to do.
I have this gigantic, obnoxious white fur coat, that I've always wanted to wear with a bikini and blue wig, and be Lil' Kim, but Jota says no one will get it. Seriously, how can you forget this...

I also have this Rapunzel-esue wig I wore last year to be Princess Toadstool. I was thinking if I got a nude unitard, I could go as Lady Godiva minus the horse. Byn had a great idea of taking that outfit, add a bedazzler, and go as Britney circa her "oops I did it again" MTV VMA performance.

Freaking sweet! If only I had time to make a tear away pant suit. The problem is I can't find nude dance pants anywhere. Once I find them though, it's on. Then I need to figure out a way to rig the ipod speakers to the back of the pants so I can play Ms. Spears all night long. And get a butterfly tramp stamp.

If this doesn't work, I always have my girl scout, St Pauli girl, or Strawberry Shortcake costumes to fall back on.

What are you being for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wait, Not Again

Yep, I'm taking a break from the booze again. Thankfully this time it's not to...
  1. Lose more weight.
  2. Stop being a total crazy person.
  3. Optimize weight loss.
  4. Hide my alcoholic beverage intake from my mom.
  5. Stop attacking my friends like a total crazy person.
  6. Remedy the blackouts.
  7. All of the above.

Nope, this time around it's because I'm plain old. And dude, old people get hangovers. Like irregardless of two beers or ten.

What I really should do is condition myself for the inevitable non-stop party that will be Byn's Thanksgiving visit, however I'm too lazy for that and will instead just quit until she gets here and then struggle through the hangover induced haze while she's here.

Homecoming turned out to be quite the adventure. I ended up rocking the sparkly blue dress with silver heels, headband, and my homemade corsage. Jota, looking like a dapper skater, dressed himself in plaid shorts, blue blazer, and ridiculous high tops. I need to get on updating my Flickr.

A few moments worth mentioning...

Class President Paul passed out in the front yard, Long Duk Dong style. I'd post photos but fear Homecoming Queen Allison will track me down and unleash the wrath on me like she did on Liz, and the cab her ride home. Yikes.

The boys performed like rockstars. Being artists, they claim to have sucked a phatty, and seeing as I was incredibly intoxicated, I can't argue otherwise. I do remember that at one point Jota chugged a cup of punch, threw the empty on the ground, stole a mic from someone and demanded a beer and jello shots. I happily obliged. And at one point, Murph jumped into the crowd to do the alligator while doing his best to imitate Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. Drew pretty much held things together until he busted a string, in the second song. Meanwhile, I'm off to the side shouting to Michelle, "Dude, I gotta PEEEEE, but the last time I went during their show I got teased for the rest of the night."

At one point I found myself shovelling handfuls of Baked Lays and Sun Chips in my mouth, alternating flavors with gulps of beer. Thankfully I was a good girl and only had one cup of Amanda's deadly Pink Panty Droppers. Others, not so lucky. See above; Paul, Allison, Jota.

Sunday was unfortunately a waste of beautifulness as I was practically fused to the couch. Em did motivate me to get my ass to her house for yummy chili and spaghetti for dinner before our softball game. Note to self, do not eat chili when hungover, especially if you intend on any type of physical activity later on. I didn't even have Duff around to blame the smell on.

So, unless someone can reccomend an excellent hangover cure or even better preventor, I'm off the booze for a bit.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shallow and Vapid

That's right.  If you're looking for insightful commentary on the election, our economy draining down the crapper, or anything else that requires reading something other than the Calendar section of the LA Times*, move on.  Not here.  Not today.  Not any day really because as I've mentioned before, I tend to get pretty worked up, and would rather spare y'all my crazy lunatic rants.  

Anywho...the gals over at 1249 are having one of their infamous bashes**.  This time around we're celebrating the time honored tradition of Homecoming.  Of course the first thing that comes to my mind is, "What am I going to wear?"

In a moment of brilliance, I remembered I saved all of my gowns from like every homecoming, prom, and pageant.  Sadly, the green velvet, cap sleeved, short dress, with tulle did not make it past freshman year.  WTF Cousin Jet, I know this monstrosity is languishing away in your closet missing out on all the great theme parties and Halloweens.  Knowing the mama was coming out in September, I begged and pleaded for her to make room in her bag.  Surprisingly, she actually remembered to bring all of them, throwing in the expected, "I don't see why I'm bringing these.  You'll never be able to fit into them."  

Without further ado, please dear friends help me decide what to  wear on Saturday!  And let me know like yesterday, because they all reek of my parents' wood stove, and I need to dry clean immediately.  Yes, I'm being cheap and only cleaning the one I wear.  Times are tough, money's tight, Wall Street's tanking, blah blah blah.    

Prom, junior year.  Worst date, and worst hair ever.  I had this horrible zig zag part with a bouffant mohawk.  No, I'm not joking.  Be thankful I don't have photos to share.  Ugh, and my date who wanted to go as "friends" tried to get fresh with me all night.  When I'd finally had enough, I called my mom at 2am claiming to be sick.  Also worn in the 1999 Miss Maryland USA pageant.  My mom's idea of the best way to keep me from gaining the "Freshman 15".      

Please excuse the wrinkles!  All these lovelies have been smushed in a bag for the past two weeks.  I wasn't kidding when I said they all smell like smoke.  This one is from sophomore homecoming, worn again for Byn's senior homecoming, and again by me for the Fair Queen Pageant.  Yep, Fair Queen, as in cows, pigs, corn and tomatoes.   

Senior homecoming, at a neighboring school.  I LOVED this dress!  I did not love the fact that I couldn't even wear undies because it's skin tight.  I might have to rule this one out due to the massive amounts of beer I plan on drinking.

Ok, technically this one was worn at the first wedding I was allowed to drink at.  I might have just broken up with the best man, and really wanted to piss his date off.  I might have taken shots of Jager at the dinner table with the only other single person there, and in front of my parents.  I also might have needed to be carried out of the reception, and I might have unsuccessfully tried to vomit out my car window while the car was moving.  It's possible that after that mishap, I passed out in my eleven year old brother's lap.  I think this might be the reason why he doesn't drink.  I think my parents should have thanked me for showing him the evils of alcohol.  I also think this dress knows how to have fun.  

Help please!
* Yeah right, like I'd waste precious brain cells on what I often describe as "the most poorly written publication of our time."  Washington Post all the way.  

** Please refer back to May/June for a recap of keg curls and table throwing at the Frat Party.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pre-Weekend Update

First, many thanks to Katelin for well wishes on pastry school. One day I'll messenger over some sweet goodies to you. Only if you promise to share them with Ryan Gossling. Anywho, I'm officially applied and accepted, now I only need to figure out how on Earth I intend to pay for it. Because seriously y'all, pastry school is freaking expensive.

Nothing much going on in the World o' James this week. I went up to Seattle for an agency meeting that I spent pretty much all summer planning. Well, technically I spent about three weeks on this one, but there were multiple others including trips on seaplanes to British Colombia, private trains to Vancouver, and dinner cruises in Puget Sound that were cancelled. I kid you not. Having the freedom to spend nearly $30,000 on 30 people has pretty much ruined any chance I ever had of planning a small, budget friendly wedding. Not that I'm doing that. No pressure honey!

No big plans for the weekend. Softball on Sunday, a little H&M with Em and the family. I'm in the mood to bake some autumn treats for the office on Monday, so I'll try to get around to that. People have requested brownies. I'm beginning to think I'm the only person in the world who prefers brownies from a mix to the real thing. Maybe I just haven't found the right recipe?

The girls are hosting a homecoming party next weekend, so I may need some opinions on which dress to wear from my formative HS years. Pictures to be provided early next week.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

So much to do, so little time

Oh hello sad, neglected blog. Miss me? Jota posted more in September than me, and you know I can't have that.

Had a fantastic visit with the, seriously. I'll add some flickr photos of us having the most fantastic time, promise. Even enjoyed some QT with Aunt S and Uncle D. Maybe there was one awkward moment, but that is significantly better than most interactions with the family.

Right now I'm frantically running around like a crazy person, trying to pull together a corporate off site (Seattle, here I come!), trips to Europe (not mine), oh and finishing my application for pastry school.

Yes, you read that correctly, pastry school. I gave my notice three weeks ago, was promptly offered part time work, and am now deciding if staying is actually worth it. We shall see how that goes. Classes start in January, and I've never been more pumped to spend four hours a day in a sweltering kitchen.

Looking forward to Byn's visit for Thanksgiving, and our trip to Disneyland for Christmas photos with Mickey and Minnie. I recently discovered a new Kitson warehouse across the street from Sprinkles Cupcakes in BH, this my friends is trouble. Orange Cranberry and Ginger Maple are the special flavors while she's here. I'll take those along with some Banana, Peanut Butter Chocolate, and my all-time favorite, Cinnamon Sugar. Byn, are you cool with replacing turkey dinner with cupcakes and Andre?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cooking for One

Day Four of no Jota and the dishes are clean, I've taken the trash out, and Duff hasn't destroyed anything while I'm at work. I'm getting used to this taking care of myself, by myself thing. I may not be enjoying it, but it's almost over.

Last night I didn't get home until way late, and almost decided to order in. My mom is notorious for grabbing the most random items out of the fridge and making a great meal. So instead of grabbing noodles from Mao's, I crossed my fingers and said a little prayer that her gene for concocting great meals was passed on to me.

And oh did it. After just 15 minutes, I had the tastiest dish ever, or at least this week. I feel it's my obligation to pass on the goodness. Being my mother's daughter, I don't exactly measure things while cooking. Deal with it.

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

1 small chinese eggplant, thinly sliced

couple tablespoons of A1 Chicago Steakhouse marinade. Ehhh for steaks. Amazing on chicken.
maybe a 1/4 cup of low sodium chicken broth

3 or 4 tablespoons of ricotta cheese

In your skillet, heat up a teaspoon or two of olive oil while you cube your chicken. Toss that in there, and you know, get it cooked so you don't get salmonella.
Slice your eggplant and salt it to sweat the bitter out.
Pour some of the marinade in your pan, enough to coat the chicken.
Once the chicken is done, toss the eggplant in, and then add the chicken broth.
Simmer until the eggplant is finished, and then toss your ricotta in at the end.

I'm sure this would also be great with some tomatoes tossed in, and served with whole wheat pasta.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


You want fresh towels?

List of things I need to do soon in no particular order...
  1. Add all of my new twitter buddies to my blogroll. That way I will actually read everything and not miss stuff.
  2. Give Duff a haircut and a bath. Homeboy needs his flea meds next week and is looking pretty scruffy.
  3. Get back on a regular gym habit. Between my birthday, the poison oak, and my laziness, I've totally lost all of my cardio shape. Seriously, I almost puked after 13 minutes on the treadmill last night.
  4. Go to Sports Chalet for the following: softball glove, cleats, boxing gloves, spin shoes, and a tennis racquet. Since when did I morph into Sporty Spice?
  5. Do some research on eating/cooking vegetarian meals. I'm not giving up steak just yet, but I do heart me some beans.
  6. Get rid of the gigantic Ikea desk taking up precious space in the living room. In the process of looking for a chair that converts to some type of bed that's not mad expensive. PS this would be for you Byn!
  7. Figure out WTF I'm going to do with Jota gone from Sat to Thurs. I'm trying to not watch all of the shows I dvr'ed (Did I really just use that as a verb?) this week.
  8. Lay off the booze for a bit to optimize weight loss. Momma comes to town on the 20th, and sadly I need to look as thin as possible. Especially since she's bringing all of my HS homecoming/prom dresses for the girl's party on the 27th.
  9. Try not to get so worked up about the election.
  10. Remind myself that just because someone doesn't see that my way is the right way, it doesn't mean they're a freaking idiot. Control freak? Yesthankyouverymuch.

PS, I only discuss politics with Jota because he can't get rid of me. But if you want my opinion, check out my girl Kiah. She says everything I want to say without getting in a flustered huff.