Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hey, Girlfriend!

My life has been fun lately.

About a week and a half ago, I worked as an extra on a television pilot for ABC.  The casting call was for people aged 21-27 to play law students in some classroom scenes.  I haven't been 27 for *mumble mumble* years now, but I submitted myself anyway on the off-chance they'd pick me and I could earn a little extra cash.  I assumed they were desperate for warm bodies when they actually put me on the call sheet.  I figured I'd be one of the out-of-focus people, thrown into a corner in the back to fill up empty space.

As luck would have it, the AD put me in a very, VERY visible seat, one away from a main character, three rows up from another main character, and four rows below another main character.  We shot three different outfits over two days (15 hours each), so if the show airs, I'll let you all know in advance so you can keep an eye out for me.  It shouldn't be hard to spot me--I'm the lone old lady in a sea of kids who were all too young to understand my Felicity references.

Turns out that a television set is a great place to meet friends:  you're stuck together for hours at a time with no cell phones allowed and little else to do other than make conversation with those around you.  I met several lovely people on set, but one whom I hit it off with particularly well.  Her name is Nikki and I can't believe it took us so long to meet because I'm pretty sure we've been been best friends our whole lives, only we just didn't know it.  Or maybe in another life?  What I'm saying is we get along like peas and carrots.

The weird thing about making friends as an adult is that it's uncomfortably similar to dating.  You meet someone, you like them, you hope they like you too, and then you exchange phone numbers/social media profiles so that you can keep in touch and, if all goes well, get together again.  The exchanges can get pretty awkward:

We ended up getting together for lunch, which was very date-y too.  We only had a couple of hours and there was so much to fit in, in terms of getting to know one another, that the conversation flowed freely and breathlessly.  I have high hopes for this relationship.  I don't want to get anyone's hopes up, but there's talk of a sketch comedy partnership, complete with short films.

Speaking of films, I've decided to pursue more acting/extra work.  Although a lot of people seem to loathe it, I really enjoy working in the background of a scene.  There's hardly any pressure on you to perform as an actor, you get to see behind the curtain of big productions, there are famous people there, and you get paid.  Awesome, right?  I have no illusions of becoming a famous actress--or even getting a principal role--at this point in my life, but I do hope to get one or two extra jobs a month, just for fun.  If you ever catch me taking myself too seriously as an actress, you have my permission to shoot me--or maybe just shave my head or something.  Shooting me would be a bit of an over-reaction.  What's wrong with you that you'd want to shoot me, anyway?  Jeesh.  Psycho.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Things I think are super-wonderful right now. Winter 2014 Edition.

Sometimes I find happiness within myself.  Sometimes I find it in other things.  Here are 11 things that have been making me happy lately:

Lace Tops.  Yay!  Lace is back!  It's so pretty and romantic and feminine.  I currently own four lacy tops and I'd get more if it wouldn't turn me into the "crazy lace lady".  I'm sure the trend will be over eventually, but I'll ride this one out until the death rattle.

Express skinny jeans.  I thought I couldn't wear skinny jeans, because they always make me look like I've got sausage legs (okay, they point out the fact that I have sausage legs), however, by some miracle, I can wear Express's version.  I think it's got to do with the amount of spandex blended in, or maybe it's because the bottoms don't taper in too much - but whatever it is, these actually look good on me.  They're pretty much all I wear now.  Bonus:  they don't cut off my circulation, like all the brands of skinny jeans I've tried in the past.  Winner winner, chicken dinner!

Hollywood Game Night.  Have you seen this show?  It's so much fun.  It's two teams of three celebrities and one non-celebrity each, drinking cocktails and playing outrageously fun games, most of them based on pop-culture knowledge.  Husband turned me on to it a while back and now I'm addicted.  I even applied to go on the show, and they called me back!  There is no way I won't get chosen to be a contestant, because this game was basically tailor-made for me.  You'll see this first-hand, when I come back and blog with a link to a clip of me winning $25K with the help of Kristin Chenoweth.*

The Soundtrack To Frozen.  I cannot remember a day when I did not have "Let it Go" stuck in my head.  I am okay with this.  Thank you to Jimmy Fallon, Idina Menzel, and The Roots for saving my sanity and mixing it up with this brand new version of the song:

Home Ownership.  We bought this house!  Renting was nice (especially the not paying for repairs part), but I really appreciate the fact that we won't have to move in the foreseeable future.  I hate moving.  Now that the house is ours, I plan on searching every sneaky nook and cranny for old cigar boxes full of cash that I'm sure the original owner must have stashed before his/her death.*  Because I need money now.  To pay for the house.  It was expensive.

About Time.  I bought this movie before I'd seen it, and it took me nearly a week to get around to watching it, but OH MY GOD THIS IS A GOOD MOVIE.  I've watched it twice in the last 24 hours, and I plan on devouring the special features before I go to bed tonight.  This film is thought-provoking and romantic and sweet and funny and beautiful, all set to a gorgeous soundtrack/score.  I defy you to watch this movie and not fall in love with the two main characters--and possibly all the supporting characters--before the two hours is up.  I plan on playing it on a loop at least until American Hustle is out on blu-ray (also a super-wonderful movie), possibly longer.  Watch it.

Red Lipstick.  The great thing about wearing red lipstick is that you don't have to spend a lot of time on your makeup; red lipstick looks great with little to no eye makeup on.  I've found my two favorite red lipsticks:  Guerlain Rouge Automatique #120 and Bite Beauty high pigment pencil in Cranberry.  The pencil was a limited edition, available around Christmastime, so of course once I run out I'll never find it again.  Luckily, a little goes a long way so I expect it will last a long time.

Plants.  I recently began going to this place near us called Produce Junction (which is another thing that I think is super-wonderful, but I digress).  Aside from having dirt-cheap fruits and vegetables, Produce Junction also sells plants and flowers for insanely low prices.  It started with a $3 orchid, and now every time I go there, I pick up something new to keep alive.  Last time I got two:  a large hydrangea and a large tulip plant, for a grand total of $5.  I want a 5-foot tropical plant next--they're $9.  Something about having plants in my house makes me feel happy.  Maybe it's because they clean the air?  I don't know.  Whatever.  I love them.

My Bobble Bottle.  I've been using a Bobble bottle for at least a year and a half now, and I love it.  When I leave the house, I have to have my keys, my cell phone, and my Bobble bottle, or I feel completely naked.  For those of you not in-the-know, a Bobble bottle is a (BPA-free) plastic water bottle with a built-in carbon filter.  You just replace the filter every few months and - voila! - clean, delicious, water.  Anytime, anywhere.  Without this bottle, I guarantee you that I would drink at least 90% less water than I do now.  Also, they are made in the USA and have excellent customer service.  One of my filters was leaking, so I emailed the company and they sent me two free filters to replace the one faulty one.  If you want to drink more water, one of these babies is the way to go.  You can get them at Target, online, or sometimes at Old Navy.

Coconut Oil.  You've probably seen one of the bajillion "101 uses for coconut oil!" lists floating around out there.  So did I, so when Costco had a 78 oz. jar of the organic stuff on sale for $13, I tossed it in my cart along with my batteries and organic mixed greens.  OH MY GOD.  I can't believe I have been ignoring coconut oil my whole life.  I bake with it!  I moisturize with it!  I cook popcorn in it!  I condition my hair with it!  I wash my face with it! COCONUT OIL IS A MIRACLE.  Not only am I prettier and healthier because of it, but now my whole house smells like coconut, which is maybe the best part.  I know it sounds weird to use it for everything, but I dare you to try it and not love it.  It is perfect.

Chocolate chip scones  I make these about once a week now.  Even though they're not exactly *healthy*, I feel better about eating them than I would chocolate chip cookies, which are my favorite thing on the planet.  Here is my recipe, perfected after several attempts:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup  + 2 Tbsp coconut oil + 1/4 cup butter (or all coconut oil) (or all butter)
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup whole milk
1 egg
1 Tbsp vanilla
Another egg or 2 Tbsp of egg beaters 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together the first four ingredients in a big bowl with a fork, then add the coconut oil and/or butter.  [If you're using coconut oil (which is delicious), make sure it's very cold.  I like to measure it out before I do anything else, then put it in the freezer until I need it.]  Use a pastry blender to to cut and mix the oil or butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like a coarse meal.

Mix the chocolate chips in evenly.

Take a liquid measuring cup and measure out the milk.  Whisk your egg and vanilla into the measuring cup with the milk.  I said 1 Tbsp of vanilla, but really, I just squeeze a good amount in.  I don't think you can have too much vanilla.

Using a fork, mix a little bit at a time of the wet ingredients into the dry.  Use your hands to mix it together really well at the end.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a few times if it's too wet.  Don't add too much flour, but just enough so that you can work with it without getting your hands and counter all sticky.

Cut the dough into two halves, make each half into a disc about an inch to an inch and a half thick.  With a knife, cut each round, like a pie, into eight pieces.  Flour your knife if it starts to stick.  

Move each slice onto a baking sheet covered in parchment, placing them about an inch apart.  One batch takes me two baking sheets, which I bake at the same time.

Beat your extra egg with a small splash of milk and paint the tops of the scones with the mixture.  This makes them pretty, but if you don't want to waste an extra egg just to make them shiny and pretty, I don't blame you.  Especially if you, like me, use expensive pasture-raised eggs.  It just feels wasteful.  Husband eats egg beaters, so I just use those, with no milk added.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Careful not to over bake, or they'll dry out.

*The Secret at work, ladies and gentlemen.
Disclaimer:  I was not compensated in any way for this blog post.  I just really like this stuff.
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