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Pickles & Chapstick

Pickles & Chapstick: July 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

mint ice cubes

This may sound weird but I'm horrible at drinking water. Something has to have flavor for me to drink it. It's not even a sugar factor, it just needs flavor. I'm too lazy to constantly be cutting up cucumbers or lemons for my water. I've always wanted to make cucumber or lemon ice cubes but my freezer never has enough room to fit a cupcake pan filled with water and lemons or cucumber slices. While friends sipped on some delicious homemade mojitos for the boyfriend's birthday is when it hit me, mint ice cubes!! 

It's pretty simple. Tear up some mint, place it in each little ice cube, fill it up with water and place it in the freezer to freeze. An hour or so later (depending on your freezer) you have a delicious ice cube to freshen up your non-alcoholic or alcoholic beverage! I've been drinking a lot more water since I made these ice cubes. I may start cleaning out the freezer soon so I can make lemon and cucumber ice cubes!

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Friday, July 26, 2013

she's crafty: an artsy themed birthday on a budget

I'm a big fan of birthdays (you know, other people's). I mean that's your one little holiday all for yourself! annnnnnd since it's your own little holiday you deserve it to be tailored to who you are! My boyfriend is an artist so I kinda rolled with that idea with a few other touches that I thought he'd enjoy (and he did). My main factor was cost because the funds are super tight these days so I had to get creative.

Some guys are a fan of cake and others are a fan of angel food cake. Normally I'd bake one but we already had a box mix laying around (i may have cringed at admitting that).

Usually I like doing table centerpieces with one of my boho place mats/napkins from world market with my mason jars filled with flowers and a candle. Even if it does look nice, that's me, that's not him. I took kraft paper and splattered some paint on it. That became the place mat that I'd set everything on. I even managed to get those paints on sale at Michaels.  

I incorporated his can of liquitex matte gel into the mix. It would up being the perfect size to set the easel I had made out of wooden dowel rods. The dowel rods were both under a $1. I may or may not have to replace a bread knife. I mean, not everyone had a saw laying around. You gotta do what you gotta do.

I could've done flowers but throwing paintbrushes and other art supplies into a mason jar seemed to fit the little theme I had going on.  

Angel food cake with black pearls (bb lookalikes). I looked high and low for those little silver balls that used to come on Christmas cookies but come to find out they're illegal in the state of California and can kill you or something. Awesome. You know how many of those things I ate as a kid? I've been dying to own a cake stand but can never find one I actually like so I decided to improvise. I used a shot glass and sat the plate on top. Voila! 

For a hot second I was feeling lazy and almost bought one of these banners in the store and after staring at the colors it hit me - you can't hang a pastel colored banner for your boyfriend! So I chose some fun scrapbook paper and made my own (it was cheaper this way too). I even made a little happy birthday sign that I put on our deer head. 

All together I think I spent roughly $25 on decor (and that may be pushing it). I spent a good portion of time stressing over being able to afford a fancy dinner, the constant did I buy enough or do I buy more, etc. Sometimes when you love and care about someone you find yourself wanting to do more for them even though what you're doing may be enough. Yesterday was a nice little reminder that fancy dinners can be overrated and all that matters is being present and in the company of those you enjoy. Everything else great that may happen is just bonus points. Oh, and aren't those drinking glasses the coolest? The birthday boy has good taste :)

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

wednesday wants

a pretty opal and gold ring

 - loving these vintage georgian topaz earrings from the 1800s

 - this catbird necklace is so pretty!

 - i think i could rock this leather bracelet

 - a sweet pattern locket

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

adventure day: santa barbara

One of my favorite places in California is Santa Barbara. I first paid Santa Barbara a visit in 2010 and I was hooked the moment we first met. I love how laid back this city is and not to mention the views are gorgeous. Oh, and there's always a nice little spot to hit up for wine tasting (if you're into that sort of thing). The boyfriend and I decided to take a trip up to Santa Barbara and visit the zoo. The Santa Barbara Zoo is probably one of the most beautiful zoos I have ever been to. It's not huge and it only takes an hour or so to walk through but it's gorgeous! I'm hoping next time Charlie is out here that I can take him. He'd love it!

this alligator is named Mary Lou but I named her "Aligangsta" back in 2010 and is where I got the idea to
name Charlie's alligator the same thing. 

you can kinda see Polly Pocket's wedding to the left of the photo

Every single time I have visited Santa Barbara in the past, I've always been told to visit the Santa Barbara County Courthouse because apparently it's beautiful or something. Well this time it happened and well, it's actually beautiful. Really beautiful to be exact. I normally don't fall in love with buildings and who would really want to fall in love with a county courthouse but the grounds were dreamy and I loved all the little details the building had to offer. Oh, and bonus points for it not having a weird odor! After climbing what felt like stairs for days, we reached the viewing tower (oh, thank god. those stairs were torture) and got to admire the view. Oh, we also saw a wedding going on down below outside the courthouse. It looked like Polly Pocket's wedding (it was that small from our view). I found myself all day Monday dreaming of being up in that viewing tower again taking in the view (& the nice Santa Barbara breeze).

We managed to hit up a few random tastings (beer, sparking wine & a distillery) before eating at one of my favorite places in Santa Barbara. The Palace is a Cajun restaurant. Every time I visit Santa Barbara I have to eat here. They have these little corn breads that I'm obsessed with. I love how their drinks are served in mason jars and how delicious the food is. I wish I took more photos while we were in there but I was starving, exhausted and in a "poop" mood (to quote the boyfriend). Missing a FaceTime session with your little one can do that to ya. Bottom line - If you're in Santa Barbara eat at The Palace. All in all it was a great little day get away and I can't wait to return.   

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Friday, July 19, 2013

an adjustment period update

Like I've mentioned before, I'm in this weird adjustment period. I have my good days and I have my bad days. The most frustrating thing about it is, I'm not sure when this period end. Will it ever end? Am I over thinking or being too negative saying that? Decisions aren't easy. There comes a point when you look at yourself in the mirror and realize a situation isn't healthy for you. That's always been a tough one for me. Because I feel that I've somehow failed that I wasn't trying hard enough to make something work. I'm a natural fighter when it comes to certain situations. I fight for the ones I love and want to protect them. I fight to keep friendships and relationships to keep going because I see potential and a part of me wants to be extremely optimistic that everyone can be happy but that's not always case. I've learned that the hard way. I've fought so hard for relationships to change in the past but it doesn't work when there's only one person fighting for something. I used to fight so hard to keep things a certain way for Charlie because I believed it was the right thing to do. Except, I'm not the only parent and when you aren't together, you or both kinda lose when it comes to certain things. Some situations you're forced to deal with, your hands are tied. Literally. It's hard to make peace with things like that but you have to because over thinking and over analyzing makes you miserable and you don't deserve to be that miserable.

There are a few things that I'm going to be very honest about. They are things that I'll kinda feel weird admitting but I'll admit them anyway... I feel creatively dead. Dead. Which is difficult thing for me to handle. I am the furthest thing from being an artist but when I walk into an art or craft store, I wander the aisles like a lost puppy where before I'd see something and another idea would pop from there. Which kinda sucks because I live so close to an art store AND a craft store now. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise so I won't blow my money? Holidays, birthdays, parties, etc. is when the creative bug would really bite and I'd get all these ideas. I'm struggling with finding a full-time job and even though I loathe the idea of being in a cubicle again doing the same stuff over and over again, I have to. Which is weird considering when I was pregnant I was certain I'd never want to be a stay at home mom. When I first went back to work I was excited to converse with adults even if they were just crazies on the other end of the phone. The idea of not working freaked me out. That quickly changed when I noticed how much I was missing out on. Kinda like how single parenting never bothered me until I was in it day in and day out and not always having extra hands around became at times painful. At one point in my life I wanted (& had) a job that I basically lived at and the cash was rolling in and I was so busy and other than a boyfriend and my friends, nothing else really mattered. I was on the path to success but my views on that sort of success (at least for myself) have changed. While having those fat paychecks rolling in would help a lot, it's not the most important thing to me anymore. I just want someone who loves me for who I am (the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly), my chicken to return, and eventually start a family. Maybe I shouldn't write "start a family" because I already have one, maybe I should say one day expand it? Even if I'm stuck working a job that I'm not thrilled with, being creative on the side, etc. As long as I would have those things I think I'd be pretty content. Oh, and lets throw in the ability to go on a decent vacation every now and then. Sometimes I feel like society makes me feel like I should be aiming much higher but what's wrong with just wanting to care and love for your family or the ones you love? That brings me the greatest joy in my life. I have a slew of other creative goals but since I'm in a creative slump they're difficult to discuss. I used to follow a standard of how I'd write this blog. I guess it's kinda like how a majority of most bloggers blog. But what happens when life isn't all rainbows and roses? You're supposed to sweep it under the rug and pretend the white elephant doesn't exist? What happens when you don't have those same things around to blog about that you once did? I'm still supposed to pretend like everything is okay? Writing is my outlet and I guess in a way this blog (along with my amazing support system) is saving me. It's giving me a voice that sometimes needs to be heard but sometimes can't find the verbal words to say.

This adjustment period does have a silver lining. They're little things but they're still nice. Grocery shopping isn't a race even though I find myself still zipping through Ralphs like a mad woman for no reason. I've been devouring books like there's no tomorrow. As a small child I loved books but when it came to chapter books as I got older I preferred a magazine or the newspaper. Children books are still some of my favorite books. When I worked for a children's clothing company, I loved their book selection and I'd read all of them so I knew not only what I was trying to sell but because they gave me enjoyment. I love picking out books for Charlie. The lesser known and more interesting books are my favorite (sorry cat in the hat). My love for reading came along the same time my love for cooking started. Hold up - I love to cook as long as I know I have other mouths to feed. If it's just for me - game over. In my newspaper and magazine filled days were the days of baking. My step-mother passed along the love the baking to me along with the love for photography. One day I picked up a book Anderson Cooper wrote at an airport bookstore and devoured the entire book in a 2 in a half hour flight. Shortly after that started my love for cooking (for others). While I love having company, it's always nice to have those bits of alone time. That's when I normally get my reading done. I guess you could say I'm kinda a secret bookworm because I never discuss what I'm reading. I'm almost certain I'd bore someone to death or they'll silently judge me because some of the stuff I read I silently judge myself while devouring the entire book. I love having mouths to feed and nothing makes me happier when they actually enjoy what I've cooked (yes!!). It's also kinda nice to start dinner by yourself. I don't have to worry about running into someone in the kitchen. It's just me, what I'm preparing and Jay-Z. Yes, I usually listen to Jay-Z while I'm cooking. I don't really share that tidbit with anyone for whatever reason. When everything is cooking is when I treat myself to a glass of wine and turn on my Pandora hair band station or the indie rock station. In those few little minutes I'm in complete heaven. Bonus points if Warrant's "Heaven" comes on while I'm enjoying my little bit of "heaven".  


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sunday Night Supper (on a Thursday): Crockpot Garlic Lemon Chicken & Garlic Oven Roasted Potatoes

If you don't already own a crockpot, I suggest you go buy one. It's especially helpful when you're working all day and don't want to come home and cook a meal. It's also AMAZING in the summer months. That's right A M A Z I N G. My place doesn't have a/c and tends to get really hot when it's warm outside so turning on the stove or oven can sometimes become a chore. This is where the lovely crockpot comes in handy. I'm always looking for delicious recipes to cook up and I recently had a craving for lemon garlic chicken and was flipping through the notes on my phone when I found the recipe I had saved a year in a half ago. I decided to pair the chicken with garlic oven roasted potatoes and I'd steam broccoli and carrots. It's safe to say this dish was a hit. It was a light healthier dinner and the amount of time I spent using the oven and stove was minimal so I wasn't getting overheated while trying to put together a meal. 


2lbs chicken pieces (i used breasts) 
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup water
4 tablespoons lemon juice (I used cut up lemons instead) 
4 garlic cloves, minced 

Step 1: Rinse chicken and dry on paper towels. (this was the least fun part for me since I don't do well raw meat)

Step 2: In a small bowl combine the oregano, salt, and pepper

Step 3: sprinkle the oregano, salt and pepper onto chicken

Step 4: In a large skillet put in the olive oil and brown the chicken

Step 5: Once the chicken is brown, transfer it into crockpot

Step 6: Add water, lemon juice and garlic and pour over the chicken. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

**I cut up lemons and squeezed two lemons to make lemon juice then I cut up lemons and let them cook with the chicken and garlic. I thought it gave it a better taste.

Garlic Oven Roasted Potatoes 

3 pounds small red or white potatoes 
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic (i used garlic powder instead)


Step 1 - Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

Step 2 - Cut potatoes in half or quarters and place in bowl 

Step 3 - Add olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and toss potatoes around in it. Make sure they're well coated

Step 5 - Transfer potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out so they aren't on top of one another

Step 6 - Roast in oven for 45 minutes to an hour (or until they're brown). Remember to flip them every now and then while they're roasting. 

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

wouldn't it be loverly: take 1

One of my favorite things to come across when I'm pinning is beautiful photos. Some days all I need is to see something that I find visually appeasing to brighten my day up a bit. I normally pin these photos to my board and then whomever follows me gets to see them but some of them are so beautiful that I wish more people could see them. Which is why I've decided every now and then I've decided to start sharing them on here. Maybe they will even brighten up your day as well :)





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Monday, July 15, 2013

adventure day: cabazon dinosaurs & palm springs

Don't ask a t-rex to do push-ups 

In this post, I've explained what Adventure Day is. It usually falls on a Saturday but sometimes if we're lucky (& the funds are in a "okay" zone) we get another day here and there (especially if it's a three day weekend). My best friend and her boyfriend invited us to go with them to Palm Springs for the day. I of course thinking it was the best idea in the world agreed to it. So we hit the road semi early and headed for Palm Springs. On the way to Palm Springs there are the Cabazon dinosaurs. In my 9 in a half years of living in California and on my several trips in the past to Palm Springs, Coachella, etc. have never once visited them. I know, I know, pathetic - Especially considering my borderline dinosaur obsession. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch Pee Wee's Big Adventure. After we said "peace out" to the dinos, we were on our way to Palm Springs. We spent the rest of the day sipping on yummy adult beverages, soaking up the sun and relaxing by the pool. After that trip it was decided, Palm Springs is not a day trip kinda place. I suggest staying over night or for the weekend. 

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Friday, July 12, 2013

a little ramble for a friday


Even though "30" is roughly 7 months away, it's been on my mind lately. I'm not a big fan of my birthday. I've tried but it just doesn't happen. I won't sit here and try to make it seem like my twenties were the best years ever because that would be a lie but I won't sit here and say they were the worst ever. I will be happy to "peace out" to them. I spent a lot of my twenties waiting around for things to happen. I waited patiently in romantic relationships hoping they'd figure out what they wanted and trying to be supportive along the way. I sometimes invested time in friends who didn't value friendship the same way I did. I spent a lot of time trying to find happiness in the wrong places I guess. Maybe that's not the best way to describe it but sometimes that how it felt. Becoming a mother was a whole new level of my twenties and probably one of my favorites regardless of how difficult the situation was. I also learned a lot about my interests and who I really was. 

Remember when you were a kid and you were asked "what do you want to be when you grow up?". I love this question and I hate it. Yes, it's important to find something you love and you should pursue that but isn't it just as important as "who do you want to be?" or "how do you want to be?". It's a loaded question for a young child so it's easier to ask what kind of job/career you'd like. At my pre-school graduation I told everyone I wanted to be a model or a rockstar. I'm not really sure I wanted to be either but I thought it would get a good laugh. I know my mother wasn't too pleased with that response and the inability to make her laugh probably ended any comedy career at the ripe age of 5. I always wrote stories as a kid and did into my late teens (nerd!!) but never had dreams of becoming a writer. I did theater as a kid and thought acting might be fun but no. I loved art class but got frustrated because I couldn't draw very well and I had a few art teachers who told me I had no talent. I'm pretty sure that stuck with me because my boyfriend tried giving me an art lesson the other night and I was a horrible student because I couldn't get past my 6th grade art teacher telling me I didn't have a creative bone in my body. I danced my entire childhood into my teens but that was in hopes that one day I could do a front walkover on a car tawny kitaen style. Oh, and on and off for two years I secretly dreamt of being a back up dancer for Britney or some other pop tart. Don't worry I now have my eyes set on being one of Beyonce's. Beyonce, if you're reading this, e-mail me. Let's talk. I think I'm the missing piece to your tour. Okay.. Okay.. getting off track here... I sometimes wish someone would've asked me the type of person I wanted to be. I'm pretty sure I would've answered in some rebellious nature just to tick someone off but it would've made me think regardless. 

I remember reading this quote a few years ago and I probably rolled my eyes at it and thought nothing of it. Then I read it again a year in a half ago and it started to make a bit more sense and now I believe it. I'm a notorious "just jump and figure it out later" type of person. Which is sometimes weird because I'm over thinker or worry wart about other things. I've come to realize the best decisions I have made are ones that I didn't give too much thought to. It was solely based on if it made me happy or not. It's something that I've learned to love about myself and appreciate but at the same time it can be annoying. I wasn't happy living in Pennsylvania anymore so I jumped ship and moved to California on a whim. When I found out I was pregnant with Charlie it was a horribly difficult time in my life but it just felt right even if the situation wasn't the greatest and I was doing it alone. I knew I'd figure it out. Same thing with a bunch of different things. If something or someone makes you happy, just go for it and go all the way because you will eventually figure it out. The hardest part is the initial "jump". Everything else will make itself work along the way - promise. 

That's my little ramble for this Friday. Hope everyone who reads this has a lovely weekend!! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

wednesday wants

Loving this necklace. Think it might be the perfect addition to my necklace collection. 

- To keep up with my bag addiction, I kinda need this - stat! It's even on sale!!

- Cute dress. Great price. Oh, the outfits I could make with this.....

- eeeek!!! a french bulldog ring?! gimme!!

- I probably don't need another purse/bag but i'm drooling over this one 

- Haven't used a lunch bag since elementary school but I'd totally sport this one.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

a peek into my new home

I don't know about you but I love getting a glimpse into people's homes. I'm still learning to get comfortable in my surroundings without the company of a majority of my belongings (they're currently residing in storage). It's starting to make me realize what I really need and what I really don't. Kinda makes me want to throw everything out - just kidding (sorta). Moving on, there are a few nooks and places in my new home that bring me happiness. The boyfriend gave up his bedside table so I had a little more room to move some of my belongings. I haven't had a bedside table since I lived in PA and that was 9 in a half years ago! I know, I know - getting excited over a night stand? It's the little things, people! 

The top of my night stand is home to my favorite lamp, my tiny jewelry collection (not a huge fan of jewelry (i'm so picky) so that's why it's so small), a blue mason jar that houses my spare change, a trinket box from Africa that my wonderful step-momma brought back for me, a flower my boyfriend picked for me on our anniversary & one of my favorite photos of my little man.  

I don't know about you but I've had my share of pretty crappy mirrors. Maybe it's the way this one is hung, etc. but it's proven helpful in several outfit dilemmas and helping with bad hair days. High five, mirror! 

Every week I buy fresh flowers for the apartment. I also like to keep candles burning. I feel it makes a home a "home". 

My last fridge was home to all things Charlie and the amazing people in our life. So I'm beyond happy that this fridge is home to Charlie's artwork and one of my favorite magnets that a friend made for my first mother's day.  

My boyfriend made that lamp and re-did that chair. He's pretty darn talented and I'm so proud of all his work. I'll be honest, this is probably my favorite part of the living room. 

The balcony is home to our plant collection. The balcony is another favorite part of the apartment. I feel the plants have help give the balcony a tranquil vibe. It's a nice change of pace to sit outside and work or just relax :)  

ps: if you haven't already, start following me on bloglovin. I finished adding all of my favorites this past week. It's kinda nice to have a home for all of them in one spot!