Friday, February 27, 2015

Roundup of Random

Thursdays are my Fridays, which means that today is the start of my weekend. On alternate Fridays, I serve lunch at the high school. Yeah, I still help out at my kids' schools, but they tell me they don't mind...and it makes me feel good to volunteer. The teachers and staff are hugely appreciative. 

However, today is my alternate alternate Friday -- and somehow I have no appointments on my calendar. Don't get me wrong, I have TONS of stuff to do after the hustle of Teen Star (recap to come) and house guests.  And, of course, there is always the FASFA deadline looming in a few days. 

In an effort to post more frequently, I decided to write a feature of random stuff from my week. Look for it each Friday, mmmk? It seems fitting to start off my new column with this:

I bought a frog. It just doesn't get more random than that.
Dude isn't down for being handled too much, so I'll share a photo of what their legs look like (photo credit

Red-legged Frog
One of the most unusual things about this guy (or gal) is that the pupils are vertical. I suppose 'unusual' isn't the right word, it's more like 'classic'; like the eye of any drawing you would see of a reptile. I don't know why that struck me as surprising...but there you go. 

I didn't know their pupils dilated. It was a little unnerving the first time I saw it, even though it makes perfect sense since frogs are nocturnal and shit. Of course, all I could think of was this:

Death by cute: this slays me every time. It is also one
of the best things Antonio Banderas has ever done IMHO
What is unusual is their croak. Mr. Frog sounded off one night and we were all instantly on our feet trying to determine what was making that high-pitched sound. It was shrill and not unlike scratching on glass. What the hell?! Since when did frogs stop going, 'Ribbit! Ribbit!'?? 


My second bit of random was that I did my first-ever meal prep, tiny as it was. I follow many fitness-minded folks like myself on Instagram, and several of them have shared photos of a week's worth of food which are often assembled in a collage with Benjamin Franklin's quote, 'If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.' 

All of that makes me stabby, even if it's true. While I was preparing dry ingredients to make Rebecca's Wild Strawberry Pancakes, I realized it would be easy enough to just keep scooping - so I did! I made three more batches until I ran out of buckwheat flour. All I need to do is add wet ingredients to make yummy pancakes. I'm planning on bringing a few batches with us on vacation, if they're not confiscated as contraband:

Strawberry pancakes? YES.
Somehow my pancakes don't quite look like Rebecca's pancakes: her pancakes are pretty, pink-hued and fluffy. Mine? Not even close. When I cooked them in the pan -- even with TONS of coconut oil, they stuck terribly -- my pancakes may or may not resemble the photo of a certain frog I just posted:

Things were going along fine until shortly after
this photo was taken., and then the wheels fell off.
The finished product wasn't pretty...but I had no problem huffing them down. Here's a my version of Rebecca's recpipe: 

My pancakes: Not the ideal food
photograph...but still hella delicious.
And just for the sake of comparison, here are Rebecca's pancakes:

Rebecca's Wild Strawberry Pancakes with
strawberry protein 'frosting'. (Photo
My first few attempts at this recipe have looked nothing like the above photograph...but I am equal to the task. My plan of attack next time is 1) less heat, 2) use canola spray before adding coconut oil, and 3) not to care as much.

Have you tried recipes from the internet before? If so, how did it come out? Also, I am open to name suggestions for Mr. Frog. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Teen Star...And Other Reasons I Dropped Off The Face Of The Planet

Hello Internet! Wassup?

I feel like a terrible blogger and have been horribly remiss about keeping things up to date here, but it's been for good reason.

First off, I've been in FAFSA hell. If anyone has been through the process of applying for college government aid, then you feel my pain. There has to be some kicky acronym for FAFSA that sums up just how much this process sucks. If know you know one or are good at thinking stuff like that up on the fly, I would love to hear yours. 

Anyway! This has been an exciting time for my daughter. She is starting to receive college acceptance letters, and best of all: SHE QUALIFIED FOR THE TEEN STAR FINALS!

My beautiful daughter. She is always a star in my book!

#TeenStar is a vocal competition for junior high and high school students, similar to The Voice or American Idol...except without the drama. Several of her friends qualified last year, so when she asked me if I thought she should audition, I said, "Absolutely!" We both felt like it would be a great experience for her.

The auditions went really well, and she left feeling really excited and confident. That alone was a win. Girldoll said the judges were very positive, and asked her why she waited until the final year she was eligible to audition. One of these judges told her, 'your voice is like butter!' I think because Girldoll decided to just go for it with no expectation on the outcome of her audition, she was confident and relaxed during her audition. The finalists were announced the following night through the Teen Star Facebook page, and receiving texts all in caps -- from both Girldoll and her brother -- that she made the finals was a pretty sweet text to receive.

One of ten finalists, the weeks before the event are going to be a whirlwind. She has already interviewed for a newspaper and been in several local publications with the other performers. They are a great group of vocalists and everyone has been friendly and excited to be a part of such a distinguished group. 

Santa Barbara's Got Talent!
Featured in our local paper
I had worried that it would be high pressure to sign with a talent agent or become an expensive endeavor, but it has been a lot of fun. Teen Star is volunteer run, and there was no cost to enter the competition. They are driven to make it a premier event and give the kids an amazing experience. She got to work one-on-one with a mentor in a state-of-the-art recording studio, honing in her songs and working on stage presence. 

Working with her mentor, Ike Jenkins. Inspiring, kind and professional.

Running through her ballad, Girldoll doesn't
seem to be bothered by the paparrazi...!

The decor at Playback Studio is incredible. In the interest on not posting too many
photos, it's hard to get an appreciation of just how impressive this place is.

A brief interview before Girldoll goes on camera. This will be used during the event
to feature her before she performs live at the Granada.

This one is for me because I couldn't help myself. Sorry I'm not sorry.

Holding one of Playback Recording studio's three Emmys that were, you know,
just out sitting on a coffee table. The poster above is Katy Perry, who recorded
Roar, Dark Horse (my personal favorite), Teenage Dream and California Girls here.
Girldoll has been busy promoting the event through interviews (radio and print), and they will perform at the beautiful Granada Theater on February 21, 2015. The kids get the full treatment with professional hair and makeup, limousine ride, walk the red carpet...the works! 

Kids these days, right?? There is no way I would have had the confidence to perform in front of 1,500 people at her age. It amazes me how accomplished the youth are nowadays. So excited for my beautiful and talented girl!