Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm a Sucker For ...

Books. Hardback. In a series (especially). I love books, but prefer to own them only if I can get them in hardback. I also love a good series (or, books by the same author which are made by the publisher to look nice while on a shelf). I have many series, from fantasy, to, well, Harry Potter (which I guess is considered fantasy?). This photo came closest to meeting the photo challenge (though by no means is this the only set of books I have) -- darn you, tricky macro setting!

I was inspired by my friend Stephanie who found this photo challenge from a friend. I'm always trying to improve my photo-taking skills (how else can I justify a DSLR down the road???), so I figured I'd give it a try.

Kristine’s photo challenge:

Objective: Finish the sentence, “I’m a sucker for…” by taking a photograph using the macro setting on your camera. You can be as concrete or as abstract as you like. Make sure you write a blog post about it too.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

DigiScrap: Mi Piaci

Gabby & Brian @ Mi Piaci

Brian & Gabby . PRN Dinner @ Mi Piaci . January 2006
Template: Anja aka Sunflowers
Papers and Elements: "Wild Love" Kit by Shappy Princess
Acrylic "I Love You" Frame: Michelle Coleman

Font: Top Secret

I actually did this LO (layout) in between the other two, but it didn't take me very long, as I used a template. I really like the way this one turned out. And I love the background paper (so baroque)!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

DigiScrap: Color Garden

Color Garden

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.
~ Elizabeth Lawrence
Template: Red Leaf DigiScrapping
Kit: "Summer Beginnings" by Melany Violette (some recoloring by me)
Black Glitter Style (on Swirl): Thaty Borges

Fonts: Galahad (normal type); Bienville ("garden"); Giddyup ("childhood"); Juice ("enchanted"); Harrington ("colors", etc.)

Layout done for KWerner's Color Inspiration Challenge #39.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bargain Shopping at Old Navy

Or, How Old Navy Paid Me 18 Cents to Take Away $111 Worth of Merchandise

Old Navy isn't a store I normally shop at, but, once again, just like Pier 1, we had a gift card for $25. So, on Monday, Brian and I made our way to the closest Old Navy to see what they had. Talk about lucky -- all of their clearance was an additional 50% off! (I think that promo is over now, though.) Since I don't really fit into their clothes (well, I might if they hadn't taken their plus sizes to their online store only, but whatever), I let Brian peruse the clearance clothes while I looked to see if they had any cute accessories. I really didn't find anything I liked that was a good deal, but Brian on the other hand, totally lucked out!

A fleece jacket, two pairs of cords (one black, one brown), a cute fleece beanie, and a tan hat -- and we still had a few dollars to spare on the card!


Since we still needed to fill out the card, I grabbed these yummy-smelling, peppermint soaps which were also on clearance for a mere 75 cents each.

And, apparently, since we had so little left on the card, the cashier merely gave us what was left -- 18 cents. The original pricing on all of these items would have come out to $111, but after the extreme clearance prices, it came out to less than $25, and, we didn't have to pay anything, thanks to our gift card.

Brian told me that this was definitely blog worthy, as we did better here than at Pier 1. However, for those of you that think I'm a savvy shopper (which I try to be -- we ended up buying a PS3 on the same trip the mall because we had some gift cards to offset some of the cost, not to mention a cool $150 rebate I found online), we did roam over to World Market because I'd heard they had some pretty good stuff on clearance, but, alas, I didn't find anything. So, I'm not always lucky! Hah.

Sadly, this probably ends my tales of good shopping for awhile, seeing as we've pretty much exhausted our gift cards (except for some food ones), and since I don't yet have regular income coming in.... But I've managed to catch some good things, so I won't complain. I think the key is ... hitting the end-of-season sales. Works for me!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

DigiScrap: Let Them Eat Cake

"let them eat cake..."

. . . or so Brian thought when he had a cake, covered in flowers, delivered to the office for my birthday. He told me to make sure I shared with my co-workers, and they were very excited to partake of my cake. But to our dismay (and Brian's) it turned out to be just a pretty floral arrangement that just looked like a cake. Oh well, it's the thought that counts, right?
Template (modified): Tracy Drane
Background, Red mat (recolored) and Orange mat Paper: "Sunkissed Day" Kit by Kristy Nerness
Border Paper: "Mehndi" Kit by Kristy Nerness
Ribbon: "Orange Berry Fizz" Kit by Michelle Coleman
Bracket Shape, Scalloped Frame, and Rhinestone: Miss Mint (Peppermint Creative)
Bracket Paper: Bren Boone
Glitter Style: Thaty Borges

Fonts: Tagettes (title); Pea Happy Girl (journaling)

Layout done for KWerner's Color Inspiration Challenge #38.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Recipe: Broccoli, Cheese and Rice Casserole

My most-requested dish when going to family dinners:

Broccoli, Cheese and Rice Casserole
Serves 8+

1 14 oz. box Minute Rice
1 16 oz. bag of frozen chopped broccoli
2 cans cream of mushroom, or chicken soup (or one of each, or some other cream of soup)
1 16 oz. jar of Cheez Whiz
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Grease large casserole dish with cooking spray (or butter).
3. Cook rice according to directions on box (add butter and salt to taste).
4. Cook broccoli according to directions on package; make sure and drain after cooking.
5. In a large bowl (or pot used to cook rice), combine cooked rice and broccoli.
6. Stir in the 2 cans of soup.
7. Heat up Cheez Whiz according to directions and add to rice/broccoli, stirring well to combine.
8. Pour into greased casserole dish and top with cheddar cheese.
9. Bake for about 30 minutes until cheese is nice and melted.

Variation: Add cut up, cooked chicken to make it a complete meal. You could also try adding mushrooms. Or also try a combination of white rice with wild rice.


This dish can be quite healthy, as long as you choose low-sodium or fat free condensed soups, and you could go with a lower-fat content cheese, but, be warned, it won't look as pretty coming out of the oven. It's also a great vegetarian dish (if you don't go with the cream of chicken soup, and, of course, don't add chicken).

I plan on putting recipes up here every once in awhile, to share. I just tried a new one last night, a garlic and citrus roasted chicken, but I think I need to tweak just a few things before sharing it. But, don't fret, I have many more tried and true recipes. ^_^ I like things to be simple and have as few ingredients as possible (unless it sounds so delicious I have to try it either way). Do you have any recipes to share? I'll try most things once!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bargain Hunting at Pier 1

Or, How I Bought $75 of Merchandise But Only Paid $2.47 in Cash

I like Pier 1 because they always have many things that I think are quite nice, seeing as I love Eastern/Middle Eastern decor, etc. However, overall, I think Pier 1 is overpriced, and sometimes the way they handle their merchandise (or display it) leaves something to be desired (for example, I found this beautiful frame, but it was just at the bottom of a shelf, and due to neglect it had some bad scratches and scuff marks, and, of course, it was the only one left).

So I've had this Pier 1 $25 gift card sitting in my purse for the longest time, and every once in awhile, over the course of time I would stop in and see if anything struck my fancy. Usually not enough to fancy me spending the card on it (or if I really liked something, it was quite out of my budget). But, yesterday I noticed that they were having a clearance sale -- mostly on their seasonal items, but, I figured, why not?

So, in Brian and I went, and out we came with these items. (Most were on clearance and some for ridiculous low prices -- as low as 98 cents. Yup!)

Technically the clock wasn't on sale, but it was a decent price and most everything else I could have spent the money on was . . . meh (plus, it made me think of Christine and her love of clocks). ^_^


You'd think that by January, anything Autumn or Halloween related would no longer be available, but Pier 1 still had a few things left, and these were the REAL bargain. Three small vases with mums, which are cute together or could be spread out as nice centerpieces down the middle of a table. And, we don't have any Autumn decor, so. . . .


To be honest, the last thing I need is more candles, but I had seen these on their Web site and thought they'd fit perfectly with the colors on our new comforter (and as a Christmas item, it was also on clearance).

And so, after everything was rung up, I handed the cashier the gift card and only had to pay $2.47. Already my candles are on display in the bedroom, my clock has been batteried and is on the mantle, and the vases await Autumn. All in all, not bed, eh? ^_-

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kickin' It Old School At the Library

Reading is one of my pleasures. It has been for a very long time. During my college days I didn't get to read much for pleasure, and sometimes life (or the Internet) seemed to get in the way, but in finding Brian I found an equal lover of books. We both love to read. However, I will say that I'm a book snob, or, I should say, I'm a hardback book snob. If I own a book, it must be in hardback. AND, I usually only stick to my genre of choice, fantasy, because if I am going to buy an expensive book, it better be what I like to read.

But recently I have discovered the marvels of the modern library. I can honestly say that, except for my school days, I have never had a library card. I know, I know, gasp all you want, but there it is.

So, after moving to a neighboring city and needing to fill our time with less-expensive entertainment, Brian and I went and got library cards. Gone, mostly, is the Dewey Decimal system (at least at this place). No longer do you have to go to someone to get checked out. No. Now all you have to do is scan your library card and then scan the book, and then a receipt prints out with your lovely books to read and when they're due back (and don't forget other things like DVDs, audio books and CDs). My library sits on a lovely lot with a man-made pond in the back with a fountain, has a cafe next to it, AND even has a parking garage below it (which came in VERY handy a few days ago when it was cold and rainy). My only concern is that this library is a branch of the bigger library, so it doesn't have as much to check out, but they will transfer books -- you just have to let them know.

Now I am free to check out books because they seem interesting, and while they may sit on a corner of a table awaiting to be read, they won't clutter up my house or shelves, because they will go back in a few weeks. I can venture into new genres and if I don't like the book, then, oh, well, I have a few others to read. At our last trip Brian and I got 4 books and 5 CDs. One of the books I knew Brian wouldn't read at all. It seemed like my cup of tea. Victorian. Written by an English author. But, alas, the language (and subsequent convoluted plot and numerous characters) did me in before page 100. But, you know what. That's just fine. I can now move along.

So, if you haven't before, or haven't recently, I heartily recommend your local library!

(Oh, and if you have any books to recommend, I'm always looking for something new or different to read. If you look on the right, somewhere will be a list of my current read, as well as my previous reads.)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year, A New Beginning

Happy New Year!

As some of you know, last year wasn't perhaps the greatest year, but I did learn from it. So much so, that I felt it was time to rise from the ashes, so to speak and renew myself, refresh, start something new.

So, left behind has been I'm sad to see it go. It was a part of my life for over 8 years. And it included Bishounen Hunter Gabby, my old blog. Since I've been married for awhile now, I thought that I should leave that hunting behind. *laughs* Besides, the .nu domain was costing me quite a bit every year. And, it was such a pain to have to keep spelling out "nonchalant" and explaining the ".nu" to people. There are maybe a few other reasons, but they really don't matter.

Also left behind last year, is a job in corporate America. After some soul searching, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at a freelance career in proofreading, specifically book manuscripts. So I quit my sad, piddly job and am embarking this year as a work-at-home gal! I'm very excited about this, and have had many "signs" letting me know that I am going in the right direction. To help supplement my income, I will go back with my old temp agency (that placed me in proofreading positions before) to hopefully get some freelance and short-term jobs, while I start making contacts at publishing houses. Thankfully, we have a little bit of a financial cushion, since we have the money that we were going to use as a down payment still sitting in a savings account. Maybe this was the reason that things worked out as they did. I hope so, because I am VERY excited for this! So wish me luck!

While there are some goals I want to accomplish this year, I think I will keep them to myself, for now, since my main and most important goal will be to grow my business.

Thanks to you, my faithful readers, for all the years we've known each other and for your support.

May the new year bring us all wonderful things.

*hugs to all*

Original template © to

Back to TOP