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September 2013

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MacGyver Would Take Care of This Crap

When H can’t decide what to watch late at night, I inevitably hear the tell-tale keyboard warm up of the theme song, and I know I’m in for another “MacGyver” episode in which Richard Dean Anderson acts majorly annoyed to fix yet another highly improbable situation.

MacGyver’s sour demeanor is such a turnoff for me. He’s always bitching and moaning, taking the reluctant hero thing a tad too far, in my opinion. H is quick to point out that a little cursing under the breath is a small price to pay in return for his particular genius.

“Could you imagine if we had a MacGyver?” he says. “That Check Engine light in your car? Fixed.”

Which got me thinking …

What else could MacGyver fix for us?

  • Garbage disposal on the fritz = Fixed
  • Lunches need packing and all of our tupperware is mismatched = No worries
  • House needs childproofed = Done in a flash
  • Out of groceries = A quick search through our cupboards will yield a miracle solution
  • That pesky “updates” box that pops up on my Macbook = No more!
  • Need better gas mileage on my car = Easy peasy, let’s pop open the hood

The best part is he would only need a few toothpicks, some cellophane and chewing gum to make all of this happen.

What could MacGyver fix in your life?

Cuppa Cuppa Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Easy Cauliflower Crust Pizza Recipe • Little Gold Pixel

There are about 5,944 recipes on Pinterest for cauliflower pizza crust. This will be the 5,945th.

I read most of the aforementioned recipes, and each one had its own advice. My advice: Take everything you read with a grain of salt, and use your instincts. Also, if it doesn’t work out, oh well. Make another one. It’s just cauliflower, not caviar.

That was my philosophy going into this, anyway. A fun experiment. Hopefully an edible one.

There’s a scene in “Steel Magnolias” in which Truvy (movie version) or Clairee (stage version) shares a recipe for Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa Cake (Pioneer Woman re-created it here, in case you’re curious). This is the same kind of logic, Cuppa Cuppa Cauliflower Pizza. At any rate, a super easy cauliflower crust pizza recipe.

  • 1 cup grated cauliflower
  • 1 heaping handful (maybe even a cuppa?) shredded cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Oregano
  • Garlic

This will make a small personal-size pizza. For a larger, more traditional size, double it.

If you couldn’t tell by the first sentence of this post, my measurements are super accurate (ha). I like to eyeball things, so I’m sorry that I’m not terribly helpful with precise measurements. On the other hand, yay for imprecision. It means we’re not making macarons here, and your pizza will likely come out just right.

First, figure out a way to get your cauliflower to rice-like consistency. For those of you with a food processor, great. For the rest of us, a grater. I do not recommend using a blender (tried and failed). Some recipes say to squeeze out extra moisture from the cauliflower. We did not do that, and our pizza stuck together just fine.

Add the rest of your ingredients. We used Mexican-blend cheese because that’s what we had on hand, but I’m sure other cheeses would work, too. Knead together. We smooshed the dough into a circle shape on a metal pizza pan that was greased within an inch of its life. We had no problems with the crust sticking, but next time I’d like to try parchment paper for ease.

Bake crust 10-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Keep a close watch for it to turn golden brown, then it’s ready to be extracted. Add your pizza sauce and toppings. We kept it simple this time with ground turkey, onions and spinach. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Let pie rest for five minutes.

Then cut up the pie and barely remember to take photos …

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Then hurry up and snap a few shots before your toddler tries to steal a slice. Experiment = success. The entire family loved it, and I can attest that the leftover slice was still quite tasty the next afternoon.

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Fashion Rewind: Valley of the Dolls

Fashion Rewind: Valley of the Dolls • littlegoldpixel.com Fashion Rewind: Valley of the Dolls • littlegoldpixel.com  Fashion Rewind: Valley of the Dolls • littlegoldpixel.com  Fashion Rewind: Valley of the Dolls • littlegoldpixel.com  Fashion Rewind: Valley of the Dolls • littlegoldpixel.com  Fashion Rewind: Valley of the Dolls • littlegoldpixel.com  Fashion Rewind: Valley of the Dolls • littlegoldpixel.com  Fashion Rewind: Valley of the Dolls • littlegoldpixel.com

Every time I consider watching Valley of the Dolls I think to myself, “Did I see this movie already?” Then I start watching, and oh yeah, this is the one where Patty Duke loses her mind as Neely O’Hara, the talented young actress who becomes a star and a wreck, and whose friends’ lives unravel, too.

Tragedy upon tragedy.

Pills, booze, bad choices in men, stupidity after stupidity. As someone who loves to love bad movies, I have to say this one is a bit of a doozy, even for me.

Between you and me, I come back for the fashion inspiration. Upon doing a little research for this post, I found out that Judy Garland originally was cast to be the jealous aging star, and was fired for showing up drunk to work. Susan Hayward stepped in, and did fine, but I think Judy could’ve elevated the movie from guilty pleasure to total pleasure. Check out the woman’s screen tests. When you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

A Week in the Life: 38/52

Here’s what we’ve been up to the past week:

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» Sometimes the toddler tornado gets so fierce that I want to bag up all of Alexa’s toys and throw them out the window, but then I see her color-coordinate her “passengers” on “airplanes” and I have a (temporary) change of heart.

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» Coffee Bean thinks it’s fall. I’m skeptical.

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» Chocolate/coffee break.

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» There’s nothing like a fresh haircut to make you feel like a million bucks.

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» It’s not even October, people.

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» The ultimate thrift experience: several children’s books = $2.50. And! “Ramona the Brave”! Oh, and this may or may not be my second copy of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

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» Grocery stores think it’s fall. I’m skeptical.

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» We went for a quick stroll on the peninsula, and holding hands was a must. The drop-off is severe and deadly. H and I were aghast to see a small child’s footprint on the very edge. It made my stomach flip-flop.

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» Alexa lights up when she sees the ocean.

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» That dramatic marine layer covering the setting sun = wowza.

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» The most random leaf thinks it’s fall. OK, maybe it is a little.

But …

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» It was still hot enough to do this. Alexa led me by the hand to the water and said, “Mama, come play.” That is the short story of how my clothes got soaked.

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» I see ivy.

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» One of the more dramatic work sunsets I’ve seen in awhile. Takes away a little of the sting of it getting dark much earlier.

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» There’s always something fresh and green growing in our Ewok Village.

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» As opposed to introverted mail.

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» iOS7, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. (1) Bokeh, on purpose!

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» (2) Clear, sharper image, even in low light.

I brought home copies of the magazine I work for, and Alexa grabbed them, sat on the ground and pointed next to her. “Mama, let’s read!” She studied those magazines and photos in such a way that made me beam with pride.

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» (3) Better saturated color, less editing.

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» (4) Continuous shooting mode! Helpful so I could get up close and person with our little friend here.

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» My sad desk salad. (On the down-low, it was actually very happy.)

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

Are You Spontaneous?

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I will not play the trust game. Don’t even ask.

You know how in the movies one person will look at the other and say, “Let’s do something crazy.” There are nervous giggles from the other person, and when she says OK she is whisked away to the airport to buy a last-minute plane ticket to “anywhere.” You know what I’m talking about?

I always thought I was Person A. The spontaneous one. Let’s do anything, go anywhere, any time of day.

Turns out I’m Person C. The person who isn’t in the movie because she would say, “Pardon me, sir, but I need more information before I can commit to doing something crazy. At least tell me what kind of shoes I should wear.”

H is very much Person A. Sometimes, on rare occasion, I am Person B, giggling and going along with it but ultimately wearing the wrong footwear for the adventure. (Flip-flops for hiking. Heels for the beach.)

I’ve tried to fight my nature, arguing with myself that it’s much better to be Person A than Person C. But now I’m getting a little older, a little wiser, and downright obsessive about wearing the right shoes. Now I see that Person A is no less fun than Person C. Just more organized, and better prepared with snacks and accoutrements. Also, less prone to turn into Drew Barrymore in “Mad Love.”

Sometimes my need for organization can rub Person A the wrong way. I have to be careful when I ask, “What are we doing today?” because often there is backlash from Person A. “Why do we have to plan everything?” H will say. “Can’t we just beeeee?”

Sure thing. I just need to plan for that.

Something About Toddlers and Mermaids

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Alexa started singing a few weeks ago.

And I’m not just talking about the ABC song. The girl has skills. She can sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and the theme song to the Leapfrog program she watches. (It goes something like, “I’m with you, Scout/We’ll help each other out.”) But by far her favorite song is the “Mermaid Song.”

Welcome to my nightmare:

Just kidding. It’s not really a nightmare. The song is pleasant enough. Aussies make cute shows. No complaints from me on that.

It’s just …

“Mama, sing Mermaid Song” x infinity.

I suppose I’m to blame for her fixation. While we were in Hawaii, I would take her out into the ocean and pretend like we were mermaids, invoking the song to give her a frame of reference. We would wiggle our hands under the water and I would encourage her to kick her feet. When she did, I would propel her super fast through the water.

I will never forget these special moments. And I’ll likely never forget the lyrics to this song, now that I’ve been subjected to it about … oh, a gajillion bajillion times.

Now that Alexa is a singer extraordinaire, she is also a critic. Which means that when we’re singing in the car and I try to “change the station” by singing a Beatles song, or even “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (another in her repertoire, when she’s in the mood), she quickly gets wise to my game, whining until I stop and ask her what the problem is.

“Want to sing Mermaid Song.”

And I oblige. And she sings along with her sweet little toddler voice, making it all worthwhile.

A Week in the Life: 37/52

I have a cold. The best thing about this is that I feel forced to unplug early, lie in bed and read a book. Before I had a cold, I rationalized that no one is reading this blog, so my very little downtime was better spent playing dance games or pinning recipes I’ll never cook. But no matter how many lopsided breaks I take or how “off” my blogging schedule gets, I always come back eventually.

I can’t quit this space. It’s my outlet.

Or maybe eventually I will fold up my chair and umbrella and take my ramblings to another beach.

I’m a little fickle nowadays. Maybe my mind will be clear when there’s no more Nyquil in it.

Until then, a happy dance: I’m caught up on my Week in the Life posts! Woohoo!

Here’s what we did last week:

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» We made crowns with oversized beads.

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» We went to the park. When given the choice, Alexa always chooses to wear her “sannals.”

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» I used my sunglasses as a camera lens.

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» We had a craving for pizza.

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» And she had a craving for ice cream.

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» Snow White went for a ride. She left the cow on the pasture.

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» We found random art when making a U-turn.

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» I saw pretty patterns in the clouds.

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» I would be happy to never hear/see the word “twerk” again.

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» It’s the time of the year for pink sunsets.

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» I wore my new blue shoes. Bought them for Hawaii but forgot to pack them.

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» I did a little lunchtime browsing while waiting for my turkey panini.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Week in the Life: 36/52

I have been slacking on taking photos since we got back from our vacation. I guess after looking at perfect beaches for a week, my workplace is less than inspiring. That is no excuse, though. There are lots of everyday things to document, and I will get back in the groove!

Here is what we were up to the first week of September:

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» Taking a break from destroying the living room.

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» Watermelon-strawberry agua fresca on Labor Day. Slurp.

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» It’s like the sky is a canvas.

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» My lunch dates.

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» “It’s a doggy!”

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» Like a painting.

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» On our morning walk to the car. The water on this little leaf glimmered in the sun. I encourage Alexa to notice the little things like this.

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» Over to LACMA to avoid a fire drill on Friday afternoon. Trust me, if you can avoid being herded down 30 flights of stairs, do it.

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» It was hot. Iced coffee a must.

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» I love the museum. Even the fountains are art.

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» Someone lost their ticket.

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» Meeting a friend to catch up and drink to her birthday. Meanwhile, this painting is staring me down across the bar.

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» Quick shout-out to Rascal. The shandies beer and mini tacos get two enthusiastic thumbs up.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Future Frequent Flier

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Dear Alexa,

I have a secret to tell you: Mama hates to fly. It’s not necessarily the flying part. It’s the process. The keeping liquids out of carry-ons, weighing baggage, standing in security lines, taking off shoes and being herded onto the plane process. So many rules, and they are always changing.

Naturally I was concerned about flying with you at this age. Two and a half. Rules? Those are meant to be broken (you are, after all, your mother’s daughter). Tantrums and saying “no” are normal parts of our days, as are jumping and running and climbing and being a healthy, active child. I smile at the mere thought of your boisterous, infectious nature. You are so full of life and energy. How would you feel being contained to the tiniest space possible — think 18 inches by 16 inches — for six hours?

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Turns out I needn’t have worried about you at all. You flew like a pro! Going through security was a breeze, and you enjoyed watching planes come and go at the terminal. Then, when we walked onto the plane, you exclaimed, “We did it!”

You were all smiles as you looked out the window and got used to your surroundings. Your eyes were wide open during takeoff and you pointed to things outside the window, including the big one: Ocean.

As the flight wore on, you tried to take a nap but couldn’t manage sleep for more than 30 minutes. I don’t blame you; airplane seats are notoriously uncomfortable. Watching TV clips on the Kindle and playing with your dolls kept you occupied the majority of the trip. When we were within an hour of landing in Hawaii, you got antsy, so I pulled out a book with magnets that you’d never seen before. You were fixated.

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We oohed and ahhed over the islands as we flew past. The captain came on the loudspeaker to play tour guide. At that exact moment, the turbulence picked up. “Woah, there, captain, put your hands back on the wheel,” your daddy and I thought as we headed in for a rough landing. We all held hands. Your daddy and I held our breath. You were unfazed. “Woohoo! Weeeeee!” you said, much to the delight of the passengers around us.

I told you several times afterward, but I want to reiterate how proud I was to be your seatmate on this flight, Lexa.

Let’s go on more adventures together.

Love,
Your mama

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A Week in the Life: 35/52

This was the week we were in Hawaii. There will be another post (or two or three) with the best pics from the trip. This weekly photo series is more about everyday moments, and these are the ones I don’t want to forget about our time in paradise.

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» Breakfasts on the lanai. The condo we rented had a full kitchen, so we took advantage by making most of our own meals. We stopped at a tiny market on our first night, where everything was crazy expensive. I think I bought $5 eggs. The next day H found a supermarket, whew.

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» Huge memory foam bed. I’ve never been so rested.

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» Sitting in the surf and splashing around in crystal clear water.

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» Swimming the saltwater lagoon every day for hours.

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» And hours.

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» Even dogs like it.

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» The marina on the left side of our building, Waikiki on the right side.

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» Breakfast for three.

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» Alexa spotted these leaves in the lagoon.

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» “We go down to beach!”

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» Avoiding naptime.

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» Enjoying a midday break on the lanai, where I would sit and watch the clouds fly by at quite a clip.

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» Evenings were for relaxing with a beer, laughing, and watching the luau on the rooftop at the Hilton next door.

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» One day we decided to rent a car and drive around the island.

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» Stopping at a spot with black volcanic rock against the royal blue ocean. Words can’t describe how beautiful it was.

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» Snapping pics through the window on our drive up the Windward Coast.

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» Even state beaches felt secluded because there were so few people there.

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» Burgers at Uncle Bobo’s.

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» I let her go wild with the ice cream. We didn’t clean up till she was all done and chocolate was EVERYWHERE.

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» Best. Jelly. Ever. (Well, tied with Nanny’s homemade plum jelly.)

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» Taking a nap two feet from the water.

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» Thinking nothing of jumping into the water, even wearing clothes.

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» The feeling after showering off the sand at the end of the day.

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» Swimming. And swimming. And swimming.

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» A beer on the last night.

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» Ukelele music and hula dancers.

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» A brilliant sunset on the way home.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone and Olympus DSLR this week. See past weeks here.