Lake Casitas

Lake Casitas
Ah the good life

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Best & Worst

Best:  Thanksgiving was low key and fabulous. I have never believed in obligatory gatherings... life is too short to spend time with people who don't make you happy.  I am grateful that I get to spend time with quality people that I love. Pure awesomeness.  Today has been about love and laughter and I couldn't be more grateful for the gifts in my life. 

Worst: My doterra oil order was only half correct. So I will have to now contact the company come Monday cause they don't work weekends and probably won't be there tomorrow. But hey...if that's the worst I count myself pretty lucky and grateful. :)

Funniest:  Saying best and worst at dinner tonight and everyone giving me such a hard time about how long I take. LOL Also Noelle scaring the crap out of me when I was getting into the shower.  Had to be there for that one I guess.

What I learned: That there is a Japanese sexual fetish that involves women having sex with Octopus! wow. Who knew?  We saw this on an episode of CSI and I, of course, had to look it up. Wow!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Harvest Potpourri Oranges

 I believe I learned to do this in grade school...'s something that has become a tradition for me during this time of the year.  You can make these for any holiday but if you start making them in October they will cover all of the holidays, so that is what I do now.  I give them to friends and neighbors in celebration of kindness.  Citrus oils are happy oils and who couldn't use a smile any time of the year?   I have decided to share my process here so you can share smiles all year long too.

Firstly, things you will need.

Oranges  (however many you want to make)
paper towels.
a long cylindrical piercing instrument pointy at the end  (hole starter)
Cloves     (best bought in bulk a container,  I recommend Smart and Final if you have one)
mesh net or lace of your choosing
ribbon      (whatever you fancy)

That's pretty much it!  Now you would think that this would be a no brainer, and it kind of is, but there are a few things you should pay attention to if you want your potpourri cloven fruit to last the season.
1- make sure that the oranges you purchase are not over ripe. (over ripe fruit will rot and ruin the fun)
Nobody wants rotten fruit!
2- Look for oranges with a thick skin (a thick cushion between the juice and the outer peel)
If the skin is too thin then the holes will leak too much, again.. rotten moldy fruit, BAD BAD EUWWW! (speaking from experience) 

We just want to achieve the wonderful fragrant mood lifting aroma, and this is how you do it!

 Note: for aesthetic reasons I choose the cloves
with the ball on the end attached. You can use
the ones missing the balls but they do not turn
out as pretty and they hurt more when you are 
pushing them in.  That said probably close to 
1/3 of your container will have missing balls. :(  
So it's up to you .

Get comfy! This is something you can do while you watch TV or listen to music.  It is a little time consuming but well worth the pay off  in the end.  In the photo below you see the hole starter piercing the orange.  It is important to lightly pierce. Do not get too excited and stick it all the way in! You want there to be an opening but not a big hole, that way, when you ease in the clove you will achieve a snug fit, which will keep the hole from leaking too much.

Small piercing ready for the insertion of the clove.
Push the clove in gently to avoid breaking off
the festive ball. 

Everyone likes a snug fit. :)

Getting the cloves in.

The finished orange ready for decoration.

Place cloven fruit in the center of your square cut
mesh or lace.  Square should be a little larger than
an old vinyl record album.

measure that your fruit is in the center by 
matching up the sides as you hold them at 
the top.

Gently gather lace or mesh 
and prepare to tie it up.

Cinch the ribbon in preparation 
for the bow.

Then make your bow and voila!!!!
Harvest Potpourri Orange.
Ready for gifting.

Some other variations. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review of Chris Rene's (I'm Right Here) music cd

I find it interesting that so often on reality singing shows that the winner and sometimes even the runner up end up going nowhere while the ones right below them seem to find their niche and make it.  Such is the case with X Factor alumni Chris Rene.  I have to admit that I actually shed tears at his audition.  His story is very inspirational and he is so positive.  He was brave as he auditioned for the judges a song that he wrote both the lyrics and the music for..(something they caution contestants not to do), and Young Homie was an instant run away hit.  It pretty much went viral.  So I was very excited to learn he was signed by Epic and would be releasing a cd.  Oct 2, 2012 his new cd came out and I pre-ordered it on Amazon.  It came the other day and I am wowed.  Firstly let me say how appropriate the title is.  I read in a couple of articles some other titles that were considered, and I have to give kudos to Chris for making good on his promise to LA Reid to be RIGHT HERE.  His voice is sweet like honey and when he raps you can actually understand him.  His lyrics are heartfelt and honest but real. He is a perfect crossover artist blending pop and rap in a style that is uniquely his and could quite possibly even create a new genre.   I was very moved by his song (Gonna be okay) because it really tells his story, and the story of addiction.  In particular that song addresses why often as youths we want to be high or intoxicated and it's very relatable.  My only disappointment is that there are only 7 tracks...wishing for more. I suspect we will continue to see good things from Chris Rene.  So on the Heart Chart... I'm Right Here gets 5 out of 5 hearts. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Something strange is afoot at the local Chevron

Chevron station at Cochran & Erringer
Simi Valley, Ca.

So I go to get gas the other day, and I am always paying cash these days because I had my debit card stolen earlier this year.  My tank is empty but I don't have enough to fill it just now (big surprise with the price of gas) and I give the attendant $26.00 this should give me roughly half a tank.  I go back to my car and commence to pump the gas...and it stops approx. 25 cents before my total.  I push the button to talk to the attendant because I know my tank was only about half full and there was no reason for the pump to stop 25cents before my total.  Not only that but this is the second time this has happened to me, so now I am angry.  The attendant is unsympathetic and says come get your change. Now I am really angry.. so I go in and I ask her what is wrong? This is the second time this has happened to me at this station and she says rather rudely.. I don't know we just had the pumps checked I can give you your change!  I say I don't want my change..I wanted that 25cents to go in my tank and there no reason it should not have! Can I talk to a manager? She says no one is there, and I uttered some cuss words because I don't like her attitude and she basically tells me to go fuck myself.  Anyway,  I go on my way to meet my wife and a friend for lunch.  I relay to her what happened and she said the same thing happened to her the other day when she tried to get gas there.  I said I think something is definitely fishy.  So I devised myself a plan and put it into action a couple days later.  I decided I would go to the other Chevron station in Simi Valley, and see if the same thing happened?  and guess what I put in $30.00 cash and the pump stopped right at $30.00 dollars.  this has been my experience every time I pay cash until recently at this one gas station.  So I went inside and inquired if the station was independently owned or was company owned? The girls inside told me that their station and the other one that I went to were company owned.  I told them what happened at the other station and they told me there is a manager that manages both stations that I could talk to but that she wasn't there that day.  I inquired about how the cash procedure works. They said you give us the money, we punch in the amount and then you pump the gas and it should stop at that amount.  So I said what if I gave you $30.00 but you punched in say $29.75. They said it would stop at $29.75 and you would have to come back in to get your change.  and I said and if I didn't come back in to get my guys would get to keep it? They said yes...and I said...I think perhaps the cashiers at the other station are trying to make some extra money or there is something wrong with the pumps.  They gave me the website and I went to it and emailed Chevron and told them of the problem.  I have not heard back.  I also called our local newspaper and queried if they might do an investigation and an article.  They said they might.  I haven't heard back from them either.  You might say it's only a few cents...why bother (that's what they're counting on), and indeed I think many will not bother and will just go about their merry way, but if the cashiers are doing this deliberately it amounts to theft and they should be fired.  The paper suggested I send some friends to get gas there and see if happens to them as well and then let them know.  I am considering doing just that.  I would love it if this did get an article in the paper because I think far too many shenanigans are going on these days and we really have to pay attention that we don't get ripped off!  Of course if the article happens or Chevron contacts me..I will update this post. Update: I have received no word either from the company or the newspaper, but the issue has been silently addressed and resolved. Imagine that! LOL

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Best & Worst

Best:  My daughter Amanda is coming tomorrow and we get to meet her boyfriend Jack.  WoooHooo I haven't seen her since last year and it was brief cause she is such a busy girl.  Today September 1, 2012 marks the last car payment for us. Yippppeeee Pegasus is officially PAID OFF!!!!  (Doing happy dance)  Joyce and I decided not to go to the doterra convention. Whew! what a relief.  We will save so much money even though we will have lost some.  Noelle and I and Joyce are very excited about the upcoming ghost tours we will be attending in Ventura. Maybe we will catch some EVP's and more orbs in our photos. If we do.. I will be sure to post them. 

Worst:  I had to uninstall my blurb book making software due to the newest updated version causing my computer to crash. Sighs... now I don't have access to update or change any of the books that I have done, but I cannot get another computer just yet.. so I have to do what I have to do. I absolutely cannot download any version of adobe for reading pdf's, Vista hates Adobe, and until I can get a new computer and operating system I will just have to deal.  #%^^%#@$%%#@# I fell the other day on my front porch no less and twisted my ankle bad. I screamed and cried like a little girl...sighs... at least it is healing quickly, I was afraid, but even though the bruise goes all the way around it is light. The swelling is annoying but it is slowly abating. Note to soy sauce while trying to get rid of swelling. UGH!  

Funniest:  Looking around to see if any of the neighbors saw me fall on the front porch. sighs...

What I learned: How to make a word a link in my articles. WoooooooooHooooooooooo Thank you Jennifer Sharp. You Rock!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Shady as Fuck.. buyer beware when using Best Buys reward zone certificates...

Firstly let me say that I have been a huge fan of Best Buy.  I purchase the majority of my blu-ray and electronics from there and I have always had good service.  I am very disappointed though in their new reward zone redemption rules.  It works like accumulate points with your purchases and then they send you redemption coupons.  You print them out and take them to the store with you and they scan it when you check out and it takes whatever your value is off of your bill.    Clearly, they can set this up any way they choose since it is something they are giving you.  Last week I purchased two cellular car phone chargers and two movies.  I handed them my $20.00 coupon and they took that amount off of my total. My bill total was $80.00 and they took off the $20.00 from my coupon.   I left happy.  Well it turns out I didn't need 2 cell car chargers since my old one fit my new phone.  So yesterday I went back receipt in hand to return my $27.00 unopened charger.  This is where the shady as fuck part comes in...  when the cashier began the transaction he did his level best to convince me to shop for something else..I said I didn't want anything else today..I just wanted a refund.  He mumbled on about me not getting the full amount, and I didn't understand. So he went over the receipt with me and showed me that now when you redeem your coupon it takes a portion off of each item instead of off of the total. So for my $27.00 car charger that I paid cash for, I would only receive back $17.00 and the $6.? would go back onto my reward zone, and I would have to drive home print it out and come back and use it in order to get that money! Not only that...but the coupons only print out in $5.00 I could not even get my full amount back until I accrue more purchase points. They owe $6.? and I can only get back $5.00.  As I stated earlier..they can set this up any way that they choose, but they should have informed me at the time of purchase how it works.  I would then have used my coupon only on the movie and purchased the other items separately.  What they are doing is not illegal but it sure is underhanded and shady to say the least. I am sure whoever came up with this idea either got a bonus or a promotion.  It clearly fucks over the consumer and forces you to have to shop to get your money back.  I am so angry...that I am one, blogging about it, and two, going to print out my coupon..return to Best Buy and find something that is truly that amount, and then, guess what...I will start looking for alternatives to purchasing there.  Amazon has good deals on Blu-ray, and there are other places to purchase electronics.  I hope it was worth the dollars they will lose by being shady and taking my money!!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Best & Worst

Best:  Got to see my friend Caye who I haven't seen in nearly a decade.  She was visiting here from Washington. We were total BFF's when we were young... time and distance changes things but we are still close and it's weird to see our children grown. :)  My new Sexi Sandal Crocs came in the mail yesterday and I love them.. I added the photos of them to my Croc post. :)  My very first article on Expats Post has nearly 1100 pageviews and someone linked to it and quoted me on their blog. wow. so exciting.  Had a very nice dinner out with our friends the Campos last night at Islands..Mockful and Mockfuler (Noelle & Erika) were in rare form as usual.  I have to say that when Erika is laughing so hard that her nose goes into a scrunchy you can't help but laugh with her.  Really...I have to get a pic of that. :)  The Hunger Games movie came out and I got it for free with my Best Buy reward zone points. WooooHooo.  I just realized that my old phone car charger fits my new phone too...yippppeee one less thing to buy. 

Caye and I at Shoreline Village Long Beach, Stefano's Pizza

Worst:  The mayhem I encountered while attempting to pick Caye up to have lunch.  I drove an hour and a half with traffic only to arrive (badly needing to pee) at my friends street that was blocked off with a multitude of police cars because they were in the middle of a chase of a robbery suspect that was hiding in her neighborhood.  So I sat behind a police car, leaving multiple times to pee, and waited 3 and half hours. The first time I left to pee and get gas at the corner gas station, remember I was still holding it from the trip down, I parked at the pump and went inside to pay and when I asked the lady where the restroom was... she said they didn't have one..nearly about to pee myself at this point, I said in horror.."are you kidding me" and she said no, we don't have one! And so I said well then I guess I won't be buying gas here either and I left in search of another bathroom. HOLY CRAP!! this day was not going at all how I had found a bathroom at a supermarket. Took care of that issue and then returned to the police chase and continued to wait..and wait...and wait...and then the search helicopter returned and a whole bunch more police cars came to my friends street, and my friend texted me and said OMG the suspect was hiding in her backyard and the police just tackled him right outside her front door. Whew!!!! Glad she didn't try to come out.  So we managed to leave after that and did have lunch, and then on my way to return her I narrowly avoided a 5 gallon plastic paint bucket in the middle of our lane entering the, that would not have been good for my car.  So I dropped her off and headed home and the traffic was a little bad, and people were misbehavin..but I made it. Yay. Who would have thought? I mean what are the odds? But all is well and I had a few glasses of wine that night to celebrate my safe return home. :)

Funniest:  Noelle's reaction to the Croc blog post, and her reaction to my new Sexi Sandal Crocs. Sometimes you just have to laugh.  Ah well. 

What I learned:  Our C.j. sunshine taught me how to RIP and now I am a RIPPIN fool.  I now have my whole music collection on my computer and I am making some fun ringtones at  Fun Fun Fun. :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance movie review

This film was just a feel good romp.  The premise of good versus evil and fighting the evil within is as old as time, but it always works.  I think that is largely because we all fight similar battles every day.  You can say what you will about Nicolas Cage and many do not favor him as an actor, but I really love his narrative. He's not your typical leading man, and I have heard it said he's not great and only gets roles due to his familial connections. I have to disagree, at least about the acting.  His role in this is not complex, but he makes it believable, well as believable as make believe can be anyway. Johnny Whitworth is awesome as one of the anti-heroes Ray Carrigan who the devil played by Ciaran Hinds also curses with the power to disintegrate everything he touches. There is plenty of action and a little bit of mystery that carries the viewer along right up to the climactic end.  For those that aren't familiar with the Ghost Rider movies.. the ghost rider Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is cursed by a deal he made with the devil.  Without warning or control he becomes the ghost rider and must exact the devils vengeance.  He is recruited by Moreau (Idris Elba) to save the life of a young boy Danny (Fergus Riordan) and in return can be free of his curse.  Violante Pacido is convincing as the boys protective butt kicking mom.  I can't really say much more without ruining it.  The movie is very enjoyable. Who doesn't want to see a bad ass flaming skull head on a motorcycle kicking some serious butt? So on the Heart Chart... Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance gets three out of five hearts ♥♥♥

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dani's private collection and a word about Crocs

Lately I have noticed that Crocs seem to have a bad rap when it comes to fashion.  Sighs... well you can say what you will about the fashion statement that these little gems make or don't make...but they have saved my feet big time and  I in them.  About 7 years ago I had foot surgery to have a bunion removed and I couldn't wear regular shoes for some time... I guess that's when I discovered Crocs.  With their roomy fit and light weight very supportive material I was in heaven.  My feet had never felt so good.  They are waterproof, washable, colorful... and anyone who knows me knows how important colorful is, and they grip.  Yay.  So today I did a photo shoot with my private collection of Crocs and I am going to share it with you. If you haven't taken a look at Crocs lately.. you might be surprised.  They are no longer just beach wear.  They have an entire line of Crocs dedicated to those that have to be on their feet all day, and they look pretty smart if you ask me, but you can judge for yourself.,default,pg.html
I am so excited about the new sexi sandal.. it is very gladiator looking. I can't wait to order it.

This is my signature collection..
the Crocs I wear everyday. 

 Anyone who loves Crocs knows you have to have 
Croc bling (Jibbitz)

Of course I had to have the purple heart bling. 

So now on to my work Crocs. 

I use to lease apartment homes for a living.  As you
might suspect that involves a crap load of walking
and you would be right.  These Crocs made the
walking part of my job bearable.  There are a 
whole line of Crocs for the medical field, and
the restaurant industry.  They are closed toed,
and slip resistant, and they look pretty snazzy, but 
they still have that signature Croc comfort built
right in.  

And last but not least... Wedding Crocs.
Yes you heard me right.. Wedding Crocs. smiles.

Underneath this dress... smiles I
was wearing wedding Crocs.

 and I danced and karaoke'd in perfect comfort.

So there you have Croc story. winks. I hope
if nothing else this makes you take a second look
at the incredibly durable and comfortable Croc.

Okay so I got the new sexi sandal and just had to
include pics here. WoooHooo.. I love them

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Phoebe in Wonderland movie review

Elle Fanning doesn't disappoint in her spot on portrayal of Phoebe, a young girl with special needs doing her best to navigate difficult societal waters.  I felt the overall theme of this movie was tolerance, but I have to say I found it a bit implausible.  Having raised a special needs kid myself, I know that society is neither tolerant nor accepting of those that don’t fit the cookie cutter mold of the majority.  Children in particular can be especially cruel and often are.  I did appreciate the movie’s tone of compassion through education and its overall willingness to illustrate candidly the feelings and viewpoints of those that surround Phoebe.    Felicity Huffman was a scene stealer as Phoebe’s mother/advocate trying to pave a way for her daughter’s growth and acceptance.   I found her characters denial of her daughters issues disappointing and counterproductive but exceedingly realistic.  Patricia Clarkson captivated me in every scene she appeared in, with her even tone and unexpected dialogue she very appropriately made oddity riveting.  Bill Pullman was very convincing as the loving father who just wants to do the right thing but is frustrated by his lack of understanding.  The cast rounds out with exceptional performances by Campbell Scott, Ian Colleti, Bailee Madison.  From an artistic standpoint… I loved the film.  I hope as a society we reach a point where all are accepted and included and I think that is the main point the film tries to get across.  So on the Heart Chart… Phoebe in Wonderland gets four out of five hearts. ♥♥♥♥

Monday, July 30, 2012

Gluten free brunch with the Hearts

 The egg, cinnamon, cream, and pecan coating

 Organic sprouted bread from Trader Joe's

 Organic, cage free, eggs

 The french toast masterpieces

 omg yummmmmy

All gone!  

Some of the best meals we ever have we make right 
here at home.  This was definitely one of those meals.
Thanks for joining us. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Best & Worst

Best:  Our L House reunion get together.  So good to have our original girls together again.  Lots of fun, laughter and horsing around. Having a blast writing at Expats Post and Expats Poetry.  Love love love all the new friends I have made there.  

Worst:  Sent the defective laminator back and haven't procured a new one yet... not too high on the priority list at the moment... sighs..  summer is finally setting in and with it the heat that I so dislike...ah well.. not as bad as some places... still counting my blessings. :)

Funniest:  Our L House groping pics... no those did not go on facebook. ;)  What happens at the L House stays at the L House. 

What I learned:  that Gillian Michaels is a lesbian.... always suspected.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Hunger Games movie review

I enjoyed this movie as I think most will, however if you have read the trilogy and are a fan of the books you will find some discrepancies in the story line.  There are always a few when attempting to make books into movies.  The one in this movie that most disappointed me was how Katniss receives the mocking jay pin.  I think who it belonged to and where it came from is a semi important detail and it is completely disregarded in the movie version.  Jennifer Lawrence is awesome as Katniss Everdeen. As a woman I must say I am quite pleased with the amount of female heroines there have been in movies of late.  We root for her from the very first chapter as she has stepped up to fend for her family in the absence of her father.  I love the casting in this movie, but must point out another discrepancy from the book in that the characters from Katniss's district save for her mom and Prim are supposed to be olive skinned and none of the actors hired to play the characters have olive skin.  Maybe this is not important, but I certainly noticed having read the trilogy.  I felt Woody Harrelson was  perfectly cast as the cantankerous drunkard, previous victor Haymitch Abernathy.  The premise of this film is as old as time I suppose.... there are districts of people that are starving that work themselves nearly to death under police state supervision and control to support a greedy rich capitol district where people live in the lap of luxury, going to endless parties where they feast until they are so full that they must induce vomiting so that they can do it all again.  It is hard to miss the correlation to what is going on in our society today.  We do have people starving and working long hours and struggling just to get by, albeit not under police state conditions, and we do have uber wealthy people making great gobs of money off the labor of those working so hard to get by.  Just look at the Wall Street scandal, the Enron scandal, the state of our healthcare.   I would have to say that the release of this trilogy couldn't have come at a better time or be a better wake up call.  I am in no way asserting the authors intentions, just espousing my own opinions.  So continuing with the premise, each year the capitol district visits each of the subordinate districts  and draws the name of a boy and a girl starting from age 12, (reaping) to go into an arena where they must fight to the death, and the sole survivor gets to live in luxury accommodations and have food a plenty back in their own district for the rest of their natural life.  They call this barbaric practice The Hunger Games and they televise it like an olympic sport.  Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson play the two love interests of our heorine and the cast rounds out with notable actors including, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentlley, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitx, just to name a few.  Definitely worth the price of the ticket, and "May the odds be ever in your favor".   So on the Heart Chart The Hunger Games gets four out of five hearts. ♥♥♥♥

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman movie review

Firstly, I have to say that this movie is visually stunning. The cinematography is outstanding.  The parts are very well acted and the casting was superb.  All that said... I also have to say that I felt the characters were under developed.  Although I enjoyed the movie visually and it is always cool to have a female heroine, it did not capture my heart.  I know it is a fairy tale and there is not a whole lot of story-line to work with so I'll have to give it credit for being what it is.  Charlize Theron is exquisite as the evil sorcerer queen Ravenna, and Kristen Stewart as Snow White has the victim turned heroine thing down to a tee.  Her on-screen transformation from vulnerable innocence to determined courage is palpable.  She is always the unlikely heroine and that is why we love her.  I won't waste too much time going into the premise since most of us know the story of Snow White.  For those of you who don't... The evil queen must kill Snow White before she comes of age and steals the title of fairest of them all.  Unable to kill Snow White she instead gets her to eat a poisoned apple that will keep her in coma forever unless she is kissed on the lips by someone professing true love.  Enter Chris Hemsworth who plays the huntsman and Snow White's true love.  The movie is definitely worth seeing, just don't expect a lot of depth.  So on the Heart Chart Snow White and the Hunstman gets 
3 out of 5 hearts ♥♥♥