Friday, February 27, 2015

Annie Oakley

So I did a new post today on my other blog Inspiring Women to Empower Others. I featured Annie Oakley. Check it out! She has always been one of my favorite women in history.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Brittle

So I decided I wanted to try a new gluten free recipe. I have done so little gluten free baking and experimenting that it was time. I decided to go with a Double Oatmeal Cookie recipe from Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours. It is a recipe I have had my eye on for awhile now. I mixed up the cookie dough/batter earlier this evening, with a few minor adjustments. First off I halved the recipe, substituted coconut oil for the butter and used a flax egg instead of the egg called for, as I have an egg allergy as well. The recipe I ended up with is as follows. 5/8 cup oat flour (1/2 plus 2 T.) 1 cup rolled oats 1/4 t. salt 1/2 t. baking soda 3/8 t. xantham gum 1/2 cup of coconut oil 3/8 cup granulated sugar 3/8 cup packed light brown sugar 1/2 t. vanilla extract 1 flax egg (1 T. ground flax seeds + 3 T. water) 1/2 cup broken pecan pieces 1/4 cup chunk dairy free chocolate Combine oat flour, rolled oats, salt, baking soda, and xantham gum and whisk until blended. In another bowl mix coconut oil, sugars, and vanilla. Add in the flax egg. Stir in oat mixture and mix the batter for about a minute, this allows the binding power of the xantham gum to be activated. Add in nuts and chocolate. Allow the dough stand for 1 hour or more.
 Cook at 325 F for 16-20 minutes. This recipe made 23 approximately 1 T. size balls. Once cooked, due to the amount of coconut oil I am guessing, they spread out to make up almost an entire sheet of lovely, delicious cookie brittle.

Finished cookie "brittle"

Monday, February 23, 2015

Matsuri Festival

Saturday was Matsuri Festival day! I will be honest, this was probably the festival that I was least excited about. I wanted to go, but the rest I am planning to go to are ones that interest me more. Especially when I read reviews saying that over the last few years it has turned into more of a spot for all the anime fans to hang out at.

I headed out to the festival later than I had hoped, not arriving in downtown until a little after 1 pm. I had wanted to get there in time for the 10:30 drum performance, which I obviously didn't. it turned out alright because I found another drum performance after a few minutes of wandering around Heritage Square! Happy day!

I parked several blocks away from Heritage Square in a small parking lot, apparently everyone must have parked closer or in the garages, because there weren't a lot of cars there when I parked.

I walked towards Heritage Square, enjoying the day, the walk, and the quietness of downtown while everyone else was at the festival. While walking I had a nice little ego boost when a gentleman turned back to walk towards me and tell me that he just had to tell me I had a beautiful smile and that whoever I was in a relationship was a lucky man and to make sure that he knew that. Thank you Mr. New York! (I forgot his name, but remember he moved here from New York fifteen years ago, so sorry for forgetting your name!) It was a nice little chat to start off my day.

Anyways, I arrived at Heritage Square, which is a really fun little area of downtown Phoenix, it is the Heritage and Science Park, and is the oldest residential block in downtown Phoenix, I believe. It has restored old houses, the Science Center, etc. I am planning on going back over there sometime when there isn't something going on to look around the houses.
I wandered around the Festival, taking in the different sights. Lots of kids in anime customs, a stage with Japanese dancers, a large display of various bonsai trees, all sorts of different Japanese food tents, booths of various vendors; face painters, jewelry, art work, fabrics, bags, etc.

I enjoyed watching the dancers and the drumming was entertaining. I have always loved drums from around the world. I don't know what it is about them, it just strikes something in me deep down.

Before I left I stumbled upon the tail end of a martial arts demonstration and watched some sword work for awhile. According to the man who was selling drinks and snacks, who I bought some water bottles from (thanks dude!), last year was the biggest year they had had with approximately 30,000 people in attendance. He said that they had had archery and a larger variety of performances than he had seen this year.

While I would have liked to have seen more authentic culture, and more performance by native Japanese and less Americans in anime, it was a neat experiences. It was fun to do something new and different and get a cultural experience like that on my own. It is the first in the line of many events that I plan on attending in the future!

Something New

So last Sunday, the 15th, I decided that I am going to do something new every day. I have been feeling like I am stuck a bit in a rut. Not being able to find a job, not taking any classes, has kind of got me in this mode of doing the same things every day, and I have been feeling the need to shake things up and wake myself up. I need some inspiration and motivation to keep myself moving forward toward my goals, and nothing is going to change if I keep doing the same things day after day.

Sunday's something new was pretty lame, Glock and I went on a  walk through a neighborhood we had never been in before. Crazy stuff, huh? However, after we got back from our walk I found the listing of events happening around the valley over the next few months in the Arts & Entertainment section of the Arizona Republic. Holy Moly!! Who knew there was so many different festivals and things around here? I immediately found at least one, if not two different events that I want to attend over the next month or two. This first weekend was the Arizona Matsuri Festival. This coming weekend is a dog show and agility competition. After that the Pakistani Kite Flying Festival along with the Aloha Festival. The next weekend is an Irish Faire and after that is the one I have known about for months and been waiting for, the Scottish Highland Games and Festival.

I was completely stoked to find all of these cultural events that I can go to!! Most are free or very inexpensive to get into. Bonus points! Cultural events are really what I want to go to the most, I so want to travel the world and experience the cultures of the world, but for now, while I am broke, this is a great substitute!

Now I have my new things for the next several Saturdays planned, I am going to keep up the new thing every day. It has only been a week and I can feel a little bit of creativity coming back into me. So far I haven't done anything too exciting or crazy, but it is a good start!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

No Place is More Frightening Than....

Wednesday I drove over into the more southern part of downtown Phoenix, around U.S. Airways Center and Chase Field. I had not been in that part for years, really the only time I had ever been in that area was for a Diamondbacks game, and I haven’t been to one of those in a long time. I was looking at a few different places for possible photography shoot locations. (That sounds kind of fancy, really I am just trying to find interesting places to do portrait photographs at as well as some architectural places to shoot as well.

There was one place in particular that really intrigued me prior to driving over there. It was originally Phoenix Feed and Seed and the original painting and signage has been restored on the side of the building. It sits right along the railroad tracks just south of U.S. Airways Center. It’s really a great looking place for pictures, not pretty and green, but more of a rough urban feel. 

Phoenix Feed and Seed

However, being south of the tracks for some reason made me uneasy. There was no reason to be, nothing around to make me feel unsafe, but for some reason I was. Going just a block north somehow made things a bit better, being in the newly updated area with restaurants, shops, etc. The whole area there is really an exciting place, it’s like a very mini version of what you picture Chicago, or other major big cities to be like. Phoenix has never really been known as the place to go and hang out at.

Anyways, this morning while I was reading this book entitled The Tao of Travel I came across this quote that summed up what I had been thinking Wednesday, “Adventure travel seems to imply a far-off destination, but a nearby destination can be scarier, for no place is more frightening than one near home that people you trust have warned you against.” This was exactly my problem, I had heard talk of “downtown” Phoenix being dangerous and scary, and so this made me uneasy. In reality, the area I was in is not one of those dangerous and scary areas. This quote sums up why I was feeling like I was Wednesday night, and why in October when I was in Honolulu and wandered around by myself with no map (well I had my cell phone), no idea of where anything was, nothing, I was not uneasy at all. I was perfectly comfortable setting off on my own two feet and seeing what  I would discover. I need to try and remember to make my own decisions about places, and not listen to others, without being stupid.

Empty Buildings

Old empty warehouses, empty stores, empty homes, empty schools, and empty churches. While some people see these empty, sometimes old and rundown buildings and see emptiness, ruin, despair, etc. I look at empty buildings and see possibility. I always have, I can remember being young and seeing old buildings, empty buildings on big empty lots and being filled with ideas of the possibilities of what they could one day become. My imagination would grab hold of an idea and run with it. An old rundown brick building becomes someone’s family home, an old warehouse becomes a community center, a group home, a café, a bakery, etc .

Earlier this week I was driving to the Whole Foods in Mesa I drove by several empty buildings/places for rent. I immediately fell into a dreamy state of imagination of what potential these buildings held and what purpose would suit them best based on their location.  This morning while walking Glock I walked by several empty houses, a few of them on horse property. I immediately started imagining being able to buy the houses, cleaning up the yards, tearing down rundown sheds, moving fences, etc. One I made into a home for homeless youth. In my mind there was a vegetable garden, the white fencing in the back corner was moved closer to the house to make a separate area for chickens, as well as to free up more of the pasture for the horses. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


This is another post from my old blog that I am reposting. 

Unity and Trusting
So today in Relief Society the lesson was on unity. During the middle we got off on a tangent about being accepting of people and helping people we don't know. A sister in the ward shared how many people from other wards will not smile or say hi to her. I am not sure where she is from, but she is of Latino heritage. So we discussed how many people in the church often times do not know how to interact with members who do not "appear" to be the "typical Mormon". This then led to a discussion about how in today's world many people will not stop to help others. One sister, who is from Tonga, shared that in Tonga people are still very welcoming and will bring people in off the streets to make sure that they have food and shelter. She then said that things like this just do not happen in America anymore. Other sisters said that this was because there are so many bad people in the world that it just is not safe anymore. I can remember being little and going on trips with my dad and brother, my dad would always stop and help people we came across. I can remember several times where we would give someone a ride somewhere or give them food. I always feel sad now that as a single female it really is not that safe for me to do things like this. Whenever I come across someone pulled over on the side of the road or anything like that I just have this instant urge to stop and help them. Perhaps this comes from the fact that I am perhaps a bit too trusting. Overall I believe that most people are inherently good. 

 I wonder if one of the reasons we have so much more crime and violent actions is from the fact that people no longer trust each other as much. I think that when a person gets to know you, placing your trust in them can be the biggest boost to them that any person can give. To know that you have won the trust of a good person gives you this lift that you are a good person too, and that someone believes in you. I am a definite believe in second chances, and thirds and fourths... well you get the picture! Now, there are certain things that just don't fly with me, but if someone gets the chance to turn things around and really make a new start out of life, and do it, then I am all for that. 

Okay, as always my mind is all over the place and I am thinking of many different things right now. During relief society another sister talked about how just being pleasant to people and when you have a compliment come to mind, to SPEAK IT! Even if it is to a complete stranger. She was saying how she will be walking down the street and if she likes a person's hair, then she will tell them. These have to be sincere, but it is amazing what a real, kind word and smile can do to an individual. You never know what kind of a day a person is happening, but a kind word or action (like letting someone out of a parking lot or anything) from a stranger can change a day for someone. There are those times where you run across a real sourpuss, but what can it hurt? 

Saturday, February 7, 2015


This is a repost from my "old" blog from three years ago. It is still just applicable to me and my life now as it was then.


So I have just had this topic on my brain lately. It is one that comes and goes and when it comes it really aggravates me. I like to think that I do not fit into any one kind of group. I never have. However, I have had people try and neatly shove me into a group and call me things. I have been called a cowboy, a valley girl, etc. Now if you know me you will know that yes I actually do have some "cowboyish" tendencies. I love my truck, I love my horse, and country music is my fall back favorite. However, that being said I HATE being considered a cowboy. As quick as you call me that I will turn around and want to put on one of my many many pairs of heels, and get all pretty. And if I may so myself I look pretty good in a pair of heels. Or I may want to put on my imitation converse, a pair of slacks and a t-shirt. Or maybe I will put on one of my outfits that has gotten me called a valley girl. In addition to all of this I have been asked by many people at work if I was a cheerleader in high school. I am never quite sure what to say to this.. Ha um no, sorry I was about 60 pounds heavier in high school, NO I was not a cheerleader.

I may have some characteristics of different stereotypes, but I HATE HATE HATE being considered any one of these things. I think that there are people out there that do fit into some of these stereotypes, but I am not one of them. Some may say that this is because I am unsure of who I am. And that may have been true a few years ago, but now it is really just because I have a wide variety of interests. I like being a bit eclectic and surprising people. There is something really fun about wearing a skirt and heels to work, and then getting out of your dirty truck with hay in the back wearing said skirt and heels. Then later being in the same truck in an old pair of jeans and tennis shoes. Why would I have to fit into any one group?

Experimenting With Night Photography

Played around with taking pictures of the stars in Taylor on a full moon night.