Thursday, June 20, 2013

I Got Dressed ... For a Birthday Party

I was heading out to celebrate my BFF's 30-something birthday.  A very chilled atmosphere with drinks, yummies, and giggles (we never grow up, right?).  I could have easily donned a pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt but hey, I'll take any excuse to get at least a little dolled up.  Anyhoo, again my pics are not the greatest (still working on my DSLR skills) so it's difficult to see the pattern of my white top.  Oh well.  I'm just going with it.  

 It's all in the details - killer zippers!

If you squint hard enough you may be able to see the pattern of my shirt.

Shirts: Target (last year) ~ I'm wearing two.  A lacy patterned tank over a cap sleeved scoop neck tee.
Pants: Old Navy (here) ~ The softest pants I own besides my PJs.  I really should order these in long but there's something charming about ankle length pants.
Shoes: Target (here) ~ A lot of reviews online complaining about these being painful to wear.  I did not experience this, however I only wore them lightly for a few hours.
Iridescent Ring: Target (a billion years old) ~ Found this little gem in the clearance bin and even though it now has a chip in it, I still adore it.
Headband (even though you can't see it): Walgreens (here) ~ These came in a 4 pack by Scunci.  Little cheapies but perfect for that extra touch and the tiny teeth keep them in my hair too.  I swear I wore the exact same kind when I was eight.

Linking Up With...

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir

File this one under: Messed Up Family Dramas That Are Impossible to Put Down.  And why is it that I find myself drawn to these whack-a-doodle life accounts?

Answer:  Because there's humbling comfort in, "Dang.  I really need to stop bitchin'.  My life could have been SO MUCH worse" (not that I'm really complaining).

Domingo Martinez opens wide the doors to his childhood and shares intimate details about the often harsh reality of growing up in the Mexican border town of Brownsville, Texas.  The Boy Kings of Texas is a personalized education in the clashing of Mexican and American cultures.  Martinez reflects on the comical and sometimes painful family dynamic that reared him.  The memoir introduces us to a variety of colorful family members including a bad ass grandma, two diva sisters, and a bed hopping abusive father.  However, the core of the memoir focuses on the love-hate relationship between Martinez and his older brother Dan and Martinez's struggle to come to terms with their faltering connection.  

For a young boy, growing up in the "barrio" is one big machismo test.  Practically from diapers little boys are faced with the question, "Are you man enough?"  Martinez is not excluded.  He is forced to find his way through a very threatening, macho, male-oriented world that leaves little room for love and security.  Even his own grandmother is made of steel and carries a loaded gun, always living on the defense.  No matter where he turns, Martinez is faced with aggressive male dominance and has very few outlets for his introspective and self-affirming ideas and emotions.  The one exception is Dan.

Dan is Martinez's older brother.  He's intense, protective, and ignitable.  Dan finds himself in multiple fights growing up that always stem from the need to defend his family roots, regardless of their flaws.  Meanwhile, Martinez plays the loyal little brother who stands on the sidelines supporting, fearing, and praying.  The brothers' relationship is a classic one.  They tease, conspire, compete, irritate, protect, depend, and admire.  However, as they mature they find themselves wallowing in the same dark realization of where they came from and how they were raised.  This is anything but therapeutic.  In fact, it's the final fracture in their slowly deteriorating relationship.

Martinez is a natural storyteller.  He captures an area of American life very few are privy to.  His experiences  illustrate the contrast of defending the Mexican family culture while longing to be Americanized.  Martinez's  writing is straight-forward, honest, and charming and his page-turning memoir explores the all-human desire to escape and discover oneself.  

Quality Rating (out of 5 stars):
Happy Reading!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Just Can't Get Enough - The Birthday Edition

It's June and in honor of my birthday month I have created a special edition of Just Can't Get Enough.  Below is a playlist of my top ten favorite tracks released during my birth year, 1980.

You're welcome.

1. Can You Feel It by The Jacksons:  Their last great song.  Does anyone remember the trippy video for this where the sound effects are TEN TIMES LOUDER than the track?  Hilarious.

2. Stomp! by The Brothers Johnson:  This is the song you want playing inside your head when you are struttin' down the street wearing your best duds. Trust me, I've done this.  Side note: We own this album on vinyl and the cover is DELIGHTFULLY absurd.


3. Could You Be Loved by Bob Marley & The Wailers:  Hearing this and everything is right with the world.  

4. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da by The Police:  Stupid lyrics but great guitar. 

5. Fashion by David Bowie: "Turn to the left!  Turn to the right!"  Bowie perfection.

6. I Will Follow by U2:  So timeless.

7. Boys Don't Cry by The Cure:  My heart swells every time I hear The Cure.  Pure emotion.

8. Magic by Olivia Newton-John:  The cheesiest track on this list (right along with Can You Feel It) but I am a huge fan of cheese.  Sing it Olivia!

9. Save Me by Queen:  This is my favorite Queen song.  I love the lyrics and melody.  Goose bump worthy.

10. Rapture by Blondie:  Another one of those songs where I can't help but picture the video whenever I hear it.  So classic.

Well, that was just plain ol' good fashioned fun!  What are your favorite songs from your birth year?  Or do you have any other faves from 1980?

Don't be shy.  Share!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dinner: Parmesan Chicken and PB&J Parfaits

Everything about this dinner was DELISH!  

Parmesan Chicken with Mushroom Wild Rice (original recipe)
8 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms (I didn't have any on hand when I made this - boo!  But it tasted just as good without)
1 Tbsp. canola oil (for mushrooms only)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 pkg. (10 oz. each) frozen brown rice with broccoli and carrots (I couldn't find the broccoli version so I picked up the one with corn and it was still yummo and as you can see I added broccoli as a side)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 lb. skinless chicken breasts (this is altered a bit from the original recipe)

1. Combine cheese, mayo, and Italian seasoning in small bowl; set aside.

2. Place frozen rice mixture in a greased 13 x 9 baking dish; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with chicken.  Spread cheese mixture over the chicken.

3. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Parfaits (original recipe)
2 cups cold milk
1 pkg. (4-serving size) Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 bag mini Nutter Butter cookies, crushed, reserving a few for garnish (Slightly altered from original)
1/4 cup strawberry jam
1/2 cup banana slices
1/2 cup thawed Cool Whip topping

1. Pour milk into medium bowl.  Add dry pudding mix.  Beat with whisk 2 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes.

2. Layer 1/4 cup of pudding and 1 Tbsp. each of the cookie crumbs and jam into four wine glasses (I think parfait glasses are a bit too much).  Continue to layer evenly until all pudding is used up.

3. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.  Top with banana slices, whipped topping, and garnish with a cookie before serving.

*NOTE* These taste best when eaten the same day as prepared.  The cookies get a tad mushy on day two but hey, who am I kidding?  They're still totally worth noshing.

This pretty much sums up the heavenly experience of these parfaits.