Saturday, July 15, 2017

Life: Let's Do Some Catching Up

It's been a while, my friends.  Hope you're enjoying your summer.  Mine has been busy.  Here's some crafty projects that happened since we last spoke here.


This is a new project. My sister contacted me because a friend of hers made custom decals for cars, tumblers, etc... She asked if I could do this with my Silhouette Portrait. I said, "Can I???" After a little googling, I found that YES I CAN! I ordered the material from Amazon and I made my first decal today.

That is a Pirate Queen decal. The photo doesn't show it well, but the crown is a metallic gold.

And it's here. On the back of our CRV today. It seemed appropriate since that vehicle robbed me of $990 today because some thingamajig broke. (Drew explained it to me, but I refuse to listen. Not because I can't understand how cars work, but because I don't want to know. I just pay for it. I'm his low-rent sugar-momma. Haha!)

At any rate, it was a bit tricky making the decal, but I'm super pleased with it. Like my sister, I've never cared for stickers and decals on cars. Now I want to cover it with my own designs!!!


While my mother was here in May, we made some bridal shower cards.

Here's a selection of other cards I've made.


Not much to tell here. I'm currently enrolled in a Master Screenwriting class with ScreenwritingU, the same company I took classes with last year. I very much like their online classes. This one is a doozy though. 18 months. It started in May and I've already seen a huge improvement in my writing. Happy!


Here's some highlights from the past five months.

March 2017 - Boston

I LOVE BOSTON!! I think everyone knows that. I was feeling a bit antsy to get back, so I talked Drew into going to Boston for a long weekend.

It was cold and wet. It was March in Boston. I was just happy it wasn't snowing.

We stayed at the Hilton near Faneuil Hall. across the street from the hotel we Mr. Dooley's. A wonderful Irish pub.

I got an Irish dinner, which is really just an Irish breakfast but with french fries.

William H. Macy entertained us on guitar. (No, it's not really him.) 


After dinner, we walked around. It was bitterly-cold, but I didn't care. 

Breakfast for the next two mornings was at The Black Rose (or Roisin Dubh). Again, an Irish pub. We are quite partial to them. This was Drew's favorite part of the trip. It was right about the corner from where we were staying.

My pictures are crap. I know. I don't take them to share with people but as a reminder to myself of what we did. My memory's pretty bad. I should try to do better with the pictures though since I end up sharing them anyway. Ha!

That night, we went to a hockey game at the Gahden... excuse me... Garden.

Tickets are stupid-expensive. It was still quite a bit of a splurge to get us two seats in the front row in the top balcony. I figured it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I didn't want to be worried about cramming myself into a seat in the middle of a row. We had some leg room and a great view!

Don't let the score fool you. The Bruins won, but the Devils played better. Look at the shot statistic up there. The Bruins shot 40 times and still only managed to beat the Devils by one.

My favorite part of the game?? The Samuel Adams bar!! They serve a beer called Brick Red there. It's a beer they make but serve only in select locations around Boston. This is one of them. And it is probably one of my favorite beers ever. It was perfect. And if I ever want it again, I'll have to go back to Boston and stalk them.


It snowed.


This is "Just Joe." He's a musician we've seen at a few wineries -- White Springs & Ventosa. He's excellent and very entertaining. If you're looking for something to do, find out where he is and go have a listen.

This awful picture is "My So Called Band." They play 90's pop and rock. An amazing band. Why is the picture so crappy? Because they were at the del Lago casino and I could not be bothered to get up and take a closer look. The seats at The Vine theater there are the most comfortable things I've ever been in.

The reason we went was because:
A. We'd hadn't yet been to del Lago and wanted to check it out.
B. The drummer is my friend Kelly's cousin and a lot of her family was going. Since I know a good chunk of them, I decided to tag along and support the band!

And the lead guitarist looks just like Louis CK from where I was sitting. That's a compliment. I love Louis.

Drinks at del Lago are outrageous, but they passed out t-shirts to everyone who came. I don't even like t-shirts, but I love free stuff. So, in my mind, it was a wash.

Oh yeah, and the bathrooms at The Vine must be right next to the kitchen, because it smelled just like Cornell Chicken in the bathroom. I mean, JUST LIKE CORNELL CHICKEN!! So much so that I snapped this pic and sent it to my sister with that bit of info. I like to keep her informed. Haha!

I might have had a few of those expensive beers. Hey, I'm worth it!


My parents came and stayed with use for two weeks in May. I posted quite a few pictures on Facebook of their visit. My favorite part of their stay was the daytrip we took to Niagara-On-The-Lake. If you've never been there, it's a lovely village about 30 minutes from the Lewiston Bridge. There are all kinds of shops. You can visit Fort George. They have a wine trail. Lots of theater. The Shaw Festival (named after George Bernard Shaw) is held there.

I made everyone try on hats in the hat shop.


We got the kayak's out! It has been a few years, but we hit the water on the first nice day. I don't think we've had a nice day since. Poop.

The house is looking cheerful. Drew stained the porch and re-painted the white. We even hung up some flower baskets, which are blooming quite nicely still. Normally, all plants die in our custody. I credit the NEVERENDING RAINS for keeping them alive.  

And that's it for now. I'm gonna boogie. I have homework to do and I'm a little behind. That happens during the week. I usually catch-up on the weekends.

Enjoy your summer.

~ Steph

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Food: Crock Pot Simply Salsa Chili

I made a chili today that was so awesome I felt a great urgency to share it with you. The most surprising thing about it... besides that I cooked... was the simplicity.  It's even simpler than the Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili recipe that I've shared with so many people.


2-14.5 oz cans chili-style diced tomatoes
1 bag frozen corn
1 can black beans
1 package of chicken sausage, chopped into slices
2 TBSP Tastefully Simple Simply Salsa Mix
1 brick light cream cheese

Mix all of the ingredients, except for the cream cheese, in a medium sized Crock Pot. Throw the cream cheese on top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. I usually stir it up a few hours after it's been cooking to stir in the cream cheese.

Serve with garlic bread. Eat like chili boss. Serves 4 good-sized dinner bowls.

Diced Tomatoes - If you don't like heat, use plain, boring diced tomatoes.
Black Beans - I don't drain or rinse them. Waste of time. Besides, that "goo" is just salt and water. So if you're watching your sodium intake, then go ahead and rinse them.
Chicken Sausage -  I used precooked Italian Chicken Sausage from Save-A-Lot. And no, I'm not ashamed to say so. It was kick ass!!
Tastefully Simple Simply Salsa Mix - Yeah, I know. It's a Tastefully Simple product. My hubby sells it. "Did you just do this to promote him?" DO YOU KNOW ME? I DON'T DO ANYTHING I DON'T LIKE!! Seriously, this recipe was great. If you don't have the Fiesta Party Dip mix, then use something else. I don't know what. I'm not a cook. That's why I use Tastefully Simple items. I don't have to be a cook. It just makes me look like one.
If you want to order it, go here... DREW'S WEBSITE.
Light Cream Cheese - Light or full. It doesn't really matter in chili or soups.

I am considering doubling this recipe and bringing it to work for Hardware Support, because those b*tards appreciate my spicy cooking.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Writing: Romance


I have trouble writing romantic scenes.  And by romantic, I don't mean sex.  I have no problems writing those scenes anymore.  I'm not very good with romance.  I try and when I re-read it it sounds fake.  She's always giggling or pouting or blushing or something else that a pre-pubescent girl would do in front of her crush, and he's rich and handsome and buying wine and ordering dessert and adjusting his trousers.  It doesn't sound normal when you write it down and I hate it.

"Romance" in books and movies doesn't exist in the real world.  That's probably the main reason some people read romance novels and watch Lifetime.  It's fictional.  And that's great, but I can't write it.  I can put my characters in fictional situations, but usually they're going to act like a real person.

For example, I have several -- SEVERAL -- stories about a hot, rich executive.  He's a CEO, or CFO, or COOMG!!!  He could have it all!  Models!  Yacht!  Trips to Abiza that he actually paid for and didn't win on Wheel of Fortune!  But he doesn't ever go.  He works; he networks when he has to; he donates shitloads anonymously to charity; he stares out his skyrise condo bedroom window looking over the city below contemplating his lonely existence.  Why?  Because some super-hot blond bimbo who was once his assistant/fiance/college sweetheart with major league funbags broke his heart and stole his money and ran off with his former business partner/a Hollywood producer/her sleezeball ex who promised to take her to Paris/make her a movie star/help her save 15% on her car insurance only to have them both die in a brie/cocaine/Michelob Ultra-fueled parasailing accident.  Or some crap like that.

Moody. Little. Bitch.

Instead of bouncing back or getting over it or going to therapy, he broods.  He broods and eats microwave-cooked freezer meals between power lunches with far happier millionaires.

Then one day, he decides he needs to hire a new assistant.

She's brunette with soft curves and a softer smile.  She's calm, cool, and has a high Microsoft Excel proficiency rating.  She doesn't care what he does in his personal life, but between the hours of 8 and 5, her job is to serve and protect the man who signs her paychecks.  She will do anything -- anything! -- to make him the best C-whatever-O the business world has ever seen!  Or, at the very least, re-educate him on the importance of the well-balanced home-cooked meal.

Seriously? Do you know how much sodium is in those Lean Cuisine Chicken Enchiladas?

After weeks of working together and getting used to each other (and even a little fun, harmless flirting), he's asked to attend a conference in Maui at the last minute.  He agrees and offers a chance for the assistant to go with him.  It's currently winter in the Northeast, so of course she's going to go to Maui!

The conference is necessary but long and boring.  His fellow businessmen are a little too inquisitive about his assistant's relationship status.  The bagels are stale and rubbery.  Dinner with the other execs was overpriced and understaffed.  And as the hot exec and his beautiful assistant retire to their suite for the evening, he apologizes for his colleagues and she gives him the tidbits of gossip she picked up along the way.

They laugh.  They sigh.  They look longingly into each other's eyes.  As they draw closer, both wonder the same thing...

Was that your stomach that just made that noise or mine?

The question is answered when the hot exec darts into the bathroom which will bare witness to his 36 hour bout of food poisoning.

*Sigh* "I told him not to order the duck."

His assistant will pity him, care for him, wipe his brow, change his shirts, switch out trash cans, ask the concierge for more toilet paper, order carafes of hot water from room service, beg the cleaning lady for more towels, force him to drink lots of water, find a football game on his iPad for him to watch, cancel their flight, extend their hotel stay, reschedule the next day's appointments, and tip the bellboy handsomely to go buy a box of Imodium.  The one thing she will not do is probably the most romantic thing of all --- leave him alone.  And as much as he hates her being there to see him in the most vulnerable and disgusting of states, he's falling in love with her more and more every second.

Yeah.  That really happened in a story I wrote.  And if you're wondering how in the hell is that romantic, ask yourself --- at your lowest point in your life, think about who was there to pick you up and see you through it.  At some point, did you turn to that person and say, "I love you for this."  And maybe it was a spouse or partner or parent or sibling or best friend or the cop at the State Fair who kept your ass from falling face first in the parking lot.  But it was still love and you meant it.

Any jerk can buy a bottle of wine when you're having a good day.  Any lush can screw a guy in an Armani suit after a lobster dinner.

But when she's in pain from having had a mammogram that day and doesn't want to see him, but he shows up and makes her frozen daiquiris anyway?  That's romantic.  And maybe the motor on the blender starts to smoke and it sets the curtains on fire and his plans to be her hero have gone to hell. But she doesn't care because he looks cute in the kitchen and she never liked those stupid curtains, so they eat the strawberries and do shots while watching a hockey game.  And never once does he try to grab her sore boobies.  That's romantic.

Him: Hey doll, I loaded the dishwasher, turned on the coffeepot, and scooped the cat litter. 
Here's a heating pad for your cramps. You sleep in this morning.
Her: You are totally getting a blowjob tonight.

Sometimes it's nice to dress up and go out and be treated to the wine and candles and dessert.  There's nothing wrong with that.  I just don't think it's romantic.  Not unless she's a chemo patient who's lost all her hair and he wants her to understand she's still the most beautiful woman in the world to him.  Now that's romantic!

Romance happens at the least likely moments in your life and makes them a whole lot better.

Or maybe that's beer.  I get the two confused.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Crafting: Homemade Christmas Cards!

I wasn't in the mood to make Christmas cards this year.  But I decided to print some off for my family in Tennessee.  The cats helped me.  Below are what we came up with and the message on the inside.

Ah, isn't that sweet?  Sweetpea looks a little sad in the window though.  Probably because she hates snow.  Snow does suck.

Don't worry.  We didn't really ship him anywhere.  Drew stopped me.

What?!  He is!


Sasha and Fuzzy are brother and sisters.  Assholery must run in the family.

And probably my favorite card went to my sister's boyfriend Steve.  Apparently he calls me the Mad Shitter because of my "I Pooped Today" sticker obsession.  I'm quite honored.

I love Christmas!!!