Pin to Post {camera gear}

Ever wonder what you’d do if your camera gear was lost, stolen or damaged?  How would you claim your lost equipment on your insurance?  Do you really know the model numbers and other specifics?

Here’s my quick solution:  A Pinterest Board.

I’ve uploaded my favorite gear (i.e. what I’d want replaced), with links to their purchase information.  You could even add individual serial numbers in the descriptions if you’d like.

Worried about others knowing what you have?  Fair enough.  You can make it a “secret” board within your Pinterest boards.

Problem solved.


Birthday {46}


I’m 46 today.  Which is nice — because I realize not everyone has the opportunity to turn 46 — but I’d much rather be 45 forever.

My mom picked an age and stayed there — 38, I think.  In my case, I feel like 45 is the perfect number. Midlife, if you’re going for 90, but also sort of wise without the grey hair and vision loss.

As far as you know.

Highlights of my 45th year (sniff-sniff) as I say goodbye?

  • TeenOne graduated from high school…
  • Same daughter, accepted to UCSB…
  • TeenTwo had a great GPA despite missing TONS of school…
  • TeenTwo held a job all year…
  • TeenThree had an amazing sports year (TOC)…
  • Both Littles did lots of cute stuff…
  • Pumpkin arrived…
  • I had a great girls’ trip (again) in Bodega Bay…
  • Good people got married, and we were invited…
  • We joined a bocce team with old neighbors & friends…
  • I took a lot(!) of prom photos, people liked them…
  • We had a great trip to SoCal with TeenOne/Two…
  • I went to Disneyland, hot as it was (so… so… hot)…
  • We welcomed my cousin’s friend, Thomas, to the family…
  • They all went to Bear Valley and I didn’t have to…
  • Everyone stayed healthy all year…
  • We celebrated our… 21st wedding anniversary (22 next month)…
  • Went to many, many grad celebrations for kids I love…
  • Blogged a bit.

And now, an assignment for you, Dear Reader:

Go forth and eat cake, guilt-free, for me.


{Review} 24 Hour Eye Shadow, Who Knew?


Once upon a time, I was shopping for a road trip to LA and grabbed a few necessities at the local drugstore. I’m not saying I was worried/excited about potentially running into a celeb or two in LA, but I thought makeup might  be a good idea.

You never know.

I hurriedly tossed the basics into my cart: foundation with sunscreen, mascara, lipstick, and a couple of eyeshadows. I wanted something small I could toss into a makeup bag, so I picked Color Tattoo.  What can I say, I’m a Tattoo girl.

I’m not a beauty blogger – far from it. I AM frugal, however. When I find a deal? I share a deal.

You just put a dab on your finger and sweep over your eyelid.  That’s it.  It sets up, and there it stays until you remove it later.  MUCH later.

Here’s the funny part of the story.  While in LA, I fell asleep one night with my makeup on.  When I brushed my teeth the next morning, I burst out laughing — TeenTwo asked what was so funny and I pointed to my eyeshadow.  It was still there, after a full night’s sleep.  I left it on, and headed out for Disneyland!  Take that, Disney Princess.

When I decided to blog about these eyeshadows, I Googled around first to see if anyone else liked them as much as I do — guess what?  EVERYONE likes them as much as I do.  Most of them say they compare to MAC makeup pots, which is apparently a good thing.  Here are a few links from the Beauty Bloggers:

Oh, and if I sound like a hokey used-car salesman, it’s because I never (!!) review beauty products.  I received absolutely NO compensation for this review, not even samples.  Bought my dimestore makeup with ThatGuy’s money, promise.

I am, however an Amazon affiliate, so if you want to purchase there?  Use this link:

Thanks for reading (and commenting)!

P.S.  Never saw a celebrity, but I did run into a very convincing Aladdin at Disneyland.

{Bake} Chocolate Chip Layer Cake


Five years ago, we brought TeenThree home from Ukraine.  He was just 9 years old then, so we called him Middler here on the blog.  In the morning we’ll celebrate his 14th birthday!  Time flies.

When I was a kid, my mom always made our birthday cakes.  That’s not to say I never had a store-bought cake, but if I did it wasn’t memorable. I usually wanted angel food cake — the kind with pink Strawberry Quik frosting, remember that?  Sort of like eating a giant, sugary sponge.  As an adult, my cake of choice is chocolate with mocha icing. Which is what TeenThree chose for his  official birthday cake at Gramma’s house this year.  It will be delicious and symmetrical.


Every kid needs a cake made by their own mom, be it ever so lopsided.  So he’s getting two cakes.

I decided to try this Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting from  The Cake Mix Doctor.  As you can see from the photos, it truly is lopsided.  However, I think you’ll agree it looks pretty yummy.  Note that you’ll need a cake mix with pudding already in the mix, otherwise add a package of vanilla instant pudding to the recipe below.


1.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350.  Lightly mist two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick and dust lightly with flour, set aside.

2.  Place 1 package plain yellow cake mix, 1 C milk, 2/3 C vegetable oil, 1 t. pure vanilla extract, and 4 large eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low, 1 minute.  Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl.  Increase speed to medium and continue to beat for 2 more minutes, scraping again if needed.  Batter should be well combined.  Stir in 2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans and place in the oven side by side.

3.  Bake the cake layers until they spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, about 30 minutes.  Transfer to wire racks and cool for 5 minutes.  Loosen the edge of each layer with a knife, and invert to cool completely, 20 minutes longer.

4.  Meanwhile, make the frosting (below).

5.  To assemble, transfer one layer to a cake plate.  Her recipe says, “right side up,” but I like a flat surface when frosting so I do it wrong side up:


Spread the top with a generous amount of frosting.  Place the second layer on top of the first and continue frosting.  Sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips over the cake to garnish.  Since it’s a cream cheese frosting, save in the refrigerator up to one week.  If the kitchen is cool, she says it can stay on the counter for 24 hours, but I’m no risk-taker.  It’s in the fridge.


  • 1 stick unsalted butter/room temp
  • 4 oz cream cheese/room temp
  • 1/3C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3C powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese on low until combined, 30 seconds.  Stop the machine.  Add cocoa powder and powdered sugar a bit at a time, beating on low until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute.  Add the vanilla, then increase mixer speed to medium and beat the frosting until fluffy, 1 minute longer.  Use frosting at once.

{Crochet} San Jose Sharks Rally Blankie


Bloggies, I’ve been a bad webmaster.  No posts since… well, no posts.  I’ve been working on some new ideas, and doing some crafting.  Namely, this afghan for a San Jose Sharks fan I know.  Many of my Facebook readers have asked me for the pattern, and I’m happy to pass it on.

Change the color scheme to fit your team or school colors.  I don’t watch hockey, either.  Shhhh.

Ready?  Here we go:

Row 1:  Chain 151 stitches (more or less, depending on width you’d like), then Single Chain in back loop of second chain from hook to end of row.

Row 2:  Chain 3, Double Crochet in the first stitch of Row 1.  (Skip 2 single chains and Cluster Stitch in next single chain); repeat all the way across Row.  Two Double Chains in in last Single Chain of Row.

Row 3:  Chain 3, make a Cluster Stitch in the Open Spaces created in previous row.  Repeat all the way across and Double Chain in last Single Chain of Row.

Fasten Off

Row 4:  NEW COLOR:  Repeat Row 2

Row 5:  Repeat Row 3

Continue along, switching colors as desired until it’s the length you love.  Finish with a row of Single Chain.


My color scheme:

Row 1 & 2:  Black

Rows 3-8:  Teal

Rows 9-10:  Black

Rows 11-12:  Orange

Rows 13-14:  White

Rows 15-20:  Teal

Repeat until well pleased with yourself.  Mine will be Twin-Sized.

Supplies Used/Affiliate Links:


70s Once More {dinner}

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

It may interest you to know that I have a reputation as a “Food Nazi.”  I like to tell other people what not to eat, particularly while I’m dieting suffering myself.  My general spiel goes something like this.

“Wow.  Are you really going to eat that?”

The response is usually:

  • “I worked out for like 5 hours today.”
  • “I only eat carbs on the third Thursday of Solstice in a leap year.”
  • “I’m not eating it, it’s for a friend.  I’m going to regurgitate it for her later.”
  • “Shut Up.”
  • “Why?”

They really hope their response wasn’t, “Why,” because I can provide lengthy explanations.

Which isn’t to say I’m in good shape, I’m just an excellent Googler.

My kids are particularly weary in this department, and last night I finally decided it was summer, and I’d throw them a bone.  Of course, by bone I meant a 70′s style dinner.  I was raised in the 70s, a blissful time when we had Absolutely.  No.  Idea.

The 70s is the decade we invented foods like:

  • Microwave Popcorn
  • Hamburger Helper
  • Cup O’Noodles
  • Stove Top Stuffing
  • Pop Rocks
  • and the list goes on

For our 70′s dinner, I made prepackaged lasagna, dinner rolls from a bag (the bad, white-flour, fiberless kind), wedge salad with dressing from a bottle (and fake bacon bits), cookies from a mix and vanilla ice cream.  We also drank (full-sugar) rootbeer from glass bottles.

I regret not making Jello.

Well, as you’d imagine it was pretty gross.  The kids didn’t mind, but it wasn’t exactly a “treat,” either.  Oh, and we managed to spill not one but TWO bottles of sticky soda during the meal somehow.  Must have been all hopped-up on sodium.

What have we learned?  Not much, really.  Other than a little bloating and a carb-coma, we survived.  We probably have cancer now, but no one barfed or anything.  So there’s that.

I will admit to speeding to the store this morning for fresh berries and free-range everything.

What were your favorite foods as a kid?