Monday, February 28, 2011

{each campfire lights anew/ the flame of friendship true}

With most of the difficult moving agenda items behind me (besides packing, that is...) I've been keen to spend my time with the people who matter to me before I have to leave them.

On Saturday evening a group of us went camping at a friend's farm. We stoked up a large bonfire in her field, drank rum, played jenga and ladder golf as we watched the hours slip away under the stars. When it grew too late and the last of the embers died, we fell asleep in our tents, curled in warm sleeping bags, and dreamed of the future.











See more photos here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

{and the winner is...}

Do you celebrate the Oscars? I come from a world of theatre, and so I spent my college years with friends much more obsessed with the Oscars than the Super Bowl, who knew every Tony winner from the past ten years but couldn't tell you the starting lineup of the Packers.

We spent each Oscar, Tony and Emmy award night with a room full of people, pizza and ballot cards. With $5 each in the pot, it was always a game to see whose ballot came out on top. My roommate at the time, Byron, a brilliant actor, singer, dancer and the ultimate Renaissance Man extraordinaire, won the game every year. In fact, he crushed us every year, by at least ten categories.
We finally decided the only logical explanation for this serious ass-kicking was that he must be on the Academy, and thus knew the results before they were announced.
But this fact never stopped us from playing, and an enjoyable evening was always had by all.

I miss those days, and now with a different job, no TV, and less time to spend in the theatre, watching the Oscars is one of those things that has slipped by the wayside. Scanning my favorite blogs lately, I've managed to uncover some fun Oscar night ideas, including a very clever Bingo game by How About Orange, and it makes me want to host another Oscar night with friends.... (at someone else's house --- who has a TV and cable, that is....)

With no further ado... here are the nominees!



Print your fun Oscar Bingo ballot here!

Or visit Twig and Thistle, who has a plethora of fun snacks, invitations and party ideas for all your Academy-night-hosting dreams, including downloadable popcorn bags, candy bag toppers, invitations and envelope liners, and of course, the ballot itself!



Enjoy your night, and good luck!

Friday, February 25, 2011

{tofu lasagna}

I made a lasagna for lunch, and though I have never made lasagna before, it turned out pretty good (in my humble opinion) so I'm interested in sharing the recipe with you. And remember that mega marinara sauce we made a while back? We finally get to use it in something other than spaghetti!


{tofu lasagna}

Alright, before you get all grossed out by the idea of tofu lasagna, know that you'll hardly even notice it's there. In fact, the tofu only serves as giving the texture and flavor of that yummy cheesy layer in a lasagna, with much less fat! Try it yourself if you don't believe me.

1 (8-ounce) package lasagna
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup firm tofu, mashed well or pureed in a food processor (1⁄2 of a 14-ounce block)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1⁄2 teaspoon salt 
Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
11⁄2 cups store-bought tomato sauce, or 2 cups Mega Marinara Sauce
1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese

Cook the lasagna according to the package directions. Drain and rinse. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with oil.
In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, tofu, garlic, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of the white puree. In another bowl, mix the remaining cup of the white puree into the tomato sauce (unless you're using the mega marinara sauce, and then it already has some!)


Layer the bottom of the baking dish with pieces of lasagna noodles. Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture on top. Layer another row of noodles and spread 1/2 the tomato sauce on top. Layer another row, spread the rest of the ricotta mixture, and layer a final row of noodles and spread the last of the tomato sauce on top. Optional cheesy option: sprinkle the top with cheese.
Cover the pan with foil sprayed with oil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil in the last 10 minutes to lightly brown the cheese.


I thought it tasted good, but my Picky Critic, who is skeptical about eating food that is good for him, gave the lasagna a critical stare and poked at the cheesy layer a bit, and asked, "baby, is there feta in this? I don't like feta."
"There's no feta in it!" said I.
"Then what is that?"
"It's cheese. All lasagnas have cheese. You like cheese."
Reluctantly, he tried a small bite. And immediately wrinkled his nose.
"Baby, is there onion in this? I don't like onion."
"There is no onion in it," I groaned. "It's garlic, and not even that much."
After several quiet minutes of chewing, and finally deciding there was nothing else he could complain about, Tanner resolved: "it's okay."

Maybe I should start testing my cooking on someone else...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

{making a list... checking it twice...}

With two days left of work and two random days off midweek, I took the opportunity to be very productive with the little time I was given.
So far we've checked off:
  • Moving truck arrangements and down payment (we have a date scheduled!)
  • Apartment application approval and impending deposit fee to be sent...
  • Airline tickets for a one-way flight
  • Arrangements for my car to make its journey cross-country
  • Boxes taped and half-filled with stuff
  • Passport renewal mailed
  • Sublet request posted on craigslist
  • Doctor records and prescriptions requested for transfer
All that's left is to follow through with what we've started, but the dates are becoming more concrete and the time is drawing nearer. The rough part is that all these places want money, so I feel like I've done nothing but give out my credit card number and write checks all week. My bank account is taking a serious beating. Who knew it was this costly to move so far? It makes me realize that if I ever want to move back, it's going to be a harder task than I originally thought.

Speaking of craigslist, here are the lovely photos I posted of my apartment. Impressively, I cleaned up all the boxes in order to take these pictures, so my house actually looks clean. (And by "cleaned up" I mean I kept moving the boxes around in a circular pattern, just out of range of each of the rooms I was photographing-- so imagine a huge mess just out of sight!)

Kitchen/dining area. Please note it never looks like this. Since I have no pantry, usually there's food all over the counters and some array of cooking utensils to match. 
Whether or not that food actually gets prepared and eaten is another story.


Bedroom. Painted light blue by me and Tanner on one of our first dates. Gotta love putting your color-blind boyfriend to work painting light blue against white. 
It's a wonder the lines are straight. (They're not.) He must have really liked me. :)


Awesomely giant bathroom. Painted an awesomely lime green by yours truly, armed only with a tiny paintbrush, and a two hour disc of Joseph and the Technicolored Dreamcoat soundtrack. 
Yes, I am that person. Don't judge.


Living room. I'd like to say that the couches are already gone and that the chairs are my "backup" furniture, but this is not the case. Note to future self: watching a movie with your boyfriend on two separate sitting surfaces makes it harder to snuggle.


And finally, here's a price sheet of the abuse my checking account has been taking, in true "Visa" (edit: I meant "Mastercard"... duh) style:

Moving truck: $3,000. 
Apartment application and deposit: $350. 
March rent at my current locale: $550. 
March rent at my new locale: $750. 
Doctor, dentist, and eye doctor medical records: $0.44 per envelope. 
Passport renewal: $110. 
Airline tickets for a one-way flight: $378. 
Sending my car 3,000 miles: $1,000. 
Getting excited about starting all over... priceless.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

{another reason I'm going to like portland}

So the other day I decided to look up yoga studios in Portland, just to see if they had some options close to where I'll be living.
Lo and behold...


So I think I'll be okay, what do you think? :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

{freak out graph}

For those of you who are interested how a huge change-of-life status and moving across the country can affect your psyche, here's a breakdown about my emotional state of mind over the past month, starting with the phone call saying "you got the job!" and ending with yesterday, when I had to spend all day figuring out where I'm going to live, how I'm going to ship my stuff cross-country, and how to do it all in two weeks. (Thanks mom and Tanner for all your help!)

The Inner Workings of Brittany's Mind

On a scale of one to ten, here are my emotional states of mind as shown on the above graph:

1: WHAT IF I'VE MADE A GIANT MISTAKE?!? FREAKING OOOOOUT.
2: I keep waking up from nightmares every ten minutes, thinking, once again, that I've forgotten to wear my pants to work, I have no friends, and everyone hates me.
3: So much time, so little to do. No wait, scratch that, reverse it!! Stress. Stress. STRESS. STRESS!
4: Apartment hunting. It's fun at first, until I realize I actually have to pick one and make it fit into my budget and hope it's a good location without being there... eep!
5: Melancholy. I don't want to leave my friends, my family, and my home... I don't want to say goodbye...
6: Daydreaming about all the awesome things I'm going to do on the west coast. Ignoring all the stressful things I'll have to do to get there.
7: Everyone I know is so excited for me; it's making me excited, too!
8: This is going to be a great change for me! Think of all the wonderful places I'll get to travel and all the great people I'll get to meet! Not everyone has an opportunity like this one, and I'm getting paid to do it!
9: I GOT THE JOB!! MY FIRST INTERVIEW AND I NAILED IT!! (Victory dance)
10: So excited about my new adventure!! I get to start a new chapter in my life, explore a different part of the country and become a better version of myself! This is going to be awesome!

Monday, February 21, 2011

{etsy find: Portland!}

In honor of my move cross-country, I had a little fun browsing etsy, looking for fun homemade things which reflect my new city. Portland is full of artisans, so within moments I had pulled up an array of fun pieces that embody the spirit of the northwest. Here are some of my favorites:


The heart pillow by lovecalifornia was way too cute not to include, and I love the vintage look of shyama's "Portland Kiss." I'm also smitten by the simplicity of albiedesign's sketch of the city and Mt. Hood. It would look wonderful framed on the wall of a cozy den... don't you think?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

{free rice -- and some lexicon knowledge, besides}

I am completely addicted to freerice.com. I play around on it for days on end, then forget it exists for a few months, and then rediscover it and remember why I was hooked in the first place.

Not only are you spending time testing your own literary, science and trivia knowledge in clever ways, but you're also donating rice and money to those in need. So you end up smart and a philanthropist. Everybody wins!

What's your highest score? I can make it to level 43 pretty quick. but I can't seem to break through that barrier to the next level of word definition. The great thing about this site is, even if you get an answer wrong, it asks you again later so you can feel like you learned something. Sweet!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

{moving checklist}

For those of you who are interested in what it takes to move across the country, here is my rough list of things that need to get accomplished in order to complete such an undertaking. Obviously, your own list may be a little different if you have other things to consider (ie, a pet, a child or a spouse that you're thinking of bringing along.)


Also, I left off some of the more obvious items, such as "packing." If you need a reminder for that one, you might want to reconsider your decisions behind this move in the first place.


Friday, February 18, 2011

{stacked pancakes}

I was in a cooking mood last night, so I made a batch of healthy pancakes and I'm sharing the recipe with you. They're (amazingly!) made with no flour, but they have the consistency and thickness of a fluffy, flour-filled pancake and the punch of a protein shake.
My only qualm is the slight bland-ness of the taste. Granted, they are hearty, and I still enjoyed eating them, but adding a batch of blueberries or chocolate chips and dousing them in maple syrup definitely didn't hurt.


{stacked pancakes}

4 egg whites
1/2 cup part skim or fat free ricotta cheese
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup chocolate chips or blueberries
Maple syrup, for serving

Whisk together egg whites, ricotta and vanilla in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk baking powder, salt, oat bran, and almonds. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just blended. Batter will be thick and lumpy. Add a little milk if it's too thick. Add chocolate chips or blueberries and mix lightly.
Spray a cooking pan over medium heat and drop spoonfuls of batter on it. Flip the pancakes when they're golden brown. Serve stacked high!


This picture looks just like my blueberry muffin batter, doesn't it? ;)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

{my life in boxes}

If you wanted to know how my imminent move and all its preparations are going, let me give you a photo update from last night:


For all you curious blog-readers out there:
Yes, that is a stack of empty boxes.
No, nothing has been sorted, divided, or packed in them yet.
Yes, we had planned on sorting, dividing, and packing all evening.
Yes, that is my boyfriend and me watching "Shrek 2", instead.

*ahem*... more updates on our "progress" coming soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

{anthropologie finds: kitchenware!}

I spent the Valentine's weekend shopping around the mall with Tanner. The weather was beautiful, the day was blissfully pleasant, and I think it was even more poignant because I know it'll be one of my last here at home. It was nice to have a calm day amid the storm.

While out and about, we visited one of my favorite shops, Anthropologie, which is inspiring today's post. I, of course, wanted to buy every adorable knick knack in sight... (I wish I could afford the clothing, but I can't pretend that I can. The kitchenware had me more than enough distracted, anyway!) I was quickly reminded that I was moving across the country and shouldn't be buying more things to ship. A quick visit to Googlemaps when I got home informed me of two Anthropologies in my new home town -- hurray!

My first buy will definitely have to be a set of these adorable measuring cups:


And I love this whimsical table set:


As well as these other favorite kitchen finds...


I am just in love with that pitcher. Now I just need a good reason to use a pitcher....

Another thought struck me last night as I was browsing through beautiful porcelain dinnerware online. I have a rather creative nature, so why not attempt to make some of this myself? Plain porcelain sets are fairly cheap to acquire, so all I need is a set of porcelain paint pens and a fun template (designed by yours truly) to scribble all over my new mugs, plates and bowls. Genius!

Moving cross-country puts a bit of a damper on this idea, but as soon as I'm in my new digs, I'm looking forward to sprucing up the place with a lot of homemade flair! Stay tuned!
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