heart of glass

So I'm working on composing an article on environmentally friendly valentine's day gifts [hopefully I'll finish it up tomorrow]. Anyway, this evening as I googled for eco-fabulous gift ideas, I stumbled across a find that might force me to make room in my cabinets for more glassware.

The Green Glass Company not only recycles wine, beer, and soda bottles to make their products, but they also use environmentally friendly production and shipping methods to produce their oh-so-adorable cups and goblets.

My favorite: the multilingual 'protect our Earth' goblet.

Another favorite find: [given my fetish for all things bluebird] this baby bird ring made from recycled silver.

And my last love would be perfect for V-day cards: I Wheelie Like You Cards printed on cotton rather than paper.


What's your flavor?

So I'm a bit of a Factory nerd for checking this out already, but we just started a new promotion at work that involves, among other things, a 'what's your flavor?' quiz on the website. They've been talking about it all week during staff meetings and tonight I decided to see which of the delicious flavors matched my personality.

I'm Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple
[which, incidentally, is AMAZING!].

Here's what that [apparently] says about me:

The incredible mix of qualities that makes you so appreciated is nothing short of miraculous, much like this cheesecake. A lot goes into this flavor, all delicious. This mouth-watering mosaic is comprised of our Original cheesecake swirled with caramel and real chunks of Butterfinger candy bars and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Just like you it's an awe-inspiring combination of ingredients not soon forgotten.

FYI: I'm now the cheesecake QUEEN. Ask me anything about your favorite flavors and I'll tell you all about 'em.

Tomorrow's training
: Food running, my first on-floor assignment. Wish me luck. Six more days 'til the final.


cheesecake tastings and cupcake shoots.

This weekend was an absolute blur.

1. Friday night involved a celebratory dinner at The Cheesecake Factory with my favorite girls. Originally, the dinner was planned to celebrate the end of my job at Reeves, how fitting that it also became a celebration of my being hired on as a Factory server that same afternoon.
The Food: delicious. The Server: flawless. My Company: priceless.

2. Saturday marked day two of my nanny/maid adventures. I really enjoy my job, but I became distraught when my cell phone was submerged in the toilet while I cleaned. [Shallow pockets + lots of movement = unfortunate accidents.] It's been temporary replaced with a spare from my mother, but I'm still praying for a drying out of my beloved original.

3. Sunday began my Factory training: 8 am. Not a bad morning, especially when it ends with a tasting of up to 20 items from the menu, cheesecakes included. At the end of the 5 hours, we were all out like a shot to frantically locate white pants and white shoes in the middle of winter. Personally, I had an even tighter time limit considering that I had to be up in Noblesville by 2 pm.

Why you ask?

4. For a cupcake-covered photo shoot, of course. I'd made shoot arrangements with creative visionary Ashley Capps weeks before and had to push back our start time due to training. The concept: rather secret, but I can tell you it involved crazy vintage costumes and a set covered in cupcakes and candy. It'll be a few months before I have any official images [Ms. Capps is having some computer issues], but I had her take a shot with my personal camera. Here's a taste:


piece of [cheese]cake.

Some quick updates before dreaming:

1. Job search: I have my third and final interview at The Cheesecake Factory tomorrow. If I don't have the job after it's done, I must have taken off my clothing and asked the man to help me find my spaceship during the interview. Ok, not really. But seriously, if I've made it this far don't you think I deserve the job?

Note: some of you may be thinking 'The Cheesecake Factory?!? I thought you quit your last job to find something more inspiring.' But here's the thought: waiting tables will [ideally] get me more money in less hours, therefore freeing up more time for me to pursue other interests.

2. Speaking of other interests: I wrote another article Tuesday [see sidebar]. Working half days this week has allowed not only the time to write, but [more importantly] the time to find the inspiration to write. This week's inspiration came while watching the presidential inauguration. Words cannot express the amount of inspiration and hope I get from watching our new president in action so I won't even try. See my previous entry.

3. And finally: another apple.

Is it sad that this progress excites me?
I guess you have to start somewhere.

Stay tuned
next week for info on my celebratory last day at Reeves and [hopefully] my first day at the new job.


too optimistic for words.

"There has never been anything false about hope."

Congratulations, Mr. President.


apples and...lemons?

Today at lunch I made an amazing food discovery. I wanted pasta, but as I boiled the last of my spaghetti, I opened the fridge to find that my canned pasta sauce [chunky garden vegetable...it's amazing] had about a tablespoon left in the jar. Perhaps this is enough sauce for some people, but I prefer my pasta coated in tomato sauce. So I improvised: a little sauce and a little butter...good, but still missing something. So I glance in my fridge and notice the lemon half left over from my salad. The idea of putting lemon juice on my pasta sounded counter-intuitive [like the blueberry puppy chow], but I went for it anyway. And guess what: it was AMAZING. As a matter of fact, I might start doing pasta, olive oil, and lemon juice as a normal meal. Maybe topped with a little cheese. Yum.

In other news, online classes have started back up. This session: Digital Illustration. I am in desperate need of this subject since I am CLUELESS when it comes to anything more than basic shapes and gradient effects in Adobe Illustrator.

There's one particular assignment for this class that I actually find quite fascinating: each week we are required to create an apple and each week it must be a completely different apple. I love this idea, not just for the challenge, but also because I know my own designs will be changing both in skill use and in creativity from week to week and I'm anxious to see that development. So, as a total amateur, here's my first apple:

This probably looks really basic to most of you, but I was ecstatic to teach myself both the warp and the fill tool [two foreign concepts to me before last night].

Stay tuned for future adventures in apples and entrees by yours truly.


blueberry and peanut butter don't mix.

So tonight's kitchen creativity has left me a bit nauseous. Frankly, it didn't even sound like a good idea. Point: when I told my sister what I was making she said 'that sounds disgusting.'

See, I was craving puppy chow [the dessert, not the dog food], but the only cereal in my cabinet was a box of blueberry frosted mini wheats. [do you see where this is going?] Somehow I thought that the chocolate and peanut butter might cover the blueberry flavor...I was wrong. Ironically, I'm pretty sure regular mini wheats would have worked. It was only the slight after taste of blueberry that turned my stomach.

In other food news, I took stock of my supply tonight in an attempt to accurately plan out future dinner adventures. I found stuff in my cabinets that I didn't even know I had [I'm a short girl and the cabinets are high]. Sadly, the entire contents of my kitchen [minus the fridge] fits on the top of my coffee table:

There's also a dwindling supply of produce in my fridge that I need to eat before it goes bad. I stocked up for my juice fast at the start of the year and there's a bit left over. Tonight's dinner [unlike dessert] was quite delicious: spinach salad with red pepper, red onion, and mushroom burger crumbles topped with olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Yum. Unfortunately that was the last of my baby spinach so I'll have to find the green for my meals elsewhere from here on out.

Job countdown: 7 more working days at Reeves. Next friday can't get here soon enough.


improv cooking for the soon-to-be-unemployed.

Ever since I handed in my resignation letter Wednesday of last week [technically I gave two and a half weeks notice], I've been mulling over the idea of extreme budgeting.

Anyone familiar with my WUNT articles knows I'm a fan of self-experimentation. If a curious thought crosses my mind I research, I analyze, and then I usually try it out for myself. After all, experience is the best learning tool. So, in the face of potential unemployment, I've been pondering just how far I can stretch my measly dollars.

On a normal basis, I'm actually rather frugal with my spending, but over the past few months there is one thing that I've splurged on: groceries. I love good food too much to sacrifice my taste buds for my budget. While, even on a budget, I still plan to buy the same quality of foods [vegan, organic, fresh produce, etc.] I've now resolved to see how long I can go between grocery trips.

Normally, I make about two grocery-related trips to Target a week. These are usually only about $20 spending sprees, but I still have other perfectly edible food in my pantry when I go. I'm an impulse eater and I buy whatever I'm craving in bulk while the rest of my food stock remains untouched. I have canned veggies that have been in my cabinets since I moved here a year ago and items in my freezer that pile up unused while I go thru toaster waffles by the box. My plan: to eat as much as I can stand of this untouched food supply before stocking up again. Things may need to get creative.

Tonight, having no particular cravings and feeling a bit bored, I decided to see what I could make with what I had stored away in cabinets and coolers. As always when I'm in the mood for food prep, I turn to RachaelRay.com and found the following Asian-inspired recipe:

Peanut Butter Sesame Noodles

2 teaspoons natural style creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons Tamari (dark soy sauce), eyeball it
1 teaspoon sesame oil (eyeball it)
1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 tablespoon light sesame seeds, toasted over medium-low heat for 3 minutes (optional)
Shredded carrots, scallions, bean sprouts or other veggies (optional)

Preparation: In a medium microwaveable bowl, heat the peanut butter in the microwave oven until melted, about 15-20 seconds (or heat peanut butter over low heat on the stove until mushy).
Whisk honey and Tamari into the peanut butter, then whisk in the sesame oil and the ginger.
Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, and top with the sesame seeds and veggies.

I have peanut butter. I have spaghetti. I have honey. But the only soy sauce I have is a stray takeout packet that probably doesn't equal 2 tablespoons and the closest veggie on hand is red bell pepper.

I decide to go for it anyway.

Here's what I came up with:

While it didn't taste bad, peanut butter and pepper don't exactly go well together.

That's when I remembered I had a bag of peas in the freezer...

...much better. And to make it even cuter, the left overs now sit in my fridge in an actual takeout bowl I saved from a previous Chinese night.

And now for a job search update:

I've always believed that things happen to you exactly when they are supposed to. Earlier this evening, my cousin called me and randomly asked if I'd be available to come clean their house/watch their kids/run general errands for them on Saturdays for a bit of extra money. She was hesitant at first because she thought I'd be insulted to be offered a glorified baby-sitting job at 24, but right now it's just what I want.

And here's the real kicker: she didn't even know I'd put in my two weeks.

So now I have Saturday employment down for the next few months. I just have to figure out what to charge. Suggestions?

And of course, come July there's always the possibility that this will be my job. I plan on applying and then trying to forget about it. You can't bank on something that fantastic, but you can't disregard it either. I mean SOMEONE has to get it, right? :)


job search: day one.

For those of you who don't already know, today marked the official start of my last two weeks at Reeves. Last week, I took a leap of faith and put in my notice at a job that not only barely pays my rent, but that also does nothing to fulfill my creative desires.

Ideally, I'm hoping to find a job in the fields of writing or design, but my professional experiences in both areas are still in their infancy. At the very least, I'd like to find a job with a schedule that allows for me to pursue these careers outside of my work hours. And if I get desperate, I can always wait tables...even that sounds more fulfilling than my current position.

Tonight's assignment on the job front: re-vamping the resume.

I decided to askew the formal guidelines slightly in the hopes of creating something a little more noticeable. Here's what I came up with [minus the personal info for safety's sake, of course]:

Note: this is a general resume for office or clerical work. Thoughts?
Next I might try tackling something with a writing theme. Though that one will be a bit sparse.

Question for my writer friends: any ideas to bulk up what could potentially be a two-line resume without having to rely on publishing?

Tomorrow's task: getting it all online and making phone calls.
[Today's tasks also included an unanswered call for a beauty shop receptionist, but there's more on the list for tomorrow.]


Resolutions for 2009.

♥ write something every day.
[journal entries. blogs. articles. poems.]

♥ publish a poem.
[via magazine or book. doesn't matter which.]

♥ do another movie.

♥ volunteer at something I care about.
[art. theatre. animal rights. environmental issues.]

♥ travel someplace new.
[two years ago was Toronto. last year was Australia. this year...]

♥ learn something new.
[digital design. another language.]