2017 is Actually Here Now

I’m not an early adopter, so it took me until Chinese New Year to get fully into 2017. Maybe I didn’t believe it was real because I watched Pitbull’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve which is not how someone my age should close a meh year like 2016. Now that the Year of the Rooster started, I revisited failures and accomplishments of 2016 and goals ahead.

Failures of 2016: 2016 had a few letdowns but in good ways. Or at least I’ll spin them that way.

*Looks like my goal of blogging last year didn’t stay on track. That just means this year I’ll blow everyone’s expectations by ACTUALLY blogging! Win for me this year.

*After March 2016, I dropped my pyramid scheme, Zestive. Turns out, I’m not much of a pusher or a buyer in bulk, which disappoints a good pyramid scheme boss. But I do love a good boozy slushy which is what the pyramid scheme was based around so no regrets there!

*I started my book but did not finish it. Starting is half the battle, right? Also, National Write a Novel Month is in November. That’s when I have to travel for Thanksgiving and start making presents for Christmas. Not great for writing. Why not use March? March is a completely useless month. I can write through St. Paddy’s Day and be the better for it.

Wins for 2016

*Developed a morning routine where I got up at 5am consistently even on weekends and got writing and other fun things done before the toddler started making his demands. I was able to write 3 pages almost every morning I attempted. Now, I just have to be more productive with my writing.

*Got to Level 100 in Habitica with my team (see my post, http://unconventionalmuse.com/level-up-your-life/) . I crushed many habits I had been trying to do as an adult, like floss. Resulted in 6 months of every day flossing and a sticker from my dentist. Suck it, 2016.

*Had awesome zombie apocalypse party for my birthday. Feel better prepared and have chosen a team based on people’s performance at the party.

*Did not kill or maim anyone. Solid win.

Here’s my annual list of things I want to get done. Last year I got half my list done (see post here) then rolled over some things I still wanted to do.

2017 LIST OF AWESOME GOALS

1) Once a week, try a new hairstyle (update have mastered the sidebraid, Hunger Games style)

2) Declutter every room in the house

3) Have a baby (4 months in, still have a parasite)

4) Have a unique sprinkle for baby (because I love theme parties – I’m thinking knocked up prom)

5) Make soaps in fun molds (looking at you Darth Vader head)

6) Write something creative every day – hello future blog posts

7) Do my own National Write a Novel Month on a lazy month (March, you useless appendix of a month)

8) Start an etsy store/amazon handmade

9) Update and maintain my blog weekly

10) Make a will

11) Finish “Your Tax Dollars at Work”

12) Finish my online classes

13) Make a funny recipe book

14) Draw a comic

15) Make a painting

16) Make a gingerbread brothel house

17) Begin crafternoons again

18) Write a letter to Johnny for him to open later

19) Post 50 comments on blogs

20) Get business cards and a logo for Unconventional Muse

21) Do coupons at stores for a week

22) Do a 52 week craft challenge ( I smell blog posts!)

23) Do a self portrait

24) Have a pregnancy happy hour

25) Create a newsletter at work

26) Doodle something daily

27) Write and illustrate a children’s book

28) Clean 10 things I’ve never cleaned before

29) Go through an attic box once a month

30) Make a container planter

31) Make something with an old lightbulb

32) Finish creative workbook

33) Feed the birds again

34) Use 5 fabrics from my stash in a project

35) Play Sims again

36) Find 3 new podcasts I like and catch up on old ones

37) Make an old toy wreath

38) Use all my fitness equipment or get rid of it

39) Improve my time management

40) Get to pre baby weight again by the end of 2017

Stay tuned for an awesome 2017!

Waffle Off!

How do you celebrate a dreary Independence Day? American Style Waffle Competition!

Recently, my friend gave me his waffle iron. I already had one and there can only be one so I don’t become a hoarder. Hence…

waffle irons competition

Fancy Schmancy versus Rusty Trusty!

Competition: Two waffles, same amount of batter, will be made each round. The evaluation will be made by three house judges, one of which still pees his pants and eats dirt. The waffle irons will be graded and then one will be sent packing while the other gets to be named FREEDOM FIGHTER WAFFLE CHAMPION!

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Thanks Mom and Dad for the sponsorship syrup for the competition.

Here’s how it went down:

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Rusty Trusty heated up a minute faster than Fancy Schmancy. Fancy Schmancy also had more buttons, maybe was an issue. Batter poured and yet again, Rusty Trusty beats out Fancy Schmancy in time.

At the end of the day, Yankee Doodle could have made 4 waffles in the time Fancy Schmancy made one. If pushed for time, Rusty Trusty wins.

Then came the real competition. Rusty Trusty was more doughy waffles while Fancy Schmancy has crisper, denser waffles. After a vote from all three judges, Rusty Trusty wins on consistent, solid maple syrup squares and taste and texture.

Fancy Schmancy, sorry, the Liberty Bell rang it’s last for you today.

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How To Make Your Own Ryan Gosling

Let’s face it, many of us need a personal Ryan Gosling at some point. Maybe not even every day, but at some point you’ll reach that moment where you say to yourself I just need fucking Ryan Gosling.

The problem is, he’s kind of expensive and a little bit busy. He also tends to keep his clothes on around strangers like myself. Rude.

I scoured the Internet looking for Ryan Gosling standups. Figured that was the fastest and easiest way to get him into my house. And for an amazing $60-$100 I could’ve had a pretty nice looking standup of Mr. Gosling in a suit red carpet worthy. Unfortunately that’s out of my budget and I really don’t need to see him red carpet worthy.

http://www.amazon.com/Fan-Pack-Lifesize-Cardboard-Includes/dp/B00BZXAZBK

So I looked through the Internet again looking for posters this time. I found an amazing poster from the movie “Crazy Stupid Love” for only six dollars.

Ryan Gosling Poster

That’s more like my budget. The problem is it’s only from the waist up. Honestly, for the purposes of what I was planning, this was fine. His legs really weren’t that important.

Once I got the poster, I cut out his outline. Stuck it on some cardboard and then the fun began.

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“Hey girl, want me to bbq for you?”

ryan preparing food

“Hey girl, while you hot tub, want me to make you a margarita…with salt?”

ryan washing dishes

“Hey girl, I did the dishes in low lighting so you could really see my abs.”

ryan laundry

“Hey girl, I did the laundry and even separated out your delicates.”

baby shower ryan

Since it’s mother’s day, here is where Ryan Gosling crashed my baby shower. That guy. He knew what a future mom wanted!

Level up Your Life!

Lately, I’ve been in a funk. Hence the lack of blog posts. I’ve been focusing a lot on the mundane like day to day chores/errands and not on any of my writing or fun craft projects.

I started reading Chris Hardwick’s book, The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (in Real Life!). The idea is to motivate yourself through gamifying your life, which totally works on me. Here’s my quick and dirty rundown.

First, a cool badass name for my character: Zaqurus. Boom, done.

Second, identify what you want to do. What are your goals? Don’t go crazy, just jot down what you really want long term or short term. Here’s mine:

  • Get in shape
  • Write a book
  • Edit one of my books
  • Craft on a regular basis
  • Update my blog

While these are great, I’m the queen of to-do lists. Now, we need to gamify this.

Breakdown each of your goals into actual steps to get you to each of these goals. Let’s start with get in shape:

  • 15 minutes of cardio
  • 5 minutes strength training
  • Drink water
  • Drink a green smoothie daily
  • Take a walk
  • Walk 10,000 steps a day
  • Craft for 15 minutes

Now, you can assign a value to each of these steps. This is how you “level up”.

At this point, I realize you COULD do it yourself. I already waste a lot of brain power on remembering random trivia like 2 out of 3 koalas have an STD, might as well make up a system where I can waste more time/effort/brain cells on.

OR not. Here’s my new friend, Habitica.

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Source: habitica.com

Habitica is an app to RPG your life, just like was outlined here. Only better. They give you friends you connect with, quests, a tavern to rest in when you are sick and unable to do you dailies and you lose health points if you don’t do your daily tasks!

I took my goals I created above and fit them into this app. It does take awhile and you do have to do some decisions on habits versus to dos.

For example:

Habits – something I do multiple times a day/week/month

  • 15 minutes of cardio
  • 5 minutes strength training
  • Drink water/Drink alcohol (+/-)
  • Take a walk

Daily – something I absolutely do once a day that I will lose health points if not completed

  • Walk 10,000 steps
  • Drink a green smoothie

To do – something I will do once, infrequently and just check the box

  • Complete 10 songs on Just Dance (my cardio of choice)

I filled out all of my goals into Habitica, created my avatar, added a friend and you are now reading the blog post of someone who’s a leather armored, fire nunchucks wielding, level 19 badass with a zombie flying pig pet named Momo!

habitica avatar

You can be jealous.

If you are like myself and need a new way to motivate yourself, I recommend trying the level up process. I’ve been doing it for over a month now and it’s working already. I wanted new armor for my avatar so I went downstairs and did Just Dance for 30 minutes and earned myself some gold.

Just wrote 500 words, I think Momo is getting a treat today.

Cooking with Kuchy: French Onion Soup (Blizzard Edition)

French Onion Soup is the snuggie of the soup world, enveloping you with bread and Swiss in a haze of fleecy onions. One of my favorites, especially during a blizzard.

If I can, I use a slow cooker because I’m a lazy ass. You’ll see that as a major theme of my cooking.

Warning, this may type of cooking not be for perfectionists Type As, foodies, or actual cooks.

Let’s get started!

Original recipe is from howsweeteatsis.com

First, you should cut your onions. I don’t. I get too excited. I jumped right to butter (4 Tbs) and garlic (3 cloves), the fatty lotion to this delight. I use a classy Dollar Store garlic press like a boss because it counts as exercise if I have to use both hands.

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Next, add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar (2 Tbs each). I even have an 1/8 measuring cup for this precise job! Occasionally, I own cook-like tools.

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I finally cut 5 onions. Recipe calls for 4. Screw that, I need more onions in my life. I cut food like a maniac toddler just learning to use utensils which is why when the recipe called for thinly sliced, I cut all kinds of shapes and sizes.

onions

Look at that mess now.

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Next, the broth. Turns out I only had one packet of onion soup mix, no beef broth or even bouillon cubes. This recipe calls for 8 cups of beef broth. Substitution – miso soup. I often do these substitutions because I hate the grocery store that much. This is a half and half of onion soup mix and miso soup mix. Then liberally add wine (recipe says 8 oz. but don’t let people question you). And take a sip. Maybe another.

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Look at those dehydrated onions. That’s why I added extra real onions. Natural balance will exert itself and the real ones will kill the faux onions and the taste of the kill will only improve this masterpiece.

The recipe calls for 9 hours on low. Jesus. I can’t wait that long. 4 hours on high is fine. These are onions not a baby cow.

20160123_145029Flash forward to this masterpiece! I have had at least three bowls using Swiss cheese (ran out of Gruyere and that cheese is expensive) and plain bread because bread is the background to this delight and while french bread is delightful beyond measure, sometimes you have to make due in a blizzard.

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This was delicious and I’d make it again with Gruyere cheese and crispier onions. Note: slice onions ahead of time. Then ignore that advice yet again.

Get Excited 2016 with a Lipstick on a Dead Carp!

I’m always a sucker for a ball drop, possum drop or lipstick on a dead carp celebration for New Year’s (didn’t make this up http://blog.scout.me/13-unusual-alternatives-to-the-times-square-ball-drop/). It’s a time to start over, forget that crazy resolution you wanted last year of getting sexy enough for Magic Mike to quit his day job. This time it’s for reals. Those buns of steel will be YOURS!

Every year, my alternative to the vague general resolution of “I want to be a better person” is to write a list of about 40 things I want to accomplish this year. Some are specific and easy to do like “Go to a Farmer’s Market” while others are a habit like “Take a quality picture every day”. I have never completed the entire list but I always manage more than half of them. I try and keep the list somewhere I can see them every week or so and revisit them monthly to see how I’m doing.

The best part is crossing them off with red ink with a BOOM! and happy dance.

Here’s a couple from my list to help inspire any of you.

Deep Fry Something

I have a cute deep fryer. I have an onion blossom kit. I could be eating that right now! I have a donut maker…which I could then deep fry those suckers! Why is this not a regular part of my life?! Health wise, I’m just going to try for once this year. Any extra times will be bonus.

Make a Gingerbread House

This has been on my list of things to do for years. The holidays just suck up too much energy. Some time this winter I want to make a bad ass gingerbread house. And it will be bad ass.

Take an Artsy Fartsy Class

I see some classes online and in real life  that look interesting. Then I see something shiny. This year I’m going to take a damn class that sounds fun. None of those stupid sounding “How to mold fondant”. You taste terrible fondant, no one likes you.

Stop Being a Craft Hoarder and Do a Craft Project Once a Month

My name is Lisa and I’m a craft supplies hoarder. It’s a problem. Why do I need scraps of a fabric with half naked men in a halloween theme? I should probably use it for a 16th century tapestry, the only kind of tapestry there is in my opinion.halloween sexy fabric_picmonkeyed

There’s a random sampling. Stay tuned for completion of these said tasks and more. Also feel free to post your own in the comments. I’m always up for fine tuning my own resolutions. Or stealing better ones.

Nostalgic Costume Parade

This past Halloween was the first I didn’t dress as the freak I love to be. I went to a masquerade theme wedding with formal attire and masks. Eyes wide shut style only without the sex and nakedness.

I know it’s been a week since Halloween but let’s revisit some of those creepy-ass, beloved costumes.

My Halloween costumes are all homemade and had three rules:

1) Since I would go out in public for the annual costume contest (gotta share this stuff with the world!) I have to be able to pee.

2)  I need to be able to drink.

3) The costume needs to be recognizable to most people. Explaining it ruins my buzz.

beaker_costumeThere was Beaker with the severed head of Bunsen. I love me some muppets and so did other people based on the awkward chest bumps I got from dudes. Poor Bunsen never saw it coming.bender_costume

Bender is always a hit with drunk and sober people alike. There was even a beerinside for my own personal stash in case I got stranded somewhere, beerless.

piranha_plant_costumePiranha Plant after eating Mario. She ran off to be with Luigi, the sexy of the two. He digs the black widow vibe.

man_yellowhat_costumeThe Man in the Yellow Hat with Rabid Curious George was a hit. Who doesn’t love a cuddly monkey ripping eyeballs out?

hellokitty_costume

Zombie Hello Kitty was one of the more uncomfortable costumes but I have no regrets. YOLO.

ronald_babyeater_costume

Ronald McDonald after he ate the kids. What better costume for someone pregnant. On top of that, I have diverse baby parts representing that this clown eats all babies.

After 6 solid wins of the costume contests, I’m a little sad. That time of my life is over. The wedding was a good segway out. I’m not sorry to leave the bar scene and be home by 10:30pm though. I have a feeling I will have something ridiculous next year planned.

Cooking with Kuchy: Cheesy Wino Spinach

Most meals are made on the fly based on what I have in the house. I use recipes like the Pirate Code, they are merely guidelines.

In the freezer was spinach. Sounded healthy enough.

I assume all vegetables either need olive or wine. I had wine that I wanted to drink so the decision was made easy. The wine featured today was a Virginia dessert wine called Black Jack from Corcoran winery that the lady recommended drinking in the morning after you sent the kids to school. Definitely a wine that goes with Spinach.

I felt like I needed another ingredient. Checked the fridge and BOOM, there’s some Boursin. That stuff makes anything good.

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NOTE: I am not a cook. Or a wino. But now you want to see how this disaster turns out and you’ve already committed by reading for more than 5 seconds, so just keep going.

Spinach collage

Toss the whole bag of spinach in the pan. Don’t even wait a few seconds, pop the wine open and dabble to taste as much wine as you want. I coat the bottom of the pan.

Add the whole slab of cheese at once, don’t waste time breaking it up when you can smoosh it in the pan. Life’s too short.

Pour yourself a cordial glass of that fabulous dessert wine. It’s the only way to cook.

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Voila! About 15 minutes later, I use The Force and based on tasting it, it tasted like it was a delightful way to eat veggies, all cheesy with hints of an alcohol underneath. I give it a 3.5 out of 5.

For the main dish, I had made a freezer meal awhile back with a London broil so cooked that up while spinach was going. The fire alarm went off a couple times, to add a bit of drama but once I remembered the fan on the hood, I was good to go. Recommend using Wonder Woman oven mitts as a fan, though.

cooking with kuchy dinner

Used the plain dishes because there’s no one to impress. This is real cooking. The Guinness is merely a pirate code suggestion.