Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Interesting Internets

Just a few things I've found interesting on the internet lately:

Because I'll be turning 30 soon: 30 Life Things – A Celebration Of Getting Older

Because I like the message at the end: Keeping the So(u)l in Solstice

Because I wish more people like her were in government: Why I Will Vote for Marianne Williamson for Any Office For Which She Runs 

Because I play a mage in World of Warcraft: Arcane Brilliance: Fun and frivolity for mages

Because I adore my friends who allow me to expand: The real reason that some people are bad for you.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Because I'm an adult, that's why!

Lately I have been on a huge ice cream kick. After discovering that I can safely eat ice cream again without completely congesting up, I went on a bit of a whirlwind spree of "MUST HAVE ICE CREAM" there for awhile. I've made a spoken vow that once the ice cream currently in the freezer is gone, I'm not buying any more. Well, not unless we go to a frozen yogurt place, of course - and goodness knows, Williamsburg has enough of 'em. Not for health reasons or anything, but mainly because nobody needs ice cream on a nightly basis - not even my inner child. But it seems to totally satisfy those midnight snack cravings perfectly! My favorite as of late is Turkey Hill's chocolate chip cookie dough. So, so good. I didn't even realize it wasn't vanilla flavored ice cream until I took the time to read the last carton. *facepalm*

For awhile I was also on a huge nacho kick, too. I love nachos, and I don't even know why! Maybe from watching too much Beavis and Butt-head as a kid?

(For the record, I totally used to own this shirt.)

It bugs me that so many brands of tortilla chips are SO salty, though. I don't need the combo of salty chips and spicy salsa to burn my mouth in two ways, sorry. I finally got to the point where I was eating them as a taco salad with more lettuce-to-chips ratio to tone down the saltiness a bit. But there's something about tortilla chips smothered in a variety of toppings that makes me a happy Cara... especially when the boyfriend is pretty much the King of Nachos. He works magic with food, that one.

Here are a couple pics of some impressive plates:

Can you tell I like sour cream? I've since learned that it's easier to put the toppings in a bowl and scoop them out with the chips when eating at the computer... which I do without shame. I have a washable keyboard, after all. ;)

This post is sort of a memorial to the two. I think I'm about done with the run of "OMG I WANT TO EAT THIS EVERY DAY" for both. Of course, I wouldn't say no if a giant plate of delicious nachos magically appeared in front of me! *waits for nachos...* Darn.

My question to you: Are there any foods that are totally jiving with you lately, that you just can't seem to get enough of?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Growth comes in many forms

If you haven't checked out Effy Wild's Book of Days art journaling program yet, you're totally missing out. Psst, registration opens again in October so go sign up for her newsletter and keep an eye out! ;D  That said, I've been a total fangirl for anything Effy for some time now and my Book of Days practice has taken on a new evolution with Project Life!

I hadn't heard about Project Life until Shelly posted on her blog, Inspiration Everywhere, about it. Besides the fact that her art is amazing and her own Project Life book is something I drool over, can we just talk about her handwriting for a second? *fans self* If I could download her handwriting as a font into my brain to be able to write like that... ahhh! Okay, anyway, enough fangirling again.

After pondering over this for a couple weeks, I got a coupon from Michael's arts and crafts store for 40% off one item and picked up a big ol' variety box of page protectors. These are really cool because they are all 12x12 standard scrapbook page size, but with pockets split into 3x4, 4x6, and 6x6 sizes so you can insert a bunch of stuff without having to make a traditional scrapbook layout on a big 12x12 page. Now all I have to do is find my scrapbook binder that's hiding somewhere amongst my stuff... ;)

Until then, I'm trying to put in a little insert for every day. I haven't really succeeded in that goal just yet, so I'm just making it work till I find my groove. But instead of using the traditional Project Life cards that are available for purchase, I'm using index cards because somewhere along the way I decided I needed like 3000 index cards and they are a good, plain background for any kind of arting. I also have a ton of scrapbook paper to use, along with tons of bits and bobs for accents. I am trying to make do with what I have and only buy things that will truly serve me in my interests and growth, so I like to think this is helping me with that goal.

I have a few reasons I wanted to try this. First, because my most recent altered book art journal is nearly full, so it was about time to find a new one to work with anyway. Second, my previous Books of Days (Book of Dayses? haha) are all kinds of stuck together. Super sad face! I mean, who knew a page with glued-on stuff would stick to another page with, you guessed it, glued-on stuff? LAWL, common sense, I have none. I know there are ways to prevent this, like sticking wax paper between the sheets, using a spray-on fixitif, or rubbing the page with beeswax. But I was lazy and didn't do any of these, so peeling apart the pages of books that are now at least a year old is a little heartbreaking!

BUT, it's all about the journey when it comes to arting for me, not so much the outcome. Effy wrote a great blog about this recently that you should read if you're a creative type. :)

So anyway, I wanted to make my Book of Days worry-free when it comes to having things stick together. Another reason I wanted to try this was due to the varying sizes the page protectors allow. I've found I prefer working with a smaller canvas, so the small sized pockets work great. And if I want to go all out, I can work with a 12x12 page and put that in there with a standard scrapbook page protector, too! So it seems really easy to customize to whatever I feel like that day I sit down to slap paint and glue on the page.

Yesterday I had another 40% off coupon for Michael's (by the way, they have a 50% off coupon now... they really are good at having me give them money willingly) and went in there expecting to get one of the kits of pocket inserts. They didn't have any of the designs I was eyeballing online, so I picked up a teensy tiny Sakura Micron pen instead for $1.90. Yay! I think it was fate reinforcing that idea that I don't need pre-made stuff when I can make do with what I have. But all my black pens (all 50,000 of them, it seems) were regular ol' ball point pens with black-but-not-quite-black ink, or fat bullet-tipped Sharpie markers. That's my justification for that purchase, okay? Don't judge me!

OKAY OKAY OKAY. *waves hands* Now the whole purpose of me writing all that is to work up the courage to show you what I've done, art journaling-wise, for this new Book of Days. The Glitterhood group is doing the 29 Faces project this month, so that inspired me to try a face.

Once I have a page or two complete I'll show the whole layout, but for now I'm kind of proud of this little chicky. She looks... like a person! Granted, she's ghastly white because I haven't gotten the hang of shading yet (let's just focus on making the people-drawings look like people first). But she's there! On the page! Eeeee!

...anyway, it's a start. :)

So that's my Sunday Shiny for ya. Head over to Effy's blog to see more swoon-worthy posts and share your own. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Oh, duh! It's a dogwood tree!

It occurred to me after writing about the funky seed pods on the tree at Trader Joe's that I had taken pictures of trees there before (they're just fascinating!). I found these pictures from May:

Turns out those are dogwood trees... the state flower and tree of Virginia! I find it amusing that these pretty flowers turn into a big ol' pokey looking seed ball. I never would have guessed that if I hadn't put two and two together from these past pictures. I'm sure this is super common knowledge to a ton of people, but for me, learning about the simple things in nature still brings me so much happiness and wonder with every light-bulb moment that occurs.

“Gardening is an active participation in the deepest mysteries of the universe.” ~ Thomas Berry

Thursday, September 12, 2013

You are an explorer.

When I was shopping at my local Trader Joe's store, 
I saw this plant out front and was compelled to take pictures of it.

I have no idea what it is...

But it sure is pretty!

Are those seed pods? Fruits? I have no idea.

Finding wonder in the mundane world isn't hard, if you just keep your eyes open. :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Weird Al taught me it's weird to eat marbles.

What happens when you go a little too long without going grocery shopping? You end up eating up most of what's in the fridge and freezer and make a nice dent in the cupboard, too. And then, you go grocery shopping and BUY ALL THE THINGS! Observe:

This was after making dinner and shoving things around to find room for leftovers. I may have went just a teensy bit overboard! Now the goal is to use it all up before it goes bad. As far as cupboard space went, I stocked up on coffee since it was on sale, got some of Trader Joe's variation on Wheat Thins (a little more healthy!), and my new favorite snack: pretzel slims with goat cheese.

Oh. My. Gosh. These. Are. So. GOOD. They are basically flat pretzels that aren't too salty and in a flattened shape that makes plopping toppings (hee hee, plopping toppings) on them super easy. Almost too easy, because I ate like half the bag and half a log of goat cheese in one night. OMNOMNOM.

So besides snacking, we've had a couple Cara-made meals that weren't exactly gourmet but still edible and tasted okay! HALLELUJAH, I didn't wreck the food! I guess it wasn't too hard when I used a lot of pre-made stuff, but for a cooking noob, I like to cut myself some slack. I found pre-packaged bags of ready-to-make chopped salad at Harris Teeter, then tossed them with spinach and romaine to bulk it up. This one was actually good enough that I'd buy it again if I were in the mood for it:

Product not shown actual size.

It came with a mix of veggies, then a packet of dry ingredients - this one included sliced almonds and fried wonton noodles - and a packet of salad dressing. I got the southwest variety as well to try since they were new-to-me and I adore chopped salads!

Next up: homemade pizza! Well, I made it at home, so it counts. I found some of these funky flatbreads that are perfectly sized for a sheet pan and as thin as a tortilla. The package suggested using them to make pizza, and of course the grocery store marketing was genius by putting Boar's Head pepperoni right next to them. Okay, okay, I'm easily suggestible when it comes to food! So I made that tonight but thankfully there are plenty of leftover ingredients to try again, because - note to self - with a crust that thin, you need to go skimpy on the toppings! I loaded that thing with mozzarella slices and pepperoni like a crazy woman and the poor pizza was all kinds of floppy. But, the flatbreads had good flavor, from what I could tell amongst the overwhelming flavors of the toppings, anyway. There are 3 more in the package so I'm looking forward to making more pizzas!

I guess it's so thin because it's meant to be rolled? Ah well. Turns out this brand has specific flavors to use for pizza, but they didn't have any at my store. These will do for now! I'm thinking I might try some kind of baked pizza spiral-y wrap or something. But, if I were feeling ambitious, Trader Joe's makes some great ready-made pizza dough I've used many times in the past. This, however, is a good option for when you don't feel like spending the time to mess around stretching out the dough, or don't have time to let the dough come to room temperature. It's good to switch things up once in awhile, anyway.

I've realized that I'm so good about taking pictures of all the incredibly delicious food that Ian makes for me, but when I make something I forget about the camera and just dive in like a hungry hungry hippo starving for marbles. So instead of pictures of salad and a sad looking pizza, I will leave you with a photo of my cat sleeping on his face.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Erm, how is August almost over already?

Effy's Blogalong for August is almost over, and I totally fell off the bandwagon. Much like a pattern I have when starting anything new, I go gung-ho at the start, almost overboard. Then it feels like I've used up all my brain and stop cold turkey. I guess I should work on that. :)

But, I still feel like the purpose of the blogalong worked: blogging, for me, is a thing now. It's inspired me to elaborate on my thoughts, and think more deeply on how the media I consume on a daily basis effects me personally... among other things.

This snippet from The Oatmeal totally summarizes my experience lately, though. Sometimes, no matter how much I want to write, when I sit in front of a blank screen my brain goes all "duhhhhhhh" at me. So, I've allowed myself to keep on inputting stuff in my brain, and letting the output come when I'm inspired.

Effy vlogged about the importance of keeping your practice. - this is a really great reminder that it helps to be grounded in your practice, and to find a practice that helps ground you for when situations in life get all poopy.

Becky made some AWESOME gaming-inspired cakes!! - sugar and gaming go together like Doritos and Mountain Dew.

Zoe muses on letting go of perfectionism with your art journaling. - the simple act of art journaling is the thing I love most about it. I can start with something on a page and end up with something entirely different by the end. It's really amazing what kind of journeys you go on when you just open up and allow the creative juices to flow by slapping down some paint and glue without worrying about what it "should" look like.

Gabrielle Bernstein talks about how to maintain your sense of self when you fall in love. - this is a huge one for me. I wish we were all taught this as children. It's such an important message. I re-watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Data installs a romance program to be in a relationship and totally changes everything about himself that made homegirl like him in the first place. He became a huge creeper, too. >_<

Ivy Moon made an awesome video about her goals and dreams. - Not only is she radiant, but I totally share some of her dreams and goals so this video hit home for me. I really like how she collected her ideas and put them out into the universe this way.

Halcyon talks about the idea of snark vs. sparkle at Burning Man, but I think it applies to life, too. :)

Before I overwhelm you with awesome stuff to read and watch, I'll leave it at that for today. Enjoy! :D

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

♪ Music to My Ears! ♪

Things like this are what amuses me throughout my day: While sitting at a red light in my car, I picked up my bottle of water and opened the cap. As I lifted it to my mouth to take a sip, the song on the radio, "Give It Away" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, sang, "drink a little wah-tah!" Heeee. :)

I've always loved the color scheme (if you want to call it that) of this video. GLITTERY and SHINY and METALLIC oh yes

Ian pointed out that this song and video is now over 20 years old. WHAT. How. 1991 wasn't that long ago, was it?! AUGH! *feels old* (even though I got told at a doctor visit today I look 16. I'm going to totally go back to high school like that Drew Barrymore movie current high schoolers totally wouldn't know about, wahhh)

Okay, time to not feel so old: NEW MUSIC! WEEEEEE!

I heard Katy Perry's new song "Roar" on the radio, too, and ...I think I like it. Not really for the music, but I like the lyrics a lot. And now that I've watched her lyric video for it, I might just like it even more... emojis and OMG KITTY at the end!

Cuuuuuuuuuuute :D

Another new song I'm like eeeeeeeeeeeee! super duper squeal-y excited about is Lady Gaga's "Applause." Okay, so I admit, I have a poster of Lady Gaga in my closet. Not because I'm a closet Gaga fan, haha, but because looking at her when I'm picking out my clothes inspires me and makes me happy. I kinda love her. :)  So my expectations for her new music are like WAAAAAAY up there. So on my first listen, I'm not as squeeful as I expected to be, but that's okay. I'm waiting for someone to make a remix that focuses on bringing out what I hear as the Marilyn Manson style in her voice. Or, a dubstep remix, because right after the "applause" x54695867 lyric build-up, I feel like there could totally be a gnarly dubstep breakdown.

But yeah, tell me this promo video doesn't give you a Manson-style creepy vibe!

And this outfit?

Aaand here's the song itself:

I can't wait to see a music video for this (soooooooooon). This song is an example of one where I'm kind of "eh" about the lyrics but I can see it being something good to listen to while running or exercising to get yourself totally pumped up.

But yeah, I think if anyone can mix Manson and Dubstep, it'd be Gaga. Either way, I'm totally looking forward to more of her new "ARTPOP" era.

And somehow this turned into a music post. Weeeee! I find there are very few "top hits" that I enjoy as I get older, but with music on the internet it's so much easier to find independent and obscure singers and bands that make my ears happy.

Are there any new-to-you songs or bands lately that you just can't get enough of?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rain + no coffee = oh crap I slept all day

Happy Sunday y'all!

Ah, it's been rainy and stormy here. This not only makes my face feel like it's in a vice (thanks, sinuses!) but it makes me sleeeeeepy. The sound of rain is so soothing! So, I ended up sleeping pretty much all day yesterday, between the rain and drinking no coffee. Oops. So then I slept more last night, woke up and had some coffee this morning, and since it's still rainy I totally want to just crawl in bed but I am trying my best to stay awake! The cats make it look so alluring and comfy though... *sigh* I am constantly battling my Circadian Rhythm. Just like my dancing rhythm, it appears I have none.

Since it's Sunday, I'm feeling inspired. Here are some inspire-y bits I've found around the web lately!

I really like this quote from Marianne Williamson that was posted on her Facebook: The ego says, "Once everything falls into place, I'll feel peace." The spirit says, "Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place."

You may have heard of Michael Pollen's 7 Words and 7 Rules for Eating. They resonate a lot with me, and I especially like the one about not eating anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. It makes me giggle to think of mine coming along with me to the grocery store and oogling in the aisles. Sometimes I feel as fascinated as they might be when I look at all the prepackaged stuff. Darn newfangled contraptions! *shakes fist in air* hee hee.

I really like this article: The Try Something New Manifesto. Ever since I first read it, I have tried to incorporate trying new things into my daily life. Branching out of my comfort zone is a little scary sometimes but for the most part it's exciting to accomplish something different!

Lately I have been totally enamoured by Joanna Devoe, who I recently found via her podcast when searching iTunes for witchy and pagan things. She reminds me a lot of myself when it comes to the merge of pagan and new thought kind of ideas.

Wise words from Gabrielle Bernstein.

I hope you have an awesome day! Namaste :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

“I am not a glutton - I am an explorer of food.” ~ Erma Bombeck

Apparently today I am channeling my inner foodie nerd, because today has been all about food!

I have a tendency to graze when at home with no real meal plan. I ended up focusing on trying to use up the fresh foods in the fridge because food waste is one of my biggest pet peeves. I mean c'mon Past Cara, why did you leave just one slice of Swiss cheese in the drawer? Oh well, Present Cara enjoyed it well enough. :)


I always forget how good these taste until I eat one and then want to immediately eat another one. This is what I ate this morning to put something in my belly before I felt like cooking. Some flavors of Larabars I'm not a fan of, some are okay, but this one is seriously my favorite. Ian's a fan of the pecan pie flavor, but for some reason it's hard to find around here. These babies are usually $1-2 each, so I stock up when they're on sale for $1 or less with a coupon.

Recently I decided to make my own Ranch dressing/dip. (Still working on the ratios of ingredients my tastebuds prefer, I'll share it when it comes out perfect!) One of the ingredients was buttermilk, which is used to thin it out from a dip into a dressing. Welp, we ate the whole batch as a dip with cut up veggies, so I had this little container of buttermilk left in the fridge that I just realized needed to be used. So, I searched my trusty Evernote - my recipe collection database of choice - for recipes that used buttermilk.

I ended up trying this recipe for Amish Cinnamon Bread. I halved it since I only own one loaf pan, but it didn't turn out exactly like I remember from my day of eating endless amounts of Amish Cinnamon Bread from having a zillion starters. Maybe next time I will use the batter in muffins instead of a loaf, since it took so long for the loaf to set the batter, it made the edges a bit dry. As you can see in the picture, the top layer of cinnamon sugar became it's own monster, too. Muffins might fare a little better! But, I don't know that I have a whole cup of buttermilk left so I will use one of my other recipes that use less this go 'round.

As you can see, I had a cooking fail today, too. I was trying to use up the garlic left in the house. Some of it I had peeled and put in a container in the fridge for the convenience of not having to peel it when you want to use some in cooking, but apparently if you do that and leave it in there too long it starts to grow. Oops! I grabbed the other few cloves that weren't peeled, too, and cut it all up and threw it in a pan, covered 'em in olive oil, and tossed them in the oven. Buuuuuuuuuuuut I totally didn't cover them with enough oil because they kinda scorched. Gross. Ah well, at least I tried! Sometimes cooking is just about trial and error, and learning from your errors - especially the inedible ones.

The bit about trying, that's a big one for me. Because my boyfriend is an amazing cook, and talented, he can cook anything 3x as fast as I could, and 3x better, too. So I get discouraged when it comes to even bothering attempting to cook because it feels like a waste of time and ingredients. But I go through phases where I just have this random inspiration to get in the kitchen and Just Do It. I am thankful when I have enough energy to do that! Sometimes it's all I can do to microwave something, so actually preparing "real food" makes me really happy.

I admire people who call themselves Kitchen Witches, because I do find that cooking can be a sacred, spiritual act. I think part of my desire to cook sometimes has to do with that, to be part of the alchemical process of turning a bunch of ingredients into something else totally different. I mean, that cinnamon bread wasn't anything like bread when it was a pile of ingredients on the counter. People who say magic doesn't exist apparently have never tried baking something from scratch! When I kept poking the skewer through the middle of the loaf to check if it would come out clean to tell that it was done, and it would be gooey, I'd pout and set the timer for another 10 minutes. And all of a sudden, after doing that what seemed like 8 times because my oven is finicky and in dire need of a good cleaning, it went from gooey to fluffy. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN!? Okay, I know there's science behind it, but thinking of it as magic makes it so much more fun!

I attempted one other cooking feat today that actually worked: we had a green bell pepper in the fridge, as well as a medium-sized onion. I cut them both up into fajita-style strips and cooked them in the oven for awhile till they were floppy. Next step? Wait for Boyfriend to get home from work and help me incorporate them into nachos. Is it mean that he cooks all day and then he comes home and cooks some more? Haha. That's part of what I want to be a better cook, too. Both he and Mario Batali have the same philosophy: the best tasting meal is one that is cooked by someone else for you.

I'll leave you with one last note of foody goodness: A new blog I am enjoying is fellow WoW player Ghemit's new project, Alone for Dinner. Check it out, and give it a follow, especially if you're around DC for local recommendations!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Feeling more like Pinky, less like Brain

AUGH, WHAT?! I totally blanked on blogging yesterday! Nooooooooooooooo!

At least yesterday was a productive day! Ian helped me go through a ton of stuff cluttering up one of the rooms in our house and sort it into "action item" piles so I know what to do with the stuff instead of having it be one giant pile of things sprawled across a room. Yay! I don't feel like I have as much -stuff- when everything has a home.

Pretty much how I declutter... or buy things.


Every month, in World of Warcraft, there is an event called the Darkmoon Faire that allows players to get a buff to get extra experience. I like to level my alliance baby draenei warrior during this time, who is guilded with Convert to Raid on Aerie Peak-US. I've had a lot of fun also creating new transmog outfits quite often because gear upgrades are plentiful when you're leveling super fast! Here are my two most recent outfits:

Alliance and not happy about it!

Even WoW characters can ruin a good screenshot by blinking.

She's up to level 77 now! Not only is she the first melee class I've leveled this high, but the first alliance I've leveled this high! But of course, now that I'm getting into content with more challenging mechanics and thinking about raiding as a tank, I get just a little terrified. Maybe I'll switch to DPS down the line... I think I've only been enjoying tanking because Ian's such a good healer and can keep me alive while I mash buttons. (Yes, WoW friends, Ian is playing a healer... and I'm tanking... *picks your jaw up off floor*)

The other reason I have been enjoying playing her is in part due to my finally getting more into WoW lore and reading Rise of the Horde. I'm about halfway through and savoring every chapter, letting it simmer in my imagination after reading the words. It starts with some history of the eredar who will eventually become the draenei, and explains a lot more than I ever got about them than I did running around the starting zone. Yay, reading! Yay, books based on video games!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Crunchy on the outside, squishy on the inside.

Warning: I promised a longer blog later, and here it is. Maybe a little too long. Wordy Worderson over here!

Today is Day 6 of our Blogalong with Effy Wild! Holy moly, six days already?! It's funny how blogging every day has helped me feel like the days are longer, because there's a record of -something- I've done each day. And yet time still feels like it's flying. Ah well. I've been loving writing, but also reading all the blogs posted by the awesome women over at The Glitterhood.

I posted a comment over at Glenda's blog, where she talked about spending vs. a limited budget and being creative with a limited amount of supplies. I said: The biggest thing for me when it comes to spending vs. not spending is constantly having to remind myself, "you have ENOUGH." It's that feeling of lack that I'm always battling. I -know- I am not lacking a darn thing, and yet that feeling is just ingrained in my psyche. It's not easy to overcome but the more you do, the more content you will be with -doing- things instead of -buying- things.

And despite that, I find myself working up a list and getting myself revved up to go out on the town again today... to buy things. Okay, not only to buy things, but to donate things to the thrift store, and purchase cat food. I mean, that's a necessity! But every To Do and To Buy on my list feels like a necessity, even though I know in my head things like paint or Vitamin Water or a new shirt aren't really a need but a want. Yes, I am privileged enough that I can buy these small things and feel like they are an improvement on my life, but how long will that feeling of pleasure from purchasing them last? I think my goal lately has not been so much to simply purchase things, but to purchase things that will continue to make me smile when I look at them on a daily basis in my home. Paint will help my house be spruced up when I use it, and Vitamin Water will make my brain happy for having flavor to drink. The new shirt is something I've thought over a couple of days and decided yes, I really do want it (if it's still there in my size once I go back to buy it, knowing my luck it won't be) - and considering the majority of the shirts in my closet are either years old or have holes in them or both, if I find something that fits my body, looks adorable, and is made well (I think I just figured out the Holy Trinity of clothes shopping there) then I should probably incorporate it into my wardrobe.

But then, those things could just as easily become blah after purchase. The paint could sit around guilting me every time I look at it that I don't have the energy to use it. The Vitamin Water could make me feel bad for buying a convenience drink when I could be putting in the effort to make iced tea. And the shirt might get a hole in it quickly (when you have cats, this is a fact of life), or shrink funny when I wash it, or sit in the back of my closet for whatever reason making me feel bad I spent the money on it and am not wearing it. I am fine as I am right now without these things in my life.

(Bitstrips on Facebook is awesome!)

Honestly, the whole thought process makes me not even want to leave the house. Why bother? I don't need those things. But I know that thought leads to me holing up in my house and sinking into a depressed state where finding the reasoning to go out to do anything is difficult. So, I get myself prettied up (because I like the process of playing with hair and makeup, not because I feel I have to put on makeup to go to the grocery store) and venture out into society to keep my energy up.

...does that mean I'm actually an extrovert? Hm.

✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Welp, I'm back from my outing. Here's what I learned today:

Looking at jeans at the thrift store is more fun than trying on skinny jeans. Also, just because there is a pair of metallic silver, pointed toe, kitten heeled shoes at the thrift store for $2 doesn't mean you need a pair of metallic silver, pointed toe, kitten heeled shoes. Although Future Cara might dispute this non-purchase...

Vitamin Water is now on sale at Target, with a printable coupon on top of that. Aw yeah. And cat food is on sale at PetSmart. Yesss, buy ALL THE CANS of the one flavor my cats will eat! *raise arm in air triumphantly*

Just because your town has two Target's does not mean they both stock the same thing. That thing being the shirt you planned to buy. Hrmph!

I should have expected that the paint store employee would be an artist, even if it is just Benjamin Moore house paint. But a kind, helpful, woman artist who I recommended The Glitterhood to after a chat? Yay!

Dick Blick's website has Golden Matte Medium for cheaper than Michaels' has it with a 40% off store coupon. Why in the world is the price so inflated at Michael's!? Sheesh! (I used my 40% off coupon on a paintbrush instead. Gotta get that $3.99 brush EVEN. CHEAPER.)

The yellow color I've never used in my beloved Urban Decay palette I've had forever actually looks pretty nice. Been branching out of my comfort zone when it comes to makeup lately!

Being hungry will cut any shopping trip short, even if it's just to come home and chow down on cottage cheese while watching Lindsay Lohan host Chelsea Lately. (I root for that woman to succeed! Stay clean, guuuurlfreyyyn.)

When your boyfriend says, "I have time to run out for a hug" sometimes he literally means he has to run to have that time! Ah, the life of a cook... and he still manages to spoil me. One simple example: Meatloaf sandwiches are tasty dinner, but even moreso when made with love. <3

Monday, August 5, 2013


I read this book:

Just like the webcomic, it made me giggle. A lot. Outloud. :)

And this one, but it was more of looking at pretty pictures than actual reading:

...I enjoyed both books. Yay!

Had a busy day today. Longer Letter Blog Later! Like, tomorrow.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Consumerism is a part of me. Le sigh!

Oh, right. The morning after I was right outside of Michael's (it's next to ULTA, which is bad for my pocketbook) they email me a new sales ad with storage boxes on sale. And a 40% coupon which might make their price for Golden Matte Medium cheap enough to warrant buying instead of getting from Dick Blick online. Sheesh! Guess I'll have to make another trip into town sometime before the sale is up... ;)  I may have put myself on a hold from buying art supplies unless it's a very intentional buy, but storage is still fair game when I have all kinds of stuff to contain. Right now most of it is strewn across my bedroom floor... reminds me of being a kid all over again! Yes, Mom, there's a pathway to walk at least! ;D

I never intended for my blog title of "Lootin' Shinies" to encourage me to post about things I obtain IRL. Only in WoW. Huh, did I do that subliminally to myself? Well then, at least it fits! However, I think I'm going to clean up the symbols around the title... or add more! Mwahaha!

Last night I got a free cup of coffee from Starbucks by turning in one of my empty bags from ground coffee. Starbucks is discontinuing this program and the newer bags allow you to put a star on your Starbucks card towards a free drink, which is fine because I rarely actually turn in the bags for a free coffee since I make regular coffee at home all the time anyway. But a special Starbucks drink every now and then after like 15 bags of coffee? Alright, I can jive with that. Anyhow, when I get hot coffee at Starbucks, it's always so freaking scalding hot that I let it sit awhile to avoid tongue burninating. Last night I decided to just bring it home and plop it in the fridge instead, so this morning I have effort-free cold coffee. Woohoo!

I must have listened to this song about 10 times yesterday, and woke up with it in my head. Between this, Treasure, and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," my in-the-car radio-flipping has been pretty much the same three songs every time I go anywhere. Not that I mind - I dig high-energy, peppy songs like those!

Now, you could watch that video, or the uncensored version (complete with boobies!), orrr you could go for the adorable version with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots playing classroom instruments!

There is something about these guys jamming together that just makes me incredibly happy.

Between arting, writing here, reading more, and just generally being inspired, I feel alive. That's a weird thing to say, since obviously I'm alive if I'm typing this and all, but there's that inner glowing feeling of joy and serenity and excitement that only pops it's head up once in awhile. Thank you to whatever is causing it, because it feels pretty nice. I'm going to roll with it today and hope it sticks around for awhile.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


OH CRAP one hour left of 8/3 and I haven't blogged yet! D:  I guess that's what happens when I sleep in, then wake up and go out and about, then come home and eat and catch up with Boyfriend and then blog! haha! So, HI! :D

I battled the skinny jeans monster again today, in Kohl's, JCPenney's, and Target. Seriously, all jeans are skinny jeans now, it's just a matter of whether or not they are bootcut at the ankles. Can I just have some REGULAR jeans, please?! I am tired of losing my socks when I attempt to de-strangle my legs from these pants in the dressing room.

ULTA had a coupon for 20% off a styling tool that expired today, so I finally bought the hair dryer I have been eyeballing forever. Long ago, I decided I wanted it, then stupidly bought a travel one instead because it was cheaper. I immediately regretted it when I used it and it practically deafened me. I can't even stand to use it because it's just So. Freaking. Loud!!! But I'm hoping this New Shiny is much nicer... we shall see once I have a chance to use it.

I also got a brownie from Panera Bread because I had a free pastry on my card from my birthday!!!

Hee hee. But the best "score" of the day was at the library. *puts on nerd glasses* A whole bag of reading material to last me through the month, along with the audiobooks for the last two Hunger Games books and the Wrath of the Lich King artwork book (which I still don't know why the library bought but I am so happy they did! YAY!).


Friday, August 2, 2013

Boing, boing, boing

This song has been floating in my brainspace since I heard it on the radio recently:

...and the video is delightful! There's something about that song that makes me unable to be in a poopy mood while it's playing. So naturally:

Today is day #2 of Effy's Blogalong in August! Weeee! If you haven't read her post today, get your butt over to her blog and read it because it's uh-may-zing.

EverQuest Next premiered at SOE Live today, and holy moly. I haven't played EverQuest in many, MANY years, but it still made me intrigued enough that I forsee myself spending many hours back in Norrath.

In other gaming news, this article is pretty sweet. It demonstrates the Kinect's ability to recognize and translate sign language. I love living in the future! There's a short video showing it's capability and I'm just continually fascinated with the ability of gaming peripherals to be used in ways that could genuinely help people.

Both yesterday and today I've been in a very floaty, loopy brainspace that's making it hard to output well in writing. Or talking. Or anything, really!

Nightnight :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blessed Lughnasadh! :D

I woke up this morning feeling much like this:

and then I remembered...

Flipping the calendar...

Turning the wheel...

It's August! O_O

Lunasa! Lunasa! LUNASA!!!


I can't say Lammas without thinking of llamas and, well, llamaaaaaas! so we're going to go with Lughnasadh, or the simplified spelling of Lunasa which I really like because it looks like luna/lunar/the moooooooon.

But really. I haven't really ever had a big "thing" with Lughnasadh. I recognize the holiday, but I don't really ever feel the holiday, as much as I'd like to. I feel excited because it's a holiday, but when they are holidays based on an agrarian society and nature and I mostly stay indoors with my luxuries of technology..? I guess that's a goal I can work on in coming years! The times I've had a vegetable garden, I felt the changing of the seasons at this time of year a little more than usual, but even then, this is known as The First Harvest. I was harvesting stuff looong before August 1st (or whenever the astronomical [astrological?] 15 degrees Leo is) here in Virginia.

So, what's a girl to do to make the holiday seem, well, holiday-y?

I have never made a loaf of bread with my own hands. I could do that. Not this year, but maybe next year. :)

I could eat freshly baked bread with local honey. If I had any local honey. Or freshly baked bread. Whomp whomp.

I already have listened to this song like a madwoman (and you should too!):

Story time! When Kellianna was making this album, she had a Kickstarter-like project and of course I backed it because, well, I was going to buy the album anyway! So now I have a signed copy that I treasure and display prominently on my bookshelf like a big ol' nerd.

I try to really only listen to this song around this time of  year. Mainly because it's one of the few songs for Lughnasadh! but also because it ends up getting stuck in my head for a week straight, and then I keep re-listening in an attempt to get it out of my head, which prolongs the duration it's stuck in my head. I guess I should have warned you of that before I told you to listen. Sorry, not sorry! ;)

An easy thing to do to celebrate, and a "duhhh!" thing at that: Get outside. Check out what nature's up to these days. I did this and came back indoors with the attitude of I LOVE ALL THE THINGS. The sky, the horses, the fields of corn and whatever the heck other crops are growing in my area, the green still lush all around here. Heck, I even love the lizard that tried to get into my garage. Shoo, leezurd, you don't belong in there! In my area of the world, it seems that butterflies are emerging and in learning to fly, they act totally drunk. Hey... Drunk Butterflies would be a cool name for a band (so says Trent Lane).

So, I tried going introspective with it. I attempted to answer the questions Joanna Devoe posted on her blog, but realized I haven't really "planted" anything to "harvest" this year. Foo. But it's a good blog post that definitely made me think, and could incorporate into my Wheel of the Year planning in the future.

A big task I could try eventually is to learn wheat weaving. I have this random memory of doing this at some point long, long ago, but I couldn't tell you where or when or how. Selena Fox has posted pictures of her wheat weaving collection on Facebook and I'm just so drawn to them.

Another activity I actually managed to do was to post some stuff to my Lughnasadh board on Pinterest. Yay, pretty pictures of pretty things! Pinterest is the new Vision Board, dontchaknow.

So, all in all, I'm still a little "meh" about this cross-quarter holiday, trying to figure out what it really means to me. Maybe I'm not supposed to know yet. Maybe I'll figure it out someday. Maybe I never will. *throws hands in the air* Who knows!

I think that about sums it up. Maybe this one's just about the food for me. :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"We are sad to report the victim died from leg suffocation."

Skinny jeans.

Super skinny jeans.


...all proof that I am too old for the Junior's section.

Well, maybe I could pull them off, if I had no shame. I'm skinny. But in the same way I can't tolerate high heels for the fact they ruin my feet, I can't tolerate fabric squeezing the blood out of my leg veins - although now that I write that, I wonder if skinny jeans would be a good exchange for people who need leg compression socks?

I found myself in Ross, similar to TJ Maxx and Marshall's in the way that it's the organized thrift store for new things, also known as The Treasure Hunt for Grown-up Cara Who Has Zero Patience to Go Through Thrift Store Racks Anymore. I spied a pair of jeans in my size that had a big sticker-tag down the pant leg: "WANNA BETTA BUTT? these jeans are cut to make yo ass look fantastic!" ...or something along those lines. Of course I tried those babies on! And yes, they transformed my pancake butt into Nicki Minaj butt. Amazing! But my legs. *cringe* Oh lawdy, my legs! Now, the jeans I wore into the store I consider skinny jeans. When I bought them I thought they were sooo skinny and looked weird compared to the flares and boot-legs I had been used to. But compared to the new style of skinny jeans? They may as well be 34" JNCO elephant pants (a term my mom lovingly coined JNCOs when I wanted them as a teenager!).


I tried them on twice, just to be sure. I also tried on two different sizes and the legs were equally as O GAD O GAD I CAN'T FEEL MY LEGS in each. Dilemma: choose between fabulous butt and discomfort, or regular butt and jeans I can actually walk in? Well, adult-Cara thinking won out because I didn't buy them. I lamented to the dressing room attendant of this fact, saying, "I'm too old for that!" She asked how old I was. "29." "And you're still wearing Blizzard shirts." Oof.

I was wearing my "Garrosh wants YOU!" t-shirt because for some reason I've gotten into the teenage-Cara style of jeans and t-shirts as my main style and the adult-Cara mentality of not giving a crap what I look like. Okay, maybe I give a little crap. Hahaha. I don't wear clothes that are 10x too big on me anymore. I at least try to get clothes that fit me remotely well. But I can still get away with wearing clothes of a younger style, even t-shirts with cartoonish designs on them, because of how my body is shaped (um, like a stickly, curveless teenager). So this is what people talked about when they said looking young would benefit me as I grew up! I'm 29 going on 19, it seems. I wonder if, by the time 30 rolls around next year, I will dress "my age?" If those fabulous Calvin Klein dresses I tried on are any clue,... maybe. ;)

Oh, and can I just say, it's awesome to have a girl randomly comment on my gaming-related attire like that? Usually it's dudes who are like, yay Warcraft! which is awesome too, to find people in real life who like the same game as me. But to realize "girl gamers" are not as unique as discussions on the internet would make one believe is pretty freaking sweet.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Shopping, sweating, sugar, and unexpected sharing.

Yesterday after posting, I thought to myself, "self, you sound like a lazy blob." So putting my blahs out there on the intarwebs got me motivated to get off my butt and do stuff. Yay! Nothing really important though, just puttering around town window shopping (and a little actual shopping, I admit - those $2.50 family-size bags of Twizzlers at Target were not going to pass me by! I'm a glutton, too, by the way). But I left the house and walked around stores enough that my feet hurt by the end of the day, so I'd consider it a success!

It felt good to get out and about, and I realized that yes, indeed, it is summer. I bought some sodas at the Dollar Tree and then went to a store next door, and once I got back in my car to take a drink of said soda, it was hot. HOT. Ughhh, gross! I realize I've written about drinking soda both yesterday and today. Huh. It makes me feel like a soda-chugging fiend! But I really don't drink soda much, mostly as a treat here and there. Coffee and tea are my teeth-ruining vices of choice. ;) 

I have been trying to stop impulse buying, and admittedly, I've been much, much better about that (Twizzlers aside). But the silver-y stickers at the dollar store were calling me. I think stickers will forever be one of those "who care that I'm almost 30, these are SHINY" things that coerce me into exchanging money for their happy-making factor. These were packaged as stickers for your wall, but I know if they don't make it onto my walls, I will definitely use them in my art journaling. I have a "thing" for silver as a color, along with pretty much any other metallic. Shiny shiny shiny. Maybe that's why I also have a thing for nail polish..?

Another impulse buy: An ice cream treat, one of those cake-covered double-layer chocolate and vanilla doodads on a stick. *Jeff Dunham joke* On a steeeek! I devoured that thing in my car like I hadn't eaten ice cream in weeks. Oh wait, I hadn't. ;)

While I was enjoying the heck out of that delicious cold sugary goodness, a lady waved at me while I was sitting in my car. "Oh no, I made eye contact! Oh no, she's coming over here! Oh no, what if she's trying to rob me?!" screamed my brain, as I assume it would for any other sane American living in our era. I opened the door and she started on about a pamphlet she was holding regarding God and the like, and as I skimmed it and listened to her voice I asked what denomination she was from. Jehovah's Witnesses. (I had a feeling, but I wasn't about to assume.) "Oh yes, I have gone to the Kingdom Hall many times, I am familiar with your religion!," I explained. "But I am pagan so I have already chosen my religion."

The exchange was surprisingly pleasant. She asked me a couple things about my beliefs and I found them both easy and challenging to describe - easy to talk about my own practices, but challenging because paganism is so eclectic, I didn't want to say anything that made sweeping generalizations about all pagans to give her any kind of wrong ideas if she came across any pagans in the future. Her questions that struck me as interesting were: "So it's science-based?" and "Do you believe that's all there is in this life?" Now, I'm assuming she had zero interaction with, or knowledge about, pagans. Maybe she does. But if not, those being the questions someone would ask about it, I found interesting. Truth is, you could ask everyone who considers themselves pagan those questions and get a different answer each time! (For those reading this who have no idea what I'm talking about, consider "pagan" similar to "Christian" in the way that it's a term that encompasses many, many different ways of thought under a general similar idea.) She thanked me for being honest about my own beliefs (I guess many people let them babble instead of engaging in discussion? or are plain ol' rude?) which I wasn't expecting. It made me appreciate kindness and openness, even if she got back in her car and drove off thinking, "wow, that hippie girl was farkin' crazy and is totally going to hell." ...or so I imagine!

Now, part of my telling her I am pagan comes from that being the label I generally use when describing my beliefs to others. But I admit, part of it comes from someone else saying that in their experience, using the word "pagan" put a stop to the proselytizing quite quickly. Not that I wanted her to go away, but I didn't want to waste her time! Lately I have even been pondering if I should even still consider myself pagan, because I follow the writings of a whole lot of New Thought style teachers these days as well as kind of floating along the spiritual wave of incorporating whatever I come across that resonates with me into my own life philosophy. But today I learned: the quickest way to realize what your own beliefs are is to have to describe them to someone on a hot day with a melting popsicle in your hand.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blogging Challenge!

I'm joining in with Effy Wild on her August Blogalong!

In which I tell myself, "No excuses, play like a champion!" (Related: Wedding Crashers is one of my favorite movies.) Lately I have felt like I have nothing to say, nothing interesting to warrant posting a "real blog entry" about. Pfft. Excuses. I have plenty to write about, if I would only just show up. Even if it's just word vomit, so to speak.

So I sit at home, in front of my computer, drinking a cup of slowly-cooling English breakfast tea with a spoonful of sugar and a splash of whole milk. Yup, whole milk. If I'm going to bother drinking dairy, it's going to be the good stuff. It was a toss-up between that and heavy cream, but I'll save that one for strong coffee later.

My "work area" is cluttered, dirty, and well-used. Bottles of nail polish, tiny post-its, notebooks, a bottlecap with a dragon on it from a funky huckleberry flavored soda I drank weeks ago. I had no idea huckleberry tasted so good! Or was that the sugar in the soda? Hm. I've never seen a real huckleberry, to my knowledge, but apparently they exist - so says the internet. What else? Tic tacs from Grandma, a "dust destroyer" container of compressed air that ends up getting used more to scare the cats with the hissing noise than actually cleaning computer innards. A hairbrush, a cat hairbrush, a glue stick, a rarely used headset. Happy mail from Book of Days ladies and birthday cards and a Williamsburg tourist magazine on my PC. Scissors, tape, a USB flash drive. Things. I collect things. Like a messy magnet, they come my way and plop into my daily surroundings and stay there till I get too overwhelmed and feel the need to clear space. Till then, they are little friends that remind me of who I am and what I enjoy doing. Is that a hoarder mentality? Maybe, but I do try to clean when the dust gets too bad, so maybe not.

I feel like this summer hasn't really been summer-y, to me. I have stayed inside most of the time, venturing out with my air conditioned car to air conditioned stores when need be. I've avoided getting sunburnt by not even going into the sun most of the time. I feel for those who don't have air conditioning. I'm spoiled with it. But without it, I'd be miserable. Me + heat = a big fat NOPE. I contemplate if moving out of the Tidewater, Virginia area would allow me to have better summer experiences, but I know there are pros and cons no matter where you live. Here? The pro is beauty. I can look out my window to -green-. Plants and animals surround me. Even though I look out the window to a hazy sky that screams HI, I'M HUMID!, I can still look out my window at the trees. I can still hear the birds chirping merrily. I can watch the squirrels battle each other in the backyard for yummy goodies, and the deer chomping down my sorely ignored hostas in the front yard. Sometimes I see a pair of white ducks float by and watch gleefully, knowing they're serene on top and paddling like crazy under the water. Those are the pros. The cons are many: ticks, mosquitos, humidity as mentioned, potential for sunburn, pollen of all kinds to irritate my allergies. Nature's little annoyances.

And yet, the motivation to improve on the inside of my dwelling space while the outside feels "off limits" is not striking me, either. I have a habit of buying everything I need for a project, then setting the stuff aside and being distracted by something, usually via the computer and internet. It's too easy to just sit and read and play the day away. Even things I enjoy doing end up getting forgotten and ignored. But as much as some may think that the actions of an addict, I know it's of my own choosing, not from any chemical dependence in my brainstuffs. When my body feels like crud the majority of the time, it's either sleep or plop in front of the computer. It's not that I can't do things, it's that I don't want to, because I know I will feel like crayp afterwards. And I'd rather not feel like a pile of doodoo if I can help it. Now, if I had Samantha Stevens style magic nose twitching abilities, my house would be totally spotless and picked up and remodeled and AWESOME. All that's missing is the energy. Oh, energy. I see children running around and wonder how they have so much, and where mine went. I guess that's a sign of adulthood, eh?

So, yay for being human, with all my flaws, fears, and excuses. I'm constantly working to overcome mine. How 'bout you?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Warcraft + Etsy = epic loots!

Ohhh man you guys, I'm so excited after looking at all the Warcrafty stuff on etsy for the first time since my last WoW etsy post! *squee* *flail* So. much. awesome. STUFF!

I have a total "thing" for metallic blue, as well as shiny ribbon, so this hearthstone ornament caught my eye!

This collection of Winter Veil themed ornaments is adorable. Check out that cranky snowman, complete with the eyebrows!

PERKY PUG! Back in my ol' raiding group, we'd all summon our pugs for butt-scooty luck.

 Look. at. this. moonkin. So cuuuuuuuuute! I wanna snuggle it!

Horde and Alliance aprons! Get your cooking up to 600 in style!

I would totally put a little picture of mine and my boyfriend's main characters in this locket.

Thralls Balls necklace. 'Nuff said.

I'm not normally a pin person, since I end up stabbing myself with them one way or another. But, I'd totally try stabbing this pin on my purse or something to represent my pretty blood elf!

This picture frame is a display piece in itself, who needs a picture in it!? Really, really cool, especially since Brewfest always holds a place in my heart as the holiday title was the first title I ever got.

Warglaives + glow in the dark + hair accessory + @overlord_bunny = awesome.

Now, I probably won't be going around repping Alliance anytime soon (even though I have a baby alt on Aerie Peak with Convert to Raid, shhhh don't tell anyone), but if I were, it'd be with these earrings.

I'd be way more likely to wear these Horde banner earrings instead. ;D

Now, Panser has some WoW-themed stuff on her etsy shop, but she has lots of other stuff too and she's just awesome and *fangirl squeeflail* But she also has signed photos of herself for purchase. That would be my first purchase from her shop, for sure! (If you don't know who Panser is, she makes videos on her YouTube channel TradeChat about WoW and other stuff.)

Um, you guys. Draenei horn headband. YOU CAN BE A DRAENEI. Holy moly! Can you imagine wearing these to Blizzcon?

...alrighty, now that my case of The Wants has been completely refilled and I wish I had all the money in the world like Gwen Stefani, and I've been a total enabler to empty your wallet (oops, sorry!) I'm going to try to avoid taking my credit card out of my purse and buying ALL THE THINGS in this post.

Are you an etsy seller and a WoW player? Leave a comment so I can include your shop in a later post! :D